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Driving the Philips Fidelio X1?

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 

I know that these are only 30 ohms and don't need much juice at all, but these will be my first quality pair of headphones (never will i use $10 buds again) and I want to have the best experience possible (without going into tube amps) and it is also really important to me that I will be able to drive them really loud.

 

From what I understand a DAC essentially improves the audio source while an amp will boost the volume? (Just made my account today have mercy) do the ever so popular Fiio portable amps have both? And are they really that much better than a cheap Asus sound card? (I will be using them exclusively indoors, and on my pc after all.) Much thanks.

post #2 of 20

No need for portable amps then. Both the DAC and amp improves the sound quality, an amplifier doesn't just make the signal louder. Do you game and watch movies. If so, you should definitely get a sound card.

post #3 of 20
Thread Starter 

Now that that is established can you recommend a sound card? I know this sounds silly but would an asus stx make a phone like this perform poorly because it is a higher end card? And I also would like a card that reaches the brink of diminishing returns. (ex: dsx great, stx overkill, ??? just right.)

post #4 of 20

If all you care about is 2-channel audio (music), then get a Schiit Magni headphone amplifier, $99, and plug it into the Essence STX's RCA output (the STX does have a nice PCM1792A DAC chip).

The Magni's less then 1-Ohm impedance will (should) do a better job of driving the 30-Ohm Philips, over the STX's built in amps 10-Ohm impedance

 

As the Xonar DX & D1 sound cards use the same CMI8788 audio processor as the Xonar Essence STX

and the DX/D1 come with a still good DAC chip (CS4398).

Swapping out the Essence STX for an Xonar DX or D1 sound card (used , $60) and a Schiit Magni headphone amplifier ($99) would give you the same headphone surround sound features as the STX, while using the preferred Magni low impedance amplifier.

post #5 of 20

Yeah, sound cards tend to have a slightly high output impedance. It shouldn't matter too much sound quality wise, but low output impedance is preferred.

post #6 of 20
Thread Starter 

So the magni would act as the amplifier and the xonar as teh dac? How much of a difference would there be from just using say using the d1 by itself without the amp? And if I bought the magni what would be the pros and cons of pairing it with a dac vs soundcard? (will be gaming too, but just as long as it sounds good I will not be too concerned, Mostly music.)

post #7 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Beef Anus View Post
 

So the Magni would act as the amplifier and the Xonar as the DAC? How much of a difference would there be from just using say using the D1 by itself without the amp? And if I bought the Magni what would be the pros and cons of pairing it with a DAC vs sound card? (will be gaming too, but just as long as it sounds good I will not be too concerned, Mostly music.)

The Xonar D1 (& DX) have an output impedance of 100-Ohms, so the STX's 10-Ohm would better for driving the 30-Ohm Philips, over the D1. Usually when the source's impedance is less then then 10 times the headphones impedance, you start to get a bloated bass (louder, less detail)

I would assume you would be too buzy gaming to be trying to nitpick the STX/Philips audio quality

I use 32-Ohm (K550) and 40-Ohm (A900X) and 50-Ohm (HD558) headphone plugged into my STX's amp and I'm not noticing a "problem" with audio quality.

You can always do the STX/Philips combo for now, maybe down the line buy the Magni and compare audio quality, you might end up using the STX's amp for gaming and the Magni for music.

post #8 of 20
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by PurpleAngel View Post
 

The Xonar D1 (& DX) have an output impedance of 100-Ohms, so the STX's 10-Ohm would better for driving the 30-Ohm Philips, over the D1. Usually when the source's impedance is less then then 10 times the headphones impedance, you start to get a bloated bass (louder, less detail)

I would assume you would be too buzy gaming to be trying to nitpick the STX/Philips audio quality

I use 32-Ohm (K550) and 40-Ohm (A900X) and 50-Ohm (HD558) headphone plugged into my STX's amp and I'm not noticing a "problem" with audio quality.

