Howdy - long time lurker, first time poster. Got to thank headfi for years of advice.
Thoughts on DAC / Amp / soundcard for ATH-a900x
I understand ATH-a900x don't really need an amp, but wondering whether I'll notice much difference between buying a cheap soundcard with integrated amp (eg: Asus Xonar DG for ~AU$30+ph), a slightly better soundcard (eg Asus Xonar DX for ~AU$85+ph, SBZ for ~AU$120+ph) or a low end external amplifier (eg Fiio e10 - $70 delivered at mp4nation)? Am I going to notice much difference using the a900x?
Is there much of a difference losing the cleverness of an on-board soundcard (surround sound stuff etc) by going an external DAC/amp? I play mainly first person shooters so like to hear what's around me.
My gut feel is that I'm not going to see much of a difference adding a portable amp to my Samsung s3 phone and Klipsch s4 II - appreciate thoughts.
Don't need to future-proof it - I doubt I'll buy more demanding headphones than the a900x. I'm in Australia.
What I have
- ATH-a900x, used pretty much exclusively on my desktop computer for games (70% of usage) and music when working from home. Enjoying these even though I currently run them from a standard motherboard audio jack (no sound card / external DAC or amp).
- JVC-HAZ500z - went to Japan, I think you have to buy them for the price. Doesn't get much of a run, I don't find them particularly comfortable and they have zero noise isolation (to be expected from portables, I guess)
- Brainwav HM3s - my old gaming headphones, probably give these to a mate.
- Klipsch s4 II IEMs with Samsung s3 phone for podcasts and music on the move.
- Various IEMs with phone for sleeping (UE600, Brainwav M5).
- FYI only a integrated bluray home theatre setup - Samsung HT-E6730W with LG 42LM6410 TV - only audio output is the optical out from the TV to the HT, no headphone jacks etc. Spare HDMI input and stereo aux input, no spare optical inputs)
Music-wise, I listen to a lot of old blues, reggae, ska, old Indian classical and bollywood and northern soul (so original audio recording quality is generally pretty low) at one end, and hip-hop, dancehall, funk and hard rock/metal at the other end. Music is generally in higher quality MP3s (tried to re-rip stuff into FLAC but found most of my CDs have degraded too far).
PS: Some other things that are annoying me, wondering if you can provide thoughts:
A.) I don't have an audio output from my HTS/TV I can use for headphones. Best idea I've come up with is to put a splitter on the optical cable running from the TV to the HTS, but then I'd need to work out how to convert the optical signal to something I can plug the TV into.
B.) not sure how to get computer audio into home theatre - spare inputs are RCA stereo and HDMI. If I plug in HDMI, computer thinks it is managing an extra monitor, so I get weird delays and performance issues. If I use stereo RCA, I lose surround sound.
Cheers, and pardon the name,
Edited by Poopifier - 7/20/13 at 11:20pm