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How do you choose good sound card?

frozensun
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Hi guys.

Now I'm into audiophile section.

So my Tiamat 7.1 V1 (analog set) gave me crappy sound.

I was suggested to buy Asus Xonar DX card.

But I don't know nothing about what specs should look for when buying a sound card.

I need an explanation on what to look for and why is one sound card better then others,like why is any external soundcard better then one integrated on MoBo?

Currently I own 3 PCs with Asus MoBos, one is Asus Rampage V with some SupremeFX which is some Realtek chip.

I also have newer board Crosshair hero VIII which also has an Realtek chip and Tiamat on both chips sounds terrible,which is probably due to headphones sounding terrible not to blame sound cards/chips.

So lets compare these chips to Xonar DX or from my supplier one of the most expensive cards  like CREATIVE Sound BlasterX AE-5 Plus or you choose others.
What to look for when buying new sound card,is it the frequency range,DAC....etc...I'm a complete noob in audio section?

Would buying Xonar DX or some cards from Creative make my Tiamat sound a lot better compared to the realtek chips?

Yeah I know it has analog connectors but what the hell,I have an offer of Xonar DX for 30 euros.

Or just all this is waiste of money and better invest in expensive headphones with separate DAC?

 

 

Please do not take offence for my apparent confusion or rudeness,it's not intent me to be like that,it's just my BPD,be nice to me,and I'll return twice better,be rude and usually I get easly pissed of...I'll try to help anyone here,as long as it's something I dealt with,and even if you think I'm rude or not polite,forgive me,  it's not me it's my BPD.

Thanks for understanding.

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1 hour ago, frozensun said:

Hi guys.

Now I'm into audiophile section.

So my Tiamat 7.1 V1 (analog set) gave me crappy sound.

I was suggested to buy Asus Xonar DX card.

But I don't know nothing about what specs should look for when buying a sound card.

I need an explanation on what to look for and why is one sound card better then others,like why is any external soundcard better then one integrated on MoBo?

Currently I own 3 PCs with Asus MoBos, one is Asus Rampage V with some SupremeFX which is some Realtek chip.

I also have newer board Crosshair hero VIII which also has an Realtek chip and Tiamat on both chips sounds terrible,which is probably due to headphones sounding terrible not to blame sound cards/chips.

So lets compare these chips to Xonar DX or from my supplier one of the most expensive cards  like CREATIVE Sound BlasterX AE-5 Plus or you choose others.
What to look for when buying new sound card,is it the frequency range,DAC....etc...I'm a complete noob in audio section?

Would buying Xonar DX or some cards from Creative make my Tiamat sound a lot better compared to the realtek chips?

Yeah I know it has analog connectors but what the hell,I have an offer of Xonar DX for 30 euros.

Or just all this is waiste of money and better invest in expensive headphones with separate DAC?

 

Just get a decent pair of stereo headphones, don't waste money on a DAC if you don't experience noise. My motherboard on-board audio can drive my hifiman sundara perfectly adequately.

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3 hours ago, frozensun said:

Hi guys.

Now I'm into audiophile section.

So my Tiamat 7.1 V1 (analog set) gave me crappy sound.

I was suggested to buy Asus Xonar DX card.

But I don't know nothing about what specs should look for when buying a sound card.

I need an explanation on what to look for and why is one sound card better then others,like why is any external soundcard better then one integrated on MoBo?

Currently I own 3 PCs with Asus MoBos, one is Asus Rampage V with some SupremeFX which is some Realtek chip.

I also have newer board Crosshair hero VIII which also has an Realtek chip and Tiamat on both chips sounds terrible,which is probably due to headphones sounding terrible not to blame sound cards/chips.

So lets compare these chips to Xonar DX or from my supplier one of the most expensive cards  like CREATIVE Sound BlasterX AE-5 Plus or you choose others.
What to look for when buying new sound card,is it the frequency range,DAC....etc...I'm a complete noob in audio section?

Would buying Xonar DX or some cards from Creative make my Tiamat sound a lot better compared to the realtek chips?

Yeah I know it has analog connectors but what the hell,I have an offer of Xonar DX for 30 euros.

Or just all this is waiste of money and better invest in expensive headphones with separate DAC?

 

As said, just get stereo headphones. Stop wasting money on trying to make the Razer headphones sound good. You can't get them to sound good.

PM or DM me if you have any questions about audio or about your PC.

My PC specs & audio gear

CPU > Intel core i7 9700k, GPU > RTX 2070 8gb, RAM > Corsair Vengance 2x8gb 3000mhz, Motherboard > Z390 Gigabyte Aorus Pro Wifi, Storage > 1TB HDD & 2pcs of 500gb M2 SSDs, Cooling > H100I Corsair Platinum, PSU > Corsair RM750X V2

🎧Current Audio Setup For Gaming/Music🎧

Hifiman HE400i 2020 as daily driver

Soundblaster AE-9 Soundcard

The T.bone SC400 XLR mic

Other peripherals

Keyboard > Razer Chroma v2 Orange Switches

Mouse > Glorious model D-

VR > Valve index kit

Read this post if you want a "gaming" headset ;)

 

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Generalized thoughts on this, a DAC is moreso to process different formats above what your host hardware can do.

