External soundcard / DAC for Linux wanted

I would like to finally replace my ALC887 onboard chip with an external DAC. Condition: Connection to the board only via USB. Price limit approx. 150,00€.
Earlier under Windows I once had an ASUS Xonar U7 (but broke after 2 years). Supposedly, the support under Linux is not good either. I looked at a Pro-Ject USB Box S, but that can only 16-bit Delta Sigma.


That seems very outdated to me. What do you have experience with, what can you recommend?

I use an M-TRACK 2X2. Works fine, doesn’t require drivers to run, and connects via USB C. There is a cheaper version if you do not need the XLR connections, and prefer standard USB.

I have no experience with the ALC887 or the Pro-Ject, so I cannot provide comparisons to those.

If you’re also looking for software to improve your audio, I can recommend Easyeffects or Viper4Linux.


Here are some options.

As one can see, there is quite a price range on DACs. The one thing about Crutchfield, they do not sell junk. If they offer something, it is usually good quality. Although I don’t know about shipping to Germany.

If you only want improved output for a headphones, I have the AudioQuest Dragonfly Black and it works really well on EndeavourOS.


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Headphone is not sooo important, I’m more interested in bypassing the old ALC887, since there are now software problems:

@ USB C … my output on the board is only USB A, is that feasible with a simple adapter?

Simple adapter should be fine. The cheaper version is USB A, if you don’t want to use an adapter.

Edit: looking at the 2X2 specifications it seems it does include a USB C to A cable in the box, so no worries there.

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How does it behave when connecting active speakers to a DAC with integrated amplifier? My speaker system has a built-in amplifier in the bass module.

I have now shortlisted this DAC:


It should harmonize particularly well with Linux :slight_smile:

Now I just have to negotiate with Santa Claus … :santa:


Whatever you choose - make sure it have Class Compliant mode, it’s something that…well, let’s say makes it fully work on Linux :upside_down_face:


@Balder Why not just a JDS Labs Atom? Its 100$ and one of the best DACs out. Its class compliant, benchmarks well, and if you combine it with the AMP which is borderline perfect output you are set for a long while.

Youll need to account for the output of the DAC and Speakers. Either you run the speakers at the max pot youre looking to have and adjust with the DAC or run the DAC at higher pot and adjust volume with the speakers.

You generally dont want to run them full pot as youll induce clipping as the amp in the active speakers likely isnt as good but also running full pot in general isnt a good idea.

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Looks good with the specs, is worth considering, thanks.

I didn’t intend to do that either. So far I keep it so that the volume on the computer (total volume) is at 100% and the level is regulated with the speakers. I think this is the best solution.

I am using the Focusrite Scarlett Solo 3rd Gen together with active studio monitors. Works well under EnOS. Basically it’s just plug and play.


Hm, USB 2.0 and then no extra power supply? Seems a bit strange, at least for the headphone amplifier. But well, for me the priority is more on the speakers output.

Am currently considering whether it should be the K5 Pro or the iFi Zen Dac. Will not rush it.

Could there be problems later when switching to PipeWire?

I’ve ordered the K5 Pro, it comes this week :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

I am using a focusrite scarlett 2i2 (and cloudlifter) and it works flawlessly over usb C with pipewire

I’ve used a Native Instruments Komplete Audio 6 for a few years and it works beautifully. Also have an ancient Tascam US-122 (1st gen!..) as a back-up My use-case is for music production though, not sure if you’re looking for that. It has 2 XLR inputs, so may be a bit much if you’re not looking to use it for that.

Edit…ahh never mind…I see you’re looking for something more along the lines of output/sound system. What I suggested is probably overkill for what you’re wanting

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