or Connect
Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Computer Audio › From what would i benefit the most, DAC or soundcard?
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

From what would i benefit the most, DAC or soundcard?

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 

Hello, this is my first post on the forum but have been reading for a while now.

 

My question is pretty simple, but the answers is unfounately not from what i can read on this forum.

 

I have been looking on a Schiit Magni and Modi combo or the JDS Labs O2+ODAC

 

If the choice is a soundcard, the frontrunner is Asus Xonar Essence STX (or maybe STX II)

 

But the question is, what is better or is it really personal choice ?

 

My headphone is a v-moda m-80 and my budget is 500$.

post #2 of 14
Sound cards have surround sound DSP that people tend to like for gaming and movies. Otherwise, the Schiit Modi/Magni or ODAC/O2 would be an improvement over the STX, IMO.
post #3 of 14

DACs also give you the freedom of moving them to different setups.  Unless you like cracking open PC cases constantly, you're mostly stuck with the computer you attach your sound card to.

post #4 of 14

I personally prefer an external DAC as it offers a greater amount of flexibly and in most cases better sound quality. There is so much EMI generated inside a computer case, a sound card seems like a less than optimal choice. 

post #5 of 14
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by cel4145 View Post

Sound cards have surround sound DSP that people tend to like for gaming and movies. Otherwise, the Schiit Modi/Magni or ODAC/O2 would be an improvement over the STX, IMO.

 

Thanks for the advice

 

But if i seriously wanted the DSP features a soundcard, would an Xonar DX and magni be a good idea or is the Modi/magni combo still a better choice ?

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

 

Thanks for the advice

 

But if i seriously wanted the DSP features a soundcard, would an Xonar DX and magni be a good idea or is the Modi/magni combo still a better choice ?


I have a DGX card and a couple of external DACs. The external DACs are far superior sound quality wise to the DGX in every way. You could use VST plugins with whatever player your using on your computer (Foobar,JRiver,ect...) and get the same or better quality DSP than the DX card.  The only drawback would be if your going to be gaming, in which case VST plugins would not work in that application.

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

Thanks for the advice

But if i seriously wanted the DSP features a soundcard, would an Xonar DX and magni be a good idea or is the Modi/magni combo still a better choice ?

You cannot get the DSP features with a USB DAC. You would need an optical DAC hooked up to a soundcard that has those features. One option would be the Xonar DG/DGX series, and then get a good amp/dac that has optical which hooks to the sound card and thus can use the DSP. Audio-GD DAC/amps are a very good brand that you'll find often discussed on Head-Fi. For less money is the Tube Magic D1 Plus. Given your budget, I'd probably go with one of the Audio-GD models, but the Tube Magic does sound very good. Note that both of those have an advantage over the Schiit Modi/Magni stack in that they have pre-amp outs for hooking up powered speakers (or speaker amp/speakers), as well as multiple input choices should you want to hook up another device.
post #8 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by cel4145 View Post


You cannot get the DSP features with a USB DAC. You would need an optical DAC hooked up to a soundcard that has those features. One option would be the Xonar DG/DGX series, and then get a good amp/dac that has optical which hooks to the sound card and thus can use the DSP. Audio-GD DAC/amps are a very good brand that you'll find often discussed on Head-Fi. For less money is the Tube Magic D1 Plus. Given your budget, I'd probably go with one of the Audio-GD models, but the Tube Magic does sound very good. Note that both of those have an advantage over the Schiit Modi/Magni stack in that they have pre-amp outs for hooking up powered speakers (or speaker amp/speakers), as well as multiple input choices should you want to hook up another device.

There are literally hundreds of DSP plugins available for free. These plugins will work just fine with a USB dac. All you need is a music/movie player that allows DSP processing through plugins. JRiver has many plugins bundled with the player itself. Foobar also has many plugins that can be added. Both allow the use of VST plugins either natively or through the use of a wrapper. There are many other players that allow DSP processing as well.

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

There are literally hundreds of DSP plugins available for free. These plugins will work just fine with a USB dac. All you need is a music/movie player that allows DSP processing through plugins. JRiver has many plugins bundled with the player itself. Foobar also has many plugins that can be added. Both allow the use of VST plugins either natively or through the use of a wrapper. There are many other players that allow DSP processing as well.

Are they just as good? I have not tried them, but my understanding is that a lot of people like Dolby Headphone or Creative's virtual surround for gaming and movies.
post #10 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by cel4145 View Post


Are they just as good? I have not tried them, but my understanding is that a lot of people like Dolby Headphone or Creative's virtual surround for gaming and movies.


I guess it's kind of subjective. I don't really care much for DSP processing, it usually messes with the tone of the headphones for music. Tone Boosters IsoneSurround is supposed to be a very good plugin for simulated surround through headphones for movies. There is also TB Isone which is a speaker simulator which is the most effective crossfeed/speaker simulators I have used, but it still alters the tonality of the headphones.

 

Plugins will not work for gaming though. They are dependent on the player they are installed on. With a sound card the plugins are installed with the cards drivers and are global to the system.

post #11 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Spiral Out View Post


I guess it's kind of subjective. I don't really care much for DSP processing, it usually messes with the tone of the headphones for music. Tone Boosters IsoneSurround is supposed to be a very good plugin for simulated surround through headphones for movies. There is also TB Isone which is a speaker simulator which is the most effective crossfeed/speaker simulators I have used, but it still alters the tonality of the headphones.

Plugins will not work for gaming though. They are dependent on the player they are installed on. With a sound card the plugins are installed with the cards drivers and are global to the system.

I don't really like DSP most of the time either. smily_headphones1.gif I especially don't like it at all for music. I think the best thing to do is to buy a good pair of open headphones smily_headphones1.gif

So for gaming, he definitely needs a sound card. Unless the Razer gaming surround software works (I haven't tried it).
post #12 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by cel4145 View Post


I don't really like DSP most of the time either. smily_headphones1.gif I especially don't like it at all for music. I think the best thing to do is to buy a good pair of open headphones smily_headphones1.gif

So for gaming, he definitely needs a sound card. Unless the Razer gaming surround software works (I haven't tried it).

I totally agree, I feel like many open headphones present a satisfying sound stage on their own. Crossfeed and speaker simulation software do help push the presentation forward and away from the ears, but it's not worth the trade off in tonal shift to me. Some people swear by them, I suppose I'm just too obsessive to let go of the change in tone. 

 

For gaming he would definitely need a sound card if he wants virtual surround. I guess it comes down to what the application is. I have never tried the Razer software, I'm not much of a gamer anymore :) 

post #13 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Spiral Out View Post

For gaming he would definitely need a sound card if he wants virtual surround. I guess it comes down to what the application is. I have never tried the Razer software, I'm not much of a gamer anymore smily_headphones1.gif  

I can't play any games right now. I somehow have RSI and tennis elbow problems with my right arm brought on from shoveling snow. It hasn't been healing, aggravated by computer use, and I had to switch this week to using the mouse left handed (I am right handed). No way I can play any games, unless it's against six year olds. And they might still have better eye hand coordination with the mouse. LOL
post #14 of 14

As regards gaming DSP this video is pertinent.

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d1rXcJuEsy0#t=12

 

Among other claimed mythbusters exposed is their opinion that DSP is a waste of money and it's better to have the best headphonres/speakers.

 

Not particularly trying to sell their conclusions but it's worth watching because in all other respects an external DAC/audio interface beats an internal sound card hands down.

 

Portability, flexibility, convienience, increased isolation from potential noise,interference and ground loops.

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Computer Audio
Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Computer Audio › From what would i benefit the most, DAC or soundcard?