Need a DAC/HP amp with some restrictions

Discussion in 'Computer Audio' started by Entropism, Oct 26, 2017.
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  1. PurpleAngel Contributor
    I have no life, so spend a lot of time reading reviews.
    Newer Realtek DSP audio processing chips do come with a built in DAC function, but so far they do not seem to come with any built in headphone amplification function.
    annasoh323 likes this.
  2. Entropism
    Just an example (from the Asrock Taichi X370)

    - 7.1 CH HD Audio with Content Protection (Realtek ALC1220 Audio Codec)
    - Premium Blu-ray Audio support
    - Supports Surge Protection
    - Supports Purity Sound™ 4
    - Nichicon Fine Gold Series Audio Caps
    - 120dB SNR DAC with Differential Amplifier
    - TI® NE5532 Premium Headset Amplifier for Front Panel Audio Connector (Supports up to 600 Ohm headsets)
    - Pure Power-In
    - Direct Drive Technology
    - PCB isolate shielding
    - Impedance Sensing on Line Out port
    - Individual PCB Layers for R/L Audio Channel
    - Gold Audio Jacks
    - 15μ Gold Audio Connector
    - Supports DTS Connect

    Boards like the Asus X370 Strix, MSI Pro Carbon, Gigabyte K7/Gaming 5 have similar features. Built in DAC/Amps seem to be common on the higher end boards now.
  3. annasoh323
    Thanks for that example. I have a lower-end board (Gigabyte GA-Z270N-Wifi) and the spec sheet is much more limited than that. It utilizes ALC1220, quotes an SNR spec on both the DAC and ADC, and touts a "Smart Headphone Amp" feature but is otherwise silent on the finer details that I would want to use to compare to external solutions. For example, what is/are the headphone output impedance(s)? I got a response from Gigabyte saying they would check with their tech people and get back to me, which I'm okay with. Realtek still doesn't seem to have ALC1220 listed on its site. I looked at the page for ALC1150 to see if I could draw any correlations and it seems that all of the AD/DA/amp stuff happens on that one little chip, with the option for the mobo manufacturer to augment it (as in the Taichi board above). Perhaps Realtek just isn't publishing the specs on the ALC1220 yet?
  4. PurpleAngel Contributor
    I really doubt (my two cents) that any realtek DSP audio processor has any built in headphone amplifier. its cheap to add something to a motherboard that can drive headphone, but it cost a fair bit more to send the right kind of voltage to do a better job for driving headphones.
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2017
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