Sound Card or DAC / $600
Jan 16, 2006 at 4:35 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 24

Arnoldhasmail

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Who makes the best sound card in the $600 and down price range?

Internal/External...

Or do you just buy a good card with digital out and buy a dac?

Opinions...
 
Jan 16, 2006 at 7:06 AM Post #2 of 24

Malus

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With that much money to spend, a good DAC and a soundcard with good digital out will probably be your best bet.
 
Jan 16, 2006 at 7:16 AM Post #3 of 24

grandenigma1

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The more popular soundcards around here are the AV710, 0404 and 1212m. As for DACs you have a few options under $600. The CI Audio VDA2 or VDA1/VAC1 if you can find one (actually there is one in the FS right now that I would seriously consider picking up), Scott Nixon TubeDac+, Headroom MicroDac, and a few Chinese DIY types that are quite good.

I use to have a AV710 > VDA1/VAC and absolutely loved the pair!
 
Jan 16, 2006 at 1:08 PM Post #4 of 24

gordolindsay

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I'd also go the cheap soundcard->external DAC route. In that price range, you could find a used Ack Dack! on audiogon.com or something. THat would be a mighty fine setup.
 
Jan 16, 2006 at 2:13 PM Post #5 of 24

jiiteepee

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Arnoldhasmail
Who makes the best sound card in the $600 and down price range?

Internal/External...

Or do you just buy a good card with digital out and buy a dac?

Opinions...



What for --> Which would be the path from PC to your ears you have planned and, which would be the he final "element" on that path (headphones or/and stereo speakers or multichannel speaker system)?

jiitee
 
Jan 16, 2006 at 3:32 PM Post #8 of 24

Elephas

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For US$600 a Chaintech AV710 or E-MU 0404 paired with the CEC DA53 would be a good combination. Or, skip the soundcard and just use its USB input plus the USB ASIO driver from usb-audio.com.

It has balanced XLR outputs too, for the inevitable upgrade to balanced amps.
evil_smiley.gif
 
Jan 16, 2006 at 5:52 PM Post #9 of 24

Ypoknons

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Honestly I don't see why you have to get a soundcard and a DAC when you have USB enabled DAC's - I'd love to see some of the arguements in favor of this.
 
Jan 16, 2006 at 6:23 PM Post #10 of 24

gordolindsay

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Ypoknons
Honestly I don't see why you have to get a soundcard and a DAC when you have USB enabled DAC's - I'd love to see some of the arguements in favor of this.



I'm not gonna argue against this. BUT, by limiting yourself to use just USB and no soundcard, you are missing out on some of the great DAC's. But yes, a USB DAC would be the easiest way to go.
 
Jan 16, 2006 at 6:27 PM Post #11 of 24

dmb367

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Ypoknons
Honestly I don't see why you have to get a soundcard and a DAC when you have USB enabled DAC's - I'd love to see some of the arguements in favor of this.


A cheap soundcard with digital out can be paired with any external DAC, allowing you to tailor your system to you preferences.

And many external DAC's will out-perform any soundcard
 
Jan 16, 2006 at 7:06 PM Post #12 of 24

Medikit

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Can someone explain to me how you hook up to a DAC, do you use digital in? So if you go digital from your cheap soundcard to a high end DAC then it totally ignores the soundcard? I don't think I really understand how DAC's work and what kind of source they need. Where is a good place for me to study this?
 
Jan 16, 2006 at 7:40 PM Post #13 of 24

Ypoknons

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Quote:

Originally Posted by dmb367
A cheap soundcard with digital out can be paired with any external DAC, allowing you to tailor your system to you preferences.


Ah. Hence the popularity of the AV710.
 
Jan 16, 2006 at 8:26 PM Post #15 of 24

dmb367

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Medikit
Can someone explain to me how you hook up to a DAC, do you use digital in? So if you go digital from your cheap soundcard to a high end DAC then it totally ignores the soundcard? I don't think I really understand how DAC's work and what kind of source they need. Where is a good place for me to study this?


The reason for a soundcard is to get a digital signal from your computer. If you had a powerbook, for example, then you wouldn't need a soundcard because powerbooks already have digital line-out's. That digital line is the input to the DAC, and the output is analog RCA's.
 

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