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new sound card OR usb dac with amp?

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 

Since I have been using the integrated realtek headphone outputs of my motherboard, my listening skills are lacking. Since I spend time at the pc (50% gaming and 50% music/video/photo work) I am looking at a headphone solution that will satisfy both arenas. I've settled on a pc360 headset for gaming (although my brother gave me a beyer dt 770 it doesnt feel good. I dont like the closed in feeling. although that may just be the poor sound if it is not being driven well. I dont know which version it is the 60 or 250 ohm impedance model).

 

To better drive these headphones I am looking at an asus stx essence or phoebus soundcard as one option. The other option would be a usb dac with headphone amp (Fiio E7 + E9 - although I dont know whether the e9i or e9k would be preferred). My past experience with onboard soundcards has not been pleasant with buzzing noizes and interference marring the mic input. Also driver issues have been annoying although that was with older creative stuff. I am not looking for EAX or a 7.1 surround headphone but rather a great dolby stereo headphone.

 

What are your recommendations for these headphones to drive them? Yes, I did search these fora and it seems the consensus is that a soundcard gives better 3d localization but that the amp will drive high end headphones with higher impedances better. Also the amp+dac has the portability factor. Will the stx or phoebus soundcard be sufficiently powerful to drive these headphones well? In this read

http://www.head-fi.org/t/421890/the-xonar-essence-stx-q-a-tweaking-impressions-thread/3465

 

I read that the stx soundcard headphone jack has an impedance of 10 ohms and doesnt do well with headphones having an impedance less than 80 ohms (the pc 360 has a 50 ohm impedance). So do I need an amplifier with this soundcard as well? )I am not averse to the creative titanium soundcard if it has a better amp.


Edited by bwanaaa - 7/27/12 at 9:19pm
post #2 of 5
Quote:
Originally Posted by bwanaaa View Post

Since I have been using the integrated realtek headphone outputs of my motherboard, my listening skills are lacking. Since I spend time at the pc (50% gaming and 50% music/video/photo work) I am looking at a headphone solution that will satisfy both arenas. I've settled on a pc360 headset for gaming (although my brother gave me a Beyer DT770 it doesn't feel good. I don't like the closed in feeling. although that may just be the poor sound if it is not being driven well. I dont know which version it is the 60 or 250 ohm impedance model).

 

To better drive these headphones I am looking at an Asus Essence STX or Phoebus sound card as one option. The other option would be a USB DAC with headphone amp (Fiio E7 + E9 - although I don't know whether the e9i or e9k would be preferred). My past experience with on-board sound cards has not been pleasant with buzzing noises and interference marring the mic input. Also driver issues have been annoying although that was with older creative stuff. I am not looking for EAX or a 7.1 surround headphone but rather a great dolby stereo headphone.

 

What are your recommendations for these headphones to drive them? Yes, I did search these fora and it seems the consensus is that a sound card gives better 3d localization but that the amp will drive high end headphones with higher impedances better. Also the amp+dac has the portability factor. Will the STX or Phoebus sound card be sufficiently powerful to drive these headphones well? In this read

http://www.head-fi.org/t/421890/the-xonar-essence-stx-q-a-tweaking-impressions-thread/3465

 

I read that the stx soundcard headphone jack has an impedance of 10 ohms and doesn't do well with headphones having an impedance less than 80 ohms (the PC 360 has a 50 ohm impedance). So do I need an amplifier with this sound card as well? )I am not averse to the creative titanium soundcard if it has a better amp.

Get the Asus Xonar Essence STX, 50-Ohm headphone should be fine with the STX (if you got them).

The STX can drive headphones up to 600-Ohms (my STX does) with it's built in headphone amplifier.

The DT770 Pro 80-Ohm or Pro 250-Ohm headphones will sound much better connected to the STX.

I'm guessing with the STX driving your Beyers DT770, you will not need to buy the PC360s.

 

The Creative Titanium HD is a good card for gaming (many think it's the best for gaming), but does not come with a true headphone amplifier, but does do a fairly decent job of driving headphones.

post #3 of 5

The DT770s will benefit greatly from an amp. If you want an open version, consider the DT990s. 

post #4 of 5
Thread Starter 

tnx both for your replies. yea the beyers have big sound but no mic. i tried and external desk mic but that sucked. then i did a ghetto mod taping it to the 770- that lasted a day. i don't have the skill to fashion an aluminum bracket for he external 7330 mic hat someone showed here (anyway that external mic is nowhere to be found.) The ant lion mic is is out of stock everywhere. I looked at the beyer mmx 300 but that one is closed back. The 990 also lacks a mic. So i'll go with the stx and put up with the boomy bass that everyone refers to. It's probably better than the realtek sound I am pumping into my skull right now.

post #5 of 5

I have a Labtec LVA-7331 that I currently have over my HD555s but used over my DT990s in the past. I use it for professional work and it has served me very well for less than $50 from Amazon. Great quality mic and it doesn't pickup much outside noise. I just used a few twist ties to secure it to the headphones and I've been quite pleased. I've seen people do more elaborate mods, but this lets me move the mic to other headphones in the future if I choose without any permanent affects to my current pair.

 

If you really want a straight up headset, the Beyer MMX300 is worth looking into.

 

There's also the Darth Beyer mod for your DT770s.

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