For example many modern computer audio chipsets top out at 24 bit 192khz playback. So if you want to play anything better, it’s not going to be any better than 24 bit 192khz.

Audio processing.

 

A sound card being a dac is only a small part of what a sound card in a desktop is for, physical connectivity is the biggest feature of these cards. As a dac alone most consumer everyday sound cards aren’t that impressive, things like the EVGA Nu Audio can do 384khz 32 bit (which is still really damn good) but there are USB dacs that cost under 100$ that can do the exact same thing. What sound cards have is their form factor making them just an internal component to an audio oriented pc, rca and optical connectors or even breakouts for 5.1/7.1 channel audio on their own. Fairly light inbuilt amps can be useful for wanting to drive higher impedance headphones or some higher power desktop speakers without needing an external amp.

 

Thats it though, you don’t buy a sound card just to make things sound better, if you want things to sound better and don’t care about those other features it’s a multi part ordeal of what you’re playing, what you’re listening to it on, and now you process that audio.

A 128kbps will sound awful through a $5000 dac and amp setup with high end headphones, and a DSD1024 file will sound awful through cheap headphones. 
 

 

 

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10 hours ago, 8tg said:

Generalized thoughts on this, a DAC is moreso to process different formats above what your host hardware can do.

For example many modern computer audio chipsets top out at 24 bit 192khz playback. So if you want to play anything better, it’s not going to be any better than 24 bit 192khz.

Audio processing.

 

A sound card being a dac is only a small part of what a sound card in a desktop is for, physical connectivity is the biggest feature of these cards. As a dac alone most consumer everyday sound cards aren’t that impressive, things like the EVGA Nu Audio can do 384khz 32 bit (which is still really damn good) but there are USB dacs that cost under 100$ that can do the exact same thing. What sound cards have is their form factor making them just an internal component to an audio oriented pc, rca and optical connectors or even breakouts for 5.1/7.1 channel audio on their own. Fairly light inbuilt amps can be useful for wanting to drive higher impedance headphones or some higher power desktop speakers without needing an external amp.

 

Thats it though, you don’t buy a sound card just to make things sound better, if you want things to sound better and don’t care about those other features it’s a multi part ordeal of what you’re playing, what you’re listening to it on, and now you process that audio.

A 128kbps will sound awful through a $5000 dac and amp setup with high end headphones, and a DSD1024 file will sound awful through cheap headphones. 
 

 

 

A few points here:

 

1) For most people, sampling rates beyond 44.1 kHz are fairly useless. 44.1 kHz sample rates are sufficient to reproduce the 20 - 20k audio spectrum (Nyquist theorem, see Wikipedia or any Signals & Systems textbook for more information), and there is very little content that can take advantage of higher sample rates. 192 kHz is excessively high, allowing for a bandwidth of up to about 96 kHz (in a perfect world), but at least 192k sample rates are supported by a reasonable amount of recording software (on the DAC side it's fairly useless). I'm not even sure how much software will support 384k sample rates - maybe someone else can comment on this.

 

2) The main advantage of higher sample rates is the wider bandwidth. That's a HUGE deal if you want to use the DAC / ADC in a sound card for instrumentation purposes. It's also somewhat useful for production work where it can give a little bit more flexibility.

 

3) The digital specs of the DAC chip are not the main point of audio interfaces (be it internal or external). The main point is the analog performance, which is something that most motherboard manufacturers can't seem to get right. Your "32 bit DAC" chip, even if it were a perfect chip, is pointless if the output amplifier has THD+N in the -60 dB range. In fact, no currently available interfaces (internal or external) can reach 24 bits of dynamic range. The very best might achieve something like 22 bits of dynamic range.

 

4) The EVGA Nu Audio is NOT a PCIe sound card! It is a USB sound card with a built-in PCIe to USB converter. Why this approach was taken I do not know, but it's important to recognize this. 

 

Amplifiers and transducers are another issue entirely. A lot of sound cards (be it internal or external) will have a headphone amplifier in them, but very often it's quite anemic. 

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On 1/8/2022 at 2:49 PM, frozensun said:

Hi guys.

Now I'm into audiophile section.

So my Tiamat 7.1 V1 (analog set) gave me crappy sound.

I was suggested to buy Asus Xonar DX card.

But I don't know nothing about what specs should look for when buying a sound card.

I need an explanation on what to look for and why is one sound card better then others,like why is any external soundcard better then one integrated on MoBo?

Currently I own 3 PCs with Asus MoBos, one is Asus Rampage V with some SupremeFX which is some Realtek chip.

