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Will adding a DAC improve my PC's sound?

This is a discussion on Will adding a DAC improve my PC's sound? within the Sound Cards forums, part of the Tech Support Forum category. I've been considering adding a DAC to my PC to (possibly) improve my audio. I have this set up now:


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Old 12-28-2014, 11:34 PM   #1
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I've been considering adding a DAC to my PC to (possibly) improve my audio.
I have this set up now:
Win 7 Home Premium 64bit, I5, 6GB RAM, and
RealTek HD Audio Manager:
Audio Driver Version:6.0.1.6586
DirectX Version:DirectX 11.0
Audio Controller:HD Audio
Audio Codec:ALC892

I have my audio being pumped via a mini phono jack to my JVC RX-6008VBK Audio/Video Control Receiver(100 W/channel), using two Bose, side and top firing, mahogany wood, floor-standing speakers(24HX15X13D).

My first question is:does my audio get processed thru my PC's sound card(RealTek chip set),
or is the DAC in my JVC doing the D to A conversion?

Second question:if my sound card is doing the conversion, will adding a '96/24' DAC improve my sound quality to justify the expense?

I listen to alot of FLAC/WAV music and HD audio movies. While I get a very 'full' and 'rich' sound out of my current set-up, I'm wondering if I'm missing out on some 'nuances' that are in my files, but my system can't reproduce.
Thoughts anyone?
Thanks!
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Old 01-02-2015, 07:20 AM   #2
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First) The 3.5mm standard audio ports are analog. The JVC is simply processing the analog signal.

Second) Maybe. There is no real answer here as audio is subjective. The quality is also dependant upon all of the hardware in the path, especially the speakers. Will you hear a difference? Maybe. Is it worth the expense? Only you can answer that, and sadly, the only way to know is to spend the money.

If you are currently happy, leave it alone.
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Old 01-02-2015, 10:33 AM   #3
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Hi tkmops and welcome to TSF

As JimE says above, plus the DACS rely on software drivers, which can make or break 'em. Unfortunately, review-videos for various sound-cards aren't much help either, as the audio is dependant on your existing sound-chip.
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Old 01-03-2015, 02:45 PM   #4
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Thanks for the responses. So, then my PC sound card(RealTek Audio chip)
is doing the A to D conversion? Since my sound card is only a year old, it's DAC
is probably better than the DAC in my 10 year old JVC receiver. Maybe I'll just leave it as it is, unless someone can recommend a high-end sound card, with a better conversion?

Thanks!
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Old 01-03-2015, 02:48 PM   #5
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Hmmmm....maybe I need to update my RealTek HD Audio Manager drivers? I don't see
anywhere in the control panel a way to 'Update'. Anyone know how to?
Thanks!
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Old 01-03-2015, 08:34 PM   #6
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You'd need to visit the motherboard manufacturer's website, to get the specific audio-drivers for that particular model
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Old 01-04-2015, 08:29 AM   #7
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OK, thanks! I'll check it out.
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