New Soundcard or External DAC?

Discussion in 'Computer Components' started by DIBSTER, Nov 28, 2010.

  1. DIBSTER

    DIBSTER
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    Hope I'm in the right forum for starters.

    I'm looking to downsize my hi-fi set-up and have the vast majority of my source being my PC (FLAC/MP3 files, Internet Radio and Spotify etc). In the past I have fed my amp from my PC via a Beresford DAC/Toslink cable. At the moment it is via a Naim Uniti. The Uniti is going, fantastic piece of kit but I need the finance elsewhere.

    I would like any opinions as to whether it is worth my while upgrading my onboard Realtek s/c to a better "audiophile" s/c (Asus Xonar Essence for example) and feed my amp directly from my PC, or to buy myself something like a Beresford Caiman DAC and continue using a Toslink cable etc.

    I've never had anything on my PC's before other than the standard onboard s/c so have no real experience of whether I could expect a big improvement by upgrading s/c's.

    Your thoughts would be most appreciated.

    Regards

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  2. rorackowe

    rorackowe
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    Confused, can't you feed your new, lower end HiFi with your Beresford Dac from SPDIF out on your motherboard like you already do? Why do you need a new Dac or soundcard?

    I use a PC with lossless audio -> beresford Dac (pre usb) via toslink -> standard stereo components.
     
  3. rorackowe

    rorackowe
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    Ah, so you no longer have the DAC and use the one in the Uniti? Your ears will provide the answer maybe. How much better was the Naim DAC compared to the Beresford? I'm pretty cloth eared so not sure if I could tell. My beresford in my lower end setup was massively better than onboard DAC and slightly better than my separates CD player with the same track. I've never tried an add in soundcard as I thought a separate external DAC would be less subject to electronic interference.
     
  4. DIBSTER

    DIBSTER
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    Cloth eared? Yes, I reckon I am too :)

    I went from a Beresford 7510 DAC into a Marantz PM7001, to a Naim Uniti at a considerably higher cost. Don't get me wrong the Uniti is a fabulous bit of kit and sounds great, but I can't get away from thinking that the Beresford/Marantz set-up was not that much below it sound quality wise. Thats probably down to my ears.

    Anyway, my main reason to post the question was to see whether a top quality soundcard could compete with a similar priced external DAC. Anyways, I reckon a return to the external DAC route is the way forward for me, and there appears to be quite a bit of choice in the £150/£200 area.

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