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Looking for some friendly advice. [AKG K550+Soundcard]

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 

I'd like to start off by saying my name is Robert and I have been using 2.0 stereo speakers since the beginning of time. I have used some headphones but they were extremely low budget. Recently I decided to sell my Playstation, PSP, games and a GPU in order to purchase the AKG K550 which will be here in two or three days in brand new condition with 3 years warranty. The reason I specifically wanted this pair was because I had always wanted to grab open back headphones but I thought that it would irritate people and that the bus would ruin my experience when I were on the go.

 

I understand that these are closed back headphones but are designed to provide a open back sound, although it is not the true experience it is supposed to be very close having said that the set are actually closed back. So that's the main advantage for me, also having come from 2.0 stereo sound from terrible sony speakers with onboard audio from 4-5 years ago means this will be a whole new experience. It also means I'll most likely have to invest in a sound card. I listen to music pretty much 24/7, I generally listen to rock although lately I've started listening to Chillstep. I hate mainstream and general dubstep, however I love chillstep. I rarely play video games as my GPU isn't very powerful and I lost interest over the years however sometimes I do feel like playing a horror game. I usually only watch horror/thriller films too. My friend has a "Creative X-FI XtremeGamer" sound card he's willing to give to me for free, is it any good or should I consider buying a higher spec'd card?

 

AKG K550 Information:

http://uk.akg.com/akg-k550-uk.html

 

So I what I'm asking here is:

 

  • What do you make of the K550? Are they pretty decent? I paid £155 inc 3 year warranty. 
  • Which sound card would you recommend based on my needs?
  • Will I easily notice the difference with lossless codecs (flac) assuming I have a decent sound card & my headphones?
  • If I were to use these headphone now almost everyday, all day then how long do you think it'd take to bust them in?

 

Cheers for reading, I'd really appreciate some feedback.


Edited by Blue Cheese - 7/20/13 at 2:55pm
post #2 of 7

A Xtremegamer sound card, for free.

The oldest Sound Blaster I would recommend is a Titanium (CS4283 DAC chip), sells used for $50.

A used ($50-$60) Asus Xonar DX or D1 sound card, It should (believe) comes with a better DAC (CS4398), then the Xtremegamer and Titanium.

 

For best audio quality, I would think getting the Schiit Magni headphone amplifier, $99.

It's low impedance (<1-Ohm) would be a good choice for the 32-Ohm AKG K550.

Plug the Magni into the XtremeGamer card.

post #3 of 7
Thread Starter 

I'm on a budget right now as I've already sold pretty much everything in my possession apart from my motorcycle in order to get these headphones, which I do not regret. So right now I will have to stick to the XtremeGamer card until I earn some money to upgrade. So will there be much of a noticeable difference with my headphones in this card over the onboard? Also would there really be a quality boost with the amp? I thought only extremely well spec'd headphones needed amps and just assumed mine wouldn't really benefit from them.

post #4 of 7
Quote:
Originally Posted by Blue Cheese View Post

I'm on a budget right now as I've already sold pretty much everything in my possession apart from my motorcycle in order to get these headphones, which I do not regret. So right now I will have to stick to the XtremeGamer card until I earn some money to upgrade. So will there be much of a noticeable difference with my headphones in this card over the on-board? Also would there really be a quality boost with the amp? I thought only extremely well spec'd headphones needed amps and just assumed mine wouldn't really benefit from them.

It's preferred to have the impedance (Ohms) of the headphone to be 8 to 10 times the impedance of whatever headphone jack they are plugged into.

 

The line-out/Headphone jack on the Xtremegamer could be from 30-Ohm to 100-Ohm.

 

Sound cards that come with headphone amplifier seem to have a headphone output impedance of around 10-Ohms.

 

External headphone amplifier can have an output impedance of under 1-Ohm.

 

But plug the K550s into the Xtremegamer, if it sounds good to you, there really is not a problem

post #5 of 7
Thread Starter 

Thank you for the help! it's greatly appreciated. When I have some more funds coming in I'll probably upgrade to a better card. One last thing though what's your personal take on the K550's?

post #6 of 7
Quote:
Originally Posted by Blue Cheese View Post

Thank you for the help! it's greatly appreciated. When I have some more funds coming in I'll probably upgrade to a better card. One last thing though what's your personal take on the K550's?

I've never listened to the AKG K550s, but I've heard their sound stage is great for a closed headphone.

post #7 of 7
Thread Starter 

Just an update I got the XtremeGamer card inside and the headphones today. I cannot believe the quality these things bring out. I've got a few flac albums and the difference is very significant. I haven't even tried watching a movie or playing a game with them yet. The only thing is that I'm hearing impaired with a hearing aid, I can distinguish audio quality just as someone without a hearing loss. Anyway the issue was because they covered the entire ear, they provide annoying feedback on the hearing aids but I found that lowering the cup slightly solved the issue as it becomes tolerable and it is soon unnoticed. When I play any sound through the headphones even if it were a whisper then it's gone completely. I cannot believe the volume on this thing either, it doesn't distort or reduce in quality unless you push it to the unbearable levels that will damage your hearing. I have to watch myself so I don't make my hearing impairment any worse.

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