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Creative ZxR with external amp or all-in-one system?

post #1 of 25
Thread Starter 

Hello everyone

 

(First post)

 

I am looking for some good/better audio for my PC, but I can't decide what to do. I currently use my 2.0 HiFi system and the Beyerdynamic T70p headphones for audio, but I want better. The idea is to get an all-in-one system (USB DAC/Amp/Headphone amp) or a Creative Sound Blaster ZxR with an external amp. I want to completely bypass my onboard soundcard on my Asus Maximus VI Hero, so I can evade the crappy software of that soundcard. I have been looking at several options like the NAD D 3020 and the TEAC A-H01, and both devices seem to be good, but I want some feedback. The external amp/all-in-one should be as small as possible. I have also taken a look at the Peachtree Audio iDecco, but it is actually to big for my desk. My current maximum budget is around 450 euros.

 

Sorry for the little information. I can't think of anything else.

 

Thanks!

post #2 of 25

My experience was similar to yours. I wasn't satisfied with the on-board Realtek chip that came with my PC.  After much research, I ended up installing the Creative ZXR. The built-in headphone amp is more than sufficient for my needs. No need for an external amp for me.  I'm quite pleased with my ZXR. Sounds awesome!

post #3 of 25
Thread Starter 
Is it true what I've read about the control module? Some people say the quality of the ACM is bad.
post #4 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by FrankyBoy161 View Post
 

I am looking for some good/better audio for my PC, but I can't decide what to do. I currently use my 2.0 HiFi system and the Beyerdynamic T70p headphones for audio, but I want better. The idea is to get an all-in-one system (USB DAC/Amp/Headphone amp) or a Creative Sound Blaster ZxR with an external amp. I want to completely bypass my onboard soundcard on my Asus Maximus VI Hero, so I can evade the crappy software of that soundcard. I have been looking at several options like the NAD D 3020 and the TEAC A-H01, and both devices seem to be good, but I want some feedback. The external amp/all-in-one should be as small as possible. I have also taken a look at the Peachtree Audio iDecco, but it is actually to big for my desk. My current maximum budget is around 450 euros.

Audio-GD NFB-15.32 DAC/Amp, 185 Euros, plus shipping (35-40 Euros)

Comes with dual WM8741 DAC chips and a headphone amplifier that can drive 600-Ohm heads (and the T70p is only 32-Ohm).

Has USB/optical/coaxial inputs, so it can be plugged into a motherboard or add-on sound card (Sound Blaster Z OEM).

http://www.audio-gd.com/Pro/Headphoneamp/NFB1532/NFB15.32EN.htm

 

Plus the 15.32 comes with a separate line-output, so you can connect the 15.32 to your Hi-Fi system.


Edited by PurpleAngel - 12/9/13 at 11:01pm
post #5 of 25
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by PurpleAngel View Post

Audio-GD NFB-15.32 DAC/Amp, 185 Euros, plus shipping (35-40 Euros)
Comes with dual WM8741 DAC chips and a headphone amplifier that can drive 600-Ohm heads (and the T70p is only 32-Ohm).
Has USB/optical/coaxial inputs, so it can be plugged into a motherboard or add-on sound card (Sound Blaster Z OEM).
http://www.audio-gd.com/Pro/Headphoneamp/NFB1532/NFB15.32EN.htm

Plus the 15.32 comes with a separate line-output, so you can connect the 15.32 to your Hi-Fi system.
Then I still need a separate amp for my speakers. Finding a DAC with headphone amp is easy, but finding a USB DAC with spdif input, headphone output and 2.0 speaker amp (with preferably a suwoofer pre-out) is much more difficult.
post #6 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by FrankyBoy161 View Post


Then I still need a separate amp for my speakers. Finding a DAC with headphone amp is easy, but finding a USB DAC with spdif input, headphone output and 2.0 speaker amp (with preferably a suwoofer pre-out) is much more difficult.

What are you currently using now for your 2.0 Hi-Fi system?

post #7 of 25
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by PurpleAngel View Post
 

What are you currently using now for your 2.0 Hi-Fi system?

