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Help: Fiio 09K vs Schiit Vali and Optimal Setup

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 

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 :)

post #2 of 16
There is a FiiO E17 thread where you could probably find out about using the E17's optical capability with the E09K.

I don't know that the E09Ks greater power rating would translate to any significant difference. It takes double the amplifier power just to get 3db more volume, which is not that much. The rated difference of the power output between the E09K and the Vali are much less than that.

Do you already own the E17? I'm not convinced the DAC on the E17 is that much better than DX, although I never did compare them head to head when I owned the E17. Also, I've seen one reviewer say that there is not much advantage in getting the E09K to go with the E17 for lower impedance headphones, which would make sense to me.
post #3 of 16
Thread Starter 

Humm I guess what I'm really trying to ask here is whether on not using the Xonar DX's optical out to an external DAC / AMP gives me a cleaner signal (internal computer noise) OR if using the Xonar as the DAC and just using a AMP to power the headphones is fine.

 

The DX is just there for me to use it's Dolby Headphones / features in games and movies nothing more.

 

Also the reason I was thinking about the e09k dock was because the E17 was not powerful enough to run the headphones I was looking at. Beyerdynamic DT770 250ohm or the Mr. Speakers 'Mad Dog' 47ohms. The Mad Dog's use plainer magnets so draw much more power than their ohms would indicate.

post #4 of 16

Usually, Optical output is way cleaner than analog, But also consider jitter...Depending on your card the optical out might have jitter where as expensive DACs are jitter free (through USB in).

 

there is another option, you could use razer surround and output to a good external DAC(asynchronous data transfer mode)(through USB), then you get the best quality...

 

 

But dont worry about it that much...the difference is not night and day....I think you would be fine with the E17/E09K combo....


Edited by Sam21 - 4/17/14 at 5:18pm
post #5 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by MrBeats View Post

Humm I guess what I'm really trying to ask here is whether on not using the Xonar DX's optical out to an external DAC / AMP gives me a cleaner signal (internal computer noise) OR if using the Xonar as the DAC and just using a AMP to power the headphones is fine.

It depends on the external DAC. Like I said, I'm not convinced that the E17s DAC is necessarily that much better. You'd have to try it and see.
Quote:
Originally Posted by MrBeats View Post

Also the reason I was thinking about the e09k dock was because the E17 was not powerful enough to run the headphones I was looking at. Beyerdynamic DT770 250ohm or the Mr. Speakers 'Mad Dog' 47ohms. The Mad Dog's use plainer magnets so draw much more power than their ohms would indicate.

Incidentally, sensitivity is what you want to look at as far as power draw for headphones. Ohms don't really ever tell you much, other than some amps are better for some impedance range headphones.
post #6 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by MrBeats View Post
 

Humm I guess what I'm really trying to ask here is whether on not using the Xonar DX's optical out to an external DAC / AMP gives me a cleaner signal (internal computer noise) OR if using the Xonar as the DAC and just using a AMP to power the headphones is fine.

The DX is just there for me to use it's Dolby Headphones / features in games and movies nothing more.

Also the reason I was thinking about the e09k dock was because the E17 was not powerful enough to run the headphones I was looking at. Beyerdynamic DT770 250ohm or the Mr. Speakers 'Mad Dog' 47ohms. The Mad Dog's use plainer magnets so draw much more power than their ohms would indicate.

From my understanding, electrical noise effects the analog part of the audio signal.

So using an external headphone amplifier, moves most of the analog audio equipment to outside of the computer case.

Not getting the FiiO E17 leaves more of your budget for a headphone amplifier.

post #7 of 16
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by PurpleAngel View Post
 

From my understanding, electrical noise effects the analog part of the audio signal.

So using an external headphone amplifier, moves most of the analog audio equipment to outside of the computer case.

Not getting the FiiO E17 leaves more of your budget for a headphone amplifier.

 

THANK YOU SO MUCH (yes caps) :D for clearing this up for me. I always thought that the audio processing from the sound card DAC was where the degradation started and by the time the audio hit the line out on the sound card the damage had already been done. This saves me about 100$ by not having to get an separate DAC (E17 uses the same DAC as the DX) and lets me still use a mike with the card. (Spdif took up the mike port on the card if I was to use it for the toslink).

 

I believe that after everything is said and done I will bet getting the ASUS Xonar Dx > Schiit Vali AMP > Mad Dog. $50 +$130 +$300 =480$ ($500 w/ shipping) Yay for hitting my budget shipping and all.

 

Dan aka Mr Speakers recommended the Vali AMP to me as well when I contacted him. After doing some research it seems that tube amps add a positive elements to the high end on planer magnet headphones. Also Foobar2K’s Real Bass Exciter DSP that I found out about while searching these forums should add some real nice bass to these as well.

 

This site also has some nice reviews on the Mad Dog as well

http://www.head-fi.org/products/mrspeakers-mad-dog-t50rp-mod/reviews/9701

 

 

Thanks everyone for helping me with this and special thanks to you PurpleAngel for helping me out in a few posts I've had so far. Everyone here rocks :)

post #8 of 16

Seems you are heading in the right direction, sweet setup. At some point you could consider adding an external DAC, but the amp is more important for now.

 

Good luck with it.

post #9 of 16
Thread Starter 

Thanks, and yeah in the future I could probably add an external DAC though I seem to have a hard time finding one that accepts optical in from a sound card.

post #10 of 16

optical modi uses optical in

post #11 of 16
Thread Starter 

You know what I didn't know it had the option of optical or USB good to know will add in the future I got the Vali and loving it.

post #12 of 16

the optical one just came out :) i ordered it.  I think i may have #8! but i suck at understanding serial numbers so ii am not sure

 

i am listening to optimodi -> vali -> Q701's as we speak

post #13 of 16
Thread Starter 

Haha that would explain how I missed it then. Right now I'm using a Xonar DX for my DAC and the audio quality on it is really quite nice. Not sure how much of a diff it will make adding a modi as I think they both use the same / similar C-Media chipsets.

 

Also the Dolby Headphone is verrry nice :)

post #14 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by MrBeats View Post
 

Haha that would explain how I missed it then. Right now I'm using a Xonar DX for my DAC and the audio quality on it is really quite nice. Not sure how much of a diff it will make adding a Modi as I think they both use the same / similar C-Media chipsets.

 

Also the Dolby Headphone is verrry nice :)

 

The Modi does not use an audio processor chips, the DX and Modi do both use DAC chips.

Personally i think still think your better off at just using the Xonar DX as the DAC and put all your cash towards an external headphone amplifier and headphones.

post #15 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by PurpleAngel View Post

Personally i think still think your better off at just using the Xonar DX as the DAC and put all your cash towards an external headphone amplifier and headphones.

+1

The DX has a pretty good DAC, and it has a line out designed to feed an amp. So buying the Modi will give you the least bang for your buck because you already have decent DAC. Get a better amp smily_headphones1.gif
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