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Need help with AMP/DAC! - Page 2

post #16 of 41
Thread Starter 
No problem, thanks for the free bumps smily_headphones1.gif
post #17 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by TrollDragon View Post
 


 

Words of truth right there...

 

Best bang for the buck is a hard choice sometimes... If you need portability the the E12 will work nicely for you or wait for the E18 down the road, if you just want a desktop unit then the E09K or the Schiit Modi will drive the 250 Ohm cans well.

 

I had the Audioengine D1 DAC/Amp as my first choice. ($159 from CanadaComputers)

 

I even emailed Audioengine and asked them specifically if the D1 would drive 250 Ohm headphones, they replied with "Many of our users have reported satisfactory results with high impedance headphones". Well when it arrived I connected up the DT880's and had to turn the volume control to 90% to get a decent level of sound, which was NOT loud by any means. Within 15 minutes it was packed up and back in the box with an RMA to B&H to be exchanged for the E09K.

 

I always use a motorbike analogy to explain amps... You can get around fine on a 250cc bike, here there and everywhere around town nicely. Then you take it up on the highway, the bike will reach highway speeds with the throttle almost maxed out and little to spare. (This is the E17 driving 250 Ohm headphones). Now lets switch the bike over to a 650cc you still get great performance around town and when you take it up on the highway you can get up to speed with still half the throttle left in reserve. (This is the E12 / E09K / Modi with 250 Ohm headphones).

 

The issue is if all your music is well mastered to decent levels then the E17 will provide all you need, but the first poorly mastered track that has low levels there will not be any reserve left in the E17 to allow you to turn up the volume. If you have not heard the DT990's they are an open can, in a quiet environment they are great but if you have to drown out the tv, talking, or any other noises you will want to turn them up some and that might just not be available.

[SNIP]

:beerchug: 

If the amp barely makes it, like you say the E17 (which I agree) there is another consideration. If you are playing music that is compressed (loudness) then you can probably get by. If the music has serious dynamics then you will have problems with the peaks. Either it will distort or you will have too turn down the volume and the overall sound will not be loud enough to enjoy. I'm bad, I like loud, lucky for my wife, I use cans.

post #18 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by tehsprayer View Post
 

Should I be looking at getting an amp and DAC for the future or just an amp or just a DAC? I don't listen to music very loudly. It would be nice to get a DAC/amp combo to save money such as the E17 but I want the best bang for my buck and is able to drive DT 990s without breaking the bank.


Get the Creative Labs Sound Blaster Z (SB1500) sound card and sell off the Astro Mix-Amp.

post #19 of 41
Thread Starter 

Maybe i'll save up and for xmas get the modi and magni.

 

Will I need a dac AND amplifier or can I get by with just a dac or just an amplifier.

I'm not sure if I need both.

post #20 of 41
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by PurpleAngel View Post
 


Get the Creative Labs Sound Blaster Z (SB1500) sound card and sell off the Astro Mix-Amp.

If I sell my Astro Mixamp am I still able to use the DT 990s on the Xbox somehow?

post #21 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by tehsprayer View Post
 

If I sell my Astro Mix-amp am I still able to use the DT 990s on the Xbox somehow?


You have an xBox.

Guess you need to keep the Astro mix-amp for the xBox.

 

Maybe get lower impedance headphones, like the Sennheiser HD558 (50-Ohm)

Easy for the Astro to drive the HD558s.

post #22 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by TrollDragon View Post
 


If I was getting gear again for the first time with 250 Ohm headphones, I would look into the Audio-gd NFB-15.32 which gets great reviews around here, has a 32bit 384k DAC and all the inputs. A decent amplifier that will drive most headphones and you can use it as a standalone DAC only if you get a better amp down the road. $235 from China with a little shipping and duty will probably land it for less than $300 on your door.

 

These are the choices that I would recommend.

:beerchug: 

I ordered the Audio-GD NFB-15.32 last night, $297.90, will be shipped to California, using DHL.

post #23 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by PurpleAngel View Post
 

I ordered the Audio-GD NFB-15.32 last night, $297.90, will be shipped to California, using DHL.

Just looked at the specs. The HP output impedance is 2 Ohms. If you have certain BA IEMs that are around 8 Ohm or thereabout impedance you might not get the performance you want. It looks like it can drive high impedance cans nicely.

post #24 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by StanD View Post
 

Just looked at the specs. The HP output impedance is 2 Ohms. If you have certain BA IEMs that are around 8 Ohm or thereabout impedance you might not get the performance you want. It looks like it can drive high impedance cans nicely.


