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Which motherboard to get in terms of USB DAC usage?

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 

I'm posting this topic on this forum as I thought it would be appropriate to ask for answers as well as I couldn't get any answers from any other computer related forums.

 

Basically, my current mobo fried after we had a power surge last week. As a result, by doing researches and looking at reviews/comments for various boards, I was left with these boards as candidate:

- Asus Maximus IV Hero

- Gigabyte G1.Sniper Z87

I've picked out these boards for OC capability, extra features and good reputation (though Sniper is pretty new so I couldn't find various reviews for it). More so, these boards are on sale at the moment in my local shop so I thought it might be a good chance to grab a RoG board or the new Sniper board.

 

I know this might be hard to answer but my question is, which of these boards will provide a clean, non-interrupted USB connections that will provide clean sound from my DAC? I'm asking this specifically on this forum because non of the reviews or people from other forums wasn't able to give me any answers. 

I've had bad experience with my older boards where I will hear popping/crackling noises from any DACs I've owned (both USB powered and self-powered). I also tried various solutions such as using external USB hub, reinstalling/update drivers, reinstalling OS and much much more. I literally spent months trying to fix the issue and at the end, it pointed towards the motherboard itself. To be honest, I regard the power incident as a chance as I've been dying to try out other boards excluding OC and other reasons.

 

With that being said, I'm okay getting either of these boards as both offers what I really want in terms of OC. I'm leaning towards Hero as it's a well known board however I've heard reports of people having the same popping/crackling problem with the on-board sound card. As for the Sniper, they have this USB port specifically designed for external DACs to reduce the interference and provide cleaner sound... which I'm skeptical about this "unique" feature.

 

As always, I would appreciate it if I could get some suggestions and opinions about these boards.

 

 

P.S My current audio set up is AKG annie and O2+ODAC combo.


Edited by chococya96 - 1/6/14 at 12:44pm
post #2 of 6

What makes you think it's definately a power issue? The popping and crackling you experienced could be more to do with packet loss due to either a timing discrepancy between the DAC and pc's tcxo internal oscillator clocks.... or more likely USB latency or buffer size issues rather than from dirty USB power. I think you'll really struggle to find any info on which (if any) more expensive, higher accuracy txco's are used on any manufacturers motherboards, luck of the draw I think..

 

This DPC latency checking program might help show you where the root of the problem lies -http://www.thesycon.de/deu/latency_check.shtml

 

Also some great info here for further optimising audio with Win7- http://www.native-instruments.com/knowledge/questions/847/Windows+7+Tuning+Tips+for+Audio+Processing

 

 

 

The Z87 Sniper and it's features were recently discussed and user reviewed further down in this thread btw- http://www.head-fi.org/t/693825/a-motherboard-with-usb-dacs-in-mind

The theory (at least) is good for a good clean USB power supply for low ground noise levels. What is it that makes you skeptical about it?


Edited by Ari33 - 1/6/14 at 3:51pm
post #3 of 6
Thread Starter 

I've already checked DPC latency (all green, no dropouts/artifacts) as well tried all of those steps you've linked (I actually have that link bookmarked when I was searching for solutions).

So no, definitely not to do with packet loss or USB latency.

 

I was skeptical because does it really isolate power source to provide clean sound? The gold-plated USB port and power on/off option seems too gimmicky in my opinion, Not to mention there weren't many testimonies from the board owners regarding to this features.

With that being said, thanks for the link. Seems like there is one user who addressed the feature specifically.


Edited by chococya96 - 1/6/14 at 5:14pm
post #4 of 6

That is strange... I take it you have tested your DAC on another PC to rule that out?

 

 

Re- the Gigabyte Z87 Sniper, after reading their gamer aimed marketing hype bumph I can see why you are skeptical. Someone needs to test their claims on a scope.

post #5 of 6
Thread Starter 

It is indeed strange... And yes, I've tried using my DACs on other PC/laptop as well as used other headphones to test it out and all of them works perfectly fine with no noises.

 

The Sniper board got just released and with not many people owning it, it's very hard to get precise answers regarding to the USB feature.

More so, Hero has its own issue of crackling noise when using their on-board sound card. Sure it has nothing to do with external DAC, but there is no guarantee that it will not happen for DACs as well.

 

Either way, it's very hard to decide which one to get and I think my only option is to place a bet and risk it.

post #6 of 6

Any motherboard is fine since you going to process sound by USB DAC. You turn off onboard sound by BIOS and connect to board by USB.

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