• Welcome to TechPowerUp Forums, Guest! Please check out our forum guidelines for info related to our community.

Why do midrange/premium boards dont have a decent amplifier

Joined
Dec 30, 2010
Messages
999 (0.28/day)
As title states,

I have to use tools like DFX audio enhancer to sqeeze more volume / bass out of my headphones, and ive used quite a few ones. My hearing is perfectly well but every motherboard i owned so far (Crosshair Z, X470-F and now a X570 Elite) lack serious volume. They all come with big marketing on how good and seperated the audio setup of the board is, but none really offer punch related to volume.

Why is that?
 
Joined
Jun 24, 2015
Messages
1,830 (0.98/day)
Location
Western Canada
System Name Ol' Beastie R3.5
Processor R7 3700X
Motherboard B550M TUF Wifi (0805)
Cooling Dark Rock Pro 4
Memory 32GB Trident Z RGB [3733] (16-19-19-37) (DJR)
Video Card(s) RTX 2060 Super FE (UV 0.950V)
Storage 2.75TB of SSDs
Display(s) GW2765HT
Case TJ08T-E, NF-A14 iPPC-2000 + SW3 120mm
Audio Device(s) DT 770 80Ω [FiiO E10K], Blue Snowball + DS7200B
Power Supply Seasonic SSR-550PX [Cablemod SE]
Mouse Endgame XM1
Keyboard various customs
Software Windows 10 2004
Because most users use "gaming" headsets that have 0 going for them in terms of audio quality, and RGB sways buyers like nothing else can.

Gigabyte used to make a big deal out of its ALC1150 solution with a socketed replaceable OP-AMP across most of its lineup during the Haswell/DC days, but evidently none of the gamer audience cared. The ones that did most likely used dedicated hardware anyway, and ALC1150 isn't that great nowadays.

If you have 200ohm cans, chances are you've already got a DAC/amp or soundcard ready on the side. Asus nowadays has a Sabre DAC next to its S1220 on the PCB on high end boards, but that's about it.

"Enthusiasts" are never really the norm. If we had our way, every board would have a dedicated DAC/amp and Smart Power Stages, components would be matte black and brushed metal, and "mechanical keyboards" would all be $400 TGR and Duck kits.
 
Joined
Dec 30, 2010
Messages
999 (0.28/day)
It's just that, the maximum volume is just basic. Even my iphone 7 plus plays louder then this stuff. And i have stuff turned on to the max etc. It's so weird. So many (seperate) chips for a audio devision on the motherboard, none (premium) that could actually play loud as it would be intended by marketing.

Ah well. I guess it's either an external soundcard or a headphone's amplifier.
 

Frick

Fishfaced Nincompoop
Joined
Feb 27, 2006
Messages
16,288 (3.09/day)
Location
Piteå
System Name Black MC in Tokyo
Processor Ryzen 5 2600x
Motherboard Asrock B450M-HDV
Cooling AMD Wraith Spire I think
Memory 2 x 8GB G-skill Aegis 3000 or somesuch
Video Card(s) Asus GTX 760 DCU2OC 2GB
Storage Kingston A400 240GB | WD Blue 1TB x 2
Display(s) BenQ GL2450HT
Case Some old Antec
Audio Device(s) Line6 UX1 + slightly modded Sony DR-ZX302
Power Supply Fractal Design Effekt 400W
Mouse Logitech G602
Keyboard Dell Sk3205
Software Windows 10 Pro
Benchmark Scores I once had +100 dorfs in DF, so yeah pretty great
The volume is too low for you, even on max? And your hearing is fine?

E"nthusiasts" are never really the norm. If we had our way, every board would have a dedicated DAC/amp and Smart Power Stages, components would be matte black and brushed metal, and "mechanical keyboards" would all be $400 TGR and Duck kits.
Audio enthusaists are the worst of the bunch.
 
Joined
Mar 23, 2016
Messages
3,864 (2.42/day)
Processor Ryzen 7 3800X
Motherboard MSI B450 Tomahawk ATX
Cooling Cooler Master Hyper 212 Black Edition
Memory PNY Anarchy-X XLR8 Red DDR4-3200 16GB @3466 MHz
Video Card(s) MSI GeForce RTX 2060 GAMING Z 6G
Storage Samsung 970 EVO NVMe M.2 500 GB, SanDisk Ultra II 480 GB
Display(s) Samsung SyncMaster C27H711 OC refresh rate 110Hz
Case Phantek Eclipse P400S (PH-EC416PS)
Audio Device(s) EVGA NU Audio
Power Supply EVGA 850 BQ
Mouse SteelSeries Rival 310
Keyboard Logitech G G413 Silver
Software Windows 10 Professional 64-bit v2004
Ah well. I guess it's either an external soundcard or a headphone's amplifier
The EVGA Nu Audio card gets plenty loud for me. It’s a external USB sound card through a Asmedia bridge chip to a internal PCIe x1 slot card.

