Hello everyone, this is my first post so bare with me.
I'm an avid gamer, but I would rate my usage as 50% gaming & 50% music, this is all hardcore amateur-professional level competitive gaming.
As you can imagine, being the idiot that I am for years I have been going through 'headsets' (is that a cursed word over here?!) and specifically gaming headsets. I've got enjoyment from them but build quality was never satisfactory, for example I've gone through two Creative headsets (priced at $150/ea) in 12 months, and recently purchased a Razer headset as a replacement.
When the Razer headset came, I made my decision - regardless of expense and know-how I was going to go with this new found idea (to me) that someone recommended which was to purchase audiophile headphones, a seperate microphone, and mix the two together to get real great quality. At this point with over $300 wasted on a headset (the Razer one) that literally sounded worse than those $2 iPod earbuds even pumped through my modest sound card I decided it was time to take on this advice.
I spent a good night or two looking up options, and stumbled across one huge comparison thread (his username had 'Mad' in it or something) which I thoroughly read through. I read the OP and then the first 10 or so pages to get a feel for what everyones opinions was, and then I continued on by watching a few hours worth of reviews on my selected candidates and so on and so fourth.
I decided on the AKG Q701, after initially thinking to get the 'Annie' edition of the K series. (a lot of people mentioned the Q701 and Annie differences were very slight and mostly relied upon the ear pads which I could modify at a later date if I wanted.)
Through all of this, I decided not to initially purchase a DAC or AMP but fully understood that it would be required to have the proper reference experience.
So now they've been delivered overnight by Amazon, and here I am using the Q701s - they're amazing, couldn't have asked for better, perfectly suited for my usage..but one thing..I'm craving every bit of juice I can get out of them, and so I have decided to break the bank a little further and get a DAC/AMP. I'm in the UK so add 30-40% on top of all USD based prices and that's around about what I'm paying + shipping.
So on to my actual question (if anyone is even reading at this point!) - I understand what an amp does, and what an DAC does, and now I've come to the conclusion that a FiiO Andes E07K would be the device to purchase, it is within my budget, and seems to kill two birds with one stone, acts as a DAC and AMP at the same time, but this is what is confusing me, I feel like that is almost too good to be true and I could be making a mistake.
I don't believe I have a budget big enough for separate high end DAC and AMP combo - so an all in one (if it even exists) seems perfect, can you guys bring some clarity and recommendations to my ignorant mind? I would very much appreciate it.
I have some additional questions, bonus questions if you will:
1. After connecting my Q701 to the AMP/DAC/Combo device, would I then connect the AMP/DAC/Combo into my sound card, or would it go via USB? I've heard a popular user named bowei006 say something about how only USB would bypass my sound card's AMP & DAC, is this required, or can I use 3.5mm and it would just double up with the premium device stacking on top of my possibly crappy sound cards' AMP & DAC? I'm very confused about this part.
2. Is there any software I should be downloading or looking into, and is having/using my soundcard even worth it at this point? It's around $100-$150 device (Fatal1ty Creative) and I'm honestly not sure if it's doing more harm than good surrounded by all this expensive hardware (Q701 etc).
Thank you in advance for the assistance! I'll make sure to keep an eye on this thread and hopefully get involved with the forum, everyone seems so nice and helpful that I would feel bad to come here and disappear the next day!