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New setup for HD 598

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 

Hey Head-fi, thanks for taking time to read my post. So back in July I bought a pair of HD 598's by Sennheiser, they sound great, I have them paired with a Xonar DG sound card. Although, I'm looking to upgrade the soundcard, or setup I'm very confused by dac's, amp's, and such. I do play games but I'm not looking for a dedicated gaming setup. The thing I'm looking for first is highest posibble sound quality in my budget range ($200-250usd). So, should I go with a higher grade soundcard, I'm loking at the ASUS Xonar Essence STX. Or some other audio setup that I'm not in full understanding of (Amps, dacs, and all that). Thanks for your time. Have a good day :).

 

post #2 of 12
Thread Starter 

Do you think the Audinst HUD-MX1 would pair well? Since posting I figured out what DAC's and AMP's are for. :)

post #3 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheFlipsideDown View Post

Hey Head-fi, thanks for taking time to read my post. So back in July I bought a pair of HD 598's by Sennheiser, they sound great, I have them paired with a Xonar DG sound card. Although, I'm looking to upgrade the soundcard, or setup I'm very confused by dac's, amp's, and such. I do play games but I'm not looking for a dedicated gaming setup. The thing I'm looking for first is highest posibble sound quality in my budget range ($200-250usd). So, should I go with a higher grade soundcard, I'm loking at the ASUS Xonar Essence STX. Or some other audio setup that I'm not in full understanding of (Amps, dacs, and all that). Thanks for your time. Have a good day :).

Asus Xonar Essence STX sound card sounds great. should really bring out the best in your HD598.

B&H Photo, $185.99

post #4 of 12
Thread Starter 

You think I would be better off getting that instead of something like Fiio E9/7. Or some other amp/dac combo? I will still have my Xonar DG so I don't really need anymore for gaming. I will just switch about my setup if I really want to play games with dolby (which I don't do often anyway). Also something I forgot to mention is that I probably will end up getting a high impedance set of cans sometime this year.


Edited by TheFlipsideDown - 12/8/12 at 10:55pm
post #5 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheFlipsideDown View Post

You think I would be better off getting that instead of something like Fiio E9/7. Or some other amp/dac combo? I will still have my Xonar DG so I don't really need anymore for gaming. I will just switch about my setup if I really want to play games with Dolby (which I don't do often anyway).

An external (optical input) DAC/headphone amp. ($150) could be connected to the optical output on the Xonar DG.

and you could still use the Xonar DG Dolby Headphone 5.1 thru the optical output.

post #6 of 12
Thread Starter 

Okay, so what Dac/Amp did you have in mind?

post #7 of 12

Sorry for the bogus reply, I just thought it was funny.  Two shirtless guys chatting it up on Head-fi.  dt880smile.png

post #8 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheFlipsideDown View Post

Okay, so what Dac/Amp did you have in mind?

Can't really say, for the price of a nice external DAC headphone amplifier, it's only a few dollars less then the Essesne STX.

Maybe just get an amplifier only, like a Fiio E9 ($89), plug it into the Xonar DG.

 

Maybe hold off until your ready for the headphone upgrade, you might change your mind on what headphones you get.

and the Xonar DG can provide a decent amount of voltage for the 50-Ohm HD-598.

That is if you even "upgrade" from those nice sounding HD598s.

post #9 of 12
Thread Starter 

LOL! I just changed my pic last night, I thought it was pretty funny as I was doing it.

post #10 of 12
Thread Starter 

Okay thanks, the only reason I was thinking about upgrading is because I thought I wasn't getting the full potential out of my 598's. I guess if no one else has a varying opinion, I will just hold off.

post #11 of 12

Fiio E17 + Fiio E9K combo

 

post #12 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheFlipsideDown View Post

Okay thanks, the only reason I was thinking about upgrading is because I thought I wasn't getting the full potential out of my 598's. I guess if no one else has a varying opinion, I will just hold off.

DAC - Digital to Analog Converter.

Impedance is resistance, measured in Ohms.

 

I would say for improving the audio quality of the HD598, you would want to get an amplifier with a very low output impedance, which sound cards do not have, sound card are usually 10-Ohm to 100-Ohm impedance.

It's preferred to have the headphone impedance to be 8 times or more the impedance of the headphone amplifier.

With 50-Ohm headphones, technically you would want a headphone amplifier with an impedance of 6.25-Ohms or less

So an external headphone amplifier, like the O2 (Objective 2) portable headphone amplifier ($155), which has an output impedance of .5-Ohm, would be a good choice.

The 02 can drive headphones from 16-Ohm to 600-Ohms.

Also with the O2, you can just leave the AC power adapter plugged in and it functions just like a normal desktop amplifier.

 

DAC wise, the Xonar DX or D1 sound card ($65-$81) comes with the CS4398 DAC chip, the DG comes with the CS4245 DAC chip.

So the DX/D1 will sound better then the DG, but the DX/D1 are worse for driving headphones (then the DG), so the DX/D1 needs to be used with an external amplifier, like the O2.

 

So if you get some good prices on a used O2 and used DX/D1, I'm guessing your looking at around $175 to $200.

 

Just something to think on.

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