 
Joined
Jan 17, 2010
Messages
11,467 (2.97/day)
Location
Oregon
System Name Delta // HTPC
Processor Intel i7 6700K // Intel i5 4570
Motherboard GIGABYTE Z270X-Gaming K7 // Gigabyte H97M -D3H
Cooling Corsair H80i V2 // Silverstone NT-06 Pro
Memory Corsair DDR4 3000 32gb //G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series 8GB 1600
Video Card(s) EVGA GeForce RTX 2080 XC ULTRA GAMING// EVGA GTX 1050 ti
Storage Samsung 950 Pro NVMe 512, 2 Tb FireCuda// Samsung 1Tb SSD
Display(s) ASUS VP348QGL 34" Quad HD 3440 x 1440 // 55" LG 4K SK8000 Series
Case Corsair Obsidian Series 550D // Silverstone Granada GD05
Audio Device(s) Focusrite Scarlett // HDMI to Samsung HW-R650 sound bar
Power Supply Corsair TX850M // SeaSonic G Series 550w
Mouse Cooler Master MM710 53G
Keyboard Logitech 920-009300 G512 SE
Software Windows 10 Pro // Windows 10 Pro
It adds to the cost, and with interference even with a quality amp would have problems Get an external amp
 
Joined
Dec 30, 2010
Messages
999 (0.28/day)
The volume is too low for you, even on max? And your hearing is fine?



Audio enthusaists are the worst of the bunch.

Dont get me wrong; i'd like sound with a punch. Does'nt have to be screaming loud; but as long as your hearing it. Ive tried a bunch of headphones over time by now,


It adds to the cost, and with interference even with a quality amp would have problems Get an external amp
Well here's the thing i doubt a bit, the link of @biffzinker shows a card with a generic OP-amp, that could be found for less then 11 dollar: https://www.amazon.com/ANALOG-DEVICES-OP275GPZ-OP275-Bipolar/dp/B07GL4T7HR

(take note that bulk party's even come cheaper as well)

If you already buy a premum price for a board (crosshair Z formula was'nt cheap upon release and still is'nt), X470-F belongs to mid/high-end range, and X570 Elite is'nt a 50$ budget board either. Appearantly gigabyte is throwing in some higher grade components: https://www.gigabyte.com/Motherboard/X570-AORUS-ELITE-rev-10#kf related to audio.

I'd prefer motherboard makers stop throwing in overbuild VRM's that even on LN2 cannot be taxed fully, RGB etc and rather focus on extra's. You cant tell me they cant throw in a decent op-amp in a board of 200 up to 400 euro.
 
Joined
Jun 27, 2011
Messages
5,957 (1.79/day)
Processor Ryzen 3900x
Motherboard Asus Tuf Gaming x570-plus
Cooling Scythe Mugen 5 Rev B with push pull fans
Memory Corsair 4x8gb 3600mhz Cas 16
Video Card(s) EVGA 1060 3gb
Storage Adata SX8200 1tb
Display(s) Asus 144hz
Power Supply Cougar 850w
Software Windows 10 64 Bit
Why put on a crappy amp when 99% of people who care about an amp will use an infinitely superior external amp?
 
Joined
Nov 18, 2010
Messages
5,111 (1.44/day)
Location
Rīga, Latvia
System Name HELLSTAR
Processor Intel 5960X @ 4.4GHz
Motherboard Gigabyte GA-X99-UD3
Cooling Custom Loop. 360+240 rads. 5x Nidec Servo Gentle Typhoons. AC CUPLEX KRYOS NEXT.
Memory 4x8GB Corsair Vengeance LPX 3000MHz 15-17-17-36 CR1
Video Card(s) ASUS 1080 Ti FE + water block
Storage Optane 900P + Samsung PM981 NVMe 1TB + 750 EVO 500GB
Display(s) Philips PHL BDM3270
Case Phanteks Enthoo Evolv ATX Tempered Glass
Audio Device(s) Sound Blaster ZxR
Power Supply Fractal Design Newton R3 1000W
Mouse Razer Basilisk
Keyboard Razer Deathstalker
Software Windows 10 insider
There is no space to implement a "decent" solution. Motherboards will carry Jack of all trades with incremental upgrades, they do not and never will care for some rare usage cases.

Buy a tailored dedicated unit, aimed at your gear to be matched.
 
