Just wanted to give a brief introduction since I am rather new here. I have been lurking around for a while reading a few of the posts here and there and trying to learn a little.
Anyways, I was first introduced to the true audiophile world after I had been recommended the AKG K701s when asking another audiophile for recommendations on a comfortable, yet rich headphone. I still have a set of Ultimate Ears SuperFi 5 Extended Bass in-ear headphones - which were my first set of headphones I liked - that unfortunately are broken (wires inside disconnected).
With the AKG K701s, I fell in love with the sound being so much clearer and the comfort that came along with it. Now for the downside to this introduction:
Before I had the AKG K701s, I used Turtle Beach HPA2s and Z2s after those broke. With those, I recognized the need for an actual soundcard (not on-board) - but did not want to spend the money on a very high-end card. I went to my local store to get a cheap audio card (planning on $15 for a 7.1 card) and wound up with the Turtle Beach Montego DDL card which was 7.1 sound and SPDIF In/Out. I continued to push the envelope for myself and finally connected the audio optically to an Onkyo TX-SR603X amplifier/receiver so I could plug my K701s directly in, without a 1/4inch -> 3.5mm converter. This gave a slightly better range to the headphones, but now I'm in real trouble.
I'm pretty sure my amplifier is getting ready to die on me but I'm not exactly sure that's the issue. I have been sitting quietly in the forums now and have been reading up on all the different components. My song range is rather large: I go from acapellas to dubstep to country to rock to techno. I also use my headphones and set up for gaming. However, here are the questions I have:
Since I suspect that my amplifier is going, should I be looking for something to replace that first - and should I be looking for an amplifier or a tube DAC (Maverick D1)? The other option is to replace and upgrade my sound card to something like the Creative Soundblaster ZxR - my main worry with the ZxR is that I will lose the bass notes that I really love coming out of the K701s. My price range is very restrictive (Sub-$300) for any replacement I'm doing right now and I would really like to start pushing for the most out of my headphones. If anyone could recommend where to start and what to start with, it would be greatly appreciated.