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Connecting Xonar Essence One to Beyerdynamic HEADZONE?

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 

Hey,

 

The Xonar Essence One is awesome but it doesn't have support for surround sound.

 

The Beyerdynamic does have surround sound but (from what I understand) has inferior sound quality.

 

What if I was to connect the two, would it distort the sound or would I gain the advantages of both worlds?

 

Connection would go like this:

 

PC --optical--> Beyerdynamic  HeadZone --optical--> Xonar Essence One ---6.35mm stereo jack--> Beyerdynamic  DT880 250ohm

 

Silly overkill or actually a good idea?

 

Any more efficient way to obtain Surround Sound without sacrificing on the quality?

 

 

p.s.

The only issue remaining would be that my computer (MSI GT70) doesn't actually have optical jack, would using something like the TurtleBeach Audio Advantage Micro II USB>TOSLINK adapter as a bridge between the PC and the first device (the Beyerdynamic  HeadZone) work fine? 

 

 

 

Links:

1) TurtleBeach Audio Advantage Micro II USB>TOSLINK adapter

http://store.turtlebeach.com/audioadvantagemicroii.aspx

 

2) HEADZONE® - STUNNING SURROUND SOUND WITH HEADPHONES

http://north-america.beyerdynamic.com/shop/hah/headphones-and-headsets/gaming/headzone-headphone-surround-system.html

 

3) Xonar Essence One MUSES Edition

https://www.asus.com/Sound_Cards_and_DigitaltoAnalog_Converters/Xonar_Essence_One_MUSES_Edition/overview/

post #2 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by samXLR View Post
 

The Xonar Essence One is awesome but it doesn't have support for surround sound.

The Beyerdynamic does have surround sound but (from what I understand) has inferior sound quality.

What if I was to connect the two, would it distort the sound or would I gain the advantages of both worlds?

Connection would go like this:

PC --optical--> Beyerdynamic  HeadZone --optical--> Xonar Essence One ---6.35mm stereo jack--> Beyerdynamic  DT880 250ohm

Silly overkill or actually a good idea?

Any more efficient way to obtain Surround Sound without sacrificing on the quality?

The only issue remaining would be that my computer (MSI GT70) doesn't actually have optical jack, would using something like the TurtleBeach Audio Advantage Micro II USB>TOSLINK adapter as a bridge between the PC and the first device (the Beyerdynamic  HeadZone) work fine? 

 

Pick one of the DAC/amps and one of the sound cards and get the DT880s.

 

Audio-GD NFB-15, external DAC/Amp, $270+shipping

http://audio-gd.com/Pro/Headphoneamp/NFB1532/NFB15.32EN.htm

Audio-GD NFB-11 external DAC/amp, $355+shipping.

http://audio-gd.com/Pro/Headphoneamp/NFB112014/NFB112014EN.htm

 

Asus Xonar DG or DGX sound card ($20-$40) comes with optical output port.

Sound Blaster Z sound card, ($85), comes with optical output port.

 

Beyerdynamic DT880 Pro 250-Ohm headphones. $210

post #3 of 16
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the feedback, I might have understated one aspect of my computer: its a laptop, I cant really connect PCI\PCI-E\PCI Express cards without some kind of USB3.0 based external casing such as this:

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/846534-REG/Dynapower_USA_NA211A_DT_3_SLOT_PCIe_EXPANSION_ENC_PCIe.html

(the above wouldn't actually work as i don't have express card slot on my computer either, but even if I was to find one that works on USB3.0 (yes.. no thunderbolt either unfortunately) it wouldn't be very viable solution seeing as how this things cost north of $700usd)

 

and I actually already have the Beyerdynamic DT880 250-Ohm

 

And a Marantz Module 2230B (from 1977) receiver, which I use as an AMP right now, I am trying to see how can my setup to be with surround, not sure how as of now :x

post #4 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by samXLR View Post
 

Thanks for the feedback, I might have understated one aspect of my computer: its a laptop, I cant really connect PCI\PCI-E\PCI Express cards without some kind of USB3.0 based external casing such as this:

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/846534-REG/Dynapower_USA_NA211A_DT_3_SLOT_PCIe_EXPANSION_ENC_PCIe.html

(the above wouldn't actually work as i don't have express card slot on my computer either, but even if I was to find one that works on USB3.0 (yes.. no thunderbolt either unfortunately) it wouldn't be very viable solution seeing as how this things cost north of $700usd)

 

and I actually already have the Beyerdynamic DT880 250-Ohm

 

And a Marantz Module 2230B (from 1977) receiver, which I use as an AMP right now, I am trying to see how can my setup to be with surround, not sure how as of now :x

 

What kind of digital outputs (USB, optical, coaxial) exactly does your laptop have?

