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A cheap USB DAC - Page 2

post #16 of 28
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by PurpleAngel View Post
 

A USB DAC will bypass the sound card (add-on or on-board).

Usually a S/PDIF (optical or coaxial) input DAC will allow you to still use the sound card features.

What make and model motherboard?

What make and model add-on sound card?

 

Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-P67A-UD4-B3

Sound card: Sound Blaster X-Fi Xtreme Audio PCI Express

post #17 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mariusmssj View Post
 

 

Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-P67A-UD4-B3

Sound card: Sound Blaster X-Fi Xtreme Audio PCI Express

Did you disable the on-board audio, when you installed the sound card?

 

Several options

Get a Fiio D3 optical DAC, $27, run optical from Xtreme audio to D3, then analog RCA cable from D3 to Pioneer receiver.

 

Get Fiio D3, remove Xtreme Audio and enable on-board audio, run optical from on-board audio to D3, then analog RCA from D3 to Pioneer receiver.

 

Remove Xtreme Audio and put in Asus Xonar DG (PCI) sound card ($30) in the PCI slot farthest from graphics card, run analog 3.5mm to RCA cable from DG to receiver.

 

Get SMSL SD-793II external optical input DAC, $60, ships from China.

Use optical connection with Xtreme audio or on-board audio, and run analog RCAs to receiver.

post #18 of 28
Thread Starter 
purpleangle thanks for such detailed reply. I see your main point is not to use USB but audio optical cable? can't say I have much experience with them.


At this point both on broad and extreme sound cards are enabled, could that cause an issue?


Which option do you think would be the best?
Edited by Mariusmssj - 9/5/13 at 2:31pm
post #19 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mariusmssj View Post

Purpleangle thanks for such detailed reply. I see your main point is not to use USB but audio optical cable? can't say I have much experience with them.
At this point both on broad and extreme sound cards are enabled, could that cause an issue?

You can have more then one operational audio process working on the computer.

But to minimize possible problems, it's best to disable (in the BIOS) on-board audio when an add-on sound card is used.

Having the on-board audio enabled might be a contributing factor to your audio noise issue.

 

You also might consider replacing (upgrading from) the Xtreme Audio, that is Creative's bargain basement sound card.

 

The Creative Labs Xtreme Gamer and Asus Xonar DG, DS, D1 sound cards can all fit in the PCi slot that is farthest away from the graphics card.

 

The Xonar D1 or even DS, would offer a fair bit better audio quality, then your current Xtreme Audio, as long as an analog cable is used from the sound card to the receiver.

 

Using optical bypass the sound cards internal DAC (Digital to Analog Converter), which negates the sound cards better audio quality, but optical still allows you to use the sound card features, like Headphone Surround Sound.

post #20 of 28
Thread Starter 
Thanks, will try that and see if i still get noise.
If i got the audio cable plugged to the onboard i get less distortion at full sound and no scratching when i turn the volume knob on the amplifier but when plugged to my creative sound card at full sound i hear distortion and turning volume knob creates a scratching sound that comes from speakers.

Also so you would not advise using a USB DAC? Is there are reason why?
Edited by Mariusmssj - 9/5/13 at 3:00pm
post #21 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mariusmssj View Post

Thanks, will try that and see if i still get noise.
If i got the audio cable plugged to the on-board i get less distortion at full sound and no scratching when i turn the volume knob on the amplifier but when plugged to my creative sound card at full sound i hear distortion and turning volume knob creates a scratching sound that comes from speakers.

Also so you would not advise using a USB DAC? Is there are reason why?

USB DAC bypass the sound card (or on-board audio), which is fine for 2-channel audio like music.

If you have no problem gaming in 2-channel or watching movies in 2-channel, then USB is fine.

 

But games and movie sometimes sound better in Headphone Surround Sound, so you want to be able to use a sound card, S/PDIF (optical & coaxial) allows you to still use the sound card's features.

post #22 of 28
Thread Starter 

Ahh I see. Well my Vintage amp only supports stereo, but I do have 5.1 HeadPhones that I sometimes used for gaming, but I just mainly use my 2 main speakers for everything.

 

If you don't mind I would like to ask more questions:

 

From what I read people do say that Asus Xonar sound miles better than Creative stuff, BUT my issue with using very bottom PCI slot is that it the sound card will be right next to my power supply. I am wondering would it pick up any interference being next to the power supply?

 

The on board sound card never gave me noise or distortion but I can hear it's not as good as creative sound card. So would using an optical cable and a DAC be a better option? Also using optical cable will not bypass the on board processing for surround but it will not use the on board DAC, am I getting this right or wrong?

