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  #11  
Old 28-12-17, 01:07 PM
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AlienALX AlienALX is offline
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Every sound card has a DAC. Otherwise it couldn't create signal for headphones/speakers. Quality of it is another story.
Well that is what I was saying. IE - if the DAC is a good one you don't need another. Just an amp. Why pay for something you don't need etc?

As for the other part? I have never had an onboard sound card drive any set of headphones I use as well as a good amplifier. Ever. I haven't tested a very modern sound card like the ones Asus are bashing out with the nichicon caps but I would imagine it's the same sort of story.

I was told I would not need an amp to drive my Beats Studio wired w/NC. However, whilst they do sound good and hit pretty hard on my phone, laptop and TV gaming PC without any amplification there is no denying they sound even better when amped up.

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Old 28-12-17, 01:28 PM
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Well that is what I was saying. IE - if the DAC is a good one you don't need another. Just an amp. Why pay for something you don't need etc?
Because AMP will amplify the noise from the case, and every onboard sound card has that noise. You won't get that crystal clear sound until you move your DAC chip outside of the case. That is the only point of external DACs. Move it away from noisy PC. DAC is just a fancy name for external sound card that has one output for headphones.
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  #13  
Old 28-12-17, 01:33 PM
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Because AMP will amplify the noise from the case, and every onboard sound card has that noise. You won't get that crystal clear sound until you move your DAC chip outside of the case. That is the only point of external DACs. Move it away from noisy PC. DAC is just a fancy name for external sound card that has one output for headphones.
Yeah true. I get this terrible buzzing through my sound cards when gaming (sounds like coil whine). So I use my Aune T1 for gaming. It definitely cuts out any looping or interference.
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Old 28-12-17, 01:39 PM
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Yeah true. I get this terrible buzzing through my sound cards when gaming (sounds like coil whine). So I use my Aune T1 for gaming. It definitely cuts out any looping or interference.
Exactly my point.
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Old 28-12-17, 04:17 PM
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You don't use DAC to drive the headphones primarily. Yes it is necessary for higher end ones, but the main reason is to remove DAC from your PC case which is very noisy. Do you know that whooshy sound that you get when you turn volume up on your speakers, or headphones that are connected to in case sound card? That is computer noise. External DAC gives you clear sound no matter how high is your volume, because analog signal is away from the computer. Digital signals aren't affected. You get better sound if you plug your headphones at the back of the PC instead of front, just because that long audio cable absorbs all the noise.
That's noise of a low quality unit, not noise due to poor insulation. That would be crackles which react to load, etc. Nowadays that isn't really present through headphone jack, but many motherboards still get that through mic in.

Obviously if you have that problem, go for an external DAC. But many decent mobos have good enough audio for that not to matter.

I actually just switched to onboard audio from my DAC after switching motherboards since there's no audible difference for me anymore.
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Old 28-12-17, 04:43 PM
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That's noise of a low quality unit, not noise due to poor insulation. That would be crackles which react to load, etc. Nowadays that isn't really present through headphone jack, but many motherboards still get that through mic in.

Obviously if you have that problem, go for an external DAC. But many decent mobos have good enough audio for that not to matter.

I actually just switched to onboard audio from my DAC after switching motherboards since there's no audible difference for me anymore.
Probably weren't using a quality audio setup or gear that wasn't capable of showing you the difference in quality in addition to not having a quality source. You can have the best quality gear in the world but if the source is some crappy MP3 it'll still sound like crap.

Their is a difference. The older you get the less you can tell but it is factually there. Everybody is different. That said the Fiio E10k is a good budget combo unit. The other unit I would recommend is the Schiit Fulla 2. Either one is good. Fiio is cheaper though.

At 32ohms the amplifier isn't what I would focus on just the DAC quality and cheapness.
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Old 28-12-17, 05:05 PM
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That's noise of a low quality unit, not noise due to poor insulation. That would be crackles which react to load, etc. Nowadays that isn't really present through headphone jack, but many motherboards still get that through mic in.
D2X, XFI Tit HD and D2X all do it in my flat. In three different rigs.
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Old 28-12-17, 05:34 PM
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Probably weren't using a quality audio setup or gear that wasn't capable of showing you the difference in quality in addition to not having a quality source. You can have the best quality gear in the world but if the source is some crappy MP3 it'll still sound like crap.
Yeah FLACs listened with a pair of AKG K702s is the definition of crappy.

Fact is, digital to analog conversion is a problem we've solved already, even in integrated motherboard audio for higher end boards. You need amplification for many hifi headphones, but DACs aren't that useful in general.
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  #19  
Old 29-12-17, 02:43 AM
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Yeah FLACs listened with a pair of AKG K702s is the definition of crappy.

Fact is, digital to analog conversion is a problem we've solved already, even in integrated motherboard audio for higher end boards. You need amplification for many hifi headphones, but DACs aren't that useful in general.
Just because it's a flac doesn't mean anything. You can make an MP3 a flac but it'll still sound just as terrible.

A DAC matters and makes a difference. But amplification also makes a difference. Everything makes a difference in the audio line. From your gear coloring and warming the sound to the headphones just not liking your specific gear to even cheap vs expensive cables (I don't think 99% of the people would notice but hey it's possible).
We haven't solved DACs. If we did we would have super cheap bit perfect DACs in every device. But with Delta Sigma based DACs we are limited in what we are able to hear. They can be a 4bit DAC upsampled with an algorithm to 24bit. It's not the same. A 16bit only based chip would sound noticeably better even though it's not 24bit. But they are rare and super expensive.

DACs and Amps are useful. DACs give you the quality the Amp gives you the power and coloring of the sound. It's about finding out what you like best and prefer. That's why audio enthusiast always buy tons of gear and have stacks and stacks of it.

If you don't think DACs have any use I'd like you to take a crappy phone or a device with a low quality DAC and just use an AMP. It'll sound absolutely horrible on any pair of headphone/headset/etc.

Not everybody has sensitive hearing, but to say it's not important is just naive. If my old grandfather who is half deaf can hear a difference than I'm sure someone younger(such as yourself) can also hear a difference. Unless of course you damaged your hearing at some point. Then in which case I'm sorry and would completely retract my points!
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  #20  
Old 29-12-17, 04:45 AM
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Wow... I don't want to be blunt but calm your titties down. I've been working with music and music production for the past 20 years, and i hate audiophiles. They always brag about gear, and how you did this wrong, and that wrong, and you need gold cable with indium core to have the best quality. This tube amp, that tube pre-amp. The fact is most of that is usually pointless.

RME HDSPe AES paired with RME ADI-8 DS Mk III over digital AES/EBU and on Adam A7X speakers with half decent cables will beat any pile of gear that they have. Because it was built for one purpose only. To give you the cleanest sound, and closest to the original recording. If you want to go bonkers mental go with RME HDSPe AES, RME ADI-4 DD, Adam S3V (AES3 digital input on the speaker) and DiGiGrid Q Cube for a full digital system. And that is only entry to medium level professional audio gear.

To summarize:
- For normal user if you want clean sound go with basically any DAC/external sound card just to remove it from the PC. As AlienALX pointed out it kills the buzz.

- Do you need an AMP? It depends. If your DAC/external sound card have specification to drive headphones/speakers then no you don't need an AMP. Otherwise buy appropriate one.

- If you want to have the best sound go and ask someone who is into professional music production, or someone who works with professional music production gear, not with audiophile.
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