DAC/Amp for HD650
Oct 10, 2011 at 11:51 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 13


Apr 3, 2011
Just got my new computer. It has the gigabyte sniper 2 board, which comes with thecreative x-fi/EAX 5.0 dedicated on board. The question is what would be a decent soundcard/DAC + amp combination for my HD650. I heard something about the NFB-12, is that good enough to drive the HD650 and what soundcard/DAC should I get for it. Any other thoughts? Let's say budget will be under $300, but if anything that would show significant improvement in the sub $500 range, I will consider it as well.

Oct 10, 2011 at 12:45 PM Post #3 of 13
If you mean the Asus Essence ST/STX, it is ideally suited to driving the HD650s - the onboard headphone amp performs admirably into high impedance headphones such as the Sennheisers, whilst the DAC it includes is also of the very highest quality. Much better idea than something from AudioGd IMHO.
If you're looking for just a separate amp (no DAC) the Fiio E9 uses the same headphone amplifier chip as the Essence (TPA6120) and also performs superbly driving the HD650s.
Oct 10, 2011 at 7:41 PM Post #4 of 13
I had posted this in a sperate thread, thought Id consolidate.
"As the subject line says, I am looking for the best marriage for my HD 650's.
My headphones are used with my PC. I have an Essence STX and HeadAmp4 currently. However I am under the impression there is much more I could squeeze out of my 650's. If you had $250 to spend on the problem, where would you spend your money. I was considering the Maverick D1 http://www.mav-audio.com/store/index.php/tube-magic-dac-d1.html, but I wanted to consult Head-Fi before I took that leap.
So what i am gathering Willakan is that there isn't much improvment I could get since I have the STX?
Oct 10, 2011 at 7:46 PM Post #5 of 13
For $250? Save your money, stick with your card. Maybe in the future get a pre-built Objective2 amp, but that would be most useful for you with low impedance headphones.
I'm in agreement with Willakan. I've not heard of a better product in the price range (objectively anyway) than the Essence STX, especially for high impedance headphones.
Oct 10, 2011 at 9:15 PM Post #7 of 13
I thought I read somewhere the ST has better driver than STX, or does that not justify the high/low impedance issue? So, you guys are saying the e7 e9 combo is good enoug to drive the hd650? Not like I won't take your words for it, but I just want to hear more inputs. Thanks :)
Oct 10, 2011 at 10:08 PM Post #8 of 13
i'm selling a pro-ject headbox se ii right now, works great with the 650s and drives them really well, bass is strong, details are nice, and they get loud enough to cause hearing damage. when i bought them, the box even had hd 650s in the pic lol
Oct 11, 2011 at 9:32 AM Post #10 of 13
For the HD650s I would get a more neutral amp/DAC. Also, if you're getting a USB DAC/amp, than you will bypass the sound card completely, meaning the actual sound card is near redundant.Lots of people recommend the E7/E9 combo for it, but I haven't had any experience with the hd650s, so don't take my word for it. I would recommend talking to someone who has had experience with the Fiio E9 and E7 as with the 650s.
Nov 6, 2011 at 2:12 AM Post #12 of 13
I currently have HD650 with E7/E9 combo, and I was simply blown away (FYI HD650 was my first "audiophile phone," so there could be some heavy bias).
Also, is it true that there are supposedly "silent upgrades" done on "old" HD650 to remove the veil on "newer" HD650?
Nov 6, 2011 at 5:33 PM Post #13 of 13
Thank you guys for the replies! I bought the Asus Essence ST and HT Omega Calro Halo and tried out both with my HD650. In the end, I returned the ST and kept the Claro Halo. For the Claro Halo's sound being more full and fun and the better connection to my onkyo 609 receiver.

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