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sound card vs motherboard audio

Discussion in 'Sound City' started by PAULRYAN52, Sep 7, 2018.

  1. PAULRYAN52

    Wise Guy

    Joined: Aug 2, 2006

    Posts: 1,540

    Location: Liverpool

    hi i have the Gigabyte Z270 Gaming K5 and Ruark Audio MR1 V1 speakers using the onboard audio, would I notice any difference going to a dedicated sound card?
     
  2. PapaLazaru

    Capodecina

    Joined: Dec 23, 2009

    Posts: 17,132

    How are you connecting them to your motherboard?
     
  3. PAULRYAN52

    Wise Guy

    Joined: Aug 2, 2006

    Posts: 1,540

    Location: Liverpool

    aux cable to green connection
     
  4. EsaT

    Mobster

    Joined: Jun 6, 2008

    Posts: 4,784

    Location: Finland

  5. PAULRYAN52

    Wise Guy

    Joined: Aug 2, 2006

    Posts: 1,540

    Location: Liverpool

    so not worth it really as I don't hear any interference that I know of
     
  6. PapaLazaru

    Capodecina

    Joined: Dec 23, 2009

    Posts: 17,132

    I would try and connect using optical instead. That will use the speakers internal dac instead and you may find it is better.
     
  7. PAULRYAN52

    Wise Guy

    Joined: Aug 2, 2006

    Posts: 1,540

    Location: Liverpool

    the speakers don't have optical that got added to the mr1 mk2 version I have the mk1 version unfortunately
     
  8. Marsman

    Capodecina

    Joined: Oct 18, 2009

    Posts: 10,423

    One of those things that is hard to say, because the one variable that cannot be accounted for is the user's hearing. Hearing and experience differ quite a bit from person to person, so you can't really say whether buying a sound card or a DAC would be worth the money, until you try one for yourself.

    You'll get people say they heard no difference compared to their motherboard audio, just as you'll get people who say there was a notable improvement.

    If you are curious and want to scratch an itch, then what you could do is get a DAC or sound card from somewhere that would be easy to return it if you find there is no notable difference.
     
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2018
  9. EsaT

    Mobster

    Joined: Jun 6, 2008

    Posts: 4,784

    Location: Finland

    You forgot to put sighted listening in end.
    Sighted listening just isn't scientifically valid proof in any slightest way.
    Even if proper volume matching was actually done.
     
  10. tyler_jrb

    Mobster

    Joined: Aug 24, 2013

    Posts: 3,180

    Location: Lincolnshire

    Agreed with Marsman. It can all depend on the user. Some may find more of a difference than others.

    I upgraded to a xonar essence STX II a few years ago and can honestly say I couldn't live without it.

    Tried onboard a couple of times with different headphones and speakers and the difference is night and day to me anyway. Onboard just sounds flat.
     
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2018
  11. Huntyz

    Gangster

    Joined: Jun 19, 2009

    Posts: 445

    Location: Cornwall

    Yeah i have had an STX and currently use a STX II with expensive headphones and i can clearly tell the sound card has better audio.

    But like others have said it varies from person to person and different equipment etc
     
  12. Marsman

    Capodecina

    Joined: Oct 18, 2009

    Posts: 10,423

    Proof or lack of it is irrelevant. Spoffle, I'm sure has offered examples that there is no proof and has been arguing over and over in numerous threads in the hifi section that fancy expensive cables make no difference to sound quality as long as the cable is suitable for the job, but certain audio enthusiasts will have none of it. You will just go round and round until the end of days trying to prove to some people that X isn't any better than Y. People hear what they want to hear.

    People should judge for themselves though, not just go on what other's say.
     
  13. slipperydave

    Gangster

    Joined: Apr 30, 2006

    Posts: 133

    Location: Derby

    i'll agree with Marsman. i've never used onboard sound because it just doesn't sound right (bar nVidia's Soundstorm). it is down to the individual though.
     
  14. balanceballs

    Associate

    Joined: Aug 26, 2011

    Posts: 90

    Onboard sound is usually ok. I only got a soundcard because of interference
     
  15. JasonM

    Wise Guy

    Joined: Jun 19, 2009

    Posts: 2,191

    I have a Gigabyte Z370 HD3P, and the on-board audio is shocking bad. It totally takes all the life out of the sound, it's like buying a new pair of black Levi 501 jeans accidentally putting them in Daz at 90 degrees and wondering why your new 501's are now grey and faded. Worse then this it has terrible oscillating interference.

    The on-board audio from the Z370 HD3P sounds like $5 worth of Chinese audio hardware. I have 90's period CD players from Technics and Pioneer and the sound output is superior in every way compared to listening to music from the on-board. If you care about audio get a sound card or external DAC but don't use the Gigabyte on-board.
     
