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I installed a Vantec UGT-PC345 USB 3.0 PCIe host card in my music computer which has an Intel DH77 motherboard. My Bryston BDA-3, which is a superb DAC, sounds better plugged into the Vantec's USB port than it does when plugged into the motherboard's USB 3.0 port.
The bass is more powerful and better defined, soundstage depth increases, and the upper frequencies are smoother and more musical. These differences are small, but easily heard.
Edits: 05/21/17Follow Ups:
Not exactly the difference between mother board USB and PCIe adapter, but
the USB "digital" audio of my mac mini is cleaner than that of my Toshiba laptop.
Easily seen on spectrum analysis with $99 ~ $150 USB audio interface in "pro" audio market.
Moral of the story.
Most every regulated and/or self powered USB source improves the sound vs USB taken straight from a computer motherboard.
This just goes to show that you don't have to spend a lot for a noticeable improvement.
Dynobots Audio - Music is the Bridge Between Heaven and Earth
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