Advice for Dac/amp for PC setup

Hi guys,

Need a bit of help if you could provide it.

I have a pair of Eris Presonus 3.5 Active Speakers (RCA) and my headphones are Razer Kraken X Lite. (I know they are a piece of crap.)

I wanted a bit of an audio upgrade as everything is hooked up to my motherboard (realtek chip).

Do you guys think an ARC Mk2 is a complete waste of money? It is the only dac/amp I can find which would allow me to improve audio with both my desktop monitor speakers and headphones at the same time. I Would prefer not spend over 200€ also.

I looked at the combo Schiit Magni + Schiit Modi and although it would be cheaper I wouldn’t be able to use my current headset mic (The kraken has two 3.5mm jacks). Is it worth it getting rid of my current headphones?

I’ll be doing a bit of gaming and listening to music mostly.

Thanks in advance for any provided feedback.

schiit also sells the fulla and hel. fulla almost half the price and much less juice. but more than enough for your krakens. hel has more juice if you upgrade to something ever that would use it.

the arc mk2 is fine as well. mayflower makes good stuff.

I might also consider the IFI zen dac. its overall pretty dope
And the bass boost button is just so “yummy” for just about everything

I have an Ifi Zen Phono on my turntable and from my modest experience with the brand it kicks ass.
Can’t use my current headphones with it though… :frowning: Or am I missing something?

Yeah I’ve seen fulla and looking at the manual I would be able to hook up my actives speakers using the Preamp Output right?

4 - Preamp Output. Plug this in to your powered
monitors (or a power amp) using a 1/8” TRS to
dual RCA cable

Guess this would sort all my problems then.

Do you think for my current speakers the Fulla is a good upgrade?

Thank you for your time.

As far as im aware, you are doing everything right :slight_smile:
The IFI zen dac is a whole other unit to the zen phono (never tried the zen Phono myself but I’ve read only good things about it).

The ifif zen Dac is one of the best desktop units for, under 200$, its warm, fun, has RCA outs, balanced outputs (both in the front and the rear), also the variable and fixed switch in the back is awesome… and like Zeos said in his video, the bass boost is just pure crack, it makes everything better :smiley:

Now if you can get the V1, id say its a nice way to save some money, the V2 does have some slight and I mean VERY slight sonic differences that are not worth the extra cash (at least from the short time ive spent with the V2). t

You can always look at the hip DAC, but the mayflower is pretty decent. I think I would go for a simpler DAC/Amp setup if you don’t need the microphone in.

When getting started there is really no wrong answers because it’s all an upgraded from motherboard audio.

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The mayflower does look decent but its kinda pricey and since I live in europe when I add the shipping costs… ouch.
If I replace my headphones it will crush my budget so I kinda planned on keeping these.
I don’t really like listening to music with headphones so they are pretty much used for a bit of gaming. That’s why I never really bothered with any set other than razer or steelseries which have a pretty cool surround.

Why don’t more DAC/AMPS have the mic jack? Are those sets that bad?

@Naturallymorbid After your feedback and what I’ve read online I would dive right into the Zen Dac if I didn’t need to replace my headphones. :frowning:

Because most gamers are using a separate mic all together. Personally, I found the Mod Mic USB to be better than than the analog version. Now I’m using a stand alone mic.

Forgot to ask… I have also seen the Sennheiser GSX 1000…
How bad is it to use to connect my speakers an RCA to 3.5mm jack?
If it is not that bad I guess I could consider things like Sound BlasterX G6 or the Asus U7 MKII 7.1 USB.
Would these be an upgrade at all from the motherboard?


Ok guys. I’m going to quickly condense my questions into one post so I stop being a pain in your behinds ASAP.
I spent this afternoon reading and ASSUMING that using any of these equipments to my powered speakers with an RCA to 3.5mm jack is not a terrible idea I have narrowed my choices to these fellas but I’ll start with the ones I pretty much gave up on:

Arc Mk2 - I live in Europe (cant find any EU supplier) so these would cost almost 400 dollars if I add shipping and customs fees.

The Schiit Fulla 4 in the US costs 109$. (approx. 96€) but for some reason on the European Schiit store the Fulla 4 costs 149€ which is almost 168$.

These I can easily find in Europe and considering the prices I was hoping for some input on whether I’m thinking reasonably or not:

Sound BlasterX G6 7.1 USB - 129€ (approx. 145$);
Sound BlasterX G5 - 110€ - (approx. 125$);

Asus U7 MKII 7.1 USB - 76 € (approx. 85$)

Sennheiser gsx1000 - €209.99 + 10€ shipping (total approx. 250$)

AUDIOTRAK Prodigy Cube USB / DAC / PREAMP 24 / 96khz - 100€ on a kinda sketchy French site but I got friends over there so I can get some feedback from the store before the purchase.

