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plugging headphones into Xonar DX front port produces very quiet sound.

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
As the title says. My xonar DX is producing very quiet sound through ny headphones. Pluggibg the headphones into the motherboard makes the sound several times louder. Even running my astro mixamp through the spdif port and the headphones through that isn't nearly as loud as just plugging my headphones into the motherboard. Although it is much louder than the headphones through the front port.

Even though through the mixamp the headphones are loud enough, at the higher settings the mixamp becomes very noisy.

Could my sound card only be drawing motherboard power? And not be drawing off of it's 4 pin connector?

My headphobes are audio technica ad 700's
post #2 of 7
Quote:
Originally Posted by FeralFox View Post

As the title says. My Xonar DX is producing very quiet sound through my headphones. Plugging the headphones into the motherboard makes the sound several times louder. Even running my Astro mix-amp through the s/pdif port and the headphones through that isn't nearly as loud as just plugging my headphones into the motherboard. Although it is much louder than the headphones through the front port.

Even though through the mix-amp the headphones are loud enough, at the higher settings the mix-amp becomes very noisy.

Could my sound card only be drawing motherboard power? And not be drawing off of it's 4 pin connector?

My headphones are Audio Technica ATH-AD700's

 

The Xonar DX needs to be connected to the computer's power supply to fully function.

The floppy power connector of the computer's power supply fits on to the DX's 4-pin power connector.

 

Is the front panels port cable plugged into the Xonar DX's internal jack or into the motherboard's internal jack.

When you say plugging the headphones into the motherboard, do you mean the motherboard itself or the back panel of the Xonar DX?

If the motherboard on-board audio is still enabled in the BIOS, it might be affecting the Xonar DX (any headphones plugged into the DX).

 

The Xonar DX's headphone jack has a 100-Ohm output impedance, which is not really what you want to use to drive 32-Ohm headphones (ATH-AD700).

 

Are you plugging the Astro Mix-amp into the Xonar DX's S/PDIF optical port or the motherboard's S/PDIF optical port?

post #3 of 7
Thread Starter 
Hi. I have always had the xonar connected to the power supply through the 4 pin.

I will try disabling realtek drivers.
(Have now tried this. It did nothing to the volume.)

I have been plugging my headphones into the xonar card itself. Not into a header.

When I say the headphones are louder through the motherboard. I mean I am plugging them into the green speaker port on the back of my motherboard, which is a z87 gigabyte ud3h if it makes a difference. I also heard that the ad700 was not very sensitive to ampin . And that at shouldn't really distort the sound, but it shouldn't be quieter than motherboard should it?
Edited by FeralFox - 11/26/14 at 1:47pm
post #4 of 7
Quote:
Originally Posted by FeralFox View Post

Hi. I have always had the Xonar connected to the power supply through the 4 pin.

I will try disabling Realtek drivers.
(Have now tried this. It did nothing to the volume.)

I have been plugging my headphones into the Xonar card itself. Not into a header.

When I say the headphones are louder through the motherboard. I mean I am plugging them into the green speaker port on the back of my motherboard, which is a z87 gigabyte ud3h if it makes a difference. I also heard that the ad700 was not very sensitive to ampin . And that at shouldn't really distort the sound, but it shouldn't be quieter than motherboard should it?

 

The impedance issue is not really the same as amplifying.

Very basically, I guess you could say impedance is how well the power is handled, where as amplification is basically how much power is added.

 

True the Audio Technica ATH-AD700 do not need a lot of power an usually sound good no matter what they are plugged into.

(I own the ATH-AD700, ATH-A900X, ATH-W1000X).

 

I suspect the Gigabyte Z87 UD4H's built in audio hardware is better at driving headphones then the Xonar DX.

Where as the Xonar DX's CS4398 DAC chip provides better audio quality then the Z87 UD3H on-board (built in) audio.

 

My Yamaha receiver's headphone output jack has a lot of power (more then your motherboard's audio), but because of the Yamaha's high impedance, I can plug my A900X's into the receiver, but no matter how high I turn up the volume knob, the A900Xs never gets loud.

 

With 32-Ohm headphones like the AD700s, a headphone amplifier with an output impedance of 4-Ohms or less would be recommended, the Xonar DX's output impedance is 100-Ohms.

