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Sound Card/Amp Suggestion for Beyer Dynamic DT-770 Pro 250

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 

Headphones: DT-770 Pro 250
Computer Speakers: Companion 3s
Sound Card: Onboard Realtek ALC892

I just upgraded my headphones and now I'm looking to complete the upgrade. I'm open to suggestions but I'm going to list the options that I am currently considering. I would say I'm going to use this setup 60/40 for gaming and music respectively. 

 

As a side note, I do have a Marantz SR6005/(4) Motions10s/Motion 8/Dynamo500 setup which is what I mainly use for music/movies, (with both the speakers and dt-770s) so I guess music isn't super important. I would like some kind of audible upgrade in sound quality though.

- Asus Xonar STX

- FiiO E09K with the Asus Xonar D1
- FiiO E09K with the Asus Xonar DG

Thoughts?


Edited by Breaker - 1/24/13 at 10:12am
post #2 of 22

I use the Xonar DG with my 80 Ohm DT770s and find the headphone amp to be very nice.  It is a nice upgrade to the stock sound on my mobo.  At around $30, it's a cheap option to use.

 

It's only a 5.1 card (if that matters to you), and I've never used it with speakers, but for my headphones I find it to be a very good option.
 

post #3 of 22
Thread Starter 

Yes, my friend has a DG and he seems to be pretty happy with it. I definitely look forwards to using the dolby headphones for gaming.

However, I heard the DAC that came with the D1 was pretty good so I was considering that instead. If anyone has used both, do you know how much better it is? Really worth the extra $50?

Edit: What if I got the DG for my gaming purposes, the e09k for the amp, and later get the e17 as a better DAC? I could just bypass the soundcard DAC when I have no use for dolby.

Would the sound in gaming really benefit from something like the D1? Or would this option be better?


Edited by Breaker - 1/25/13 at 3:59am
post #4 of 22

Unfortunately I'm not sure.  I don't use my PC for gaming (hell, I don't seem to use it for much of anything besides work and as a digital archive for music and pictures).  When I'm working, I'm listening to music...that and those stupid Windows sounds that I can't seem to turn down on the remote connection to work (even muting the sound doesn't do anything, it still comes out full blast).
 

post #5 of 22
Thread Starter 

Yea, I'm questioning the higher xonar models as it seems they are more aimed for the use of multi-channel setups. I will predominantly use headphones when on the pc with only light use of the bose companion 3s. Trying to figure out the best bang for buck for my usage. 

Also another question. Would an amp actually improve the quality of my headphones? I keep hearing conflicting information on this. Some say there will only be an increase in volume while others say that the sound quality will actually improve as well.

I ask because I'm actually content with the volume with them unamped. I would like a slight volume increase but nothing crazy.

So what it comes down to is will I here a difference in sound quality unamped vs amped by the xonar dg (said to only amp headphones up to 150 ohms) vs amped by the xonar E09K?
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by liquidzoo View Post

Unfortunately I'm not sure.  I don't use my PC for gaming (hell, I don't seem to use it for much of anything besides work and as a digital archive for music and pictures).  When I'm working, I'm listening to music...that and those stupid Windows sounds that I can't seem to turn down on the remote connection to work (even muting the sound doesn't do anything, it still comes out full blast).
 

No option to do it from the Windows Volume Mixer? It normally breaks down the volume from each running program on the computer.

post #6 of 22
The D1/DX really needs an amp because it's just a line out--no headphone amp. And while I haven't heard the DG series, the D1/DX is very nice and I didn't find that far off from the Xonar STX in terms of DAC quality.

I would suggest looking at the Schiit Magni for a headphone amp. Lot of indications that this might be the amp to get at around $100: http://www.head-fi.org/t/640783/schiit-magni-headphone-amplifier.
post #7 of 22
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by cel4145 View Post

The D1/DX really needs an amp because it's just a line out--no headphone amp. And while I haven't heard the DG series, the D1/DX is very nice and I didn't find that far off from the Xonar STX in terms of DAC quality.

I would suggest looking at the Schiit Magni for a headphone amp. Lot of indications that this might be the amp to get at around $100: http://www.head-fi.org/t/640783/schiit-magni-headphone-amplifier.

I'll definitely take a look at the thread, not in a huge rush so I'm reviewing options. Huge difference between the E09K and the Magni? Can you give a quick comparison.

The only thing I really liked about the E09K was the preouts, it gave me an easy hookup for the Companion 3s.

post #8 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Breaker View Post

I'll definitely take a look at the thread, not in a huge rush so I'm reviewing options. Huge difference between the E09K and the Magni? Can you give a quick comparison.

Best to ask in the Magni thread. I'm an admirer of it, not an owner smily_headphones1.gif This is all based on my research/reading. The Magni seems to be getting a lot of comparison to the Objective 2 (O2) headphone portable amp ($150) in terms of SQ. Up until the Magni was recently released, the O2 seemed to be getting the most recommendations for a headphone amp at $150 or less. So for $100, odds are the Magni will sound better than most anything else at it's price point.

