I’m looking to buy a headphone amp and I need some advice please. I’m currently using DT880s (250ohm) and will soon be purchasing DT770s (250ohm). I would say about 90-95% of the time I’m listening at my desktop PC, but I would also use it with my laptop and iPod otherwise so portability is a plus, but not priority. Music is pretty broad, mostly rock with some jazz, metal, classical, folk, and basically everything else other than hip hop and electronica.
My desktop also has a Xonar DX, which factors into my dilemma. Right now I have the Xonar connected to front panel audio and I’m listening through that. The Xonar is also outputting to Logitech Z5500 5.1 speakers via analog (which is why I can’t connect the headphones to the back panel of the Xonar). I use these speakers about 50% of the time, so ideally I don’t want to have to crawl behind the desktop to constantly switch out cables depending on if I want to listen on headphones or speakers.
From what I understand, I basically have two options:
1. 1. Something like the E17, connect to the Xonar via optical, leave the speakers plugged into the analog outputs of the Xonar, and use the headphones through the E17 (forcing Dolby headphone etc through optical for games/movies/etc as necessary). Bonus because the E17 is portable. However, my concern is that I’ve heard the DAC on the E17 isn’t as good as the Xonar…is this true? Would there be a noticeable difference?
2. 2. Get a dedicated headphone amp to use with the Xonar, be less lazy and switch between speakers and headphones by plugging them into the Xonar as needed. I could maybe go this route if the quality difference over the E17 is significant, but then I lose the added bonus of portability (I think?).
Any thoughts/advice would be much appreciated! My budget is around $200.