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Is this right? Is there a better way? Computer->DAC/orAmp->headphones. Gaming vs Music...

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 

So, here's what I want: Gaming audio some of the time, high quality audio the rest of the time.

 

My thinking:

 

For Gaming (an possibly movies): Soundcard (Headphone output) -> Fiio E009K -> Headphones

This probably over amps things, but I get the simulated surround from the soundcard for positional awareness and the amp on the E0009K to power pretty much any headphones.

 

For Music: Soundcard (SPDIF Optical) -> Fiio E17K (Docked in E009K) -> Headphones

This lets me bypass the soundcard DAC and use something better.

 

Am I wrong on this? Is there a better way to achieve basically the same things? I'd like to keep the costs close to the same (~$200-250). The other advantage I see in this is that I can use the E17K when away from my desktop.

 

Thoughts?

 

Thanks!

Ostler

post #2 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ostler View Post
 

So, here's what I want: Gaming audio some of the time, high quality audio the rest of the time.

 

For Gaming (an possibly movies): Sound card (Headphone output) -> FiiO E09K -> Headphones

This probably over amps things, but I get the simulated surround from the sound card for positional awareness and the amp on the E09K to power pretty much any headphones.

 

For Music: sound card (SPDIF Optical) -> FiiO E17K (Docked in E09K) -> Headphones

This lets me bypass the sound card DAC and use something better.

 

Am I wrong on this? Is there a better way to achieve basically the same things? I'd like to keep the costs close to the same (~$200-250). The other advantage I see in this is that I can use the E17K when away from my desktop.

If might help to know what sound card your plugging the amplifier into?

If the sound card has a good enough DAC chip, you would not need to use the E17.

post #3 of 13
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by PurpleAngel View Post
 

If might help to know what sound card your plugging the amplifier into?

If the sound card has a good enough DAC chip, you would not need to use the E17.

 

Sound Blaster X-Fi Surround 5.1 Pro currently, but I'm not impressed with the headphone out. Very noisy for some reason.

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

Sound Blaster X-Fi Surround 5.1 Pro currently, but I'm not impressed with the headphone out. Very noisy for some reason.

Are you using a laptop or desktop?

post #5 of 13
Thread Starter 
Desktop. I'm considering a new sound card, possibly the creative Zx or ZxR, but not committed yet.

Thanks,
post #6 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ostler View Post

Desktop. I'm considering a new sound card, possibly the creative Zx or ZxR, but not committed yet.

Creative Sound Blaster Z (SB1500, retail box) sound card, $80.

 

AKG K612 Pro (120-Ohm) headphones, new $200, used $150 (Amazon).

 

Used K612 on eBay, $130.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/AKG-K612-pro-Headphones-/261352112955?pt=US_DJ_Monitoring_Headphones&hash=item3cd9ccc33b

post #7 of 13
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by PurpleAngel View Post

Creative Sound Blaster Z (SB1500, retail box) sound card, $80.

AKG K612 Pro (120-Ohm) headphones, new $200, used $150 (Amazon).

Used K612 on eBay, $130.
http://www.ebay.com/itm/AKG-K612-pro-Headphones-/261352112955?pt=US_DJ_Monitoring_Headphones&hash=item3cd9ccc33b
Thanks!

So is the Z "good enough for music rather than an external DAC/Amp? My budget could possible be stretched for both. Or, will be at some point anyway. smily_headphones1.gif

Also, why those AKGs. I see you have lots of headphones. The DT990 Pros are $150 on Amazon right now, how do they compare to the AKGs you suggested?

Thanks for all the help!
Ostler
post #8 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ostler View Post
 

 

This probably over amps things, but I get the simulated surround from the soundcard for positional awareness and the amp on the E0009K to power pretty much any headphones.

 

I notice your creative sound card has a RCA line out, why not do creative sound card line out -> E09k aux in -> headphone out ?


Edited by imeem - 12/15/13 at 6:53pm
post #9 of 13
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by imeem View Post
 

I notice your creative sound card has a RCA line out, why not do creative sound card line out -> E09k aux in -> headphone out ?

The simulated surround sound (for gaming) only outputs through the headphone out. I could use the line out for music, but I'm not sure if that would be better or worse than using an external DAC. I'm guessing worse depending on the DAC.

 

Thanks,

Ostler

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

The simulated surround sound (for gaming) only outputs through the headphone out. I could use the line out for music, but I'm not sure if that would be better or worse than using an external DAC. I'm guessing worse depending on the DAC.

