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DAC w/ ATH-M50 for computer setup

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 

For a while, I was using my ATH-M50 headphones for primary usage of listening to music. I never really feel too much bass when I feel it should be there, as well as plain missing details (not a basshead), and after doing some research, I discovered that getting a new DAC would help change that by increasing the quality of the music, and fully bypassing the need of a sound card. I have a few questions concerned about getting a DAC:

 

1. Do I need a DAC for my headphones to get the full experience?

2. Would I need to purchase an amp, or is a DAC all I need since the ATH-M50 has no real need for an amp?

3. Which DAC should I get assuming it is recommended for me to get one (my budget range is no more than $100 with amp added)?

 

I am also planning to get the Sennheiser HD 598 in the future not far from now. DAC and amp hybrids are fine with me. Thank you.

post #2 of 3

I use a Nuforce uDac-2 and M50's. I like bass but not a bass head. I use Pure Music for my player. And just recently discovered after 40 years of using EQ's, That the Melda Multiband Dynamics audio unit can work much better than an EQ! It can actually expand the lows and compress the highs. The final output is absolutely amazing. So I have about $600 invested and my music sounds better than I've ever heard it.

 

 

 

Dana

post #3 of 3
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sycho View Post

For a while, I was using my ATH-M50 headphones for primary usage of listening to music. I never really feel too much bass when I feel it should be there, as well as plain missing details (not a basshead), and after doing some research, I discovered that getting a new DAC would help change that by increasing the quality of the music, and fully bypassing the need of a sound card. I have a few questions concerned about getting a DAC:

 

1. Do I need a DAC for my headphones to get the full experience?

2. Would I need to purchase an amp, or is a DAC all I need since the ATH-M50 has no real need for an amp?

3. Which DAC should I get assuming it is recommended for me to get one (my budget range is no more than $100 with amp added)?

 

I am also planning to get the Sennheiser HD 598 in the future not far from now. DAC and amp hybrids are fine with me. Thank you.

I'm assuming your plugging your ATH-M50 straight into the built-in sound on your motherboard.

Motherboards come with low cost DACs and the output jack is more like a line-out jack, then a dedicated headphone jack.

Line-out (RCA or Mini-jack) usually have a high impedance, which is not the best for driving headphones.

 

Something like the Asus Xonar DG or DGX sound card will have a better DAC (then your motherboard) and has a half-way decent headphone amplifier.

It's line out jack is not as preferable as a true and dedicated headphone jack

 

The DAC (Digital to Analog Converter) is not a headphone amplifier, but the line-out (RCA or mini jack) output on a DAC can drive low Ohm headphones.

A good headphone amplifier will usually come with a lower impedance then a line out jack.

An Xonar DG or DGX hook up to an external headphone amplifier (E11) is a good combo.

 

The Fiio E10 ($80)  is an external USB DAC headphone amplifier (no need for sound card).

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