Joined
Jan 17, 2010
Messages
11,467 (2.97/day)
Location
Oregon
System Name Delta // HTPC
Processor Intel i7 6700K // Intel i5 4570
Motherboard GIGABYTE Z270X-Gaming K7 // Gigabyte H97M -D3H
Cooling Corsair H80i V2 // Silverstone NT-06 Pro
Memory Corsair DDR4 3000 32gb //G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series 8GB 1600
Video Card(s) EVGA GeForce RTX 2080 XC ULTRA GAMING// EVGA GTX 1050 ti
Storage Samsung 950 Pro NVMe 512, 2 Tb FireCuda// Samsung 1Tb SSD
Display(s) ASUS VP348QGL 34" Quad HD 3440 x 1440 // 55" LG 4K SK8000 Series
Case Corsair Obsidian Series 550D // Silverstone Granada GD05
Audio Device(s) Focusrite Scarlett // HDMI to Samsung HW-R650 sound bar
Power Supply Corsair TX850M // SeaSonic G Series 550w
Mouse Cooler Master MM710 53G
Keyboard Logitech 920-009300 G512 SE
Software Windows 10 Pro // Windows 10 Pro
I'd prefer motherboard makers stop throwing in overbuild VRM's that even on LN2 cannot be taxed fully, RGB etc and rather focus on extra's. You cant tell me they cant throw in a decent op-amp in a board of 200 up to 400 euro.
I'd prefer they stop putting RGB on everything. But I like the quality VRMs and I'll hardly ever use the sound chip on the board
 
Joined
Jun 24, 2015
Messages
1,830 (0.98/day)
Location
Western Canada
System Name Ol' Beastie R3.5
Processor R7 3700X
Motherboard B550M TUF Wifi (0805)
Cooling Dark Rock Pro 4
Memory 32GB Trident Z RGB [3733] (16-19-19-37) (DJR)
Video Card(s) RTX 2060 Super FE (UV 0.950V)
Storage 2.75TB of SSDs
Display(s) GW2765HT
Case TJ08T-E, NF-A14 iPPC-2000 + SW3 120mm
Audio Device(s) DT 770 80Ω [FiiO E10K], Blue Snowball + DS7200B
Power Supply Seasonic SSR-550PX [Cablemod SE]
Mouse Endgame XM1
Keyboard various customs
Software Windows 10 2004
@Jism I can't tell what platform you're currently on, or whether you might be looking to upgrade. ASRock has been pairing its ALC1220s on its midrange to high end boards (keep in mind that "midrange" is X570 Steel Legend, not the Pro4s) with a TI NE5532 op-amp.

The X570 Steel Legend / Extreme4 / Taichi / Phantom Gaming X / Creator all have the NE5532, and so do the new B550 Steel Legend / Extreme4 / Taichi / PG Velocita. As for Z490, apparently only the Z490 PG Velocita, whereas the Taichi there gets a Sabre DAC. So essentially, all of ASRock's better ATX boards on AMD. The only reason they all get it is because ASRock loves re-using the exact same PCB, so if one has it, they all have it.

I can't find much else aside from ASRock parroting the tired "600ohm support" from the datasheet. From a quick glance, this isn't a high end part, and performance seems to be subjectively variable and also highly dependent on the implementation. Since copy+paste is one of current ASRock's favourite practices, whether the NE5532 is a good amp and whether they've made a good implementation of it literally makes or breaks all of those boards. There are other reasons why I'd shy away from ASRock B550 before they change their firmware, but I suppose you could give it a try.

I don't know what cans you're using right now, but from your description of preferring more volume and bass it just sounds like either you need a dedicated amp/DAC to handle insanely high ohms, or just aren't a fan of a flat/neutral/studio sound.
 
Joined
Feb 21, 2014
Messages
1,191 (0.50/day)
Location
Alabama, USA
System Name Desktop || XPS 15 9560
Processor i5 4670k || i5 7300HQ
Motherboard MSI Z87-G41 || OEM
Cooling NZXT Respire T40 || OEM
Memory 16GB 1866Mhz DDR3 || 16GB DDR4
Video Card(s) EVGA GTX 1070 FTW || GTX 1050
Storage Ultra 2 480GB + WD Black 2TB || 1TB Crucial SSD
Display(s) ASUS VS228 1080p || Dell InfinityEdge 4k
Case NZXT Source 210 White || OEM
Power Supply Corsair CXm 750w || OEM
Mouse Corsair SABRE RGB || Logitech 720 Triathlon
Keyboard Steelseries APEX RGB || OEM
While I get what you’re saying about sound profiles changing as you pump more power into headphones, you really should make sure you’re not going to damage your hearing. Using the internal 3.5mm from my laptop a loaned pair of 6XXs woke up well before 100%, and (pretty obviously) my 32ohm k371s start to get unbearably loud above about 25%.
Maybe it’s a better idea to stick to modifying the sound with a quality EQ than to try and get it straight from the headphones themself.
 
