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HD595 amp?

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
hey guys (im new here)

Im about to get a sennheiser HD595, and i was wondering if my logitech z5500 is good enough to get the best of out of the headphones.(after much research i found out that thet z5500 isnt good at all for headphones). I heard that i need something called an amp, the z5500 does have an amp but apparently its bad.
Now my question is what is an amp? how does it work? how does it hook up? does it go into the soundcard and thats it? can i use my speakers at the same time? do i just hook up an amp to my z5500 or something? im totally lost to what im suppost to do to get the best out of the 595's.

I dont have a very good soundcard (creative SB live 24bit), but im planning on getting the AuzenTech X-FI Hometheater HD HDMI 1.3 Sound Card for my pc in a couple of months. Its suppost to have a amp built in the soundcard.will that be any good? so i dont have to purchase a seperate amp just for the headphones.

lets say i do buy an amp, what else would i need? how practical would it be? as in do i have to unplug stuff before i can use the headphones or its straight forward, since i use my z5500 allot.

i am a totally new to this so please help me out. thanks in advance
post #2 of 16
First off, you should really use the search bar, it would have narrowed down quite a bit of your answers.

Your logitech can categorized as garbage. So i just omit that. The sound card won't do that much better either, but you can use it for the time being.

In simple terms an amp basically makes your music louder, hence it's short for amplifier. There are lots of different kinds of amps out there, tube, solid-state, or hybrids. I for one enjoy the Tubes, they are quite popular amongst the Head-Fi community. BUT, before you should even consider an amp, you really need to narrow down on your sources. For instance, what kind of files are you going to be using? mp3 or flac through your laptop or Vinyls or CD's through an independent player. If you are using a laptop, i recommend you use rip CD's to Flac/Alac files and you'l also need to invest in a DAC.

Your equipment will only reach the max potential of your sources, therefore make sure they are crisp. Read the stickies in the various forum sections and THE SEARCH BAR, they will help you a lot.
post #3 of 16
Basics first I suppose. Since you're talking about z5500's, I'm assuming you're using your computer as your audio source.

So the audio on your computer (mp3s/wavs or video games or whatever) is digital information, a series of 0's and 1's. This digital information goes through a Digital to Analog Converter (DAC for short) which converts it from those 0's and 1's to analog information, which can become sound you hear through speakers/headphones. An amplifier will (in the most basic terms) "boost" that signal. Some headphones are harder to drive than others and will require more amplification to sound their best. Your particular model (which I own as well BTW) are not hard to drive, so keep in mind that they do not benefit from amplification as much as some other headphones.

So right now the DAC portion is being handled by your sound card and the amplification process is probably being handled twice, once by the sound card and a second time by the z5500s by the time it gets to your headphones.

Not ideal as far as optimal sound quality, but this may sound good to you right out of the box. If so, if you like your money leave now and don't look back! :-P If it doesn't sound good, you can improve the sound quality by getting an external DAC and amplifer, which will be better than the DAC/amp in your current setup.

Having said that, listen first, then decide if you're happy with the sound. If not, I think you should get a DAC rather than an amp first since the headphones aren't hard to drive.

Here is a very simple and cheap one that will connect to your computer via USB: Nuforce.com | Icon uDAC It has RCA outputs as well, so you can plug the z5500s into the RCA out and then your headphones out of the headphone output, so you can have them both at once without needing to plug/unplug anything.

If you want more suggestions on amplification you need to post your budget as well.

Quote:
Originally Posted by emin911 View Post
hey guys (im new here)

Im about to get a sennheiser HD595, and i was wondering if my logitech z5500 is good enough to get the best of out of the headphones.(after much research i found out that thet z5500 isnt good at all for headphones). I heard that i need something called an amp, the z5500 does have an amp but apparently its bad.
Now my question is what is an amp? how does it work? how does it hook up? does it go into the soundcard and thats it? can i use my speakers at the same time? do i just hook up an amp to my z5500 or something? im totally lost to what im suppost to do to get the best out of the 595's.

