Solved! Question Better Audio quality - get external hardware compared to Realtek?

Jan 3, 2022
1
0
10
0
Hello,

I used my onboard Realtek ALC892 for a while and thought the sound was good, but this until this Christmas everything changed when I got both good headphones (Audio-Technica M30x) and a new Apple Macbook Air M1.

I noticed I get a better sound quality with the headphones on the Apple Macbook compared to the PC. When watching movies the sound has more depth, the lower end is very powerful yet clear, without distortion. I feel I get to use the headphones on their full potential on the Mac. On the PC they sound good, but compared to the experience on the Mac I feel it's a bit lackluster. Even listening to music on youtube the Mac is better.

Now I'm not very versed regarding sound stuff, but I'm wondering if it's a limitation of the sort of old Realtek onboard card, or related to windows somehow. But I wonder if a external device would raise the PCs sound quality to the Mac level.

If so, I've been seeing some options, but I'm quite confused regarding what should I get:
  • a external AMP like Fosi Audio Q4 Mini?
  • a external sound card like the Creative Sound BlasterX G1, Creative Sound Blaster G3, Creative Labs Sound Blaster Play 3? Or another brand, I've no clue what are the advantages and disadvantages of each model.
Regarding requirements, I would like something on a budget, like less than 100 bucks, preferably under 50 bucks really. And I think I also prefer an external device because I'm thinking on getting a new PC sometime this year and I would like to be able to use this device on other devices (like the TV).

Other things to consider: on the PC (Windows 10) I use the Asus Realtek HD audio manager (without any enhancements active). Also, on both machines I use the Boom 3D sound enhancement software, with equal settings (nothing too much, just the standard boost and a little increase on the "ambience" slider).
 

hang-the-9

Titan
Moderator
Best cheaper external audio card would be the FX-Audio DAC-X6 Although the Sound Blaster stuff is not bad and would be an improvement over the onboard audio, really those are only good if you want to use a headset since most audiophile DAC/AMPs are only setup for use with headphones without a mic.
 

hang-the-9

Titan
Moderator
Best cheaper external audio card would be the FX-Audio DAC-X6 Although the Sound Blaster stuff is not bad and would be an improvement over the onboard audio, really those are only good if you want to use a headset since most audiophile DAC/AMPs are only setup for use with headphones without a mic.
 

ASK THE COMMUNITY