1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.

    Dismiss Notice

DAC for my computer, currently using onboard audio. Where to start?

  1. bunsenburner156
    I recently picked up a new computer and of course it had the same sound bloatware as everything else already pre EQed system wide. So of course that got me thinking and after I ended up here again I was reminded that DACs exist. I have my trusty ATH-M30 pair for computer listening and I can appreciate the quality of lossless on them, even with my motherboard's headphone output.

    My question is this: is there any worthwhile DAC purchase ($50 new or used - budget level) that would give me an appreciable benefit in sound quality with those headphones? My motherboard has Realtek audio and I'm really wondering if Dell (who made both of my computers) put their own EQ in there to compensate for the onboard audio's shortcomings. (The last one had similar EQ software and also Realtek.)

    Edit: forgot to mention if not obvious that I turned the EQ software off.

    Thanks for any help and suggestions!
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2018
  2. buke9
    Well what you are talking about would be a dac/amp rather than just a dac. Unless you are getting a bunch of noise from the system I don’t think $50 dac/amp will change much .
    ohsigmachi likes this.
  3. PurpleAngel Contributor
    For music audio, try using the free program Foobar2000 (with WASAPI installed).
    It will help bypass Windows/Dell audio software
    For playing stored video (or DVDs) on you computer, try the free program K-Lite (with Media Player Classic).
    The VLC player is also a good free program, for playing video.

    A FiiO K1 USB-DAC/amp ($40), is about as much I would spend, for a DAC/amp, to use with the ATH-M30 headphones.
    ohsigmachi likes this.
  4. bunsenburner156
    Software is already disabled, my main thought is if the Realtek was "lacking" in any way such that something like that FiiO would be worthwhile.
  5. bunsenburner156
    It is a Realtek ALC3266. Dell OEM seemingly. I can't find anything else about it.
  6. PurpleAngel Contributor
    It depends on which Realtek DSP the computer come with?
    Does the computer audio come with a separate add-on DAC chip?
  7. PurpleAngel Contributor
    Beleve it's a renamed ALC298, which is something i can not find anything about.
  8. ohsigmachi
    First, ask yourself, "are you unhappy with the sound you're currently getting, or are you just chasing gear?"

    Bottom line here is, I think for your cans (Cough get ATH MSR7 Cough) and your budget there really isn't much out there that will make an appreciable difference.

    If you had $150-250 and a better set of cans there is a huge selection to choose from, but I think where you're at now is probably not worth throwing money at

    I recently installed a gigabyte motherboard and I couldn't believe how good the on board audio was compared to the stock HP MOBO, so you might be in a pretty decent spot.

Share This Page