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Old May 7, 2021, 03:48 AM   #1
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AdamK47
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Default Bought a new sound card

Yes indeed I did. In the year of our Lord 2021.

Purchased Beyerdynamic DT 1770 headphones earlier this week and realized the onboard "premium" audio on my Gigabyte Z590 Aorus Master wasn't cutting it.



I like listening to things loud, clear, and precise.
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Old May 7, 2021, 04:34 AM   #2
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Congrats my friend .. You are in for a treat :P

I have the same sound card.I bought it in 2019 if i remember correctly.My headphones are Audio Technica ATH-AD2000X.
I LOVE the separate sound cards.On my main PC i had the 200$ sound cards Asus Xonar ST.Before the ST i had Xonar DX.
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Old May 7, 2021, 06:33 AM   #3
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It's a bit unfair to even try running Beyer's off of onboard. They are high impedance cans and you're not going to find an amp strong enough to power them properly with onboard. I'm not super familiar with the EVGA sound-cards. How's the software suite? If I've learned anything from running EVGA products for years, is that their software is usually garbage; Precision, Flow Control, etc.
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Old May 7, 2021, 06:52 AM   #4
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if i remember correctly there's also a Pro-version of that card. Make sure to share your experience with this one.
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Old May 7, 2021, 07:45 AM   #5
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This is how I have it setup currently.



I use to use either Dolby Digital for Headphones or DTX: Unbound. Those spatial sound formats produced noticeable clipping on the low range with this setup. Of course with this setup, the range is very wide now.

The software is pretty decent. Not bad. Not great. I disabled some of the stuff that I don't need on startup. It's lightweight, which is what I like. Settings seemed to be stored on card. I can see the RGB light stays at what I set it during cold boot.

The card was engineered by Audio Note: https://www.audionote.co.uk/
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Old May 7, 2021, 08:16 AM   #6
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How do you like the quality of the card and headphones?

I went to the Creative XFI Theater, sound quality is good, but functionality is trash, constant drop outs. Tried forcing the Firmware again but to no avail.
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Old May 7, 2021, 08:18 AM   #7
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I'm surprised you needed a soundcard, the Z590 has the new Realtek 4080 doesn't it? It has a built in 32 Bit USB dac. It's pretty good, outside of amps (it still has more than enough to drive most headphones), it's pretty clear, and as good as most 50~100 USB DACs.

For what you can spend on a sound card, its usually better to go with something like a Schiit Magni stack, or something, that way you stay away from the software most sound cards bring, and just get what audio you are meant to.
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Old May 7, 2021, 08:19 AM   #8
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Do you have a Headphone gain setting to match the amp's power to the high ohms of the Beyer's?

What cans did you have prior? I really want to upgrade my K7XX and I have a pair of DT1990s in sight, but I'm a little skeptical of going closed-back. The Beyer's just fit the bill for my type of music, and I've heard they're good enough for gaming despite the closed-back.
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Old May 7, 2021, 08:24 AM   #9
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Oh wow, the Z590 Aorus Master only comes with the ALC 1220? What the hell? Why would that not come with the new 4080 with the build in USB dac.. What a dumb decision.

Nunz, I just picked up the HD560S, they are considered well above their price range, check out the DMZ review, or other critical listeners. Most people actually compare then to the 1770 for 1/3 the price, and are open back.
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Old May 7, 2021, 08:25 AM   #10
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I wouldn't expect an onboard audio amp to power DT1770s anyway. They are very high impedance at 250ohms.
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Old May 7, 2021, 08:27 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by Nunz View Post
I wouldn't expect an onboard audio amp to power DT1770s anyway. They are very high impedance at 250ohms.
The new 4080, auto decects ohms, and can support up to 600 ohms, the new 4080 is quite good, with 32 bit, and up to 374khz. It's legit better than most outboard budget dacs.

