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Old 22nd January 2013, 01:57 AM   #1
gychang is offline gychang  United States
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Default Chaintech AV710 card, is it worth it?

Just realized I have this PCI card in the garage, it has Wofson DAC built in and several years back lot of talk about how good it was for the price. I have 3GHz P4 PC and wondering if I should try this running linux or whether a $50 Dac (HiFimeDIY Sabre USB DAC. 96khz/24bit - ES9023+TE7022 + USB to optical converter) will be better for playing flac files.

gychang
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Old 22nd January 2013, 02:06 AM   #2
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pci is superior to usb.

Which sounds better? Try it out.
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Old 27th January 2013, 10:32 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gychang View Post
it has Wofson DAC built in and several years back lot of talk about how good it was for the price.
Yes, I remember the hype about that sound card. Back in 2007 I bought one for $30, and I built a dedicated music computer consisting of a mini-ATX board running Puppy Linux. The kernel was modified for realtime preemption, brutefir was used as playback application, and set for process priority.
ALSA was configured for bit-perfect playback, with main stereo output redirected to the rear channels (black connector) which utilised the Wolfson DAC.
This is optimal configuration ... but in a side-by-side comparison with some high end CD players, my AV710 sound output was extremely ordinary - nothing special at all.
Then we connected the AV710's Toslink output to an external DAC (respectable unit, maybe Beresford?) and this sounded significantly better than the AV710's analogue outputs.

Clearly, the AV710 is only "good" by consumer computer monitor standards of several years ago. Compared to decent hifi gear, it's a major disappointment, frankly.


Quote:
Originally Posted by SlainNothing View Post
pci is superior to usb.
Possibly in theory, but not necessarily in practice.
If nothing else, USB DAC's get their audio circuitry away from the noisy electronic environment of the computer, itself.
And as I understand it, USB DAC's also reprocess and reclock the data. If implemented well, this can achieve great results.

I'm aiming for a high end Amanero/ES9018 combination, myself, but at the value end of the scale the HiFimeDIY unit has had positive reports.

gychang, there's a very similar unit which deserves mention - Objective DAC (ODAC)
board only -
www.yoyodyneconsulting.ca/pages/ODAC.html
fully boxed -
www.headnhifi.com/odac-rca

If you really want to go PCI, audiophiles seem to recommend the ESI Juli@ - approx $200.
Or for PCI-e interfaces, there's now the Juli@ XTE, or possibly ASUS Xonar Essence STX.
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Old 27th January 2013, 11:35 AM   #4
gychang is offline gychang  United States
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Quote:
Originally Posted by linuxfan View Post
ALSA was configured for bit-perfect playback, with main stereo output redirected to the rear channels (black connector) which utilised the Wolfson DAC.
This is optimal configuration ... but in a side-by-side comparison with some high end CD players, my AV710 sound output was extremely ordinary - nothing special at all.

I'm aiming for a high end Amanero/ES9018 combination, myself, but at the value end of the scale the HiFimeDIY unit has had positive reports.
all your comments are very helpful, thanks
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Old 7th June 2016, 04:49 AM   #5
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Having a "dedicated rig" doesn't mean much unless you are very selective about parts. I built a dedicated rig, based around a Soundblaster Live!, using the rear channel with the Wolfson DAC (or is it a BurrBrown on the Live!? I forget) thanks to the kX drivers. But I completely recapped my Antec power-supply with new, Panasonics and Nichicons to replace the garbage-brand Chinese caps. I also recapped my Asus motherboard with polymers, and changed all the power caps on my Live! with low-impedance Panasonic FM's and FC's, also replacing the electrolytics between the main DSP and output OpAmps with films.

To date, this was the best sounding rig I have had, and sounded worlds better than any modern card I have had, including my Audigy 1 & 2 cards, Delta 410, and X-Fi.

I also found an AV-710 at a surplus place for $3, and do intend to build a rig around it to put it through the rigors, but it will also receive updates, along with all other components of the system.
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Old 7th June 2016, 11:31 AM   #6
gychang is offline gychang  United States
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Logistics View Post
Having a "dedicated rig" doesn't mean much unless you are very selective about parts. I built a dedicated rig, based around a Soundblaster Live!, using the rear channel with the Wolfson DAC (or is it a BurrBrown on the Live!? I forget) thanks to the kX drivers. But I completely recapped my Antec power-supply with new, Panasonics and Nichicons to replace the garbage-brand Chinese caps. I also recapped my Asus motherboard with polymers, and changed all the power caps on my Live! with low-impedance Panasonic FM's and FC's, also replacing the electrolytics between the main DSP and output OpAmps with films.

To date, this was the best sounding rig I have had, and sounded worlds better than any modern card I have had, including my Audigy 1 & 2 cards, Delta 410, and X-Fi.

I also found an AV-710 at a surplus place for $3, and do intend to build a rig around it to put it through the rigors, but it will also receive updates, along with all other components of the system.
Please post results, thanks.
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Old 8th June 2016, 03:06 PM   #7
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I see this thread has just been resurrected after more than 3 years.

Logistics, those modifications/upgrades that you described are impressive, and commendable. I don't doubt that you will achieve a better result from the AV710 with these modifications than I did.
I would point out that good/better/best is always relative to the sample selection in question, and all of the audio hardware mentioned are PCI sound cards.
Certainly there are good reasons to choose a PCI card as your audio interface; multi-track audio production, or multi-channel home theatre, for example.

gychang, back to your original question - AV710 PCI card versus ES9023+TE7022 USB DAC;
3 years ago I only hinted at what I considered the better option. Let me be more definite now: the USB DAC will win.
And on the HiFimeDIY site you will see there is now an updated version with SA9023 USB chip + ES9018k2m DAC
HiFime Sabre 9018 USB DAC

Bear in mind that these are entry-level USB DAC solutions.
One step up would be roughly equivalent USB/DAC chips, but with dedicated good quality power supplies.
Another step up would be to use one of the well regarded USB interfaces from Amanero, Lorien, or JLSounds.
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