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Sound card or DAC for my QC-15 headphones?

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 

Hi guys

 

I have a pair of Bose QC-15 headphones which I know get a little slated on here but I like them and have and a Asus Xonar DG sound card inside my PC. I listen to music using Foobar and mainly Flac files but some radio too. Now the sound card drives them perfectly with it having a dedicated headphone amp but I wondered would I benefit from a better sound card or even a dedicated headphone amp? Could any one give me recommendations on what to try?

 

Cheers

 

Rob


Edited by rob77 - 7/17/13 at 6:46am
post #2 of 12

Hi Rob

 

Personally I've never heard the Asus Xonar DS card which you've got. Could I ask whether you would be using the device just for PC listening or even on the go? I used to have an iBasso D10 which I adored. They have got an updated one called the D12 which has got the same level of praise. I would strongly suggest to look into the 'Portable Amplifiers' section where they discuss more and you wouldn't need loads of amplification. The QC15s are quite efficient.

 

Check out iBasso D12, Fiio E10/11/17. They aren't that expensive and check out the for sale section if you're not fussy about used gear.

 

Regards

Ven

post #3 of 12

Or get an Objective2 DAC and Amp cobination. Outstanding value for money although not that portable.

post #4 of 12
Thread Starter 

Hi Ven

 

Sorry it is actually a xonar DG I have, I just misspelt it. Something like the fiio e10 does look interesting I just wonder if it would perform any better than the sound card I have at the moment? It would mainly be for PC listening but I also have an ipod classic 5g that I take away with me on holiday etc.

 

Cheers


Edited by rob77 - 7/17/13 at 6:54am
post #5 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by rob77 View Post

I have a pair of Bose QC-15 headphones which I know get a little slated on here but I like them and have and a Asus Xonar DG sound card inside my PC. I listen to music using Foobar and mainly Flac files but some radio too. Now the sound card drives them perfectly with it having a dedicated headphone amp but I wondered would I benefit from a better sound card or even a dedicated headphone amp? Could any one give me recommendations on what to try?

I would think the next step up from the Xonar DG would be the Sound Blaster Z, $80.

It's DAC and headphone amplifier is better then the DG's.

 

I'm assuming your using the Xonar DG at the low gain setting, maybe try the middle gain setting, see if that improves the audio quality of the Bose QC-15.

(Wish I could find out what the impedance is of the Bose QC-15?)

post #6 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by rob77 View Post

Sorry it is actually a Xonar DG I have, I just misspelt it. Something like the Fiio E10 does look interesting I just wonder if it would perform any better than the sound card I have at the moment? It would mainly be for PC listening but I also have an iPod classic 5g that I take away with me on holiday etc.

To the best of my knowledge, the DG is just as good sounding as the Fiio E10.

post #7 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by rob77 View Post

but I also have an ipod classic 5g that I take away with me on holiday etc.

FiiO products are not Apple iDevice approved, thus their products will not bypass the internal DAC of the iPod.  Using an line-out dock connector, you will only be able to take advantage of the FiiO's amplification segment.

 

In terms of what could be an upgrade, I'd recommend a discrete amplifier such as the FiiO E11. This will allow you to use it not only with your desktop, but also with your iPod.  The only issue with using it in a desktop setting is that the Xonar DG already has a built-in amplifier and there really isn't a way to bypass the amplifier.

 

Cheers,

Destroysall


Edited by Destroysall - 7/17/13 at 9:05am
post #8 of 12
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by PurpleAngel View Post

I would think the next step up from the Xonar DG would be the Sound Blaster Z, $80.
It's DAC and headphone amplifier is better then the DG's.

I'm assuming your using the Xonar DG at the low gain setting, maybe try the middle gain setting, see if that improves the audio quality of the Bose QC-15.
(Wish I could find out what the impedance is of the Bose QC-15?)

The impendance is about 70 ohms I believe. I have it on the middle setting already and its more than loud enough. I just wanted to upgrade the audio quality if at all possible and have a more warmer sound. Before these I had the akg k550 headphones but just found them too big for my head (they kept slipping off) and they didn't have enough bass for my liking. The Bose I find very comfortable and I like the bass, I would just like a little more warmth.
Edited by rob77 - 7/17/13 at 10:57am
post #9 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by rob77 View Post


The impendance is about 70 ohms I believe. I have it on the middle setting already and its more than loud enough. I just wanted to upgrade the audio quality if at all possible and have a more warmer sound. Before these I had the akg k550 headphones but just found them too big for my head (they kept slipping off) and they didn't have enough bass for my liking. The Bose I find very comfortable and I like the bass, I would just like a little more warmth.

Try setting the DG's gain to the highest setting ">64", see if audio quality improves.

post #10 of 12
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by PurpleAngel View Post

Try setting the DG's gain to the highest setting ">64", see if audio quality improves.

Thanks PurpleAngel

 

I have just done that and it actually does sound more fuller now. I had it on the middle setting 32~64.

 

Edit to say after listening some more they are just louder on the >64 setting and the sound stage doesn't change.


Edited by rob77 - 7/17/13 at 12:55pm
post #11 of 12
Yup, psychoacoustically, at lower volumes you don't perceive the bass and highs to be at the same volume as the mids. But, when you raise the volume, you start hearing relatively more bass and highs in relation to the mids, and at about 100db, things start to sound roughly flat in terms of frequency response.

Not that you should listen at 100db, mind you. But, it's no surprise that, when you raise the volume, the music sounds fuller.

There's nothing wrong with liking what you like, and you don't need to apologize for it. I would say that any Bose headphones I've heard thus far haven't been particularly revealing, and they certainly aren't difficult to drive, so I would suggest that spending more on a portable amp - especially an inexpensive amp like a fiio - would do very little for you. A source upgrade might help, but again, unless you have very resolving headphones you probably won't appreciate it enough in order for it to be worth the money.

Now, if you want a headphone upgrade, then that's a very different story. Although not all headphones are created equal in terms of resolution, there certainly are those that will very quickly show you how inadequate the vast majority of sources are. I would say that if you want a headphone that's smooth, warm, reasonably bassy, but quite revealing at the same time, the Sennheiser HD600 or HD650 is in your future, but those are headphones for which you will certainly need a desktop amp as well as a quality source, and there, any upgrade in your signal path will be readily audible.

In the meanwhile, upgrade your music. Going from mp3 to flac with a pair of Bose may not pay off huge, but seeking out better-recorded music certainly will. Get a dynamic range meter plugin for Foobar or whatever player you're using, and see for yourself how much less dynamic range those modern remasters have than the originals from the 80s and 90s. Taking the extra steps and seeking out the best recorded version of something is usually an audio upgrade that's immediately rewarding, not to mention quite cheap.
post #12 of 12
Thread Starter 
Thank you for the informative post catscratch I went through the whole change over from mp3 to lossless a few weeks ago and now my music is either flac on the PC or has been converted from lossless to 256k aac via itunes for my ipod. I will be honest and say I simply cannot not tell any different from lossless and 256k aac even when doing a blind A/B test using foobar. Would you say the modern remasters of CD's are not as good as their original counterparts? I have compared a few remasters and originals and to me the remasters seemed to have a much deeper bass and warm sound. Perhaps it is not how they are meant to sound but I though they were quite good.
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