Originally Posted by PTom
I've read that people recommend getting an external DAC because the integrated sound in most laptops/PCs aren't very good but why is it that I don't normally see people recommending external sound cards as a way to improve SQ of headphones? Are DACs generally better value for money and/or higher quality?
Intergrated DACs in Windows PCs (desktop/laptop) are usually the lowest costing DAC chip that can be used.
Motherboards in the $250 and more range have been coming with better DACs.
External sound cards (comes with audio processors), sound quality wise, are somewhere between cheap intergrated audio and external DAC/amps.
Internal sound cards usually offer better audio quality, over an external sound card, for a given price.
An external "DAC" (or DAC/amp) does not come with an audio processor for things like Headphone Surround Sound.
I would assume most people spend a lot on an external DAC/Amp for improved music audio.
Music audio does not require the use of an audio processor (for surround sound), as music audio is mostly 2-channel audio.
Edited by PurpleAngel - 11/1/13 at 8:41am