Joined
Dec 29, 2017
Messages
619 (0.65/day)
System Name Silent
Processor i7 8700k delidded and OC'd to 5.2 daily 5.3 benchmarking/R9 3900x
Motherboard Asrock Z370 Extreme 4/MSI MEG ACE x570
Cooling Noctua D15/Noctua U12A
Memory 16GB G-Skill Trident Z RGB 3200 14CAS/32GB Team Dark Pro 3200/14
Video Card(s) 1080ti w/morpheus cooler w/Noctua 140mm fans/Quadro RTX 4000
Storage Optane 905p 480GB, 2 x 1TB 970 Pro Raid 0/Optane 905p 480GB
Display(s) 240hz 1080p/4x1440p 60hz
Case Coolermaster Cosmos C700M
Power Supply Seasonic Prime Titanium 600w Fanless
Benchmark Scores Cinebench 1725
Joined
Feb 21, 2014
Messages
1,191 (0.50/day)
Location
Alabama, USA
System Name Desktop || XPS 15 9560
Processor i5 4670k || i5 7300HQ
Motherboard MSI Z87-G41 || OEM
Cooling NZXT Respire T40 || OEM
Memory 16GB 1866Mhz DDR3 || 16GB DDR4
Video Card(s) EVGA GTX 1070 FTW || GTX 1050
Storage Ultra 2 480GB + WD Black 2TB || 1TB Crucial SSD
Display(s) ASUS VS228 1080p || Dell InfinityEdge 4k
Case NZXT Source 210 White || OEM
Power Supply Corsair CXm 750w || OEM
Mouse Corsair SABRE RGB || Logitech 720 Triathlon
Keyboard Steelseries APEX RGB || OEM
Just buy a good external AMP/DAC like every real enthusiast. Personally I use the Schiit Hel. https://www.schiit.com/products/hel
OP, if you do go for this make sure you have clean power. At least for the Fulla (one tier down) some units had issues with whine and hiss, as a result of being USB powered instead of wall powered. For the most part though they make good stuff.
 
Joined
Feb 23, 2019
Messages
1,466 (2.76/day)
Location
Poland
Processor Ryzen 7 3700X
Motherboard Gigabyte X570 Aorus Elite
Cooling BeQuiet Dark Rock 4
Memory 2x8 GB Crucial Ballistix Sport LT 3200 CL16 @ 3466 CL 14
Video Card(s) EVGA 1060 6GB SSC
Storage SX8200 Pro 1 TB, Plextor M6Pro 256 GB, WD Blue 2TB
Display(s) BenQ BL2411PT
Case SilverStone Primera PM01 RGB
Power Supply SeaSonic Focus Plus Gold 750W
Mouse SteelSeries Rival 300
Keyboard MK Typist (Kailh Box White)
Yeah unless you're using 32 or 80 ohm headphones you're better off using a dedicated soundcard or an external amp.
My Fidelio's are super easy to run and I run them at 15-20% vol on work laptop/home pc.
 

rtwjunkie

PC Gaming Enthusiast
Supporter
Joined
Jul 25, 2008
Messages
13,090 (2.98/day)
Location
Louisiana -Laissez les bons temps rouler!
System Name Bayou Phantom
Processor Core i7-8700k 4.4Ghz @ 1.18v
Motherboard ASRock Z390 Phantom Gaming 6
Cooling All air: 2x140mm Fractal exhaust; 3x 140mm Cougar Intake; Enermax T40F Black CPU cooler
Memory 2x 16GB Mushkin Redline DDR-4 3200
Video Card(s) MSI GTX 1080Ti Gaming X
Storage 1x 500 MX500 SSD; 1x 2TB WD Black; 2x 4TB WD Black; 1x400GB VelRptr; 1x 3TB WD Blue storage (eSATA)
Display(s) HP 27q 27" IPS @ 2560 x 1440
Case Fractal Design Define R4 Black w/Titanium front -windowed
Audio Device(s) Soundblaster Z
Power Supply Seasonic X-850
Mouse Coolermaster Sentinel III (large palm grip!)
Keyboard Logitech G610 Orion mechanical (Cherry Brown switches)
Software Windows 10 Pro 64-bit (Start10 & Fences 3.0 installed)
Yeah unless you're using 32 or 80 ohm headphones you're better off using a dedicated soundcard or an external amp.
This problem is what most of the people who say board sound is good enough seem to miss. One of the biggest benefits of an add-in sound card is that it boosts sound level like the @Jism wants.
 
Last edited:
Joined
Feb 23, 2019
Messages
1,466 (2.76/day)
Location
Poland
Processor Ryzen 7 3700X
Motherboard Gigabyte X570 Aorus Elite
Cooling BeQuiet Dark Rock 4
Memory 2x8 GB Crucial Ballistix Sport LT 3200 CL16 @ 3466 CL 14
Video Card(s) EVGA 1060 6GB SSC
Storage SX8200 Pro 1 TB, Plextor M6Pro 256 GB, WD Blue 2TB
Display(s) BenQ BL2411PT
Case SilverStone Primera PM01 RGB
Power Supply SeaSonic Focus Plus Gold 750W
Mouse SteelSeries Rival 300
Keyboard MK Typist (Kailh Box White)
Appearantly gigabyte is throwing in some higher grade components: https://www.gigabyte.com/Motherboard/X570-AORUS-ELITE-rev-10#kf related to audio.

