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Looking for help powering my Beyer DT990 250R.

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 

This is my first time posting and my first time getting into the world of serious headphones, so please be gentle.


My PC is built around gaming, but the most I've ever paid for headphones is around $50 and I haven't used a soundcard since the late 90s. Being fresh from my 3rd broken headphones in 2 years I went looking for some better, and more importantly, sturdier ones and found some Beyer DT990 250 Ohms going for $110 (in Canada no less!). Now I know they'll need much more power than my onboard Z68 mobo will be able to handle so I'm looking for something affordable to run these puppies with a $150 price limit. I'd really prefer something that lets me experience surround sound for games and movies as well.


I've been poking around headfi and other places for the past few days and am currently leaning towards the x-fi titanium hd. I've heard a lot of people recommending the xonar essence but the cheapest I can find it is around $190 as opposed to the x-fi's $120 so that's a bit out of my range.


My main question is whether the titianium hd will be enough to power my new cans to a good level, or if there are better options in that price range that allow for surround sound. I've heard the titanium hd's built-in amp won't be able to run them at the best possible level, but honestly if it gives me 80% of what it's capable of it's probably good enough for me on my current budget.


Thanks for your help!

Edited by Kentauroi - 3/22/14 at 8:31pm
post #2 of 6
The Titanium HD is an excellent sound card. Given Canadian pricing, that does seem like a very good price and should give you what you need. I'd go for it smily_headphones1.gif
post #3 of 6

Check out the Creative Sound Blaster Z



$85.31 on Amazon, at least for US residents.



It can drive headphones up to 600ohms (though if you had headphones that were 600ohms I wouldn't recommend driving them with a $100 internal sound card)


It also has support for surround and is marketed towards gaming/entertainment, but I find them to work with my HD558s for music quite well also.

post #4 of 6
Thread Starter 

I've also looked at the Soundblaster Z card, and the price is very enticing ($85 + free shipping). 


From what I've heard the main difference between the two is that the Soundblaster Z has a more powerful amp while the Titanium HD has a better quality DAC. Would you say the better quality DAC on the Titanium is worth the extra $40? The reason I'm asking is that I'm not averse to buying a standalone amp sometime in the future when my funds allow for it if I feel it's needed, so if the DAC on the Titanium is a significant improvement I wonder if it's a better long term investment.

Edited by Kentauroi - 3/23/14 at 1:13pm
post #5 of 6

The thing about DACs...


People tend to pay more attention to the DAC inside a sound card than anything else. When it comes to a good internal sound card, the DAC isn't everything. True if you see a sound card that has a DAC and you look up the specs on that particular DAC and the specs are not very good, I wouldn't go with it.


Sound card manufacturer's build their sound card around a DAC, choosing the best one for their components.


So, my point is, don't just look at the DAC, look at other things at well, the caps, look for gold-plating, build quality, the amp, compatibility, specs, freq. response, SNR, THD, etc.


Cirrus Logic is a respectable name for DACs, they've been around since '81, the beginning of digital audio.

post #6 of 6
I don't know enough about the Soundblaster Z to know if it has more "power" nor exactly what that term would mean generally anyway since headphone amps can be better at powering some impedance levels than others. The Titanium HD DAC would, however, be more equivalent to the higher models in the Z series.

Although it seems that people feel the Titanium HD powers the DT770 Pro 250s fine:


I'd go for the HD.
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