Would an external DAC be worth the money ?

Discussion in 'Headphones, Earphones & Portable Music' started by actionhenk, Feb 15, 2014.

  1. actionhenk

    actionhenk
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    Hello,

    Not sure if im posting it on the right (sub)forum, I have a small issue and hope someone here can tell me what you think.

    I am currently using an auzentech hometheater hd soundcard with a x-fi chip on it with upgraded opamps and has a cirrus logic CS4382A dac. Im using it with a denon d7100 headphone. The sound with the soundcard is pretty good. Have plenty of volume and the detail is ok too. Im wondering if I can improve it some more. Im looking into a Yulong DA8 but I dont know if it will improve the quality of sound(looking for more clarity and detail in music) enough to justify the 1200 euro price. Im not able to test it since its not for sale in the country where I live.

    The Yulong uses an ESS Sabre 9018 chip I have googled for a comparison between the Cirrus logic and the sabre chip, but it doesnt get me much results. The Sabre chip is much better from what I read. It supports alot of high res sources which is nice to have but the sources I listen to are mostly 320 kbps mp3 and FLAC/wav files...

    Im hoping someone on this forum has some experience with the Yulong DA8 and Auzentech HTHD. Or experience in general with a soundcard DAC vs external DAC in regard of sound quality. Has an external DAC improved your sound quality vs a soundcard ?

    Thanks!
     
  2. clarkyb

    clarkyb
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    negliable differences I imagine
    YMMV but I ran 4 sources into a switch box, level matched them and honestly I couldn't tell the difference between my laptop's output (high end cirrus logic dac though), audio engine d1, a few fiio dac's and a usb gaming sound card
    using aka 701 headphones
    perhaps the yulong is a class above, it's certainly in a different ballpark in terms of price- but A/B/X it with your current equipment, and if you can't hear a difference don't buy it/return it- remember that's a lot of money to spend and if when ABXing you can't hear a clear difference, then the difference is minor and it's up to you whether it's worth it...



    edit:
    the funny thing is I made pages of notes comparing the DAC's listening to them side by side, i'd consistently be able to say 'oh the bass is better on this one', or 'this one sounds muddy', but take away the preconceptions of 'this was the most expensive, it better be the best' and the truth might be unfortunate- I was incredibly surprised to hear that the once 'audible' differences were not squashed to zero, when I was able to instantly switch between inputs and I didn't know which was which- it was incredibly freeing and enlightening
     
  3. Steven

    Steven
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    It's about implementation rather than just having a DAC chip in there. A variant of the sabre family is seemingly in everything these days

    You should take your soundcard to a local hifi dealer and compare to their DAC stock. They probably will not have either model mentioned in your post but still useful to get an idea of what is out there and hear for yourself

    I advise people not to buy audio blind but definitely with a DAC. ppl usually find it easier to compare headphones. As you upgrade source better definition and soundstage separation should be heard but then you have to look at the cost vs benefit ratio.
     
  4. clarkyb

    clarkyb
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    buy and listen at home- use amazon for the great returns

    i'm not sure you can trust salesmen...
     
  5. Steven

    Steven
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    I think people should know salesmen advice may carry a caveat. You are mainly demoing for yourself and using your own ears. Have never been pushed into any buy at national or independent audio retailers regardless.

    Using demo facilities allows for comparison of several pieces at the same time which is the most useful thing.

    Also maybe with other items but with DACs I have not seen much of an online saving anyway.

    Anyone who can afford to buy several items online and return unwanted items later would not also post such a thread
     

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