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Need Amp/Dac suggestions

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 

Ok so ive only just begun getting into higher quality audio. I picked up a pair of ATH-A900s the other day and ive been letting them burn in but I feel the bass is a tad bit lower than I was hoping. I am pairing the headphones with a X-Fi Titanium HD sound card, I mainly game and listen to music/movies as a secondary interest. I have been trying to research my question and ive gotten some ideas but there's so much info that im still at a loss. So i guess my question is should I get an Amp to give the headphones the little kick to bring them up, or should I get a DAC/Amp combo? This will be for desktop use only, there's a chance I may pick up a pair of DT880s in the future so having an amp to power them would be a plus. I would like to keep the cost $200 or under if possible. Thanks in advance for any/all your suggestions!

post #2 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kempher View Post

Ok so ive only just begun getting into higher quality audio. I picked up a pair of ATH-A900s the other day and ive been letting them burn in but I feel the bass is a tad bit lower than I was hoping. I am pairing the headphones with a X-Fi Titanium HD sound card, I mainly game and listen to music/movies as a secondary interest. I have been trying to research my question and ive gotten some ideas but there's so much info that im still at a loss. So i guess my question is should I get an Amp to give the headphones the little kick to bring them up, or should I get a DAC/Amp combo? This will be for desktop use only, there's a chance I may pick up a pair of DT880s in the future so having an amp to power them would be a plus. I would like to keep the cost $200 or under if possible. Thanks in advance for any/all your suggestions!

The O2 amp has been gaining a lot of attention lately for bringing the best performance at the lowest possible buck. Look into that. It's about 150 dollars. It is very flexible in driving low AND high impedance headphones... which a lot of amps suffer with. 

 

You don't need a DAC. Your soundcard is good enough. Even the best DAC in the world will probably give you improvements that are hardly noticeable. Most improvements are hardly audible to the human ear when people upgrade their already decent DACs. 

post #3 of 11
Thread Starter 

Excellent, thanks for the suggestion! I think ill go look into that amp =)

post #4 of 11
Thread Starter 

After reading through a lot of the reviews for the Objective 2 amp it seems very good, however I would prefer an amp that would be able to boost the bass output on my cans. Is there an amp in my price limit that would do well for this?

post #5 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kempher View Post

Ok so I've only just begun getting into higher quality audio. I picked up a pair of ATH-A900s the other day and Ive been letting them burn in but I feel the bass is a tad bit lower than I was hoping. I am pairing the headphones with a X-Fi Titanium HD sound card, I mainly game and listen to music/movies as a secondary interest. I have been trying to research my question and I've gotten some ideas but there's so much info that I'm still at a loss. So I guess my question is should I get an Amp to give the headphones the little kick to bring them up, or should I get a DAC/Amp combo? This will be for desktop use only, there's a chance I may pick up a pair of DT880s in the future so having an amp to power them would be a plus. I would like to keep the cost $200 or under if possible. Thanks in advance for any/all your suggestions!

The TiHD (Titanium HD) already comes with a good enough DAC.

The Audio Technica ATH-A900 are not "bassy" headphones, so no matter what amplifier you use with them, chances are the bass will not really improve (louder) that much.

As the ATH-A900s are only 40-Ohm, does not take much of an amplifier to drive them anyway.

The TiHD headphone jack has a high impedance (35-Ohm), which might be giving the A900s a "muddy" bass.

Your 40-Ohm headphones would work best with an headphone amplifier that has an impedance of 5-Ohms or less.

 

So, with a better matched amplifier to the ATH-A900s, the bass may not really get louder, but hopefully the quality of the bass will improve.

 

A low cost way to get a headphone amplifier is the Fiio E11 ($65) portable headphone amplifier.

The Fiio comes with a very low impedance.

For around $15 you can get two spare batteries (BL-5B) and a simple AC battery charger, for use with the E11.

 

The O2 (Objective 2, $155) headphone amplifier has a low impedance.

 

The TiHD can send headphone surround sound thru the RCA outputs.


Edited by PurpleAngel - 7/22/12 at 9:37am
post #6 of 11
Thread Starter 

Thanks a ton! After reading some of the reviews, the O2 amp just isnt quite what I needed, however the FiiO E11 does seem to be what ive been looking for even if its portable! Im gonna see if I can find it somewhere with the AC adapter =). Ill post my thoughts on any differences between using the A900s with/without the amp. Thanks again! 

post #7 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kempher View Post

Thanks a ton! After reading some of the reviews, the O2 amp just isnt quite what I needed, however the FiiO E11 does seem to be what ive been looking for even if its portable! Im gonna see if I can find it somewhere with the AC adapter =). Ill post my thoughts on any differences between using the A900s with/without the amp. Thanks again! 

That is a totally separate AC battery recharger, so you can recharge a spare battery while using the E11, not to power the E11 while the E11 is in use.

 

EBay sells sells the batteries and rechargers, ships from China.

post #8 of 11
Thread Starter 

Yeah I see that now, the Micca accessory pack comes with it a some places so I think ill get it that way, but since its going to be a desktop amp mainly I need the usb charge cable to be a little longer and Ill use the battery backup for anytime I completely run out of juice. Now if only I could find a longer usb cable, it looks like 5-pin male mini connector is what I need.

post #9 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kempher View Post

Yeah I see that now, the Micca accessory pack comes with it a some places so I think ill get it that way, but since its going to be a desktop amp mainly I need the usb charge cable to be a little longer and Ill use the battery backup for anytime I completely run out of juice. Now if only I could find a longer usb cable, it looks like 5-pin male mini connector is what I need.

Monoprice.

post #10 of 11

I don't remember if the e11 has bass boost but if it doesn't the e17 does (and costs more but has all kinds of extra goodies)
 

post #11 of 11
Thread Starter 

The e11 actually worked out really well! It added that extra kick I was looking for =). As I listen to mostly techno music I felt I wasnt quite where I wanted to be with the sound, but adding the amp to the A900s made a fair amount of difference and I couldnt be happier =). Thanks again for the help everyone!

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