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$2 Realtek Audio Chip = $2000 DAC!

Discussion in 'Computer Audio' started by iszalchemist, Jun 29, 2014.
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  1. germanium
    When I try to work out modifications to amps & DAC's I do much better when I'm able to relax during listening sessions. Doing A/B comparisons even sighted for me puts me in the wrong mindset to determine differences & whether they are beneficial or not. It typically takes me at least 2 or 3 songs to get in that relaxed state where I can start to pick up on subtleties that make the difference in what I want to do to improve the sound. However once I'm done making all the needed changes the difference is obvious even to the uninitiated yet measures within acceptable variance to what you would expect from a stock unit with exception of slightly improved frequency response at the very bottom of the frequency response plot. I'm talking only a few hundredths of a decibel flatter @ 20hz. Not an audible difference from a frequency response perspective. Distortion is still well below -100db, well below audibility. Everything just sounds much clearer especially background instruments & voices when done.
  2. Happy Camper
    that's been my experience as well as differences in the soundstage. Some DACs are more 3D than others.
  3. genclaymore
    I always been able to hear the difference between onboard audio, sound cards and external dac's, The last time I used onboard audio i was testing it performance when ran thru my tube amp I wouldn't wish that on anybody, That was a long couple of weeks during the time as I was waiting for the bifrost uber..  The DGX I had made the difference easily but it sound signature wasn't a perfect match like it was with the X-FI Xtreme gamer, since the XG was flat and the DGX was kind of warmest with muddy bass.
  4. KERBY
    you mean. you guys are mad that $2 chips are starting to sound the same as technology advances. and your 2k dac is basically useless? well not really, they just have more features.
    im happy with using my realtek even when i have a schiit stack. i returned them
  5. BeatsWork
    Just wow. I could appreciate an argument on severely diminishing returns once above a certain baseline but the 1st time I used a very modest amp/DAC combo I was transfixed for hours. I was hearing details in my favorite songs that I simply had never heard before and switching back to onboard audio I simply could not hear those same details in the same song. Implementation? Better power supply? Ability to amplify? All of the above? Don't know but I've never looked back ....
  6. mistersprinkles
    I've heard this nonsense from people all over the internet and I'm sick of it. I was on anandtech and tom's hardware in the audio section talking to some people who were honestly telling me the same things as are in this article, and using similar flawed pleb articles like it to back themselves up.
    They were saying that ALC 1150 (the best realtek codec) with proper implementation sounds as good as a top of the line DAC. 
    One guy made a claim that LCD3's hooked up to a $20 pay-as-you-go brick cellphone sounded BETTER than HD-800's with a high quality headphone amplifier and an expensive DAC.
    That same guy said that "You can run 600 Ohm headphones from any source and they will sound the same. You don't need an amp".
    These people are either extremely stupid, or they are gigantic trolls, or a combination thereof. 

    When we see sub-normals such as these, we should ignore them. Let them enjoy their $2 Realtek chips. If they really think it sounds just as good, let them have it. 
    dan.gheorghe likes this.
  7. BeatsWork
    Agree.  Again everyone is entitled to an opinion and you can even logically debate how measurements translate in to real world experience but my 15 year old raised on a lifelong diet of highly compressed DR and MP3's can readily hear the difference between her favorite cans connected to one of my AMP/DAC combos to the point that she is hinting about her own gear stack  :wink:    Not sure if I did a good thing here .......   $$$$
  8. mistersprinkles
    I'm 32. I was 16 when Napster hit. We all thought the 128kbps files for "free" were a godsend. I realized right from the get-go though that they sounded like crap. I had a friend when I was in my early 20s who said that 128kbps MP3 was good enough and he didn't need anything more. It took a long time for me to convince him that this was because he was using $80 logitech speakers. I took him to a friend's who had a proper hifi and we listened to his "good enough" MP3s vs some actual CDs and my friend cried a little.
  9. genclaymore

    I seen those people as well all over the internet, they just don't know no better that's all.  Half of them are trolls like you said that know people will get on their case as they sit back and laugh spiting pop all over the place, while the other half actually doesn't know what to listen for and assume there is no differences at all and usually that the cast for a good bunch of them since they not used to using better audio gears. It's usually those that are open minded and spend good a while with the gear before going back to their old gear and realize there was a difference.Then come back glad that they switch to the product as they thank the person that help them.
    Until they sit down with the dac and amp's and use them for a while before switching back to the old then they wont understand or know what they are missing. When I see people plugging DT880 premium 600's Hifiman HE-400/500's into onboard audio trying to power them with that subpur amp design on onboard,I roll my eyes especially when they complain they don't sound the way that people with dacs and amp's say they do and return them for a gamer headset.

  10. mistersprinkles
    I was guilty of that... I had Grado SR225i's running off a lowly ASUS Xonar STX sond card. So flat. So lifeless. So lacking in body and thickness... I thought they were garbage headphones until I heard them on a real amp. 
  11. cel4145

    The SR225i impedance is 32 ohms. Not a great match with the STX which has a low impedance output of 10 ohms.
  12. mistersprinkles
    Im pretty sure the STX can handle up to 600 Ohms unless I'm not understanding you.
  13. 7keys
    My question is....If you can't hear the difference between a two dollar audio chip and a two thousand dollar dac...............why the heck did you become a member of headfi?
    What were you thinking?
    It's like a blind man going to an art gallery. 
    dan.gheorghe likes this.
  14. cel4145

    Read up on dampening and headphone amp low output impedance. It's commonly discussed in the forum. Typically, a general rule is that a headphone should have 8 times the low output impedance of the headphone amp. The STX has been measured at about 10 ohms, which means better for headphones ~ 80 ohms and up, not low impedance headphones like the SR225i.
  15. mistersprinkles
    Thanks Cel, I'll look into that. I was not aware.
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