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Asus Essence One or O2/ODAC Combo for HD650

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 

ive heard alot of great reviews on asus essence one,cheap and offers great audio quality, has lots of inputs for different sources (PC,DVD,PS3,XBOX etc.) i can link the asus essence one with my Z5500 Logitech Speakers too. Waiting for the Muses Edition

 

ive heard o2/odac sounded very boring when paired with HD650

 

im still thinking about BottleHead Crack/Schiit Bifrost Combo     -----OR------    Asgard/Bifrost Combo    , any ideas audiophiles?

 

 

 

 

thanks guys for the advice

post #2 of 21

Any way you can't just get an internal soundcard? There are some compelling options @ about 200 bucks. Some boast dedicated headphone amplification also. The Asus Xonar STX tests very well and has gain settings to boost performance with any headphone impedance, for example.

 

If an internal soundcard weren't an option, I would recommend the O2/ODAC combo for about $300 bucks. The amp is pretty awesome. The Schiit amps would be a little more powerful, but not necessarily a world apart. I suspect those that think the HD 650s are "boring" with that setup forget that 650s are also fairly boring anyway, from what I hear and from what I know about Sennheiser.

 

Are those the headphones you will be using?


Edited by MrMateoHead - 11/6/12 at 7:00pm
post #3 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Couch Potato View Post

ive heard alot of great reviews on Asus essence one,cheap and offers great audio quality, has lots of inputs for different sources (PC,DVD,PS3,XBOX etc.) i can link the Asus essence one with my Z5500 Logitech Speakers too. Waiting for the Muses Edition

 

I've heard O2/ODAC sounded very boring when paired with HD650

 

I"m still thinking about BottleHead Crack/Schiit Bifrost Combo     -----OR------    Asgard/Bifrost Combo    , any ideas audiophiles?

I would say to get the Asus Xonar DX or D1 sound card, it comes with a good DAC chip (CS4398) and has analog 5.1 speaker output.

Using Xonar's 5.1 analog will allow you to use the Xonar DX/D1 DAC chip with the Z-5500.

Optical or coaxial makes you use the Z5500 internal DAC chip

The CS4398 DAC chip should be a better DAC then whatever DAC is in the Z5500.

 

Then get an external DAC/head amp. that can connect optically with the Xonar DX/D1 optical output.

Like the NFB-12.1 DAC/Amp.

 

Total around $330.


Edited by PurpleAngel - 11/6/12 at 9:21pm
post #4 of 21

Is your budget about $500 bucks?

post #5 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by MrMateoHead View Post

I would recommend the O2/ODAC combo for about $300 bucks. The amp is pretty awesome...
...I suspect those that think the HD 650s are "boring" with that setup forget that 650s are also fairly boring anyway, from what I hear and from what I know about Sennheiser.
They are certainly not boring on Crack. Have you heard the 650s on the O2?
Edited by Draygonn - 11/6/12 at 11:04pm
post #6 of 21
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by PurpleAngel View Post

Then get an external DAC/head amp. that can connect optically with the Xonar DX/D1 optical output.

Like the NFB-12.1 DAC/Amp.

 

Total around $330.

Why would i need to get an external DAC/Head Amp after * EVEN IF * i installed asus xonar dx into my PC? wouldnt the external DAC/Headamp bypass the asus xonar dx?

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by PurpleAngel View Post

I would say to get the Asus Xonar DX or D1 sound card, it comes with a good DAC chip (CS4398) and has analog 5.1 speaker output.

Using Xonar's 5.1 analog will allow you to use the Xonar DX/D1 DAC chip with the Z-5500.

Optical or coaxial makes you use the Z5500 internal DAC chip

The CS4398 DAC chip should be a better DAC then whatever DAC is in the Z5500.

first i dont have a desktop pc, using laptop as a source so asus xonar dx wont be of an option to me.

 

this other part i dont understand, i always use optical link from my laptop to z5500 connection, does that mean ill be using the DAC inside of Z5500?

lets say IF i buy the essence one and i link it optically to my Z5500 will it use the DAC inside of Z5500 instead of essence one?

