So, let's talk sources...
Mar 1, 2008 at 10:41 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 12

JungleMan

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Right now I'm running a pair of stock AKG K701 directly from my Audigy 2 ZS. I have a DarkVoice 332 on the way, and I want to eventually have a source that is up to par with the rest of my equipment. I've never thought my Audigy 2 ZS as a bad card, but I realize there's better stuff out there. I bought this card back when I gamed, and now I don't at all, so my next card should focus more on music and not on gaming.

My questions:
1) Is it the best option to replace the card entirely and plug my amp right into the card, or to get an external DAC which I can hook up to the digital-out on my current card? If I'm using an external DAC, it wouldn't really matter what card I have and I can still use EAX if I ever decide to game. I'd imagine the second option would be more expensive, though.
2) Whether I should get a new card or a DAC, which would you recommend? I'm probably looking for something on the cheaper end, maybe $100-150.

3) This is kind of unrelated to the other two-- but I also have a set of speakers which I like to use from time to time (mostly when I'm not sitting down at my desk). I could use a minijack splitter and plug the headphone amp into one and the speakers into the other, but would I be killing sound quality this way? If so, what's the best way to make use of both, short of unplugging the other when I want to use one?

Thanks!
biggrin.gif
 
Mar 2, 2008 at 12:44 AM Post #2 of 12

jgonino

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Here is what I would do:

Run digital from the computer to a DAC. Then, run analog to the amp, and use the Darkvoice's loop output to send analog to the speakers.
 
Mar 2, 2008 at 2:15 AM Post #3 of 12

Rempert

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If you want to use the A2ZS as a digital transport for music, you would probably want to use a good quality resampler in your media player and 24/96 ASIO output. The results would probably be acceptable if you aren't hung up on the words "bit perfect". Honestly though, you would probably be better to uninstall the card and start from scratch, and not have to deal with the Creative drivers, everything being resampled, etc. But if you will still play games, then it is a completely different story. Aside from the X-fi line, the A2ZS is still superior to virtually anything on the market for gaming.
 
Mar 2, 2008 at 10:06 PM Post #4 of 12

JungleMan

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OK, thanks for the heads-up about the Darkvoice's loop output, but I'm completely confused as to what a resampler would do or how to get 24/96 ASIO output (or what that is)...you sort of lost me there.

More suggestions appreciated!
 
Mar 3, 2008 at 2:42 AM Post #5 of 12

Joelc87

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I'd recommend an E-MU 0404 external USB 2.0. It's designed as a recording type mixer but offers about the best SQ for the money. It's compatible up to 24/96. Run usb to that then the line out to your amp and then your AKGs out of the amp.
 
Mar 3, 2008 at 4:16 PM Post #6 of 12

jiiteepee

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Quote:

Originally Posted by JungleMan /img/forum/go_quote.gif
OK, thanks for the heads-up about the Darkvoice's loop output, but I'm completely confused as to what a resampler would do or how to get 24/96 ASIO output (or what that is)...you sort of lost me there.

More suggestions appreciated!



In my sig is listed one player which you can achieve 24/96 output through ASIO ... named as NI TRAKTOR BeatPort SYNC .. in there on options, just select the Audigy 2 ASIO 24/96 driver and set sample rate to 96kHz.

jiitee
 
Mar 13, 2008 at 3:06 PM Post #7 of 12

JungleMan

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Quote:

Originally Posted by jiiteepee /img/forum/go_quote.gif
In my sig is listed one player which you can achieve 24/96 output through ASIO ... named as NI TRAKTOR BeatPort SYNC .. in there on options, just select the Audigy 2 ASIO 24/96 driver and set sample rate to 96kHz.

jiitee



Cool, I'll try that sometime-- though I REALLY like Winamp, which I know has a lot of plugins/options for audiophiles, so if anyone has suggestions to get great SQ in Winamp I'd probably make more regular use of it...
smily_headphones1.gif


Quote:

Originally Posted by Joelc87 /img/forum/go_quote.gif
I'd recommend an E-MU 0404 external USB 2.0. It's designed as a recording type mixer but offers about the best SQ for the money. It's compatible up to 24/96. Run usb to that then the line out to your amp and then your AKGs out of the amp.


What about the PCI version, would that be the same thing? It's about half the price-- then again, I'd have to take up a PCI slot and I was thinking of getting one of those Shuttle boxes, so space could be at a premium. The E-MU 0404 is around $100 for the PCI version, so definitely affordable. Do you think it's better than the M-Audio 2496?
 
Mar 13, 2008 at 4:47 PM Post #8 of 12

Screamager

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The M-Audio 0404 PCI is quite different from the 0404 USB actually, for one thing it uses a different DAC chip.
 
Mar 13, 2008 at 8:39 PM Post #10 of 12

jiiteepee

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Quote:

Originally Posted by JungleMan /img/forum/go_quote.gif
Cool, I'll try that sometime-- though I REALLY like Winamp, which I know has a lot of plugins/options for audiophiles, so if anyone has suggestions to get great SQ in Winamp I'd probably make more regular use of it...
smily_headphones1.gif


...



Winamp <-> Re-sampling ... just enable the re-sampler found in Winamp ASIO plug-in or download the HQSoftProc Software Re-sampling Plugin created by Adrian Paul. Asio plug-in is linked in my sig (also there's another Kernel Streaming plug-in for Winamp listed)

Does audiophiles need FX's? .. there are some plug-ins for winamp if you're interested

Native:
QO Lab's Audio Burst PowerFX - AudioBurst Plugins and Technology
iZotope Ozone - iZotope, Inc - Audio Processing Technology and Plug-Ins for Pro Tools, VST, MAS, Audio Unit, and DirectX
Aixcoustic Creation's Electri-Q (EQ) - AiXcoustic Creations: Electri-Q (posihfopit)

Other:
All VST/DX plugins - (VST/DX Hosts for winamp listed in my sig) - KVR - (link lists ~1430 of them)


jiitee


EDIT: Didn't notice this earlier....

Quote:

1) Is it the best option to replace the card entirely and plug my amp right into the card, or to get an external DAC which I can hook up to the digital-out on my current card? If I'm using an external DAC, it wouldn't really matter what card I have and I can still use EAX if I ever decide to game. I'd imagine the second option would be more expensive, though.


You could use Tril's velbac for to route Audigy output (w/ EAX) through another audio interface/ maybe external DAC too.

Velbac - Sends audio from a Creative soundcard to another soundcard - DriverHeaven.net
 
Mar 14, 2008 at 9:03 AM Post #11 of 12

Screamager

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Quote:

Originally Posted by JungleMan /img/forum/go_quote.gif
You must mean the E-MU 0404, not M-Audio 0404...

Which has a better chip, the USB or PCI?



Yes, sorry, my mind must have been wandering. The E-MU 0404 USB is supposed to have higher quality parts.
 
Mar 17, 2008 at 12:52 AM Post #12 of 12

brainsalad

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Quote:

Originally Posted by JungleMan /img/forum/go_quote.gif
3) This is kind of unrelated to the other two-- but I also have a set of speakers which I like to use from time to time (mostly when I'm not sitting down at my desk). I could use a minijack splitter and plug the headphone amp into one and the speakers into the other, but would I be killing sound quality this way? If so, what's the best way to make use of both, short of unplugging the other when I want to use one?

Thanks!
biggrin.gif



I assume your speakers are amplified? If they are, using a splitter to go to another amplifier is not a problem at all. It's done all the time.

If the speakers are NOT amplified, don't do it.
 

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