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Broke my laptop's audio-in, best USB to 3.5mm adapter or external soundcard?

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 
I can't believe how angry I still am about this, but here's what happened. I currently have my laptop on a rolly-cart, one narrow enough to have the left and right edges of my laptop stick out a bit. As I was moving around, I slammed my knee into the headphone jack plugged into it, and broke the input badly - to the point that when I pulled it out, the jack was sticking out at a 30 degree angle, rather than straight out. The sound is obviously busted, as it seems I basically tore the socket off the soundcard - the sound is intermittent to non-existent, depending on how I move the jack. I'm a big headphone user, and it seems like the only real solution I have for this is to get either a USB adapter for the jack, or better yet, an external sound card.

I'm hoping there's a silver lining to this, because I really like my audio. The laptop is an Asus G75VW, which is a gaming laptop, and my headphones are Shure SRH440's. The USB's on the laptop are all 3.0, if that makes any difference.

So here's my question: Should I just get a cheap, $15 USB-to-3.5mm adapter? There's one from Audio Technica (a trustworthy company, I think) that looks pretty good. OR, should I get a proper external sound card?

My budget is roughly 60 bucks, I don't want to go more expensive than that. As for my audio tastes, I play a lot of games on the laptop, and with just the stock soundcard, things have gone pretty smoothly so far. But I would like a bit more volume, and more punch if that's a possibility. However, I wouldn't want the quality of the music I listen to to suffer. Am I asking too much? At worst, I would like whatever I get to leave the quality of my sound unchanged; at best, I would like it to be at least a little improved, especially with gaming in mind, just not to the point that finer music (from Beethoven/Debussy/Pirates of the Caribbean FLAC songs to Eminem 320kb mp3's, etc) sounds like crap.

I've heard the HifimeDIY Sabre USB DAC is probably the best bang for your buck under 50 dollars, and that the Creative Soundblaster X-Fi Surround 5.1 Pro is a piece of crap. What do you guys think? Should I just stick with the adapter, or should I upgrade the sound while I'm at it?

Edit: Sorry, I wrote this before checking my automated message, you may move it to the Help & Recommendations forum if needed.
Edited by omamder5 - 11/13/13 at 7:20pm
post #2 of 5

What about the Xonar U3?  That will give you some more oomph and has Dolby Headphone... for just $40 shipped.

 

See- http://www.head-fi.org/t/533707/xonar-u3-usb-dac 

 

and 

 

http://www.head-fi.org/t/627553/asus-xonar-u3-vs-creative-sound-blaster-x-fi-go-pro-usb


Edited by Ari33 - 11/14/13 at 5:29am
post #3 of 5
Also look into the FiiO E10. A little above your budget, but you might be able to find a deal on it somewhere. The Xonar will have the Dolby Headphone for adding enhanced surround effect for gaming and movie watching. The E10 would be better for music.
post #4 of 5
Thread Starter 
I'd like to look at the E10, but yes, it is more than what I want to spend, and considering just how much stuff you get in the box with the Xonar (the cables and adapters alone typically cost a quarter of the asking price), as well as what sounds like the awesome features it packs, I think I want to go with that one. I can get it for 56 bucks shipped on NCIX Canada after a mail-in rebate. Not bad at all.

Also, the portability is a plus as well. I already have to stuff so many peripherals into my laptop case when I take it with me (Xbox controller/receiver, mouse, huge laptop brick, headphones, etc), and the mini-mini size of the Xonar is great - I can just pop it into a pocket with my flash drives. Thanks, guys!
Edited by omamder5 - 11/14/13 at 9:48am
post #5 of 5
For portability, the Xonar definitely makes more sense smily_headphones1.gif

Good luck with your new equipment!
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