What do i need? a DAC? CD Player? HQ Sound Card?

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Right now i connect my laptop straight to a Pioneer SA-7300 vintage
integrated amp (new capacitors and connectors) and from there to the

I didn't know why im lacking quality and bass in the music until my friend came to my house with a cd player and then everything sounded alot
better with great bass and high quality.

My question is, i still prefer using my laptop for my music source.

What do you suggest? to buy a high quality usb sound card for my laptop
or maybe a DAC? a usb DAC?
My question is, i still prefer using my laptop for my music source.

Why? Do you play CDs or ripped MP3s?

Try to get a listen to a stand-alone player with lossless encoding, they're a lot more convenient than a laptop, or if you play CDs try a portable CD player with a mains power supply.

Nothing wrong with a USB soundcard or DAC as a choice, just the sky's the limit as far as spending money is concerned. 'a lot better with great bass and high quality' - this could just be the loudness turned on. Try and get to listen to some other sources. Even comparatively cheap sources these days are good, and you should have to listen carefully to detect a difference unless the laptop is particularly bad, which of course is not impossible.

Whats a stand-alone player with lossless encoding?

There is no loudness switch on the cd player, it was it's natural sound.

The laptop is working fine, it's just that the built in sound card doesn't
sound even close to a stand alone cd player, everything just came alive!

I would buy a cd player if thats what i have to do, but im sure there are
different solutions as i don't like burning cd's all the time.

I just want to transfer the signal in a better quality to my amp.

What exactly does dac do to the signal? can it give better sound somehow except converting the signal from digital to analog?
The laptop has a DAC, which is what you are listening to. A soundcard will have a DAC (output), but you will pay for an ADC (input) as well. Some are better quality than others, but it also depends on the supporting circuits and power supply. In general, paying more money will get you a better sound, the problem is to decide how much you need to spend to get something you are happy with. Therefore you should try to get to listen to as many as possible different products before you buy. People here can tell you what they like, but everybody has different personal standards, and there is a lot of hype.

Lossless players: Lossless MP3 players - CNET Reviews

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Hi rg12,
An MP3 file will not sound as good as a CD, period. Using your CD ROM drive to play music is not a good idea either (especially on random play). Save it for data.

You may be able to find a DVD player that will play MP3 of a CD, but here you are running up against the price wall. Maybe a used CD player? After all, you said it yourself. The sound coming off your friend's CD player sounded far better. So to equal that, you'll need a CD player that works well. It's also easy to spend over $150 on a good used machine.

You have yourself in a no-win situation. You need to set a priority for either sound quality or convenience. At $150, you are unlikely to satisfy these requirements unless you get very, very lucky.

I would agree that a CD player is going to sound better. But I also believe that your problem is mostly in your laptop output, probably just a cheap sound card unless you have one of those multimedia laptops.

If I might ask before I continue with my first suggestion, What bitrate are your MP3's at? I would suggest at least 192kbps to get good quality and probably more like 320 or more if you're like me and are trying to replace the CD's with mp3's. Knowing that a CD will sound better, a 320kbps mp3 is still pretty nice :)

Now having said that, Here is something that I bought a long time ago which sounds ok...

USB to Optical Audio Adapter
I bought it just for the optical out, many years ago. You can probably find it on Ebay somewhere cheaper than 50$.

M-AUDIO - Transit - Hi-Resolution Mobile Audio Interface
This one I believe is much better though, just looking at the specs.

Hope this helps.
I never heard good sounding PC including my Audipohiles 2496 & 192. PC is a digital machine not analog. Music is analog substance.

You can get OPPO 83 SE or any good second hand SACD player if the sound quality is your main goal.

Im not an audiophile looking to spend alot of money on high end gear.

I want to be able to play music from my laptop in a good quality
(not crappy like i have now comming out of my stock laptop sound card).

I don't want to burn cds to listen to music, so i play the stuff right out
of my laptop.

PS, why does audiophilers have their cd players and amp on spikes?
I understand why it is done for speakers, but why amps and such?
they don't have vibration problems like speakers do...
Twisted Pair do a USB DAC. Has anyone else tryed useing as a Dac? I have no experience with them my self but they do look good, Its more intended to feed there other dacs but at $60 dollars it not too bad. Might buy one myself until I can afford there OPus dac. They've got a section on here.

Personally if your going to playing though your laptop I would burn with a lossless format and listen from there.
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The SoundBlaster X-fi ExtremeMusic card sounds really good. They make a less expensive card that has a similar model name that I tried later. Gave it to my daughter as it wasn't even close to the same performance. This card does not re-sample everything like the previous cards do.

The EMU 1212 was bought to replace the impostor card. This one is set up better for bench work. They all have an optional I/O unit that gives you the proper jacks. That might be a good idea for some people.

Either of these would be good, with the nod going to the EMU. Hit the Creative web site to see if they have any refurbished units on cheap, or closeout sales. Once you figure out what you want, find it on the web and buy it. Don't worry about getting the absolute lowest price on one. There will always be a cheaper price somewhere as time moves on.

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