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DAC, or Internal Sound Card ?

This is a discussion on DAC, or Internal Sound Card ? within the Sound Cards forums, part of the Tech Support Forum category. Hi Guys, I have a small type external amp (SMSL SA-50 2x50W D-AMP TDA7492 Hi-Fi Stereo Amplifier) it plugs into


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Old 09-24-2016, 06:33 AM   #1
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Hi Guys, I have a small type external amp (SMSL SA-50 2x50W D-AMP TDA7492 Hi-Fi Stereo Amplifier)
it plugs into the motherboard with a single jack, the cable then twins into left and right stereo, plugs into the amp, have 2 spkrs, the amp has no mic option, it's simply an amp.
I would like to buy a set of headphones kinda upmarket a little, would like to develop my music side of things.
Internal Sound Card, or External DAC, and how will either work with my existing system, I am unsure what to buy internal or external, would like to listen to some high quality sound ish, however I want to keep my left and right spkrs on the wall, need advice on either DAC or Internal Sound Card, and how they will work with my amp, it's a bit long winded, and I'm sorry about this.
Will I need an amp to drive the external DAC for instance ?


Motherboard is Motherboard MSI Z170A Skylake M7 GAMING ATX

Huge thanx
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Old 09-24-2016, 06:57 AM   #2
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Largely depends on the headphones that you will be using.

No reason to change the speaker configuration. Just add whatever hardware needed for your headphones.

Most sound cards don't have the power to drive headphones, especially good headphones. So you will likely want to go with a DAC and amp.

Check out the numerous topics on this subject over at HardOCP: https://hardforum.com/forums/computer-audio.33/
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Old 09-25-2016, 10:57 AM   #3
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Does your stereo-amp have a headphone-socket?

If no and you're on a budget, the 'Asus Xonar' range of sound-cards have a built-in headphone amp and can work with both stereo and 5:1 headphones. Most of the audio-quality will be from the headphones, rather than the sound-card
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Old 09-26-2016, 04:17 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WereBo View Post
Does your stereo-amp have a headphone-socket?

If no and you're on a budget, the 'Asus Xonar' range of sound-cards have a built-in headphone amp and can work with both stereo and 5:1 headphones. Most of the audio-quality will be from the headphones, rather than the sound-card
Hi, it's a simple amp no mic or headphone sockets, I have been reading a bit about all the options, as well as looking for headphones, I like the Sony MDR-100 ABN H.Ear Wireless, if I have this right all I need is a blue-tooth Dongle Transmitter, and I can use these, without Amp, Dac and all that stuff, however unsure of the quality of sound from my PC, all I can do is try, see what it sounds like, and move on from there.
The obvious question is am I on the right track ?
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Old 09-26-2016, 08:40 AM   #5
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Yep that should work OK - I just read a couple of reviews re: the Sony MDR-100ABN h'phones and they seem to be good, the main 'niggle' seems to using them unpowered (i.e. if the battery's flat and using a straight audio connection), then the sound-quality drops drastically, but that shouldn't bother you with no h'phone socket on your amp.

1 word of warning though, I found that getting the cheapest USB-transiever is a waste of money, I had to return 3 before I got a working one, then it died 4~5 months later. Look for a branded mid-priced unit, at least you'll get a better warranty

USB h'phones derive their audio from whatever sound-chip is in the PC, the the output is directed to the audio-sockets unless a USB-dongle is connected, the audio is then sent to that instead. If your onboard sound isn't very good quality, then use a 3rd-party sound-card.

If you listen to lots of .MP3 music, the 'Soundblaster XFi Xtreme Audio' card is very good, the Soundblaster control-panel has a 'Crystaliser' section which, though it sounds gimmicky, restores even 128kb/s .MP3 quality very well.
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Old 09-26-2016, 08:57 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WereBo View Post
Yep that should work OK - I just read a couple of reviews re: the Sony MDR-100ABN h'phones and they seem to be good, the main 'niggle' seems to using them unpowered (i.e. if the battery's flat and using a straight audio connection), then the sound-quality drops drastically, but that shouldn't bother you with no h'phone socket on your amp.

1 word of warning though, I found that getting the cheapest USB-transiever is a waste of money, I had to return 3 before I got a working one, then it died 4~5 months later. Look for a branded mid-priced unit, at least you'll get a better warranty

USB h'phones derive their audio from whatever sound-chip is in the PC, the the output is directed to the audio-sockets unless a USB-dongle is connected, the audio is then sent to that instead. If your onboard sound isn't very good quality, then use a 3rd-party sound-card.

If you listen to lots of .MP3 music, the 'Soundblaster XFi Xtreme Audio' card is very good, the Soundblaster control-panel has a 'Crystaliser' section which, though it sounds gimmicky, restores even 128kb/s .MP3 quality very well.
Wealth of info here, thanx, looking at Class1 Bluetooth 4.0 with CSR8510-A10 Chipset USB Dongle Adapter for PC Laptop, Bluetooth Transmitter and Receiver For Windows 10 / 8.1 / 8 / 7 / Vista - Plug and Play on Win 7 and above. EDR 3 Mbps . 4WORLD

but this is just a guess, also many thanx re: sound card, can I buy a stereo sound card they all seem to be 5.1 or 7.1 etc
I have

Roccat Kave XTD 5.1 Digital Premium Surround Headset with USB Remote and Sound Card

so no need for 5.1 etc, I use these for gaming,

If I may ask a question. how good a sound from the PC should I expect ? source Flac some lossless and mp3

sincere thank you very much appreciated
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Old 09-28-2016, 07:58 AM   #7
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That Bluetooth dongle looks to have excellent specs, I could listen to my stereo on my balcony without annoying the neighbours with that (Mine's only V.2, up to 3m~4m )

All modern(ish) sound-cards can handle stereo perfectly well, they can sense what outputs are in use and set themselves accordingly.

Some cards (or rather, the drivers for them) can also 'synthesise' surround-sound from stereo, so stereo music will stil come out of 4/5/7/ whatever speakers you're using. 'Lesser' cards will feed a stereo signal to just the front 2 speakers. I'm not sure which cards can do that though, it'll take a bit of research for each card & their drivers to find it.

Onboard sound-quality is usually excellent, it's just that the audio tends to be the last thing manufacturers consider when balancing costs and quality, onboard sound circuitry tends to be the 1st thing to die of age, before most other bits.

Also, some manufacturers 'tune' the audio for gaming, which doesn't always sound so good for music, so a sound-card can make a cheap and easy improvement there.
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