Soundcard vs. USB DAC

rromeo923rromeo923 Posts: 1,517
edited July 2014 in Going Digital
Hi all.

Right now I have a external soundcard a Creative Sound Blaster and it is probably 7 yrs old etc. This is connected usb from computer and via rca to a pre (analog only) etc. Would I be better off just using the computers regular sound thru a USB DAC??

Thanks
I got static in my head
The reflected sound of everything
Post edited by rromeo923 on

Comments

  • rromeo923rromeo923 Posts: 1,517
    edited July 2014
    This DAC's main job will be PC via USB to DAC out to RCA to Conrad Johnson pre. or possibly other analog Integrated etc. What do u think?? Any suggestions?
    I got static in my head
    The reflected sound of everything
  • zane77zane77 Posts: 1,711
    edited July 2014
    The usb DAC would work much better in my opinion
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  • BlueFoxBlueFox Posts: 11,528
    edited July 2014
    Is the computer USB asynchronous, and will the DAC accept asynchronous USB? If not then it might be a toss up as to which is better.
    Bud - Silicon Valley

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  • rromeo923rromeo923 Posts: 1,517
    edited July 2014
    BlueFox wrote: »
    Is the computer USB asynchronous, and will the DAC accept asynchronous USB? If not then it might be a toss up as to which is better.
    I don't know. Hmmmm. How does one find out? Guess I should look up what asynchronous means.
    I got static in my head
    The reflected sound of everything
  • Habanero MonkHabanero Monk Posts: 716
    edited July 2014
    The Creative is a USB DAC....
    So hot it burns twice :eek:
  • AsSiMiLaTeDAsSiMiLaTeD Posts: 11,717
    edited July 2014
    What you're using is already a USB DAC, the question you need to ask yourself is if you want a better one. That all depends on what you're doing with it and how much money you want to spend. For games what you have is fine, but for music playback you can certainly do better for not much money, but that also depends on what kind of files you're playing and what software you're using.
  • rromeo923rromeo923 Posts: 1,517
    edited July 2014
    I dont play games on computers. A Pinball machine would be more my style. I use it to listen to music. Watch concerts etc. Do you have any suggestions on a USB DAC used for say $250 or so? Would that be a noticeable sound improvement?

    Thanks
    I got static in my head
    The reflected sound of everything
  • Loud & ClearLoud & Clear Posts: 1,538
    edited July 2014
    rromeo923 wrote: »
    I dont play games on computers. A Pinball machine would be more my style. I use it to listen to music. Watch concerts etc. Do you have any suggestions on a USB DAC used for say $250 or so? Would that be a noticeable sound improvement?

    Thanks

    The Peachtree Dac it-x is currently on sale for $299. Previously sold for $499.

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  • GatecrasherGatecrasher Posts: 1,596
    edited July 2014
    zane77 wrote: »
    The usb DAC would work much better in my opinion

    That's your gut feeling huh? Somehow in a technical discussion like this, I think the OP was looking for responses with a little more substance than that.

    lol
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  • EndersShadowEndersShadow Posts: 16,709
    edited July 2014
    rromeo923 wrote: »
    Hi all.

    Right now I have a external soundcard a Creative Sound Blaster and it is probably 7 yrs old etc. This is connected usb from computer and via rca to a pre (analog only) etc. Would I be better off just using the computers regular sound thru a USB DAC??

    Thanks

    You would be better off with an external DAC yes. For example I find my DacMagic to sound MUCH better than the onboard soundcard. I found the DacMagic to even be better than the DAC in my Sunfire TGP-II. I go coaxial from my PC to the DacMagic and then RCA from the DacMagic to my pre-amp.
    "....not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted." William Bruce Cameron, Informal Sociology: A Casual Introduction to Sociological Thinking (1963)
  • zane77zane77 Posts: 1,711
    edited July 2014
    That's your gut feeling huh? Somehow in a technical discussion like this, I think the OP was looking for responses with a little more substance than that.

    lol
    He asked for an opinion and I gave it, Bozo.
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  • GatecrasherGatecrasher Posts: 1,596
    edited July 2014
    zane77 wrote: »
    He asked for an opinion and I gave it, Bozo.

    What did you use to formulate your unsubstantiated "opinion"?

