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Realtek® ALC892 8-Channel High Definition Audio CODEC - Can I skip a DAC?

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

Hi,

 

I've finally bought a decent pair of headphones (sennheiser hd380pro) after doing some researching in my price range.

 

Now, compared to my $20 previous headphones, I've obviously noticed a major difference, especially when listening to say, violin music.  And I know what a DAC does and an amp does, not illteriate on that, my question, with the Realtek® ALC892 8-Channel High Definition Audio CODEC that is built onto my desktop's motherboard, do I really need a DAC?  I think an amp would be beneificial with these headphones, as I don't feel like they are being pushed to their mac with the onboard audio.

 

My initial guess is that I do not need a DAC/amp combo such as an e17 and my money would be better spent on just an amp, but being as I have never anything above my normal PC headphone jack, maybe it could use a DAC?  I read hissing could be a nice indicator a DAC is needed due to all the PC noise near the built-in DAC, but even when trying, I don't notice obvious hissing, so if it's there, I'm not picking up on it.

 

These headphones will mainly be used at home on my desktop.  I'm looking neutral reproduction, not bass or any particular thing heavy, more like something that will present me the audio in the way the studio intended, so bass heavy songs have good bass, and same with other mid/highs, etc.

 

What are your thoughts?

 

1) Should I skip the DAC and consider the onboard Realtek® ALC892 8-Channel High Definition Audio CODEC good enough? If not, any DAC/amp combo you recommend?

 

2) What amps do you suggest (if not suggesting a dac/amp combo)?  I've read a lot about fiio, but popularity doesn't necessarily mean quality.  My price ranges is up to $130 for a dac/amp or amp.  Mobile or not does not matter to me since it is a desktop and the headphones will be only used with the desktop.


Edited by ShhImSleeping - 11/30/13 at 12:45pm
post #2 of 8

Heya,

 

A Codec/DAC chipset, etc, is all fine and dandy. It can be fine. That's not the issue. Ever. The issue is implementation and how the signal is handled after the chipset converts the 0's and 1's to an analog sine wave. Your bottleneck and sore spot in the motherboard is not the chipset, but rather, the stage where it implements the analog interface and output. That's where the quality drops off the chart. You absolutely would do better with a discreet DAC/AMP that is not a motherboard, that has good implementation of analog signal handling after the DAC does it's job.

 

A simple Fiio E10 would be my suggestion.

Very best,

post #3 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by ShhImSleeping View Post
 

What amps do you suggest (if not suggesting a DAC/amp combo)?  I've read a lot about Fiio, but popularity doesn't necessarily mean quality.  My price ranges is up to $130 for a DAC/amp or amp.  Mobile or not does not matter to me since it is a desktop and the headphones will be only used with the desktop.

Just get an Asus Xonar DG sound card, $27 and there is a $10 mail in rebate this month (Nov).

 

Better DAC and amp, then the DG.

The Creative Sound Blaster Z (SB1500, retail box) sound card, on sale at Newegg for $74.99.

 

Otherwise you might think of selling off the HD380 Pro and getting headphones that are better then the HD380 Pro.

post #4 of 8
Thread Starter 

Maveaux - thanks for the info, I will check that e10 out.

 

PurpleAngel - Way to put down my choice... I am enjoying them and they fit my price range, and after researching, a lot of people seem enjoy them.  Why don't you think they are good?

post #5 of 8

I own an e10 and I think its definitely worth it. Its quite a large improvement on some headphones.

post #6 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by ShhImSleeping View Post
 

Maveaux - thanks for the info, I will check that e10 out.

 

PurpleAngel - Way to put down my choice... I am enjoying them and they fit my price range, and after researching, a lot of people seem enjoy them.  Why don't you think they are good?


I've never listened to the HD380 Pros, but if you were willing to spend $130 for improving audio, I figured there should be some headphone that would be considered an improvement, over the HD380 Pros, with in that amount (adding in any cash you would get for selling the HD380 Pro).

If you got the Asus Xonar DG, that would leave over $100, plus whatever you got selling off the HD380 Pros, for "better" headphones.

But if you like the HD380 Pros, then buy the Creative Labs Sound Blaster Z (SB1500, retail box), for $74.99, at Newegg.


Edited by PurpleAngel - 12/1/13 at 10:24am
post #7 of 8
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by PurpleAngel View Post
 


I've never listened to the HD380 Pros, but if you were willing to spend $130 for improving audio, I figured there should be some headphone that would be considered an improvement, over the HD380 Pros, with in that amount.

If you got the Asus Xonar DG, that would leave over $100, plus whatever you got selling off the HD380 Pros, for "better" headphones.

But if you like the HD380 Pros, then buy the Creative Labs Sound Blaster Z (SB1500, retail box), for $74.99, at Newegg.

 

"I figured there should be some headphone that would be considered an improvement" - So you figured something, with never having listened to them, and decided to put down my choice based on that, without even stating what you would consider better in that price range?  I thought $130 for a pair of hd380pros was a very good deal consider they retail for $200, I have a very tight budget and the dac/amp was intended to be a Christmas gift idea for our family gift exchange.

 

Please don't put down what you haven't tried, I'd be more willing to take you seriously if you have actually listened to them, but basing your comments off an "I figured" is a joke.  So far you have insulted me for my choice and the choice of my headphones wasn't even related to what I was asking, I was asking about a dac/amp, but thanks for weighing in anyway.

post #8 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by ShhImSleeping View Post
 

 

"I figured there should be some headphone that would be considered an improvement" - So you figured something, with never having listened to them, and decided to put down my choice based on that, without even stating what you would consider better in that price range?  I thought $130 for a pair of hd380pros was a very good deal consider they retail for $200, I have a very tight budget and the dac/amp was intended to be a Christmas gift idea for our family gift exchange.

 

Please don't put down what you haven't tried, I'd be more willing to take you seriously if you have actually listened to them, but basing your comments off an "I figured" is a joke.  So far you have insulted me for my choice and the choice of my headphones wasn't even related to what I was asking, I was asking about a dac/amp, but thanks for weighing in anyway.

$130, plus whatever cash you would get for the HD380 Pro.

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