So I just purchased a new set of Audio Technica phones (ATH M50s) after seeing the many positive reviews here and on other sites (thanks!), and I had a few questions regarding getting the best sound out of them.
First, I notice that they are quite sensitive and have low impedance (99 dB & 38 ohms respectively), does that mean it would be rather pointless to drive them through an amp? If I don't get an amp they'll just be running through my onboard sound which uses the ALC892 audio CODEC if that makes a difference.
Second, If I did get an amp, would it be worthwhile also getting a DAC? How much difference does this make for music files being played from a hard drive? I don't have anything on CD these days, it's all MP3, ranging from medium to reasonably high quality, none of it is lossless though.
Thirdly, if I got an amp, would it also be an advantage to get an upgraded soundcard like a Xonar DX? I'm a bit confused as to whether I'd get any additional benefit out of a soundcard if I have an amp, or amp/DAC. I won't be wanting more than 2 channel sound if that helps.
Lastly, I'm also considering getting a regular stereo amplifier, I've read multiple threads answering questions about using a stereo amp for headphones but can't find a good answer - are there some solid stereo amp picks at various price points that are also known to produce good sound through headphones? If there are, I would appreciate being pointed in the right direction because I'd like to cover all my sound needs in one solution if possible.