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AKG K701 + Asus D2X + FiiO E11

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 

Hello Head-Fiers

 

I got my first "better" headphones - AKG K701 about week ago and I liked them. But I read somewhere that they doesn't sound good without amp and dac, something like "don't even bother listening to these without good amp they will provide maybe 30% of normal quality".

 

So I decided I'll get myself some components to work with and got FiiO E11 , Soundcard Asus D2X and music in FLAC , today even got some 24/96 and 24/192 Vinyl rips.

 

First I tried FiiO E11 and only difference in music I was able to find was loudness ... yes I can get my music loud, but I don't feel like music actually sound better. Also adding bass works, so when I sum it up, I can get it louder and with more bass which is great actualy.

 

Than I installed Asus D2X and was expecting some completely different experience, something like my headphones will come alive etysmile.gif and I'll be like woooow this is amazing. Unfortunately .... kinda nothing changed at all. This should be pretty decent card and it does't change anything ? I am now thinking : "Is there anything wrong with my ears ?". I spend 2 days listening to music and as I already mentioned also 24/192 Beatles - Yesterday, thinking I need some extra high quality stuff not just regular FLACs to feel difference between onboard audio and dedicated Asus D2X, but still nothing, I mean still same "sound quality". I can't hear anything extra or more clear or something.

 

I spend like 30 mins switching between D2X and onboard audio and listening to one song and I couldn't find difference frown.gif

 

Could you guys help me out a little please ? Is there something wrong or these headphones won't provide better sound ?

 

Thanks

post #2 of 10

there is always a difference as no two things can be exactly the same in this world.... but you are right... if there is a difference then it would be negligible for someone trying to find a difference for the first time... just read what differences true audiophiles look for and you will realize that they can be too nitpicky over things that human hearing can hardly pick up... nowadays the onboard audio is getting better and i don't think that a d2x card is that much of an improvement for you to notice.... but an amp really does make a difference... if you look closer then there would be a lot of changes other than just the volume.... the soundstage would get slightly wider... the mids would get clearer and more detailed etc... but it would be slight... i have never listened to these headphones so it might just be the case with these headphone... but i myself notice a mega difference with amps atleast... the most apparent difference is always bass impact though...
 

post #3 of 10

It might have been better to post this in Sound Science, here you will probably just be told that you have bad hearing, or to spend more on an external DAC and a more powerful amplifier, or at best to use your new gear for a longer time to hear the difference. Nevertheless, DAC and amplifier differences tend to be exaggerated by people, so if your computer has good onboard audio (that is often not the case, but it does happen), and the headphone output has enough power to drive your K701's to reasonable levels for you, it is not that surprising that there are only small differences with the Xonar D2X and E11.

post #4 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by h4mm3r 0f th0r View Post

but i myself notice a mega difference with amps atleast... the most apparent difference is always bass impact though...

 

Huge perceived amp differences are often simply the result of failing to match the volume properly. Humans are not good at judging absolute loudness, but at the same time a louder sound is perceived as having more bass (because of this), larger sound stage, more details, and more impact/dynamics; it is just "better" overall, and the threshold for noticing the (fake) quality improvement is lower than for noticing the difference as actual loudness.

post #5 of 10
Thread Starter 

Thx for bringing some light into this :)

 

As you say amp - E11 made a big difference for me , bass got better for sure, but when switching E11&Headphones between onboard and D2X I can't hear anything extra. I was expecting that DAC on D2X will make some difference but guess it doesn't. Will try finding differences for few more days and than sell D2X probably beyersmile.png .

 

As for soundstage, these headphones got very wide soundstage even without amp so I guess that's why I can't notice this.

post #6 of 10
Thread Starter 

"or at best to use your new gear for a longer time to hear the difference" - Sound like a good idea.

 

As for onboard audio it's - http://www.asus.com/Motherboards/Intel_Socket_1155/Maximus_IV_ExtremeZ/ so - Realtek® ALC 889 8-Channel High Definition Audio CODEC

 

Edit:

 

Guess I got answer to my question here -> http://www.realtek.com.tw/products/productsView.aspx?Langid=1&PFid=28&Level=5&Conn=4&ProdID=173

 

 