I also have newer board Crosshair hero VIII which also has an Realtek chip and Tiamat on both chips sounds terrible,which is probably due to headphones sounding terrible not to blame sound cards/chips.

So lets compare these chips to Xonar DX or from my supplier one of the most expensive cards  like CREATIVE Sound BlasterX AE-5 Plus or you choose others.
What to look for when buying new sound card,is it the frequency range,DAC....etc...I'm a complete noob in audio section?

Would buying Xonar DX or some cards from Creative make my Tiamat sound a lot better compared to the realtek chips?

Yeah I know it has analog connectors but what the hell,I have an offer of Xonar DX for 30 euros.

Or just all this is waiste of money and better invest in expensive headphones with separate DAC?

 

Unfortunately with DACs the specs can be really quite misleading or outright useless.
What sort of price range are you looking to buy something in? It might be better to let us know what your budget is and we can recommend some ideal products.

There's a few pieces of advice that are a bit general/broad but still good to keep in mind:

- An external DAC is almost always going to be a better option than an internal sound card. The inside of your PC is an EXTREMELY noisy environment and will have quite noisy power too and for those reasons alone it's exceptionally difficult to make a sound card that will be subjectively or objectively as good as even fairly basic external DACs.

- Surround sound in headphones is unfortunately quite gimmicky, both in 'virtual 7.1' form (which is just DSP and can be done on any headphone, there's nothing specific hardware wise about virtual 7.1 headsets and you don't actually need a particular model to do this) and in 'true 7.1' forms like the Asus one or the Razer Tiamat as these will have many tiny, cramped drivers that do not properly emulate how real HRTF/spatial audio works. 
If you want good spatial presentation, you actually want a good set of headphones with good soundstage and detail. Which is why when you ask most audiophiles what the best headphone for gaming is, a majority will likely answer 'HD800/HD800S'. 

So I would recommend not bothering with 7.1 audio unless you are actually using a 7.1 speaker setup. And even then, in many games the stereo audio processing is actually better than the 5.1/7.1 processing.
Using something like HD800 with CSGO HRTF stereo audio is basically cheating 😛

- Spec sheet alone will unfortunately tell you almost nothing about most DACs/Soundcards. A few examples:

Sample rate support: Mostly useless cause almost everything supports at least 192khz, and most external dacs support 768khz, but regardless, 99% of music is 44.1khz and almost all games run at 48khz so you'd almost never take advantage of the higher sample rate support anyway.

"Powers headphones upto 300ohm": This is useless cause it doesn't actually tell you how much power the card has. Anything should be able to run 300 ohm headphones, and in fact, high impedance headphones actually usually take less power than low impedance ones. Most of the hardest headphones to drive are low impedance, low sensitivity planars.
Without an actual power spec which will give you a good indication of whether you'll be able to get your headphones loud enough, this sort of quote seen on many sound card specs is completely useless. It's equivalent to a car saying "Can drive on a road".

"Uses X DAC chip": The DAC chip itself is just one piece of the puzzle and for any given DAC chip there will be good and bad products using it. Other areas of the product design can often have more of an impact on the sound than the particular chip being used.

Unfortunately trying to get an idea of how good a DAC/SoundCard is even from a full set of measurements can be quite tricky as there are a LOT of different objective characteristics that can be different/good/bad. And trying to interpret them to build a mental picture of how something is gonna sound is impossible.
 

Video reviews: https://youtube.com/goldensound Written reviews and measurements: https://goldensound.audio
Current Main Setup: Roon -> HQPlayer -> Intel NUC -> Intona 7055-C Isolator -> Holo Audio May KTE DAC-> Holo Serene KTE preamp -> Benchmark AHB2 / Woo WA33
Most used headphones: Hifiman Susvara, Abyss 1266 Phi TC, Sennheiser HD800-S

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3 hours ago, GoldenOne said:

- An external DAC is almost always going to be a better option than an internal sound card. The inside of your PC is an EXTREMELY noisy environment and will have quite noisy power too and for those reasons alone it's exceptionally difficult to make a sound card that will be subjectively or objectively as good as even fairly basic external DACs.

This isn't really true. Lynx and RME have been making PCI (and now PCIe) based cards with state-of-the art performance for decades. Both internal cards and USB-powered DACs and audio interfaces both require careful engineering to make sure that noisy power (and grounds!!) from the host computer don't cause problems. In the past, PCI/PCIe was a necessity for high-end cards, since you couldn't get enough channels (with low-latency) on a USB interface.

 

The main reason that you don't see all that many high-performance PCIe cards is that the market just isn't there. PCIe cards aren't an option for mac users (which is almost the entire market), so everything has moved to Firewire/USB/Thunderbolt/USB C. Still, there are a few really high-end PCIe cards (Lynx E44, for example) for the remaining niche users. They do tend to be expensive, but used professional cards from companies like RME, Lynx, M-audio and the like are a reasonable option. 

