For the past few months, I've been listening to my FLAC/320kbps MP3s using iTunes or Winamp (both at EQ flat), onboard mobo audio (Realtek ALC892 Audio Codec), and Audioengine 2 (bought a couple of weeks ago). And I was pretty contented.
Then curiosity got hold of me and I bought a FiiO E10 desktop DAC yesterday (I got bored the other day so I browsed thru various boards...)
People are saying the latest mobos nowadays have pretty decent audio chips that there's no need to add a dedicated soundcard or external DACs (entry-level types). Oh, how pretty wrong those people are!
After a brainless FiiO E10 setup, Audioengine 2 and DAC are ready to go within 10 seconds. And the audio output is just awesome!!! It's like I got a brandnew set of ears! Mozarts, Dire Straits, Queen, Radiohead, Acoustic Alchemy, etc seem to come alive in our PC desk. I'm thinking now of taking a day off tomorrow.... too much songs to digest again!!!
So if you're just using your mobo's onboard audio and you want to hear pure "music", do yourself a favor and buy a dedicated soundcard (internal or external). For entry-level, go for those at least AUD80 and avoid the dirt-cheap ones....