  • Hardware Features
  • High performance DACs with 108dB signal-to-noise ratio (A-weighting)
  • High performance ADCs with 104dB signal-to-noise ratio (A-weighting).
  • Meets Microsoft WLP3.10 and future WLP audio requirements
  • Ten DAC channels support 16/20/24-bit PCM format for 7.1 sound playback, plus 2 channels of concurrent independent stereo sound output (multiple streaming) through the front panel output
  • Three stereo ADCs support 16/20/24-bit PCM format, multiple stereo recording
  • All DACs supports 44.1k/48k/88.2k/96k/176.4k/192kHz sample rate
  • All ADCs supports 44.1k/48k/88.2k/96k/176.4k/192kHz sample rate
  • Primary 16/20/24-bit SPDIF-OUT supports 32k/44.1k/48k/88.2k/96k/192kHz sample rate
  • Secondary 16/20/24-bit SPDIF-OUT supports 32k/44.1k/48k/88.2k/96k/192kHz sample rate
  • 16/20/24-bit SPDIF-IN supports 32k/44.1k/48k/96k/192kHz sample rate
  • All analog jacks (port-A to port-G) are stereo input and output re-tasking
  • Port-A/B/C/D/E/F built in headphone amplifiers
  • Port-B/C/E/F with software selectable boost gain (+10/+20/+30dB) for analog microphone input
  • High-quality analog differential CD input
  • Supports external PCBEEP input and built-in digital BEEP generator
  • Software selectable 2.5V/........... and so onbasshead.gif

Edited by Flisker - 11/14/12 at 10:09am
post #7 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by Flisker View Post

Hello Head-Fiers

 

I got my first "better" headphones - AKG K701 about week ago and I liked them. But I read somewhere that they doesn't sound good without amp and dac, something like "don't even bother listening to these without good amp they will provide maybe 30% of normal quality".

 

So I decided I'll get myself some components to work with and got FiiO E11 , Soundcard Asus D2X and music in FLAC , today even got some 24/96 and 24/192 Vinyl rips.

 

First I tried FiiO E11 and only difference in music I was able to find was loudness ... yes I can get my music loud, but I don't feel like music actually sound better. Also adding bass works, so when I sum it up, I can get it louder and with more bass which is great actualy.

 

Than I installed Asus D2X and was expecting some completely different experience, something like my headphones will come alive etysmile.gif and I'll be like woooow this is amazing. Unfortunately .... kinda nothing changed at all. This should be pretty decent card and it does't change anything ? I am now thinking : "Is there anything wrong with my ears ?". I spend 2 days listening to music and as I already mentioned also 24/192 Beatles - Yesterday, thinking I need some extra high quality stuff not just regular FLACs to feel difference between onboard audio and dedicated Asus D2X, but still nothing, I mean still same "sound quality". I can't hear anything extra or more clear or something.

 

I spend like 30 mins switching between D2X and onboard audio and listening to one song and I couldn't find difference frown.gif

 

Could you guys help me out a little please ? Is there something wrong or these headphones won't provide better sound ?

 

Thanks

 

Sorry you had a bad experience and thank you for being honest. I think your ears are fine. I find that there is a great deal of baseless hype about dacs and amps on this site. Some of these are supposed to make a huge improvement when in fact most people would struggle to hear any improvement whatsoever. In fact making a chain of composed of a dac and an amp and all the connections and components involved could actually make the sound WORSE than connecting the cans directly to the PC.

 

I have a HP laptop with high quality internal audio (as long as you know how to unlock it).

See

http://www.head-fi.org/t/634604/hp-pavilion-dm4-beats#post_8835796

 

My Q701 cans sound great out of the laptop and I would not dream of cluttering my space with external dacs and amps. I admit I use an external amp and dac with my main system but my amp also works as a pre amp for a speaker system and it is not compromising any portability or convenience...

 

If you really think there is a problem with your ears, please try: http://tonometric.com/

post #8 of 10
Thread Starter 

Thanks for another information smily_headphones1.gif and great test.

 

Did the test right away and it looks like I am not superaudioman but my ears should be fine wink_face.gif Got score of 5.4hz => "only" normal, but I am pretty sure I could do better if I would try it more times.

post #9 of 10
Thread Starter 

So I'am finally happy, found out that by boosting everything on E11 thru the roof makes these headphones Hard-Rock/Metal capable and don't need dedicated soundcard at all. 

 

Thank you all guys for help beerchug.gif

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

So I'am finally happy, found out that by boosting everything on E11 thru the roof makes these headphones Hard-Rock/Metal capable and don't need dedicated soundcard at all. 

 

Thank you all guys for help beerchug.gif

 

Yippeee beerchug.gif

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