Do I need an amp?
Dec 27, 2021 at 11:16 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 14

maximew

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I’m probably going to get the sennheiser hd 560s, and I’m wondering if I absolutely need an amp. I’m new to the audio world, so any information would be useful thanks! I’m not willing to spend more than around £50, and my motherboard is the asrock b450m pro4.
 
Dec 27, 2021 at 12:16 PM Post #2 of 14

PurpleAngel

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Check out the website AVforum, it's located in the UK, people on that forum might be able to tell you were to find the best deals on audio equipment, in the UK.
 
Dec 27, 2021 at 12:47 PM Post #3 of 14

pjones5

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I’m probably going to get the sennheiser hd 560s, and I’m wondering if I absolutely need an amp. I’m new to the audio world, so any information would be useful thanks! I’m not willing to spend more than around £50, and my motherboard is the asrock b450m pro4.
I've got the HD560s with the same motherboard and I have no trouble driving them. That said, they do benefit from a little more power - personally, I like how the FiiO KA3 sounds (plus, its portable).
 
Dec 27, 2021 at 6:04 PM Post #4 of 14

PurpleAngel

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I’m probably going to get the Sennheiser hd 560s, and I’m wondering if I absolutely need an amp. I’m new to the audio world, so any information would be useful thanks! I’m not willing to spend more than around £50, and my motherboard is the asrock b450m pro4.
The Asrock B450M Pro4 uses the Realtek ALC892 audio processor.
If you can find a used Creative Labs Sound Blaster Z sound card, for your 50 GBP budget, that would give you about the best audio upgrade, for your budget, for use with the 120-Ohm HD560.
 
Dec 27, 2021 at 7:59 PM Post #5 of 14

Majoox

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While I can't give a proper recommendation, I would personally just save more money and then look in the £100 range. The op-amps of modern motherboards are always able to drive high-impedance headphones, but with a poor resolution. The problem is, that a pure DAC is not usable with 120 ohms. It can only be a combination of both - such as an audio interface.

The Soundblaster Z is by far the worst soundcard I've ever had. Don't get me wrong, the soundcard may have been better than onboard audio in the time of its release year (2012), but the comparison with current motherboards even from 2017 showed that the Soundblaster Z sounds identical to onboard audio and doesn't do anything better. Everything software related that is "useful" for gaming is useless for listening to music. All in all, I say from my own experience that a cheap sound card in a computer (which is full of interferences, you don't want to put anything in there) is wasted money.

My tip: Get as much out of the source as possible, i.e. listen to uncompressed music, such as not on Youtube. Today's DACs in computers are acceptable.
 
Dec 27, 2021 at 11:55 PM Post #6 of 14

ProtegeManiac

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I’m probably going to get the sennheiser hd 560s, and I’m wondering if I absolutely need an amp. I’m new to the audio world, so any information would be useful thanks! I’m not willing to spend more than around £50, and my motherboard is the asrock b450m pro4.

Short answer: probably not.

Long answer:
1. 120ohm load impedance is not too high to make that big of a problem, while
2. 110dB/1V sensitivity is high enough to more than offset any difficulties caused by #1
(By comparison, the HD650 is 300ohms, 105dB/1V, and that requires an amp more because amp output drops as load impedance goes up but some of it is offset by the sensitivity)
3. The wild card: whether you can tell the difference between a probably not too bad motherboard audio circuit and a really good amp (and that assumes better than an entry level amp that isn't anything like what Schiit can offer for the same price or just above it for example)
 
Dec 27, 2021 at 11:55 PM Post #7 of 14

PurpleAngel

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While I can't give a proper recommendation, I would personally just save more money and then look in the £100 range. The op-amps of modern motherboards are always able to drive high-impedance headphones, but with a poor resolution. The problem is, that a pure DAC is not usable with 120 ohms. It can only be a combination of both - such as an audio interface.

