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Sound card necessary?

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Hello everyone and greetings from Asia.


I'm fairly new to the scene and thanks to many forumers and to Chris, got started on this crazy hobby. I hope you will not mind a noob question here.


Is a good sound card necessary to create a good music (pc) server if the sound is going to be output from the USB port? What would the purpose be for installing the sound card?


If I have the Benchmark USB DAC, would the music sound better through the USB or through the sound card? I'm looking for the next tweak and heard great things about the Lynx aes16e card, but unsure if its worth investing in the Lynx instead of through the DAC


If the answer is through a sound card, how much better is the Lynx card vs other makes in the market?


Many thanks!...



Still building my system!


Role Audio sampan FTL

Devilsound DAC, Benchmark USB ...

Virtue Audio 2 amp (neat!)




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In my previous post, I was trying to find out if it was worth investing in a sound card (to an external DAC) to get better sound vs getting it out of the USB to the DAC (if the DAC permitted - such as the Benchmark USB). This question may have been asked many times before and if so, my apologies for bringing it up again.


In my search, I found an answer from this article in positive-feedback




If I read the article correctly, the author claims that


"PCI add-in cards have the disadvantage that they utilize the power supply of the PCI bus of the computer. This power supply is typically quite noisy, so it is difficult to get high-quality output from these cards. They are also limited in form-factor and cooling capacity. There are severe interconnect length limitations when either S/PDIF or analog outputs are used, so this places the computer very close to the audio system. AC power of the computer can also easily cause hum in an audio system. I generally advise against using add-in audio cards in favor of external converters. External converters generally interface with the computer using WI-FI wireless, USB, or Firewire, and have their own power supplies..."


so is he claiming that pci sound cards are not reliable? or have I mis-read the article?



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Hi DAC-Convert - Every hardware I/O, whether USB, FireWire, Ethernet, PCI, PCIe, TosLink, Coax, has its pros and cons. I think we should keep in mind that the author of the article and frequent Computer Audiophile reader Steve Nugent only sells external devices. He has a vested interest in highlighting the cons of PCI cards. The pro audio industry has been creating the music we listen to using PCI and PCIe cards for years. I use PCI and PCIe cards and love the quality. Engineers I know won't use anything but PCI cards currently.


It is also possible to externally power a PCI and PCIe card if you want to remove this factor from the equation.


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