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Reasonably priced USB sound card for IEMs

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 

Hi all!

 

I'm looking to upgrade sound in my laptop (Asus n550, this is a newer model of better known n56). Please would you recommend a budget USB sound card which would give a better sound. By budget I mean something around 40-60$. I need the card for music only and it must be able to work with IEMs (currently I have Vsonic GR99 and VC02 but will probably get GR07 or similar at some point). Ideally it should be also connectable to an iPod, but I guess this is too much to ask for the budget. Thanks in advance!

post #2 of 5
Second hand Fiio E7?
post #3 of 5

You can get the Hifimediy Sabre Tiny USB DAC for $30

http://hifimediy.com/index.php?route=product/product&product_id=107

 

While you can plug in your iem directly, it is supposed to be used with an amp, you could get something decent and cheap such as a Fiio E6 which can be found for under $30, so hopefully you can get both items within your $60 budget.

 

There are a few reviews around for this DAC, you can also check the UD100 thread which is basically the same product to see how it performs.

http://www.head-fi.org/t/626632/tiny-dac-big-sound-evolved-impression-of-stoner-acoustics-ud100-ud110

 

Note: Hifimediy Sabre Tiny USB DAC and UD100 both use Sabre ES9023 DAC + PCM2706 USB receiver, the UD110 also mentioned in the thread above has different spec and components, just making sure you do not get mixed up with the different products.

 

 

EDIT: I had a look at the shipping options for the hifimediy and unfortunately it will most likely bump up the cost of both dac+amp over your $60 budget by about $10.  If that is too much to spend, I remembered the ELE EL-D01 USB DAC (around $20) which is liked by some people in the discovery thread, it's headphone out is powered so it should be fine to drive your iems.  The only downside is that it is ordered from ebay and ships from China so it may take some weeks to deliver.

 

It's a large thread, so use the "search thread" function for ELE

http://www.head-fi.org/t/586909/the-discovery-thread-monster-gratitudes-kef-m200-pg835-philips-fidelio-s2-pg-724


Edited by wskl - 11/8/13 at 10:13pm
post #4 of 5
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by White Lotus View Post

Second hand Fiio E7?

Thanks for the suggestion! But used FiiOs are virtually impossible to find here :( There are few on eBay but high shipping costs are killing the whole idea.

post #5 of 5
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by wskl View Post
 

You can get the Hifimediy Sabre Tiny USB DAC for $30

http://hifimediy.com/index.php?route=product/product&product_id=107

 

While you can plug in your iem directly, it is supposed to be used with an amp, you could get something decent and cheap such as a Fiio E6 which can be found for under $30, so hopefully you can get both items within your $60 budget.

 

....

 

EDIT: I had a look at the shipping options for the hifimediy and unfortunately it will most likely bump up the cost of both dac+amp over your $60 budget by about $10.  If that is too much to spend, I remembered the ELE EL-D01 USB DAC (around $20) which is liked by some people in the discovery thread, it's headphone out is powered so it should be fine to drive your iems.  The only downside is that it is ordered from ebay and ships from China so it may take some weeks to deliver.

Wow, thank you so much for such detailed response!

 

Will try to figure whether the Sabre Tiny + FiiO E6 gives significantly better sound than just using ELE. It probably does but not with my relatively entry level IEMs. 

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