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Old 4th December 2011, 01:50 PM   #1
pforeman is offline pforeman  United States
diyAudio Member
Join Date: Aug 2008
Default DAC or External Sound Card

When converting a laptop into a music server, for stereo listening only,
is a sound card now basically a DAC?
Which is the best sound: comprabably cost DAC or sound card
Or am I confused?
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Old 5th December 2011, 05:31 PM   #2
pcb121055 is offline pcb121055  United States
diyAudio Member
Join Date: Sep 2008
Confused is normal, I'm not too much farther along than you are but... I do know that soundcards have integral DACs. There are likely instances where that integral DAC is pretty good. I am hooked up right now directly from my onboard sound to my stereo preamp and it sounds pretty good (to my ears). The opportunity (and where I am headed) is to use an external DAC 1) to bring the critical processes out of the computer's enclosure to a friendlier environment and 2) to allow the use of a better DAC than is included on your soundcard. I have found choosing a DAC tough because there are lots of them. Good luck.
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Old 11th December 2011, 05:16 AM   #3
budgophile is offline budgophile  United States
diyAudio Member
Join Date: Dec 2009
Hi, I have a similar question, I think... Newb to this site, but not to Analog. I'm looking to possibly kill two birds with one stone, but I was wondering if it's possible and/or worth it to get a quality pci or pci-express card (with DAC capabilities on 5ch, if possible) and put it in an external enclosure. Is that possible? I searched a bit, but all I got was pci cards with usb outputs.

What I'm running now is a male to male plug out of my laptop into a Nakamichi Compact Receiver1, then running the preamp output of that into a Rotel RX-1050, which is powering a pair of Ariston Image speakers. What I would like to do is perhaps incorporate some sort of 5.1 card with 24/96 capability in the mix, running that out to a Carver AV-405 5ch amp.
I had also looked at the Creative X/fi external sound card, which would probably be the cheapest way out, but I like to over-complicate anything if I can.

Thanks for any help in advance, and my sincerest apologies if this is in the wrong forum or committing any forum faux pas.

Long time Lurker, 1st time poster, Jon
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