 

Thanks,

Ostler


Are you sure that the simulated surround sound for gaming only outputs through the headphone out ? Is it the same with creative x-fi titanium (non-hd) sound card with optical out ?

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

So is the Z "good enough for music rather than an external DAC/Amp? My budget could possible be stretched for both. Or, will be at some point anyway. smily_headphones1.gif
Also, why those AKGs. I see you have lots of headphones. The DT990 Pros are $150 on Amazon right now, how do they compare to the AKGs you suggested?

The Z & Zx both use the same DAC chip and headphone amplifier, the Zx just comes with that external ACM, which some say has a small negative effect on the audio quality.

So unless you really need the ACM, getting the Z (SB1500) model saves a few dollars.

 

The DT990 is a good headphone, I like to use the DT990 Premium 600-Ohm for movies.

The DT990 Pro 250-Ohm has a strong bass & treble, which slightly overshadows the mids.

Where as the K612 Pro should be a little more balanced, the K612 will not have as much bass as the DT990s.

Also the 120-Ohm K612 should be a little easier for the Z to drive, over the 250-Ohm DT990.

But as I have not listened to the K612 myself, might be a good idea for you to check reviews on the K612 yourself.

post #12 of 13
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by JeanMichou View Post
 


Are you sure that the simulated surround sound for gaming only outputs through the headphone out ? Is it the same with creative x-fi titanium (non-hd) sound card with optical out ?

My understanding is that that is true for the Soundblaster Z as suggested by PurpleAngel. I've been trying to find out for certain, but I've seen several posts on various sites that state it is the case.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by PurpleAngel View Post
 

The Z & Zx both use the same DAC chip and headphone amplifier, the Zx just comes with that external ACM, which some say has a small negative effect on the audio quality.

So unless you really need the ACM, getting the Z (SB1500) model saves a few dollars.

 

The DT990 is a good headphone, I like to use the DT990 Premium 600-Ohm for movies.

The DT990 Pro 250-Ohm has a strong bass & treble, which slightly overshadows the mids.

Where as the K612 Pro should be a little more balanced, the K612 will not have as much bass as the DT990s.

Also the 120-Ohm K612 should be a little easier for the Z to drive, over the 250-Ohm DT990.

But as I have not listened to the K612 myself, might be a good idea for you to check reviews on the K612 yourself.

 

Thanks for the addition information. I'm torn on the ACM as my desk configuration makes accessing the back of my computer difficult and I've been warned against using the built-in headphone connections.

 

I've been reading reviews of the K612, but they are a little sparse. Living in the middle of Iowa means it is difficult to find someplace I can test them. As far as driving something like the DT990s, that was part of my original thinking. I'm just getting started in Hi-Fi (med-fi?) headphones. I would like to build a starter system that will support some future growth in headphones while giving me a good starting point.

 

Cost of entry is fascinating to me. Everyone seems to have a different idea what to focus on when starting out.It seems like getting a decent amp/DAC is a good first step, then as your headphones outgrow the amp, upgrade that. Good/great cans with no amp gives few benefits and possibly negatives. But, I could be wrong.

 

Gets even more complicated if you want to be a gamer and an audiophile! And since I didn't win the lottery..... :D

 

 

Thanks for all the help!

Ostler

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

My understanding is that that is true for the Soundblaster Z as suggested by PurpleAngel. I've been trying to find out for certain, but I've seen several posts on various sites that state it is the case.

Thanks for the addition information. I'm torn on the ACM as my desk configuration makes accessing the back of my computer difficult and I've been warned against using the built-in headphone connections.

I've been reading reviews of the K612, but they are a little sparse. Living in the middle of Iowa means it is difficult to find someplace I can test them. As far as driving something like the DT990s, that was part of my original thinking. I'm just getting started in Hi-Fi (med-fi?) headphones. I would like to build a starter system that will support some future growth in headphones while giving me a good starting point.

Cost of entry is fascinating to me. Everyone seems to have a different idea what to focus on when starting out.It seems like getting a decent amp/DAC is a good first step, then as your headphones outgrow the amp, upgrade that. Good/great cans with no amp gives few benefits and possibly negatives. But, I could be wrong.

Gets even more complicated if you want to be a gamer and an audiophile! And since I didn't win the lottery..... :D

"warmed against using the built-in headphone connections"?

 

You can always just leave a 3.5mm extenion cable plugged into the sound card and keep the other end on the desk.

There were some AKG K612 Pros selling for $130 on eBay, but it expired, so now the only K612 available cost more then the DT990s.

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