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Advice required on audio setup

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 

I have recently build a new PC and have bought a dedicated sound (Asus Xonar DX), however after doing some reading and watching the following youtube video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d1rXcJuEsy0 - Gaming Audio Myths: Avoid The BS & Save Your Audio Life), is there any point to having a dedicated sound card as according to the video they typically have a much higher output impedance than a DAC + AMP combination?

 

I currently have two headphones: Sennheiser PC360 (50 ohms impedance) and I have just ordered the Philips Fidelio X1 (which has an output impedance of approx 30-36 ohms). Would my current setup be enough to get the best out of the above headphones or should I be looking to get an DAC + AMP? (for example: FiiO Olympus E10)

 

Any advise/comments would be appreciated as I'm bit confused whether my audio setup is adequate to power these headphones or whether I've just wasted money. I'm basically looking to have a good all round audio setup, without spending a huge chunk of money.

post #2 of 11

In my opinion it isn't about having enough power to drive your headphones, you most likely have enough power to push them to decent audio levels. The first thing would be about the right way to decode your music on your computer. Typically the sound card that comes with a computer is generic and cheap, so usually they are wired in ways that can introduce sounds you don't want in your music. I haven't really experimented with changing sound cards, but I am a strong believer that a good DAC and amp combo can make a world of difference. I have used both the Fiio versions with the Andes EO7k and X3 as well as the Schiit Audio Modi and Magni set up and enjoy my music through my AKG Q701 way more. On some of my other in ear headphones, such as the Sony XBA4's,  I don't have to raise the volume anywhere near what I do with the AKG but I still like the set up better for the clean sound they provide. You do have to experiment though. Hope this helps. 

post #3 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by dontknow View Post
 

I have recently build a new PC and have bought a dedicated sound (Asus Xonar DX), however after doing some reading and watching the following youtube video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d1rXcJuEsy0 - Gaming Audio Myths: Avoid The BS & Save Your Audio Life), is there any point to having a dedicated sound card as according to the video they typically have a much higher output impedance than a DAC + AMP combination?

 

I currently have two headphones: Sennheiser PC360 (50 ohms impedance) and I have just ordered the Philips Fidelio X1 (which has an output impedance of approx 30-36 ohms). Would my current setup be enough to get the best out of the above headphones or should I be looking to get an DAC + AMP? (for example: FiiO Olympus E10)

 

Any advise/comments would be appreciated as I'm bit confused whether my audio setup is adequate to power these headphones or whether I've just wasted money. I'm basically looking to have a good all round audio setup, without spending a huge chunk of money.

The Game Audio Myth video is not really well though of on Head-Fi.

The Xonar DX is a good sound card and makes a good combo with an add-on external headphone amplifier.

Schiit Magni headphone amplifier, $99

 

Hopefully you disabled the motherboard's on-board audio when you installed the Xonar DX.

Try the Unified Xonar Drivers.

http://maxedtech.com/asus-xonar-unified-drivers/

post #4 of 11
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by tylercaulfield View Post
 

In my opinion it isn't about having enough power to drive your headphones, you most likely have enough power to push them to decent audio levels. The first thing would be about the right way to decode your music on your computer. Typically the sound card that comes with a computer is generic and cheap, so usually they are wired in ways that can introduce sounds you don't want in your music. I haven't really experimented with changing sound cards, but I am a strong believer that a good DAC and amp combo can make a world of difference. I have used both the Fiio versions with the Andes EO7k and X3 as well as the Schiit Audio Modi and Magni set up and enjoy my music through my AKG Q701 way more. On some of my other in ear headphones, such as the Sony XBA4's,  I don't have to raise the volume anywhere near what I do with the AKG but I still like the set up better for the clean sound they provide. You do have to experiment though. Hope this helps. 

 

Thanks, maybe its something that I need to look into then. I'm no audiophile, but I would like to get the most out of my headphones seeing as I've spent a lot of money on them.

post #5 of 11
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by PurpleAngel View Post
 

The Game Audio Myth video is not really well though of on Head-Fi.

The Xonar DX is a good sound card and makes a good combo with an add-on external headphone amplifier.

Schiit Magni headphone amplifier, $99

 

Hopefully you disabled the motherboard's on-board audio when you installed the Xonar DX.

Try the Unified Xonar Drivers.

http://maxedtech.com/asus-xonar-unified-drivers/

 

Thanks PurpleAngel, so you dont agree with that video then? 

 

I cant seem to find the Schiit Magni in the UK. Is there any other similar quality AMP + DAC that you can recommend that is of a similar price?

 

I haven't disabled the motherboard's on-board drivers? I didnt realise that this needed to be done? About those drivers that you suggested, should I not be using the ones from the Asus site?

