First let me say that I realize there is plenty of information out there, I have been searching for about a month now and really need help making a decision that is specific to my situation, I hate creating new threads. My situation: I only use Headphones (Sennheisser 555's currently). Will be upgrading to Sennheisser 650's or another set of 555's in the next 3 months (555's are cracked and breaking over years of abuse). Currently using a Creative Labs SB0880 PCI Express Sound Blaster X-Fi Titanium Sound Card. I get some static on my microphone and headphones if I don't use the headphone front-headers and plug it into the soundcard directly (I'm guessing it's due to the placement next to my videocard). My question is should I go for a 3.5mm-3.55mm source-to-amplifier upgrade or ditch the soundcard entirely and get a Headphone USB DAC. Currently I have my eyes on a Audioengine D1, NuForce uDac2 or Fiio E17. I have funds of up to about $200. Should I ditch the soundcard or add on to my setup for the best upgrade for a balanced sound reproduction that isn't specific to any genre or type of music. Thank you guys! Edit: I'm also willing to replace the soundcard if that's within a reasonable budget and would be a better alternative.