A cheap LG XAS102F. I'm going to upgrade the passive speakers later. For now I want to drive the old speakers and use my new headphones.

And I prefer to buy something from Europe. I don't like Asian brands. Some bad experiences.

post #8 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by FrankyBoy161 View Post

Is it true what I've read about the control module? Some people say the quality of the ACM is bad.


I've never had any issues with my ACM.

post #9 of 25
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by kenammo View Post


I've never had any issues with my ACM.
Okay then. Is the software any good?

And my actual idea when picking up a ZxR was to use the headphone Port for my T70p and for now the RCA output > HiFi and later buy a Marantz CR510 and connect it to my PC by spdif.
Good idea or not? The functions of the CR510 are definitely useful.
post #10 of 25
I've never had any issues with the software either. Be advised that the ZXR Control Panel has all effects settings ON by default, which (for me) resulted in crappy sound at first. After I disabled many of the effects and did some tweaking for my taste, the sound has been spectacular.

I use my PC/ZXR combo for headphone use only. Therefore, I can't comment on it's functionality as an interface for external HiFi components via RCA or SPDIF. The features and specs for the ZXR do appear to support the configuration you are planning though.

Again, I've been quite satisifed with my ZXR. No issues for me.
post #11 of 25
Thread Starter 

Well I think I just have to remove the ZxR of my list. I just don't have enough space in my case (just looked at it). I can use the mainboard, but then I cannot uise the daughter board without completely cutting off the airflow of one of my graphics card fans. Unless I buy a bigger case, I won't be using the ZxR.

 

Are there any USB DACs with a SPDIF input and an RCA, SPDIF and headphone output (without the speaker amp)?

 

EDIT:

To the moderators:

Should I create a new thread in the "Dedicated Source Components" section as I don't need/want the ZxR anymore?


Edited by FrankyBoy161 - 12/11/13 at 10:18am
post #12 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by FrankyBoy161 View Post
 

Well I think I just have to remove the ZxR of my list. I just don't have enough space in my case (just looked at it). I can use the mainboard, but then I cannot uise the daughter board without completely cutting off the airflow of one of my graphics card fans. Unless I buy a bigger case, I won't be using the ZxR.

 

Are there any USB DACs with a SPDIF input and an RCA, SPDIF and headphone output (without the speaker amp)?

 

EDIT:

To the moderators:

Should I create a new thread in the "Dedicated Source Components" section as I don't need/want the ZxR anymore?

How about using an Asus Xonar D1 (PCI) sound card in the bottom PCI slot?

Get a O2 (EPH-02) headphone amplifier (99 GBP) to plug into it.

http://epiphany-acoustics.co.uk/products-page/headphone-amplifiers/ehp-o2-portable-headphone-amplifier/

 

For an external sound card, the Asus Xonar U7 or Creative Labs Omni 5.1

post #13 of 25
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by PurpleAngel View Post
 

How about using an Asus Xonar D1 (PCI) sound card in the bottom PCI slot?

Get a O2 (EPH-02) headphone amplifier (99 GBP) to plug into it.

http://epiphany-acoustics.co.uk/products-page/headphone-amplifiers/ehp-o2-portable-headphone-amplifier/

 

For an external sound card, the Asus Xonar U7 or Creative Labs Omni 5.1


I can't reach that slot. I have a Prolimatech MK-26 with 2 fans on my GTX560Ti, so the only usable slot is the PCIee x16 under it. I even can't use the top PCIe x1 because the screws which hold the cooler on the graphics card are too tall. I may be able to lower the graphics card to the 2nd PCIe slot, but I haven't tried that yet, but will try tomorrow.

 

(btw: I don't have a PCI slot on my motherboard (Asus Maximus VI Hero).

 

Edit: Can I use the Apogee Duet (2) with Windows 7 or is it only for Mac?


Edited by FrankyBoy161 - 12/11/13 at 12:41pm
post #14 of 25
Thread Starter 
I can't place the GPU in the second PCIe slot. Maybe I maybe can put the daughterboard above my GPU, but then I need to know how long and thick it is. Can someone measure that for me?
post #15 of 25
Thread Starter 

Nobody?

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