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picking between Xonar DX and Titanium HD?

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 

I know they are not on the same par, but still want to make a (money) wise choice between the two

the card is for music, movie, gaming, casual music creation, anyway a bit of both, is titanium HD really worth $$$ more than XD? if grab from amazon, hd now is $125, DX is $72, not a big gap, but still trying to save a bit (for headphone)

two side questions, 
1 I've looked up some photos of XD, seems they've got slightly different looking
this one http://www.asus.com/Multimedia/Audio_Cards/Xonar_DX/
and this one http://www.amazon.com/PCI-Express-Channel-XONAR_DX-XD-90-YAA060-1UAN00Z/dp/B0017DJXG6
what's the trick?

2 is Sennheiser HD 558 good for both, do I need a amp for one of the sound card to push it to its real capacity?

post #2 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by wgan View Post

I know they are not on the same par, but still want to make a (money) wise choice between the two

the card is for music, movie, gaming, casual music creation, anyway a bit of both, is titanium HD really worth $$$ more than XD? if grab from amazon, hd now is $125, DX is $72, not a big gap, but still trying to save a bit (for headphone)

two side questions, 
1 I've looked up some photos of XD, seems they've got slightly different looking
this one http://www.asus.com/Multimedia/Audio_Cards/Xonar_DX/
and this one http://www.amazon.com/PCI-Express-Channel-XONAR_DX-XD-90-YAA060-1UAN00Z/dp/B0017DJXG6
what's the trick?

2 is Sennheiser HD 558 good for both, do I need a amp for one of the sound card to push it to its real capacity?

The headphone output on the Xonar DX is not that great, but adding an external headphone amplifier is a great pairing.

post #3 of 15
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by PurpleAngel View Post

The headphone output on the Xonar DX is not that great, but adding an external headphone amplifier is a great pairing.

 

but an amp is not cheap, adding that amount of bucks I could just go with tiHD or STX, with a TiHD, is it necessary to add an amp in between for 558?

post #4 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by wgan View Post

but an amp is not cheap, adding that amount of bucks I could just go with tiHD or STX, with a TiHD, is it necessary to add an amp in between for 558?

 

An external amplifier may be better than the integrated one on the cards, though, as that is one area where the manufacturers like to save costs, and its performance is not revealed by the typical unloaded RMAA loopback test. If you have a good amplifier, it can also be used with other devices, and you can keep it while upgrading the sound card/DAC in the future.

Nevertheless, the amplifier on the STX works well if you have high impedance headphones (250 Ohms or above), but for typical <80 Ohm models it has relatively high output impedance, high noise at 44.1 kHz sample rate, and relatively high (although not poor) low frequency distortion. There is very little information available on the headphone output of the Titanium HD, but goldenears.net claims an output impedance of 35 Ohms, which, if true, is more than three times worse than that of the STX. It allegedly also has lower power output into high impedance headphones, but may be (I am only guessing this) less noisy with low impedance ones.


Edited by stv014 - 5/13/12 at 2:06am
post #5 of 15
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by stv014 View Post

 

An external amplifier may be better than the integrated one on the cards, though, as that is one area where the manufacturers like to save costs, and its performance is not revealed by the typical unloaded RMAA loopback test. If you have a good amplifier, it can also be used with other devices, and you can keep it while upgrading the sound card/DAC in the future.

Nevertheless, the amplifier on the STX works well if you have high impedance headphones (250 Ohms or above), but for typical <80 Ohm models it has relatively high output impedance, high noise at 44.1 kHz sample rate, and relatively high (although not poor) low frequency distortion. There is very little information available on the headphone output of the Titanium HD, but goldenears.net claims an output impedance of 35 Ohms, which, if true, is more than three times worse than that of the STX. It allegedly also has lower power output into high impedance headphones, but may be (I am only guessing this) less noisy with low impedance ones.

what would you recommend in my case, I'm just a casual user (although I'm quite sensitive to all kinds of sounds), not sure a stx will be overkill, for my all-round use, so

dx+amp

stx or

TiHD?

and could you recommend a good amp with reasonable price (<$100)

thanks

post #6 of 15

you dont need an amp for 558

post #7 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by wgan View Post

 

But an amp is not cheap, adding that amount of bucks I could just go with tiHD or STX, with a TiHD, is it necessary to add an amp in between for 558?

In practice the Titanium HD seem to do a good job of driving headphones, so I'm guessing you will not need a separate headphone amplifier to use the HD558 with the Titanium HD.

You can always go to the Creative Labs website, to their forum, to the Sound Blaster subsection and post the question about using the Sennheiser HD558 with the Titanium HD.

post #8 of 15
Thread Starter 

will a non-dac amp noticeably improve hd558's performance with a decent sound card?

will dx+fiio e11 outperform Tihd in music? can I get benefits out of an amp in gaming, movie as well?

post #9 of 15
The 558 don't really need a robust amplifier; you'll be fine from what a soundcard can do (and I would extend that probably as far as a "non headphone amp soundcard" like the original X-Fi and Audigy boards based on the 555/595).

In terms of what you should buy, I think either of these would be suitable. I would not "jump the gun" with additional equipment either. Get one of the cards, get the headphones, try it out.
post #10 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by wgan View Post

Will a non-DAC amp noticeably improve HD558's performance with a decent sound card?

Will DX+Fiio E11 outperform Ti-HD in music? can I get benefits out of an amp in gaming, movie as well?

I like the idea of the Xonar DX + Fiio E11 combo, the Xonar DX comes with the same Dolby features as the STX (& ST).

And the Fiio E11 is better at driving lower Ohm headphones then the STX/ST. The STX/ST are best with headphones that are 80 to 100-Ohm or higher.

And the Fiio E11 can be used with portable audio players.

You can get the Xonar DX with Fiio E11 combo for as little as $120.

I have to do a little more thinking on the T-HD verses the E11.

post #11 of 15

Do any of the games you play use the DirectSound3D or OpenAL APIs and/or support EAX versions 3, 4, or 5?

 

If so, you'll be much better off with X-Fi-based hardware. If not, C-Media-based cards like the Asus and HT Omega offerings are fine too.

 

As for amps, that's not my area of expertise.

post #12 of 15
Thread Starter 

one question regarding TiHD,

 

does it have a dedicated amp or not, according to this page http://hardocp.com/article/2010/10/25/sound_blaster_xfi_titanium_hd_card_review/2, it has an op-amp, what is a op-amp anyway?

post #13 of 15

Well, it does have a dedicated headphone out, so I guess there's an amp inside.

Their website though, is terrible at giving the specs.

post #14 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by wgan View Post
One question regarding TiHD,

Does it have a dedicated amp or not, according to this page http://hardocp.com/article/2010/10/25/sound_blaster_xfi_titanium_hd_card_review/2, it has an op-amp, what is a op-amp anyway?

The T-HD (Titanium HD) does not come with a true headphone amplifier, but It can power 250-Ohm headphones decently and I'm guessing it does even better with headphones under 250-Ohm.

Op-amps (Operational Amplifiers) can be swapped on the T-HD to change the flavor of the sound, some say swapping op-amps improve the sound, a few do not.

The op-amps can affect treble, mid range, sound stage, bass, etc

 

The stock op-amps on the T-HD are fairly decent, two JCR2114s dual channel and two LME49710NA single channel.

post #15 of 15
The Ti HD (the ~$200 on Creative's website card that's PCIe x1 and mostly black) has what Creative calls a "dedicated headphone amp" - as PurpleAngel said, it will do fine with most moderate loads; I would not expect it to handle orthos or very inefficient cans. Something like the HD 558 will be no problem for it.
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