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AMP + DAC for around 200$ needed

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 

Hello everyone,

 

I currently own an Ultrasone HFI-580 and a fiio e17. Since my usage is desktop only I will change my e17 for a stationay solution.

Could you give me some advice what Amp / Dac combination will do fine? I planned to spend around 200$ (150€). I mainly use my headphones to watch movies and listen to music.

My onboard audiocard hast SPDIF / Optical Outputs and I already owned a xonar DX but certain bass frequencies (especially during movies) sounded horrible, since this has improved with the e17 im sure this isnt due to my headphone.

I checked out other threads claiming that the 580s doesnt need an amp however without one there is simply no bass.

If you need any additional info, just tell me!


Edited by chuckf - 9/16/12 at 9:57am
post #2 of 10

Audinst fits the bill I think. smily_headphones1.gif

post #3 of 10
Thread Starter 

The hud mx1?

 

Seems to be hard to get / could be a bit expensive, 179$ without shipping, duties, ... I'll have to find out what this will end up at exactly, however it seems a good choice from the 2 reviews I read so far.

post #4 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by chuckf View Post

I currently own an Ultrasone HFI-580 and a Fiio E17. Since my usage is desktop only I will change my e17 for a stationay solution.

Could you give me some advice what Amp / Dac combination will do fine? I planned to spend around 200$ (150€). I mainly use my headphones to watch movies and listen to music.

My on-board audio card hast SPDIF / Optical Outputs and I already owned a Xonar DX but certain bass frequencies (especially during movies) sounded horrible, since this has improved with the e17 I'm sure this isn't due to my headphone.

I checked out other threads claiming that the 580s doesn't need an amp however without one there is simply no bass.

If you need any additional info, just tell me!

The Xonar DX comes with a fairly good DAC chip (CS4398) and Dolby Headphone surround sound, but because is come with a high impedance of 100-Ohm, it does a poor job of driving headphones.

The Fiio E17 comes with a headphone output impedance of around 1-Ohm

So all you really need is an external headphone amplifier to plug into the Xonar DX's line-out (headphone jack).

As your Ultrasone HFI-580 headphones are only 32-Ohm, you would want a headphone amplifier with an impedance of 4-Ohms or less.

A cheap way is to get the Fiio E11 portable headphone amplifier, impedance of around .5-Ohms

Just get it with a spare battery and an AC battery recharger, so one battery is rechangeing while the other battery is being used in the E11.

The O2 (Objective 2) portable headphone amplifier has a low impedance (something like 1-Ohm?),

You can use it like a normal AC powered desktop amplifier as long as you leave it plugged in an AC wall plug.

post #5 of 10
Thread Starter 

An audiocard is now difficult to place in my PC, since I RMAed my GPU and due to problems during repair / delays I got a 580 (from MSI, bigger than reference) back (what a luck :) ) there is not much space on my board anymore. This card is just, huge.

Plus, Im not sure if the crappy bass, for which I returned the card was due to the cards amp or the dac. I think it was the dac, so I am a bit sceptical about buying it again.

Would I really benefit from upgrading to a DX / e11 in comparison to my e17?

As an alternative to slickmans suggestion I came up with a topping tp30, since I can order that one via amazon and spare duties etc.


Edited by chuckf - 9/16/12 at 12:52pm
post #6 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by chuckf View Post

An audiocard is now difficult to place in my PC, since I RMAed my GPU and due to problems during repair / delays I got a 580 (from MSI, bigger than reference) back (what a luck :) ) there is not much space on my board anymore. This card is just, huge.

Plus, Im not sure if the crappy bass, for which I returned the card was due to the cards amp or the DAC. I think it was the DAC, so I am a bit sceptical about buying it again.

Would I really benefit from upgrading to a DX / e11 in comparison to my e17?

As an alternative to slickmans suggestion I came up with a topping tp30, since I can order that one via amazon and spare duties etc.

The Fiio E17 seems to be a great portable DAC/Amp, but is only 2-channel (stereo) audio, so on it's own can not convert 5.1 or 7.1 audio to surround sound for headphone use.

You will get great 2-channel stereo sound for movies (and music) with the E17.

The Xonar DX does not come with a headphone amplifier, it comes with a line-out jack that pretends to be a headphone jack.

The Xonar DX will have less then good bass for just about any headphone used plugged straight into it.

I'm very sure it was not a "DAC" problem, it's an amplifier problem.

It also might have been a software problem with the Xonar DX, get the "Unified Xonar Drivers" from the Brainbit website.

The Xonar DX can convert 5.1 (6-channels) movie audio into Dolby headphone surround sound before sending out the "line-out" jack, to whatever headphone amplifier you have connected to the Xonar DX.

I know little about the Topping TP30, like what is it's headphone output impedance?

