Before I start, I want you to know that all of my knowledge on these devices are from internet research, mostly on this site. So please do correct me if anything I presume, assume, or otherwise is false. I'm here to learn. I've only been at this for about 6 months.
Alright people. I have done some research on all of these pieces and I need help choosing which I should purchase "FIRST." I intend to get all of these, but I want to know based upon my lifestyle what would benefit from more and what I would be least likely to get upgraditis on, etc.
Firstly some information about me so you'll have the pertinent information about me necessary to advise me.
- Budget is around 200 dollars, give or take 50.
- A lot of my usage is desktop home use. I would say about 80 percent. But I use them when I close at work (Best Buy) because the tedium drives me mad. So having a mobile solution is something I'd like.
- The headphones I have right now are the V-Moda M-80s. I intend at some point in time getting some reference grade cans (AKG Q701/K702) which I know are bit harder to drive, so take that into consideration please.
- I do a lot of PC gaming, and in a few months when the next-gen consoles and Holiday season game flood comes, I'll be playing more shooters than anything (BF4 anyone??). So that's why a gaming soundcard is even tossed into the this mix.
- Oh yes, and my musical taste is rather eclectic, but centers around 90s alternative, 90 hard rock, more modern hard rock, heavier electronic, and a slight dabble into country.
- Another thing I found about myself the other day, I tried some mixrs the other day (Best Buy makes me wear them on the floor, don't hate) and played some dubstep that I would say had a rather moderate bass attack in the song, and even with the volume turned down low I got a splitting headache. I don't know if that was an isolated event or just that my ears don't like heavy bass impact, but it was excruciating. I'm leaning toward the former though.
Now, on to my choices:
1) Firstly is the Modi/Magni. I need a good deal about these and the schiit combo seems to be a good entry into the desktop dac/amp game, at my price range. My only concern is the hissing that I have been informed USB Dacs have, due to the USB header picking up noise from the Motherboard. Is this true? I don't know how much that would bother me. I don't usually listen to headphones very loud, but is it extremely noticeable? I've heard that optical s/pdif negates much of that. Would it be worth looking for a DaC that has the optical input.
2) Asus Xonar is probably my choice for a gaming 7.1 sound card. I have read that that will function as my DAC as my onboard would, requiring only a desktop amp. If I was looking at the 50 dollar model, that would leave close to 200 for the AMP alone, which would allow for a higher quality Amp. If you have recommendations for something in that area, please let me know, Mentioned above, the hissing problem. Will that persist with a PCIe sound card, or will there not be as much of an issue?
3) Fiio X3 is apparently a good compromise for a mobile budget rig. Has a decent DAC and amp built in and can expand to an SDXC, This one is more of a mobile solutions so its more of a choice between the first two, but if you think it is a good idea, I may pick it up first.
So what do you guys think I should buy first, and I'll probably be happiest with?
Thanks for all the help so far.