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by MrMateoHead View Post

Any way you can't just get an internal soundcard? There are some compelling options @ about 200 bucks. Some boast dedicated headphone amplification also. The Asus Xonar STX tests very well and has gain settings to boost performance with any headphone impedance, for example.

 

If an internal soundcard weren't an option, I would recommend the O2/ODAC combo for about $300 bucks. The amp is pretty awesome. The Schiit amps would be a little more powerful, but not necessarily a world apart. I suspect those that think the HD 650s are "boring" with that setup forget that 650s are also fairly boring anyway, from what I hear and from what I know about Sennheiser.

 

Are those the headphones you will be using?

well im using a laptop so i cant an internal soundcard, since ill be linking it up to my 5.1 z5500 speakers, the o2/odac doesnt provide the connections for optical

post #7 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Couch Potato View Post

Why would i need to get an external DAC/Head Amp after * EVEN IF * i installed asus xonar dx into my PC? wouldnt the external DAC/Headamp bypass the asus xonar dx?

 

First I don't have a desktop PC, using laptop as a source so Asus Xonar DX wont be of an option to me.

 

This other part I don't understand, i always use optical link from my laptop to z5500 connection, does that mean ill be using the DAC inside of Z5500?

lets say IF i buy the essence one and i link it optically to my Z5500 will it use the DAC inside of Z5500 instead of essence one?

 

well I'm using a laptop so I can't an internal sound card, since ill be linking it up to my 5.1 z5500 speakers, the O2/ODAC doesn't provide the connections for optical

If you use an S/PDIF (optical or coaxial) connection to the Z-5500, you will always use the DAC that is built into the Z-5500,

no matter what other nice DAC your using in another device, like the great DAC in the Essence One.

 

You could use a stereo 2-channel connection (mini-jack/RCA analog connection) from the Essence One to the Z5500 and get stereo or fake surround sound.

But no true 5.1 surround sound, like for movies or gaming.

Otherwise right now I can't see anyway for you to improve the audio quality for your Z5500 with your current setup.

So you can just keep using optical (for 5.1) like you do now or maybe sell off the Z5500 and get a 2.0 or 2.1 speaker setup.

post #8 of 21

The Asus Xonar Essence ST/STX (internal) measures really nice, but its output impedance is arond ~10ohms (not sure where the essence one fits in here). So unless you have about 80ohm or greater impedance headphones you might be better with an external solution such as the O2 which is known to measure about .5ohm output impedance.

IMO amplifier output impedance is commonly overlooked when selecting amps and headphones which can also lead to talks about "synergy" and stuff. Having a well designed amp with a nice low output impedance will provide a sound closer to the source, moreso when using low impedance headphones.

post #9 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Docks View Post

The Asus Xonar Essence ST/STX (internal) measures really nice, but its output impedance is arond ~10ohms (not sure where the essence one fits in here). So unless you have about 80ohm or greater impedance headphones you might be better with an external solution such as the O2 which is known to measure about .5ohm output impedance.

IMO amplifier output impedance is commonly overlooked when selecting amps and headphones which can also lead to talks about "synergy" and stuff. Having a well designed amp with a nice low output impedance will provide a sound closer to the source, moreso when using low impedance headphones.

Couch Potato is using a laptop.

post #10 of 21
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by PurpleAngel View Post

If you use an S/PDIF (optical or coaxial) connection to the Z-5500, you will always use the DAC that is built into the Z-5500,

no matter what other nice DAC your using in another device, like the great DAC in the Essence One.

 

You could use a stereo 2-channel connection (mini-jack/RCA analog connection) from the Essence One to the Z5500 and get stereo or fake surround sound.

But no true 5.1 surround sound, like for movies or gaming.

Otherwise right now I can't see anyway for you to improve the audio quality for your Z5500 with your current setup.

So you can just keep using optical (for 5.1) like you do now or maybe sell off the Z5500 and get a 2.0 or 2.1 speaker setup.

after reading your explanation, now i dont see why i should buy essence one if i cant use the DAC inside with the Z5500 speaker, thought it would improve the SQ but clearly not.

 

i got something i dont understand

on this website http://ca.asus.com/en/Multimedia/Audio_Cards/Xonar_Essence_One/

 

"Hi-Fi Audio through the world's first 8X symmetrical unsampling" what does this mean?