 

What does exist for the PCIe sound card market is mostly targeted at gamers by companies like Asus, and as a result, are rather mediocre. 

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10 hours ago, H713 said:

This isn't really true. Lynx and RME have been making PCI (and now PCIe) based cards with state-of-the art performance for decades. Both internal cards and USB-powered DACs and audio interfaces both require careful engineering to make sure that noisy power (and grounds!!) from the host computer don't cause problems. In the past, PCI/PCIe was a necessity for high-end cards, since you couldn't get enough channels (with low-latency) on a USB interface.

 

The main reason that you don't see all that many high-performance PCIe cards is that the market just isn't there. PCIe cards aren't an option for mac users (which is almost the entire market), so everything has moved to Firewire/USB/Thunderbolt/USB C. Still, there are a few really high-end PCIe cards (Lynx E44, for example) for the remaining niche users. They do tend to be expensive, but used professional cards from companies like RME, Lynx, M-audio and the like are a reasonable option. 

 

What does exist for the PCIe sound card market is mostly targeted at gamers by companies like Asus, and as a result, are rather mediocre. 

I've not tried the PCIe cards from RME though have tried some of their desktop products. They're probably one of the few companies I'd trust to get it right tbh.

BUT, regardless I think the issue still remains that whilst they might be fine, or even very good, there's no advantage to having an internal sound card vs external DAC other than space, and MAYBE the absolute tiniest bit of latency.
Whereas on even footing most external DACs will have the advantage of not having to address the noise issues.

There are likely plenty of good PCIe cards, but I can't see a reason to recommend them vs an external option.
Also iirc most of RME's PCIe products are extremely high channel count solutions intended for use in broadcast and production situations, rather than 2ch stuff

Video reviews: https://youtube.com/goldensound Written reviews and measurements: https://goldensound.audio
Current Main Setup: Roon -> HQPlayer -> Intel NUC -> Intona 7055-C Isolator -> Holo Audio May KTE DAC-> Holo Serene KTE preamp -> Benchmark AHB2 / Woo WA33
Most used headphones: Hifiman Susvara, Abyss 1266 Phi TC, Sennheiser HD800-S

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  • 2 weeks later...

OK I read all.

Thank you guys for explanations and your time.

I've read review on my langugage about this device:

https://ifi-audio.com/products/zen-dac-v2/

A lot of positive things about it...telling like sound quality is amazing and it is worth buying it.

This one is an offer from my seller.

So someone please explain me if I'd purchase it (but doubt it, too expensive),would I notice the sound quality difference with this DAC compared to regular dumb Realtek ALC integrated sound card on MoBo?

Would my ears tell the difference in sound quality?

Now I'm not a DJ,just a regular user of PC but my OCD is killing me,so I want most perfect sound I could get on PC.

I use mostly gaming wireless headphones,only wired one are Cloud Core and V-Moda Crossfade Wireless (got cable with 3.5mm jacks to use wired).

 

Please do not take offence for my apparent confusion or rudeness,it's not intent me to be like that,it's just my BPD,be nice to me,and I'll return twice better,be rude and usually I get easly pissed of...I'll try to help anyone here,as long as it's something I dealt with,and even if you think I'm rude or not polite,forgive me,  it's not me it's my BPD.

Thanks for understanding.

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1 hour ago, frozensun said:

OK I read all.

Thank you guys for explanations and your time.

I've read review on my langugage about this device:

https://ifi-audio.com/products/zen-dac-v2/

A lot of positive things about it...telling like sound quality is amazing and it is worth buying it.

This one is an offer from my seller.

So someone please explain me if I'd purchase it (but doubt it, too expensive),would I notice the sound quality difference with this DAC compared to regular dumb Realtek ALC integrated sound card on MoBo?

Would my ears tell the difference in sound quality?

Now I'm not a DJ,just a regular user of PC but my OCD is killing me,so I want most perfect sound I could get on PC.

I use mostly gaming wireless headphones,only wired one are Cloud Core and V-Moda Crossfade Wireless (got cable with 3.5mm jacks to use wired).

most probably not

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On 1/8/2022 at 9:49 PM, frozensun said:

Hi guys.

Now I'm into audiophile section.

So my Tiamat 7.1 V1 (analog set) gave me crappy sound.

I was suggested to buy Asus Xonar DX card.

But I don't know nothing about what specs should look for when buying a sound card.

I need an explanation on what to look for and why is one sound card better then others,like why is any external soundcard better then one integrated on MoBo?

Currently I own 3 PCs with Asus MoBos, one is Asus Rampage V with some SupremeFX which is some Realtek chip.

I also have newer board Crosshair hero VIII which also has an Realtek chip and Tiamat on both chips sounds terrible,which is probably due to headphones sounding terrible not to blame sound cards/chips.

