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Old 20th January 2015, 5:53 PM   #1
trackhappy Thread Starter
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Default Dead onboard sound - are DAC's really worth it?

So my onboard sound died (broken line out and AFAIK it can not be reassigned in software) and I've been looking at DACs for a while as I want something a bit more portable and perhaps versatile than a sound card.

Which leads me to another question. I consider myself a mild audiophile but I am also a massive skeptic, I don't buy the whole cable stupidity for a second, bits are bits, USB vs Optical vs whatever doesn't make those bits sound any different, etc, etc, you get the idea.

So I'm wondering - are DACs really worth it? Especially considering my case, i.e. my motherboard and it's VIA VT1828S chipset and my Microlab Solo6c speakers.

I'm considering a Fiio E07K or maybe an E17K if the budget can stretch that far - but would like to keep it to $100 if I can.

Why I'm looking at a DAC in particular is I want something that's portable and more versatile as I said (will be using it with more than one computer), but I also don't want to have to deal with sound card driver bullshit if those problems still exist (it's been a while since I've owned a sound card).

So, are DACs worth it? Or would I be tunnelling into an expensive rabbit hole with little benefit?

Cheers.
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Old 20th January 2015, 6:00 PM   #2
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I am no audiophile, but will happily highly rate the Fiio E7 (older model) anyway.

I got it as a second sound card, knowing it may be a bit better than my onboard. In the end, I was blown away be the quality and stoked with the purchase.

Bang for buck, these are amazing.
If you wanted to go a bit cheaper, there are a few USB T-Amp DACs which are ok, but you really need to do your research to avoid getting a dud.
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Old 21st January 2015, 11:50 AM   #3
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You could go for just a USB Sound Card, like this or this.
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Old 21st January 2015, 12:17 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Datsun 1600 View Post
You could go for just a USB Sound Card, like this or this.
They convert the usb (digital) to the 3.5 audio output (analog)

I.e they are dacs
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Old 21st January 2015, 8:44 PM   #5
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Thanks for the replies. I don't need to go too cheap (and those Creative ones linked earlier aren't really much cheaper anyway), I'm after something that I can use with everything, and the Fiio gear seems to fit the bill rather well.

Am about to pull the trigger on the E07K, hopefully it gets here by Friday.

Cheers
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Old 22nd January 2015, 8:44 PM   #6
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I guess you've already "Pulled the trigger" - but I've been using a Soundblaster Xfi-HD for quite a while, and love it. The equalized phono amp was the clincher (I rip stuff from vinyl a bit). It's solely a stereo solution, though. I also have an Xfi Surround pro on my work PC. I eschewed onboard sound a long long time ago, but hell, the first soundcard I got was an Adlib!!!!

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Old 24th January 2015, 10:36 AM   #7
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Well worth it, but it depends on what you're after. The FIIO on the same level as a decent sound card - up to 300ish you can't really go past Xonar cards though
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Old 24th January 2015, 2:29 PM   #8
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I used to be a skeptic,

then i picked up a xonar u7 (external USB)

difference in quality of sound is amazing both for gaming and music
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