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My Setup and Help

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 

I'm currently using a Pioneer VXD-d411(http://goo.gl/wyoDcC) as my DAC and AMP for my HE-400's. I run Digital COAX from my PC to the VXD. I have no issues with volume and use the wasapi plugin for foobar. The FLAC and 256+ MP3's sound good. Is volume the only indicator for driving headphones correctly? Is there something more I would get out of a standalone Headphone DAC/AMP combo? If so could I use the VXD-D411 as my DAC and use the Monitor out to a standalone headphone amp? If I was to purchase a standalone headphone amp the Schiit Asgard 2 was recommended(goo.gl/ZJ637m) I have not been able to get a straight answer from anyone :| THANKS!

post #2 of 5
Thread Starter 

anybody :|

post #3 of 5
Low volume is an indicator that typically gives you a clue that your amp is not able to provide sufficient voltage to your headphones. It isn't the only indicator, just the most obvious. Other indicators require a bit more experience and are typically more subtle. If you connect the same headphones to different amps and you carefully match the volume between the amps, can you hear a difference during particularly dynamic parts of the music? If you can, and one amp sounds more lively and dynamic than the other, then that might also be an indication that the less lively amp might be straining during times of peak load. There are, of course, more scientific testing that can be done to measure the ability of the amp to meet the load at all frequencies - but only someone with the required test set-up can really know that. It might be obvious just from the specs - if you are trying to drive a 600 ohm headphone from you phone without an amp - that's pretty obviously not going to work - but those are the same situations where you will also immediately notice that the volume is very low.

Unfortunately, for many people, the only way is to buy an amp and try it. The trick is to do the testing with the volume matched as closely as possible. Being louder will fool your brain into thinking it is "better" - and that is the cause of a great deal of misunderstandings and misstatements in audio.
post #4 of 5
I used to use a home cinema amp for my headphones. What you will find out is really every amp sounds a little different. Even with the 5.1 or 7.1 " high current" cinema amps there is a wide range of sound differences with headphone use depending on the amp used.

I was over at a friends and tried my Denon AH-D 7000 headphones with his Denon home theatre amp and was truly amazed at how good it sounded. My Yamaha middle of the line home theatre amp was nothing in comparison. So in reality every amp is different. Even with a lot of experience and impedance matching there is still nothing better than a true life test.

Bringing your headphones to a Head-Fi meet is going to let you demo your headphones with a bunch of amps. The reality is you could even read great reviews around here of your headphones with so and so amp but until you hear for yourself it really does not matter. Everyone is looking for a different sound and what sounds nice to others may not be the signature your looking for.
post #5 of 5
Thread Starter 

I totally agree with both options I hope there is something in the Chicago area sooner than later!  I would really enjoy testing a lot of the equipment discussed in the various threads.  Its really hard to blindly order and hope to return :|

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