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Old 21st January 2011, 08:51 AM   #1
robump is offline robump  United Kingdom
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Default Gigawork DAC vs Asus xonar essence stx

Hi

I am looking to upgrade the sound output for my pc, currently i am just using the standard motherboard sound output but would like a dac/soundcard to improve the quality of the FLAC music i play. I have identical itunes libarys on my mac and windows 7 machine so was thinking that i could use the DAC on both via usb.

Please could you give your opinions on either a gigawork DAC or the ASUS xonar essence STX sound card. I have read a lot on here about the gigaworks dac and it seems to get a good rep. The one i was looking at is THIS ONE on ebay.

Thanks for your help.
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Old 21st January 2011, 10:57 AM   #2
sendler is offline sendler  United States
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Default Mods

If you can diy the direct out mod, the sound of the Gigaworks Big Dac Board can be world class although I haven't tried the usb yet. They can be unreliable though so again, some diy may be needed to get the source selector working. Ask here.
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Experience with this DIY DAC ?
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Quote:
Originally Posted by robump View Post
Hi

I am looking to upgrade the sound output for my pc, currently i am just using the standard motherboard sound output but would like a dac/soundcard to improve the quality of the FLAC music i play. I have identical itunes libarys on my mac and windows 7 machine so was thinking that i could use the DAC on both via usb.

Please could you give your opinions on either a gigawork DAC or the ASUS xonar essence STX sound card. I have read a lot on here about the gigaworks dac and it seems to get a good rep. The one i was looking at is THIS ONE on ebay.

Thanks for your help.
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Old 21st January 2011, 12:50 PM   #3
kec is offline kec  United States
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I bought the Gigawork "BIG" DAC with the intention of using the USB, but found out it couldn't pass higher than 48k. So, I also got the Musiland 01 USD (coax out) for USB interface - which goes to 192k (if that matters to you).

I gotta say, the Gigawork + Musiland sounds real good to me (even in its stock form). Now, this is my first DAC and I have nothing else to compare it to. The upsampling on the Gigawork is an added bonus.
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Old 24th January 2011, 01:30 PM   #4
robump is offline robump  United Kingdom
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So would the gigawork i linked to earlier work straight out the box?

Im really tempted.
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Old 24th January 2011, 02:57 PM   #5
kec is offline kec  United States
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Yes. Wire up the primaries and secondaries on the transformer and you're good to go. Set the input jumpers (coax, toslink, USB) per the instructions on the 3" CD - or, on this forum.

I have mine setup on a piece plywood right now A case to follow shortly.

You might want to confirm this, but I think there was a problem with the 192k upsampling on the DIR-9001. Can someone confirm?
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Old 24th January 2011, 06:06 PM   #6
robump is offline robump  United Kingdom
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Just noticed this on the gigaworks ebay site, have they just added some lt-1361's do you think this will make a noticeable difference?
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Old 24th January 2011, 10:37 PM   #7
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I like my gigwork DAC but it is a bit tricky (ie PITA) to make a back panel to fit the jacks properly - something to keep in mind.
And, if you continue to use the 'bare' board without a case you have to be VERY careful plugging/unplugging as the jacks are not designed to be strong enough without fastening to a support.
There are a lot of units in the same price range (a bit more or less) which are worth considering:
ZeroDAC
Grant Audio
Maverick TubeMagic
All of these are ready-to-go in a case and have phone jacks as well.

All the USB units have some bitrate limitations AFAIK- whether you'll be able to hear the difference is hard to tell.

Those Xonar soundcards have very good specs as well.

John
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Old 25th January 2011, 06:15 PM   #8
robump is offline robump  United Kingdom
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Quote:
Originally Posted by robump View Post
Just noticed this on the gigaworks ebay site, have they just added some lt-1361's do you think this will make a noticeable difference?
Has anyone had any experience with the one that is linked above, it appears to be a new version.
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Old 25th January 2011, 06:39 PM   #9
kec is offline kec  United States
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Originally Posted by robump View Post
Has anyone had any experience with the one that is linked above, it appears to be a new version.
It must have just been released. It wasn't there when I ordered mine a couple of months ago.

Why not be one of the first and order one

Can't give any recommendations on op amps, since I'm new to them as well.
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Old 25th January 2011, 07:03 PM   #10
robump is offline robump  United Kingdom
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If i could afford one i would order one right away!!

Need to save some pennies first!! Also im not sure how well i would be able to review one once i had got it!

Sounds pretty interesting though.

I know this is a bit of a stupid question, but can you noticeably hear the difference when using a DAC?
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