I would say to try and find a used O2 (Objective 2) headphone amp. I know it has a very low impedance.

post #7 of 10
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by PurpleAngel View Post

The Fiio E17 seems to be a great portable DAC/Amp, but is only 2-channel (stereo) audio, so on it's own can not convert 5.1 or 7.1 audio to surround sound for headphone use.

You will get great 2-channel stereo sound for movies (and music) with the E17.

I don't own any other audio device than my headphones. When I owned the DX I never used the Dolby HP feature, the echo that went along with it wasn't worth it. I don't really need surround in my headphones.

As stated in my other thread (which is the reason for this thread), Im just very unsure if I can't do better for my money than the e17. To get an O2 I'll have to be lucky, another german forum offers them very rarely in the trading area.

 

Quote:
It also might have been a software problem with the Xonar DX, get the "Unified Xonar Drivers" from the Brainbit website.

I did check the drivers, I sent back my first DX and got another, same problems. I used older drivers, ASIO Drivers. 

However I think due to the very limited space inside my case, I wouldn't consider an audiocard as the best solution at this time.

 

For the Topping:
http://www.parts-express.com/pe/showdetl.cfm?partnumber=310-312

  • 3.5 mm headphone output for headphone impedance 16 to 200 ohms
  • THD: 0.04% THD+N @ 5W/8 ohms, 1 kHz

Is this the information you needed?


Edited by chuckf - 9/16/12 at 3:42pm
post #8 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by chuckf View Post

I don't own any other audio device than my headphones. When I owned the DX I never used the Dolby HP feature, the echo that went along with it wasn't worth it. I don't really need surround in my headphones.

As stated in my other thread (which is the reason for this thread), Im just very unsure if I can't do better for my money than the e17. To get an O2 I'll have to be lucky, another german forum offers them very rarely in the trading area.

 

I did check the drivers, I sent back my first DX and got another, same problems. I used older drivers, ASIO Drivers. 

However I think due to the very limited space inside my case, I wouldn't consider an audiocard as the best solution at this time.

 

For the Topping:
http://www.parts-express.com/pe/showdetl.cfm?partnumber=310-312

  • 3.5 mm headphone output for headphone impedance 16 to 200 ohms
  • THD: 0.04% THD+N @ 5W/8 ohms, 1 kHz

Is this the information you needed?

It does not state on the Parts-express website what the impedance is, oh well.

I would say save some cash and to just keep using the Fiio E17, plugged into the computer.

Do you use optical or USB, have you tried both?

Have you tried Foobar for audio (music)?

On the website Codecguide there is some good video players, Media player Classic & VLC

post #9 of 10
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by PurpleAngel View Post

It does not state on the Parts-express website what the impedance is, oh well.

I thought so, was worth a try ;-) If you don't mind could you explain me what impedance you were looking for? Or does this forums have something like the 1x1 of basics?

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by PurpleAngel View Post

I would say save some cash and to just keep using the Fiio E17, plugged into the computer.

save cash for something else later or just because the e17 will work fine / there is no real reason to upgrade (except the fact that the e17 won't downmix 5.1, im not sure if other amps will do)

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by PurpleAngel View Post

Do you use optical or USB, have you tried both?

Optical, I didn't try USB yet.

Quote:

Originally Posted by PurpleAngel View Post

Have you tried Foobar for audio (music)?

Yep ;-) since I got my headphones I switched to foobar, but I havn't changed much in the settings, I tested the ASIO Driver for the E17 but in my opinion there was no real audible difference.

Quote:

Originally Posted by PurpleAngel View Post

On the website Codecguide there is some good video players, Media player Classic & VLC

For most videos I use VLC and for blurays Theater 5. Im not sure if it was the blurays or theater 5 but I had the feeling that the audio on my blurays wasn't really intense.


Edited by chuckf - 9/16/12 at 4:09pm
post #10 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by chuckf View Post

I thought so, was worth a try ;-) If you don't mind could you explain me what impedance you were looking for? Or does this forums have something like the 1x1 of basics?

 

 

save cash for something else later or just because the e17 will work fine / there is no real reason to upgrade (except the fact that the e17 won't downmix 5.1, I'm not sure if other amps will do)

 

Optical, I didn't try USB yet.

Yep ;-) since I got my headphones I switched to Foobar, but I havn't changed much in the settings, I tested the ASIO Driver for the E17 but in my opinion there was no real audible difference.

For most videos I use VLC and for Blu-rays Theater 5. I'm not sure if it was the Blu-rays or theater 5 but I had the feeling that the audio on my Blu-rays wasn't really intense.

Impedance is resistance, you want the resistance of the headphone to be at least eight times (or more) higher resistance, then whatever the headphones are plugged into?

The higher the resistance on the headphone, the more voltage is needed to overcome that resistance.

Save the cash because the Fiio E17 should work fine, so no reason to upgrade.

I would guess(?) the E17 would equal (or better) the Topping TP30 audio quality wise anyway.

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