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Help choosing between Fiio X3, an Asus Xonar Sound Card + Desktop Amp, and the Schiit Mobi/Magni...

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 

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. 

 

Drew Waits

post #2 of 13

So you need a sound card for the computer for gaming.

And a portable audio player.

Some day your going to buy AKG 7XX series headphones.

And an external sound card that works with gaming consoles.

 

For now get the Asus Xonar DG sound card ,$26 and there is a $10 mail in rebate this month.

Sandisk Sansa Clip Zip 4GB ($37) audio player, with a 16GB ($10) or 32GB ($20) micro-sd memory card.

That should cover you for now.

 

When you get a gaming console, buy an Astro Mix-amp.

post #3 of 13
Thread Starter 

What is funny is that I already have the Sansa Clip Zip (In lime green no less.) Do you think the fiio 3X will have better DAC/Amp capabilities than my Zip? If not I can say whatever and forget about the player and just worry about my other two issues.

 

But I think you have missed part of my question. I'm trying to drive my headphones. (V-Moda M80s) I already use the Zip for them while mobile, but I do need some sort of desktop amp if not a Desktop Amp combo (Schiit). So on that topic, what do you think?

post #4 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by DrewWaits View Post
 

What is funny is that I already have the Sansa Clip Zip (In lime green no less.) Do you think the fiio 3X will have better DAC/Amp capabilities than my Zip? If not I can say whatever and forget about the player and just worry about my other two issues.

 

But I think you have missed part of my question. I'm trying to drive my headphones. (V-Moda M80s) I already use the Zip for them while mobile, but I do need some sort of desktop amp if not a Desktop Amp combo (Schiit). So on that topic, what do you think?

The Fiio X3 will (should) provide better audio quality then the Clip Zip.

But you also want a some thing to act as a sound card for both the PC and the game console

But the essence STX your taking about is only good for the PC, not the gaming console

You talk about getting the Schiit (Magni/modi) combo, but they can not provide any surround sound for gaming with the PC  and may not even work with a gaming console.

and you want to get AKG headphones.

But you have been taking about a budget for around $200, give or take $50.


Edited by PurpleAngel - 10/6/13 at 10:56pm
post #5 of 13
Thread Starter 

Oh I agree heartily with the sound card. I have just been putting it off till I could decide which. The DG seems like a good solution.

Not to disagree with you but I never mentioned any sort of console gaming. I play my Wii U for Zelda and that's about it. Everything else is "PC master race," so while I understand that the Astro scores high marks for being a good gaming audio amp, that's not my main purpose. I also hadn't said anything about the STX. I don't want to spend 170 on a sound card, I'd just as soon get a Dac/Amp combo. I am more worried about musical quality than 3d sound mapping of the 7.1 Sound Card. If I have to I'll say bollocks to the sound card period and use RazerSurround simulated Virtual Surround through the Schiit Dac/Amp combo.

 

*Edit:* Thanks for the insight on the X3. I anticipate getting it. Its 64 gb micro SDXC card slot is also extremely attractive. The Zip tops out at 32 and while my collection is around 70 gigs of music, switching less often would be excellent. 


Edited by DrewWaits - 10/6/13 at 11:04pm
post #6 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by DrewWaits View Post
 

Oh I agree heartily with the sound card. I have just been putting it off till I could decide which. The DG seems like a good solution.

Not to disagree with you but I never mentioned any sort of console gaming. I play my Wii U for Zelda and that's about it. Everything else is "PC master race," so while I understand that the Astro scores high marks for being a good gaming audio amp, that's not my main purpose. I also hadn't said anything about the STX. I don't want to spend 170 on a sound card, I'd just as soon get a Dac/Amp combo. I am more worried about musical quality than 3d sound mapping of the 7.1 Sound Card. If I have to I'll say bollocks to the sound card period and use RazerSurround simulated Virtual Surround through the Schiit Dac/Amp combo.

Your right, you did not talk about the STX, my mind tried to fill in something that was not there.

Getting the Xonar Dx or D1 sound card (used, $60) with an external headphone amplifie r(Magni), would make a good combo. And the Magni can be used with more then just your PC.

But the Xonar DG is so low cost right now, $27 with $10 mail in rebate, it make had to pass on.

Can the Razor Surround be used thru a USB port? to a DAC?

 

But you did use the words "in a few months when the next-gen gaming consoles" and go on about shooters (BF4) just after that, so it seemed like you were planning on console gaming.

post #7 of 13
Thread Starter 

My mistake! I wrote the "little info about me" thing last night and the second part today. No sir, I would be playing the games that release with them on PC. It just happens to coincide with next gen launch. That's my bad broski. 

 

Anyway, you're right. Its better to have that Asus then not. Plus I get it for less than 10 dollars (I have some amazon credit saved up). So you're thinking my most beneficial set up would be to pick up the DG while its low and a Magni amp to use with any device I see fit? But I'll look at a couple other gaming cards and pic something out. I think my decision has been made. Thank you sir :)

post #8 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by DrewWaits View Post
 

My mistake! I wrote the "little info about me" thing last night and the second part today. No sir, I would be playing the games that release with them on PC. It just happens to coincide with next gen launch. That's my bad broski. 

 

Anyway, you're right. Its better to have that Asus then not. Plus I get it for less than 10 dollars (I have some amazon credit saved up). So you're thinking my most beneficial set up would be to pick up the DG while its low and a Magni amp to use with any device I see fit? But I'll look at a couple other gaming cards and pic something out. I think my decision has been made. Thank you sir :)

The Xonar DG comes with a basic headphone amplifier that can drive headphones up to 150-Ohm.

The DG might do a decent job of driving your V-Moda M-80s (technically the Magni would be better amp to connect the V-Mode m80s to)

So the Magni is optional.

 

I thought the Xonar DX or D1, which come with a better DAC chip then the DG, would be a good match for use with the Magni, as the DX & D1 do not have a headphone amplifier built in and the DX/D1 high impedance jack are not the best choice for plugging headphones directly into.

post #9 of 13
Thread Starter 

I fully plan on getting getting the magni soon, but I suppose having the optical out on the DG wouldn't be bad. Sadly the rebate is over, so I can't get the ten bucks off (oh dear). I'm still picking up the DG and it'll be here by Wednesday, after I install it I'll be sure to post my thoughts and experience. Thanks for the help deciding purple. :)

post #10 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by DrewWaits View Post
 

I fully plan on getting getting the magni soon, but I suppose having the optical out on the DG wouldn't be bad. Sadly the rebate is over, so I can't get the ten bucks off (oh dear). I'm still picking up the DG and it'll be here by Wednesday, after I install it I'll be sure to post my thoughts and experience. Thanks for the help deciding purple. :)

$10 rebate is being offered on Amazons website, 10/1 - 10/31.

post #11 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by DrewWaits View Post

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 have the problem, and I have tried my ODAC on various computers. Lots of happy people using USB DACs that don't have that problem. Internal sound cards can also pick up noise from a computer, but lots of people using them, too. smily_headphones1.gif
post #12 of 13
Thread Starter 

Well I'll be probably grabbing the Magni first and running it through my brand new shiny Asus Xonar card. But after that if I'm still itching I'll get the modi and complete the sexy little set of schiit :P

 

Thanks for the input man. Hissing scares me, I don't want to go the inferior setup.

post #13 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by DrewWaits View Post

Hissing scares me, I don't want to go the inferior setup.

Yeah. I don't know where that came from. I've never heard that hissing is some kind of major problem with USB DACs.
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