I dont have a very good soundcard (creative SB live 24bit), but im planning on getting the AuzenTech X-FI Hometheater HD HDMI 1.3 Sound Card for my pc in a couple of months. Its suppost to have a amp built in the soundcard.will that be any good? so i dont have to purchase a seperate amp just for the headphones.

lets say i do buy an amp, what else would i need? how practical would it be? as in do i have to unplug stuff before i can use the headphones or its straight forward, since i use my z5500 allot.

i am a totally new to this so please help me out. thanks in advance
post #4 of 16
Yea buy a dac first as that will sound way better than your onboard sound. That udac seems to have a ton of good reviews on here too.
post #5 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pepsi View Post
In simple terms an amp basically makes your music louder, hence it's short for amplifier.
I think you're pulling our legs, Pepsi.

Plus, you look suspiciously like Heath Ledger.
post #6 of 16
Thread Starter 
first of i would like to thank you guys for replying. I know its very anoyying replying to noob posts, like mine. I have used to search bar, but i could not find exactly what i was looking for.

anyways i have a much better understanding of amps and DAC's.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pepsi View Post
First off, you should really use the search bar, it would have narrowed down quite a bit of your answers.

Your logitech can categorized as garbage. So i just omit that. The sound card won't do that much better either, but you can use it for the time being.

In simple terms an amp basically makes your music louder, hence it's short for amplifier. There are lots of different kinds of amps out there, tube, solid-state, or hybrids. I for one enjoy the Tubes, they are quite popular amongst the Head-Fi community. BUT, before you should even consider an amp, you really need to narrow down on your sources. For instance, what kind of files are you going to be using? mp3 or flac through your laptop or Vinyls or CD's through an independent player. If you are using a laptop, i recommend you use rip CD's to Flac/Alac files and you'l also need to invest in a DAC.

Your equipment will only reach the max potential of your sources, therefore make sure they are crisp. Read the stickies in the various forum sections and THE SEARCH BAR, they will help you a lot.
As my for pc i use a desktop that i have built a while ago, there is noting integraded. As for what kinds of music files i listen to would be mostly mp3's at 320 kbps and FLAC.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CANiSLAYu View Post
Basics first I suppose. Since you're talking about z5500's, I'm assuming you're using your computer as your audio source.

So the audio on your computer (mp3s/wavs or video games or whatever) is digital information, a series of 0's and 1's. This digital information goes through a Digital to Analog Converter (DAC for short) which converts it from those 0's and 1's to analog information, which can become sound you hear through speakers/headphones. An amplifier will (in the most basic terms) "boost" that signal. Some headphones are harder to drive than others and will require more amplification to sound their best. Your particular model (which I own as well BTW) are not hard to drive, so keep in mind that they do not benefit from amplification as much as some other headphones.

So right now the DAC portion is being handled by your sound card and the amplification process is probably being handled twice, once by the sound card and a second time by the z5500s by the time it gets to your headphones.

Not ideal as far as optimal sound quality, but this may sound good to you right out of the box. If so, if you like your money leave now and don't look back! :-P If it doesn't sound good, you can improve the sound quality by getting an external DAC and amplifer, which will be better than the DAC/amp in your current setup.

Having said that, listen first, then decide if you're happy with the sound. If not, I think you should get a DAC rather than an amp first since the headphones aren't hard to drive.

Here is a very simple and cheap one that will connect to your computer via USB: Nuforce.com | Icon uDAC It has RCA outputs as well, so you can plug the z5500s into the RCA out and then your headphones out of the headphone output, so you can have them both at once without needing to plug/unplug anything.

If you want more suggestions on amplification you need to post your budget as well.
I cant judge the quality of my sound, becuase i have never heard a insanely good setup. I think my sound that comes out speakers are better than average (comparing to other pc speakers systems). The only reason i am interested to make my system better is becuase i am getting the hd 595's as a gift, and i would like to take advantage of it. i listened to my friends hd650 on an integraded soundcard and plugged into a cheap 50$ logitech speaker system. When i heard the sound it was very bad considering how much those headphones cost. my 10$ TDK headphones sounded better plugged into the z5500.