I'd prefer motherboard makers stop throwing in overbuild VRM's that even on LN2 cannot be taxed fully, RGB etc and rather focus on extra's. You cant tell me they cant throw in a decent op-amp in a board of 200 up to 400 euro.
I own this board. There ain't nothing special about it's audio section apart from ALC1200. If it wasn't for lack of regular PCI I'd be still using my old Xonar DG, since it had built in headphone amp and had good virtualization options for 7.1. Only more expensive GB boards get separate Sabre DACs (whatever's that worth).
So yeah, soundcard or DAC/AMP if you want better audio.
 
Joined
Nov 11, 2004
Messages
6,397 (1.11/day)
Location
Formosa
System Name Overlord Mk MXVI
Processor AMD Ryzen 7 3800X
Motherboard Gigabyte X570 Aorus Master
Cooling Corsair H115i Pro
Memory 32GB Viper Steel 3600 DDR4 @ 3800MHz 16-19-16-19-36
Video Card(s) Gigabyte RTX 2080 Gaming OC 8G
Storage 1TB WD Black NVMe (2018), 2TB Viper VPN100, 1TB WD Blue 3D NAND
Display(s) Asus PG27AQ
Case Corsair Carbide 275Q
Audio Device(s) Corsair Virtuoso SE
Power Supply Corsair RM750
Mouse Logitech G500s
Keyboard Wooting Two
Software Windows 10 Pro
Benchmark Scores https://valid.x86.fr/33u9si
Because most users use "gaming" headsets that have 0 going for them in terms of audio quality, and RGB sways buyers like nothing else can.

Gigabyte used to make a big deal out of its ALC1150 solution with a socketed replaceable OP-AMP across most of its lineup during the Haswell/DC days, but evidently none of the gamer audience cared. The ones that did most likely used dedicated hardware anyway, and ALC1150 isn't that great nowadays.

If you have 200ohm cans, chances are you've already got a DAC/amp or soundcard ready on the side. Asus nowadays has a Sabre DAC next to its S1220 on the PCB on high end boards, but that's about it.

"Enthusiasts" are never really the norm. If we had our way, every board would have a dedicated DAC/amp and Smart Power Stages, components would be matte black and brushed metal, and "mechanical keyboards" would all be $400 TGR and Duck kits.
I can boost the output on the front audio jack on my board in two steps and there's a setting that allows you to adjust for high impedance headphones. So the feature isn't gone as such, it's just that you do it in software now.
 
Joined
Mar 14, 2009
Messages
4,615 (1.11/day)
Location
Ohio
System Name Rainbow puke/ Orange Poop
Processor AMD Ryzen 3600/ AMD Ryzen 2600x
Motherboard ASRock X570 Gaming 4s/ ASRock B450- pro 4 atx
Cooling Cooler master Master Air/ Corsair H110i
Memory 16GB G.Skill TridentZ 3200MHZ
Video Card(s) Zotac 2080 Super AMP
Storage Corsair 512gb PCI-E 4.0/ 960 EVO 500gb/256gb Inland Premium 2280 M2
Display(s) ACER 144hz 27"
Case Thermaltake Commander C33/ Radimax Gama (LoL)
Power Supply Seasonic
Mouse Red Dragon RGB 602 Griffin
Keyboard Razer Deatstalker
Software Windows 10Pro x64
@Jism I can't tell what platform you're currently on, or whether you might be looking to upgrade. ASRock has been pairing its ALC1220s on its midrange to high end boards (keep in mind that "midrange" is X570 Steel Legend, not the Pro4s) with a TI NE5532 op-amp.

The X570 Steel Legend / Extreme4 / Taichi / Phantom Gaming X / Creator all have the NE5532, and so do the new B550 Steel Legend / Extreme4 / Taichi / PG Velocita. As for Z490, apparently only the Z490 PG Velocita, whereas the Taichi there gets a Sabre DAC. So essentially, all of ASRock's better ATX boards on AMD. The only reason they all get it is because ASRock loves re-using the exact same PCB, so if one has it, they all have it.

I can't find much else aside from ASRock parroting the tired "600ohm support" from the datasheet. From a quick glance, this isn't a high end part, and performance seems to be subjectively variable and also highly dependent on the implementation. Since copy+paste is one of current ASRock's favourite practices, whether the NE5532 is a good amp and whether they've made a good implementation of it literally makes or breaks all of those boards. There are other reasons why I'd shy away from ASRock B550 before they change their firmware, but I suppose you could give it a try.

