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Thinking about buying a Schiit stack, but I'm curious if the DAC is really worth it.

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 

Hey guys, first of all I'd like to say what's up :D 

I've dabbled a little with headphones but this is my first real breaking in. I had a pair of ATH-A700's that my friend broke a while ago and I missed them so much so when I saw a pair of DT990's on sale for $129 on Amazon, I jumped. The problem is these are 250 Ohms and my old A700's where around 64. My little Asus Xonar DS can no longer power such headphones. I understand a DAC helps separate noise but from what I've been told, the DAC on my DS is better than the one in the Magni. I also heard that tube amps sound better with the DT990's so I was wondering if I should just buy a decent $200 tube amp instead of buying the entry level Schiit stack and then upgrade to a quality DAC later.

 

TL;DR: Should I buy a good amp and then upgrade my DAC later if I already have a decent sound card (Xonar DS)

post #2 of 7
Some people are into tube amps; some aren't. I prefer the transparency of solid state. So you might or might not like your headphones better with a tube amp.

However, you should look at the Schiit Vali, which is a hybrid tube amp that can give you some of that tube amp sound.

Finally, are you a gamer? If you like the Dolby Headphone feature of your sound card, you won't get that with a USB DAC.
post #3 of 7
Quote:
Originally Posted by Petehoven View Post
 

Hey guys, first of all I'd like to say what's up :D 

I've dabbled a little with headphones but this is my first real breaking in. I had a pair of ATH-A700's that my friend broke a while ago and I missed them so much so when I saw a pair of DT990's on sale for $129 on Amazon, I jumped. The problem is these are 250 Ohms and my old A700's where around 64. My little Asus Xonar DS can no longer power such headphones. I understand a DAC helps separate noise but from what I've been told, the DAC on my DS is better than the one in the Magni. I also heard that tube amps sound better with the DT990's so I was wondering if I should just buy a decent $200 tube amp instead of buying the entry level Schiit stack and then upgrade to a quality DAC later.

 

TL;DR: Should I buy a good amp and then upgrade my DAC later if I already have a decent sound card (Xonar DS)

The Magni is the amp, the Modi is the DAC.

I'd recommend just getting the Magni and seeing what you think.

post #4 of 7

I'm also looking at this schiit so how do you guys think their stuff would sound with the Beyerdynamic DT770 250ohm headphones?

post #5 of 7
Quote:
Originally Posted by Petehoven View Post
 

The problem is these are 250 Ohms and my old A700's where around 64. My little Asus Xonar DS can no longer power such headphones. 


I could power my DT-990s well enough just from my laptop's stock headphone jack. It wasn't ideal of course, but I'm surprised that the Xonar isn't enough. Does it have gain settings? If so, you should try setting it to high gain. 

Of course, if you want a new amp anyway, go for it. I'd suggest just getting an amp and pairing it with the DAC in the Xonar at first. You can always add a DAC later. 

post #6 of 7
Quote:
Originally Posted by Petehoven View Post
 

Hey guys, first of all I'd like to say what's up :D 

I've dabbled a little with headphones but this is my first real breaking in. I had a pair of ATH-A700's that my friend broke a while ago and I missed them so much so when I saw a pair of DT990's on sale for $129 on Amazon, I jumped. The problem is these are 250 Ohms and my old A700's where around 64. My little Asus Xonar DS can no longer power such headphones. I understand a DAC helps separate noise but from what I've been told, the DAC on my DS is better than the one in the Magni. I also heard that tube amps sound better with the DT990's so I was wondering if I should just buy a decent $200 tube amp instead of buying the entry level Schiit stack and then upgrade to a quality DAC later.

TL;DR: Should I buy a good amp and then upgrade my DAC later if I already have a decent sound card (Xonar DS)

 

Personally, I would rather sell of the DT990 (Pro 250-Ohm ?) and buy the Audio Technica ATH-AD900X, before spending $200 for a headphone amplifier for the DT990s.

 

For now I would say to keep the Xonar DS and buy a headphone amplifier, Schiit Magni or Schiit Vali or Objective 2 (O2) headphone amplifier.

(Hopefully you disabled the motherboard's on-board audio? in the BIOS).

 

Might delete the Asus software and try the Unified Xonar Drivers.

http://maxedtech.com/asus-xonar-unified-drivers/

 

Also a cheaper "DAC" upgrade is to get the Xonar DX or D1 sound card (used $60).

post #7 of 7
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by manbear View Post
 


I could power my DT-990s well enough just from my laptop's stock headphone jack. It wasn't ideal of course, but I'm surprised that the Xonar isn't enough. Does it have gain settings? If so, you should try setting it to high gain. 

Of course, if you want a new amp anyway, go for it. I'd suggest just getting an amp and pairing it with the DAC in the Xonar at first. You can always add a DAC later. 

Well, it's certainly loud enough, just in all the wrong places. I can tell there is a problem with them getting enough power. It sounds loud but still kind of "held back" if that makes any sense. 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by PurpleAngel View Post
 

 

Personally, I would rather sell of the DT990 (Pro 250-Ohm ?) and buy the Audio Technica ATH-AD900X, before spending $200 for a headphone amplifier for the DT990s.

 

For now I would say to keep the Xonar DS and buy a headphone amplifier, Schiit Magni or Schiit Vali or Objective 2 (O2) headphone amplifier.

(Hopefully you disabled the motherboard's on-board audio? in the BIOS).

 

Might delete the Asus software and try the Unified Xonar Drivers.

http://maxedtech.com/asus-xonar-unified-drivers/

 

Also a cheaper "DAC" upgrade is to get the Xonar DX or D1 sound card (used $60).

Yeah I do have the pro 250-Ohm. I'm buying an amp so that I can have enough power for whatever headphones I may want down the road. I've had my eyes on a few AKG's for quite some time now.

 

I was thinking about buying a DX or something but I don't know if an external DAC would be better since there is less noise.

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