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Joined: May 2018
Posts: 1,280
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Problem:

I use VI's (Garritan CFX Lite, and Pianoteq) on a small, elderly Dell PC. The output level is very low, so I have to amplify the signal on my AV Receiver by rather a lot (e.g. Garritan needs be at -15 dB, whereas e.g. CD audio is typically set at -30 dB). This massive amplification also amplifies some noise, and it is not ideal.

Opportunity:

Good price on the Cambridge Audio DacMagic 100 D/A converter, which is generally reviewed quite positively - even against much pricier DAC's.

Question:

Will I likely experience any benefit in going from the small, elderly Dell office PC's own soundcard, to the DacMagic 100?

Please be gentle, I'm a DAC noob! smile

Any insights gratefully received.


Roland FP-30, Roland E-28
Galaxy II Grand piano collection, Synthogy Ivory II Studio Grands, Production Voices Estate Grand, Garritan CFX Lite, Pianoteq 7.5.2 (Blüthner, Bechstein DG, Grotrian, Steinway D, K2)
Joined: Sep 2009
Posts: 14,439
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Most any external DAC should outperform a laptop's built-in audio interface.

Joined: May 2015
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R
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It depends on how poor your computer’s dac and amplification are.

My computer is a modest business desktop that was probably not designed for high quality music reproduction. Almost all of the dacs I have used improved the sound, some, by a great amount.

My dacs, in ascending order of sound quality, have been:

Optomo udac3: $100, no improvement;
DaytonAudio DAC01: $30, substantial improvement;
Optomo udac5: $200, substantial improvement;
SMSL M8A: $200, very, very nice improvement;
Topping D50s, $200, very, very nice improvement.

The DaytonAudio unit is great value for money.
I abandoned the SMSL SOLELY because of a very uncertain warranty.
I think I like the sound of the Topping only very slightly less than the SMSL.


Ralph

Kawai VPC1
Garritan CFX
Pianist since April, 2015

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