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Chi-Fi IEMs vs. PCIe/USB Sound Cards

  1. TheGoddessInari
    Are there any PC audio interfaces (PCIe sound cards or USB/firewire/thunderbolt external) that are reasonably priced (preferably can be found <$50 used/surplus) that don't generate electrical background noise for chi-fi IEMs? Is there some method to tell which will work and which won't since nobody has free return shipping anymore?

    My onboard (ALC1150 on the X99-A/USB 3.1) works okay in this situation without generating noise, but has trouble driving the dynamic microphone, ironically.

    An X-Fi Titanium PCIe generates noise for the IEMs which gets worse based on system power load.

    A Sound Blaster Omni Surround (USB) generates extremely loud background noise for the IEMs.

    I assumed it was impedance related, as the IEMs are only 25 ohm, but it's not happening with $10 Sony MDR-ZX110 headphones that are 24 ohm. The electrical noise is independent of volume.

    I'd prefer something with XLR input to deal with the microphone better, but anything with sane microphone amp as good or better than the X-Fi should work.

    I considered a bunch of audio interfaces, but few cheaper/older ones have actual Windows 10 support. I could get a Sound Blaster Z for absurdly cheap, maybe, but I'm afraid it'd have the same problem as the X-Fi.

    Specifically I picked up KZ ED16 IEMs that have been working great aside from this.
    The dynamic mic is a Pyle PDMIC58. I haven't had any meaningful problems with it, aside from the on-board driving it at roughly 1/10th regular volume under Windows (on Linux, it works at normal volume). Even lower than attaching the same to line-in.
    The Pyle was replacing a scammy BM800 clone that had ridiculous audio problems.
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2018

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