Is your laptop Win PC or Mac? which make and model?

 

The Audio-GD NFB-11 & NFB-15 come with USB, optical and coaxial inputs.

 

You might be able to get away with just getting a Schiit Modi DAC.

post #5 of 16
Thread Starter 

Only USB outputs, its a PC.

 

The idea was having one device acting as the amp that enhances the audio while the other provides virtual surround to a stereo headset, seeing as there is no way to carry surround sound on single analog cable, the natural conclusion that I had is that I should use optic cables between the two devices, and a USB to the first of the two as my computer does not have anything but USB (it does have the 3.5mm jacks for line in, microphone, headset - which doesn't help here).

 

The reason for not simply opting to go for the Beyerdynamic  HeadZone alone is that I was under the impression that if a 3rd device was also involved I could improve the sound quality.

post #6 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by samXLR View Post
 

Only USB outputs, its a PC.

 

The idea was having one device acting as the amp that enhances the audio while the other provides virtual surround to a stereo headset, seeing as there is no way to carry surround sound on single analog cable, the natural conclusion that I had is that I should use optic cables between the two devices, and a USB to the first of the two as my computer does not have anything but USB (it does have the 3.5mm jacks for line in, microphone, headset - which doesn't help here).

 

The reason for not simply opting to go for the Beyerdynamic  HeadZone alone is that I was under the impression that if a 3rd device was also involved I could improve the sound quality.

 

Your MSI GT70's headphone output jack might(?) also be an optical output port, which model GT70 is it?

(The MSI GT70 2OD model headphone jack also functions as optical output port)

 

 

 

post #7 of 16
Thread Starter 

I have the first gen GT70 (3rd gen i7 + geforce 680) also known as one of the sub variations of the GT70 0NE as seen here:

http://www.msi.com/product/nb/GT70_0NE.html#hero-overview

 

Mine is actually a bare-bone based on that that was customized by XoticPC.com

 

However as far as I understand every generation of the GT70 share a generation specific sound card / ports.

 

That said, I have no idea how to verify if my headphone jack can double up as an optical output port, how could I verify this? 

post #8 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by samXLR View Post
 

I have the first gen GT70 (3rd gen i7 + geforce 680) also known as one of the sub variations of the GT70 0NE as seen here:

http://www.msi.com/product/nb/GT70_0NE.html#hero-overview

 

Mine is actually a bare-bone based on that that was customized by XoticPC.com

 

However as far as I understand every generation of the GT70 share a generation specific sound card / ports.

 

That said, I have no idea how to verify if my headphone jack can double up as an optical output port, how could I verify this? 

 

The manual for that laptop lists the headphone jack as an optical port.

One way to check is to look into the headphone jack and see if there is a light, guessing it would be a white or red light.

There might be a enable/disable setting for the optical port in the BIOS setting.

 

Might also trying updating to the latest Realtek audio drivers/software

Select OS first, then download drivers.

http://www.msi.com/support/nb/GT70_0NE.html#down-driver&Win8%2064

post #9 of 16
Thread Starter 

Turns out that I was using really old drivers (the ones that came preinstalled a year ago), downloading new ones now and will try this :)

 

I looked into the headphone jack and there is no light but I can make out a sort of white'ish plastic reflecting some light from the room, while there is no such thing in the other ports (microphone\line in)

 

Thanks for the advise, I'll write again after its done :)

post #10 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by samXLR View Post
 

Turns out that I was using really old drivers (the ones that came preinstalled a year ago), downloading new ones now and will try this :)

I looked into the headphone jack and there is no light but I can make out a sort of white'ish plastic reflecting some light from the room, while there is no such thing in the other ports (microphone\line in)

Thanks for the advise, I'll write again after its done :)

 

I'm guessing the optical port needs to be turned on/enabled, it might be in the BIOS setting or in the Realtek's Audio Control Panel.

You could use the Realtek software to process virtual headphone surround sound, then send that signal thru the optical, to an external DAC/Amp/DT880

 

This is the cable you would need to connect the laptop's optical (mini-toslink) output port to an external DAC's optical input port.

