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Headphones for ASUS Xonar Essence STX

post #1 of 31
Thread Starter 

Hello folks!  I frequent tech forums, but not audio forums as of yet.  I felt it fitting to come here to learn from the professionals so here I am.

 

I am looking to upgrade my headphones right now and I want to make sure that what I buy can be driven by the Asus Xonar Essence STX properly.

 

I listen to electronica music almost exclusively and I rarely use sound in games so it is not much of a concern.  I listen to house, trance, dubstep, almost anything under the electonica blanket of music.

 

So what I am basically asking is what is the best electronica headphone I can get that will be properly driven by my STX, with a budget of about $400 give or take.

 

I was looking at the Sennheiser HD650's personally but I wanted to ask the pros here and make sure first off that they are good for electronica and second off that they will be properly driven by my STX.

 

Thanks in advance and I am sorry if this is a repost but I couldn't find this exact question in the search.

 

Link to said sound card: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16829132010


Edited by Blahblahblahh - 10/30/10 at 10:08pm
post #2 of 31

I suggest having a look at the Ultrasone PRO 750 or 900, or even the much cheaper ATH-M50 which would also be great. The HD650 will NOT be able to reach great standards from an STX as I have tried this combo myself. The Ultrasones are much easier driven. One other option is maybe taking a look at the 32ohm version of the DT990.

post #3 of 31
Thread Starter 


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by matthewh133 View Post

I suggest having a look at the Ultrasone PRO 750 or 900, or even the much cheaper ATH-M50 which would also be great. The HD650 will NOT be able to reach great standards from an STX as I have tried this combo myself. The Ultrasones are much easier driven. One other option is maybe taking a look at the 32ohm version of the DT990.


 

Thank you for the quick response about the 650..I was tempted to jump on them because ZipZoomFly has them for $320 shipped right now and that seems like an absolute steal..I am going to look into the options you suggested that will be driven by the sound card correctly and see which one fits me best.  I have been most comfortable in open cans so far (the AD-700 were my favorite) but I am willing to try closed if it's going to give me the best sound smily_headphones1.gif

post #4 of 31

$320 for the HD650 is definitely a steal!  You can still consider them if you're not opposed to ever buying a dedicated headphone amp.

post #5 of 31

Yes $320 is very good but you can get better sound than a soundcard driven HD650 for that so I still would look at other options smily_headphones1.gif The DT990 aren't closed BTW.

post #6 of 31
Thread Starter 

Upon further investigation, I am finding a lot of people saying that the STX can drive 650's well..

 

http://www.head-fi.org/forum/thread/400417/upgrade-to-xonar-essence-or-buy-headphone-amp

http://www.head-fi.org/forum/thread/400889/xonar-essence-stx-sufficient-to-power-hd-650-s-alone

 

Not sure how I missed these threads but..can anyone confirm/deny?

post #7 of 31

Keep in mind that "well" and "to its potential" can be rather different.

post #8 of 31
Thread Starter 

I agree with that, can't get a 100% clear answer from the searches/threads but I guess that is how it's going to go on this..I guess if I were to buy the 650's I could drive them "well" for now and perhaps "perfectly" in the future..the real question is do they play electronica overly well?
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by kingtz View Post

Keep in mind that "well" and "to its potential" can be rather different.

post #9 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by Blahblahblahh View Post

I agree with that, can't get a 100% clear answer from the searches/threads but I guess that is how it's going to go on this..I guess if I were to buy the 650's I could drive them "well" for now and perhaps "perfectly" in the future..the real question is do they play electronica overly well?
 


 


In this case "well" really just means they make sound. The sound is not great is what I am saying, and you can get much better sound by purchasing a headphone at the same price which requires less to drive them. As for how good they are with electronica, I wouldn't know, but I know for a fact if you want good bass the HD650s need to be driven better than "well."

post #10 of 31
Thread Starter 

You're definitely right Matthew smily_headphones1.gif  I am going to mull this over for a bit and continue to collect information.  I feel that if I decide I will get an external amp at some point in the future, I might as well move on to the 650's now instead of buying another pair and losing money re-selling them but if I can forsee myself staying with the STX for a long while I will be going with a lower tier headphone. I hear that the road to audiophile is steep and it adds up quick so I have a feeling that the external amp is somewhere in the future but it does require much more thought with money of this caliber being thrown around.