Syba Sonic 24bit 96KHz USB DAC - its on amazon for 44$ but with shipping and customs it’s gonna end up as expensive as the Asus U7 MKII 7.1 USB.

So as you might have noticed I definitely decided NOT to consider any dac/amp without a mic in port.
Sorry @Naturallymorbid but the Zen had to go :frowning:

Can you offer some advice on these choices?
Again I would like a quality increase on headset + mic but also a bit of a sound upgrade on my active speakers.

Thanks again guys!

One: You are more than welcome to ask questions that’s what the forum is for…
That and gear porn…
And maybe some memes…

Two: it’s fine, while I like the IFI zen dac, not an IFI fan boy (yet) the main thing is “you do you man”, whatever works for you is what matters. everyone’s situation and needs are different so don’t sweat it

Cant help you too much on that because I dotn have a lot of experience with dac/amps that have an input. The only thing i might suggest is what @DagoRed said, and separate the two, get a mod mic and a dac separately.

You can even buy a Tyger 300 with the Added USB mic (€249.99 on amazon DE right now) without a DAC and that will mop the floor with the Kraken X, not only will you get better sound for you (the TYGER does benefit from and amp/dac, BUT it doesn’t need one to sound good) but you also get better audio overall, but if you dont want a something on your desk, a mod mic is €59 you can pair it with any headphone you like and you can hook it up separately.

Personally, i’d say first ditch the gamer headset, and go no DAC and straight for good headphones that don’t need it, keep in mind that no dac amp can make Razor’s headphones sound more than mediocre (not even our lord and savior the Zen DAC :smiley: ), this way you can get an amp/dac down the line but you would actually benefit to using it

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Also another good option is the DROP PC38X, haven’t tried it myself but you can find a lot of people saying its awesome, built-in mic and it doesn’t need a DAC :smiley:

Well a couple more questions then :sweat_smile:
This is very good advice and perfectly in line with I just dug up last night.
The audiosciencereview guy posted this review on the audio of my motherboard: LINK

He mentions:

Considering how bad PC implementations of audio can get, the Gigabyte Z390 Aorus actually does well. Grading on a curve, it is one of the best audio subsystems I have seen in a PC. In absolute terms though, a $99 DAC will run circles around it but audible difference may be fleeting. In other words, what is there is “good enough.”
What is not good enough is the headphone output with its dismally high output impedance and inadequate output power especially with low impedance headphones. There are headphone dongles that do better than this output!

He compliments what really matters (to me) and his major critique is the mic output. Please note my main concern was improving overall sound quality.

Does the Modmic USB circumvent the motherboards limitations or I’m still dependent on the onboard chip anyway? I think I can live with the modmic UNI + Tyger which will be less than 200€.

The Tyger alone cost €139.00 (the combo is wonderfully priced but a mic like that is pretty overkill for me)
The Drop + Sennheiser PC38X I can’t find in Europe.

I’m considering the Tyger… but the thing with audio is you get an answer than always leads to more questions.
It’s a stereo headset. Would you say the difference for gaming from a 7.1 headset will be noticeable or would it definitely be an upgrade?
And can I use any software surround emulators with them or is it just not worth it for gaming?

Thanks for this awesome tip!

It should bypass the microphone’s issue, If im not mistaken (you might have to look into this), but USB devices don’t use the motherboard’s DAC, the conversion from analog to digital is happening within the device itself so the microphone is not a problem.

If the Motherboard’s audio is that horrible can a decent amp dac combo (like you saw there are more than a few) that will still fit into your budget after getting the TYGER.

TYGER 300R - 139€
V-MODA BoomPro X - 45€
and if you don’t mind the wait you can get something like an FIIO EK10 from aliexpress (to any other dac)

That should keep under 250€ and with a great set of headphones, a good mic that you can use on any headphone and an amp/DAC that you can upgrade down the line but is still good value

Isn’t the TYGR’s cable hard wired? You’re not going to be able to connect a BoomPro X to it…

I think yyou are right, I was looking for their USB C one, might have mixed up the models… either way just getting a USB mic attachment would work

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I’m pretty sure the PC38x still needs a DAC. The PC37x did.

Like i said i haven’t tried it myself but I have heard going “raw” with it and having no issues (Its only 28 ohm so not very hard to drive)

Impedance doesn’t mean squat with “hard to drive”. Look at sensitivity numbers normally expressed in db/watt.