Granted you are correct, it wont push it beyond listening levels, but at max, it can still push enough to hurt your ears, or cause fatigue. Also see my above post, I think you should look into the Sennheiser HD560S, I think it's what you are looking for.
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Old May 7, 2021, 08:28 AM   #12
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Nice. It's about time, with the price of high-end motherboards continuing to rise, that they started including higher quality components for on-board audio.
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Old May 7, 2021, 08:49 AM   #13
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The Gigabyte Z590 Aorus Master is advertised to go up to 300 Ohms. In reality the amplification and precision seemed low. At least for me. For most, I would assume, it's fine.

I hate using something when I know I can do better. That's why I opted to get the NU Audio. No regrets yet (1 day of usage).

It doesn't have an auto impedance settings. At least not that I've seen. I would override that anyway and set it higher than the detected setting.

NU Audio can drive 600 Ohm headphones with a headphone amplification setting of 100%. I have the amplification set to 90%, Windows master volume at 100%, and I set per application settings (those that I have tried) to between 67% and 100%. Maybe too loud for most. Fine for me. Audio is highly subjective anyway.
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Old May 7, 2021, 08:53 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AdamK47 View Post
The Gigabyte Z590 Aorus Master is advertised to go up to 300 Ohms. In reality the amplification and precision seemed low. At least for me. For most, I would assume, it's fine.

I hate using something when I know I can do better. That's why I opted to get the NU Audio. No regrets yet (1 day of usage).

It doesn't have an auto impedance settings. At least not that I've seen. I would override that anyway and set it higher than the detected setting.

NU Audio can drive 600 Ohm headphones with a headphone amplification setting of 100%. I have the amplification set to 90%, Windows master volume at 100%, and I set per application settings (those that I have tried) to between 67% and 100%. Maybe too loud for most. Fine for me. Audio is highly subjective anyway.
No you are correct, the ALC 1220 is good, but for the most part, not great. I was under the impression the Aorus Master came with the new ALC 4080, seing as even my MSI Gaming Carbon does. I'm kinda dumbfounded that they didn't include it in the Gigabyte. I'd upgrade aswell, only the new ALC 4080 has the auto independence, USB dac, 32 bit, and 374khz, and 600 ohms.
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Old May 7, 2021, 09:12 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by CurrentlyPissed View Post
I'm surprised you needed a soundcard, the Z590 has the new Realtek 4080 doesn't it? It has a built in 32 Bit USB dac. It's pretty good, outside of amps (it still has more than enough to drive most headphones), it's pretty clear, and as good as most 50~100 USB DACs.

For what you can spend on a sound card, its usually better to go with something like a Schiit Magni stack, or something, that way you stay away from the software most sound cards bring, and just get what audio you are meant to.
Oh man ... You compare a separate dedicated 2019 200$ sound card to the integrated onboard solution.
On the other hand i didn't know that Realtek released a 4080 chipset.
I found the analysis for ALC4080 vs ALC1220

https://www.igorslab.de/en/the-old-a...c1220-insider/

Quote:
Summary and conclusion
The “new” ALC4080 is also better than the usual onboard call, but also has some significant disadvantages. The codec itself is absolutely fine and a blind test with sensitive low impedance headphones will reveal a slight noise floor at most, but this also depends strongly on the external circuitry and the selected gain. Otherwise it is a differently connected solution very similar to the ALC1220. No more, but also no less.
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Old May 7, 2021, 09:21 AM   #16
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Oh man ... You compare a separate dedicated 200$ sound card to a integrated onboard solution.The sound card will always be better on the dedicated pcb.
On the other hand i didn't know that Realtek released a 4080 chipset.
I found the analysis for ALC4080 vs ALC1220

https://www.igorslab.de/en/the-old-a...c1220-insider/
First off, igors lab as far as technical goes. Is good for circuitry analysis, not critical listening, or actually what the chip does.

