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which DAC/AMP will have the better audio quality

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 

hi, i currently have a AD700, and have a HD 598 on the way. both of these headphones don't necessarily need amp, except for 598 might benefit some during heavy bass punch. 

 

but since i've been thinking of either getting a Fiio E17, or a Asus Xonar Essence STX. both are about the same price on amazon currently. i know they're not apple to apple. but since i eventually will probably end up getting both, just the matter of which one to get first. 

 

i want to know which of the two will have the better audio quality. what kind of DAC/AMP do both of these hardware use. i know that the STX uses Burr Brown DAC, but that's about all i know. 

 

like i said i will probably end up getting both in the long run, but if one is better sound quality, then i might get that first. 

post #2 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by howzz1854 View Post

Hi, i currently have a AD700, and have a HD 598 on the way. both of these headphones don't necessarily need amp, except for 598 might benefit some during heavy bass punch. 

But since i've been thinking of either getting a Fiio E17, or a Asus Xonar Essence STX. both are about the same price on amazon currently. i know they're not apple to apple. but since i eventually will probably end up getting both, just the matter of which one to get first. 

I want to know which of the two will have the better audio quality. what kind of DAC/AMP do both of these hardware use. i know that the STX uses Burr Brown DAC, but that's about all i know. 

Like i said i will probably end up getting both in the long run, but if one is better sound quality, then i might get that first. 

I would say to cancel the ATH-AD700 and just get the Senn HD598. I found the ATH-AD700 light bass a turn off and never use my ATH-AD700 anymore, prefer my Senn HD558.

If you have not need for surround sound for movies or gaming, only doing music, then cancel the Essence STX and just use the Fiio E17.

The E17 comes with a very low impedance (resistance, measured in Ohms), which is a plus for sound quality for lower Ohm headphones

If you were getting headphone that were somewhere like a 150-Ohms or high, then the Essence STX would be a better choice.

post #3 of 14

From what I can see, the freq response of the HD598 puts it in a bass-neutral kinda territory. There's not much deep bass, and I don't think you can get that by amping.

However, I do think it will sound better amped than un-apmed.

 

The Essence STX won't do surround or anything, and with an output impedance of 10.7 Ohms, you want headphones > 100 Ohms to work well.

So if you're choosing between only these two, the E17 would be better.

post #4 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by proton007 View Post

From what I can see, the freq response of the HD598 puts it in a bass-neutral kinda territory. There's not much deep bass, and I don't think you can get that by amping.

However, I do think it will sound better amped than un-apmed.

 

The Essence STX won't do surround or anything, and with an output impedance of 10.7 Ohms, you want headphones > 100 Ohms to work well.

So if you're choosing between only these two, the E17 would be better.

When did the Essence STX lose Dolby Headphone surround sound?

post #5 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by PurpleAngel View Post

When did the Essence STX lose Dolby Headphone surround sound?

 

I'm talking about surround as in 'true' surround like multi channel / 5.1 outputs, the kind you'll normally use with home theater systems.

Headphone surround is just a DSP effect.

post #6 of 14
Thread Starter 

actually the STX has CMI8788 DDLive, so i can output that to my mixamp for multi channel gaming. but my thread was mainly about its analogue output quality DAC/AMP VS the E17's DAC/AMP

post #7 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by howzz1854 View Post

actually the STX has CMI8788 DDLive, so i can output that to my mixamp for multi channel gaming. but my thread was mainly about its analogue output quality DAC/AMP VS the E17's DAC/AMP

 

Oh, ok, I didn't know  that.

Analog wise, I'd say the STX is better, but as I said, output impedance is an issue.

post #8 of 14
Thread Starter 

does anyone know what specifically the DAC and AMP is in the E17?

post #9 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by howzz1854 View Post

Does anyone know what specifically the DAC and AMP is in the E17?

The E17's DAC is the WM8740.

Amp. wise you can use 250-Ohm headphones decently. Fiio rates it 16-Ohm to 300-Ohm.

post #10 of 14
Thread Starter 

what kind of OP AMP does the e17 have do you know?

 

reason is HD 598 spikes to 250ohm according to Headroom at around 125hz.

post #11 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by howzz1854 View Post

What kind of OP AMP does the e17 have do you know?

 

Reason is HD598 spikes to 250-Ohm according to Headroom at around 125hz.

So far have not found out what op-amp is used, but here is a thread to ask about anything to do with the E17.

http://www.head-fi.org/t/587912/fiio-e17-alpen-first-impression-final-thought.

post #12 of 14
Thread Starter 

Thanks for all your help :)

post #13 of 14
Thread Starter 

just got the E17!.. 

 

question, does the gain setting 0db, 6db, 12db have anything to do with output impedance? ie. do i need to set 12db when using a 300ohm headphone and 0db for a 32ohm headphone? or does gain setting have no corelation to the impedance of output at all. basically my HD598 although is rated at 50ohm, it peaks to 250ohm at 100hz, so i am just wondering if it's better to set it to 12db gain or 0db gain. 

post #14 of 14
Thread Starter 

btw, i found out the opamp(s) used in e17. it uses two opamps, one for power, one for preamp

 

AD8692+AD8397

 

here's the official specs:

Specifications:-

  • Wolfson WM8740 DAC, WM8804 SPDIF Receiver, ADI AD8692+AD8397 Amp.
  • TE7000 USB receiver, 96K/24bit support for Windows XP/2000/Vista/7 and Mac OS.
  • Output power: >250mW (16Ω Loaded ); >20mW (300Ω Loaded).
  • Signal to noise ratio: ≥109dB(A weight) Amp.
  • Signal to noise ratio: ≥104dB(A weight)DAC.
  • Distortion: < 0.001% (10mW) Amp.
  • Distortion: < 0.007% (10mW) DAC.
  • Frequency response: 10Hz~100KHz Amp; 10Hz~20KHz DAC.
  • Headphone impedance range: 16ohms ~ 300ohms.
  • Built-in rechargeable 1500 mAH Li-ion battery.
  • Charge Time: approx 3.5 Hours.
  • Run time: approx 15 Hours.
  • Dimensions: 96 x 55 x 15.2mm.
  • Weight: 112g.

Edited by howzz1854 - 10/12/12 at 2:51pm
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