So lets compare these chips to Xonar DX or from my supplier one of the most expensive cards  like CREATIVE Sound BlasterX AE-5 Plus or you choose others.
What to look for when buying new sound card,is it the frequency range,DAC....etc...I'm a complete noob in audio section?

Would buying Xonar DX or some cards from Creative make my Tiamat sound a lot better compared to the realtek chips?

Yeah I know it has analog connectors but what the hell,I have an offer of Xonar DX for 30 euros.

Or just all this is waiste of money and better invest in expensive headphones with separate DAC?

 

I don't know the about the technical stuffs but I have Realtek chip on my Asus Z690 motherboard and also the Xonar Essense STX, I've tried compared them in a size by size comparison many times because I have to sacrificise some of my PCIE bandwith just to keep it in my old system and it took quite a bit of space in the current one. 

 

And oh boy they do sound league ahead than the onboard audio. Like so much different on my Sennheiser HD660s. A more subtle detail of music like the background instrument become so much more pronounce with soundcard and the positioning also a bit better. The different is even better when using a low end audio system (I have a Creative speakers system that cost like 60 bucks when my mom bought it for me several decades ago when I was but a kid, and even then the different between the two is very clear)

 

I'll say it's definitely worth it to get the Xonar DG, especially when compared to onboard audio even if you don't have an audiophile headphone - and have some space in the case or PCIE lanes to spare although I think an external amp/dac probably make more sense to a lot of people. Don't worry abut the internal static, this card is well shielded, I've never heard any interfence from mine but on a budget board with limited PCIE slot, it can be hard to justify addition PCIE device that can be powered perfectly fine from external USB

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1 hour ago, e22big said:

I don't know the about the technical stuffs but I have Realtek chip on my Asus Z690 motherboard and also the Xonar Essense STX, I've tried compared them in a size by size comparison many times because I have to sacrificise some of my PCIE bandwith just to keep it in my old system and it took quite a bit of space in the current one. 

 

And oh boy they do sound league ahead than the onboard audio. Like so much different on my Sennheiser HD660s. A more subtle detail of music like the background instrument become so much more pronounce with soundcard and the positioning also a bit better. The different is even better when using a low end audio system (I have a Creative speakers system that cost like 60 bucks when my mom bought it for me several decades ago when I was but a kid, and even then the different between the two is very clear)

 

I'll say it's definitely worth it to get the Xonar DG, especially when compared to onboard audio even if you don't have an audiophile headphone - and have some space in the case or PCIE lanes to spare although I think an external amp/dac probably make more sense to a lot of people. Don't worry abut the internal static, this card is well shielded, I've never heard any interfence from mine but on a budget board with limited PCIE slot, it can be hard to justify addition PCIE device that can be powered perfectly fine from external USB

I have this one for 30 euros.

Will this one do the job?

But then again if output like Tiamat is crap I'm affraid that I will just waste money to nothing.

Asus Xonar DX (60 KM)
https://www.olx.ba/r/44457024/1407723

Actually I notice this one as DX not DG,what is the difference?

 

Please do not take offence for my apparent confusion or rudeness,it's not intent me to be like that,it's just my BPD,be nice to me,and I'll return twice better,be rude and usually I get easly pissed of...I'll try to help anyone here,as long as it's something I dealt with,and even if you think I'm rude or not polite,forgive me,  it's not me it's my BPD.

Thanks for understanding.

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For the people saying that external solutions are a waste, they probably haven't experienced what going beyond onboard can do.  It's not just about volume achieved.  For example I got a pair of shp9500 to try out because I've recommended them to everyone and their mom brother sister and dog.  I was VERY let down and couldn't listen to them for more than 10 minutes, the treble was very metallic thin and fatiguing not to mention the bass was boomy and not in a good way.  So I took them off of the headphone output of my computer and put them onto my external solution and instantly they were acceptable.  The treble was still rather bright but it was tamed to a point that for a $75 pair of headphones I could get behind them.  I'm in the process of looking for a bang for the buck dac/amp solution that I can test these on as a beginner audiophile package because someone in the market for the shp9500 isn't going to spend $200 on a schiit stack or $170 on an ifi zen dac.

Cans                                          Amps                                                               Speakers                                      Mic

Sennheiser 6xx                          Topping DX7 (dac/amp) (class D balanced)     Micca RB42                                  Antlion ModMic Uni

Beyerdynamic DT880-600         Emotiva A-100 (class A)                                                                                         Vmoda Boom Pro

Phillips Fidelio X3                      Nobsound Little Bear P7 (pure tube)                 Accessories                                Neego boom mic

Harmonicdyne Zeus                   Little dot MKII (pure tube)                                  Dekoni, Brainwavz and ZMF pads

Fostex T50RP                            Darkvoice 336SE (pure tube)                            Hart and Periapt cables

HiFi-man HE400i (2017)            Crown XLi1500 (power amp class A)                Yoga Blocks (headphone stands)

