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VIA HD vs PC Soundcard vs External DAC

Poll Results: Best DAC option around $50

 
  • 0% (0)
    VIA HD Audio
  • 100% (2)
    External DAC
  • 0% (0)
    Soundcard
2 Total Votes  
post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 

I am recently new to this whole scene, and I finally got some decent entry level headphones (Superlux, HD 668B), and a decent entry level amp (Little Bear P-1, Hybrid 12AU7 amp). I found that with these two new additions I have noticed two huge jumps in audio quality, over my previous Sony cans straight out of the computer.

 

Looking at my set-up now, the last piece of the chain that I didn't really address is DAC. Would an entry level DAC of some kind give me the same jumps in quality I saw with new cans and amp? I would be looking to spend around $50, and generally prefer to go used if thats an option.

 

Currently I am running through the built in VIA HD audio processor, with supports 192K 24bit sampling.

 

Finally I play pretty much 100% of my music through google play, so any improvements would need to be able to be heard with this source. Not requiring lossless files or other software tweaks.

 

Any input is greatly appreciated. 

post #2 of 9
I doubt it would be the same size of the jump you have seen by improving the headphones and the amp. Whether it is significant or not to *you* is something you would need to find out for yourself. I think you might have a hard time finding a better DAC than you have for under $50. A Fiio E10 is ~$75. A Behringer UCA202 is cheaper, but it is a 16/48K DAC. It's a good quality 16/48K DAC - so that might be an interesting comparison.
post #3 of 9
Thread Starter 

What about any of the semi build it your self stuff from china. I've been really happy with my little-bear some assembly required amp.

 

Are any of these any good either.

post #4 of 9
Thread Starter 
post #5 of 9

To be honest, I would just save more money. Cheap DACs are decent, but something in the price range of $100-$200 will be better, not to mention better build quality.

 

If you save up $50 more, you could get the Schiit Modi, which is a great DAC, looks good, and doesn't take up too much space on my desk.

 

 

Wouldn't bother with a soundcard unless you absolutely NEED 5.1/7.1 surround.

post #6 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by aczuprynski View Post
 

I am recently new to this whole scene, and I finally got some decent entry level headphones (Superlux, HD 668B), and a decent entry level amp (Little Bear P-1, Hybrid 12AU7 amp). I found that with these two new additions I have noticed two huge jumps in audio quality, over my previous Sony cans straight out of the computer.

Looking at my set-up now, the last piece of the chain that I didn't really address is DAC. Would an entry level DAC of some kind give me the same jumps in quality I saw with new cans and amp? I would be looking to spend around $50, and generally prefer to go used if thats an option.

Currently I am running through the built in VIA HD audio processor, with supports 192K 24bit sampling.

Finally I play pretty much 100% of my music through google play, so any improvements would need to be able to be heard with this source. Not requiring lossless files or other software tweaks.

Any input is greatly appreciated. 

If you need headphone surround sound for gaming and movies, then you might be able to get a used Asus Xonar DX or D1 sound card, they come with the CS4398 DAC chip :)

 

Or if you just need 2-channel audio for music (or bacic video), get the Hifimediy Sabre U2 USB DAC, $57+shipping.

post #7 of 9
Thread Starter 

Thanks for all the advice. I think at this point I'm going to hold off on the DAC and invest in some more headphones. Now I just need to wait for the ebay gods to smile in my favor.

post #8 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by aczuprynski View Post
 

Thanks for all the advice. I think at this point I'm going to hold off on the DAC and invest in some more headphones. Now I just need to wait for the ebay gods to smile in my favor.

 

 

Smart idea, better cans will always be the better investment.

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

 

 

Smart idea, better cans will always be the better investment.

Final update I picked up a pair of MB Quart open headphones, and I think that I am probably at the limit of what I can get out of google play. Some songs now sound just incredible, and real, but for the first time ever I am also hearing limits of certain recordings. 

 

For the most part I am super happy with what I've got going, and I think I am the point of diminishing returns.

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