Realtek HD Sound Card vs Fiio e7/e07k?
May 28, 2015 at 10:36 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 10

theuprising

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Hey, I have a Takstar Pro 80, ATH-A900x, and a JVC s680 and even though they are all pretty efficient, I hear you can get notably better sound out of them with a proper DAC + amp.
 
However, there have been plenty of threads stating how modern Realtek HD cards are better than some dedicated DACs. There was even someone who said that there was barely any difference in SQ going from Realtek ALC889 to a Fiio E10! Given my card is older than the ALC88x class, its an ALC663 and I couldn't find any information on it, other than 1 person claiming the E7 was an enormous upgrade. Also, I'm sure you guys have seen this already, but here is some "research" done by tomshardware.com stating that a 2 dollar ALC889 card was equivalent to a 2000 dollar DAC!:
 
http://www.head-fi.org/t/724961/2-realtek-audio-chip-2000-dac
 
 
Though I'm not sure if my card stacks up against the ALC889, because right off the bat I can tell my laptop slightly sounds worse than everyone else's in my family. If my Realtek DAC is fine, I guess I'd be fine with just a Fiio E6 since my current headphones probably won't need too much juice. For some reference, my laptop sounds significantly better than my iphone 4S, its like night and day.
 
Is an E7 worth the investment, and is the E07k worth the added price comparatively? Thanks ahead of time!
 
May 29, 2015 at 7:05 AM Post #2 of 10

cel4145

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As far as the tomshardware article, realize that the particular computer you use can effect the sound quality due to EMI. So for example, sometimes add-on graphics cards or budget PSUs affect the onboard sound. And note that they didn't say it was equivalent do a $2000 DAC. Just that the difference wasn't that significant to them.

If I am not mistaken, the ALC889 was considered one of the best ever for Realtek when it came out. So if yours is an older chip model, I think it's worth trying a dac/amp.

I would personally go for the E07K over the E7.
 
May 29, 2015 at 9:11 AM Post #3 of 10

Chancho2

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I'm 99% sure that you'll notice the difference between the Fiio and your chipset. I'd say anything other than the ALC1150/898/889/888 will notice the difference. If you do have one of those chipsets you still might notice the difference depending on how the computer is put together.
 
May 29, 2015 at 8:14 PM Post #4 of 10

PurpleAngel

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  Hey, I have a Takstar Pro 80, ATH-A900x, and a JVC s680 and even though they are all pretty efficient, I hear you can get notably better sound out of them with a proper DAC + amp.
However, there have been plenty of threads stating how modern Realtek HD cards are better than some dedicated DACs. There was even someone who said that there was barely any difference in SQ going from Realtek ALC889 to a Fiio E10! Given my card is older than the ALC88x class, its an ALC663 and I couldn't find any information on it, other than 1 person claiming the E7 was an enormous upgrade. Also, I'm sure you guys have seen this already, but here is some "research" done by Tomshardware.com stating that a 2 dollar ALC889 card was equivalent to a 2000 dollar DAC!:
http://www.head-fi.org/t/724961/2-realtek-audio-chip-2000-dac
Though I'm not sure if my card stacks up against the ALC889, because right off the bat I can tell my laptop slightly sounds worse than everyone else's in my family. If my Realtek DAC is fine, I guess I'd be fine with just a Fiio E6 since my current headphones probably won't need too much juice. For some reference, my laptop sounds significantly better than my iPhone 4S, its like night and day.
Is an E7 worth the investment, and is the E07k worth the added price comparatively? Thanks ahead of time!

 
I would say to get a FiiO E10K ($76) or Schiit Fulla ($79), their DAC chips and headphone amplifiers should be better then what your laptop has.
They are both newer designs then the E07K.
Unless you have a need for the E07K's features?
 
May 30, 2015 at 5:34 PM Post #5 of 10

Me x3

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I would say to get a FiiO E10K ($76) or Schiit Fulla ($79), their DAC chips and headphone amplifiers should be better then what your laptop has.
They are both newer designs then the E07K.
Unless you have a need for the E07K's features?


+1
 
May 30, 2015 at 5:46 PM Post #6 of 10

theuprising

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I would say to get a FiiO E10K ($76) or Schiit Fulla ($79), their DAC chips and headphone amplifiers should be better then what your laptop has.
They are both newer designs then the E07K.
Unless you have a need for the E07K's features?

Nah its just that if one day I switch over to android I could use the E7's DAC I think, and I still don't understand the diff b/w E7 and E07k.
 
Also just for desktop use, I have been finding it cheaper to get amps+DAC's separately, especially off brad non-Fiio products.
 
May 30, 2015 at 7:26 PM Post #7 of 10

Me x3

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  Nah its just that if one day I switch over to android I could use the E7's DAC I think, and I still don't understand the diff b/w E7 and E07k.
 
Also just for desktop use, I have been finding it cheaper to get amps+DAC's separately, especially off brad non-Fiio products.

 
E07K is more powerful.
Both can be used as DAC/Amp when plugged into a PC or laptop via USB, but can't be used as DACs for android, I think they only can be used as portable amplifiers in this case.
 
Fiio E18 is an Android DAC/Amp
 
May 30, 2015 at 10:07 PM Post #8 of 10

theuprising

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E07K is more powerful.
Both can be used as DAC/Amp when plugged into a PC or laptop via USB, but can't be used as DACs for android, I think they only can be used as portable amplifiers in this case.
 
Fiio E18 is an Android DAC/Amp

whaaat? Could they be used with an ipod or other DAP at least? This changes everything lol.
 
EDIT: There are many reports of the E7 working with android phones on head-fi. UGH passed up buying a 45 dollar E07k because I wasn't sure I wanted a DAC on ebay, I need to remember to always snatch up these deals asap, because if worse comes to worse I could just resell it.
 
May 30, 2015 at 10:35 PM Post #9 of 10

Me x3

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  whaaat? Could they be used with an ipod or other DAP at least? This changes everything lol.
 
EDIT: There are many reports of the E7 working with android phones on head-fi. UGH passed up buying a 45 dollar E07k because I wasn't sure I wanted a DAC on ebay, I need to remember to always snatch up these deals asap, because if worse comes to worse I could just resell it.

 
You can use the E07K DAC functionality when plugged via USB into a Laptop or desktop computer.
 
If you want to use it with a smartphone or iPod, it's just a portable amplifier (like the Fiio E11K). The digital to analog conversion takes place on the smartphone's DAC chip, not the Fiio's.
E07K will amplify what's coming out of your iPod or smartphone, so do not expect much of an improvement unless you need more volume.
 
May 30, 2015 at 11:12 PM Post #10 of 10

cel4145

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EDIT: There are many reports of the E7 working with android phones on head-fi. UGH passed up buying a 45 dollar E07k because I wasn't sure I wanted a DAC on ebay, I need to remember to always snatch up these deals asap, because if worse comes to worse I could just resell it.


Be sure to check whether or not it's compatibility is full USB audio capability. Many instances I have read of where the E17 and E07 worked with Android often required that you use the USB Audio Recorder Pro app to play your files; you could not use any of the Android media players. So fairly castrated "working" ability.
 

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