Good Onboard Audio VS Audio Card & Amp
Jun 3, 2013 at 11:46 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 26

tehonlymittens

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So, I've had the Sony XB-500s, then the Shure se215s. I loved both, and thought it was a good upgrade. Now I'm looking for another step up.

I was thinking about the HD 558s for the headphones. Will they be a good improvement?

And what additional things should I get with it? Do I need an amp if I get a soundcard? Further, if I get the new Gigabyte G1. Sniper 5, do I need a soundcard at all? Check it out, the audio seems terrific.
 
Jun 3, 2013 at 6:08 PM Post #2 of 26

tehonlymittens

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Bump
 
Edit : Oops, honestly thought I submitted this at like 2am yesterday morning. Sorry for the early bump
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Jun 4, 2013 at 12:54 AM Post #3 of 26

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Wow, if you think onboard audio sounded good, I cant wait to see what you think of your 215's if you used them on something with better matching impedance. An ipod touch can handle down to a 16-Ohm load so they can run your 20-Ohm 215's.
 
Jun 4, 2013 at 1:27 AM Post #4 of 26

abvolt

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I say it would depend on what motherboard you had, now for instance if you had an Asus Rampage IV formula with onboard hd supremeFX they sound very good not as good as say the xonar stx but still very good. Go for a asus essence one muses edition awesome dac/amp also go with grado ps500...
 
Jun 4, 2013 at 5:18 AM Post #5 of 26

julian67

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According to Gigabyte the board has a built in headphone amplifier. Why would you buy a premium quality board with dac, op amps and headphone amp and then go and duplicate those functions with external components? The only good reason to do so would be if the board has a problem with interference and is noisy. If that is likely then it's not worth any more than a cheap board and is a waste of money. Gigabyte's reputation suggests that they are unlikely to be supplying a board whose audio crackles like a 1990s laptop with AC'97 and cheap headphone jack, though anything is possible I suppose.

http://www.gigabyte.com/products/product-page.aspx?pid=4487#sp

GIGABYTE AMP-UP Audio technology
Exclusive Upgradable OP-AMP
Onboard Creative Sound Core3D™ quad-core audio processor
Built-in Front Audio Headphone Amplifier
Audio Noise Guard with LED path lighting
 
Jun 4, 2013 at 7:43 AM Post #6 of 26

tehonlymittens

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According to Gigabyte the board has a built in headphone amplifier. Why would you buy a premium quality board with dac, op amps and headphone amp and then go and duplicate those functions with external components? The only good reason to do so would be if the board has a problem with interference and is noisy. If that is likely then it's not worth any more than a cheap board and is a waste of money. Gigabyte's reputation suggests that they are unlikely to be supplying a board whose audio crackles like a 1990s laptop with AC'97 and cheap headphone jack, though anything is possible I suppose.

http://www.gigabyte.com/products/product-page.aspx?pid=4487#sp


Thanks for actually looking at what you're comparing. So I take it this onboard is equal to a Hugh quality sound card? If some more people would co firm this I'll jump on it tonight.
 
Jun 4, 2013 at 8:22 AM Post #7 of 26

julian67

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Unless the implementation is poor even budget modern onboard audio can be decent. And this is not budget kit, not by a long way: some real effort has been made to use high quality "audiophile" components, to shield the audio from interference and to include a headphone amp. I looked at the UK price for these boards and nearly blew my coffee out over my keyboard. If you buy a premium piece of kit like this its performance had better not fall short of the spec. It's not like a netbook where a noisy headphone out is just something you live with. I would be no more interested in adding external audio to the Gigabyte board than I would in ignoring its Ethernet or USB ports and using PCI-E add ons in their place.

Given Creative's track record for terrible Windows drivers I suppose it's possible that this thing can do all the amazing trick audio processing that high end gaming requires but not be good at plain old two channel stereo. I would be looking for some proper tests (measurements not just opinions) and some actual user reports.
 
Jun 4, 2013 at 9:40 AM Post #8 of 26

cel4145

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Thanks for actually looking at what you're comparing. So I take it this onboard is equal to a Hugh quality sound card? If some more people would co firm this I'll jump on it tonight.


It potentially could be. High quality sound cards like the Asus Xonar STX and Creative Titanium HD also have metal covers to act as Faraday cages to prevent some electronic interference. However, unless the rest of your system is electronically noisy such that it would affect the SQ of the audio on the motherboard, you shouldn't have a problem. I'm guessing if you built the machine with that nice board you didn't put some cheap crappy power supply in it. Probably good to go :)
 
Jun 4, 2013 at 10:06 AM Post #9 of 26

tehonlymittens

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Quote:
It potentially could be. High quality sound cards like the Asus Xonar STX and Creative Titanium HD also have metal covers to act as Faraday cages to prevent some electronic interference. However, unless the rest of your system is electronically noisy such that it would affect the SQ of the audio on the motherboard, you shouldn't have a problem. I'm guessing if you built the machine with that nice board you didn't put some cheap crappy power supply in it. Probably good to go
smily_headphones1.gif

Alright, awesome. I'll be jumping on this board then. Glad I could justify the cost
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AX860 is my PSU, and an ASUS DirectCU 7970. Very high quality parts which actually advertise for low noise levels on their electronic components.
 
Jun 4, 2013 at 10:07 AM Post #10 of 26

cel4145

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You don't have that motherboard already? Sorry missed that. Seems awfully expensive. I'd go with a Creative Titanium HD and a less expensive motherboard. Creative has some drivers specifically for gaming that would make it a better choice.
 
Jun 4, 2013 at 11:29 AM Post #11 of 26

tehonlymittens

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You don't have that motherboard already? Sorry missed that. Seems awfully expensive. I'd go with a Creative Titanium HD and a less expensive motherboard. Creative has some drivers specifically for gaming that would make it a better choice.


Ought oh. I ordered it half an hour ago. Would it be worth it to cancel the order?
I don't think I'll be utilizing any "gaming audio software" anyway. Its mostly for music. But having it all there gives led chance for driver issues (and gigabyte is very reputable). So overall I'm not complaining.
 
Jun 4, 2013 at 11:37 AM Post #12 of 26

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Make sure you keep in mind that your performance is not going to simply be based on quality, but comparability and function as well. The G1's use the DRV632 which is a line-driver, not a real headphones amplifier though it can drive 600-Ohm headphones, but this is its minimum load so you cant run your Shures for sure.

Like I said, "matching impedance."
 
Jun 4, 2013 at 12:13 PM Post #13 of 26

tehonlymittens

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Make sure you keep in mind that your performance is not going to simply be based on quality, but comparability and function as well. The G1's use the DRV632 which is a line-driver, not a real headphones amplifier though it can drive 600-Ohm headphones, but this is its minimum load so you cant run your Shures for sure.

Like I said, "matching impedance."


This thread isn't really about my shures, its more about the HD 558 if anything.
 
Jun 4, 2013 at 12:53 PM Post #14 of 26

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Well, they're 50-Ohm so youre still a far cry from 600-Ohm. Just dont buy that motherboard for the sake of running those headphones or vice versa because they are mismatched. You'll still need an amp suited to whatever pair you decide on.
 
Jun 4, 2013 at 1:32 PM Post #15 of 26

tehonlymittens

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Well, they're 50-Ohm so youre still a far cry from 600-Ohm. Just dont buy that motherboard for the sake of running those headphones or vice versa because they are mismatched. You'll still need an amp suited to whatever pair you decide on.


....So under that logic, a Asus Xonar STX is no use to me because its rater for UP TO 600 OHM?
 

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