PakOne

Honorable
Nov 18, 2013
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Hi,

I currently have a Gaming PC with a dedicated sound card, the Sound BlasterX AE-5 and a pair of Edifier audiophile grade stereo speakers along with the Sennheiser HD 600 headphones.

I was wondering if it'd be worth it to get a high quality DAC in order to get a superior sound quality vs the Sound BlasterX AE-5, which is a great soundcard and can output up to 384 kHz at 32 bit

I listen to my music in FLAC lossless quality around 900kbps and 1000kbps, more or less depending on the song, and I play games too at the highest audio quality possible.

I'm also thinking about getting a good amp and/or preamp too to even enhance more the hearing experience, but I'm not sure if it would make it better of it's unnecessary due to the fact that those DACs also incorporate an amp and preamp with the ability to use them at your convenience.
 
Last edited:
Feb 6, 2020
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I have an Audient iD4 external interface, let me offer some perspective.

While the iD4 can only output at a "measly" 24-bit / 96 kHz, it's still one of the best-sounding pieces of kit I've ever owned, with some rock-solid drivers backing it up. When you're at the point of spending hundreds of dollars on an I/O device, barring extremes, there won't be much of a difference in output conversion quality, since most manufacturers tend to source their converters from two or three brands at this price-point (usually Burr Brown or AKB CODEC, but there are others). There's a few who develop in-house for this (RME and MOTU spring to mind), but by and large, converters come from one of two to three places.

I love my iD4. Audient's mix console design pedigree really shows through in their smaller-format product lineup. But at $200-800 USD, most converters sound pretty similar. That is to say, they sound clean and mostly transparent.
 
Reactions: PakOne
Feb 6, 2020
99
10
45
12
I have an Audient iD4 external interface, let me offer some perspective.

While the iD4 can only output at a "measly" 24-bit / 96 kHz, it's still one of the best-sounding pieces of kit I've ever owned, with some rock-solid drivers backing it up. When you're at the point of spending hundreds of dollars on an I/O device, barring extremes, there won't be much of a difference in output conversion quality, since most manufacturers tend to source their converters from two or three brands at this price-point (usually Burr Brown or AKB CODEC, but there are others). There's a few who develop in-house for this (RME and MOTU spring to mind), but by and large, converters come from one of two to three places.

I love my iD4. Audient's mix console design pedigree really shows through in their smaller-format product lineup. But at $200-800 USD, most converters sound pretty similar. That is to say, they sound clean and mostly transparent.
 
Reactions: PakOne
Jul 28, 2020
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I find the AE-5 in my gaming PC has a pretty superb DAC built-in. (SABRE32 ). I definitely enjoy it as much/if not more than my Topping D30. I found the built-in Amp a little lacking for my some of my harder to drive cans so I pair it with an S.M.S.L. SP200. I say maybe try out a better AMP before you go and blow a ton of money on a DAC. The SP200 is like around $265 on Amazon, and for 99% of the population is an "End Game" piece of equipment. (THX Chipsets really are a game changer). Cheers and best of luck!
 

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