Where your Gigabyte's headphone jack might have an impedance of around 20-Ohms (wild guess), which is not 4-ohms or less, but way better then 100-Ohms.

 

So you could just remove the Xonar DX and use the Gigabytes on-board audio.

Or Get an headphone amplifier, like the FiiO E11K ($60), which has an output impedance of less then 1-Ohms :)

So plug the E11K into the Xonar DX and the headphones into the E11K.

Or replace the Xonar DX with the Sound Blaster Z sound card, which has a headphone amplifier output impedance of 22-Ohms.

post #5 of 7
Thread Starter 
As far as I know. Many other people have uses tgese headphones with the same card without volume issues. And inseed. When I run my mixamp through it it makes the mixamp quieter. Surely Asus wouldn't intend for this soundcard to be unusable with standard headphones? My real problem here is I still want to be able to use Dolby headphone with my headphones while gaming, and I really shouldn't have to buy another sound card to do this when it was recommended by this forum to do just what I said. Thanks for the info.

By the way. If I were to upgrade and get a DAC. Could I run it through a soundcard to get Dolby headphone? Or would that just override the DAC and make it useless?
post #6 of 7
Quote:
Originally Posted by FeralFox View Post

As far as I know. Many other people have uses these headphones with the same card without volume issues. And indeed. When I run my mix-amp through it it makes the mix-amp quieter. Surely Asus wouldn't intend for this sound card to be unusable with standard headphones? My real problem here is I still want to be able to use Dolby Headphone with my headphones while gaming, and I really shouldn't have to buy another sound card to do this when it was recommended by this forum to do just what I said. Thanks for the info.

By the way. If I were to upgrade and get a DAC. Could I run it through a sound card to get Dolby Headphone? Or would that just override the DAC and make it useless?

 

If the on-board audio was enabled when you installed the Xonar DX and the Asus software.

There is a slight chance the enabled on-board audio might have interfered with the Asus driver install.

 

You might try deleting the Asus software and reinstalling the drivers (with the on-board disabled in the BIOS).

Try these third party Unified Xonar Drivers instead of the Asus drivers.

http://maxedtech.com/asus-xonar-unified-drivers/

 

You might try these setting on the DX with the Mix-amp connected to the DX's optical port and the AD700s connected to the Mix-amp.

 

Audio Channel "6-channel" (for movies or gaming) or "2-channel" (for music)

Sample Rate 44.1K (I guess 48K or 96K is also fine)

Audio Output to "Headphone"

S/PDIF Output "PCM"

This will make the Xonar DX process the Dolby Headphone and the Mix-amp provide the DAC and amplification.

 

With the volume control on the Mix-amp turned all the way down, max out the volume setting with Windows and the Xonar control panel.

Then slowly turn up the Mix-amps volume control, see if can get loud.

 

If you did buy a external DAC (optical) and connected it to the Xonar DX's optical port, it would bypass the DX's DAC, but still the DX will still provide Dolby Headphone thru the optical port.

Technically when the Mix-amp is connected to the Dx's optical port, the mix-amp is acting like an external DAC (but a DAC with an amplifier).

post #7 of 7
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the info on the mixamp. Had no idea it overrides the soundcard DAC. As for the settings I have tried those. And I use very similar settings. I will try reinstalling the drivers, but I already did have the unified drivers.

Using those settings I have to turn the mixamp to about 50-60 percent to get adequate sound levels for all applications. There is still quite a lot of hiss, but its bearable. I'm using about 55 percent in the xonar left/right mixer to avoid clipping more than +3 db if that's of any note.

What should my windows sound settings be? I have xonar speakers set to default. If I set sonar spdif to default to sound gets a lot louder, but Dolby headphone stops working, and obviously the headphones don't work at all with that setting out of the xonar headphone jack.

Thanks for the help

(edit: I tried reinstalling the drivers and found that the headphones sounded a bit louder, maybe placebo? Anyway I found out that at 75 for the left and right there is no clipping or distortion. and that I was applying -12 db. That said they are still rather quiet, but now loud enough for your reasoning to make sense, and I have been able to turn the mixamp down to about 30 percent, which has removed the perceptible noise.

Thanks for the help, If anything I have learnt alot, even if my problem is only kind of solved. At least I know where to go from here, and that my sound card isn't broken. Really appreciate it.
Edited by FeralFox - 11/27/14 at 12:14am
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