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Buying advice: to amp or not to amp

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 
Hi all --

I recently upgraded from an Asus Xonar DG to the Sound Blaster ZX. All in all, I'm very happy with the purchase -- the sound clarity and spatial positioning of the ZX seems far and away better than what I was getting with the Xonar.

My only quibble is that I am not getting quite as much volume as I would like out of my DT770/80's from the ZX. With my current setup, I have the Accessible Control Module (ACM) plugged into the headphone and mic out jacks on the back of the ZX and the DT770's plugged into the headphone in mini jack on the ACM. This lets me control volume during gaming and the ACM has a decent microphone which is essential for team-based gameplay. Still, even with the volume maxed in Windows and the SB Control Panel, it needs a bit more. The ZX includes a headphone amp (Maxim MAX97220A), but I don't know enough about it to know if it has enough juice to drive the 770's to the volume I want.

Specs for the MAX97220A are here: http://datasheets.maximintegrated.com/en/ds/MAX97220A-MAX97220E.pdf

Specs for the ZX are here:
http://www.soundblaster.com/products/sound-blaster-zx.aspx#specs


Does it make sense to invest in a decent amp (~$100) to give a little more power to the 770's? Can I use an amp (like the Fiio E9) in conjunction with the ACM so I don't need to buy another mic? That would be ideal. Any help or recommendations are greatly appreciated! Thanks!
post #2 of 5
The E9 (or whatever) should work fine, I'm not entirely familiar with the Z cards, but I would believe you can connect up to the front L/R output (as if you were connecting speakers) and still use the microphone that is included with the card (the Recon3D have no problem with this).
post #3 of 5
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the reply! I just am not sure about which amp I would need to match well with the 770/80s in this setup. The e9 seems like a popular choice for these cans in a desktop setting.

Given that the e9 has 10ohm resistance out of the 1/4" jack and 43ohm resistance out of the 1/8" jack, is there a better choice out there for the 770s that has a lower output resistance, or would the 10ohm output suffice? This might be a noobish question, but I really don't yet understand enough about power/resistance to make an informed choice. I think the Sound Blaster ZX headphone amp already has a low impedance, as I've seen others on the forum mention. I'm not certain what that would mean for me if I added an amp to the setup.
post #4 of 5
Quote:
Originally Posted by venkman781 View Post

Thanks for the reply! I just am not sure about which amp I would need to match well with the 770/80s in this setup. The e9 seems like a popular choice for these cans in a desktop setting.

Given that the e9 has 10ohm resistance out of the 1/4" jack and 43ohm resistance out of the 1/8" jack, is there a better choice out there for the 770s that has a lower output resistance, or would the 10ohm output suffice? This might be a noobish question, but I really don't yet understand enough about power/resistance to make an informed choice. I think the Sound Blaster ZX headphone amp already has a low impedance, as I've seen others on the forum mention. I'm not certain what that would mean for me if I added an amp to the setup.

I'd say the 10ohm output is fine for 80ohm DT770's. This means the damping factor will be 8, which is quite ideal. 

post #5 of 5
Either jack on the E9 will be stable, if you like how one sounds, go with it. No real harm either way.
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