The Soundblaster Z is by far the worst soundcard I've ever had. Don't get me wrong, the soundcard may have been better than onboard audio in the time of its release year (2012), but the comparison with current motherboards even from 2017 showed that the Soundblaster Z sounds identical to onboard audio and doesn't do anything better. Everything software related that is "useful" for gaming is useless for listening to music. All in all, I say from my own experience that a cheap sound card in a computer (which is full of interferences, you don't want to put anything in there) is wasted money.

My tip: Get as much out of the source as possible, i.e. listen to uncompressed music, such as not on Youtube. Today's DACs in computers are acceptable.
You do realize that his on-board audio, the Realtek ALC892, is an even older design, then the SB-Z (Sound Blaster Z).
The SB-Z's CS4398 DAC chip has a higher SNR, then the ALC892.
The SB-Z's card's headphone amplifier should be more powerful, then the ALC892.
He can use the SB-Z as a basic DAC/amp and not really use it's features.
I do totally agree that he should up his budget, to 100GBP (or more), like for the Schiit Fulla 4 DAC/amp.
 
Dec 28, 2021 at 5:57 PM Post #10 of 14

buke9

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While some headphone’s really don’t need a amp I would rather have one than not.
 
Dec 28, 2021 at 7:02 PM Post #11 of 14

PurpleAngel

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Would the FiiO E10K be an ok choice? It’s £60 from amazon.
I would still try and talk you into spending more, like for the Fulla 4.
 
Dec 28, 2021 at 7:27 PM Post #12 of 14

pataburd

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You might want to give the Dragonfly Black DAC/amp a go.
 
Dec 28, 2021 at 8:30 PM Post #13 of 14

pjones5

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There's an even cheaper alternative to the Dragonfly Black that I think actually works quite well - the Xtrem Pro X1 at only $33 on Amazon
Doesn't work with iOS, but does work quite nicely (for the price) on PCs. It's a really great step in the right direction - buy something under budget so that you can save up for something outside of your budget.
 
Dec 29, 2021 at 3:15 AM Post #14 of 14

atarione

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I don't think this amp is all that popular on head-fi... but I own one and looking at ebay.co.uk it seems like you could get one within your budget... Anyways I have tried this amp with my HD6XX's I got for xmas and i was pretty satisfied.. they can get loud and sound pretty good.... comparing it to a DV336SE / Vintage Pioneer SX3600 receiver and a FiiO E09K

This amp looks good / solid and while it isn't the most powerful amp in the world should do fine with those.. does fine with my DT880 250ohms / Senn HD6XX and DT770 Pro 80's ... you'd have to look for one second hand / nos ... however as I said nice examples seem to be right about 50£, I bought mine out of curiosity NOS for about $50 U.S. ... another upside if down the road if you figure "meh" you can likely get your money back selling it on?

The Amp I am talking about is a Creek OBH-11 ... I actually think it sounds pretty good except with my Fostex T50-RP's which it and many other amps struggle to really deal with. But I'm 100% sure it would be fine / nice with them Senn's... maybe you'd be better saving a another x amount of money for a JDS Labs Atom or ?? .. and possibly some people will say I am nuts, the Creek didn't have the best reception here back in the day... but I actually quite like mine.. in fairness if you could find a used FiiO E09K (under creek in photo) that would actually do fairly well also.. based on my own ears and experimenting around here with my new HD6XX's ... In my case I'm using the Optical out on my motherboard to a FiiO D03K which is a $20~ (in the USA) optical DAC and then RCA to the Creek from the D03K. I favor this sort of desktop amp because front panel audio jacks on pc cases generally are awful and reaching around the back of the pc trying to plug in / remove headphone cables is not anything I want to be dealing with.

As I said a used Creek is probably easy to get your money back on selling it later (as a FiiO E09K probably would be as well), I legitimately like the OBH-11 I own and use it a lot of the time personally. I'm also not trying to sell you mine as I like it and have no desire to sell it currently.

obh-11.jpgobh-11_desk.jpg
 
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