Blue Microphones Lola               Xduoo MT-602 (class A hybrid tube)

Koss KPH30iCL                          Schiit Fulla (class D dac/amp)                          Headset

AKG K-361-BT                                                                                                      Turtle Beach Stealth 700 v2 + adapter

Phillips shp9500

AKG K240 studio

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for a beginner with my ad700 (non x) I went from xonar DX to fiio k3, I'm really loving my k3 now

 

pretty good bang for buck imo

Ryzen 3600 + EK Supremacy D-RGB | 2x8 GB DDR4 Klevv 3200 MT/s | MSI B550M Mortar | Palit 3070 GamingPro LHR + Bykski N-PT3070PRO-X | Corsair RM750 | Alphacool EPDM + QDC | Aquacomputer Quadro | Corsair XD5 | Bykski 280 30mm + 360 40mm rads | Barrow/Freezemod fittings | Corsair 5000D Airflow | AudioTechnica AD700 + Fiio K3 + Razer Seiren Mini
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14 hours ago, frozensun said:

I have this one for 30 euros.

Will this one do the job?

But then again if output like Tiamat is crap I'm affraid that I will just waste money to nothing.

Asus Xonar DX (60 KM)
https://www.olx.ba/r/44457024/1407723

Actually I notice this one as DX not DG,what is the difference?

I think DX has 7.1 surroud sound support and DG only has 5.1. Probably not worth consider spending over, also to be fair my STX seems to be a lot higher end model than those so I don't know if the different will be as pronouned. It should be though, they seem to share the same chip (with the differnet being STX has a much better amp and seems to have a much better shield - the latter could be important)

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So guys getting only DX will be a waste of money?

 

Please do not take offence for my apparent confusion or rudeness,it's not intent me to be like that,it's just my BPD,be nice to me,and I'll return twice better,be rude and usually I get easly pissed of...I'll try to help anyone here,as long as it's something I dealt with,and even if you think I'm rude or not polite,forgive me,  it's not me it's my BPD.

Thanks for understanding.

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On 1/9/2022 at 10:14 PM, GoldenOne said:

Unfortunately with DACs the specs can be really quite misleading or outright useless.
What sort of price range are you looking to buy something in? It might be better to let us know what your budget is and we can recommend some ideal products.

There's a few pieces of advice that are a bit general/broad but still good to keep in mind:

- An external DAC is almost always going to be a better option than an internal sound card. The inside of your PC is an EXTREMELY noisy environment and will have quite noisy power too and for those reasons alone it's exceptionally difficult to make a sound card that will be subjectively or objectively as good as even fairly basic external DACs.

- Surround sound in headphones is unfortunately quite gimmicky, both in 'virtual 7.1' form (which is just DSP and can be done on any headphone, there's nothing specific hardware wise about virtual 7.1 headsets and you don't actually need a particular model to do this) and in 'true 7.1' forms like the Asus one or the Razer Tiamat as these will have many tiny, cramped drivers that do not properly emulate how real HRTF/spatial audio works. 
If you want good spatial presentation, you actually want a good set of headphones with good soundstage and detail. Which is why when you ask most audiophiles what the best headphone for gaming is, a majority will likely answer 'HD800/HD800S'. 

So I would recommend not bothering with 7.1 audio unless you are actually using a 7.1 speaker setup. And even then, in many games the stereo audio processing is actually better than the 5.1/7.1 processing.
Using something like HD800 with CSGO HRTF stereo audio is basically cheating 😛

- Spec sheet alone will unfortunately tell you almost nothing about most DACs/Soundcards. A few examples:

Sample rate support: Mostly useless cause almost everything supports at least 192khz, and most external dacs support 768khz, but regardless, 99% of music is 44.1khz and almost all games run at 48khz so you'd almost never take advantage of the higher sample rate support anyway.

"Powers headphones upto 300ohm": This is useless cause it doesn't actually tell you how much power the card has. Anything should be able to run 300 ohm headphones, and in fact, high impedance headphones actually usually take less power than low impedance ones. Most of the hardest headphones to drive are low impedance, low sensitivity planars.
Without an actual power spec which will give you a good indication of whether you'll be able to get your headphones loud enough, this sort of quote seen on many sound card specs is completely useless. It's equivalent to a car saying "Can drive on a road".

"Uses X DAC chip": The DAC chip itself is just one piece of the puzzle and for any given DAC chip there will be good and bad products using it. Other areas of the product design can often have more of an impact on the sound than the particular chip being used.

Unfortunately trying to get an idea of how good a DAC/SoundCard is even from a full set of measurements can be quite tricky as there are a LOT of different objective characteristics that can be different/good/bad. And trying to interpret them to build a mental picture of how something is gonna sound is impossible.
 

My MoBo detects Razer Nari Ultimate as 600 ohm headphones....impossible huh?

