Stand Alone Sound Card or Onboard to DAC, AKG Q 701
May 16, 2012 at 1:24 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 6

jaholbro20

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I have an [size=1em]ASUS P6X58D Premium motherboard that has a Realtek ALC889 chip and has digital outputs on the board.  I've also just purchased a pair of AKG Q 701 cans.[/size]
 
[size=1em]The question is do I purchase a stand alone card, Asus Xonar or something along those lines, or do I go with a Dac/amp setup?[/size]
 
I'd assume the Dac/amp setup could and would be more elaborate and expensive but how does the sound card measure up?   And is there any reasonably priced and well performing setups to purchase?
 
I've considered building a cmoy amp, but haven't done enough research to see how well they perform.
 
[size=1em]This is mostly for a gaming rig by the way.[/size]
 
May 16, 2012 at 1:34 PM Post #2 of 6

Penarin

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Personally, I prefer USB DACs over soundcards.  You don't have to crack open the PC or install drivers- just plug and play. 
 
In fact I was trying to figure out what soundcard to go with when I discovered this site.  Did some reading here on the FiiO E7 and E9 and went that route.
 
May 16, 2012 at 2:27 PM Post #4 of 6

jaholbro20

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Something else to consider, I'm interested in hearing surround through the headphones for games.  I'm guessing, and its just a guess that you would have to have some processing to do this, ie dolby headphone or something along those lines.  This probably wouldn't work by just sending the digital out to a dac?
 
Maybe a Mixamp Pro or the new xonar phoebus is the best answer...
 
May 16, 2012 at 4:31 PM Post #5 of 6

PurpleAngel

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A Asus Xonar DX or DGX sound cards would cover for gaming and movies
And get a Fiio E11 portable headphone amplifier.
So total price could be from $105 to $145 (used Xonar DX's sell for $55)
I like to think the portable headphone amplifier are better for lower Ohm headphones over some sound cards.
Sound card like the Xonar DX are not as good as they could be for driving headphones on their own.
 
The Asus Phoebus is really new, might want to wait on it until Asus does their first software update.
Gives them a chance to fix any bug with the original software drivers.
 
May 16, 2012 at 11:55 PM Post #6 of 6

NamelessPFG

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External DACs don't have any gaming audio DSP features, so that's not the way to go unless you want to buy a cheap sound card and use it to output S/PDIF to the DAC. Quite overkill if all you're doing is gaming.
 
Now I just have to ask what games you're playing and what your budget is.
 
I tend to recommend X-Fi-based cards (except XtremeAudio and other models without the proper DSP), but mostly because I deem EAX 3/4/5 support and performance with the DirectSound3D and OpenAL APIs (mostly present in games from 2007 and prior) to be a priority, whereas a lot of people don't seem to care about games over five years old. If the only games you play have software-processed audio (probably FMOD Ex), then you won't be disadvantaged by getting a C-Media-based card like the ones Asus and HT Omega offer.
 

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