 

Thanks


Edited by Mariusmssj - 9/5/13 at 11:58pm
post #23 of 28
Thread Starter 

hey guys,

 

Looking at the picture of the SMSL SD-793II I see that the OPA2134PA op-amp is not soldered in, so I assume it can be replaced with a different op-amp?

 

And would having 2 amps in the audio chain cause any issues? PC-->Optical cable-->SMSL SD-793II-->Phono RCA cable-->Pioneer SA-3000-->Speakers

 


Edited by Mariusmssj - 9/7/13 at 1:28am
post #24 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mariusmssj View Post
 

Ahh I see. Well my Vintage amp only supports stereo, but I do have 5.1 Headphones that I sometimes used for gaming, but I just mainly use my 2 main speakers for everything.

If you don't mind I would like to ask more questions:

From what I read people do say that Asus Xonar sound miles better than Creative stuff, BUT my issue with using very bottom PCI slot is that it the sound card will be right next to my power supply. I am wondering would it pick up any interference being next to the power supply?

The on board sound card never gave me noise or distortion but I can hear it's not as good as creative sound card. So would using an optical cable and a DAC be a better option? Also using optical cable will not bypass the on board processing for surround but it will not use the on board DAC, am I getting this right or wrong?

More so in the past Creative Labs was the top choice for gaming (EAX 5.0) and sound cards back then only needed to have decent sound quality.

Years ago Asus got into making sound cards and built into their sound card cards some great sound quality,

more for music and movie audio, gaming was ok as non-Creative sound cards (like Asus) only came with EAX 2.0. Asus come out with GX gaming software, which I guess was not as good as EAX 5.0.

Anyway, it appear Asus has to offer better sound quality (for the price) then Creative cards, to give people a reason to buy Asus cards over Creative sound cards.

Creative Labs fought back and come out with the Titanium HD ($145) which really has just as good audio (sound quality) hardware as any Asus sound card (in general).

The even newer Sound Blaster Z ($80) has audio hardware (sound quality) that can match the Asus Xonar DX/D1 ($75). So someone saying to you that Asus is miles ahead in sound quality over the Creative cards does not make sense to me.

 

Anyway your computer power supply is in it's metal shell, which should block electrical noise, to some degree.

 

Whenever you use a digital output from a computer, optical or coaxial or USB or HDMI, you are bypassing the computer's DAC (Digital to Analog Converter).

USB & HDMI bypass the on-board audio processor, S/PDIF (optical & coaxial) by default, do not bypass the on-board (built in) audio processor.

A DAC is usually a separate chip from an audio processor.

post #25 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mariusmssj View Post
 

hey guys,

 

Looking at the picture of the SMSL SD-793II I see that the OPA2134PA op-amp is not soldered in, so I assume it can be replaced with a different op-amp?

 

And would having 2 amps in the audio chain cause any issues? PC-->Optical cable-->SMSL SD-793II-->Phono RCA cable-->Pioneer SA-3000-->Speakers

Replacing the op-amp on the SD-793 is something I've never looked into.

You would connect the SD-793 RCA line-out jacks (non-amplified, analog)

to the line-in RCA jacks on the Pioneer.

The headphone amplifier on the SD-793 is a separate output (headphone) jack.

The headphone output on the SD-793 is not that great, but you would really only be using the SD-793 as a DAC anyway.

post #26 of 28
Thread Starter 

Ahh I see, the op-amp on the SD-793 is only used on the headphone output path, if your using the RCA output your only using the DIR9001 receiver and PCM1793  DAC chips.

 

PurpleAngle thanks for sharing your knowledge with me and bit thanks to everyone for your help :)

 

 

I will post back once I get all my gear

post #27 of 28
Thread Starter 

sorry to keep posting like this but I think I found a different issue with my sound card.

 

I seems like my front left audio channel is busted on the Creative sound card. I just tested it with my Roccat Kave 5.1 headset and doing surround test I got massive distortion from front left speaker. This also occurs just using my normal speakers if the sound is turned up past 49%, from 50% to 100% I can hear distortion from the left speaker. BUT this does not occur using the on-board sound card.

 

Could my sound card be faulty?


Edited by Mariusmssj - 9/7/13 at 9:49am
post #28 of 28
Thread Starter 

Hey guys,

 

Just got my SMSL SD-793II today, hooked it all up and WOW.

 

I don't know if it's a placebo effect but everything sounds SOOOO much nicer. I am noticing details in music that I never even heard being there. Sound is very clear and direct hard to explain but difference it noticeable. Not sure if dac is amplifying the sound but it's much louder.

 

Overall I am very very pleased with the DAC and quality.

 

Thank you all :D


Edited by Mariusmssj - 9/13/13 at 10:16am
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