I don't know what cans you're using right now, but from your description of preferring more volume and bass it just sounds like either you need a dedicated amp/DAC to handle insanely high ohms, or just aren't a fan of a flat/neutral/studio sound.
I'm on my 3rd ASRock mobo with 2 MSI's in between and a Gigabyte here and there and it's been my experience that ASRock does indeed have the best audio levels.
But they have limits...and as mentioned here sometimes a Headphone amp is needed.
 
Joined
Dec 30, 2010
Messages
999 (0.28/day)
I own this board. There ain't nothing special about it's audio section apart from ALC1200. If it wasn't for lack of regular PCI I'd be still using my old Xonar DG, since it had built in headphone amp and had good virtualization options for 7.1. Only more expensive GB boards get separate Sabre DACs (whatever's that worth).
I had the choice in between this one and the more expensive, 320 euro Wireless board. I hate wireless because of the random disconnects and primarly added latency and speed caps. Mind you my internet here is 1000MBit glasfibre so my wireless would be topping out at exactly 200mbit. When i installed it i was kind of dissapointed in the BIOS featureset, and the impossible XMP profile that woud'nt boot properly even when the memory is on the QVL list. I know reset CMOS, manually put voltage to 1.35V, save/reboot and then activate XMP, but it still does'nt hold the speeds as it simply does'nt boot up (only safe modus / 2133mhz). I got it running on 3000Mhz now instead of the rated 3200Mhz.

My Asus X470-F is up for warranty, the NIC blew up, and later the complete board died. When i have that back i'll replace it as the X570 adds no real benefit for me at all. A 470 chipset is just as good.
 
Joined
Jul 14, 2008
Messages
831 (0.19/day)
Location
Copenhagen, Denmark
System Name Ryzen/Laptop/htpc
Processor R9 3900X/i7 6700HQ/i7 2600
Motherboard AsRock X470 Taichi/Acer/ Gigabyte H77M
Cooling Corsair H115i pro with 2 Noctua NF-A14 chromax/OEM/Noctua NH-L12i
Memory G.Skill Trident Z 32GB @3200/16GB DDR4 2666 HyperX impact/24GB
Video Card(s) TUL Red Dragon Vega 56/Intel HD 530 - GTX 950m/ 970 GTX
Storage 970pro NVMe 512GB,Samsung 860evo 1TB, 3x4TB WD gold/Transcend 830s, 1TB Toshiba/Adata 256GB + 1TB WD
Display(s) Philips FTV 32 inch + Dell 2407WFP-HC/OEM/Sony KDL-42W828B
Case Phanteks Enthoo Luxe/Acer Barebone/Enermax
Audio Device(s) SoundBlasterX AE-5 (Dell A525)(HyperX Cloud Alpha)/mojo/soundblaster xfi gamer
Power Supply Seasonic focus+ 850 platinum (SSR-850PX)/165 Watt power brick/Enermax 650W
Mouse G502 Hero/M705 Marathon/G305 Hero Lightspeed
Keyboard G19/oem/Steelseries Apex 300
Software Win10 pro 64bit
because its cheaper and because the vast majority does not care. audio enthusiasts or even people that want that little bit extra, like me, will just get dedicated hardware and call it a day.
 
Joined
May 30, 2018
Messages
1,153 (1.44/day)
Location
Cusp Of Mania, FL
System Name humble reentry to pc-building after too many years
Processor Ryzen 9 3900X
Motherboard Asus ROG Strix X370-F
Cooling Dark Rock 4
Memory 2x8GB TridentZ RGB [3600Mhz CL16]
Video Card(s) Asus ROG Strix RTX 2060 OC
Storage 970 EVO 500GB nvme, 860 EVO 250GB SATA, Seagate Barracuda 1TB + 4TB HDDs
Display(s) 32" Samsung F395 [1080/60]
Case NZXT H710
Audio Device(s) Schiit Modi 2 Uber, Sys, Vali 2, Scarlett 2i2 gen2 - LSR 305's, DT-990 Pro's, HD600's
Power Supply Corsair RM650x v2
Mouse iunno whatever cheap crap logitech *clutches Xbox 360 controller security blanket*
Keyboard HyperX Alloy Pro
Software Windows 10 Pro
OP, if you do go for this make sure you have clean power. At least for the Fulla (one tier down) some units had issues with whine and hiss, as a result of being USB powered instead of wall powered. For the most part though they make good stuff.
USB is garbage for audio ime, for a variety of reasons. But yeah... USB power is the worst sin next to data hash noise popping down the ground and up thru ya outputs. And even when it works, it doesn't sound as good as proper spdif. Worth mentioning, you can now get their Unison USB in their new Modius DAC. Until now, you had to spend about 8 hundo chunks to get it and there was nothing better. Really makes other USB audio stuff look lame. It's much closer to being immune to the follies of USB audio. Schiit hates USB. They've been at war with it from the beginning.

