Originally Posted by gary ocock
Thanks for the input. Headphones, Beyer.....DT990 Pro, Audio T..... ATH-M50 and Grado SR60. I like them all for different reasons. The Grado's are uncomfortable, on ear. The DT 990 very comfortable and the sound quality is nice, lite on the bass but that's OK most of the time. The Ath-m50's have nice bass even at low volume and they will rock at volume. I've just purchased a used pair of AKG Q 701's. I thought I'd try a Schiit Dac as they have a 15 day trial with a 15% and shipping penalty. Any thoughts?
The audio hardware that comes built into a motherboard is chosen by it's low manufacturing price, not really quality.
Some of the newer $200 aftermarket motherboards (Fall 2013), are starting to get fairly decent built in audio hardware.
Asus Xonar DX or D1 sound card, used $60, comes with a nice CS4398 DAC chip and Dolby Headphone 7.1 surround sound.
Hifimediy Sabre U2 USB DAC, $57.
Schiit Modi USB DAC, $99.
USB DACs bypass sound card features (both on-board and add-on).
The O2 can easily be plugged into the above listed.