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Best way to get Dolby Headphone: Xonar DG with FiiO E17 or Xonar Essence ST alone?

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 

Hey guys

 

I have a set of Beyer DT770s 80Ohm.

 

I recently bought a Creative X-Fi Surround HD USB soundcard. It sounds fantastic BUT the THX TruStudio Surround Pro sucks big time, and when I'm taking a break from music listening to game it is a NO GO. I have heard Dolby Headphone before and this cannot compare. The on-board amp does drive my headphones very well though.

 

So to get Dolby Headphone I've come up with 2 choices:

 

1) Xonar DG optical out to FiiO E17 optical in and connect Headphones to E17 (Note that I WON'T use the E17 as a portable DAC/AMP as my Sennheiser IE80s don't need them and I appreciate carrying less for now :P )

2) Xonar Essence ST alone using it's built in headphone amiplifier

 

My question is:

 

1) Which option should I go for? I'm favouring option 2 as it has the least amount of equipment I need to configure to get the sound I want

2) Which option will be able to drive the headphones better or would they both do it just as well with little noticeable, if any difference?

3) Or if you have another suggestion, what is your option?

 

Thanks guys, appreciate your time taken to help a newbie here. Cheers!

post #2 of 10
Thread Starter 

Bump. Thanks guys

post #3 of 10

Unfortunately the retards at ASUS made dolby headphone only available on the HP jack, but it has more then enough power for the beyers, so just plug them straight in. 

 

Also play a bit with the I/V opamps. - THS4032, LME49990 for neutral and detailed or LME49860 if you want to tame the bass.

post #4 of 10
Thread Starter 

Thanks WiR3D

 

Some people were saying that the resistance in the headphone output is a little high (compared to something like a FiiO E17)...what does that actually mean and how does it affect me?

post #5 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by iztis View Post
Some people were saying that the resistance in the headphone output is a little high (compared to something like a FiiO E17)...what does that actually mean and how does it affect me?

 

It makes the bass of the DT770-80 very slightly more bloated, but it is a small (~0.2 dB) difference that is barely audible at best. With the 250 Ω version, it would be even smaller (in addition to that driver having less bass in the first place), while the 600 Ω one would make the ST clearly preferred because of its much higher output voltage.

You may also consider the Xonar DG (or D1/DX if you do not mind the higher price) with an external amplifier like the O2, but that would be overkill for your headphones, although potentially useful for future ones. A good low cost option would be the Xonar DG with an E11, however, that can only be used on battery power.

If you want to go really cheap, just get the Xonar DG alone. It has probably similar output impedance to the ST (but this is not confirmed yet by measurements), although its DRV601 "headphone amplifier" has more difficulty driving low impedance loads than the TPA6120. Nevertheless, it could be good enough that the more expensive options would only give a minor improvement in practice.


Edited by stv014 - 10/26/12 at 4:56am
post #6 of 10

^^ what he said. 

 

Some headphones are barely affected by impedance mismatches - other like my Denons are quite fairly affected by it. 

and 80 ohms is still 8x more then 10ohms. so your good there. Don't have beyers so can't confidently say what you will experience.

post #7 of 10
Thread Starter 

Thanks stv014 and WiR3D that was very insightful. I learn something new when I come to these forusm everyday.

 

I used to have a Xonar DG, thought it was causing my computer to hang, but on hindsight it was probably the mismatched RAM. I really like the sound and performance of the Xonar DG, especially the Dolby Headphone, when I game, hence I decided to go "all in" (well relatively since I'm still a poor student) and go for the Xonar Essence ST.

 

I'm right to say that the Essence ST should have far superior sound quality to the DG yes?

post #8 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by WiR3D View Post

Unfortunately the retards at ASUS made dolby headphone only available on the HP jack, but it has more then enough power for the beyers, so just plug them straight in. 

 

I hate that so much, but I haven't had any trouble using a good headphone to RCA cord to plug it into my Asgard. Sounds just as good as RCA to RCA when set to very high gain to my ears, but I still use RCA to RCA for peace of mind when only listening to music.

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by iztis View Post

Thanks stv014 and WiR3D that was very insightful. I learn something new when I come to these forusm everyday.

 

I used to have a Xonar DG, thought it was causing my computer to hang, but on hindsight it was probably the mismatched RAM. I really like the sound and performance of the Xonar DG, especially the Dolby Headphone, when I game, hence I decided to go "all in" (well relatively since I'm still a poor student) and go for the Xonar Essence ST.

 

I'm right to say that the Essence ST should have far superior sound quality to the DG yes?

 

Far superior might be a stretch unless you have super sensitive ears. ST is about as good as it gets when it comes to internal soundcards though.


Edited by chewy4 - 10/26/12 at 7:11am
post #9 of 10

Heya,

 

The Xonar DG (PCI) or Xonar ST (PCI-E) would be ideal without over-spending for your goal. Both are more than sufficient to power an 80ohm headphone, both supply Dolby Headphone. Just pick the protocol you need (PCI or PCI-E) based on what's available on your motherboard and what's ideal for placement. You do not need an E17 or anything like that.

 

In the future, if you want to use a different headphone or add external amplification for any reason, simply take a 3.5mm to 2x RCA cable and plug that into the inputs of the amplifier. Good to go. I would simply turn the amplification level down on the soundcard when you do that, and maybe alter output volume to 50% or so. You'll have to play it by ear there to see what sounds best from the amplifier once you're doing that to avoid "double amplification" at a detrimental level. This is where you could add something like a Schiit Asgard, Little Dot MK III, O2, etc, later on. And you would of course maintain dolby headphone that way.

 

Very best,

post #10 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by MalVeauX View Post

 

 

In the future, if you want to use a different headphone or add external amplification for any reason, simply take a 3.5mm to 2x RCA cable and plug that into the inputs of the amplifier. Good to go. I would simply turn the amplification level down on the soundcard when you do that, and maybe alter output volume to 50% or so.

 

Very best,

 No need, the three separate amplification levels are simply setting digital paramaters. It's not altering the power output of the card in any way other other than increasing or decreasing the volume.

 

I personally run it at 100% volume on very high gain. When it's at that level, the volume is actually the same as with RCA to RCA. I think the ST(X) offers a clean enough signal for double amping to be a nonissue. But of course, you can play around with settings to see what sounds best to you.

 

EDIT:(Although I'm not 100% sure if there are any safety issues running the full 7Vrms that it gets when at full volume into the input of another amp, but I know it's perfectly safe on the Asgard).

 

Also, the ST is not PCI-E. The STX is PCI-E but the ST is PCI.


Edited by chewy4 - 10/26/12 at 8:36am
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