It's funny. Asus likes to push thier whole sound suite. Really it's not bad. Just kinda average. But you know what's NOT average? Their USB. Probably the worst possible USB bus to feed a DAC from. I mean it. You will hear your computer's thoughts through your speakers. All of their AMD boards, anyway...

I gave up on mobo audio a long time ago. Modi Multibit and Vali 2 for me. You wanna drive high-impedance headphones? Gotta have a dedicated amp. Generally. Why buy enthusiast cans just to plug them into a mobo, right?


They are running out of excuses, though. See, I've got an LG G8 ThinQ that drives 300ohm HD6xx's pretty close to "WAYYY TOO F***NG LOUD" territory, sounds good, has DSP correction, EQ, and even different DAC filtering modes! Adaptive gain for line-level, low impedance, and high impedance. It ramps up/down for whatever you plug-in. Here's the kicker: this is a not a revolutionary development by LG. It's all on one chip: an ESS ES9218P. On this thing, you get a DAC (clock built-in too, this does matter when you consider that even decent DAPs tend to use the cheapest clocks they can get that work,) variable gain amp, and the post processing magicks. You can pretty much drop it in for a full audio solution and it sounds damned good... like actually pretty resolving, a little slammin... with nice, even timbre. I'm picky and I like it. Worth mentioning, I HATE Sabre sound as much as I hate AKM's velvet warmpoo. This still impressed me.

Not sure how it would affect BOM, but a chip like this is probably the simplest way to get audio on a board, period and have a consistently good, versatile sound. Simpler than what's on your mobo that's failing to keep up.

For many many years, DACs and opamps didn't really improve much. Times have changed though, and so much can be had on a couple of chips, or now even all on one! Both ESS and AKM have done changed the game these past 7 odd years. I get that it's not a top consideration for mobo makers, but it doesn't require a revolutionary effort anymore. Baseline good audio is trivial and mobo makers are lagging. Some of these combo chips out there are so good you can pretty much drop them in and call it a day, and they will DESTROY any of the current mobo audio implementations fairly easily. Again, they are really running out of excuses, especially ones like Asus, who make audio a selling point. They need to look at what is happening with mobile audio and realize they can have that for pretty cheap and actually free up board space and streamline their process. Software stuff is firmware on those types of chips... just hook in and get fancy features. It should be a no-brainer. They just aren't thinking about it at all.

Of course, they'll probably never compare to discreet boxes. A few people mentioned Schiit. What I really like about Schiit is that they're actually engineering their budget stuff. For ~$200 you can have a stack with actual discreet circuits. Modi 3/Magni 3 is hard to beat. Or Asgard. Not just chip-in-a-box, or by-the-datasheet op-amp designs. You'll never get that inside your PC case, and the sound will reflect that.
 
Last edited:

Frick

Fishfaced Nincompoop
Joined
Feb 27, 2006
Messages
16,288 (3.09/day)
Location
Piteå
System Name Black MC in Tokyo
Processor Ryzen 5 2600x
Motherboard Asrock B450M-HDV
Cooling AMD Wraith Spire I think
Memory 2 x 8GB G-skill Aegis 3000 or somesuch
Video Card(s) Asus GTX 760 DCU2OC 2GB
Storage Kingston A400 240GB | WD Blue 1TB x 2
Display(s) BenQ GL2450HT
Case Some old Antec
Audio Device(s) Line6 UX1 + slightly modded Sony DR-ZX302
Power Supply Fractal Design Effekt 400W
Mouse Logitech G602
Keyboard Dell Sk3205
Software Windows 10 Pro
Benchmark Scores I once had +100 dorfs in DF, so yeah pretty great
USB is garbage for audio ime, for a variety of reasons. But yeah... USB power is the worst sin next to data hash noise popping down the ground and up thru ya outputs. And even when it works, it doesn't sound as good as proper spdif. Worth mentioning, you can now get their Unison USB in their new Modius DAC. Much closer to being immune to the follies of USB audio. Schiit hates USB. They've been at war with it from the beginning.
The various USB driven audio interfaces I've used over the years disagree with this ... but you may be talking about "DACs", which honestly I have never seen the point with. Why would I want an expensive computer audio thing but with less options?

And btw, isn't a DAC just slang for a small amplifier? I know exactly what a DAC is in electronics and have always been confused by the term since it started popping up incomputer audio related discussions a few years ago. edit: because everything with any audio output these days have dacs in them.
 
