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New Amp for Sennheiser HD598's for <250$

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 

I just recently got myself a pair of HD598's and after burning them in I'm very satisfied with the sound. Right now i usually just hook them up to my Fiio e11 amp and my ipod. I was looking at getting a full sized desktop amp as it's a pain always charging the e11 and i never really use it portably, I mainly got it for its price as I needed a starter amp for the HD598's. I have been looking at a Schiit Asgard amp or a Matrix M-stage amp as these seem to be the best options in my price range. I'm looking for any opinions on amps in this price range on these factors:

1. How much of an improvement is it from the e11? Is the difference day and night?

2. Any deals or great price/performance amps would be great as im 17 years old working on minimum wage while in high school, so my budget is pretty slim.

3. I plan on getting a Asus stx or one of the new z series Creative cards for my computer to use as a DAC. Not sure if the external DAC's are better or not I haven't researched this aspect very much yet, but i would also need to be able to plug my Klipsch pro media 2.1 speakers into them and have it connect to my computer (games and movies are also a factor for the DAC).

 

Any opinions or suggestions would be great! If you need any additional information to make your assumptions feel free to ask.


Edited by CoolcatTC - 10/15/12 at 6:37pm
post #2 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by CoolcatTC View Post

I just recently got myself a pair of HD598's and after burning them in I'm very satisfied with the sound. Right now i usually just hook them up to my Fiio e11 amp and my iPod. I was looking at getting a full sized desktop amp as it's a pain always charging the e11 and i never really use it portably, I mainly got it for its price as I needed a starter amp for the HD598's. I have been looking at a Schiit Asgard amp or a Matrix M-stage amp as these seem to be the best options in my price range. I'm looking for any opinions on amps in this price range on these factors:

1. How much of an improvement is it from the e11? Is the difference day and night?

2. Any deals or great price/performance amps would be great as im 17 years old working on minimum wage while in high school, so my budget is pretty slim.

3. I plan on getting a Asus stx or one of the new z series Creative cards for my computer to use as a DAC. Not sure if the external DAC's are better or not I haven't researched this aspect very much yet, but i would also need to be able to plug my Klipsch pro media 2.1 speakers into them and have it connect to my computer (games and movies are also a factor for the DAC).

For $15, off eBay, you can get 2 spare batteries (BL-5B) and a simple AC powered battery wall charger.

I think the Fiio E11 portable headphone amplifier is a sweet sounding amplifier and the HD598 are fairly easy to drive.

 

Asus Xonar DX (PCI-E) sound card, comes with the same audio processor (CMI8788) as the Essence STX or ST.

DX comes with most of the surround sound features as the STX & ST, the Xonar DX's comes with the CS4398 DAC chip.

Buy-dot-com is selling it for $44.14, plus $8.35 shipping

http://www.buy.com/prod/asus-xonar-dx-7-1-channels-pci-express-sound-card/207955060.html?listingId=246194361

 

So, for around $68, you can game, watch movies and listen to nice audio music.

 

What make and model is your motherboard?

post #3 of 9
Thread Starter 

I have a Asus Formula IV mobo, it says it comes with creative x-fi on board, but its not that great. It has tons of expansion slots however so either a pci or pci-e is fine. I built my computer myself so installing it would'nt be a big deal.

Are their really any notary advantages to a more expensive DAC or amp then the ones you mentioned?

post #4 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by CoolcatTC View Post

I have a Asus Formula IV mobo, it says it comes with creative x-fi on board, but its not that great. It has tons of expansion slots however so either a pci or pci-e is fine. I built my computer myself so installing it would'nt be a big deal.

Are their really any notary advantages to a more expensive DAC or amp then the ones you mentioned?

Which exact model Asus Formula IV motherboard do you have (there at at least 8 models)?

 

As you were talking about being having a "slim budget", I tried to come up with something fairly decent for the price.

You really should be spending more for headphones then you do for a DAC/amp.

So while the Schiit & Matrix-M might be great stuff, you should be able to spend a lot less for quality you could be happy with.

The HD598 (50-Ohm) headphones are fairly easy to drive, so they can work well with little amplification.

The Xonar DX & D1 sound cards have about the best DAC chip you can get, for a sound card, for the price range.

 

Another option is the SMSL SD-793II external DAC/Amp, comes with S/PDIF (optical & coaxial) digital input,

a PCM1973 DAC chip and a headphone amplifier and RCA line-out and only costs $60.

