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Ideal setup for sennheiser HD800 with PC

post #1 of 34
Thread Starter 

Hi i have an HD800 which i want to connect with my PC, what should i install to hear the best possible sound and quality ?

post #2 of 34

That depends on your budget, and your material source (lossless? lossy?)

post #3 of 34
Thread Starter 

hey thanks for the reply, i don't have a fixed budget and i also don't have an upper limit, i can spend whatever amount to get the best possible equipment. lossless audio (FLAC files mostly)

post #4 of 34

IMO, the best course of action is to get an external DAC and a dedicated headphone AMP. I sort of went through the same process a few years back, and I been happy with my decision. BTW, what equipment(s) are you using at the moment?

post #5 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by deejay214 View Post

hey thanks for the reply, i don't have a fixed budget and i also don't have an upper limit, i can spend whatever amount to get the best possible equipment. lossless audio (FLAC files mostly)

 

Hi there, the best possible equipment is always going to be contentious. So let's get contentious. Try a really nice headphone amp with a cheap minijack to rca cable. Connect the headphone out out and see what you think. Then blind test that against an external dac connecting up to the pc and plugged into the headphone amp. Then try just using the headphone out . If you don't get an appreciable difference you have saved yourself a wad of cash. As for what you might try, the choices out there are unbelievably vast if money is no object but there is a law of diminishing returns when you spend tons of cash in my opinion. Get an audio dealer to lend you the kit if you're intending to spend serious money.
post #6 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by deejay214 View Post

Hi i have an HD800 which i want to connect with my PC, what should i install to hear the best possible sound and quality ?

 

It's probably pointless going past an O2 + ODAC combination. Together they'll run your $300. There are more expensive ways of doing the same thing, but the ODAC is indistinguisable from a $2000 "reference" DAC and the O2 has similar performance. Google both of them and you'll find plenty of information. 

post #7 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by scuttle View Post

 

It's probably pointless going past an O2 + ODAC combination. Together they'll run your $300. There are more expensive ways of doing the same thing, but the ODAC is indistinguisable from a $2000 "reference" DAC and the O2 has similar performance. Google both of them and you'll find plenty of information. 

 

You might be right about ODAC, since I heard DAC doesn't affect the sound as much as amps do when you're past certain price. But I imagine the HD800 will benefit from better amps. The O2 is not bad, but IMHO my HD600 sounds much better with a Bottlehead Crack (which I own) than paired with the O2 (which I auditioned briefly). Granted I own HD600 and not the HD800, but I'd be really surprised if the HD800 doesn't benefit from better amps.

 

Incidentally, I am listening with my PC with the following setup: PC (Spotify/iTunes/Foobar) playing mp3/aac/alac/flac --> HRT Music Streamer II+ --> Bottlehead Crack OTL amp --> HD600

post #8 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by j123my View Post

 

You might be right about ODAC, since I heard DAC doesn't affect the sound as much as amps do when you're past certain price. But I imagine the HD800 will benefit from better amps. The O2 is not bad, but IMHO my HD600 sounds much better with a Bottlehead Crack (which I own) than paired with the O2 (which I auditioned briefly). Granted I own HD600 and not the HD800, but I'd be really surprised if the HD800 doesn't benefit from better amps.

 

 

Ok: you are surpised, but in fact this is beyond doubt: any reasonable modern amp will sound the same as any other modern amp, subject to a little EQing and having enough power for the target:

 

http://tom-morrow-land.com/tests/ampchall/index.htm

 

..Anything else is placebo effect - and people who use this site are pretty much a self-selected group of the most vulnerable - and this has been proved literally thousands of times. (See the link.)

 

The one rider on the placebo effect is that 99% of people don't EQ their headphones to their hearing. (There is an article on sight telling people how to do so btw.)  Everyone has either one or two spikes in their ears' frequency response, and if an amp happens to have a dip that compensates then it may sound terrific to you compared to a technically better amp... but really EQing with pink noise and a sine wave is the way to go. 

post #9 of 34
Thread Starter 

i'm thinking of getting the ASUS Xonar STX, is it a good choice ? what else should i get ?

post #10 of 34
Looks a v nice sound card. The claims on the web page... whether the differences are audible, the card certainly won't be 64 times better. Maybe 64 times more expensive though -:O)
post #11 of 34

seriously?the 02 is capable of powering the hd800 to it's maximum potential?

post #12 of 34
Thread Starter 
O2 ?
post #13 of 34
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mussicc View Post

seriously?the 02 is capable of powering the hd800 to it's maximum potential?
O2?
post #14 of 34
By "O2" they mean the Objective2, I think JDS Labs still makes an example:
http://www.jdslabs.com/item.php?fetchitem=O2Full (I've never used this product)

The Xonar STX has a decent TI chipamp built into it, along with being a competent soundcard in its own right. Guru3D reviewed it a while ago:
http://www.guru3d.com/articles-pages/asus-xonar-essence-stx-soundcard-review,1.html (I wouldn't worry about the age - it's still relevant today)

I've used other amplifiers built around the same (or similar) TI chips, and in general they're very competent. However I have not tried the HD 800. I would assume it would be appropriately able to power them though though - although personally I find the whole "plug the headphones into the back of the computer" a bit obnoxious (my computer also lives under my desk); you might look into an extension cable. smily_headphones1.gif
post #15 of 34

I am using the Asus Essense ....Flac files & my RS1i's.........I love it....pretty damn impressive.

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