 

Please do not take offence for my apparent confusion or rudeness,it's not intent me to be like that,it's just my BPD,be nice to me,and I'll return twice better,be rude and usually I get easly pissed of...I'll try to help anyone here,as long as it's something I dealt with,and even if you think I'm rude or not polite,forgive me,  it's not me it's my BPD.

Thanks for understanding.

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14 hours ago, frozensun said:

My MoBo detects Razer Nari Ultimate as 600 ohm headphones....impossible huh?

Not impossible no. Unlikely yes, but there are plenty of 600 ohm headphones about like the Beyer T1

Video reviews: https://youtube.com/goldensound Written reviews and measurements: https://goldensound.audio
Current Main Setup: Roon -> HQPlayer -> Intel NUC -> Intona 7055-C Isolator -> Holo Audio May KTE DAC-> Holo Serene KTE preamp -> Benchmark AHB2 / Woo WA33
Most used headphones: Hifiman Susvara, Abyss 1266 Phi TC, Sennheiser HD800-S

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17 hours ago, frozensun said:

So guys getting only DX will be a waste of money?

may I suggest u get a better headphones 1st

Ryzen 3600 + EK Supremacy D-RGB | 2x8 GB DDR4 Klevv 3200 MT/s | MSI B550M Mortar | Palit 3070 GamingPro LHR + Bykski N-PT3070PRO-X | Corsair RM750 | Alphacool EPDM + QDC | Aquacomputer Quadro | Corsair XD5 | Bykski 280 30mm + 360 40mm rads | Barrow/Freezemod fittings | Corsair 5000D Airflow | AudioTechnica AD700 + Fiio K3 + Razer Seiren Mini
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All of the mentioned things in the OP has literally nothing to do with audiophile section. The people who suggested you the Xonar DX are morons and Realtek audiochips are usually junk. And PCI-E sound cards are discouraged because of internal noise like electrical buzzing and they are also inconvenience. 

 

Expensive headphones? So you need Diana Abyss Phi TC 1266 or what? 

 

Getting to know and explore more about the world of audio will require you to try and buy audio equipment and most are headphones and then dac/amps. And also a pretty good amount of money unfortunately. But the latter is just fine with like one or two dac/amps. 

 

So for now, X2HR or Tygr 300R without robbing a bank. 

 

 

DAC/AMPs:

Klipsch Heritage Headphone Amplifier

Lake People G103-S (Currently not in use)

Headphones: Klipsch Heritage HP-3 Walnut, Beyerdynamic Amiron Home, Amiron Wireless Copper, T5p.2, Tygr 300R, DT880 600ohm Manufaktur, Fidelio X2HR, Meze 99 Classics Walnut/Gold

Earphones: Airpods 2019, Sony WF1000XM3, Sony MDR-E818LP

CPU: Intel 4770, GPU: Gigabyte Aorus GTX1080Ti, Mobo: MSI Z87-G45, RAM: DDR3 16GB G.Skill, PC Case: Fractal Design R4 Black non-iglass, Monitor: BenQ GW2280.

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Whom do I trust of you,guys?

The only thing I figured out is that high quality DAC/AMP is necessary for hi quality headphones,for regular user like me is a waste of money,right?

And me no have hiq headphones,my headphones average gaming headphones,but I do have expensive MoBos with I suppose more then average integrated soundcard so I don't know the reason why I should buy expensive sound card or DAC,doesn't matter...

 

Please do not take offence for my apparent confusion or rudeness,it's not intent me to be like that,it's just my BPD,be nice to me,and I'll return twice better,be rude and usually I get easly pissed of...I'll try to help anyone here,as long as it's something I dealt with,and even if you think I'm rude or not polite,forgive me,  it's not me it's my BPD.

Thanks for understanding.

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5 hours ago, fonzz1e said:

may I suggest u get a better headphones 1st

Got myself a Razer Nari Ultmate and I must say for first time in life I'm happy with sound they reproduce plus comfort.

 

Please do not take offence for my apparent confusion or rudeness,it's not intent me to be like that,it's just my BPD,be nice to me,and I'll return twice better,be rude and usually I get easly pissed of...I'll try to help anyone here,as long as it's something I dealt with,and even if you think I'm rude or not polite,forgive me,  it's not me it's my BPD.

Thanks for understanding.

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6 hours ago, frozensun said:

Whom do I trust of you,guys?

The only thing I figured out is that high quality DAC/AMP is necessary for hi quality headphones,for regular user like me is a waste of money,right?

And me no have hiq headphones,my headphones average gaming headphones,but I do have expensive MoBos with I suppose more then average integrated soundcard so I don't know the reason why I should buy expensive sound card or DAC,doesn't matter...

No one Needs a dac/amp, there is an improvement to be had but it isn't required.  My comment was more to say for people in general.

