Do I need a soundcard, headphone amp, both?
Apr 28, 2017 at 11:08 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 3


New Head-Fier
Apr 27, 2017
Hi there,

Disclaimer: I'm new to the forum and, although I know a bit about audio, I'm pretty clueless.

I recently bought a pair of Audiotechnica m20x headphones for use at home with my PC where I listen to a lot of different music as well as creating some electronic music as a hobby. When I first tried the headphones, I used my phone and they sounded amazing (although the phone on max volume was a touch quiet). Unfortunately, when listening through my PC, the bass is very quiet in comparison. When comparing with my phone at approximately the same volume, the difference in bass volume is pretty striking. I'm by no means a bass head and I feel there's a really nice balance to the bass on my phone and my tablet compared with the lacking bass from my PC. Even when I turn my PC volume up much higher than my phone will go, the bass still sounds quieter.

I've been looking around trying to work out what I can buy to resolve this issue, as usage with my PC was my primary intention for the headphones. I first thought I should get a headphone amp, but I read somewhere that that is unnecessary for less than 80 ohms (which the m20x are by a long way). Do I need to buy a soundcard to resolve the issue? If so, how much would I need to spend to equal the sound quality from my phone? My motherboard for my PC (I'm using the integrated audio) is pretty high end so I expected the audio should be quite good, is there some software issue that could be causing the problem?

Thanks for the help, it's just a bit overwhelming trying to work it out myself; there are so many things it might be and I don't really know where to start.
Last edited:
Apr 28, 2017 at 10:46 PM Post #3 of 3


Headphoneus Supremus
Sep 1, 2011
Creative Labs Sound Blaster Z sound card (used off eBay)
or FiiO Q1 USB-DAC/amp.
It's about $70 for the SB-Z or Q1.
Also might be better to sell off the M20x and budget as much as possible for what might be better headphones.

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