Lowest impedance cans I use it the 32-Ohm AKG K550.

I'm fairly sure I'll never use IEMs.

The NFB-15.32's 2-Ohms is still lower then the 10-Ohms of my Essence STX.

post #25 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by PurpleAngel View Post
 


Lowest impedance cans I use it the 32-Ohm AKG K550.

I'm fairly sure I'll never use IEMs.

The NFB-15.32's 2-Ohms is still lower then the 10-Ohms of my Essence STX.

One usually wants the output impedance to be much lower than the impedance of their cans. I have a pair of Sony XBA-3, 12 Ohms, that benefits from being amped even though my cellphone comes in around 1 Ohm. You might want to compare the sound of your Essence STX  with another amp of very low impedance. Of course that is not easy as you have to match the volume and EQ/tonal character of both amps/sources to get a good eval.

That amp looks like it'll handle hard to drive high impedance cans. Something that many amps fall short of. The below specs are nice.

150mW/600 ohm

Headphone output : 10V RMS

post #26 of 41
Thread Starter 
I heard the schiit combo is not that good for the dt 990s and for 250 dollars (40 dollars shipping)....I think I'll just get the e10
post #27 of 41

FWIW - I have a Fiio E17 and a pair of DT990 PRO 250Ohm speakers and the E17 can drive them to ear splittling levels depending on the source. Typically when connected to the line out on my phone (headphone out to aux in on the E17 which bypasses the dac I know but the  USB OTG gives me issues) the volume is quite loud - not quite as loud on my tablet and very variable using the USB DAC/AMP functions from my pc. Optical disc player digital coax (s/pdif) and optical toslink tend to be quite loud - it all seems to depend on the output signal from your source and how 'hot' the original recording is.

I use my project sunrise tube amp at home for regular listening but when in the den or when on the go I use the E17 without troubles.

post #28 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by tehsprayer View Post
 

Maybe i'll save up and for xmas get the modi and magni.

 

Will I need a dac AND amplifier or can I get by with just a dac or just an amplifier.

I'm not sure if I need both.


Yes, you need both. A DAC won't connect to your headphones if you don't have an amp, and the advantages of an amp are lost if you don't run it from a DAC. Yes, it is possible to connect an amp to a regular headphone jack, but then you are still hearing music through the 50 cents worth of parts in that headphone jack. You should really get both. 

I have a friend who runs the DT990-250 off of Fiio and he's happy with it. I'm not sure of the particular model. I had the DT990-250 for over a year, and they aren't that hard to drive. I used a CMOY from JDS labs and the HRT Music Streamer II. The HRT might be over your budget, but a CMOY is a great budget amp for around $40. Perhaps you could consider Modi + CMOY for cheaper than Modi+ Magni? The Magni might be better than a CMOY, but a CMOY is completely fine for the DT990. 

Also, you mentioned symptoms of not having enough power for the DT990. In my experience, the main things to look out for are overly boomy bass, small soundstage (though you probably wouldn't know unless you've heard them well amped), and obvious distortion at high volumes. 

post #29 of 41
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by manbear View Post
 


Yes, you need both. A DAC won't connect to your headphones if you don't have an amp, and the advantages of an amp are lost if you don't run it from a DAC. Yes, it is possible to connect an amp to a regular headphone jack, but then you are still hearing music through the 50 cents worth of parts in that headphone jack. You should really get both. 

I have a friend who runs the DT990-250 off of Fiio and he's happy with it. I'm not sure of the particular model. I had the DT990-250 for over a year, and they aren't that hard to drive. I used a CMOY from JDS labs and the HRT Music Streamer II. The HRT might be over your budget, but a CMOY is a great budget amp for around $40. Perhaps you could consider Modi + CMOY for cheaper than Modi+ Magni? The Magni might be better than a CMOY, but a CMOY is completely fine for the DT990. 

Also, you mentioned symptoms of not having enough power for the DT990. In my experience, the main things to look out for are overly boomy bass, small soundstage (though you probably wouldn't know unless you've heard them well amped), and obvious distortion at high volumes. 

Would the E17 be good for the dt 990 as they are easier to get in canada rather than importing schiit and cmoy from the states.

post #30 of 41
The E17 is a good portable DAC/amp for it's price, and is as good (or better) than a CMOY headphone amp.

If you want a CMOY, you can get one from fred_fred_2004 on ebay. He ships out of Australia and is well known for his CMOY amps on Head-Fi.
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