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Bought HD700 - now what?

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 

Hey folks, don't post much here, I'm more of a lurker around this place.


I've got an Asus Xonar Essence STX in my rather nice PC build right now, I'm mostly watching movies, surfing the web (youtube and stuff) and playing games, also about to be doing some music as well. With the sound card and the HD700 I feel like the sound card drives them to a very high level in terms of volume but sometimes in situations where the source is rather not very good it's hard to watch Movies with them, still the music in movies shine, and that's always... Can anyone please tell me a good setup for someone like me maybe I need to upgrade my DAC/soundcard to something that will serve me better?


It's weird maybe I've set it up wrong or I just now can hear uncolored (Mostly, I understand the treble spike) and I still don't understand that this is the way it's meant to be, but it boggles my mind that music is awesome in movies and sometimes even the bass, yet voices are silly and lack feeling...


Help me please :D


Thanks people

post #2 of 6
It would be helpful to specify the movie and audio type.

If it's ripped movies then there are two main ways it can go wrong, often at the same time:

1) bad mixdown from multichannel to stereo.

Multichannel such as Dolby or DTS 5.1 or 7.1 uses dynamic range compression, dialogue normalisation and mode based level adjustment. This is done by your home theatre amp/app and keeps the centre channel dialogue audible even during very dynamic and/or loud sections. It adjusts the relative levels intelligently according to number and type of speakers used and any DSP effect chosen. Mixing down to stereo for a rip's soundtrack is not that simple and you either need software that uses Dolby or DTS proprietary down mix capability or a well thought out alternative implementation. Unfortunately lots of popular apps do neither so you get sound tracks with dialogue too quiet and problems with dynamic range and unnatural impacts and bass.

2) encoding the audio to aac using faac or libfaac.

Many apps use faac or libfaac to encode to aac. It's a very old aac encoder and nowhere near the quality of Nero, Apple or Fraunhofer encoders. It's OK at high bitrates (160 kbps or higher) but at moderate or low bitrates voices will often have a thin metallic quality. This will be especially apparent where the source was a lower bitrate Dolby soundtrack.

If you do your own rips then it's better to retain a Dolby 2.0 or 2.1 soundtrack untouched if it's available.

If you're watching DVD or Blu-Ray or other full rate video and experiencing poor audio with headphones then you ought to check your playback app and soundcard settings and make sure you're not trying to use unsuitable DSP effects or have done something like selected outputting low frequencies to a subwoofer which doesn't exist.
post #3 of 6
Thread Starter 

Thanks mate that cleared up quite a bit...


Now the big question - What's a good budget DAC/AMP to use with these headphones that will give me all of it, other than the Xonar Essence STX because I've got a feeling that I'm missing on some of the action of the potential, not looking for some super extra high volume, looking for clear and easy going sound that's not fatiguing, the STX... well with the headphones being 150 ohm I naturally amp them through the xonar stx audio center to mid range 12db but  volume on that is just too harsh. I know there's better the HD800 with a nice tube amp wasn't super loud and was clear, I am still trying to figure it out don't know what to do need a good dac/amp setup with them, maybe something that can handle their treble trouble also a bit.


This is the last question about them most likely.


Thanks :)

post #4 of 6
Thread Starter 

Bumpity Bump XD I need a good DAC or even if it's not a DAC, a good headphone amp that will give out the full potential of these headphones come on people

post #5 of 6
In the Asus Xonar Essence STX you have a very good DAC. You also have excellent headphones. Probably the real problem is the stuff you play is not well produced. With headphones plenty of music is revealed as poorly produced, especially modern popular music which tends to be churned out as a throw away commodity and is apparenty mastered by and for people who are almost deaf and don't care anyway. Another culprit might be that you're listening to poor quality lossy music. How is the same music from CD or flac or alac?
post #6 of 6
Thread Starter 

I'm not listening to lossy music lately only hi-res/lossless audio some are vinyl rips and I don't listen to music that people who are deaf listen to... I know the DAC on this one is pretty good and all, but maybe there's a good amp to suggest together with it? :D




By the way, there are a great many mp3's and lossy tracks that are done properly and sound great.

Edited by XVampireX - 6/12/13 at 2:23am
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