 

On a side note, I really appreciate you guys discussing this with me.  Cheers!

post #11 of 31

While you're at it, I suggest you look into a decent dedicated DAC as well, when you do your research on amps. You know, since sooner or later, you'll probably want to upgrade from your soundcard once you get into listening to music more.

post #12 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by Blahblahblahh View Post

You're definitely right Matthew smily_headphones1.gif  I am going to mull this over for a bit and continue to collect information.  I feel that if I decide I will get an external amp at some point in the future, I might as well move on to the 650's now instead of buying another pair and losing money re-selling them but if I can forsee myself staying with the STX for a long while I will be going with a lower tier headphone. I hear that the road to audiophile is steep and it adds up quick so I have a feeling that the external amp is somewhere in the future but it does require much more thought with money of this caliber being thrown around.

 

On a side note, I really appreciate you guys discussing this with me.  Cheers!


No problems glad to be of assistance. Just to clear things up I am not hating on the HD650, I have a pair myself and love them, but they have to be driven well or they are pretty mediocre. I suggest if you don't really want to buy a dedicated headphone amp a Ultrasone PRO 900 will do well from the STX. They have great bass for electronica. Do some further research and then see what you decide to do. You may just end up getting sucked in like the rest of us and get a nice amp, then you can enjoy the HD650s smily_headphones1.gif Either way you will want a better source then your on-board sound card.

 

Not to push anything, but if you do really want to get the HD650s get a cheap, nice sounding source like the u-Dac 2. You can then get a good sound amplifier for the HD650s without forking out a fortune, the Little Dot Mk III are a very good little tube amp at only around $250, even cheaper second hand and they sound great with the HD650 when I heard it.

 

Basically, if you want the HD650, you can spend $80 (uDac 2) + $250 (Little Dot Mk III) + $320 (HD650) = $650. That will be a nice little starter set up and could quite well last you a long, long time as long as you don't catch upgraditis. Either you can do this or get the STX for about $140 + something like the Ultrasone PRO 900 for around $340 or so and come in just under $500. The HD650 rig would probably sound nicer though smily_headphones1.gif

 

Just thought I'd give you some options so you have something to think about and work off/change to your liking. Good luck!


Edited by matthewh133 - 10/31/10 at 12:55am
post #13 of 31
There is no need to upgrade your STD as a source yet.

For all my electronically oroduced music, I prefer the bass to be tight rather than heavy, and the treble be sparkling with energy. If you feel the same way, the k701 is an upgrade to the add700 in every sense of the word. It maybe a little difficult to drive for the stx but it will set you for the future.

I have the px100ii which Is analogous to the hd650 and I've heard the hd650 many times extensively. I found the bass to be fatiguing after a while and had to stop for a break.

Forgive my spelling seroors I'm on an iPad trying to type fast.
post #14 of 31

May i suggest the DT770 Pro 250 Ohms? biggrin.gif They are great for your music genre smily_headphones1.gif

 

post #15 of 31
Thread Starter 

Hi guys!  It is update time!

 

I went with the HD 650's at an incredible bargain sale price.  I figure I can deal with them being "close to" fully driven for now and perhaps get a 100% sound out of them in the future.

 

I am currently in the process of burning them in (Pink Noise at a little above normal listening levels) as well as stretching the headband to fit easier on the head without being so tight.

 

The question that I have, for any experts out here on this card, is what gain setting do you prefer or recommend?

 

The card's software has High Gain (64-300 ohms) and Very High Gain (300-600 ohms).

 

I used the search function and found a similar question posed, however there was no definitive answer.  Can anyone shed more light on this at this point in time?

 

Thanks in advance for any help you can offer smily_headphones1.gif

 

Other thread for reference: http://www.head-fi.org/forum/thread/450803/xonar-essence-stx-and-sennheiser-hd650-gain-setting

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