Noobie pc->dac->ppa setup
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thegeek

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Hi, I'm currently in the process of building/buying/deciding on my first ever headphone setup.
I've bought a sennheiser 595.
In addition I have also ordered cmoy parts and gear, to learn basic amp building and soldering.
However, while I wait for the parts to arrive I've been trying to figure out what the next step is going to be
.
Since I only use a computer as the source I thought It would be smart to go with a digital out of some sorts.
What should I get here? I've seen a couple here with the m-audio usb, would it be ok?
I already have a abit an7 motherboard with what is supposed to be a good digital out, is it worth it to upgrade?
For a dac I am thinking about the lite dac-ah because it seems it has great value and also seems ok to mod.
For the amp I'm not sure if the m³ or a ppa v2 would be best?
What really made me decide to get some good stuff was a sony str-db930 combined with my onboard sound digital out, how would it compare to the dac-ah and a ppa ?

Thanks for all replies, and please excuse my english, i's not my native language


Edit: if this is the wrong subforum please relocate
 
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amb

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I have the M-Audio Transit USB and it's quite good, especially for its price.
As for amp, I'll let others tell you because I am not impartial.
 
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thegeek

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Do you have anything to compare it to? For example a digital out from your motherboard? It does seem quite ok, but it's hard for me to tell if there is any difference worth paying money for. I am on student budget, and I'm not all that happy about paying for something that might not be worth it

Does it make sens for me to even go for an external dac?
Should I perhaps just get an emu0404 and the ppa?
 
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amb

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I did not compare the Transit's digital output to my mobo's (Realtek AC97 sound chip). However, I did do RMAA loopback testing of the Transit vs. the the mobo (line out back into line in), and there is simply no comparison. The Transit is far, far superior in all respects. Frequency response, noise, THD, IMD, stereo crosstalk... night and day difference.
 
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bg4533

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I think the DAC-AH is a bit better than the E-MU cards (everything is stock form). I think the best mod I did to my DAC-AH was bypassing the output stage (output from the TDA1543s is connected to RCAs by Blackgate NX with a 47k resistor for load). The electrolytic caps on the digital side have also been replaced with Panasonic FCs. This is noticably better than the 0404 and 1212M. I have never heard a fully modded E-MU card so I can't compare.

I have heard DACs like the DAC-AH require a decent digital out, so if you don't have one your results may vary. You will also need a digital cable. You can decide for yourself if a good one is worth it.

The cheapest and easiest thing to do is just pick up an E-MU 0404. If you have the desire you can mod it too.
 
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thegeek

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The thing is that the digital out of my motherboard is supposed to be quite acceptable, it is not the normal soundstorm/ac97 stuff, but should be better. And it did work quite good imho with the sony str-sb930 using a cheap optical cable(I guess the cable quality should not matter much with optical cables, as long as the dac/amp gets a good lock on the signal?). I am tempted to go for the dac-ah and the ppa, since it would give me a fully functional external dac/amp system. If I have problems with the mb digital out I guess I could always get the m-audio or perhaps even the emu later. If anyone has practical experience with a setup comparable please reply
 
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dr_digits

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If I was you, I would get the DAC and try it with your mobo's digital out. If that isn't good enough, there is the AV-710 for about $25. On a budget, that is hard to beat.
 
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Fresno Bob

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thegeek

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I have indeed considered building a DDDAC1543, but so far I have absolutely 0 experience soldering and I know nothing about the theory behind electronics. I think I might just have to chill a little

As I mentioned earlier I have ordered what I need for a cmoy, and I will do a ppa later. However, if I were to build a dac too, I fear the wait for a good setup would be too much
 
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Fresno Bob

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thegeek edit the post above added info hope that helps..
 
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thegeek

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thanks, but I have already seen most of them
 
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