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An audiophile wants to enjoy music once and for all needs your help!

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 

Hey everyone,

I'm a big audiophile but I really don't enjoy my gear and wish for a lot better.

I have tons of CD's and a 3GB FLAC music library in my computer.

As for now, my gear is pretty simple - I have onboard Sound Card. My motherboard is Gigabyte Z77-D3H.

And I have nice headphones which are the Sennheiser HD555s.

Also I got a simple Denon amp which actually used for some kind of home theater.

What I do is I plug my PC to the amp via optical cable (SPDIF) and plug the headphones to the amp (which has 6.3mm output).

But I really believe I can get much better performance with completely different gear and devices. 

 

The main problem is my knowledge. Beside the fact I'm really love music and I'm a big audiophile, I really almost don't know nothing about music equipment and this is why I really NEED your help deciding when I should purchase.

 

My budget for everything I need is 600$.

 

I was actually thinking of getting a new external sound card, the Asus Xonar STX, and buy a new headphones, the Sennheiser HD650.

But as I said before, I really don't know much to know if this decision is even good.

 

So I'd really appreciate any help.

Thanks in advance!

 

(Sorry about my English. it's not my native language) 

post #2 of 6
What is it specifically about your current set-up that you find lacking? Do you want more bass, smoother mids, more clarity, or what?

The easiest way to significantly change the sound in a headphone system is to use different headphones. Nothing else you change will have as much direct impact.
post #3 of 6
Thread Starter 

Thank you for your reply,

Honestly, I believe I don't get a quality that satisfies me. I DO enjoy it and I think it's not bad, but not enough for me.

I want everything better - more bass, smoother mids, more clarity, soundstage.. etc.

Also when I increase volume, somehow it's never enough. Instead of getting higher volume and keep the quality good as it is, it actually ruins the quality and the volume not enough.

 

I know nothing about amps, DAC (what is it?), and so..

post #4 of 6
Quote:
Originally Posted by rogerthatmand View Post
 

Thank you for your reply,

Honestly, I believe I don't get a quality that satisfies me. I DO enjoy it and I think it's not bad, but not enough for me.

I want everything better - more bass, smoother mids, more clarity, soundstage.. etc.

Also when I increase volume, somehow it's never enough. Instead of getting higher volume and keep the quality good as it is, it actually ruins the quality and the volume not enough.

 

I know nothing about amps, DAC (what is it?), and so..

Amp = Amplifier. It increases the power available to the headphones which some headphones need because they are more power hungry.

DAC = Digital to Analog converter. It takes a digital signal from you computer, and converts it to an analog signal which you then feed to the amplifier.

 

The reason that many people on here have external AMP/DAC's is because the motherboard audio is pretty much an afterthought and may not decode the signal as well, nor provide enough juice, and is located in a computer case, which is inherently noisy.

 

However, they make a small difference compared to what a pair of new headphones can make. However, if after you get your new headphones and find that it isn't going loud enough, or you get hiss/static, then an external dac/amp may be a good choice for you.

post #5 of 6
Quote:
Originally Posted by GaryWA View Post
 

The reason that many people on here have external AMP/DAC's is because the motherboard audio is pretty much an afterthought and may not decode the signal as well, nor provide enough juice, and is located in a computer case, which is inherently noisy.

 

The soundcard in your computer is also a DAC, likely not a very good one. So the two most popular choices besides ignoring that are to get a better soundcard or an external DAC. The main reason why many buy external DACs instead of soundcards isn't differences in sound quality between them. It's far from obvious that all things being equal (especially amping), a $100 external DAC is superior to a $100 soundcard. You'd need to measure it and hear it for yourself. The main reason is practical: they're often buying an amp at the same time, so they buy a combo or a set. One benefit of a soundcard is that it's more versatile for those times when you don't want to carry around more gear. But there are many trade-offs and it's not an obvious choice either way.

post #6 of 6

I think, enough to buy a HD 650 at the first step. You likely to percieve huge change compared to 555. Whether to adding the asus would add better sound (and you will percieve it as a better sound) and whether the change will be in line with the investment - this is difficult to say. If you tempted to buy Asus, I would recommend to buy it used, and this way you would loose not too much reselling it if you find that it is useless.

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