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Sound Card w/ DAC and Headphone Amp vs. Separates

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 

Not sure whether this belongs in Computer Audio or Source Components. It is more of a sound card question.

 

I am putting together a HTPC. In researching sound cards, I am finding some that have a DAC and headphone amp included. I am wondering if they would be an alternative to having a separate DAC and Headphone Amp.

 

I recently got back into headphone listening. I have both the Grado sr60's and recently got some Sennheiser HD 380's. I rip all my cds to FLAC and listen to flac on both my computer and DAP. I am getting a portable amp for my portable listening. I was also going to get a DAC and Head phone amp. Thinking about the Schitt Magni/Modi. I am also specing out my 2nd HTPC build. My first build I wasn't focused on a sound card, This time I am. I am currently looking at the Creative Sound Blaster Z.

 

What do you prefer? Sound card or separates? I also need to weight a decision on convenience, as the money I save on not buying separates can go into a good sound card.

post #2 of 4

Since you generally don't have much space in an HTPC externals may be preferable.

post #3 of 4
Quote:
Originally Posted by framos917 View Post
 

Not sure whether this belongs in Computer Audio or Source Components. It is more of a sound card question.

I am putting together a HTPC. In researching sound cards, I am finding some that have a DAC and headphone amp included. I am wondering if they would be an alternative to having a separate DAC and Headphone Amp.

I am currently looking at the Creative Sound Blaster Z.

What do you prefer? Sound card or separates? I also need to weight a decision on convenience, as the money I save on not buying separates can go into a good sound card.

The Creative Labs Sound Blaster Z (SB1500, retail box) sound card is selling for $75.

Comes with a CS4398 DAC chip :) and a fair (somewhat) decent headphone amplifier.

Which would leave you a leftover budget for buying better headphones?

May not match an external DAC amp, $200, but should be good enough.

post #4 of 4
Thread Starter 

The HTPC case I have in mind does have some expansion slots, to accommodate the sound card. I am really leaning this way. If its good enough, I could put more into something else like another set of headphones. I could try this out for awhile and always come back and get  the Schitt DAC/amp or maybe something else will come along.

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