Usb DAC for HTPC

Discussion in 'Soundcards, Speakers HiFI & File formats' started by anticupidon, Mar 9, 2021.

  1. anticupidon

    anticupidon Ancient Guru

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    Hello fellow gurus.
    I have an Asrock Deskmini X300 coming my way, it will replace my actual HTPC for size concerns.
    Now, I am fully aware that there are limitations regarding the integrated sound and network adapter.
    Now, having an USB DAC hooked robot can and would output a better, richer sound to feed my Edifier self speakes?
    What am I missing here? Am I wrong?
     
  2. Chastity

    Chastity Ancient Guru

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    Having a decent external DAC would eliminate any shortcomings and compromises made on the onboard audio or soundcard.
     
  3. anticupidon

    anticupidon Ancient Guru

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    I will use Linux on that HTPC. As I understand, there is a good support on USB DAC on Linux.
    Apart from that detail, can you recommend one?
    Budget around 50€, can be upper if something worthy demands.
     
  4. rflair

    rflair Don Commisso Staff Member

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    Are you going to drive stereo or surround with the DAC?
     

  5. anticupidon

    anticupidon Ancient Guru

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    Stereo .
    I'll connect a pair of bookshelf speakers to it.
     
  6. Chess

    Chess Master Guru

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    Schiit audio is my brand for easy to use, good price/quality DAC ( the Modi ), but that's a 100 bucks.
    They to sound amazing for those 100 though.

    For 50...I heard very good things about the Apple USB-C to mini-jack dongle. It's cheap ( 15-25 bucks? ) and also rather good for that pricepoint.
    Toppo might have something for you as well.

    Now, bear in mind, these are pure DAC's, they won't drive passive speakers. You need an Amp for that OR have an integrated amp in your Edifiers.

    Hope you find what you need :).
     
  7. anticupidon

    anticupidon Ancient Guru

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    Those Edifier speakers have their internal amplifier.
    Just need a clean, rich analog out of my HTPC
    Thanks for the suggestions, will look into.
     
  8. Sabbath

    Sabbath Maha Guru

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  9. Mufflore

    Mufflore Ancient Guru

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    If you want very good quality you wont get it from a $50 DAC.
    But everyone is different, its impossible for us to know what level of quality you can appreciate.
    And it depends how you define quality.
    You might be fine with onboard sound, some isnt too bad.
    Most of my friends dont care one iota what soundcard they have.

    Richness of sound comes from having decent bass response.
    A good subwoofer may be needed unless your speakers handle bass well.
    But those speakers can cost.
    I took the route of expensive speakers with expensive subs to get everything right!

    Bass response changes between DACs as well, even some expensive DACs can leave something to be desired.
    I love a very detailed DAC but if the bass isnt right I am not happy.

    Its hard to find exactly what you need if you arent able to say exactly what you want.
    What do you value the most from your sound?

    Once you have said that I will likely step back because I can only be of so much help.
     
  10. anticupidon

    anticupidon Ancient Guru

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    I learned and realised that the sound is a very personal and intimate experience.
    Now, starting form basic, the integrated sound chip on a motherboard and upgrade from there.
    Once the desire is set, one can spend more and more in the pursue of the best sound. I am aware of that.
    @Mufflore I am glad that you offer your advice and a very educated opinion. However, my goal is to provide more that basic sound out of the HTPC feed it to my Edifier speakers.
    This is for now and the budget is merely set in theory, as I wasn't sure what to buy.
    Moreover, this is a feeble attempt to get my feet wet, as I dive into the sound sea of DACs, speakers, amps and all that.
     

  11. Mufflore

    Mufflore Ancient Guru

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    I'd like to add, richness of sound has no real meaning and can be expressed as many things but I would class well defined bass with enough lower mid range strength as primaries.
    There is also how the bass, mid range and treble sound and gel together, and a ton of other ways to express it.
    Your Edifier speakers I read are a nice starter, they have always been held in good regard.

    I have probably spoken out of turn about what you can get at the low end of DACs because what was a few hundred pounds 5 years ago can become near entry level, things move on at a pace!
    I will bow out to those with better/more experience and wish you on a good journey :)
    I feel bad for jumping in as I did tbh, I had a beer and deserve a demerit. Sorry.
     
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2021
  12. anticupidon

    anticupidon Ancient Guru

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    Will make a lateral move.
    As my job position allows me, I'll buy a Sharkoon USB DAC to see/hear the improvement made to a normal laptop who provides sounds for some speakers.
    Later, I'll search more and make a more educated choice.
     

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