DAC for HD-598
Sep 14, 2012 at 7:50 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 19

eiliant

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Hey so I'm a complete, utter noob in the world of audio.
I have a HD-598, and I usually just plug it into my PC to listen to it, I don't think I have a soundcard.
 
Should I get a Nuforce ICON uDAC2, e10, something like that?
 
And how would I use it? Do I plug the DAC into the pc and then plug the 598 into the dac? Do I need additional wires?
 
Thanks, I've been searching a lot on google but most of it is pretty advanced.
 
Sep 14, 2012 at 9:36 PM Post #2 of 19

Snag1e

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I would take the E10 over the uDac2 any day. The Udac 2 measures poorly, and apparently has some design issues. The E-10 is a pretty decent little dac / amp for the price. You would plug either of these into the PC via usb, and then plug the headphones into the device.
 
Sep 15, 2012 at 6:38 AM Post #3 of 19

eiliant

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thanks, so you recommend the fiio e10 over anything else? and the usb cable comes with the dac right
 
sorry for my many questions, very appreciated. hope you have a nice day
 
Sep 15, 2012 at 3:39 PM Post #5 of 19

PurpleAngel

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The Asus Xonar DG sound card ($25) should improve the audio quality over the motherboard's built in audio.
Fiio E10, USB-DAC-Amp. ($70) has a better DAC (WM8740) and amp. then the Xonar DG.
SMSL SD-793 DAC (optical/coaxial input) and amplifier comes with a good DAC chip (PCM1973) and is AC powered ($60)
 
Sep 17, 2012 at 8:25 AM Post #6 of 19

LoveKnight

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Please do not buy Fiio E10 and use it with HD598. Trust me because I did and I really regret. Fiio E10s are not good pairs for HD598s. Buy an Odac and a amplifier or ODA(Odac + 02), it will be definitely better than a E10 many times. My Fiio E10 is really a garbage in front of my eyes when listening to music but not bad when watching movies. You can search Fiio E10s to find the reviews of them on this site.
 
You will find Fiio E10 is overly dark when pair with HD598. The bass is really light (without it the bass of HD598 is already extremely light), the high is very dark that you can only hear some instruments. Only the mid shines but unfortunately the it lacks the clarity on the midrange. To sum up, Fiio E10s are just better than some integrated crap sound cards.
 
Sep 23, 2012 at 9:47 AM Post #8 of 19

KrisSumara

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I'm also getting the Senny's 598's. What would be the best DAC/amp under 100$? I'm currently new to this. I want a flat response as possibile. I'm going to use the 598's for music production.
 
Sep 23, 2012 at 11:59 AM Post #9 of 19

streetdragon

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subbed, i would like to know too (although i only have the hd558, so please forgive me)
 
Sep 24, 2012 at 12:11 AM Post #11 of 19

KrisSumara

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What do you mean by I'm going to cut corners? Well what would be the best option to improve the quality of my headphones over the standard jack quality of a laptop? What are some good amps and for how much?
 
Sep 24, 2012 at 12:53 AM Post #12 of 19

proton007

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Quote:
What do you mean by I'm going to cut corners? Well what would be the best option to improve the quality of my headphones over the standard jack quality of a laptop? What are some good amps and for how much?

 
For $100, nothing much. Maybe you can look at Fiio E17.
Until ~500 bucks, its mostly you get what you pay for.
 
Sep 24, 2012 at 2:34 AM Post #13 of 19

streetdragon

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for a certain budget is it better to get an expensive amp for a cheap headphone or a cheap amp for an expensive headphone? or does it depend on the amp and headphone?
 
Sep 24, 2012 at 3:14 AM Post #14 of 19

LoveKnight

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HD598s are really good headphones and you do really need to invest more money in DAC/Amp to make them become more significantly better. However HD598s are not hard to drive so you can get more benefits by investing good dac first or amp first depend on your situation.
 
For example, with a good dac it can decode more 3d sound-stage and something else such as mid-range, bass and so on. More addition, with a good amplifier it can help drive headphone at their true potentials.
 
Maybe you can try AudioQuest Dragonflys. I think it is really a good economic choice for HD598s.
 
Sep 24, 2012 at 4:51 AM Post #15 of 19

proton007

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Quote:
for a certain budget is it better to get an expensive amp for a cheap headphone or a cheap amp for an expensive headphone? or does it depend on the amp and headphone?

 
Headphone > Amp > DAC
 
You can always get a good headphone and then generally do a bit of EQ (usually -ve EQ works better than +ve EQ). A bright one can be turned down, a bass-heavy can be made slightly neutral.
On the other hand, you can never get an average headphone to sound good, a neutral headphone to sound bass-heavy (HD598 is one of them), or a warm headphone to sound bright, because you're trying to do something the headphone just wasn't designed for. The results are usually not satisfactory.
 
An amp plays a part when your source is under-powered. Headphones are variable loads, and as long as your source can power the headphone under this variation, its sufficient. Other than increasing the power delivery, usually an amp will not be able to do much.
Also, you'll start to get diminishing returns in amps much faster than a headphone. 
A DAC reaches diminishing returns even quicker.
 
When some say *true potential* of a headphone, its somewhat vague. What's the "true potential" anyways? Maybe there's an ideal sound each listener wants, but it differs from person to person, and thus, there can be many paths to that sound, some simpler and straight, some going round a few times.
 

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