Originally Posted by Sraigux
Thanks for the input guys! I just thought about it though, I don't really do much active listening on the go, because its usually too noisy to appreciate the benefits of higher quality audio. So I was wondering if it would be a better idea to get a desktop amp. For price/performance, what would you think would be of greater benefit?
Also, as a side question. Would running an amp/DAC through the headphone jack on my laptop create more noise than running it through USB? Or would they be the same?
What are your plans for the future?
If you're immune to upgrade-itis, I don't think you can do better than the ODAC+O2 (or HeadStreamer II + O2 at about the same price.)
If you're constantly buying more equipment, maybe $300 in headphones will do you better.
If you just want to see what can happen, the Behringer UCA-202 (or -222) + FiiO E5 combo will set you back ~$50. That's how I started before I was infected with the more-more-more disease. FiiO makes some other good performers for less money, although they don't seem to outperform the ones I've mentioned. (My experience is limited to the E5, however.)
An external DAC and amp, if you don't buy some lesser parts, won't sound worse than your laptop's headphone jack. It's easy to believe it will be better, at least in theory, but will you hear a difference? If it's different, will it be better? I noticed a distinct improvement, especially with the ODAC+O2 combo.
(Note: You can't attach a DAC to an analog output such as a headphone jack.)
I certainly could have lived with the sound from my computers which I found surprisingly good (with the Beyerdynamic DT 990 and Sennheiser HD 650.) Did I need to spend another $300 for equipment? No, but now I don't want to go back. Motto: Never listen to anything which might sound better than what I already have.
Edited by HamilcarBarca - 11/20/12 at 7:41pm