Sound cards and DACs
Jun 2, 2012 at 12:20 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 11

Appslapper

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Hello everyone,
 
Forgive me if I've posted this in the wrong section. This is my first post here.
 
I have (what may be) a relatively simple question.  I just bought a Schiit Lyr and a pair of Sennheiser HD 650's. I couldn't be happier with the setup.  However, I am going to be looking into a DAC in the near future, and possibly a dedicated PC. What I can't figure out is, when running a DAC, are the audio files bypassing the sound card/built-in audio, and going directly to the DAC? Or are they still being "colored" by the computer's onboard audio? (Btw I AM using M4A and WAV lossless file formats)
 
What I'd like to have is a Sony Vaio (24bit capability, using Foobar2000 w/ Wasapi plug-in) running USB 2.0 into a Schiit Bifrost or Gungnir, plugged into my Lyr. Am I headed in the right direction? Or do I really need a fancy sound card like the Asus Xonar Essence ST?
 
Any help/insight would be most appreciated.
 
Thanks in advance!
 
Jun 2, 2012 at 1:02 AM Post #2 of 11

pentatonic

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With that setup you'd be perfect, but the Xonar is also highly regarded as a DAC and headphone amp (capable of all types of loads) You could def feed your Lyr with it and you'ld be quite happy for cheaper and you get a pretty good amp out of it. IMHO the amp is more important to your sound then the DAC (as long as it's decent, some onboard do have good specs like mine with the ALC882m with DACs with 103dB SNR but My old faithful E-Mu 0404 still beats it hands down and I doubt I will be getting a separate DAC for now, would rather spend the $ on an amp for my phones, possibly a second different sounding set. My 0.02
 
Jun 2, 2012 at 9:55 AM Post #3 of 11

Appslapper

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Thanks, Pentatonic!
 
I think I'll stick with my plan for the Vaio, being that I'd rather have a laptop and DAC than buy a big 'ole desktop just for the sake of having a sound card. lol
 
Jun 2, 2012 at 11:49 AM Post #4 of 11

PurpleAngel

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The DAC Destroyer (USB DAC) is only $50, sold on eBay, ships from Canada.
Also on eBay there are DACs selling between $60-$100 that appear to use some good DAC chips, ships from China.
SMSL AD-793 and SMSL AD-1955.
 
Jun 3, 2012 at 12:49 AM Post #5 of 11

ZARIM

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The separate DAC is better to add in chain than directly connect AMPs with source because DAC enhance the soundquality and AMPs help further, so Shiit DAC are great buy. Desktop PC with Dedicated soundcard(like ST/STX) are even better because they has digital optical, RCA outputs on the card and it's feed AMPs even better higher resolution signals than USB.
 
Jun 3, 2012 at 2:26 AM Post #6 of 11

PurpleAngel

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Quote:
I have (what may be) a relatively simple question.  I just bought a Schiit Lyr and a pair of Sennheiser HD 650's. I couldn't be happier with the setup.  However, I am going to be looking into a DAC in the near future, and possibly a dedicated PC. What I can't figure out is, when running a DAC, are the audio files bypassing the sound card/built-in audio, and going directly to the DAC? Or are they still being "colored" by the computer's onboard audio? (Btw I AM using M4A and WAV lossless file formats)
What I'd like to have is a Sony Vaio (24bit capability, using Foobar2000 w/ Wasapi plug-in) running USB 2.0 into a Schiit Bifrost or Gungnir, plugged into my Lyr. Am I headed in the right direction? Or do I really need a fancy sound card like the Asus Xonar Essence ST?

I believe the Sony Vaio is a laptop computer and the Asus Xonar Essence ST is for desktops only.
 
Jun 3, 2012 at 9:16 AM Post #7 of 11

Appslapper

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ZARIM: So what you're saying, is that the BEST setup would be to have a desktop with an Asus Xonar Essence ST/STX running optical out into a Schiit DAC. Correct?
 
PurpleAngel: Yes, the Vaio is a laptop. I'm trying to figure out if I could get away with using a Vaio (Built-in, onboard audio chip w/ 24bit capability), or if I need to build a small desktop to make use of a high-end sound card.
 
Jun 3, 2012 at 9:56 AM Post #8 of 11

PurpleAngel

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Quote:
ZARIM: So what you're saying, is that the BEST setup would be to have a desktop with an Asus Xonar Essence ST/STX running optical out into a Schiit DAC. Correct?
 
PurpleAngel: Yes, the Vaio is a laptop. I'm trying to figure out if I could get away with using a Vaio (Built-in, onboard audio chip w/ 24bit capability), or if I need to build a small desktop to make use of a high-end sound card.

If all your doing is music, then you do not need to add a sound card.
To get surround sound for movies and gaming, then you do need to add a sound card.
 
Jun 3, 2012 at 12:22 PM Post #10 of 11

214324

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Quote:
ZARIM: So what you're saying, is that the BEST setup would be to have a desktop with an Asus Xonar Essence ST/STX running optical out into a Schiit DAC. Correct?
 
PurpleAngel: Yes, the Vaio is a laptop. I'm trying to figure out if I could get away with using a Vaio (Built-in, onboard audio chip w/ 24bit capability), or if I need to build a small desktop to make use of a high-end sound card.

You do know that you can get a USB to PCIe adapter. They have plenty of those. They're mainly used for graphics cards in the notebook part of the enthusiast world. You should be able to do that with a sound card. After all, it's a USB device to the computer for audio.
 
Jun 3, 2012 at 2:55 PM Post #11 of 11

ZARIM

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Quote:
ZARIM: So what you're saying, is that the BEST setup would be to have a desktop with an Asus Xonar Essence ST/STX running optical out into a Schiit DAC. Correct?
 
PurpleAngel: Yes, the Vaio is a laptop. I'm trying to figure out if I could get away with using a Vaio (Built-in, onboard audio chip w/ 24bit capability), or if I need to build a small desktop to make use of a high-end sound card.

The PC ST/STX soundcard setup much bettter sounding than laptop USB setup because ST/STX made for stereo music, movies, games and they do very well, plus these soundcards offers stereo lineout through RCA out to connect with external AMPs and optical out to connect with DAC/AMPs. These PC soundcards alone almost rival to the laptop setup because internal dedicated AMPs, better DAC chip and EMI shield provide hiss free soundquality(silent background noise), the added benifits to use AMPs with them or DAC/AMPs together.
 

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