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I have a budget Denon 1611 receiver - Do I need an amp/dac?

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 

I want to throw some money at a pair of headphones, and maybe a headphone amp/dac if it will improve the SQ vs the amp/dac from the receiver. I have a 5.1 setup at the moment connected to my Denon via optical into my PC which I use for gaming/music. It consists of Energy RC-10s, Minis, and an Emotiva U12.


I have a pair of Sony MDR-V6 that I've had for near 10 years now and have been satisfied with them since I have had nothing higher end to compare them to, until I bought a pair of AD700 for my dad for xmas. I know the AD700s aren't high end by any means, but there was a noticeable difference vs my V6. Details were more isolated, huge soundstage, vocals were much much clearer, and was a much better headphones overall vs my V6. I just didn't find the AD700 comfortable at all (too loose), and bass was lacking.


I listen to mostly mainstream hip-hop, rap, pop, etc. garbage on the radio because hey, it is catchy. I am looking at the DT770 250ohm versions as it's a nice price range and the 80ohm is an extra $50 I don't really want to spend for nearly the same quality. This will mainly for PC, stationary use so I'm not worried about hooking it up to my phone. I want GOOD bass, not muddy, cans with nice mid-range to boot. I like warm and laid back while still detailed sound, and not bright, harsh, high treble.


I am sure my receiver will have no problem driving the DT770s, but would I get the full sound that the DT770s are capable of? I'm not sure if the Denon could produce enough bass and fullness to fill the DT770, that's why I'm asking if an amp/dac would help and which would have a bigger impact on sound, the amp or the dac? I am looking to get the Schiit amp/dac combo for $200 because I believe my receiver doesn't have a line out and the DAC on my motherboard probably sucks if I connect the Magni to it. Or because the budget amp/dac combo is so cheap, it'll offer no noticeable difference vs the receiver and I should just stick to getting the headphones?


Because you know....us audio heads like to get the best sound possible and if I'm going to get amp/dac down the road, might as well get it all now if I can use the full potential of the headphones.



post #2 of 4

Chances are when you plug in the headphones into the Denon receiver, the built speaker amplifier(s) stop driving the speakers and switch over to driving the headphones, so you should have plenty of power for driving headphones.

Also chances are the Denon 1611 headphone jack has a high impedance :(, so headphones in the 250-Ohm to 300-Ohm range would be the better choice.

The DT770 Pro 250-Ohms would seem a good choice.


Adding a Creative Titanium (non-HD) sound card (used $55) should improve FPS gaming, just run optical and analog from the Titanium to the Denon.

You can compare optical and analog and see what works (or sounds) better.


In the future, you could always add an external headphone amplifier to the Titanium, you would then be able to use just about any headphone of your choice.


If you graphics card has HDMI output, you could also connect that to the Denon's HDMI input (then run HDMI from Denon to monitor/TV), should help with speaker and movie audio.

post #3 of 4
Thread Starter 

Thanks, so I don't really need to invest in a separate amp/dac and the Denon should do just fine with the 250ohm DT770.

post #4 of 4
Originally Posted by WiL11o6 View Post

Thanks, so I don't really need to invest in a separate amp/dac and the Denon should do just fine with the 250-Ohm DT770.

With using 250-Ohm headphones, I do not think (amp wise) you would see much difference between the Denon and a separate headphone amplifier.

(I would guess a $300 external headphone amplifier would do better then the Denon's headphone jack)

If you were buy headphones with a low Ohms rating, maybe under 100-Ohms, then a separate add-on headphone amplifier would be better, over then Denon's headphone output.


DAC wise, I would think you would benefit from an external DAC, over then Denon's.

Using an external USB DAC would be fine for music audio, but give you zero surround sound for movies and gaming.


So I think an internal sound card (unamped) with a good DAC chip would be the best value and give both a digital and analog connection to the Denon.

Chances are the add-on sound card would be a benefit for gaming and movies (headphone surround sound), you could then run a 2-channel analog audio signal to the Denon and use the Denon's headphone amplifier.

If your using the speakers for audio, just use the optical connection from sound card to Denon.


Using an HDMI connection (graphics card to Denon) would be the best connection for using speaker with Blu-ray movies.

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