First post here however this site has given me a ton of insight when i was making my headphone decision. I'm pretty much a complete audio noob and hadn't really ever given audio too much thought until recently.
After getting a new rig setup, i thought it was also time to upgrade my headphones and after a lot of research went for the Sony MA900 which i just got today. I never initially thought I would spend so much on headphones, so I was hoping to be really blown away by them. My first impressions are that I am really happy with the clarity but just feel a touch underwhelmed in terms of their power. I had a cheap pair of ovann headphones (couldn't have cost more than $10 or so) and although it is obvious the Sony's are superior in terms of clarity, I actually prefer the sound of the Ovanns for Techno/House which is the main genre I listen to. I know the Sony's are not geared towards 'Bassheads' but I still expected to be impressed in comparison to my old ones.
Something that surprised me is that I can crank the pc volume up to 100% and not have it hurt my ears, in fact I know I have definitely listened to music louder than this on occasion. With my cheapie Ovans I could only go to 60% or so before the volume gets too loud, so I'm guessing that my premium Sony's are in need of some better equipment to 'drive' them.
My current pc audio is the realtek 1150 onboard sound from my new MSI g45 gaming motherboard (http://uk.msi.com/product/mb/Z87-G45-GAMING.html#overview) which I was rather excited about as it sounded like a huge upgrade from my old onboard sound. It supposedly has an onboard headphone amp integrated and yet I can still push these the headphones to 100% and not feel it's too loud.
So my question is do you think I would benefit from a different soundcard and/or desktop amp? If so what would you suggest for a budget of maximum £150 (and hopefully much less)?
To clarify, my main need is for gaming where I really want to experience virtual surround sound for first person shooters, however music is also important to me.