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HRT MusicStreamer II with Headphones

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 

Hey guys!

 

So, I bought my first good quality headphone, Sennheiser HD558, still waiting for it to arrive some day. I was researching into DACs and stuff, since it should bring this headphone to it's best, and I arrived at the HRT MusicStreamer II, people seems to love it for the sound quality in such low price for a DAC.

 

Is there any way I could use it with my headphone? I mean, the 2 RCA Line Out won't be able to connect to my headphone, and since the HD558 doesn't need amplification, I won't be buying a Headphone Amp anytime soon, but I would like the high quality DAC.

 

How superior shoud the HRT MusicStreamer II DAC be to my current X-Fi Titanium HD? I mean, would it really be that noticeable?

 

Sorry if I sound like a noob, because that I sure am!!

 

Thanks guys

post #2 of 17

A DAC cannot power headphones alone. Plus, in your case, you might be better off trying an amp first.

Your X-Fi HD already has a DAC, pretty decent compared to integrated audio. Just use the audio line out (RCA) into the amp, and you're ready to go.

If your amp only has a 3.5 mm jack, you can get a RCA -> 3.5mm adapter.

post #3 of 17

You might consider the HRT HeadStreamer as an alternative- from what I understand it has most of the same internals as the MS2 but adds in a headphone amplifier that you control using the PC instead of a volume knob. I think it's within 10 dollars or so of the MS2 so that might be worth checking out.
I can't answer whether or not it will be better than your onboard card, but in some cases people have noticed improved performance when they move the DAC/amp part of the audio chain outside of the electrically "noisy" computer.

post #4 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by proton007 View Post

A DAC cannot power headphones alone. Plus, in your case, you might be better off trying an amp first.

Your X-Fi HD already has a DAC, pretty decent compared to integrated audio. Just use the audio line out (RCA) into the amp, and you're ready to go.

If your amp only has a 3.5 mm jack, you can get a RCA -> 3.5mm adapter.

 

Great advice

post #5 of 17
Thread Starter 

Thank you all first of all!

 

I just wanted to know if there was a way out without having to buy a $150 headphone amp, that my HD558 won't be needing, that's exactly why I chose him and not a higher end model, also because I wouldn't have money for that higher end model! HA!

 

I'm going to use my Titanium HD now that I now it has a pretty good DAC too, and it doesn't require me to do anything else, just plug the headphone and everything will be working, brilliant!!

 

Thanks guys

post #6 of 17
Thread Starter 

How good is the X-Fi Titanium HD compared to a DAC such as MusicStreamer II? Does anybody know? I plan on upgrading it's OP-Amps to something better than stock.

post #7 of 17

Try the Audioengine D1, or any of the iBasso line, they have Dac/Amp combo's which I think is better to start off with then just getting a standalone dac/amp.

post #8 of 17
Thread Starter 

Does the Audioengine D1 replace the need of a standalone headphone amp? Is it a DAC as good as he MusicStreamer II, or at least better than my Titanium HD? If not, I don't see the point of upgrading. MusicStreamer II seems like a clear upgrade from my Titanium HD

 

Thank you for the reply!

 

Edit: I just did some research, the Audiengine D1 has the same DAC as the E-MU interface, that didn't impress me. And the MusicStreamer II has the same DAC as my Titanium HD, PCM1794, so I don't see the point of upgrading anymore, unless it's something way better.


Edited by Alec246 - 7/20/12 at 4:21pm
post #9 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alec246 View Post

Does the Audioengine D1 replace the need of a standalone headphone amp? Is it a DAC as good as he MusicStreamer II, or at least better than my Titanium HD? If not, I don't see the point of upgrading. MusicStreamer II seems like a clear upgrade from my Titanium HD

 

Thank you for the reply!

 

Edit: I just did some research, the Audiengine D1 has the same DAC as the E-MU interface, that didn't impress me. And the MusicStreamer II has the same DAC as my Titanium HD, PCM1794, so I don't see the point of upgrading anymore, unless it's something way better.

 

Thats why, try an amp. Typically Headphones > Amp > DAC.

You can always get a DAC later. IMO its not a priority for you right now.


Edited by proton007 - 7/21/12 at 7:23am
post #10 of 17
Thread Starter 

Yeah, sorry I didn';t follow your advice, but now I can see why first we get a amp for second go for the DAC... I will wait for the HD558 to arrive and listen to it's sound from the Titanium HD, if I don't feel the need of an Amp right away, I will wait until I can get a higher quality one for my next headphone maybe? hehehehe

post #11 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alec246 View Post

Yeah, sorry I didn't follow your advice, but now I can see why first we get a amp for second go for the DAC... I will wait for the HD558 to arrive and listen to it's sound from the Titanium HD, if I don't feel the need of an Amp right away, I will wait until I can get a higher quality one for my next headphone maybe? hehehehe

The TiHD (Titanium HD) has a high impedance (35-Ohm?) for it's headphone output.

Technically an impedance of 6-Ohm or lower would be preferred for the 50-Ohm HD558.

Lots of people plug their headphone (32 to 250-Ohm) straight into the TiHD and like the sound.

 

But everything else on the TiHD should do a good job for you.

The TiHD can send headphone surround sound thru it's RCA output, so just about any external headphone amplifier made can connect to the TiHD.

post #12 of 17
Thread Starter 

So the Titanium HD is actually too powerful for the HD558? Wow...

 

So, what does that do to my sound? First of all, I expect it to be loud even at low volume levels, right?

 

And buying a Headphone Amp for the HD558 is probably a bad idea if I'm later buying a headphone that requires high impedance, right?
 

post #13 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alec246 View Post
So the Titanium HD is actually too powerful for the HD558? Wow...

So, what does that do to my sound? First of all, I expect it to be loud even at low volume levels, right?

And buying a Headphone Amp for the HD558 is probably a bad idea if I'm later buying a headphone that requires high impedance, right?

I think there is lots of TiHD owners using 50-Ohm headphones and liking the sound.

I believe the high impedance effects the quality of the bass more, not so much the volume.

There are others on Head-Fi who understand impedance and it's affects better then me.

 

Best is to go to the Creative website forum and ask questions in the Sound Blaster section about headphones used with the TiHD.

Personally, I would think about adding an external headphone amplifier when you upgrade from the HD558s.

but I'm also biased for Xonar sound cards. better to find experienced TiHD users for feedback.

post #14 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alec246 View Post

So the Titanium HD is actually too powerful for the HD558? Wow...

 

So, what does that do to my sound? First of all, I expect it to be loud even at low volume levels, right?

 

And buying a Headphone Amp for the HD558 is probably a bad idea if I'm later buying a headphone that requires high impedance, right?
 

 

Its not too "powerful", there's an impedance mismatch. 

Usually, the lower the output impedance, the better.

post #15 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alec246 View Post

So the Titanium HD is actually too powerful for the HD558? Wow...

 

So, what does that do to my sound? First of all, I expect it to be loud even at low volume levels, right?

 

And buying a Headphone Amp for the HD558 is probably a bad idea if I'm later buying a headphone that requires high impedance, right?
 

 

Wait- does this sound card have a headphone output (an inbuilt amp, of whatever quality)??

 

If it does then stick with it for the meanwhile and see how you like it. 

 

If it doesn't then, well, clearly you need a standalone headphone amplifier. 

 

I don't think you'd find any amp too 'powerful' for these apart from some awfuly designed headphone amps with crap volume controls (a small turn in the dial makes for a massive increase in volume) OR say vintage beasty speaker amps with crazy specs! 

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