"extremely audio Clarity with 120 dB SNR USB DAC" so this is better?

 

finally if i go with Asgard/Bifrost set up

 

 

700

 

700

The first Picture is Asgard the amp, the second picture is the bifrost dac

 

ok im new to this so please bear with me T.T

i connect the both RCA mini Jack together using two short cables (red to red, white to white) from Amp to Dac

i realised they both have AC adapters.. do i need to plug them Both??

on the Dac picture what is the middle left plug do?

 

and there is a USB port and S/PDIF on the DAC, which one do i use to plug into my PC Laptop? which do u recommend?

 

thanks

post #11 of 21
Thread Starter 

"This high end DAC is based on the TE7022L UAC1 engine ES9023 24 bit DAC chip. It supports 16 bit and 24 bit at sample rates of 44.1kHz, 48kHz and 96kHz" 

 

what does 16 bit and 24bit at rates of 44.1khz etc.  Mean?


Edited by Couch Potato - 11/7/12 at 2:41pm
post #12 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Couch Potato View Post

after reading your explanation, now i dont see why i should buy essence one if i cant use the DAC inside with the Z5500 speaker, thought it would improve the SQ but clearly not.

 

i got something i dont understand

on this website http://ca.asus.com/en/Multimedia/Audio_Cards/Xonar_Essence_One/

 

"Hi-Fi Audio through the world's first 8X symmetrical unsampling" what does this mean?

"extremely audio Clarity with 120 dB SNR USB DAC" so this is better?

 

finally if i go with Asgard/Bifrost set up

 

 

700

 

700

The first Picture is Asgard the amp, the second picture is the Bifrost DAC

 

Ok I'm new to this so please bear with me T.T

i connect the both RCA mini Jack together using two short cables (red to red, white to white) from Amp to DAC

i realized they both have AC adapters.. do i need to plug them Both??

on the Dac picture what is the middle left plug do?

and there is a USB port and S/PDIF on the DAC, which one do i use to plug into my PC Laptop? which do u recommend?

Each unit uses it's own power connection, so you do have to have both AC adapters plugged into a wall socket (or surge protector).

The Bifrost DAC comes with three digital inputs, S/PDIF (optical & coaxial) and USB, the three connectors in a triangle.

I've heard Schiit recommends coaxial>optical>USB, I know your laptop comes with USB and there is a slim chance it has optical or coaxial.

post #13 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by PurpleAngel View Post

Couch Potato is using a laptop.

Yes he does.
This was used to provide general awareness of the essence and to look further into the essence ones output impedance if considering it.
Edited by Docks - 11/9/12 at 4:25pm
post #14 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Couch Potato View Post

"This high end DAC is based on the TE7022L UAC1 engine ES9023 24 bit DAC chip. It supports 16 bit and 24 bit at sample rates of 44.1kHz, 48kHz and 96kHz" 

 

what does 16 bit and 24bit at rates of 44.1khz etc.  Mean?

24-bit is better to use then 16-Bit, that's all i know.

For music, 24-bit/44.1KHz seems to be the best setting, or 24-Bit/48KHz if 44.1KHz has problems.

I think Blu-ray audio can take advantage of high then 44.1KHZ & 48KHz, I usually leave my sound card at 24-Bit/96KHz.


Edited by PurpleAngel - 11/7/12 at 4:26pm
post #15 of 21

If all you are doing is trying to have a headphone hook up available, without removing your Z5500 from the chain, I don't know why you wouldn't just get an AMP/DAC with a USB port and plug it in for headphone use, and then unplug it and switch to your Z5500s when you were in the mood for those. The headphones don't make use of 5.1 sound (and EAX is determined by your soundcard). With USB, most DACs are limited to 24-bit 96 khz which is DVD quality and then some. The coax can take you to 24-bit 196 khz, but this doesn't matter if you aren't listening to Blu-Rays. If you are just jamming out to your headphones, your music is most likely from a 16-bit, 44.1 khz source anyway, so the added resolution from digital connections is not necessarily a big plus.

 

If you think the O2 or O2+DAC or ODAC would be awful with your phones, I would probably stick to a Fiio E17, which would be my second choice probably.

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