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Asus Xonar DX needs a Headphone AMP/DAC?

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 

So, my Sennheiser PC 360 just arrived (yeah!) and i'm using it with the Aus Xonar DX soundcard. The Sound is great, but if i add a Headphone AMP/DAC like the FiiO e10 or 17, will the sound improve a lot? Thanks!

post #2 of 9

An headphone amp+DAC is a sound card that only does stereo output and has no inputs.  You wouldn't be adding to the DX but rather replacing it.

 

"Improve a lot" would probably be a big exaggeration in general, for something like PC 360, but I don't really know how the DX does at all.  In the least I think its D/A should be pretty good, but I'd suspect the headphone output may not be absolutely stellar but definitely not poor.  Anyway, don't expect anything close to the same kind of differences you get between swapping headsets and headphones.

post #3 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by mikeaj View Post
In the least I think its D/A should be pretty good, but I'd suspect the headphone output may not be absolutely stellar but definitely not poor.

 

That is correct, the Xonar D1 (PCI version of the same card) has a quite good DAC (better than the FiiOs if you do not have a "noisy" PC), especially when considering the price, but the - otherwise highest quality - front channel output has 100 Ohm impedance according to my tests, which is not ideal for most headphones, while the other channels have low output impedance, but use 22 uF coupling capacitors and are driven by weak low current op-amps. So, these cards are best used as a line out source, or with headphones that are not affected much by high output impedance.


Edited by stv014 - 4/22/12 at 2:42pm
post #4 of 9
Thread Starter 

So i just need a Headphone amp like the e9 or e11?

post #5 of 9

Like everyone else said about the Xonar DX, not a great headphone amplifier, but decent DAC.

Fiio E9 is a good bargain, but really better for headphone that are around 60-Ohms or higher.

The E11 should do better with lower Ohm headphones, the PC360 are 50-Ohms.

But if you prefer AC powered Amps. get the E9.


Edited by PurpleAngel - 8/14/13 at 12:06am
post #6 of 9

I have the exact same set-up, an Asus Xonar DX and a PC360. Rather that listening to music and such I'm more concerned with being able to hear enemy footsteps across the map. Being a newbie to the whole Head-Fi thing,Would I be missing any sound if I have my sound set to 8-channel? I have the PCM rate set at the highest (PCM 192KHz). What is DAC? I would like to have the settings correct to make the most out of what I have. Thanks.

post #7 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by SilverChenbi View Post
I have the exact same set-up, an Asus Xonar DX and a PC360. Rather that listening to music and such I'm more concerned with being able to hear enemy footsteps across the map. Being a newbie to the whole Head-Fi thing,Would I be missing any sound if I have my sound set to 8-channel? I have the PCM rate set at the highest (PCM 192KHz). What is DAC? I would like to have the settings correct to make the most out of what I have. Thanks.

Audio channel is fine set to 8 channel, it's what I would set it at.

Unless you watching Blu-ray movies I doubt 192Khz would really help, setting it to 96KHz might make the workload easier.

DAC is an Digital (zeros & ones) to Analog (wave) Converter,

Audio is stored and processed in digital form (Zeros & Ones), but amplifiers work in analog (wave), headphone jacks are analog (wave), we hear in analog (wave).

 

The Xonar DX's headphone output is high impedance, too high for 50-Ohm (PC360) headphones, so it is not the best thing for working with your PC360.

An amplifier that has an built in impedance of 5-Ohm or lower would be better.

A solid state or hybrid amplifier would work,

But not a pure tube amplifier, which are better for high Ohm headphones, like 150-Ohm to 600-Ohm.

post #8 of 9

Thanks very much Purple Angel. I will do more research on the topic with the information you have given me.

post #9 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by PurpleAngel View Post

Audio channel is fine set to 8 channel, it's what I would set it at.

Unless you watching Blu-ray movies I doubt 192Khz would really help, setting it to 96KHz might make the workload easier.

DAC is an Digital (zeros & ones) to Analog (wave) Converter,

Audio is stored and processed in digital form (Zeros & Ones), but amplifiers work in analog (wave), headphone jacks are analog (wave), we hear in analog (wave).

 

The Xonar DX's headphone output is high impedance, too high for 50-Ohm (PC360) headphones, so it is not the best thing for working with your PC360.

An amplifier that has an built in impedance of 5-Ohm or lower would be better.

A solid state or hybrid amplifier would work,

But not a pure tube amplifier, which are better for high Ohm headphones, like 150-Ohm to 600-Ohm.

 

Can anyone recommend a cheap solid state or hibrid amplifier?

 

(i'm using CAL + xonar dx, i tried buying a fiio e5 but it's a pure tube amplifier and completely destroys SQ of my headphones lol)

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