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Need some information on sound cards and headphones.

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 

Alrighty, 

 

So I have been looking to pick up a good pair of headphones (I have heard good things about Beyerdynamic's DT880 and MMX300) and I am wondering what the exact point of using a sound card is. As if I pick up DT880, depending on model I will most likely be getting an amp (Which if anyone knows a good one, could you recommend please!), and I see a far bit of talk about sound cards (X-Fi?). What exactly is the point of them and will it be worth my while getting one? If show, could you recommend a few please!

 

Thank you!

post #2 of 7

Sound card basically allows you not to use the digital analog converter and amplifier of your computer that comes with using the computer headphone jack, and lets you use a better quality DAC and amp. The difference, even for just 100 dollars, can be VERY significant.

 

There are a number of GREAT usb soundcards on the market right now. Lots from companies like centrance, audioquest, audioengine, meridian etc.

 

Another option could be to buy a portable amplifier that also has a DAC compatible with USB. Though the soundcard USB will have a better performance to price ratio as part of the price of the portable amps goes to battery and the versatile functions.

 

If interested in a soundcard only for computer use, i highly recommend looking into some USB soundcards. I own the audioquest dragonfly and it sounds glorious for 100 dollars.

post #3 of 7
Thread Starter 

Do I use an amp with a sound card?

post #4 of 7
Quote:
Originally Posted by ColeTrain View Post
 

Alrighty, 

 

So I have been looking to pick up a good pair of headphones (I have heard good things about Beyerdynamic's DT880 and MMX300) and I am wondering what the exact point of using a sound card is. As if I pick up DT880, depending on model I will most likely be getting an amp (Which if anyone knows a good one, could you recommend please!), and I see a far bit of talk about sound cards (X-Fi?). What exactly is the point of them and will it be worth my while getting one? If show, could you recommend a few please!

 

Thank you!

The Beyer MMX300s are DT770 32-Ohm with an integrated mic.

So I say to get the DT880 Pro 250-Ohm and a Creative Labs Sound Blaster Z sound card.

The SB-Z's built in headphone amplifier can easily drive the DT880s.

post #5 of 7
Quote:
Originally Posted by ColeTrain View Post
 

Do I use an amp with a sound card?

 

a lot of these soundcards come with an amp so its no problem. You could choose to get an amp too though depending on your needs

post #6 of 7
Quote:
Originally Posted by ColeTrain View Post
 

Do I use an amp with a sound card?

 

Only if you need one.

 

  For the casual listener and even the budget minded enthusiast headphone audio can be enjoyed straight from your laptop, your PC sound card or your home theater receiver.

         The only person that "needs" and amplifier for headphones is the person that has no headphone jack on the source.  But setting aside need, you may want an amplifier if you just can't get the volume you want, or the volume you want is distorted. In both cases you need moar powah.   Then there is the audiophile that wants the absolute purest and most resolving ad dynamic sound he can get.  But in my 5 years as a forum member and enthusiast I've come to the conclusion that for most of us, expensive amps are overkill.

 

But with a PC as a source it gets a little more complicated. sometimes even the best sound-cards (start thinking of your sound-card as a DAC, cause it is) pick up noise from the other components in the case.  With all the processors, memory, drives, and fans it's quite a feat if a sound-card doesn't pick up some noise.  For that reason I recommend outboard solutions.  Some PC sound-card are made to use out side of the case. But alternately, many dedicated DAC's can hook right up to your PC and even have a built in amp with headphone jack.

post #7 of 7
Thread Starter 
Hey thanks for that information! Do you have any recommendations of Good DACs?
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