After that i realized that if i want to get better sound out of my 595's, i better get some help ( i found this site ). I didnt want to be disappointed with the 595's since this will be my first audiophile headphones.

My budget is unlimited, i just want something that will get the job done right without breaking the bank, and is good overall. what do you guys think of the Auzen X-Fi HomeTheater HD sound card? would it be any good? considering its got its own amp for headphones.

you mentioned a DAC system, i took a look at it and its got RCA outputs, my z5500 doesnt use RCA connections rather it uses 3.5mm jacks x3.

How would the connections work? Pc-->DAC-->speakers-->headphones? weere would the amp fit in?
post #7 of 16
the connections would be:
Computer -- (USB/Optical) --> DAC -- Analog Cables (balanced, RCA, etc) --> Amp --> Headphones and assuming the DAC has multiple outputs, the speakers would also be plugged into them and you would switch output on it because they have their own amp and amping multiple times can produce bad results.
post #8 of 16
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by carickw View Post
the connections would be:
Computer -- (USB/Optical) --> DAC -- Analog Cables (balanced, RCA, etc) --> Amp --> Headphones and assuming the DAC has multiple outputs, the speakers would also be plugged into them and you would switch output on it because they have their own amp and amping multiple times can produce bad results.
so a soundcard is pointless and doesnt play a role, correct?

what is the point of those 300$ soundcards, if a DAC and amp is a better combo?
post #9 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by emin911 View Post
so a soundcard is pointless and doesnt play a role, correct?

what is the point of those 300$ soundcards, if a DAC and amp is a better combo?
A soundcard is a DAC, usually with added features like a mic in (which requires an ADC, opposite of a DAC) and depending on target market, extra channels and/or sound effects processors (hardware EAX, 3D emulators and so on). Some people prefer external DACs because the insides of a computer is noisy, and internal soundcards can't be totally isolated. Personally the small about of background noise isn't enough to deter me from high quality internal soundcards like the ESI Juli@ or E-MU line.
post #10 of 16
Also if you use optical to the DAC, you will need a sound card (whether it is onboard or not). This will allow you to use some of the features of the sound card, which is then passed to the DAC, like EAX.
post #11 of 16
For HD595s a cheap DAC/Amp would suffice. There is no point getting awesome equipment to drive them. They're an entry can that'll suck you in, but they only need reasonable equipment to drive them. No point getting awesome DAC/Amp until you've got better headphones.
post #12 of 16
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Menisk View Post
For HD595s a cheap DAC/Amp would suffice. There is no point getting awesome equipment to drive them. They're an entry can that'll suck you in, but they only need reasonable equipment to drive them. No point getting awesome DAC/Amp until you've got better headphones.
so what amp and DAC would you recommend?
post #13 of 16
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by jmmtn4aj View Post
A soundcard is a DAC, usually with added features like a mic in (which requires an ADC, opposite of a DAC) and depending on target market, extra channels and/or sound effects processors (hardware EAX, 3D emulators and so on). Some people prefer external DACs because the insides of a computer is noisy, and internal soundcards can't be totally isolated. Personally the small about of background noise isn't enough to deter me from high quality internal soundcards like the ESI Juli@ or E-MU line.
so having a high end soundcard would be better than having a entry level amp/DAC?

imo a soundcard is more all in one solution
post #14 of 16
I don't have any real experience with any, just with the 595s with both low and high end equipment. Someone's already suggested the Nuforce uDAC to you. You could also look at a corda move or something from iBasso.
post #15 of 16
Fwiw I'll just say that I have and used the 595's for a couple of years before I went to some Grado 225i's. I bought the X-Head amp to go with my Grado's (now looking for a tube hybrid for them though) and I also tried out the 595's with it. They sounded significantly better amped with the X-Head than from the out of my integrated amp (Cambridge azur 640a) so even cans that don't really "need" an amp like the 595's can still benefit from one (as do the Grado's) ime.
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