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Headphones that can be powered by soundcard

post #1 of 32
Thread Starter 

I am planning on getting the Asus Xonar STX as I do most of my listening from my computer.

The sound card says it can power headphones up to 600 ohms, But I have a hard time believing that a $175 sound card with an amp can power headphones on the same level as other more expensive amps.

 

So my questions is, what level of headphones can be sufficiently powered by this sound card?

I'm thinking about getting DT880's or Q701's, or anything around that level.

 

Thanks.

post #2 of 32

All headphones can be powered by stx.

 

Power and quality its different. STX is a very good soundcard for the price and can drive easily, even an HD800, but there is, of course, much better quality amp, much more expensive.

post #3 of 32

The STX actually does better with high impedances, because of its output impedance. It can do 7 Vrms into high impedance loads, more than enough to drive anything short of an AKG K1000 to 110 dB (and maybe Hifiman HE-6 depending on if the manufacturer specs are wrong).

 

"much better quality amp" is debatable too. The STX has very good distortion and noise, better than a lot of the crap that's sold for mega bucks. There are better alternatives for low impedance headphones, but probably nothing will be audibly different at high impedances unless the other amp is intentionally colored.

 

As for the doubt that a sound card can drive big headphones, the STX uses a similar amp section to the Fiio E9 (though I believe it's better with distortion, but can't be sure). 7 Vrms is the same voltage output as the Schiid Asgard, and manufacturer specs there say <0.1% THD at 1 V which is pretty unimpressive for solid-state. The Essence STX meanwhile is claimed to have 0.003%, but that's not likely to always pan out in the real world (neither is the Asgard's 0.1%!)


Edited by Head Injury - 12/15/11 at 4:37pm
post #4 of 32

 

Quote:
"much better quality amp" is debatable too. The STX has very good distortion and noise, better than a lot of the crap that's sold for mega bucks.

 

My old EMU1212M soundcard is better than my stx and its the same price. Many pro soundcard are much better than STX.

 

H1MPA with M1dac/auditor/phonitor/A1... are also much better.

 

 

post #5 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by DVDRey View Post

My old EMU1212M soundcard is better than my stx and its the same price. Many pro soundcard are much better than STX.

 

H1MPA with M1dac/auditor/phonitor/A1... are also much better.


Better how? You should quantify these things.

post #6 of 32

 

Quote:
Better how? You should quantify these things.

 

Can be balanced, better soundstage, resolution/details imo, more natural... Its not perfect (creative drivers are so...angry_face.gif), but there is better than stx for the same price in pro line.

 

STX is an excellent soudcard, highly versatile, easy to use and very powerful, but like others, not perfect.

post #7 of 32

Hey ricey

 

I have the STX and can say that it powers my 880s with great room for larger headphones ..

ive read many threads where others are using their senn HD 650s - so no harm there

 

Plus for gaming - im guessing the CSGO is a clue .. i mix it up with some hd598s - so its great for that too as its got dolby headphone

 

i also have a fiio e7/e9 combo and use that for other situations aswell as using it with my laptop

 

so yeah i recomend it as a fantastic card.

post #8 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by DVDRey View Post

 

Can be balanced, better soundstage, resolution/details imo, more natural... Its not perfect (creative drivers are so...angry_face.gif), but there is better than stx for the same price in pro line.

 

STX is an excellent soudcard, highly versatile, easy to use and very powerful, but like others, not perfect.


Oh see, you're talking about subjective crap. I don't care about that.

post #9 of 32

 

Quote:
Oh see, you're talking about subjective crap. I don't care about that.

 

At that moment, all HiFi is crap.

 

Try a "Lynx Two" soundcard and come back...

post #10 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by DVDRey View Post

At that moment, all HiFi is crap.

 

Try a "Lynx Two" soundcard and come back...

 

Most hi-fi is crap, that's right.

 

Does it measure better? Then I might try it.

post #11 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by Head Injury View Post


Oh see, you're talking about subjective crap. I don't care about that.


STX is not exactly the epitome of objectivity. After all, it's prone to EMI and RFI. But I understand as owners we tend to love defending our stuff.

 

post #12 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by kingpage View Post

STX is not exactly the epitome of objectivity. After all, it's prone to EMI and RFI. But I understand as owners we tend to love defending our stuff.


It is? Could you link me to the source, I've never heard this.

post #13 of 32

 

Quote:

Most hi-fi is crap, that's right.

 

Does it measure better? Then I might try it.

 

If you can't see differences between many amps, sorry i can't help you.

 

As i said, STX is a very good soundcard for the price, but headphone amp like Auditor/Phonitor/A1... are much better without hesitation. High end Pro soundcard like a Lynx Two for example, blow awayyyyyyyyyy an STX, but you can buy 7 stx for the same price,lol.

 

 

 

post #14 of 32

All dedicated soundcards are. Call it generalisation if you will. Your computer uses a switching-mode power supply doesn't it? That's among the worst...

 

But if you don't hear anything wrong, then it's fine.

post #15 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by DVDRey View Post

If you can't see differences between many amps, sorry i can't help you.

 

As i said, STX is a very good soundcard for the price, but headphone amp like Auditor/Phonitor/A1... are much better without hesitation. High end Pro soundcard like a Lynx Two for example, blow awayyyyyyyyyy an STX, but you can buy 7 stx for the same price,lol.


The A1 has a 100 ohm output impedance. That alone makes it objectively worse.

 

kingpage, generalizations aren't going to convince me. The STX is shielded against that sort of thing. It has a 114 dB noise floor at 1 V as measured by Stereophile. It's less noisy than most external amps and DACs.


Edited by Head Injury - 12/15/11 at 5:42pm
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