I have trolled for two days looking for my particular situation but finally I thought I would just post. So many sound card questions are raised by gamers.
My higher end audio set up is in the living room, but the PC in the study is where I work. I like to listen to music while I work. I rotate cans into my study but seem to have stuck with my Denon D5000s for awhile, so looking for a set up that works best with them.
Until recently, while in my study I had PC USB out to Nuforce Dac/amp combo. Sounded good while it worked, but it died so I have been plugging my cans into a low quality sound card.
At first I thought I would just upgrade the sound card, right? Looked through forums, lots of praise for Asus Xonar DS or DG. But then I came across several posts stating that while internal DACs in the sound cards are good, low impedence cans (Denons are 16 omhs, I think) need real amplification to shine.
Do I really need an amp? What about something like the Asus DGX which seems to be the DG sound card with more amplification. Or do I get a sound card for DAC purposes and then small external amp? Although, if I concede I need external amplification, isn't some external amp/dac combo like Nuforce replacement (although definitely NOT Nuforce) a better bet than sound card plus external amp?
Gaming not a priority, just two channel music. And budget about $100 to maybe $250 at highest end.
What would you do?