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Sennheiser HD 650 + ASUS Xonar Essence ST?

post #1 of 37
Thread Starter 

Hi everyone. I have placed an order for a set of HD 650's and I'm planning to buy the ASUS Xonar Essence ST to go with it. As this card has a built in Amplifier, do you think it'll be able to drive the HD 650's properly? Also I'm not sure if it will be compatible with my PC.

 

Can anyone check for me? I have a link with all the information about my computer. I'm a total noob at this sort of stuff, I'm gonna give my PC to Maplin to put it in for me. I really need some help. Thanks!

 

http://h10025.www1.hp.com/ewfrf/wc/document?docname=c01501564&tmp_task=prodinfoCategory&lc=en&dlc=en&cc=us&lang=en&product=3755663

post #2 of 37

didn't you just get done saying to me that my e5 or that Rolls amplifier didn't look like enough to amp my HD600's?

 

if your talking about this card:

http://www.amazon.com/Essence-STX-Channels-Interface-Headphone/dp/B001OV789U/ref=sr_1_1?s=gateway&ie=UTF8&qid=1284859286&sr=8-1

 

i would have just got the regular xonar card which is around 80 shipped.  that means your paying like 100 dollars for that "crappy" amp when you could have saved that towards a very nice amp.  or you could have gotten the e7 which is probably way better than that onboard amp.  im not saying the amp is horrible, im just saying your paying 100 for it and there is far better options.  honestly, i would just get the xonar card, a nice amp, and the hd650.  that is my dream setup.  something like the bottle crack amp, the hd650's and the xonar card.  if i ever hit it big that will be my setup.

post #3 of 37

and as far as putting it in your computer, it's probably the easiest thing to upgrade.  all you gotta do is take a screw and adapter plate out from the back, plug the card into a pci slot, and then put the screw back in and your done.

post #4 of 37
Thread Starter 

Surprisingly, this card is supposed to handle pretty much any headphone except for the high-end reference class such as the HD 800's. I have heard many positive reviews of this card, and majority of the reviewers had paired the card with a set of top-end headphones, including the HD 650's. This card supports up to 600 ohms, whereas the HD 650 goes upto 300 ohms, so I expect the card is more than suitable.

 

The reason why I can't buy a proper Amplifier is because I don't have anything to connect it to. My speaker system doesn't even have a Line-Out port. The system is all integrated into itself and the Amplifier is built in the subwoofer, but it's a rubbish quality Amplifier.

post #5 of 37

I have the Xonar Essence STX with the HD 650's and the K701's.

 

It can drive the HD650's in the sense that you get enough volume and bass presence. However, there's this difficult to explain "flatness" or "dullness" to how the phones sound through the Xonar's headphone amp compared to a full-fledged HP amp. The sound is "bigger" on my Heed Canamp, there's more sense of space and it "fills your ears". It sounds more "open". The Canamp makes the HD650 sound more "musical" and "fun", adding some "drive" to the sound. Sorry to throw so many ambiguous and subjective audiophile terms at you, but that's the best I can do.

 

On the K701's on the other hand, the Xonar's amp is not adequate to bring out the deep bass. It also sounds more harsh in the treble than the Canamp. I feel the difference is more pronounced on these phones than the HD650's.

 

So in short, the Xonar's amp will be adequate, but there's much room for tangible improvement.

post #6 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dibster View Post

I have the Xonar Essence STX with the HD 650's and the K701's.

 

It can drive the HD650's in the sense that you get enough volume and bass presence. However, there's this difficult to explain "flatness" or "dullness" to how the phones sound through the Xonar's headphone amp compared to a full-fledged HP amp. The sound is "bigger" on my Heed Canamp, there's more sense of space and it "fills your ears". It sounds more "open". The Canamp makes the HD650 sound more "musical" and "fun", adding some "drive" to the sound. Sorry to throw so many ambiguous and subjective audiophile terms at you, but that's the best I can do.

 

On the K701's on the other hand, the Xonar's amp is not adequate to bring out the deep bass. It also sounds more harsh in the treble than the Canamp. I feel the difference is more pronounced on these phones than the HD650's.

 

So in short, the Xonar's amp will be adequate, but there's much room for tangible improvement.


this is what i would have said if i had been as knowledgable.  good write up for what i was trying to explain.

post #7 of 37

Nooooo don't do it. Sell them 650s quick! Never ever ever start with any Euro brands. They're all either hard to drive (Senn/AKG/Beyer) or straight up bad (Ultrasone).

post #8 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by atothex View Post

Nooooo don't do it. Sell them 650s quick! Never ever ever start with any Euro brands. They're all either hard to drive (Senn/AKG/Beyer) or straight up bad (Ultrasone).


Are you being sarcastic? Surely, you couldn't have been serious.

post #9 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by kingtz View Post




Are you being sarcastic? Surely, you couldn't have been serious.


Hm? I was serious.

 

HD650 off only a soundcard is a no-go and a total waste of money imo.

post #10 of 37


I doubt you tried the STX with the HD 650 or you wouldn't make such silly comments. 

Quote:
Originally Posted by atothex View Post




Hm? I was serious.

 

HD650 off only a soundcard is a no-go and a total waste of money imo.

post #11 of 37

im sure it sounds fine, but i would recommend getting a better amp, it will make them sound tons better.  of course im not the one you started a fight with, i just know from reading other people's comments.  it will hold you over, but i would have just gotten the xonar regular sound card without the amp and used that amp money towards a better amp for the 650.  either way you have a nice start.

post #12 of 37

The Xonar ST/X can handle the HD650 just fine. It's a no-nonsense amp with good specs. Aside from having some blingy fancy box next to your pc that you can gawk at, you don't really need a separate amp. Then there's the convenience of controlling the volume from inside the desktop environment.

 

If it helps at all, I do have a separate blingy box, the Lavry DA11, next to my pc, but I would be hard pressed to tell the difference in amplification. The STX is just a solid value, DAC and Amp included.

post #13 of 37

but wouldn't a nice "blingy" lol amp with more juice be a better buy for these headphones.  i hear they needs tons of power to run them and that little amp on the card will help a little but nothing compared to a bottlehead amp or a m3 right?

post #14 of 37

I don't know where this obsession with uberpowered amplification for headphones comes from. 99% of headphones are, in reality, very efficient devices that require little power. The Xonar STX can swing twelve volts, which is far beyond any reasonable volume for an HD650, which outputs 103db at 1 Vrms. And the distortion and noise in the amp is far below what is introduced by the transducer itself.

 

Amps like the M3 are elegant DIY projects, you can choose a variety of gain setting for the listening sweet spot, however the same could be done by the STX, up to +18db. I use that setting for the HD800 and the card's amp can keep up with all the peaks. Or you can get a b22, which could be designed to power speakers. Regardless of the elaborate design and good measurements of separate headphone amps, the same function has been available on a single chip for a while now. It's like vacuum tubes -- nothing wrong with them per se, but you can get a transistor to do the same job with much greater efficiency, comparable or better specs, and a lower cost.

post #15 of 37

nice post there anetode.  it just seems that everyone here with the hd650 seems to need a 200-300 dollar amp to run them correctly.  if this card and amp will do the job just fine, then i would just get that.  what about the schiit asgrad or valhalla amps.  are those overkill for this headphone when this amp/card can do a better job at running them?

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