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Can I drive 250 ohm headphones only with a soundcard, or do I need an amp?

post #1 of 34
Thread Starter 

Thinking of buying Beyerdynamic DT770 or DT990 250 ohm. I have never owned a professional pair of headphones, so I'm not sure if a soundcard can be as good as an amp, or do I just need both?

post #2 of 34

Your soundcard is probably fine. The DT-990 Pro was my first pair of good headphones, and I plugged them straight into my laptop at first. I was very happy with that sound at the time. Of course, getting a nicer DAC and amp will make an improvement. But they are not strictly necessary IMO. You should be able to enjoy the headphones just fine without one, especially if you are only used to cheaper gear. 

post #3 of 34
You'll need an amp. I'll recommend the Schiit Magni at $100.
post #4 of 34

LOL. Two completely opposite opinions. It really depends on your situation... Are you worried about needing an amp because you can't afford one? Or do you just want to know if you should order one? 

If you can afford an amp, I'd suggest just getting the headphones and trying them with your soundcard. If the sound is disappointing, then get an amp. If you are happy, then never visit this website again. 

If you can't afford an amp and want to make sure you are buying an appropriate pair of headphones, you might want to look at some other models. The 250 ohm Beyers aren't that hard to drive IMO, but there are plenty of headphones out there that are even easier to drive and that would be a safer bet.


Edited by manbear - 1/6/14 at 2:13pm
post #5 of 34
It really depends on the sound card.
post #6 of 34
Thread Starter 

I can afford the amp, but want to order all in one go, because of the expensive shipping to my country. I also haven't bought a soundcard yet, so if those can come with integrated amps that are good enough, I'd rather go for that. Basically my setup is only in my dreams for now, so everything can still change and I am open for suggestions.

post #7 of 34
Just buy a fiio e10. It has a dac and an amp.
post #8 of 34
It depends on both the specific output of the soundcard and the desired volume level.
post #9 of 34
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Trunks159 View Post

Just buy a fiio e10. It has a dac and an amp.

With this I wouldn't need a soundcard which is a good thing, and it plugs into the computer by an USB. But that makes me wonder if I'd lose sound quality because of the USB, and the fiio seems to be cheap for a replacement soundcard and amp.

post #10 of 34

You won't lost any sound quality because of USB. The overwhelming majority of people here have USB DACs. One thing about the E10 is that the headphones are powered through USB as well. The Fiio E07k is similar but also gets power from a battery. 

If you want to spend more, get a Schiit Modi and Magni. Or an ODAC and O2. 

post #11 of 34
Well, it's good enough. You can upgrade later if you feel the need.

Either go:
Fiio E10 (I'd go with this)

Or

Xonar DG with Schiit Magni. (More powerful, but not portable, costs about twice as much)
post #12 of 34
Thread Starter 

Portability is really not an issue, as the headphones will mostly be used at home infront of my computer. These all seem like good recommendations, so thank you!

post #13 of 34
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Trunks159 View Post

Well, it's good enough. You can upgrade later if you feel the need.

Either go:
Fiio E10 (I'd go with this)

Or

Xonar DG with Schiit Magni. (More powerful, but not portable, costs about twice as much)

I've read that the Fiio E10 on DT770 cans actually makes the headphones worse for gaming, which is about 60% of what I intend to use these for. Any suggestions for an amp & dac that would be good in gaming?

post #14 of 34
Any reason why you can't use open cans? The MDR MA900 doesn't need an amp. I'd recommend you go to the MDR MA900 appreciation thread, or ask about this at Mad Lust Envy's Gaming Guide. I don't usually use an amp for gaming.
post #15 of 34

I think you want a soundcard for gaming, as it's the only way to get Dolby Headphone.

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