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Help choosing pc audio card under 70$ and question about DAC

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 

Hi everybody,

actually I'm using on my PC a Supreme FX X-Fi audio card (which came together with my PC's mainboard) and I link my 2.1 digital system (Empire PS2120D) to the PC using an optical fibre cable.

 

The audio quality is already good, but I would like to ask you if upgrading to a better audio card (with a 70$ dollar budget) would improve audio quality in consistent way or not. 

Somebody told me years ago when I purchased my 2.1 digital system that if I linked it to the PC by using optical fibre I would use the 2.1's internal DAC and not my PC's DAC: is this true?

 

In any case I'm thinking about upgrading the audio card because I would like to have a clearer audio when I use headphones (Philips Fidelio X1) and when I'm gaming.

Which audio card (with a good built-in DAC) for my budget would you suggest?

post #2 of 22

Creative Labs Sound Blaster Z sound card OEM sometimes goes on sale for under $70.

It's CS4398 DAC chip should be a fair bit better then whatever DAC chip is built into your current speakers.

But it's headphone output is 22-Ohms, which may not be the best for 30-Ohm headphones like the Philips.

post #3 of 22
Thread Starter 

So do you think it would worth? I have to say that now when using Fidelio X1 I never set the volume below the half because it's too high! And I don't think my actual audio card amps more than 22 Ohms, so maybe the 22 Ohms of the Blaster Z are enough. 

For this price range are there any audio cards that have an equal DAC but amp more?

post #4 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ogeid View Post
 

So do you think it would worth? I have to say that now when using Fidelio X1 I never set the volume below the half because it's too high! And I don't think my actual audio card amps more than 22 Ohms, so maybe the 22 Ohms of the Blaster Z are enough. 

For this price range are there any audio cards that have an equal DAC but amp more?

The 22-Ohms is not about power, Ohms is resistance, plus a few other things.

The $27 FiiO E6 headphone amplifier could easily drive the 30-Ohm Philips headphones, so it's not a power issue.

It's more like how the power is applied.

Technically with 30-Ohm headphones, you want to plug it into a headphone amplifier with an output impedance of around 4-Ohms or less.

The is a good chance that your motherboard's built in audio has an output impedance of higher then 22-Ohms, so using the SB-Z might be better in every way.

you not going to find a sound card with a better DAC chip (CS4398) in this price range.

post #5 of 22
Thread Starter 
And what about the various Xonars: D1, DGX, DSX etc? Their sound quality would be much different from the Blaster Z?
Because here in Italy the Blaster Z cost 113$! Against the 70 of the D1 for example... I mean would it worth to spend 43$ more for the Z?
post #6 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ogeid View Post

And what about the various Xonars: D1, DGX, DSX etc? Their sound quality would be much different from the Blaster Z?
Because here in Italy the Blaster Z cost 113$! Against the 70 of the D1 for example... I mean would it worth to spend 43$ more for the Z?

The Xonar D1/DX models do not have a headphone amp built in. So not a good choice.
post #7 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ogeid View Post

And what about the various Xonars: D1, DGX, DSX etc? Their sound quality would be much different from the Blaster Z?
Because here in Italy the Blaster Z cost 113$! Against the 70 of the D1 for example... I mean would it worth to spend 43$ more for the Z?

The Xonar D1 (& DX) and SB-Z use the same CS4398 DAC, the SB-Z comes with a head amp with a 22-Ohm output impedance.

Where as the D1/DX appear to have a line-output jack, that pretends to be a headphone jack and has a 100-Ohm output impedance. 

The 100-Ohm output impedance might cause a headphone to have a bloated (louder, less detailed) bass.

It's a good jack for connecting speakers to, but less then prefect for headphones,

post #8 of 22
Thread Starter 
After reading your reply considering that I bought some good headphones I chose to go for the SB-Z even if it cost 3 times than a DX.
Do you suggest to connect it to my PS2120D (which is a digital 2.1) by using an optic fiber cable or a standard cable?
post #9 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ogeid View Post

After reading your reply considering that I bought some good headphones I chose to go for the SB-Z even if it cost 3 times than a DX.
Do you suggest to connect it to my PS2120D (which is a digital 2.1) by using an optic fiber cable or a standard cable?

The SB-Z costs three times as much as the Xonar DX??

 

Connect the SB-Z's analog output "Front" speaker jack (3.5mm) to your speakers (PS2120D) RCA inputs.

post #10 of 22
Thread Starter 

Here in Italy on Amazon the SB-Z is about 120$ and the DX is 70$...lol I remembered different prices, however the SB-Z cost a lot more!

post #11 of 22
Thread Starter 

R: Help choosing pc audio card under 70$ and question about DAC

yqa3ujyz.jpg for RCA do you mean the 2 "analog" input (red and white)? Or the yellow coaxial input?
post #12 of 22

I am a relative newbie.  But I was under the impression that most people did not like creative because of poor drivers.  Has that changed?

post #13 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ogeid View Post

 for RCA do you mean the 2 "analog" input (red and white)? Or the yellow coaxial input?

 

 

Plug the cable from the sound card to the Red/White analog audio RCA jacks.

 

The yellow one is a digital coaxial jack.

post #14 of 22
Thread Starter 
Perfect! I'm sorry but I'm getting started with this things and I just want to be sure that I'm doing everything right :P Another thing: I guess I have to buy a shielded RCA cable, am I right?
post #15 of 22
Thread Starter 
I mean: not just a normal one
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