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Ok I have 2 basic setups that I have to choose from:

 

DAC - Xonar DX> Amp (Fiio e17 or Schiit Vali) > Headphones  -- Option 1

 

or

 

Xonar DX > Spdif Out > DAC - Fiio e17 > Fiio e09K dock > Headphones  -- Option 2

 

My questions are as follows:

 

1. Which amp has the better sound quality. The E09k seems to have more power but I have heard good things about the Vali's sound quality. I assume both should be able to push either headphone to ear-bleeding levels.

 

2. Which of these setups gives me overall better sound and just to be sure; it is even possible to use the E17's Spdif in when it's docked with the E09k?

 

3. Is there any advantage to buying the much more expensive Xonar STX if all I am able to use on it is the Spdif out.

 

 

I am using the Xonar in this setup because I want to be able to game with my headphones using the Dolby Headphone and this seems to be pretty much the only way for that to happen is to run the sound trough the cards DAC first (also DTS for movies is nice). Just worrying that option 2 might have to many process and cause lag in the sound. Im planning to use either the Beyerdynamic's DT770 Pro 80/250omhs or Mr Speakers Mad Dog 47omhs which just depends on what I have to spend for DAC/AMP setup.

 

Planing to buy my stuff this weekend so any help would be greatly appreciated :)