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Would a desktop amp be of any help?

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 

Here is what I have right now:

 

Source: M-Audio 2496 PCI Card. Plugged in are 1. ATH-AD900 or Audioengine A2.

 

Basically, I'm looking for some advices on what to get next to maybe get more out of the Headphones (and maybe even the speakers at some point). Is there a desktop amp that could be a proper purchase? I'd be certainly more inclined to make a purchase for the headphones as I use em more than the speakers for some reason. I also know that the AD900 can be run properly without an amp. But could an amp make any difference with that audio card I have? Could the purchase of an amp like let's say the Violectric V200 be overkill (I have no plan of purchasing higher-end headphones in the upcoming months, but who knows maybe some day?

 

What could be a good gain for the money?

 

I also heard I don't need a DAC with such an audio card. Is that true? How about the Matrix m-Stage amp?

 

Thanks forever fellow head-fiers!

 

ANother thing: I'd like to be able to switch from headphone to speakers without having to go unplugging/unplugging behind the computer case, can the MK-5 be a good purchase? I know there are quite a few questions in this but I'm quite confused at the moment.

 

Thanks!

 

Alex


Edited by inasafeplace - 1/3/12 at 5:31pm
post #2 of 16

Does that card have a headphone out or am I missing something on M-Audio's site?  What are you plugging the AD900s into?

post #3 of 16
Thread Starter 

Some adapter with white and red channels that I plug the headphone and speakers into. I'm not sure where I got it though, prtobably on an old dvd player or something.

post #4 of 16

Well that card looks like it has two sets of RCA outs.  You could hook the headphones up to one, the speakers to the other, and switch between them in software.

 

That's probably just supposed to be a line out and probably isn't happy driving headphones directly so you could probably benefit from an amp if you wanted to spend the money.

post #5 of 16

You're better off investing in a ASUS Essence STX.

post #6 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by NinjaSquirt View Post

You're better off investing in a ASUS Essence STX.


The STX's output impedance isn't a good match with the AD900s.

post #7 of 16
Thread Starter 

I honestly believed that the card had one set of output and one set of input, otherwise, why would it be made for recording? Please enlighten me on this. Also, where do I buy more of these red white cables that I currently am using? I am quite visual so I probably need something visual to understand anything out of this.

 

Currently I have the card with 4 plugs. White-Red-White-Red

 

" first white-red connectors and linked thru an adapter and thatM's where I plug my headphone/speaker. 2 other plugs arent used, but they should be inputs rather than outputs so I don't think I could put anything there. What would be a possible solution?

post #8 of 16

The best and cheapest way would be something like the M-Stage or and other headamp with line out. You place a RCA cable from your sound card up to headamp and again a RCA cable from the amp´s output to the active speakers. Then you have one chain and no more to worry about. I would say that you would gain a good deal from a dedicated headphone amplifier. Another solution is Matrix Mini- I as a stand alone DAC/Amp for the headphones, but then I don´t know if you have switch back and forth.      

post #9 of 16
Thread Starter 

Thank you. Where do I get RCA cables? Also, how can I easily switch from speaker to headphone this way? WOuld you see how it could be done?

post #10 of 16

Everywhere.  Walmart.  Radioshack.  Target.  Sears.  Amazon.  Everywhere.  Don't overpay for Monster cables.  I like Monoprice.com cables.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by inasafeplace View Post

Where do I get RCA cables?



 

post #11 of 16
Thread Starter 

I'm still not sure what RCA cables are though, even after reading about them. How is called the adapter I currently have called? I'd also like if someone could PM me about what I'd need to purchase exactly to setup things. Having an amp seems like a good idea, but I'd also like to switch easily from speakers to headphones and vice-versa. There are some many types of cables I'm quite lost and wouldnt want to buy things I will not use. :P

 

Thanks!

post #12 of 16

Reputation wise, the ATH-AD900 does not benefit that much from a dedicated headphone amplifier.

 

Something as cheap ($35) as the Asus Xonar DG (PCI) sound card would allow you to plug the speakers in to the sound card's back panel

and plug the headphones into the computer case's front headphone jack, if the computer case has a front headphone jacks?

The Xonar DG comes with a half-way decent headphone amplifier rated up to 150-Ohms.

The Xonar DG also gives you Dolby Digital ( Dolby Virtual Headphone, Dolby Virtual Speaker).

 

Fiio E10 ($80) USB/DAC/headphone amplifier, can have speakers and headphones plugged in at the same time.

post #13 of 16
Thread Starter 

Thanks. I read about the Fiio amps, but I was unsure as they only run from a battery right? I wouldnt want an amp that runs from a battery. Just saying.

post #14 of 16

Batteries are DC.  Wall electricity is AC.  The AC must be rectified into DC.  Running an amp on batteries takes the rectifier out of the equation, reducing one more link which can degrade or color the sound.  At least, that's the theory.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by inasafeplace View Post

Thanks. I read about the Fiio amps, but I was unsure as they only run from a battery right? I wouldnt want an amp that runs from a battery. Just saying.



 

post #15 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by inasafeplace View Post
Thanks. I read about the Fiio amps, but I was unsure as they only run from a battery right? I wouldnt want an amp that runs from a battery. Just saying.


Just put out the E10 as an idea.

Still think the Asus Xonar DG would work for you situation, at only $35.

 

 

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