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Need help choosing a DAC for ATH-M50

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 

Hello,

I'm about to buy the ATH-M50, and decided to buy a USB DAC or a sound card as well since my on-board audio is probably not going to do my new headphones any justice.

Could anyone recommend me a USB DAC for under 70$? Is such thing possible?

If not, I might be getting for now a Xonar DG instead - if so, would the difference between that sound card and a cheap DAC be noticeable? Would the M50 benefit from the fact the Xonar is also an amp?

 

Thank you.

post #2 of 7
Quote:
Originally Posted by Birghtest View Post
 

Hello,

I'm about to buy the ATH-M50, and decided to buy a USB DAC or a sound card as well since my on-board audio is probably not going to do my new headphones any justice.

Could anyone recommend me a USB DAC for under 70$? Is such thing possible?

If not, I might be getting for now a Xonar DG instead - if so, would the difference between that sound card and a cheap DAC be noticeable? Would the M50 benefit from the fact the Xonar is also an amp?

 

Thank you.

It's better to spend the money on headphones than to spend it on a DAC.

A Fiio E5 plugged into your onboard sound will do fine while you save for better headphones.

post #3 of 7
Thread Starter 

Thank you for the answer,

I'm confused - if I plug a DAC into the onboard audio jack, will the sound improve? I thought I can connect a DAC to my PC only by USB so that I'll notice a huge improvement...

 

Also, isn't the E5 an amp and not a DAC? Will the M50 benefit from a connection to an amp? I thought they don't need an amp...


Edited by Birghtest - 2/3/14 at 5:16am
post #4 of 7
Quote:
Originally Posted by Birghtest View Post
 

Thank you for the answer,

I'm confused - if I plug a DAC into the onboard audio jack, will the sound improve noticeably? I thought I can connect a DAC to my PC only by USB so that I'll notice a huge improvement...

A DAC converts digital audio (i.e. sound data) into analog audio (i.e. a 'sound wave')

 

The output of a DAC is very low-power, so after the DAC you need an amplifier, which then plugs into the headphones.

 

i.e.:

 

Computer > DAC > amp > headphones

 

Your computer motherboard already has a DAC and an amp built in, which supply your motherboard's headphone socket.

 

The onboard audio jack is analog already, so you can't connect a DAC to that.

 

The Fiio E5 is an amplifier, not a DAC.

 

The amplifier has more of an effect on sound than the DAC does, and the headphones have the most effect on sound.

 

You will never notice a 'huge' improvement with a DAC unless your current one is broken, especially with the ATH-M50. If you want a huge improvement, look at this thread: http://www.head-fi.org/t/413900/how-to-equalize-your-headphones-a-tutorial


Edited by higbvuyb - 2/3/14 at 5:21am
post #5 of 7
Thread Starter 

I see... At the moment I'm using a small (~40$) USB sound card (which is better sounding than my on-board)

http://steelseries.com/products/audio/steelseries-siberia-usb-soundcard

I use it with my 50mm 32ohm gaming headset (by the same company). It should be enough power for the M50 as well, right?


Edited by Birghtest - 2/3/14 at 5:26am
post #6 of 7
Quote:
Originally Posted by Birghtest View Post
 

I see... At the moment I'm using a small (~40$) USB sound card (which is better sounding than my on-board)

http://steelseries.com/products/audio/steelseries-siberia-usb-soundcard

I use it with my 50mm 32ohm gaming headset (by the same company). It should be enough power for the M50 as well, right?

That's essentially a small DAC + amp. 

 

the M50 is pretty sensitive so it should be fine.

post #7 of 7
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by higbvuyb View Post
 

That's essentially a small DAC + amp. 

 

the M50 is pretty sensitive so it should be fine.

Oh, awesome!

Then I guess I should be fine until I can get a better DAC+Amp... Might go for the FiiO E10.

 

Thanks a lot.

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