Cans                                          Amps                                                               Speakers                                      Mic

Sennheiser 6xx                          Topping DX7 (dac/amp) (class D balanced)     Micca RB42                                  Antlion ModMic Uni

Beyerdynamic DT880-600         Emotiva A-100 (class A)                                                                                         Vmoda Boom Pro

Phillips Fidelio X3                      Nobsound Little Bear P7 (pure tube)                 Accessories                                Neego boom mic

Harmonicdyne Zeus                   Little dot MKII (pure tube)                                  Dekoni, Brainwavz and ZMF pads

Fostex T50RP                            Darkvoice 336SE (pure tube)                            Hart and Periapt cables

HiFi-man HE400i (2017)            Crown XLi1500 (power amp class A)                Yoga Blocks (headphone stands)

Blue Microphones Lola               Xduoo MT-602 (class A hybrid tube)

Koss KPH30iCL                          Schiit Fulla (class D dac/amp)                          Headset

AKG K-361-BT                                                                                                      Turtle Beach Stealth 700 v2 + adapter

Phillips shp9500

AKG K240 studio

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11 hours ago, frozensun said:

Whom do I trust of you,guys?

The only thing I figured out is that high quality DAC/AMP is necessary for hi quality headphones,for regular user like me is a waste of money,right?

And me no have hiq headphones,my headphones average gaming headphones,but I do have expensive MoBos with I suppose more then average integrated soundcard so I don't know the reason why I should buy expensive sound card or DAC,doesn't matter...

You have to break it down into what these components are doing

 

DAC - Digital-to-analog-converter converts the digital signal that files are, and converts them to analogue signal that can be played by a speaker. If a DAC chip cannot handle the file resolution, the conversion will be "lossy" and thus fidelity of audio will be lost. Its like forcing 1080p mode on a 4K monitor, the image will be less "crisp" than if you actually played 4K on 4K, pixel binning is losing image fidelity. So the bottom line is whether the DAC can handle the file resolution and do so without getting confused with electrical noise and thus adding something to the analogue signal that wasn't there in the first place.

 

AMP - Amplifier, this is a simple matter of whether it can boost the output signal of the DAC in order to overcome the impedance of the headphone. If you get a loud enough volume from the current device, then you don't need a stronger amplifier.

 

Now, in my opinion Hi-Fi, which stands for High-Fidelity, is all about delivering the audio how it was intended to be delivered without additional coloration. So neither the DAC nor the Amp should be making the sound "more bassy" (for example), it should just do the conversion without adding noise (DAC) and then make it loud enough (Amp). If you have a DAC or Amp that changes the sound characteristics of the input, in my opinion it is doing its job poorly.

 

So my two cents is If your headphones are loud enough without distortion, then you dont need an amp. If your DAC can handle the files you own, and you don't hear extra hissing, then you don't need a DAC.

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On 1/24/2022 at 12:29 PM, For Science! said:

Now, in my opinion Hi-Fi, which stands for High-Fidelity, is all about delivering the audio how it was intended to be delivered without additional coloration. So neither the DAC nor the Amp should be making the sound "more bassy" (for example), it should just do the conversion without adding noise (DAC) and then make it loud enough (Amp). If you have a DAC or Amp that changes the sound characteristics of the input, in my opinion it is doing its job poorly.

 

So my two cents is If your headphones are loud enough without distortion, then you dont need an amp. If your DAC can handle the files you own, and you don't hear extra hissing, then you don't need a DAC.

I like to look at it more abstractly and enjoy differences in the results of the chain from source to ears.  No one can know for certain what it was meant to sound like unless they're at a live event and even then, everyone's ears and brains are different.  I commend the pursuit of finding a neutral perfection but myself I enjoy all the color in the world.  I like each situation to be an experience that is different.  It's fun making this a hobby of learning first hand what imaging soundstage and sibilance etc etc mean to me and comparing it to what others say.  I think we're doing the same thing but I enjoy going to extreme's vs nailing a perfect curve.

Cans                                          Amps                                                               Speakers                                      Mic

Sennheiser 6xx                          Topping DX7 (dac/amp) (class D balanced)     Micca RB42                                  Antlion ModMic Uni

Beyerdynamic DT880-600         Emotiva A-100 (class A)                                                                                         Vmoda Boom Pro

Phillips Fidelio X3                      Nobsound Little Bear P7 (pure tube)                 Accessories                                Neego boom mic

Harmonicdyne Zeus                   Little dot MKII (pure tube)                                  Dekoni, Brainwavz and ZMF pads

Fostex T50RP                            Darkvoice 336SE (pure tube)                            Hart and Periapt cables

HiFi-man HE400i (2017)            Crown XLi1500 (power amp class A)                Yoga Blocks (headphone stands)

Blue Microphones Lola               Xduoo MT-602 (class A hybrid tube)

Koss KPH30iCL                          Schiit Fulla (class D dac/amp)                          Headset

AKG K-361-BT                                                                                                      Turtle Beach Stealth 700 v2 + adapter

Phillips shp9500

AKG K240 studio

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