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2018
  16. EsaT

    Mobster

    Joined: Jun 6, 2008

    Posts: 4,784

    Location: Finland

    Don't you know that writing all that marketing hype to product page costs lot and hence they didn't have budget left for actual implementation?
    Though if using front port of case also that could "suck in" that interference.
     
  17. JasonM

    Wise Guy

    Joined: Jun 19, 2009

    Posts: 2,191

    I was using the rear motherboard ports. I had the motherboard connected to what would be today £500 worth of Pioneer amp, and £800 retail of yamaha speakers. So this setup exposed how poor the onboard was, however if someone connected to one of those cheap 2.0/2.1 setups they would maybe not realise how poor the motherboard audio is.
     
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2018
  18. Bluntwrapped

    Mobster

    Joined: Jun 20, 2011

    Posts: 2,979

    Location: Livingston

    I have the MK1 Ruark MR1’s too.

    I tried them on my onboard Gene V audio before buying the AE-5 soundcard.

    The difference is incredible, if you have a decent source to compare. I couldn’t be happier with the two :)
     
  19. V4NT0M

    Capodecina

    Joined: Jan 18, 2007

    Posts: 19,567

    Location: Land of the Scots

    I tried the onboard Maximus VIII gene sound as it was supposed to be good but IMO it didn't match up to the Xonar I previously had (couldn't use it as it was PCI). I then got a SoundBlaster ZXR and honestly that card is phenomenal.
     
  20. DRITZZ

    Associate

    Joined: Dec 30, 2018

    Posts: 2

    OK peeps, now I've done a load of research lately on headphones and DACs and here is my conclusions versus my own motherboard audio.

    My motherboard is a MSI B350 Gaming Pro Carbon, it has a decent audio chip of an ALC 1220 and an internal headphone amplifier which says it can power up to 600 ohm headphones. I was debating on whether to even get a separate DAC or just stick with what i thought was a decent on board audio solution. I'm currently using the audio with a pair of Logitech Z623 speakers 2.1 with sub woofer, not the best but a reasonable quality of speaker for my pc audio needs, in addition I've bought a pair of AKG 702 (250 ohm)headphones for my gaming purposes, and replaced these with some DT 770 Pros, more on this later), both of these headphones were around 100.00.

    The DAC i actually stumped up for is the SMSL SD793-II PCM1793 DIR9001 DAC Digital Audio Decoder amplifier (56.00 on amazon uk), it's a powered DAC that also uses my on-board audio digital optical out that connects to the DAC port. If your motherboard doesn't have an digital optical out then maybe the fiilo E10k would be a better choice as that is a USB powered DAC and wouldn't require the optical connection although might not quite have the same power as the SMSL although from reading they do seems similar.

    Conclusions:
    Was the DAC worth buying in addition to the on-board audio solution?

    Yes, 100%, if you are going to run a decent set of high ohm headphones then the internal headphone amplifier is not enough to power a set of 250 ohm headphones, the sound is way too low in volume and you will not be getting the full extent of the audio sound from the headphones. I swapped my AKG702s open back headphone (which were damn good) to a pair of DT 770 Pro closed-back (250 ohms). the SMSL DAC powers these well with the volume level turned up to 1pm which gives great sound and volume levels, the 4 on-board amplifier was too quiet to power these headphones. You would be able to power 80 ohm headphones with the on-board audio amplifier easily enough, the MSI B350 with ALC 1220 is NOT capable of powering high ohm headphones from my experience, yes they will work but the volume is not high enough to get what you need from a decent set of quality high ohm headphones.

    Was the quality from the DAC better than the on-board audio solution?
    Yes, but again it's a little subjective but when swapping my speakers from the on-board to the DAC, there was massive jump in volume levels again but i do feel the detail of some of the sounds definitely seem cleaner and better from the external DAC with the volume increase. For the 50 quid i paid for the DAC i feel happy that i made a very good choice and it wasn't wasted money. The DAC can be used for multiple devices like a PS4 etc thus it can be multi purpose. As an example of volume differences, with the DAC the speakers were at 9.00 o clock and loud, when swapping to the on-board audio I had to turn it the volume knob up to 1.00 o clock to get anywhere near the volume of the DAC.

    Any other reasons to by a separate DAC?
    I find using the headphone socket on the DAC easier, saves me pulling out the line out from my motherboard to swap between speakers and headphones, yes your case might have a front audio connector but it's likely not as good and then you can end up with possible interference from the other computer components.

    Why did i swap the AKG 702s?
    These open back headphone were amazing for sound quality but being open back they leaked a lot of sound and my microphone which was a Blue Snowball picked up the leaked sounds which was annoying thus the reason for changing over to the more closed back headphones of the DT 770 Pros. I must admit the DT 770's still do leak sound somewhat for a closed back headphone design but still a lot less than the open back AKG's, also the AKG's seemed a little easier to power than the DT 770s.

    Hope this review helps, feel free to ask questions and i'll answer as best i can.

    DRITTZ