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DT990 Pro + DAC/amp Questions

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 

Hello there!

 

Long time lurker here. I was pretty much able to find what I need through the search function but I just can't quite click it all together (my boss wouldn't be too pleased with how many logged hours I have spent on here...)

 

I am going to be purchasing the DT990 Pro in the near future and I was trying to figure out what to pair it up with. It will be my primary headset for gaming and music on my PC. I am currently using a set of Senn PC350's with a Xonar DGX. I know that the DGX has a built in DAC and amp but I also know that neither are desirable or fully functional for the DT990. Here is where everything gets a bit blurry for me and I apologize if the answers are accessible and my searches were just clumsy. From what I have been reading the DT990's seem to benefit the most from a tube amp. Is there a specific one that would work better with a currently installed DGX? I was also thinking about the FiiO E11 but portability isn't my primary concern as this specific headset isn't the best choice for planes/transportation. It would just be a nice option to have if need be. Or, maybe I am looking in the completely wrong direction? 

 

My secondary question involves my home theatre receiver. Would the previous PC recommendations also apply to my Denon 3313CI? Or can I just plug in the headset and use the onboards? I would be using this mainly for vinyl listening and not anything movie related. 

 

I wasn't hoping to spend a whole lot of money on this as the fairly low cost of the DT990's was what first attracted me to this whole endeavor. If it was worth my while I would be okay going up to $150 total.

 

I appreciate any help and recommendations you are able to provide.      

post #2 of 9

I owned the DT-990 Pro for a while and drove it from various devices including a laptop's stock headphone jack, a cheap portable amp (CMOY), receivers (Sony and NAD, I forget the exact models), and a tube amp (Little Dot MK3).

I haven't used a DGX before, but it's probably fine. The DT-990 doesn't need a whole ton of power to shine. Even my laptop had enough. So your DGX is probably perfectly functional. As for desirable... that's in the eye of the beholder. A lot of people here use external DACs and amps. If you wanted to spend at least $200-300 on both, you could get even better sound than what you get from your soundcard. But it wouldn't be a huge difference honestly. Certainly not twice the sonic improvement you got by buying $150 headphones. For me, just going from cheap headphones to the DT-990 out of a laptop was a much bigger improvement than going from DT-990 out of a laptop to DT-990 out of an external DAC and amp. 

People say that the DT-990 benefits from a tube amp mostly because a tube amp can help bring out the sense of space you hear in the recording as well as make the treble a bit less harsh and fatiguing. I mostly agree, but again, don't expect as much for your money as you got by buying the headphones. If you don't want to spend the money on a tube amp, just forget about it. You can enjoy the headphones perfectly well without one. 

If you did get a tube amp, you would be using your soundcard as a DAC, so you would connect the line out of your soundcard to the amp. There is no reason to think that certain tube amp models will work better with your soundcard than others -- you would connect them all the same way. 

You can just plug the DT-990 into your receiver's headphone jack to listen to vinyl. You might get some subtle improvements by connecting the line outs of the Denon to an external amp like a tube amp, but it's not going to be a massive difference. 

So it sounds like you don't really want to buy anything more. That's fine. Just don't. With your current setup, you are probably getting around 80-90 % of the full potential of the headphones. Is the last 10-20% worth another $200+ to you? It's ok to say no. 


Edited by manbear - 1/20/14 at 7:47pm
post #3 of 9
Thread Starter 

Awesome, thanks for the input! 

post #4 of 9
Thread Starter 

Would the Aune T1 Headphone Tube DAC and Amp be beneficial? 

post #5 of 9

I haven't heard that one, but it's fairly popular and has a lot of connectivity options, so you could use it with your computer and your receiver. One thing is that the tube is only part of the DAC, so you would hear the tube if you plugged it into your computer via USB, but if you plugged your receiver into it, thus only using it as an amp, you would not hear the tube. 

post #6 of 9
Thread Starter 

Hmm. Interesting, I would not have known that otherwise. 

post #7 of 9
If you want some tubes, I'd consider getting one these guys: http://www.littledot.net/forum/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=816&sid=5c076fadce92493bb04cf79c49192be6

I owned the MK3, which is the slightly more expensive version. It's just an amp, not a DAC, but it will give you quality tube sound.

Some even cheaper tube amps to consider are the ones made by Bravo, as well as the Schiit Vali. I haven't heard any of these, but they all have their fans on this website.
post #8 of 9
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by manbear View Post
 

I haven't heard that one, but it's fairly popular and has a lot of connectivity options, so you could use it with your computer and your receiver. One thing is that the tube is only part of the DAC, so you would hear the tube if you plugged it into your computer via USB, but if you plugged your receiver into it, thus only using it as an amp, you would not hear the tube. 

Sorry to dig this up but I had another small question. If I was to use the Aune T1 via USB would I have to disable the DGX to get the full hybrid effect? 


Edited by Mreim769 - 2/4/14 at 12:54pm
post #9 of 9
Any USB DAC will completely replace the sound card (e.g it will be the audio device used by your computer). So if you get sound at all, then your computer will be bypassing the sound card and fully using the DAC, including the tube section of the Aune. Either the DAC is active or it's not-- there isn't really any middle ground.
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