Sound card for hi-fi playback - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 18 Old 11-14-2010, 01:26 PM - Thread Starter
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Hey all,
I've been using a X-Mystigue 7.1 for the longest time. I recently bought and repaired a pair of Magneplanars, and with the new speakers it's pretty obvious the sound card ain't cutting it. My setup is a 2.1 home theater system. I have a computer with the video out to TV and audio to the receiver. Music from the computer is pretty good in the low and mid ranges, but it's not very bright in the treble, especially the vocals. When I pop a CD into my blu-ray player, it makes all the difference. Little less prominent in the mid range, but makes up all the difference in the treble.

I'd like to keep playing music from the computer. Any suggestions for sound card and audio format that'll provide CD-quality sound? Currently using WMA lossless.

Thanks
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post #2 of 18 Old 11-14-2010, 05:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pistonengine View Post

I'd like to keep playing music from the computer. Any suggestions for sound card and audio format that'll provide CD-quality sound? Currently using WMA lossless.

Thanks

Something like this http://www.emu.com/products/product....&product=19169 will give you exceptional stereo sound. You also can use it to send digital stream to your receiver. Use Foobar2000 http://www.foobar2000.org/ as player and ASIO mode for best results.
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post #3 of 18 Old 11-14-2010, 08:28 PM - Thread Starter
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Cool beans. Do you know of any outlets that'll allow me to return a card if I don't like the sound?
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post #4 of 18 Old 11-17-2010, 10:21 AM - Thread Starter
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You know, I just had a thought. My sound card has digital output. If I get a decent DAC, do soundcard -> DAC -> receiver (my receiver has no digital inputs), shouldn't the computer at that point just be a really expensive optical sensor for a CD player, since the PCM won't be altered? Or will it still have processing from the soundcard?
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post #5 of 18 Old 11-17-2010, 10:40 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pistonengine View Post

You know, I just had a thought. My sound card has digital output. If I get a decent DAC, do soundcard -> DAC -> receiver (my receiver has no digital inputs), shouldn't the computer at that point just be a really expensive optical sensor for a CD player, since the PCM won't be altered? Or will it still have processing from the soundcard?

If your passing it out via Optical its not being touched by the computer so you are correct.

Out of curiosity what are you using to drive the Maggies? From my understanding they tend to do much better with dedicated power (i.e. a seperate amp as opposed to a reciever).

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post #6 of 18 Old 11-17-2010, 11:08 AM - Thread Starter
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using an old Sony TA-AV670. I'd be willing to look at separate amps, though I'm still very green in the whole hi-fi audio equipment. Can you point me at an example?

I'll see if i can get a hold of a decent DAC. I've tried both playing the WMA lossless and CD in the rom drive, sounds exactly the same kind of mush.
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post #7 of 18 Old 11-17-2010, 12:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pistonengine View Post

You know, I just had a thought. My sound card has digital output. If I get a decent DAC, do soundcard -> DAC -> receiver (my receiver has no digital inputs), shouldn't the computer at that point just be a really expensive optical sensor for a CD player, since the PCM won't be altered? Or will it still have processing from the soundcard?

Any external DAC is more expensive than card I mentioned above. And if you want DAC matching quality of that card, you should allocate close to $1000 for it.
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post #8 of 18 Old 11-17-2010, 12:50 PM
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Originally Posted by ap1 View Post

Any external DAC is more expensive than card I mentioned above. And if you want DAC matching quality of that card, you should allocate close to $1000 for it.

Would recommend going this route | Internal Soundcard - 2 channel amp - Maggies

As to what amp, it really depends on which set of Maggies you have. I would look at something that can handle 4 ohm loads or lower and I dont have a ton of experience with them, so I will defer to others to give you good recommendations on amps....

Some names I hear a lot paired with Maggies are Adacom, Parasound, Carver, Macintosh...

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post #9 of 18 Old 11-17-2010, 03:30 PM - Thread Starter
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Ok I'll stick to looking at cards then. As for the amp suggestion...

something like this? http://www.adcom-usa.com/prod/shopdi...=3&prodid=1152

So do the receiver to the amp and out to the fronts? I'm a bit confused, since won't the receiver essentially be pre-amping it?
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post #10 of 18 Old 11-17-2010, 05:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pistonengine View Post

Ok I'll stick to looking at cards then. As for the amp suggestion...

something like this? http://www.adcom-usa.com/prod/shopdi...=3&prodid=1152

So do the receiver to the amp and out to the fronts? I'm a bit confused, since won't the receiver essentially be pre-amping it?

you would go computer to amp to speaker and dont need the receiver at all.

that amp would work wonders with your speakers I believe.

My Setup

 

 

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post #11 of 18 Old 11-17-2010, 05:50 PM - Thread Starter
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KK but that leaves me limited to one input for the speakers. I do use them for cable and blu-ray, too.

Edit- I also have a center channel for movies. Seems like the amp will only do if the system was dedicated to music only.
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post #12 of 18 Old 11-20-2010, 03:16 AM
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You can also go external, if the RF inside a computer is of concern.

Here's another offering by eMU. There are of course many USB audio interfaces out there.

(I looked it up a bit, and some people had problems using it with their PCs, so maybe there's newer devices out there with more compatibility)

http://www.emu.com/products/product....&product=15186

"But this one goes up to 11"
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post #13 of 18 Old 11-24-2010, 08:55 AM
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Here is one which uses its own clock to eliminate jitter

http://halidedesign.com/bridge/
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post #14 of 18 Old 11-24-2010, 05:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dear.chap View Post

Here is one which uses its own clock to eliminate jitter

http://halidedesign.com/bridge/

ALL sound card have their OWN clock. All FireWire and almost all USB audio interfaces have also have their own clock.
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post #15 of 18 Old 11-26-2010, 06:01 PM
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If you have XP and are interested in a M-Audio Delta 2496, PM me. I loved the card while I used it, but moved on to the M-Audio 1010LT for 7.1.

I say XP because they are known for not supporting Win7. I'm not sure about Vista. I use XP so it never bothered me.
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post #16 of 18 Old 11-27-2010, 06:51 AM
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If you have XP and are interested in a M-Audio Delta 2496, PM me. I loved the card while I used it, but moved on to the M-Audio 1010LT for 7.1.

I say XP because they are known for not supporting Win7. I'm not sure about Vista. I use XP so it never bothered me.
It seems like they DO support Win7 - http://www.m-audio.com/index.php?do=...6d60474dcb82b0
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post #17 of 18 Old 11-27-2010, 04:37 PM
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It seems like they DO support Win7 - http://www.m-audio.com/index.php?do=...6d60474dcb82b0

They have drivers, but that doesn't mean they work. . If it worked on Win7, I'd have sold the card to my friend already.
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post #18 of 18 Old 12-06-2010, 12:35 AM
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I have a m-audio 2496 working well with win7(32-bit) media centre and foobar2000 (asio) behind for flac music playback.
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