Originally Posted by Lumos
Thanks for reply, I mainly listen classical music. All of them are lossless format, some of them are recorded on 24/96, I am using Wasapi on Foobar2000... hence sound quality is a main issue.
I was thinking to save more money and get Fiio E10 because of it includes amp function... have you any experience with that?
but curious is that my laptop onboard sound card could drive AKG K20S in very loud volume, I don't feel any need of amplification... some folks here complained that volume is not loud without amp but that is not my case... just wondering what would be change of better if I add Amp for K240S
Sorry for the very reply (probably too late by now, but anyway) Based on your needs Xonar U3 is definitely not for you.
No I have no experience with the FiiO E10, I am getting a FiiO E11 though, which is just an amp, to go with my Xonar U3 because at certain low range frequencies there is a definite clipping that is too easily noticeable. Something to do with my HD 598 having a very high impedance in the low end range. The peak is at about 300 ohms. This is typical for this model in its frequency response. The cans are rated at 50 ohms though because thats for the general listening range.
So I think that should give you an idea. You will need to know the frequency response for your cans to know if there are particular ranges that will struggle without an Amp. Most of the time we may not notice it until a particular source/music track section plays that clearly exposes the weakness. If you feel all your media are playing as they should probably your laptop has circuitory that can handle the cans for varying ohm ranges just fine.
But since 24bit/96khz is a primary requirement the E10 is definitely a good choice from the reviews at least. But as they say you will have to audition one for your self to know if its what you like. Example: one set of reviews were saying the soundstage reduced with the E11 amp and another set of people said it is wider. So many variables, types of cans type of source etc etc. But in general FiiO E10s have a good reputation. Only bested by E17 from the FiiiO range. Costlier too, more than double the cost I think. E17 has that nice SPDIF TOSlink option.