 

Apologise for all the questions, but I'm a bit of a newb when it comes to audio stuff and I'm still learning. I've always skimped on my audio setup in the past, but thought it was about time I got a decent audio setup in place now..

post #6 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by dontknow View Post
 

Thanks PurpleAngel, so you don't agree with that video then? 

I can't seem to find the Schiit Magni in the UK. Is there any other similar quality AMP + DAC that you can recommend that is of a similar price?

I haven't disabled the motherboard's on-board drivers? I didn't realise that this needed to be done? About those drivers that you suggested, should I not be using the ones from the Asus site?

Apologise for all the questions, but I'm a bit of a newb when it comes to audio stuff and I'm still learning. I've always skimped on my audio setup in the past, but thought it was about time I got a decent audio setup in place now..

The thought process and reasoning used in the Game Audio Myth video does not seem well thought out,

from Head-Fi point of view, which I "assume" most experienced Head-fiers agree with me on that.

I've had some misconceptions about audio in my earlier head-fier days, but my understanding of headphone audio is always growing.

To me the guys in the Game Audio Myth video seem to lack depth of experience and do not seem to be as well informed as they think they are.

 

There is the O2 (Objective 2) headphone amplifier, 99 GBP.

http://epiphany-acoustics.co.uk/products-page/headphone-amplifiers/ehp-o2-portable-headphone-amplifier/

 

You can use more then one sound card in a computer, but sometimes they do not work well together.

So please disable on-board audio, it just makes things easier.

The Unified Xonar Driver appear to be more updated, then the Asus drivers.

post #7 of 11
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by PurpleAngel View Post
 

The thought process and reasoning used in the Game Audio Myth video does not seem well thought out,

from Head-Fi point of view, which I "assume" most experienced Head-fiers agree with me on that.

I've had some misconceptions about audio in my earlier head-fier days, but my understanding of headphone audio is always growing.

To me the guys in the Game Audio Myth video seem to lack depth of experience and do not seem to be as well informed as they think they are.

 

There is the O2 (Objective 2) headphone amplifier, 99 GBP.

http://epiphany-acoustics.co.uk/products-page/headphone-amplifiers/ehp-o2-portable-headphone-amplifier/

 

You can use more then one sound card in a computer, but sometimes they do not work well together.

So please disable on-board audio, it just makes things easier.

The Unified Xonar Driver appear to be more updated, then the Asus drivers.

 

Thanks PurpleAngel for the info.

 

Do you not think much of the FiiO Olympus E10 then?

post #8 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by dontknow View Post
 

Thanks PurpleAngel for the info.

Do you not think much of the FiiO Olympus E10 then?

The FiiO E10 is a USB/DAC/Amp and USB bypasses the sound card.

So the Xonar DX becomes useless when you plug in a USB DAC (& amp).

You can buy the FiiO E10 and sell off the Xonar DX, so the DX would cover a lot of the cost of the E10. 

post #9 of 11
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by PurpleAngel View Post
 

The FiiO E10 is a USB/DAC/Amp and USB bypasses the sound card.

So the Xonar DX becomes useless when you plug in a USB DAC (& amp).

You can buy the FiiO E10 and sell off the Xonar DX, so the DX would cover a lot of the cost of the E10. 

 

Oh, I didnt know that! Thanks for pointing that out.

 

Do you think in your opinion it would produce a better sound than Asus Xonar DX + O2 (Objective 2) headphone amplifier combination?

 

I think i need to weigh up all the options and have a good think about all this.

post #10 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by dontknow View Post
 

 

Oh, I didnt know that! Thanks for pointing that out.

 

Do you think in your opinion it would produce a better sound than Asus Xonar DX + O2 (Objective 2) headphone amplifier combination?

 

I think i need to weigh up all the options and have a good think about all this.

I'm a big supporter of combining the Xonar DX with an external headphone amplifier like the O2 (Objective 2) or the Schiit Magni.

Using a sound card like the Xonar DX gives you Dolby Headphone 7.1 surround sound for movies and games.

Does the Xonar DX/O2 sound better then a E10, not sure it would be a very noticeable difference.

Maybe with higher Ohm headphones, 250-Ohm, 300-Ohm, the O2 would out shine the E10.

post #11 of 11
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by PurpleAngel View Post
 

I'm a big supporter of combining the Xonar DX with an external headphone amplifier like the O2 (Objective 2) or the Schiit Magni.

Using a sound card like the Xonar DX gives you Dolby Headphone 7.1 surround sound for movies and games.

Does the Xonar DX/O2 sound better then a E10, not sure it would be a very noticeable difference.

Maybe with higher Ohm headphones, 250-Ohm, 300-Ohm, the O2 would out shine the E10.

 

Thanks for your input PurpleAngel.

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