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Will an amp make my HD 598 sound better?

post #1 of 36
Thread Starter 

I am currently using on-board audio on a modern motherboard, and I'm wondering if I should get an amp (or a DAC/amp like the Fiio E10) to make my music sound better. Would an amp (exclude the idea with a DAC) improve the strengths of these headphones and make my music sound a bit better?

post #2 of 36

On board sound cards are awful even if you say your mother board is "modern".

I had Sennheiser HD595 and they sounded much much much better from my dedicated sc Asus xonar d2x than from my onboard sc (motherboard Asus P8P67).

Any dac+amp will give you improvements.

Getting only an amp wont give you any benefits because the source is crap.

post #3 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sycho View Post

I am currently using on-board audio on a modern motherboard, and I'm wondering if I should get an amp (or a DAC/amp like the Fiio E10) to make my music sound better. Would an amp (exclude the idea with a DAC) improve the strengths of these headphones and make my music sound a bit better?

The Fiio E10 DAC should be better then whatever is built into the motherboard

And the E10's headphone amplifier should come with a much lower impedance (resistance, measured in Ohms), then the motherboard's line-out/headphone jack.

The HD598 50-Ohm headphones should benefit sound quality wise, from the E10's low impedance.


Edited by PurpleAngel - 11/3/12 at 9:24am
post #4 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by soberspine View Post

On board sound cards are awful even if you say your mother board is "modern".

 

Q: In what way can you characterize every onboard sound card as awful?

A: You can't.

post #5 of 36

Can you please tell me a mb with a great onboard sound card?

 

From what I know best onboard sound card that you can get with a mb is creative, I doubt Sycho has one, even so a dedicated dac+amp made for music will sound better than any on board sc IMO.

If you are satisfied with your onboard sound card that is great.

post #6 of 36
Thread Starter 

I didn't mean that by modern motherboard it would have a decent DAC, just more amplification. Anyways, thanks guys. I'm probably going to upgrade to a Fiio E10 and attach my AV40s on the back.

post #7 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sycho View Post

I didn't mean that by modern motherboard it would have a decent DAC, just more amplification. Anyways, thanks guys. I'm probably going to upgrade to a Fiio E10 and attach my AV40s on the back.

Even less so.  More amplification is less likely than a decent DAC on a motherboard.

post #8 of 36

Onboard dac is fine IMO, unless you get bad hiss. In my case, a cheap xonar DG worked fine as a dac and removed that hiss.

 

The HD598 benefits very well from an amp. I've had it coupled with various amps including some integrated ones and they sound pretty good with most anything.

post #9 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nirvana Woman View Post

Onboard dac is fine IMO, unless you get bad hiss.

 

Audible hiss is a sign of a defective design or failing circuitry.

post #10 of 36

In my view, many of the responses are putting the cart before the horse.

 

 

Because first, I'd ask the OP - to what kind of music files are you listening?

 

If they're 192kb, forget the amp.  It won't make an audible difference,

because the source material isn't good enough.

 

You'll want at least 320K.  FLAC, (or some other lossless format)

is preferable.

 

It that's the source material, then the OP can get into all of the

secondary issues.

post #11 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by zazex View Post

[..]

 

If they're 192kb, forget the amp.  It won't make an audible difference,

because the source material isn't good enough.

 

 

 

Please don't state arbitrarily that it won't make a difference. In my experience it does, and quite significant at that.

Your personal experience may be different and I respect that.

post #12 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by PleasantSounds View Post

 

Please don't state arbitrarily that it won't make a difference. In my experience it does, and quite significant at that.

Your personal experience may be different and I respect that.

 

In your experience - what, specifically, makes a difference?

I'm not clear on your reference; you're writing "it".

 

Also, I didn't intend to state anything "arbitrarily".

post #13 of 36

Any on-board analog sound output will be absolutely terrible compared to even the most basic sound card.  Beyond that, an external DAC (via USB or S/PDIF) will be even one step better than a sound card.  The reason being is that the motherboard have the most basic of sound cards (even if it does 7.1), and although sound cards are better, you are still dealing with EMI, and multiple issues surrounding location and interference, and power supply quality.  

 

So the order of best sound for PC audio goes as follows:

 

Basic - Onboard

Good / Very Good / Great - Soundcard

Best - External DAC

 

Some basic DAC's may only match the power of a good sound card, but a good external DAC will always outperform a sound card.

 

If you want to drive your headphones, get either a decent sound card (such as the Xonar STX), or a good external DAC.  I'm biased towards the Xonar Essence One, which doubles as both an external DAC and Amplifier.  It is an investment to spend +500 for it, so if you are looking for a good option that is not so expensive, Fiio makes a good line, of which I like the E17 that does both DAC and amplification.


Edited by mojorific - 11/5/12 at 10:30am
post #14 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by zazex View Post

 

In your experience - what, specifically, makes a difference?

I'm not clear on your reference; you're writing "it".

 

Also, I didn't intend to state anything "arbitrarily".

 

I thought that quoting the relevant part of the message should have done the trick, but ok - let's demistify "it":

 

I have experienced significant sound quality improvements playing 192 kb mp3 files through external DAC/amp, as compared to the onboard sound. If you want more details, the improvements included:

- tighter and fuller sounding bass

- complete absence of background noise

- better channel separation and improved soundstage

 

This by no means is a recommendation to settle for 192 kb mp3 files - just a statement that in my experience an external DAC/amp does audibly improve sound quality even with low quality sources.

post #15 of 36
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by zazex View Post

In my view, many of the responses are putting the cart before the horse.


Because first, I'd ask the OP - to what kind of music files are you listening?

If they're 192kb, forget the amp.  It won't make an audible difference,
because the source material isn't good enough.

You'll want at least 320K.  FLAC, (or some other lossless format)
is preferable.

It that's the source material, then the OP can get into all of the
secondary issues.

From my experience, sample rate means much more than the bit rates. I have anywhere from 192 to 320 KBPS, and I find it extremely difficult to find the difference between a FLAC and a well-converted 192 KBPS MP3 with a decent sample rate. I have never touched anything above 48kHz however. I notice this when I used to have a few 128 KBPS, and although most of the 128s sounded much worse than the nicer 192+ KBPS, some were clear and good sounding (scaling at or above 44.1kHz). I have used the YouTube to MP3 converters, and have found that lower quality music tend to have lower sampling rates even with the same bit rate. I get great sound listening to YouTube videos, and I get the exact same when using a converter assuming it was a clean conversion and not a botched one that gives me less than 44.1kHz sampling rate. Unless converting something to FLAC somehow increases the sampling rate and the whole music experience by somehow decompressing the music to a whole new level (which would be awesome), I don't see the point of having FLAC or 320 KBPS.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mojorific View Post

So the order of best sound for PC audio goes as follows:

Basic - Onboard
Good / Very Good / Great - Soundcard
Best - External DAC

From what I have heard around here, that is not true, though it's something I'd like to believe. If anyone can confirm this, then I will have restored my faith in believing in external DACs like the FiiO E10 is much better than something like the Xonar DGX or even the Essence STX.
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