S/PDIF

xtsili

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Hi there.

question:

2 different sound cards having the same S/PDIF specs, will they sound differently with the same dac?

AN ASUS XONAR ESSENCE STX VS A REALTEK HD ON A GIGABYTE MB, to make it clearer.

I am wondering.

Thanks
 
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Anonymous

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xtsili said:
Hi there.

question:

2 different sound cards having the same S/PDIF specs, will they sound differently with the same dac?

AN ASUS XONAR ESSENCE STX VS A REALTEK HD ON A GIGABYTE MB, to make it clearer.

I am wondering.

Thanks

In my opinion, no.

Some people will argue that jitter may come into play, but most modern DACs claim to combat this. I find a £20 sound card with spdif sounds identical to a £400 CD player playing the same music, or a squeezebox or a £25 Asda DVD player.

Just my opinion though, I'm sure someone will contradict that. Maybe my ears aren't golden enough, who knows?

Either way, don't trust anyone who utters the phrase "night and day"... :D

Although with your examples, I would still get the ASUS, it probably doesn't even need an external DAC.

*edit. Just spotted you have the ASUS and a vDac. Which voids the last sentence. But no, any spdif that outputs a bit-perfect signal should sound the same IMO.
 

dannycanham

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Possibly. They will likely have different clocks. The xonar has good jitter measurements for computer audio. No idea about the realtech. It probably has ok to good jitter measurements.

DACs deal with jitter in various ways with various success.

I would guess the audible differences between the two are small to none.

I think if you had a low jitter and high jitter version of the same item you would be able to tell there was an improvement. I could. Those soundcards will hardly be at either end for quality though and I wouldn't put money on myself being able to hear a difference with them.

http://peufeu.free.fr/audio/extremist_dac/spdif.html
 

xtsili

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Thanks snivilisationism

I tend to agree with you.

I must also say I have to update my profile as I got rid of my v-dac and I only use the asus now with its rca analogue outputs.

And Yes! my absolutely non golden ears hear no difference.

I was thinking of getting rid of the asus too and get the new dac/preamp audiolab piece of gear instead, connecting it to the s/pdif output of my gigabyte MB. That way I'll have a preamp which I feel will do good to my system and an analogue volume control plus the dac of course (and some extra inputs/outputs).

A simple effective solution at a reasonable cost.

Assuming nontheless that s/pdifs with the same specs sound the same regardelss their hw/sw implementation (I sense a tsunami of responses coming up already contradicting this hypothesis as heresy...).
 

xtsili

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Thank you gendlemen for your responses.

To be honest I got rid of my v-dac recently (I ve got to update my profile) and I hear no difference with my asus being the sole source in the system.

What I am thinking is to get rid of the asus too and get the all new audiolab dac/preamp to connect it to the realtek s/pdif.

Thus, I'll end up having an analogue volume control as well, so much needed in my system consisting of a power amp and no preamp at all at the moment - the asus has a volume control in fact which I manipulate either with the computer mouse or my smart phone but I am affraid affetcs the quality as it is a digital one.

So, given that I'll hear no detectable sonic differences from the realtek s/pdif compared to asus (what you are claiming in other words), this solution looks to be the fittest and at a resonable cost.

That's my story in brief.
 
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Anonymous

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Your suggestion should work perfectly well. You're right, the lower the volume (from 100%) on the digital out, the less the dynamic range. It only really shows at low volume though. But ideally PC volume should always be set to 100%.

I use a Beresford TC 7520 DAC/Preamp into AVI ADM9T speakers so I can have a physical volume control, and I can't tell the 2 DACs apart. (Beresford v the one inside the AVI speakers).

I would consider the Beresford too if I were you as a much cheaper alternative, or at least try to demo the Audiolab at home to make sure there is a significant improvement over the excellent ASUS sound card.
 

xtsili

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hmm I haven't noticed Beresford was so cheap. I shall consider this option too.

But as you have said an audition should be the path to go before spending my precious few Euros in midst of the crisis.

And I am really concerned about the potential benefits of any upgrade of that order: jumbing from the Asus to Audiolab will it make any sense? I don't know. It is really the volulme control issue that makes me wanting an upgrade nevertheless.

I am also considering this as an alternative (much cheaper in the debt ridden Greece where I live)

http://www.dv247.com/studio-equipment/spl-volume2-high-end-stereo-volume-controller--52866

It received rave reviews which you'll find if you google it.
 

xtsili

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I think I did. I am using Jriver as media player which is providing this possibility.

I am not using the Asus Asio drivers though but the Asio4all instead as in the first case the signal cannot be volume controled by the soundcard in the digital domain but only by an external analogue volume control which is something I don't have (as I said, there is no preamp at all in my system).

Why are you asking?
 

steveozs

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I just wondered as you said the DAC and onboard one didn't sound any different. I borrowed an RDAC a while ago, ran it through USB using FUBAR to play my lossless files and it didn't sound any different to my £60.00 generic DAC. The problem I later found was that I was not using WSAPI in Fubar meaning that it was all still going through the windows mixer and the DAC was not getting bit-perfect sound.

After realising the problem I then tried out a few DAC's with some great results.

I would keep your DAC and if it isn't USB output through optical using WSAPI and you should get a better sound than on-board. If you are bypassing the soundcard DAC and windows mixer with any card then it won't matter which one you use.

Cheers,