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Using a soundcard with a dac

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 

I know that if I connect my usb port to my dac I am bypassing the soundcard completely, but my soundcard also has a toslink and a coax ouput. If I connect those to my dac (to get the higher sample rates) do they also completely bypass my soundcard, The usb ports are obviously part of my computer but the coax and toslink come out of the soundcard so I am wondering.

post #2 of 14
Right. If you use an optical or coaxial connection, you will bypass the DAC in your sound card, but not the digital processing features that your sound card has built in, like virtual surround sound or EQ.
post #3 of 14
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by cel4145 View Post

Right. If you use an optical or coaxial connection, you will bypass the DAC in your sound card, but not the digital processing features that your sound card has built in, like virtual surround sound or EQ.


Well that is interesting, to be honest I don't know if my sound card has any processing features, but it may be nice to know that I can use them if they are there.

post #4 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by HPiper View Post
 


Well that is interesting, to be honest I don't know if my sound card has any processing features, but it may be nice to know that I can use them if they are there.

Your sound card does come with an audio processor, so it does have "processing" features.

How good an audio processor?

Would depend on the make and model of the sound card.

post #5 of 14
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by PurpleAngel View Post
 

Your sound card does come with an audio processor, so it does have "processing" features.

How good an audio processor?

Would depend on the make and model of the sound card.


It is an Alienware  desktop, I think it is probably a pretty good card as the dac that is in it can process 24/192 audio according to the docs that came with it and so far as I can tell that is pretty rare for a stock soundcard. I know my old Dell wouldn't do anything higher than cd quality 16/48. I intend to try it direct into my headphone amp once I get an adapter so I can, may not be any good but you never know until you try.

post #6 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by HPiper View Post
 


It is an Alienware  desktop, I think it is probably a pretty good card as the dac that is in it can process 24/192 audio according to the docs that came with it and so far as I can tell that is pretty rare for a stock sound card. I know my old Dell wouldn't do anything higher than cd quality 16/48. I intend to try it direct into my headphone amp once I get an adapter so I can, may not be any good but you never know until you try.

The Alienware's on-board audio might offer somewhat "decent" audio quality (by Head-Fi standards)

"24-bit/192Khz" is not really a good measure of sound quality, the ODAC USB DAC is only 24-bit/96Khz and should kick the on-board audio's You Know What.

My DAC Destroyer USB DAC is 16-bit/44.1Khz and it sounds nice.

post #7 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by cel4145 View Post

Right. If you use an optical or coaxial connection, you will bypass the DAC in your sound card, but not the digital processing features that your sound card has built in, like virtual surround sound or EQ.

 

Was wondering about this as well as my PC doesn't have a coax out, only optical. I guess I can just get the cheapest soundcard available for a coax out then.

post #8 of 14

192/24 doesn't mean it's a good DAC. I have a low-end motherboard and it'll do 192/24.

post #9 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by PurpleAngel View Post

Your sound card does come with an audio processor, so it does have "processing" features.
How good an audio processor?
Would depend on the make and model of the sound card.

What card has the best audio processor?
post #10 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by redstar View Post


What card has the best audio processor?

http://www.asus.com/Sound_Cards_and_DigitaltoAnalog_Converters/Xonar_Essence_STU/

post #11 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by 62ohm View Post
 

 

Was wondering about this as well as my PC doesn't have a coax out, only optical. I guess I can just get the cheapest sound card available for a coax out then.

Startech 7.1 PCI sound card, around $20

Why do you need a coaxial port?

post #12 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by PurpleAngel View Post
 

Startech 7.1 PCI sound card, around $20

Why do you need a coaxial port?

 

Several dacs that I'm eyeing on has got coax input but no optical.

post #13 of 14

Then you just need a media converter...

USB to Coax / Toslink / BNC etc...

 

With support for 32/384 resolution.

 

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Musiland-Monitor-USD-USB-sound-card-optical-SPDIF-DAC-support-ASIO-32bit-384KHz-/120941158743

post #14 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by 62ohm View Post

Several dacs that I'm eyeing on has got coax input but no optical.

You might find this an interesting read: http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/high-end-pc-audio,3733.html
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