3ft Optical Toslink to Mini Toslink M/M 5.0mm OD Molded Cable (cable comes in shorter and longer lengths).

http://www.monoprice.com/Product?c_id=102&cp_id=10229&cs_id=1022902&p_id=1556&seq=1&format=2

 

One of these external DAC/Headphone amplifiers (with optical input) would provide really good audio quality., something that could be used with more then just your laptop and current headphones

Their separate line-output port could (will) improve the audio quality of any speakers hooked up to the old receiver.

Audio-GD NFB-15, external DAC/Amp, $270+shipping (both this myself back in Oct 2013)

http://audio-gd.com/Pro/Headphoneamp/NFB1532/NFB15.32EN.htm

Audio-GD NFB-11 external DAC/amp, $355+shipping (better detailed audio)

http://audio-gd.com/Pro/Headphoneamp/NFB112014/NFB112014EN.htm

post #11 of 16
Thread Starter 

Dude, PurpleAngel, my man!

 

You hit the jackpot with this one, really.

 

I now have a 3rd output\playback device, its called "Realtek Digital Output" it reports being "not plugged in" and when I view its properties it says under jack information: "Optical Jack" ! ! !

 

You nailed it :D !

 

Now I just need to get the cable that you stated!

 

I actually have an old(relatively.... =p) Turtle Beach Ear Force DSS1, so I could use the following setup:

PC(sends 7.1 channel signal) --optic via  Optical Toslink to Mini Toslink M/M 5.0mm OD Molded Cable --> Turtle Beach Ear Force DSS1(converts 7.1 channel signal to stereo virtual surround) ---3.5mm RCA cable---> Marantz 2230B reciver(gives late 70's tube based flavor to the sound) --> 1/4" --> DT880 

 

Doesn't answer my question at all but nevertheless gets the job done, I'll actually get to have virtual surround with this laptop via optic port :) (which was sort of the goal)

 

If all thing works well I could then proceed to upgrade amp from the Marantz receiver to something more compact (the Marantz receiver weights 26.5lbs and is simply massive measuring at w17" 3/8*h5" 3/8*d14" ._.)

post #12 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by samXLR View Post
 

Dude, PurpleAngel, my man!

You hit the jackpot with this one, really.

I now have a 3rd output\playback device, its called "Realtek Digital Output" it reports being "not plugged in" and when I view its properties it says under jack information: "Optical Jack" ! ! !

You nailed it :D !

Now I just need to get the cable that you stated!

I actually have an old(relatively.... =p) Turtle Beach Ear Force DSS1, so I could use the following setup:

PC(sends 7.1 channel signal) --optic via  Optical Toslink to Mini Toslink M/M 5.0mm OD Molded Cable --> Turtle Beach Ear Force DSS1(converts 7.1 channel signal to stereo virtual surround) ---3.5mm RCA cable---> Marantz 2230B reciver(gives late 70's tube based flavor to the sound) --> 1/4" --> DT880 

Doesn't answer my question at all but nevertheless gets the job done, I'll actually get to have virtual surround with this laptop via optic port :) (which was sort of the goal)

If all thing works well I could then proceed to upgrade amp from the Marantz receiver to something more compact (the Marantz receiver weights 26.5lbs and is simply massive measuring at w17" 3/8*h5" 3/8*d14" ._.)

 

Do you actually use the Marantz for driving speakers? or just as a headphone amplifier?

 

Unless your laptop's audio software comes with DDL (Dolby Digital live), the TBS (Turtle Beach) Dolby Headphone surround sound feature will not function.

Normally optical can only pass 2-channels of PCM (uncompressed) digital audio, DDL can compress up to 6-channel of audio, that can then pass thru optical, the TBS DDS1 can then uncompress the digital audio.

Any headphone surround sound features the Realtek itself has will function fine, it will send the processed headphone surround sound (which is 2-channels) thru the optical to the TBS DDS1 and the Turtle Beach will function like a basic DAC (Digital to Analog Converter).

So if there is any improvement with audio quality from using the TBS DDS1, I'm guessing it's going to be minimal.(if any).

post #13 of 16
Thread Starter 

Yeah I do, very rarely though... I much prefer headset over large speakers, my setup consist of Peerless speakers (left, right, center), two "Twin Duct, 3 way bass reflex speaker system" and two unnamed (it pealed off over the years) wooden 39" speakers that are also from 1977 (.. the year, just to be clear).

