Hi guys first post so please bare with me and help me with this thread. I'm looking to upgrade from my PC on board sound which is Realtek ALC889 codec, I was looking at the soundblaster Z as i do a bit of gaming but i mainly need this sound upgrade for my my music so would this be a noticeable upgrade from my current onboard sound or do you think a headphone/amp would be better to go with?
need some help getting started
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I wouldn't spend any money on an amp currently. I think you should first upgrade your headphones and then possibly look into an amp. How much are you looking to spend? Are you going to be using the headphones at home or do you need a pair that you can use outside of the house also?
Your headphones are going to have the largest impact on sound quality of music and gaming by far. I would find a pair that you are happy with first and then focus on an amp and soundcard/dac. Some headphones will only reach their full potential when well powered by a headphone amp.
A dac would change the sound quality over your onboard sound for the better most likely. But the dac is going to have the least impact on the sound of your system. If you are planning on upgrading your headphones anyway, I would put the money you are going to spend on a dac and put it into new headphones. The headphones are going to have by far the largest impact in sound quality. The general consensus is that headphones influence the sound the most, followed by your amp, then your dac.
so would you recommend buying a cheap soundblaster Z for now considering i do gaming or buy a portable fiio, because when i use my beats on my galaxy s4 the sound is somewhat quieter(i know louder generally does not mean better) and has less bass compared to when they are in the PC so if i could improve upon my current onboard sound that would be plus for me. I know you said to upgrade my headphone but at the moment i don't really want to.