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Do I need an amp? Help me decide, please.

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 

Hey everyone. For the past several years Ive been satisfied with a pretty bare setup on my computer/s at home. As Ive started to dive into audio options more an more. Here are my current setups:

 

Mobile:

Source: iPod Classic

Amp/Dac: Fiio E17 w/ L9 LOD

IEMs: Yamaha EPH-100 / VSonic GR-07

 

Home:

Source: Custom desktop w/ onboard audio / Apple iMac

Amp/Dac: Denon AVR-1312

Cans: Ultrasone Pro 900

Speakers: Energy RC-10

 

The mobile options Im not worried about and included just for the heck of it. At home, I am limited to plugging my cans into onboard audio on my iMac (unless I use a TOS link cable and switch the A/V to the iMac from desktop) or straight into the Denon A/V Receiver. I do a fair amount of gaming, but its not my priority. I generally listen to music with my speakers but as with many people, thats not always an option when people are sleeping or you just want some isolation. 

 

Types of music vary: classic rock, techno, classical, alternative, acoustic, etc. For my desktop, I was thinking about picking up a 

Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi Titanium HD card to bypass the onboard audio, but how much of a difference will I really see? My Denon setup needs to stay there so I can enjoy my speakers, but overall I want to take steps to improve the quality when listening to my cans.

 

Preferably I would be looking for options that would work on both the desktop and iMac, but its not a deal-breaker. If I had to choose one as the source I would say that would depend on what the options are (obviously I cant install the above sound card on the iMac, but I know there are DACs and USB cards available). 

 

My budget would be as high as $500, but I would like to keep it more in the $350 range if possible. Thoughts? 

post #2 of 7
Thread Starter 

Bump???

post #3 of 7
Thread Starter 

No opinions after 75 views???

 

Should I look at something like Schiit or Littledot? If so, which combo is recommended? These seem to be mentioned quite often on here. Should I look at tubes or SS?

post #4 of 7
Quote:
Originally Posted by Y2HBK View Post

No opinions after 75 views???

 

Should I look at something like Schiit or Littledot? If so, which combo is recommended? These seem to be mentioned quite often on here. Should I look at tubes or SS?

 

How about the O2+ODAC combination?

post #5 of 7

Since you have the e17, why not use that as a dac/amp connected to your computer when sitting at home?

 

Or just use the receiver as headphone amp. That's more than adequate for most headphones. 

post #6 of 7
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by HamilcarBarca View Post

 

How about the O2+ODAC combination?

 

Thanks for the input. I'll take a look and do some more research on these. 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Armaegis View Post

Since you have the e17, why not use that as a dac/amp connected to your computer when sitting at home?

 

Or just use the receiver as headphone amp. That's more than adequate for most headphones. 

 

A couple of reasons.

 

1) My AVR only has 1 optical jack, so if I want to switch between the PC and iMac I'm constantly changing cables. The PC is really more of a dedicated gaming machine so the AVR stays connected to it the most. 

2) I keep the e17 strapped to my iPod Classic and take it with me to work and on the go. I'd like to keep it portable and sometimes lock it up at work and forget to bring it home. 

3) I'm looking for options that will inevitably allow me to move into higher tier cans. I'll continue to dream about the HD-800's for now. 

post #7 of 7

In that case, a good sound card with a built in headphone amp and optical output is probably the best solution. It can handle your headfi and gaming needs in one shot. 

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