    Flip a coin?

    Ouija board?

    Eenie, meenie, miney, mo?

    Pin the tail on the donkey perhaps?

    Surely you base your unadulterated "opinions" on technical issues like this on something of substance or is it more like a feeling you get in the left side of your.............. body.

    lol
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  • WLDockWLDock Posts: 2,536
    edited July 2014
    rromeo923 wrote: »
    I don't know. Hmmmm. How does one find out? Guess I should look up what asynchronous means.
    Yes, read, read, read! There is so much to learn. Still learning myself.

    Computer Audio, The Basics
    http://www.hifi-advice.com/Computeraudio-part-0-Basics-info.html

    USB-synchronous-asynchronous-info
    http://www.hifi-advice.com/USB-synchronous-asynchronous-info.html

    Asynchronous USB Audio Class 2.0 Explained
    http://amimuse.com/2012/09/asynchronous-usb-audio-class-2-0/

    Best PC Audio Solutions
    http://www.hifi-advice.com/best-PC-audio-solutions-info.html
    rromeo923 wrote: »
    Do you have any suggestions on a USB DAC used for say $250 or so? Would that be a noticeable sound improvement?Thanks
    There are so many out there. Read as many reviews as you can....should give you some ideas.
    http://www.macworld.com/article/2089224/usb-dac-review-six-compact-components-for-upgrading-your-computer-s-audio.html
    http://www.whathifi.com/news/best-dacs-to-buy-in-2014
    http://www.crutchfield.com/S-6QHpZliTsOK/fg_371850_FFCustomer_Rating%7C%5Brank1%5D5%20stars%5Bimg%5D/Best-Desktop-USB-DACs.html?XVINQ=DST&XVVER=AAA#?nvpair=FFCustomer_Rating%7C%5Brank1%5D5%20stars%5Bimg%5D&avf=N&price=140-400
    http://www.hometheaterhifi.com/dacs/dacs-reviews/meridian-explorer-usb-dac.html
    http://www.computeraudiophile.com/content/428-peachtree-audio-dac-it-review-aka-dacit/
    http://www.computeraudiophile.com/content/505-meridian-explorer-usb-dac-review/
    http://www.computeraudiophile.com/content/536-meridian-audio-director-usb-dac-review/
    http://www.computeraudiophile.com/content/487-audioquest-dragonfly-review/
    http://www.computeraudiophile.com/content/558-audioengine-d3-dac-review/
    http://www.computeraudiophile.com/content/246-cambridge-audio-dacmagic-review/
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  • GatecrasherGatecrasher Posts: 1,596
    edited July 2014
    rromeo923 wrote: »
    I dont play games on computers. A Pinball machine would be more my style.

    Are you into pinball machines? I sure am.

    As for your sound system, what audio component(s) are you running analog to from your DAC output? The reason I ask is most modern higher-end A/V equipment have pretty-good DACs already on board ready to go. That would be another option to explore.
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  • tonybtonyb Posts: 31,132
    edited July 2014
    rromeo923 wrote: »
    This DAC's main job will be PC via USB to DAC out to RCA to Conrad Johnson pre. or possibly other analog Integrated etc. What do u think?? Any suggestions?

    So much for the receiver suggestion, though "Eenie, meenie, miney, mo?" just about had me spitting coffee on the screen.

    Most all dacs today have a USB input, you can get one just with usb, but then your limited to the amount of gear to hook up to it. More inputs the better in case you want to add a cdp, or something else.

    Your CJ pre deserves better, but in the 250 buck range your kinda limited in choices. The Dac Magic mentioned is a good choice for that price range and can be had used for around 200. Keces is also a good choice, Audio-gd, Arcam R-DAC, Peachtree...however you may have to add a hundred or so to that budget.

    Will a dac be better than your soundcard ? IMHO....hell yeah, if you can grab a decent dac. I know some here liked the Audioquest usb fly dac, version 1.2 is the best. Single usb input, but can be had for around 100 bucks. Personally though, if you can up your budget to around 400, your choices open up along with sound quality. Musical fidelity M1 used can be had in that area, along with a cast of others. Maybe a PS Audio DL3 too, which may do your CJ pre more justice. Just my .02
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