Originally Posted by Bench
I've just bought an Asus Xonar DX sound card as many people claimed that it drastically improved their listening experience, even with cheap headphones / speakers.
Because of those positive reviews I expected quite a lot and was massively disappointed.
I have Denon AH-1100s and hear no difference. Sometimes it seems to be a bit clearer than on-board but sometimes it's just the opposite.
Am I just physically unable to hear a difference? And will more expensive headphones (150-200€) make me able to hear a difference between on-board and the DX?
Hopefully you disabled the motherboard's on-board audio? in the BIOS, when you installed the Xonar DX, on-board might(?) be having a negative effect on the Xonar DX's audio.
The Xonar DX is a fairly good sounding card, CS4398 DAC chip :), but it does not have a very good way of powering headphones.
It's headphone output jack is more like a line-out jack (great for speakers), that pretends to also be a headphone jack.
The Xonar DX's headphone output has an impedance of 100-Ohms, which is not the best way for driving 32-Ohm headphones like the Denon AH-D1100 headphones.
I'm guessing the Xonar DX is giving the AH-D1100 a bloated (louder, less detailed) bass, which I'm assuring is also having a negative effect on the mids and treble.
You could spend 77.99 GBPs on a external headphone amplifier, like the Epiphany Acoustics EHP-O2, which has an output impedance of less then 1-Ohm :)
The Xonar DX used with the EPH-O2 makes a great combo for driving just about any headphone.
Or return the Xonar DX and get the Epiphany Acoustics EHP-O2D (167 GBP) external USB DAC/Amp, should really bring out the best in the AH-D1100
or any other headphone you might buy in the future.
You could sell off the AH-D1100 and return the Xonar DX.
Buy the cheaper Xonar DG or DGX sound card, which comes with a basic headphone amplifier, then put all the "audio" budget for headphones, like the Audio Technica ATH-A900X?
Oops, never mind about the A900Xs, they cost way too much in Europe.
Edited by PurpleAngel - 6/12/14 at 3:22pm