And you are snipping out a summary, not what he goes over in the entire review. There are still many benefits to the 4080, such as the DAC, and very high bit rate. This cleans the audio, reduces noise, like igors even says. It completely depends on the outside circuitry aswell. Fundamentally they are the same, IE: onboard sound. But it still has many other benefits, such as the USB DAC built in.

I never compared it directly to a $200 dedicated card, in fact, I said for that money I would have gone with something external all together like a schiit stack.

I'm simply saying the 4080 is finally an onboard solution that can, and will meet 99% of most users even with good headphones needs, but for some odd reason Gigabyte chose to put the extremely dated 1220 on the Aorus Master. Mind blowing actually.
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Old May 7, 2021, 09:28 AM   #17
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I'll check out the HD560S. I was looking into the HD6XX as well, but haven't made much of a decision yet. I also didn't mention that the DT1990s are open-back, and that's the reason I was looking into them. The DT1770s are closed-back and that's what had me looking at the 1990s.

As for volume settings, holy hell Adam you might be deaf when it comes to using a sound-card or external amp/DAC, consensus says to run max windows volume like you are. Apparently on some onboard audio systems, this can cause clipping. I'm sure the Nu Audio doesn't have that issue.
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Old May 7, 2021, 09:38 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by CurrentlyPissed View Post
First off, igors lab as far as technical goes. Is good for circuitry analysis, not critical listening, or actually what the chip does.

And you are snipping out a summary, not what he goes over in the entire review. There are still many benefits to the 4080, such as the DAC, and very high bit rate. This cleans the audio, reduces noise, like igors even says. It completely depends on the outside circuitry aswell. Fundamentally they are the same, IE: onboard sound. But it still has many other benefits, such as the USB DAC built in.

I never compared it directly to a $200 dedicated card, in fact, I said for that money I would have gone with something external all together like a schiit stack.

I'm simply saying the 4080 is finally an onboard solution that can, and will meet 99% of most users even with good headphones needs, but for some odd reason Gigabyte chose to put the extremely dated 1220 on the Aorus Master. Mind blowing actually.
Fair enough.I didn't read the whole article.
The thing is i feel a ALC4080 is more aimed at an audiophile market premium class and deserve a separate pcb.Imo it makes little sense to put this on a mainboard.The complexity and sound cleanliness of a dedicated PCB is a must.You can do so much on a mainboard.
The EVGA Nu Audio is actually an external dac adapted as an internal sound card.It is not native pcie but usb.
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Old May 7, 2021, 10:56 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nunz View Post
I'll check out the HD560S. I was looking into the HD6XX as well, but haven't made much of a decision yet. I also didn't mention that the DT1990s are open-back, and that's the reason I was looking into them. The DT1770s are closed-back and that's what had me looking at the 1990s.

As for volume settings, holy hell Adam you might be deaf when it comes to using a sound-card or external amp/DAC, consensus says to run max windows volume like you are. Apparently on some onboard audio systems, this can cause clipping. I'm sure the Nu Audio doesn't have that issue.
When it comes to the HD560S and HD6XX pick which ever you can get more affordably. They are incredibly similar in sound according to most headphone reviews I've seen.

That said, I went HiFiMan HE-5XX to get some really drastically different from my closed back ATH-M40FS closed backs.
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Old May 7, 2021, 11:38 AM   #20
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AdamK47: I suggest getting fidelizer pro for even better sound.Use Foobar optimized by fidelizer

https://www.fidelizer-audio.com

I suppose you know that less than flac's is shity

The sound quality is insane.

Later edit: Almost forgot...In the Nu audio control panel press the wheel in the corner.You will end up in the Setup menu where it writes the firmware version, language etc.There is are two arrows one on the right and leftt.Press one of them and choose your style in "SOUND COLOR DIGITAL FILTER" at output speakers.That options influnce the sound signature or style
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Old May 7, 2021, 07:26 PM   #21
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As far as I understand, people put too much emphasis on DACs, and not the surrounding circuitry.

