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Which way to go for laptop and Shure se215?

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 

Hi all,

 

I'm totally a noob here, enjoying the life of lossless music with my laptop (onboard soundcard) and a pair of Shure se215, and I can't say that I'm satisfied with them. So I'm here to find out what else to buy for a better sound, but it's really confusing. There are so many ways to go and I don't know which is the best with my small budget as a college student and my amateur ears:

1, A better external sound card like the Asus Xonar U3 or Creative X-Fi.

2, An amplifier with or without a DAC like the FiiOs E7 or something better like the Qinpu Q2, Hifiman EF2A. Really want a tube sound , but worry about the low impedance of the IEM. Which is the best for an IEM like my Shure SE215? I don't care if it's a full size or a portable one.

3, Both a sound card and an amplifier but seems to be just a waste.

3, A DAC only like the FiiO D3 cause an amplifier doesn't really work with an IEM? ( the cheapest way???)

4, Just upgrade to a better IEM. 

My budget is about $100~$150. Maybe a little bit more but of course the lower the better cause I'm a college student.

An good amplifier and a full size headphone with higher impedance seems to be the best, but I really don't like that huge thing on my head.

Hope you guys can help and thanks a lot for reading.


Edited by dal9033 - 1/26/12 at 5:17am
post #2 of 7

Hmm at this point in time if you are eyeing a Fiio E7 and if u dun need stuff to run on battery/stored power i would really move to the E10 hehe

post #3 of 7

Same questions here.


Edited by kalla - 1/26/12 at 2:52pm
post #4 of 7
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by trog View Post

Hmm at this point in time if you are eyeing a Fiio E7 and if u dun need stuff to run on battery/stored power i would really move to the E10 hehe


 

Thanks a lot trog. The E7/E10, or the new E17 seems great for my need. But I read some reviews stated that the E7 do nothing but add noise to IEMs. That's why I'm considering a good DAC only.

Any more advice?

 

post #5 of 7
As an SE210 and Xonar U3 owner, I can tell you that the U3 reallllly helped liven my 210's up a lot. Mind you, I pretty much felt they were lacking in lows, but the U3 is easily capable of supplying it and offers great sound. Sadly the only thing I have for comparison is the Xense, which seems to make the 210s sound like new earphones, so I wouldn't doubt that a nice DAC-AMP combo would do wonders as well. My biggest grip with onboard was that when I tried to supply it lows through EQ adjustments that the mids and highs would cut off when there was any bass hits. I know some of that is just how those IEMs are build, and the U3 helped alleviate quite a bit of that, but the Xense seemed to completely eliminate that. I was pleasantly surprised that the U3 was also up to the task of driving the PC350 cans that the Xense comes with (which are rated at 150Ohm but my multimeter measured them at 204-209Ohm), no doubt thanks to it's little HP amp IC.

Pros: Small, shouldn't impact laptop battery life much, comes with short USB extension cable as to not block adjacent USB ports, 3.5mm Optical out should you want to use it as a DAC.

Neutral: Dolby Headphone and Virtual Surround, though I don't really like what they do with music at all.

Cons: I'm sure if I was any real audiophile I could come up with a couple, but primarily mine is that it lacks any electrolytic caps to swap out for high end ones redface.gif lol
post #6 of 7
Thread Starter 

^Thanks a lot for your awesome info. Will the Virtual surround be annoying for music?? Any comparison between the Xonar U3 and the Fiio E7/E10, especially for IEMs, please!!!!! 

Is there any chance for me to bypass the amp in the U3 and use it as a DAC only? Just read some reviews say that it has a high impedance output. 


Edited by dal9033 - 1/26/12 at 10:33pm
post #7 of 7
Quote:
Originally Posted by dal9033 View Post

^Thanks a lot for your awesome info. Will the Virtual surround be annoying for music?? Any comparison between the Xonar U3 and the Fiio E7/E10, especially for IEMs, please!!!!! 
Is there any chance for me to bypass the amp in the U3 and use it as a DAC only? Just read some reviews say that it has a high impedance output. 

Sorry for the delay. I didn't have this thread subscribed to for instant notifications redface.gif

I don't have a Fiio, or any other amp, unfortunately. Just the Xonar Xense and U3. The Xense drives my SE210s the best, as I mentioned, so I'm willing to bet any high quality portable AMP will benefit them.

I don't like the Virtual Surround at all. To enable Virtual 7.1 you have to turn on Dolby Headphone first, so it's two fold as to what it does.

I'm sure if you were good at modding you could fairly easily bypass the amp, but unfortunately it is a BGA chip and not SOIC, so removing it to access it's terminals would require skill (and a hot air SMD soldering tool). It still has Optical output though, so it can easily function as a DAC through that. There might be a way to perhaps reroute the signal physically to the input jack, but that would disable it for use as VoIP, and again require skill. I don't have skill for either method, so I unfortunately can't help any :\ As such, I was bummed that it's Headphone Amp wasn't a SOIC/ or similar pin chip.
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