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Sound Card or DAC? ODAC +2 or STX II - Page 2

post #16 of 21

I have high hopes to Oppo DAC, too bad not even an ETA was released yet.

post #17 of 21

I seen the same video...

 

The info they're feeding you is poppycock.

 

They try to say in the video that you don't need a dedicated sound card because a sound card is basically a DAC and most mobos already have integrated sound with an integrated DAC so it's pointless to buy a sound card.

 

Don't listen to them.

post #18 of 21

That video replaces one BS with another. :)

 

There are good and bad sound cards, integrated on the motherboard or not just as there are good and bad DAC's. Just because it's external doesn't mean it's automatically better. And just because it's lower output impedance it doesn't mean it's automatically better with all headphones.

 

I'll copy paste my comment on that video here for you:

 

Most of what he says is ok. The claim that the 8ohm output impedance "loses" a third of the music on a 32ohm headphone is moronic though. It does nothing of the sort. Depending on the headphone the  deviation is a couple of dB maximum and in most cases it can be ignored - most headphones, including high end ones are more non-linear than that by themselves. Also, there are well designed sound cards that do not pick-up noise at all.

 

The drivers sometimes are a problem but they also offer useful functions like decoding surround sound, headphone virtualization, hardware effects etc. There are companies that have mostly problem free drivers - RME, Lynx in the professional field and HT Omega in the consumer field.

 

The dac/amplifier they propose as a solution is a valid option, but the reason they give to buy it is not. That dac/amplifier is good value, it's external so it works on laptops / tablet etc and it has enough power and gain for demanding headphones. It's also ugly, unergonomic - all input and output is on one side, it has an external PSU  and doesn't have RCA out for your speakers.

 

The solution is to get a higher impedance but still efficient headphone. Something like the AKG K612 or the Sennheiser HD600 - that is the absolute sweet spot in the headphone world.


Edited by eugenius - 3/22/14 at 12:31pm
post #19 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by eugenius View Post

Most of what he says is ok. The claim that the 8ohm output impedance "loses" a third of the music on a 32ohm headphone is moronic though. It does nothing of the sort.

Good point. That about sums that up. LOL
Quote:
Originally Posted by eugenius View Post

That video replaces one BS with another. smily_headphones1.gif

There are good and bad sound cards, integrated on the motherboard or not just as there are good and bad DAC's. Just because it's external doesn't mean it's automatically better.

Agreed. It's mostly about implementation when it comes to DACs. So motherboard audio could have a good DAC chip, but in the poorly designed machine, not sound that great. Or you look at the Sansa Clip+, which has an inexpensive DAC, but sounds really very good for a $30 MP3 player. The ODAC? Designed to optimize the implementation of the DAC chip in it, which is why it can compete well with more expensive boutique DACs with better chips that are not as well designed.
post #20 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Twolf View Post
 

I've very recently (I mean that literally) entered into possession of a O2-Odac and my experience with it is very brief, but I did make some comparative listening between it and the Xonar ST, which I've had for years.

 

In my experience the Xonar ST is a perfectly good source for music listening. I think the DAC part is the strong side of this soundcard, butfor headphones I don't find it nearly as good.

 

Through speakers the ST hold its own compared to the more expensive cd-player/dac I use. I will obviously choose the latter for my music listening, but the differences are not big.

I did/do not like to use headphones with this soundcard. The built in amplifier does well in terms of power output and can drive all my headphones to sufficient loudness.

But I don't find it did proper justice to any of them.

The sound is a bit rough (especially in the treble and bass), finer details and nuances are missing and the soundstage lacks the focus or the scale I know the headphones are capable of.

 

Switching to o2-odac it is readily apparent how much better a job it's doing with the same headphones. The most obvious improvement is in the soundstaging which has better focus and more depth.

There is no feeling of lost detail or glare and there's a much better sense of dynamics and articulation in the sound.

Because the comparison was only brief I will not go in more detail. The bottom line of my impressions is that through o2-odac I can enjoy my headphones properly, while on the ST the sense of its' limitations never goes away.

 

I haven't listened to the O2 on my speaker system yet, but if you want some feedback on that I will give you my impressions as soon as I do.

 

 

 Can you share some details on the o2 with your speakers? :)

 

 

post #21 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by PurpleAngel View Post
 

I used the Essence STX for a few years, up until a few months ago,

I replaced it with a Audio-GD NFB-15.32 external DAC/amp, $300. If your will to spend $300, you will get some very clean audio.

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

 

I found the STX to be a good card.

Asus just announced a new revision, the Essence STX II, so hopefully the current Essence STX will drop in price.

 

How much of a difference have you noticed?
Are you very happy with your switch?  I've been thinking about going from my STX to a DAC solution.

I would like something I can use for gaming in Windows but also works with MacOS as an alternative input.
I'm driving DT880 Pro's.  

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