Best internal/external soundcard for for 2.1 music playback

rbhack

Prominent
Dec 8, 2017
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Looking for the best set up for high quality music with desktop system. I have a pair of Vanatoo Transparent 1's with an optical input. I have been using a desktop with an internal soundcard with an optical output and a good quality optical cable to the Vanatoos. Great sound! I recently had to get a new desktop that only has on-board sound and I'm using a generic analog cable to the speakers. A noticeable downgrade to sound quality. My new desktop is small and has a PCIe X16/X1 half height slot. With a $200 budget and a desire to go back to an optical connection, should I add an internal card like the Asus Xonar DGX That has an optical output or an external option like the Sound Blaster X-Fi HD that also has an optical output?

I appreciate your feedback!

 

madmatt30

Honorable
Usb 2b cables (which that speaker set uses) are normally heavy guage & shielded anyway because their primary use was always printer & network based.

Using analog cables you're getting a 4 part conversion from digital to analog to digital to analog again.

A USB cable will give a digital signal straight to the speaker dac & a single pass conversion to analog exactly the same as optical.

It should sound the same as it did before but there may be a volume difference at most.

Digital is digital full stop imo.

You surely have an old type 2 cable knocking about ?? (I have hundreds of the things in drawers & cupboards)
 

rbhack

Prominent
Dec 8, 2017
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I do live in the US Lutfij and thanks for the Omega suggestion. Madmatt the speakers do have a usb input but Vanatoo recommends optical for the best quality and music has lost the magic it had in my old set up using a good optical cable. If I try usb is it beneficial to use a higher quality usb cable?
 

madmatt30

Honorable
Usb 2b cables (which that speaker set uses) are normally heavy guage & shielded anyway because their primary use was always printer & network based.

Using analog cables you're getting a 4 part conversion from digital to analog to digital to analog again.

A USB cable will give a digital signal straight to the speaker dac & a single pass conversion to analog exactly the same as optical.

It should sound the same as it did before but there may be a volume difference at most.

Digital is digital full stop imo.

You surely have an old type 2 cable knocking about ?? (I have hundreds of the things in drawers & cupboards)
 

gamerk316

Distinguished
Jul 8, 2008
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Digital is digital. HDMI, Optical, and USB should offer the same quality as you are pushing the audio processing to some *other* device. Likewise, there is no difference in "quality" of a digital transfer cable; the signal either gets to its destination, or it does not. It's not analog where you actually care about noise in the signal.
 
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