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Analogue Output Sound Card Required

Discussion in 'Computer Components' started by steverussell, Nov 15, 2004.

  1. steverussell

    steverussell
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    Hi,

    I am sure this has been covered many times before but I am looking for a relatively high end Sound Card. The main pupose of which will be as a DAC, from an internal cd drive to an Amplier Receiver (Yamaha DSP-AX1). Possibly for recording media as well. I really want to try and optimise music sound reproduction as much as I can. I am aware that the Lynx cards are very good but they do seem to have a lot of features that I am unlikely to use and hence I don't feal that I would get full value from it?

    Any recommendations much appreciated.
     
  2. APC

    APC
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    Hi there,

    It all depends how much you are prepared to spend! I have an M-Audio Audiophile 2496 and it sounds very nice indeed through both its analog and SPDIF outputs. Bit-perfect playback (i.e. no bogus onboard resampling). A year ago these sold for about 150 quid+, but they're only 70 now - a real bargain!

    E-MU also make well-regarded and affordable cards.

    As you say, the Lynx cards (esp. the Lynx II) are probably the most highly regarded, but I haven't seen a Lynx II for less than 500 quid (haven't looked for a while)

    But at the high end you're paying for the recording capabilities of the cards more than anything. If you only want to do basic recording the Lynx would be overkill IMHO.

    Try the hardware forum at Hydrogenaudio.org for more tips.

    HTH
     
  3. steverussell

    steverussell
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    Thanks for the reply, I guess you get what you pay for (as with anything). I would be interested to know whether the improvement in sound quality would still be significant using one of the above mentioned cards (m-audio, EMU) with an internal CD drive, as opposed to using a mid/high end CD player into the AMP (as I have at the moment)?
     
  4. APC

    APC
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    It depends on your ears, but I would say not. Although the mid-market cards these days are excellent at keeping noise levels to a minimum, there will always be a bit of noise introduced by the PC environment. Whether you can hear it or not is a different matter though. I would also bet that your good hi-fi CD player will have a very nice, well-tuned DAC, whereas it might be hit and miss with a PC sound card.

    Also, I'm sure you've already thought of this, but the actual whirring of CD drives can be very irritating.

    Can I ask why you won't be using a SPDIF output and why you don't want to rip your CDs and store them on a hard drive? This would be the route that most people would take.
     
  5. broona

    broona
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    Very favourable review of the Creative E-MU 0404 here . :)
     

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