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Maximizing/Improving current system, Asus Xonar D2 and Ultrasone Pro 650.

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 

This is my first thread in this forum, so I would like to do a quick introduction.

I recently was introduced to this audio field a few months back. I come from another forum with the same username, OCN, and have a fairly extensive knowledge on computers and computer parts. Throughout my time there, I built my very first PC and a couple of other projects. Computer building is a costly hobby, with single parts that can go up to $1000 usd, a single rig can cost up to $10000. As such, I completely understand audiophile prices of systems as well, although I'm not sure if the cost is as steep. I recently discovered audio whilst trying to upgrade my onboard sound to something else (The upgrade bug is prone to computer enthusiasts as well), and I was completely enveloped by a massive new field of things I never knew about. I decided to go headfirst into the audio world and purchased a Asus Xonar D2 and Ultrasone Pro 650. They were impulse buys and on sale, but now they've I'm wanting more.

 

My Current setup is:

Asus Xonar D2 -> Ultrasone Pro 650

I am using the third party drivers UNi for my D2 and currently have left all the settings on default. The only real change I have done so far is some EQ'ing with a slight decrease on the 8k frequency to decrease the sibilance on the Pro 650s. Currently I am thinking about upgrading by adding an amp to the system, since the Pro 650s have an impedance of 75 ohms. I currently have my eyes set on the O2 amp, which I plan on buying off of another head-fi'er kyoshiro.

 

Questions:

What would be the optimal settings on my D2 for Music or Gaming or Movies? I have tried Dolby Headphone + 7.1 virtual sound, and it certainly helps in gaming and adds immersion to movies, but I dislike the added reverb when listening to music.

How much of an improvement will I see in purchasing an O2 amp? The Ultrasones aren't particularly known for being difficult to drive, but with the Pro 650s at 75 ohms, the Amp might help a bit more, I'm guessing. Also, I currently find the volume highly acceptable, instead, I am looking for an improvement in SQ.

What type of Cable should I use? I see lots of very expensive and short interconnects, usually designed for DAC + Amp stacks. However, with a sound card, I need the wire to run the length of my computer to the top of my desk, which is 2-3 meters in length. Or is the difference in SQ caused by a cable something I shouldn't even bother with right now?

If I were to use the O2 amp, what type of volume settings should I use? Do I set the D2 volume all the way to max, and control through the amp?

Thanks again,

More newbie questions to come!

post #2 of 4

Hopefully you have disable the motherboard's on-board audio? in the BIOS

 

In theory you would like to have the source (computer/sound card) at max 100% volume and just use the knob on the O2 to control volume.

But having the computer/sound card (source) at 75%-80% seem to be more practical (workable).

 

I like to order low cost "premium" cables from an Internet seller called Monoprice, but I'm assuming that ordering from Monoprice is not practical for you.

Maybe there is a local seller in your area that has low priced "premium" cables. 

Otherwise just just any cheap cable you can.

 

The O2 amplifier should help bring out audio detail, over just plugging the Pro 650 directly into the D2.

post #3 of 4
Thread Starter 

I assumed that plugging the audio plug into the sound card already bypasses the on board audio. I now have it disabled, I'm still testing for differences.

 

Would setting the audio at 100% cause distortion in sound for the sound card?

 

As for the cable, kyo was willing enough to include hand built cables. "neutrik REAN 3.5mm plugs with belden SPC wire" He says that 2 meters maybe difficult as it is hand braided. I'm thinking of getting a 2 meter interconnect for desktop use, and have another wire <.5m for portable use. Are any those good?

post #4 of 4
Quote:
Originally Posted by ThriftyPo View Post
 

I assumed that plugging the audio plug into the sound card already bypasses the on board audio. I now have it disabled, I'm still testing for differences.

 

Would setting the audio at 100% cause distortion in sound for the sound card?

 

As for the cable, kyo was willing enough to include hand built cables. "neutrik REAN 3.5mm plugs with belden SPC wire" He says that 2 meters maybe difficult as it is hand braided. I'm thinking of getting a 2 meter interconnect for desktop use, and have another wire <.5m for portable use. Are any those good?

You never know if your going to get distortion until you turn the sound card to 100% to test it.

I'm not in to buying anything more then basic low cost cables.

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