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What should I purchase?

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 

Hey everyone,

 

I have been reading quite a lot lately about getting a new soundcard and stumbled across DAC's etc. and got extremely confused. 

 

I am an audiofile. I have a pair of Audioengine A5+ with the s8 subwoofer. Right now I have a Asus Xonar DG sound card. It sounds great but I figured if I was spending about 800$ for speakers, perhaps I could shell out a bit more for a decent sound card. 

 

A bit about the needs. I am going to be playing music from a computer only. I use linux. Most sound cards work fine for linux but I don't typically get awesome features. I don't really game much anymore on the PC. It is mostly for listening to music while I write. 

 

I am looking for something which will produce excellent quality sound. I also want extremely good components. If I get a sound card, I figured I would get one with replaceable op-amps. I am also looking for a great DAC on the sound card. 

 

Checking this out http://sound-cards-review.toptenreviews.com/ I am inclined to go with the Xonar Essence but then I found the OMEGA Claro Halo XT. Some claim the Omega has better components but slightly lower frequency range (40-20k as oppose to 20-20k) but who knows if the Essence can actually hit 20 vs 40 and if my woofer can pick that up (almost certain it can) and if I can hear it (not so certain about this). 

 

What do you all think would fit the bill? I did what everyone recommends and bought really sweet speakers. I am looking to spend no more than 250$ to upgrade the sound card. Also, I suppose, is there a significant difference between the Xonar DG and the Xonar Essence? I assume there is just due to hardware but I am wondering. Also, what are recommended op-amps depending on what card is selected? 

 

Thanks for the input. There are too many options and I need some help selecting what to get. 

 

~Ben

post #2 of 3
Thread Starter 

After quite a lot of reading I realized I should have added this:

 

The A5+ are active speakers. I don't need an amplifier. I suppose then I am asking if the DAC on the Xonar Essence is better than say, Dragonfly? Should I primarily be looking at external DACs? Why are external DACs far better than internal sound cards (as some are claiming?) For my price range, is the AudioQuest Dragonfly my best option?

post #3 of 3
I do not know if the STX DAC is better than the Dragonfly. But it is a very good sound card, and it has a dedicated line out for speakers and for headphones. Which is nice so you don't have to unplug the speakers to use headphones.

If you aren't using headphones hardly at all (and don't care about them), and you don't need the virtual surround processing of a sound card, just get the Schiit Modi or the ODAC. All you need is a DAC, and these external ones are considered excellent. Better SQ. smily_headphones1.gif
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