You can always do the STX/Philips combo for now, maybe down the line buy the Magni and compare audio quality, you might end up using the STX's amp for gaming and the Magni for music.

"Usually when the source's impedance is less then then 10 times the headphones impedance, you start to get a bloated bass" So dx has 100 ohm source which is less than the 30x10=300 ohms of the x1's so I would be getting a bloated noise from them?

 

"you might end up using the STX's amp for gaming and the Magni for music." Why would i have to use one for gaming and one for music? doesn't the magni act as an amp and the sound card as a dac in unison for eveything?

 

(I understand that the d1/dx have their own amp, would plugging in the magni into the sound card mess up the sound because two amps are being used?)

 

I feel like a kid asking too many questions in elementary lol, but this knowledge is new to me and I have no hands on experience just getting the hang of it. Tanks for staying with me up to this point.

post #9 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Beef Anus View Post
 

"Usually when the source's impedance is less then then 10 times the headphones impedance, you start to get a bloated bass" So dx has 100 ohm source which is less than the 30x10=300 ohms of the x1's so I would be getting a bloated noise from them?

 

"you might end up using the STX's amp for gaming and the Magni for music." Why would i have to use one for gaming and one for music? doesn't the Magni act as an amp and the sound card as a DAC in unison for everything?

 

(I understand that the D1/DX have their own amp, would plugging in the Magni into the sound card mess up the sound because two amps are being used?)

 

I feel like a kid asking too many questions in elementary lol, but this knowledge is new to me and I have no hands on experience just getting the hang of it. Tanks for staying with me up to this point.

For better audio quality with 30-Ohm headphones, you want (prefer) to use a source (amped or unamped) of 3-Ohms or less, the D1 is 100-Ohm.

The Magni is an amplifer, but the Essence STX can not send headphone surround sound thru it's RCA outputs.

Headphone Surround Sound being audio that starts out as 6-channel (5.1) or 8-channel (7.1) audio and is reprocessed into a special 2-channel audio stream that can be sent to a normal 2-channel headphone, which fools your 2-channel input (right and left ear) into thinking it's hearing surround sound.

So the STX can send headphone surround sound thru it's (amplified) headphone output, but not it's RCA output, the STX's RCA outputs function like the "front" speaker outputs

 

Where as the Xonar DX/D1 uses the same jack for "front" speaker out and headphone output, so an external amplifier (Magni) can be connected to it an receive a Headphone Surround Sound signal.

 

The Xonar DX & D1 do not come with a headphone amplifier, it more like a basic line output that you can plug headphones into (or a headphone amplifier).

You do not have to have a "true" headphone amplifier to drive headphones. but a headphone amplifier does a better job.

 

I've been posting on Head-Fi for 2- years and I'm still learning stuff.

post #10 of 20
Thread Starter 

Just did a ton of reading and this is a bit of a head ache.

 

So far I think I just might buy that dx card for $60 then see if i need the magni amp later, thanks for the help. ;)

post #11 of 20
Maybe look at the creative titanium HD.
post #12 of 20
Thread Starter 

Its 160, if i can get a deal on it maybe. But the combination of the titanium and magni with x1 supposedly have a hissing at 0 volume. (I'm pretty sure i would get that this the dx anyway.)

post #13 of 20

Don't know too much about sound cards, really. I'm just thinking it must be quite annoying not being able to get anything but pure 2-channel audio out of the RCA's on the dx along with that very high output impedance (which doesn't matter if you get an amp, though). Just saying.

 

You might want to pm NamelessPFG as he's a lot into gaming and audio, and therefore sound cards.

post #14 of 20
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the option, will look into the titanium's for the gaming features.

post #15 of 20

Do you guys think that Nuforce uDAC-3 would be sufficient for X1s ?

It's got: Headphone Output80 mW x 2 @ 16-Ohm

 

I don't know if that's ok ?

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