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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
What I am looking for:

best pc-based sound setup for 2-channel music


What I have now;

SB Live w/ digital out

Monarchy Dip

stock MSB Link Dac II


Features I want:

1. Best overall sound quality for price

2. Good da conversion and analog stages

3. Upsampling

4. Low Jitter

5. Good Digital out w/o distortion and clean clock


Possible Options

1. cmedia 8738 with bit-perfect coax digital out to monarchy dip and modified upsampling MSB Link Dac II; same soundcard chipset as M-Audio Dio 2448

2. Same as above but Audiophile soundcard (possibly better as digital out and better clock so less jitter; upsampling could be done through software because 96khz output)

3. Delta 1010 (data read through ide cable so I think clock would be at dac and that would eliminate jittery spdif; supposedly excellent da conversion and analog stages; negatives would be that upsampling would have to be software, couldn't be used as standalone dac, and no upgrade options)

4. Hoontech Audio DSP24 temporarily to monarchy dip and MSB Link Dac II and eventually to Hoontech Dac II (dac has excellent parts such as Burr Brown DF1704 and PCM1704 plus opa627);Hoontech dac and soundcard can connect through data port so clock would be at dac and eliminate jitter; Hoontech also sells Digital Modulator III which features crystal cs8420 sample rate converter which can upsample to 96khz and is same chip in MSB upsampling card among others

5. wait and see what the creative labs audigy will bring; it supposedly features 2496 and selectable bit-rates for digital out plus it would still be a great gaming card; otherwise same as #2


I would appreciate any more information or suggestions that would pertain to my situation.
 

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Just go straight to the Audiophile 24/96. AFAIK none of the M-Audio cards have software that can upsample to 24/96. The CMI-8738 is not bit perfect. I would not keep or wait for any Creative cards.


T.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Tony, I would like a bit more info about your setup. Do you have both the Audiophile and a cmedia card? Are you using them both as a digital out? What dac are you using?


About the upsampling software, it is not in any way related to M-Audio. After a couple of interesting threads at the Headwize forums, someone supposedly developed an upsampling plug-in for Winamp. I can't test it since I don't have a 96khz capable card. http://headwize.com/ubb/Forum4/HTML/000345.html


What do you mean about the cmedia card not being bit-perfect? It doesn't resample to 48khz. I am a bit reluctant to spend $160 on an Audiophile when I could get a $20 cmedia card with digital out that is probably much better than my SB Live. If the cards' digital outs are nearly the same quality then I would much rather spend the $140 difference on my dac.

 

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I have a number of HTPC's. I always use digital output except on the Delta 24/96. I use a Sony 9000es preamp.


I'll look into the upsampler.


The CMI-8738 does not do dts CD and there are some odd issues with the 44.1/48kHz settings that have been documented in the recent past.


T.
 
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