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EXTERNAL SOUND CARDS

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 

hello, I sold my computer and bought a notebook, which USB sound card you recommend me to use with my Kit 2.1 Edifier M3400 to $300?

post #2 of 10

Hifimediy Sabre U2 USB DAC, $55 + shipping.

http://hifimediy.com/index.php?route=product/product&product_id=123

 

3ft "Premium" stereo mini-jack to RCA (red/white) cable, $2.14 + shipping.

http://www.monoprice.com/Product?c_id=102&cp_id=10218&cs_id=1021815&p_id=5597&seq=1&format=2

 

I would assume an external DAC/Amp would do the job.

Unless you have a real need for an external sound card?

post #3 of 10

Could someone tell me the difference between a USB soundcard and a USB to S/PDIF converter? They seem to have very much the same functionality.

post #4 of 10

Digital audio has two components.

 

First the samples themselves. This is a number representing the voltage in a wire proportional to the measured atmospheric pressure. 16 bits in CD quality audio.

 

Second the timing information. When the samples are converted to and from analogue it has to be done at the right time. 44.1k times a second for CD quality.

 

Originally this conversion process was done in two stages. Data samples were sent to a S/PDIF type converter where the timing data was re added. Then this was then streamed to a simple DAC chip which provided the analogue current.

 

The above process is no longer best practice. Modern ADC and DAC SoCs (System on Chip) do both processes more or less simultaneously on the same chip. This is usually done using USB async transfer protocol and is now the preferred method in pro and semi pro devices. It requires the manufacturer to write or license software, uses premium chips and is more reliable and exact.

 

Garden shed hi fi companies still use the old two stage process. You don't need expensive software skills and the chips are cheaper.

 

Essentially USB > S/PDIF converters are now obsolete. Buy a USB 2.0 DAC offering async transfer instead.

post #5 of 10

Thanks for the clear reply. I have noticed the trend away from S/PDIF without understanding it. I have a situation, however, that this makes more complicated. I want to build / use an ARM (or Atom) small, low power device running Linux to play music. The emphasis here is low power, I currently use a desktop computer for this task. The plan was to use a USB -> S/PDIF converter to feed my amp, a Denon X1000, and so use its DACs. Would I be better to use a USB DAC, then, and feed the amp an analogue signal? Just as an example from ebay something like this ?

 

http://www.ebay.com/itm/AUNE-24bit-192K-X1-DAC-headphone-amp-preamp-USB-DAC-WM8805-PCM1793-USB-coxia-/141103487093?pt=US_Home_Audio_Amplifiers_Preamps&hash=item20da6c5875

post #6 of 10

I'm wary of offering specific advice outwith my areas of experience.

 

You might be better off asking on a website dedicated to your chosen players hardware and software. 

 

I do have a raspberry pi. Generally use either the HDMI (digital) or standard 3.5mm minijack (analgue) for audio out. Haven't got round to trying USB yet.

 

Best of luck and have fun.

post #7 of 10

Fair enough, thank you for the info on what's going on and on the directions I should be looking. Looking further at items on eBay has led me to a slightly different type of device that that I was looking at. I found this 

 

http://www.ebay.com/itm/SMSL-SD-1955-High-end-Audio-DAC-AD1955-DIR9001-TE7022L-Optical-coaxial-USB-B-/291006598890?pt=US_Home_Audio_Amplifiers_Preamps&hash=item43c1584eea

 

which would seem to embody the idea of a monobloq device with chips designed for specific tasks somewhat different than the USB to S/PDIF devices. 

 

I'll keep investigating, thanks again.

post #8 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by emueyes View Post
 

Fair enough, thank you for the info on what's going on and on the directions I should be looking. Looking further at items on eBay has led me to a slightly different type of device that that I was looking at. I found this 

 

http://www.ebay.com/itm/SMSL-SD-1955-High-end-Audio-DAC-AD1955-DIR9001-TE7022L-Optical-coaxial-USB-B-/291006598890?pt=US_Home_Audio_Amplifiers_Preamps&hash=item43c1584eea

 

which would seem to embody the idea of a monobloq device with chips designed for specific tasks somewhat different than the USB to S/PDIF devices. 

 

I'll keep investigating, thanks again.


I have 4 SMSL devices, at least two of them do not work.

post #9 of 10

Thanks for the heads up. I know it's difficult and sometimes quite weary work to recommend specific products, especially to someone like me who is kind of walking in the dark. Those SMSL products seemed to have all the check boxes ticked too. I found some other units 

 

http://www.ebay.com/itm/HA-INFO-DA1-WM8805-WM8740-USB-DAC-Class-A-Headphone-Amp-USB-Converter-/251195993793?pt=US_Home_Audio_Amplifiers_Preamps&hash=item3a7c72aec1

 

and 

 

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Topping-TP-D2-Portable-Head-AMP-USB-DAC-sound-card/171129581269?rt=nc&_trksid=p2047675.m1851&_trkparms=aid%3D222002%26algo%3DSIC.FIT%26ao%3D1%26asc%3D163%26meid%3D2455237238974167027%26pid%3D100005%26prg%3D1088%26rk%3D2%26rkt%3D4%26sd%3D251195993793%26

 

 

which purport to being USB2 DACs. There are pages of them, some cheaper than a movie ticket, some cost more than my first car. 

 

It may be better if I started a new thread for this if the topic has changed to USB2 DACs.

post #10 of 10

Mate. You risk getting well ahead of yourself.

 

Decide on your source first. Speak to people familiar with the technology. Not that many people round here are familiar with using Linux. 

 

Attempting to pair an ebay only DAC could prove problematic. At least some of those products you mention look well dodgy imo. Will they even have suitable drivers?

 

Build your source box and use the on board first. Then consider the next step.

 

btw Buying direct import via ebay doesn't really seem to save you that much money either. You can get an established product from a reputable manufacturer with a proper dealer network for not much, if anything, more than those you have linked too. That's an instant win if you have to send it back for repair or replacement.

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