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PC audio set-up with a headphone amp

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

Hello,

 

I recently purchased a Schiit Asgard 2 headphone amp which I use with my PC.  I have it hooked up to my PC using a 1/8" to Dual RCA cable, output from the headphone jack on my PC.

 

I’ve read before that the volume in the source (my PC in this case) should be turned up to 100% and then the volume from the headphone amp adjusted accordingly.  However, when I do this I get distortion, even with the Asgard 2 at a relatively low volume level.  I have found that it sounds best when both the PC and the Asgard volume controls are somewhere in the 50%-75% range at the same time.

 

Is there some sort of general rule of thumb that should be applied to setting the PC volume control?  Perhaps either this 100% PC volume rule is incorrect, or this is a sign that my PC is a poor audio source?

 

Any general tips that anyone can provide would be greatly appreciated.  I am a noob with this stuff.

 

FYI - I am using a pair of Grado SR225i headphones and my PC has Creative X-Fi soundcard with all DSP and extra sound ‘enhancements’ turned off.

 

Thanks.

 

 

post #2 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by Melkor View Post
 

FYI - I am using a pair of Grado SR225i headphones and my PC has Creative X-Fi soundcard with all DSP and extra sound ‘enhancements’ turned off.

Which model Creative X-fi sound card? Audigy? Titanium? Xtreme?

 

Did you disable the motherboard's on-board audio? in the BIOS.

post #3 of 8

I thought the rule of thumb was 60-80%. It's easiest for me to see (roughly) 75% on the dial, so I do that. haven't had a problem.

 

Edit: Where did you read 100%?

post #4 of 8
Thread Starter 

Not sure which X-Fi it is.  Would my specific experience be different depending on which one it is?

 

I have not disabled the motherboard's audio.  But I bought my PC with the soundcard already installed.  So I assume this was done before I received the PC.

 

I read the 100% thing on many forums, like this one.  No idea if it's correct though.

post #5 of 8

Did Asgard 2 come with instructions?

post #6 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by Melkor View Post
 

Not sure which X-Fi it is.  Would my specific experience be different depending on which one it is?

I have not disabled the motherboard's audio.  But I bought my PC with the sound card already installed.  So I assume this was done before I received the PC.

I read the 100% thing on many forums, like this one.  No idea if it's correct though.

If the card is an XtremeAudio, you have the bottom of the barrel Creative sound card.

(the XtremeAudio is not well though off among Creative sound card users)

Some where in the middle is the XtremeMusic, XtremeGamer or Titanium (non-HD)

Where as the Titanium-HD would offer about the best sound quality.

Sometimes having on-board enabled and an add-on sound card can cause problems (sometimes).

In theory, having the motherboard audio at 100% is the best (in theory), but set to around 75%-80% seems to work better. 

post #7 of 8
Thread Starter 

Yes, but nothing that would help me with this.  I contacted the company and this was their response:

 

"Your PC audio may be of very low quality. I’d consider adding a Modi DAC to improve the audio quality.

Asgard cannot improve a poor source. If it’s distorting at full output, then it is a poor source. Sorry to be blunt.

If you’d like to continue with that source, then you should reduce the volume until it stops distorting, and to reduce degradation in the digital domain, run it at 24 bit depth, which allows volume control without bit loss until very low levels."

post #8 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by Melkor View Post
 

Yes, but nothing that would help me with this.  I contacted the company and this was their response:

 

"Your PC audio may be of very low quality. I’d consider adding a Modi DAC to improve the audio quality.

Asgard cannot improve a poor source. If it’s distorting at full output, then it is a poor source. Sorry to be blunt.

If you’d like to continue with that source, then you should reduce the volume until it stops distorting, and to reduce degradation in the digital domain, run it at 24 bit depth, which allows volume control without bit loss until very low levels."

Replacing the current audio card with an Asus Xonar DX or D1 sound card (used $60, with it's CS4398 DAC chip, should improve audio quality.

The Asgard 2 can plug directly into the Xonar card.

Modi USB would be a good invest, but as it's USB, you lose access to current sound card features. 

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