 

But again, I rarely (less then once a month) use the speakers, my daily drive is the DT880 via the receiver.

 

Your knowledge of sound formats and systems suppress mine by several magnitudes, had to google half the terms you used.

 

If I understand you... my DSS will only act as an amp, which is one thing I really don't need (at best it would only create minimal distortions..) and wont help me with virtual surround due to my sound card being not compatible with what the DSS can decode.

 

This blows.

 

lol :\

 

I have done much reading about the HeadZone and turns out that people find it just slightly better then the Astro MIX AMP for virtual surround, as the DSS1 very similar to the Astro MIX AMP.. this means I wont be getting the headzone H1.

 

Not sure what I need, I know what I want.. I want virtual surround and good quality amp, doesn't have to be the same device.

 

Like for example if I had a USB sound card that had optical output that would be compatible with the DSS1.. that would be great, especially if the sound card was also a high quality AMP... which the essence xonar muse edition is not (no optic output)

https://www.asus.com/Sound_Cards_and_DigitaltoAnalog_Converters/Xonar_Essence_One_MUSES_Edition/overview/

 

now regarding the NFB-11, can it provide optic output in a format that the DSS (or astro) can use?

 

What about Realiser A8 - Smyth Research? would that be of any use here?

 

its too bad that the Xonar Essence One doesn't come with virtual surround, or/and that asus/creative doesn't make any high quality USB sound card

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

Yeah I do, very rarely though... I much prefer headset over large speakers, my setup consist of Peerless speakers (left, right, center), two "Twin Duct, 3 way bass reflex speaker system" and two unnamed (it pealed off over the years) wooden 39" speakers that are also from 1977 (.. the year, just to be clear).

But again, I rarely (less then once a month) use the speakers, my daily drive is the DT880 via the receiver.

Your knowledge of sound formats and systems suppress mine by several magnitudes, had to google half the terms you used.

If I understand you... my DSS will only act as an amp, which is one thing I really don't need (at best it would only create minimal distortions..) and wont help me with virtual surround due to my sound card being not compatible with what the DSS can decode.

I have done much reading about the HeadZone and turns out that people find it just slightly better then the Astro MIX AMP for virtual surround, as the DSS1 very similar to the Astro MIX AMP.. this means I wont be getting the headzone H1.

Not sure what I need, I know what I want.. I want virtual surround and good quality amp, doesn't have to be the same device.

Like for example if I had a USB sound card that had optical output that would be compatible with the DSS1.. that would be great, especially if the sound card was also a high quality AMP... which the Essence Xonar muse edition is not (no optic output)

https://www.asus.com/Sound_Cards_and_DigitaltoAnalog_Converters/Xonar_Essence_One_MUSES_Edition/overview/

now regarding the NFB-11, can it provide optic output in a format that the DSS (or astro) can use?

What about Realiser A8 - Smyth Research? would that be of any use here?

its too bad that the Xonar Essence One doesn't come with virtual surround, or/and that asus/creative doesn't make any high quality USB sound card

 

A Asus Xonar U3 USB sound card ($40 in the USA) could plug into your laptop's USB port, provide Dolby Headphone surround sound and send the Dolby Headphone audio signal to the Marantz amplifier.

The Xonar U3 does not come with a great DAC chip (just barely decent), but the audio quality should be enough for gaming.

Guess you could think of the Xonar U3 as an improved revision of the TBS DDS1.

The Xonar U3 can output a digital audio signal and an analog audio signal (headphone or line-output)

 

The Audio-GD NFB-11 can not provide optical output, but you would not need that feature on the NFB-11.

The NFB-11 does come with a 32-bit/384k USB input and S/PDIF (optical & coaxial) inputs.

You could daisy chain the Xonar U3 to the optical input on the NFB-11 and the NFB-11's DAC/Head amp will make your headphones sound so SWEET.

 

I really know zero about the Smyth Research Realiser A8.


Edited by PurpleAngel - 6/12/14 at 10:02pm
post #15 of 16
Thread Starter 

Interesting idea, I am just not sure that I am sold on the U3, seems very "flimsy", I really would wish someone made proper USB (dare i say 3.0) external sound card that could have provided what I am looking for :|

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