One other thought just to confuse you smily_headphones1.gif What kind of phone do have? Some of the new Android jellybean phones and tablets can now connect to some of the USB DACs. So you'd have the option of plugging a phone directly up to your main home audio setup using the USB DAC, as well as it would make an excellent portable setup with a portable amp for driving your DT770s.
post #9 of 22
Re unamped vs amped with the dg for the dt770s:

I find that I have to turn up the volume to unbearable levels in some situations if I use mine out and about, but I can have the volume at a moderate to low level with the amp on and get far superior sound quality. This is to my ears, and I'm comparing with a Samsung Galaxy SII Skyrocket for my mobile device. I actually just bought a Fiio E6 to help out my headphones when I'm on the go.
post #10 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Breaker View Post

Headphones: DT-770 Pro 250
Computer Speakers: Companion 3s
Sound Card: Onboard Realtek ALC892
I just upgraded my headphones and now I'm looking to complete the upgrade. I'm open to suggestions but I'm going to list the options that I am currently considering. I would say I'm going to use this setup 60/40 for gaming and music respectively. 

As a side note, I do have a Marantz SR6005/(4) Motions10s/Motion 8/Dynamo500 setup which is what I mainly use for music/movies, (with both the speakers and dt-770s) so I guess music isn't super important. I would like some kind of audible upgrade in sound quality though.
- Asus Xonar STX

- FiiO E09K with the Asus Xonar D1
- FiiO E09K with the Asus Xonar DG

I'm assuming your connecting the PC to the Marantz, using HDMI?

The Marantz should do at least a decent (or better) job of driving the DT770 Pro 250-Ohm.

The one thing the Marantz lacks is modern headphone surround sound.

So with the Xonar DG, you could run an optical connection from the DG to the Marantz.

Use the DG to process headphone surround sound and let the Marantz power the DT770.

With the Xonar DX or D1, you could run analog 2-channel from the PC to the Marantz, for headphone surround sound

and you would be using the DX/D1's (CS4398) DAC chip.

 

Or just get the Essence STX and plug the DT770s straight into the STX.

You could even try op-amp rolling (swapping) with the STX.

post #11 of 22
Thread Starter 

 


Quote:
Originally Posted by liquidzoo View Post

Re unamped vs amped with the dg for the dt770s:

I find that I have to turn up the volume to unbearable levels in some situations if I use mine out and about, but I can have the volume at a moderate to low level with the amp on and get far superior sound quality. This is to my ears, and I'm comparing with a Samsung Galaxy SII Skyrocket for my mobile device. I actually just bought a Fiio E6 to help out my headphones when I'm on the go.
Took a listen with the marantz and then the computer unamped, I get what you're saying. Makes sense.

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by PurpleAngel View Post

I'm assuming your connecting the PC to the Marantz, using HDMI?

The Marantz should do at least a decent (or better) job of driving the DT770 Pro 250-Ohm.

The one thing the Marantz lacks is modern headphone surround sound.

So with the Xonar DG, you could run an optical connection from the DG to the Marantz.

Use the DG to process headphone surround sound and let the Marantz power the DT770.

With the Xonar DX or D1, you could run analog 2-channel from the PC to the Marantz, for headphone surround sound

and you would be using the DX/D1's (CS4398) DAC chip.

 

Or just get the Essence STX and plug the DT770s straight into the STX.

You could even try op-amp rolling (swapping) with the STX.

Do you have any experience with these cards? Do you think I'd notice a difference in game between the D1 and DG? Or just when listening to my music and such? 

If there really is no difference, I think I rather get the DG for dolby headphones alone, and then spring for a better dac down the road for my music. 


Edited by Breaker - 1/26/13 at 9:47am
post #12 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Breaker View Post

Do you have any experience with these cards? Do you think I'd notice a difference in game between the D1 and DG? Or just when listening to my music and such? 

If there really is no difference, I think I rather get the DG for Dolby Headphones alone, and then spring for a better DAC down the road for my music. 

If you only use a digital (optical) connection between the sound card and the Marantz, very little difference,

As with using a digital connection (optical) your using the Marantz DAC's anyway

the DG is 5.1 and can only pass 2-channel (digital) thru optical,

the DX/D1 is 7.1 can can pass (digital) 2-channel or compressed (digital) 5.1 channel.

With headphones surround sound (sound card to Marantz), you only need 2-channel

You can always swap out the DG for something else.

I would assume the Marantz comes with fairly good a DAC(s) already.

post #13 of 22
Thread Starter 

I'm still lost on what to do so a little bump here. Been doing a whole bunch of reading and research and I believe I've narrowed my options to two.

Xonar Essence ST
Xonar D1 w/ the Fiio E09k amp

I do like the idea of having the amp on my desk and I could make use of the inputs on the back with my Companion 3s and home theater system. However, that aside, huge difference in sound between these two cards?

post #14 of 22
At least you eliminated one of the options you started with smily_headphones1.gif

If you want an off the wall suggestion, you could also pair the D1 with a Bravo Audio Ocean tube amp. Has a set of rca outs for your speakers.
post #15 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Breaker View Post

I'm still lost on what to do so a little bump here. Been doing a whole bunch of reading and research and I believe I've narrowed my options to two.

Xonar Essence ST
Xonar D1 w/ the Fiio E09k amp

I do like the idea of having the amp on my desk and I could make use of the inputs on the back with my Companion 3s and home theater system. However, that aside, huge difference in sound between these two cards?

The Essence ST and Fiio E09K use the same headphone amplifier chip (6120A2)

The Essence ST and D1 use the same audio processor (C-Media CMI8788)

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