Let me phrase it another way. If used properly, a 16-bit DAC can have enough steps, yet generate enough dynamic range to deafen you. 32-bit should do something crazy like causing a minor earthquake in your city (I'm exaggerating because I don't have numbers).

In this case, creating good onboard audio would require a large expense to isolate it from electrostatic interference from your other components. It's far more cost efficient to avoid power/coil whine by having an external chip, even if you get a "technically worse" DAC.
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Old May 7, 2021, 07:30 PM   #22
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AdamK47: I suggest getting fidelizer pro for even better sound.Use Foobar optimized by fidelizer

https://www.fidelizer-audio.com

I suppose you know that less than flac's is shity

The sound quality is insane.

Later edit: Almost forgot...In the Nu audio control panel press the wheel in the corner.You will end up in the Setup menu where it writes the firmware version, language etc.There is are two arrows one on the right and leftt.Press one of them and choose your style in "SOUND COLOR DIGITAL FILTER" at output speakers.That options influnce the sound signature or style
I have a 11900K. Not sure how Fidelizer will help me. Seems like snake-oil / placebo.
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Old May 7, 2021, 09:52 PM   #23
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I have a 11900K. Not sure how Fidelizer will help me. Seems like snake-oil / placebo.
It kinda is... but is kinda not. Honestly everything it does may or may not make a difference. It basically just tries to get Windows and other programs out of the way and prevent your audio program from being interrupted.
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Old May 8, 2021, 12:36 AM   #24
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I have a 11900K. Not sure how Fidelizer will help me. Seems like snake-oil / placebo.
Try the free version.Is not about the CPU.It actually make windows more audiophile friendly.Imagine a dedicated windows installation specialy tailored for audiophile listening.
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Old May 8, 2021, 04:59 AM   #25
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Try the free version.Is not about the CPU.It actually make windows more audiophile friendly.Imagine a dedicated windows installation specialy tailored for audiophile listening.
In the audiophile world the intangible becomes tangible. Void of any worldly benefits. Bountiful in auditory illusionary. AKA, the placebo effect.
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Old May 8, 2021, 07:39 AM   #26
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In the audiophile world the intangible becomes tangible. Void of any worldly benefits. Bountiful in auditory illusionary. AKA, the placebo effect.
Well ... the "placebo effect" is free to try.It takes you 5 minutes to try it ?
I am curious about your specific hardware combination how it fits with fidelizer.If you are a more specialist try it and give an objective opinion for all to hear.
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Old May 8, 2021, 03:33 PM   #27
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Zero difference on my rig. Which is kinda surprising, as I run allot of crap in the background, but no difference here. My AE-5 and Win10 seem to be doing a perfectly fine job of preventing my audio from being interrupted.

There is a GIGANTIC thread on this app over at Head-Fi with the person who makes this. They have been completely unable to substantiate that it makes any measurable difference at all. However, the idea may help some systems encountering issues with stable playback, but mines not one of em.
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Old May 8, 2021, 10:06 PM   #28
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FWIW, I use ASIO with foobar2000... which bypasses Windows audio and provides bit-perfect sound. Not sure what Fidelizer would add...
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Old May 8, 2021, 10:55 PM   #29
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I felt the difference.There is a clarity improvement.A bit more detail.It's a different sound signature than Asio.I like it more than Asio.Asio it's very harsh to my ears.
Trunks0: it's surprising also to me that you hear no difference.
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Old May 9, 2021, 01:31 AM   #30
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Quote:
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I felt the difference.There is a clarity improvement.A bit more detail.It's a different sound signature than Asio.I like it more than Asio.Asio it's very harsh to my ears.
Trunks0: it's surprising also to me that you hear no difference.
Because he's not doing anything to the sound directly, nor does he claim to. His entire premise is to try and ensure the audio stack is perfect. That not really an issue on all systems. That's also why he can't show any measurable difference, because it's not going to make a difference if the audio stack is working properly anyway.

I should really load his program up in a VM sandbox and just look at the log. It would show exactly what his program is modifying.
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