Last edited:
Joined
Dec 29, 2017
Messages
619 (0.65/day)
System Name Silent
Processor i7 8700k delidded and OC'd to 5.2 daily 5.3 benchmarking/R9 3900x
Motherboard Asrock Z370 Extreme 4/MSI MEG ACE x570
Cooling Noctua D15/Noctua U12A
Memory 16GB G-Skill Trident Z RGB 3200 14CAS/32GB Team Dark Pro 3200/14
Video Card(s) 1080ti w/morpheus cooler w/Noctua 140mm fans/Quadro RTX 4000
Storage Optane 905p 480GB, 2 x 1TB 970 Pro Raid 0/Optane 905p 480GB
Display(s) 240hz 1080p/4x1440p 60hz
Case Coolermaster Cosmos C700M
Power Supply Seasonic Prime Titanium 600w Fanless
Benchmark Scores Cinebench 1725
USB is garbage for audio ime, for a variety of reasons. But yeah... USB power is the worst sin next to data hash noise popping down the ground and up thru ya outputs. And even when it works, it doesn't sound as good as proper spdif. Worth mentioning, you can now get their Unison USB in their new Modius DAC. Until now, you had to spend about 8 hundo chunks to get it and there was nothing better. Really makes other USB audio stuff look lame. It's much closer to being immune to the follies of USB audio. Schiit hates USB. They've been at war with it from the beginning.

It's funny. Asus likes to push thier whole sound suite. Really it's not bad. Just kinda average. But you know what's NOT average? Their USB. Probably the worst possible USB bus to feed a DAC from. I mean it. You will hear your computer's thoughts through your speakers. All of their AMD boards, anyway...

I gave up on mobo audio a long time ago. Modi Multibit and Vali 2 for me. You wanna drive high-impedance headphones? Gotta have a dedicated amp. Generally. Why buy enthusiast cans just to plug them into a mobo, right?


They are running out of excuses, though. See, I've got an LG G8 ThinQ that drives 300ohm HD6xx's pretty close to "WAYYY TOO F***NG LOUD" territory, sounds good, has DSP correction, EQ, and even different DAC filtering modes! Adaptive gain for line-level, low impedance, and high impedance. It ramps up/down for whatever you plug-in. Here's the kicker: this is a not a revolutionary development by LG. It's all on one chip: an ESS ES9218P. On this thing, you get a DAC (clock built-in too, this does matter when you consider that even decent DAPs tend to use the cheapest clocks they can get that work,) variable gain amp, and the post processing magicks. You can pretty much drop it in for a full audio solution and it sounds damned good... like actually pretty resolving, a little slammin... with nice, even timbre. I'm picky and I like it. Worth mentioning, I HATE Sabre sound as much as I hate AKM's velvet warmpoo. This still impressed me.

Not sure how it would affect BOM, but a chip like this is probably the simplest way to get audio on a board, period and have a consistently good, versatile sound. Simpler than what's on your mobo that's failing to keep up.

For many many years, DACs and opamps didn't really improve much. Times have changed though, and so much can be had on a couple of chips, or now even all on one! Both ESS and AKM have done changed the game these past 7 odd years. I get that it's not a top consideration for mobo makers, but it doesn't require a revolutionary effort anymore. Baseline good audio is trivial and mobo makers are lagging. Some of these combo chips out there are so good you can pretty much drop them in and call it a day, and they will DESTROY any of the current mobo audio implementations fairly easily. Again, they are really running out of excuses, especially ones like Asus, who make audio a selling point. They need to look at what is happening with mobile audio and realize they can have that for pretty cheap and actually free up board space and streamline their process. Software stuff is firmware on those types of chips... just hook in and get fancy features. It should be a no-brainer. They just aren't thinking about it at all.

Of course, they'll probably never compare to discreet boxes. A few people mentioned Schiit. What I really like about Schiit is that they're actually engineering their budget stuff. For ~$200 you can have a stack with actual discreet circuits. Modi 3/Magni 3 is hard to beat. Or Asgard. Not just chip-in-a-box, or by-the-datasheet op-amp designs. You'll never get that inside your PC case, and the sound will reflect that.
Schiit hates USB huh?
 

Attachments

Joined
Mar 23, 2016
Messages
3,864 (2.42/day)
Processor Ryzen 7 3800X
Motherboard MSI B450 Tomahawk ATX
Cooling Cooler Master Hyper 212 Black Edition
Memory PNY Anarchy-X XLR8 Red DDR4-3200 16GB @3466 MHz
Video Card(s) MSI GeForce RTX 2060 GAMING Z 6G
Storage Samsung 970 EVO NVMe M.2 500 GB, SanDisk Ultra II 480 GB
Display(s) Samsung SyncMaster C27H711 OC refresh rate 110Hz
Case Phantek Eclipse P400S (PH-EC416PS)
Audio Device(s) EVGA NU Audio
Power Supply EVGA 850 BQ
Mouse SteelSeries Rival 310
Keyboard Logitech G G413 Silver
Software Windows 10 Professional 64-bit v2004
Top