Originally Posted by Oedipus Rex
I would like to hear a honest truth from the skeptics, would there be ANY Difference on the sound if I bought 2000 euro DAC and some mega amp like B22 (My current amp has more than enough raw power to drive the HD650) Or is my set now finished and I can feel happy to know that I get the best sound there is?
If the HD650 are your final headphones, your current setup is extremely close to its final version.
I don't know these amps, and this soundcard have been released in several versions. Keep in mind that an external DAC will only decrease sound quality, in the unlikely possibility that it changes anything at all. The one in the Audigy does not use tubes, and oversamples properly, unlike some external DACs, that introduce distorsion this way.
The problem is that the limitations of the Audigy (permanent reasampling in some cases) are in the digital realm. So a good external DAC will only faithfully respect these limitations.
The difference between an average resampling and no resampling at all is very difficult to hear, but it may be audible. The difference between a good resampling and no resampling is not audible.
I can't tell if your Audigy resamples and if it does it well. And if it does, it depends on the drivers configuration. It may resample in WDM (default DirectSound) and not in ASIO, for exemple.
The amp of another soundcard, the Marian Marc 2, that we tested and measured recently with Nitri, was as good as we could whish. Headphone outputs of external power amplifiers for speakers may not be as good as a soundcard output.
Dedicated headphones amplifier should be better than speaker amplifiers, but should not change sound quality at all compared to the headphone output of the soundcard.
Use one if you have limited playback level, audible background noise, or lack of precision in the use of the volume setting.
Note : I am both skeptic and inquiring.