So you can have headphones and speakers hooked up to it at the same time.

And you should be able to your motherboard's built in sound features, thru the S/PDIF output.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/110939972633?ssPageName=STRK:MEWAX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1423.l2649

post #5 of 9
Thread Starter 

Alright thank you I like the look of the SMSL SD-793II. one last question however, is their anywhere i could get a cable that changes the R out and L out into a Front speaker out as I am having trouble tracking one down. Also the Asus formula IV is a Crosshair model

post #6 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by CoolcatTC View Post

Alright thank you I like the look of the SMSL SD-793II. one last question however, is their anywhere i could get a cable that changes the R out and L out into a Front speaker out as I am having trouble tracking one down. Also the Asus formula IV is a Crosshair model

I believe this is the cable your talking about, 3.5mm female to RCA.

http://www.monoprice.com/products/product.asp?c_id=102&cp_id=10218&cs_id=1021815&p_id=5612&seq=1&format=2

 

I like buying stuff from China because of the low cost and good value,

If it breaks, I would never want to pay for shipping all the way to China and have several weeks downtime for any warranty stuff.

I would toss the broken one and just buy new.

post #7 of 9
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by PurpleAngel View Post

I believe this is the cable your talking about, 3.5mm female to RCA.

http://www.monoprice.com/products/product.asp?c_id=102&cp_id=10218&cs_id=1021815&p_id=5612&seq=1&format=2

 

I like buying stuff from China because of the low cost and good value,

If it breaks, I would never want to pay for shipping all the way to China and have several weeks downtime for any warranty stuff.

I would toss the broken one and just buy new.

That's exactly what I needed! Thanks man you've been a great help.

post #8 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by CoolcatTC View Post

I just recently got myself a pair of HD598's and after burning them in I'm very satisfied with the sound. Right now i usually just hook them up to my Fiio e11 amp and my ipod. I was looking at getting a full sized desktop amp as it's a pain always charging the e11 and i never really use it portably, I mainly got it for its price as I needed a starter amp for the HD598's. I have been looking at a Schiit Asgard amp or a Matrix M-stage amp as these seem to be the best options in my price range. I'm looking for any opinions on amps in this price range on these factors:

1. How much of an improvement is it from the e11? Is the difference day and night?

2. Any deals or great price/performance amps would be great as im 17 years old working on minimum wage while in high school, so my budget is pretty slim.

3. I plan on getting a Asus stx or one of the new z series Creative cards for my computer to use as a DAC. Not sure if the external DAC's are better or not I haven't researched this aspect very much yet, but i would also need to be able to plug my Klipsch pro media 2.1 speakers into them and have it connect to my computer (games and movies are also a factor for the DAC).

 

Any opinions or suggestions would be great! If you need any additional information to make your assumptions feel free to ask.

If you can afford a DAC, get it. As for the amp, no don't expect a "day and night" improvement. Improvements of such scales are all expectation bias, no matter how good an amp is. E11 is a nice amp but I got an E17 mainly because it's more flexible and comes with a DAC. But I digress... if you're getting minimum wage then you should be using that money more wisely. 

post #9 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by CoolcatTC View Post

I just recently got myself a pair of HD598's and after burning them in I'm very satisfied with the sound. Right now i usually just hook them up to my Fiio e11 amp and my ipod. I was looking at getting a full sized desktop amp as it's a pain always charging the e11 and i never really use it portably, I mainly got it for its price as I needed a starter amp for the HD598's. I have been looking at a Schiit Asgard amp or a Matrix M-stage amp as these seem to be the best options in my price range. I'm looking for any opinions on amps in this price range on these factors:

1. How much of an improvement is it from the e11? Is the difference day and night?

2. Any deals or great price/performance amps would be great as im 17 years old working on minimum wage while in high school, so my budget is pretty slim.

3. I plan on getting a Asus stx or one of the new z series Creative cards for my computer to use as a DAC. Not sure if the external DAC's are better or not I haven't researched this aspect very much yet, but i would also need to be able to plug my Klipsch pro media 2.1 speakers into them and have it connect to my computer (games and movies are also a factor for the DAC).

 

Any opinions or suggestions would be great! If you need any additional information to make your assumptions feel free to ask.


an external dac would be better and benalli ha540 is a phenomenal tube amp for 224 with these. oh and i also run ipod to e11 to 598's till my benalli comes and yeah its a huge difference

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