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Need an amp suggestion for ATH-AD900/MDR-7506

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 

Sup head-fi, relative audiophile noob here and first post on the forums. I have 2 questions.

 

First, I picked up a set of ATH-AD900's and they're awesome cans, really enjoying them. They're running through a Titanium HD as well as my MDR-7506's. I also have a set of M-Audio AV-40's that run through an M-Audio Delta 24/96 PCI card. My main goal is to get rid of the PCI card and run the speakers through an amp/Ti HD combo as well as my headphones to cut out all of the constant switching back and forth of which audio device I want to use at specific times. I know the AD900's won't benefit that much from an amp but I believe the slightly higher impedence 7506's may (32 ohms vs 63 ohms), but ultimately this is just for ease of use more than anything. I want to be able to unplug my headphones from the amp when I'm not using them instead of reaching around to the back of my computer.

 

TL;DR

 

Can anybody recommend a decent amp for both sets of headphones and the AV-40 monitors, with ease of use as my main focus, not sound improvement (although that helps too)?

 

My second question is since the AV-40's already have a built in amp, will running them through another amp worsen the sound quality at all or not? Should they be excluded from an amp all together? I've researched these questions for weeks and either can't make up my mind, don't understand what I'm reading, or just can't find the specific info I'm looking for.

 

Hopefully this makes sense to everyone and any suggestions/explanations will be greatly appreciated.

 

EDIT: I thought I was posting this in the desktop amp section but I guess I made a mistake. Not entirely sure where it should go but if it needs to be moved, any mod feel free to do so.


Edited by scntfc - 6/14/12 at 8:19am
post #2 of 6
Quote:
Originally Posted by scntfc View Post
Sup head-fi, relative audiophile noob here and first post on the forums. I have 2 questions.

First, I picked up a set of ATH-AD900's and they're awesome cans, really enjoying them. They're running through a Titanium HD as well as my MDR-7506's. I also have a set of M-Audio AV-40's that run through an M-Audio Delta 24/96 PCI card. My main goal is to get rid of the PCI card and run the speakers through an amp/Ti HD combo as well as my headphones to cut out all of the constant switching back and forth of which audio device I want to use at specific times. I know the AD900's won't benefit that much from an amp but I believe the slightly higher impedance 7506's may (32 ohms vs 63 ohms), but ultimately this is just for ease of use more than anything. I want to be able to unplug my headphones from the amp when I'm not using them instead of reaching around to the back of my computer.

TL;DR

Can anybody recommend a decent amp for both sets of headphones and the AV-40 monitors, with ease of use as my main focus, not sound improvement (although that helps too)?

My second question is since the AV-40's already have a built in amp, will running them through another amp worsen the sound quality at all or not? Should they be excluded from an amp all together? I've researched these questions for weeks and either can't make up my mind, don't understand what I'm reading, or just can't find the specific info I'm looking for.

Hopefully this makes sense to everyone and any suggestions/explanations will be greatly appreciated.

EDIT: I thought I was posting this in the desktop amp section but I guess I made a mistake. Not entirely sure where it should go but if it needs to be moved, any mod feel free to do so.

Remove Delta 24/96 PCI card, plug AV40s into RCA outputs on Titanium HD, done.

post #3 of 6
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by PurpleAngel View Post

Remove Delta 24/96 PCI card, plug AV40s into RCA outputs on Titanium HD, done.


Thanks for the reply but...did you miss the part where I said I wanted an amp for convenience? When I plug my headphones directly into my soundcard it will disable my speakers. I don't want to keep getting out of my chair and unplugging my headphones every time I want to use my speakers. I'd rather have an amp on my desk that I can easily reach and unplug from there instead.

 

Again, thanks for the response, but it didn't help at all.

post #4 of 6
Quote:
Originally Posted by scntfc View Post
Thanks for the reply but...did you miss the part where I said I wanted an amp for convenience? When I plug my headphones directly into my soundcard it will disable my speakers. I don't want to keep getting out of my chair and unplugging my headphones every time I want to use my speakers. I'd rather have an amp on my desk that I can easily reach and unplug from there instead.

Again, thanks for the response, but it didn't help at all.

As my Xonar Essence STX's control panel can switch between speakers and headphone output, I did not realize the Titanium HD control panel does not have that feature.

One option is to sell off the Creative Titanium HD and get the Asus Xonar Essence STX, you can switch between headphone output and RCA output in the Xonar Control Panel.

 

But, if you want to keep the Titanium HD,

Get a DAC with a digital optical input.

 

DAC On eBay (with optical input)

Fiio D3 $30 (not as good a DAC as the one built into the Titanium HD)

Muse DA 20 $55

SMSL AD-793 $60

SMSL AD-1955 $105

 

Just hook up the AV40 speakers to the external DACs RCA outputs.

You can just turn of the power button on the AV40s when not in use.

Or enable or disable S/PDIF output in Creative control panel.

Leave headphones plugged into headphone output.


Edited by PurpleAngel - 6/14/12 at 2:32pm
post #5 of 6
Thread Starter 

Thank you for the suggestions...much better info. I'd rather keep the Titanium as I game a lot and feel that it's better for gaming than the Xonar.

 

So when using a DAC it completely bypasses the DAC in the soundcard?

 

How do the bottom 3 suggestions (Muse, SMSL) compare to the DAC in the Titanium HD?

 

What about the internal amp in the AV-40's...will the external DAC interfere or make them sound worse?

 

Sorry if these are stupid questions...and thanks again.

post #6 of 6
Quote:
Originally Posted by scntfc View Post
Thank you for the suggestions...much better info. I'd rather keep the Titanium as I game a lot and feel that it's better for gaming than the Xonar.

So when using a DAC it completely bypasses the DAC in the soundcard?

How do the bottom 3 suggestions (Muse, SMSL) compare to the DAC in the Titanium HD?

What about the internal amp in the AV-40's...will the external DAC interfere or make them sound worse?

Sorry if these are stupid questions...and thanks again.

I like stupid questions, they are usually the easiest to answer.

Any audio that comes out of the sound card that is analog (mini-jack, RCA, 1/4") used the sound card's DAC.

Any audio that comes out of the sound card that is digital (USB, coaxial, optical), bypass the sound card's DAC.

Most processing in the sound card is digital, the DAC (Digital to Analog Converter) happen just before analog audio signal leaves.

The DAC in the T-HD (Titanium HD) is the PCM1794, the SMSL SD-973 uses the PCM1793. so about equal.

The better the external DAC, the better your speakers will sound.

The DAC does not interfere or make the AV40 worse, a DAC is part of the chain that feeds audio to the AV40s.

The AV40 need to use a DAC because they can not themselves convert digital to analog.

The Internal amps. on the AV40s receive the signal as analog.

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