Which soundcard with balanced outs has the best SQ and is less than $250? - diyAudio
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Old 24th October 2007, 11:14 PM   #1
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Default Which soundcard with balanced outs has the best SQ and is less than $250?

So far I've narrowed it down to the E-mu 1212m, the E-mu 0404 USB, and the M-audio delta audiophile 192...

All of these have balanced outs and seemingly good DAC's, and cost around the same amount. Does anyone know which would give the best sound quality, or are they pretty closely matched...

FWIW, my system isn't mega-high end:

Soundcard > balanced headphone amp > Re-terminated HD-600's

but I'm looking for an improvement over my current (aging) M-audio delta 44.
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Old 24th October 2007, 11:57 PM   #2
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I think you might be better off with a digital coaxial audio output to a DAC.
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Old 25th October 2007, 01:11 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally posted by ak_47_boy
I think you might be better off with a digital coaxial audio output to a DAC.
I've had a look, but I cannot find any DAC's which are under $250 and have a balanced output? Unless there is a DIY route I'm not aware of?
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Old 25th October 2007, 02:18 AM   #4
jcx is offline jcx  United States
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esi juli@ is very competitive at ~US$130
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Old 26th October 2007, 01:32 PM   #5
protos is offline protos  Greece
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Quote:
Originally posted by MikeHunt79

I've had a look, but I cannot find any DAC's which are under $250 and have a balanced output? Unless there is a DIY route I'm not aware of?

I think twisted pear have what you want --balanced diy dac .A bit on the expensive side but interesting.
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Old 26th October 2007, 01:39 PM   #6
protos is offline protos  Greece
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There you go.Actually not so expensive if you factor in all the modules.You just need a case.
The best bang for the buck USB-DAC-Headamp-headphones.
http://www.twistedpearaudio.com/opus/opus.aspx
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Old 28th October 2007, 08:26 AM   #7
ssmith is offline ssmith  France
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I'd go for the 0404USB -- lots of modding potential too.

The Twisted Pear Opus looks like an excellent choice, though all the modules+transformer+case+connectors would probably push it over budget.
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Old 28th October 2007, 05:19 PM   #8
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Wow, the Twisted Pair kit looks very good... I've bookmarked their site.

I managed to pick up a 2nd hand 1212m in the end, as I managed to get one at a good price (73).
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