Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Headphones (full-size) › Sound card or DAC?
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Sound card or DAC?

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 

So I got myself some Sennheiser HD 598's last week, I absolutely love them!


However one thing they have made me realise is that my onboard audio on my PC is terrible! It causes them to distort at anything even close to the top end of safe listening levels and the sound is wildly flat. I have a DAC built into my keyboard (Logitech G510) which is slightly better when the bass boost option is turned on, but I can tell there is still lots of room for improvement.


My question is what would be the best upgrade? I've been looking at the following:


  • Creative sound blaster Z ultra.
  • Asus xonar D2X.
  • Fiio E07 portable DAC and headphone amp.


I really like the idea of having the portable aspect of the E07 (though exactly how much use I will get out of the 598 away from my PC is debatable.) but would this be a step down from an internal soundcard?


Does anyone have experience with either or both of those sound cards with the 598's or similar Senn's? Any opinions on which is the better card?



Many thanks,



post #2 of 6

The Asus Xonar DG (PCI) sound card is $27.49 and there is a $10 mail in rebate this month.

The Sound Blaster Z comes with a better DAC chip, $80.


Asus Xonar D2X does not have a headphone amplifier, but still should improve audio quality over on-board audio, would really need to get an add-on headphone amplifier to bring out it's best.

post #3 of 6
Welcome to the forum lancemate. Sennheiser HD598 headphones are high quality and need a good source/dac/amplifier to fulfill their potential. I have some HD595s and have been surprised by how much they can deliver as you upgrade components. I never thought anyone would put a DAC into a keyboard. You could get a Fiio E9 desktop amplifier and use a Fiio E7 DAC. Alternatively you could get a Fiio X3 media player and reduce the number of components although this will probably have less storage capacity than a PC or laptop. I don't know anything about sound cards mainly because of the aggravation I once had with a Creative card. Computers although great for capacity with lossless files may suffer from interference, glitches/noise with hard drives not to mention rather large power consumption.
post #4 of 6
Thread Starter 
Ok thanks guys, you've given me even more options to mull over, now it's even more difficult lol, I'm in no rush though so will read into everything and make a decision.
post #5 of 6
Originally Posted by lancemate View Post

Ok thanks guys, you've given me even more options to mull over, now it's even more difficult lol, I'm in no rush though so will read into everything and make a decision.

Get the Xonar DG, $17.49 after rebate, better DAC then your motherboard or keyboard.

Comes with a basic headphone amplifier and Dolby Headphone surround sound.

post #6 of 6
I have the SB ZXR as a card in my self-built PC.

It's fine, but I wouldn't rely in it as the ideal source to drive your gorgeous new headphones.

The Fiio seems like the right option to go with, to me; especially the X3. Sure, it won't store as much as a PC, but you can offload FLACs of your favorite music from your PC to then carry with you and listen to anywhere you want to.

I hate being shackled to a PC to listen to music; it's mainly a good storage system, and server for portable clients.

As cloud-based services proliferate and become cheaper and more accessible and pervasive, the need to have any local storage of anything will vanish completely. And the PC along with it.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Headphones (full-size)
Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Headphones (full-size) › Sound card or DAC?