why a DAC from a good card?
Mar 2, 2006 at 6:01 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 6

deez

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okay, this is likely kinda a stupid question. if you don't ask 'em, though, how can you ever hope to be less stupid?
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why would you use an external DAC when a card like the av710 has a DAC(Wolfson WM8728 24/192 DAC for 2-channel mode) with pretty respectable SNR? my confusion is compounded further by the fact that the DAC in the soundcard is 24 bit, whereas it seems many DACs have only 16 bits of resolution.

i particularly ask this question for my own interests to some extent. however, i have a usb sound card with 24 bit A/D, D/A & SRC. it would seem pointless to me to attatch a DAC to spdif when the analog line outs on the soundcard are using the onboard, and seemingly pretty dang good soundin', DACs.

anyone enlighten me abt this puzzlement?
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thx
 
Mar 2, 2006 at 6:24 AM Post #2 of 6

Sycraft

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The Wolfson on the Chaintec is an ok DAC, but not the big deal some make it out to be. However the real issue is the supporting hardware. ACtually getting a digital signal to analogue is more than just a DAC IC. You need all kinds of other things like opamps, caps, maybe buffers, etc. That has a major effect on the sound quality. Well on a $30 card with a bunch of other stuff on it, it's all bargain basement kind of hardware.

Dedicated DACs have, or at least should have, a good chip and good supporting hardware.
 
Mar 2, 2006 at 3:54 PM Post #3 of 6

Liver

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I think it is kinda pointless.

Some people always want separates, nothing integrated. And sometimes the assumption is the outboard DAC is always going to be superior to the DAC on the sound card.

Hey, if you like the sound, use the DAC on the card! If you feel you are not getting correct processing, then you may want to look at out board DACs (or a better sound card).

I was pleased with the output of the AV710. I replaced it with a X-Fi music, because gaming is more important to me.
 
Mar 3, 2006 at 4:21 AM Post #4 of 6

Jon L

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Some people will argue that soundcards are inherently poor b/c of "EMI/RFI" inside computer, but I believe the real reason most soundcards don't sound as good as good outboard DAC's include:

Soundcards just cannot have the massive power supplies with big toroid transformers, huge caps, etc. They have to depend on the generic PC onboard switching PS, most of which are not designed with audio performance in mind.

Soundcards usually depend on ubiquitous (read cheap) opamps for analogue output stage. Not that opamps can't sound good, but a discrete J-fet output stage run in class A would sure be nice. Better yet, a triode tube stage...

However, certain soundcards do sound great b/c I know of Lynx 2B and/or L22 owners who have preferred the soundcard to the likes of modded Cary, Birdland Odean Ag DAC, stock/modded Electrocompaniet ECD1, etc.
 
Mar 3, 2006 at 5:54 AM Post #5 of 6

Cyrilix

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Jon L
Some people will argue that soundcards are inherently poor b/c of "EMI/RFI" inside computer, but I believe the real reason most soundcards don't sound as good as good outboard DAC's include:

Soundcards just cannot have the massive power supplies with big toroid transformers, huge caps, etc. They have to depend on the generic PC onboard switching PS, most of which are not designed with audio performance in mind.

Soundcards usually depend on ubiquitous (read cheap) opamps for analogue output stage. Not that opamps can't sound good, but a discrete J-fet output stage run in class A would sure be nice. Better yet, a triode tube stage...

However, certain soundcards do sound great b/c I know of Lynx 2B and/or L22 owners who have preferred the soundcard to the likes of modded Cary, Birdland Odean Ag DAC, stock/modded Electrocompaniet ECD1, etc.



I don't think the Lynx is $30 / bargain basement though...

For that price, you could consider many high-end DACs.
 
Mar 3, 2006 at 7:41 AM Post #6 of 6

Jon L

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Cyrilix
I don't think the Lynx is $30 / bargain basement though...

For that price, you could consider many high-end DACs.



Very true, except my Lynx 2B can output 6 channels, enabling active tri-amping using Foobar's dsp-xover plugin...

THAT, for those who need to bi/triamp, would cost $6,000 for something like Benchmark/Lavry x6. Plus $1500-2000 for good active crossover
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