HD 598 + (Sound Card or amp + Dac?)
May 5, 2013 at 1:55 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 30

Bajitopelu

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Hello everyone, I been reading the forum this week looking for a solution but i mainly end on the same spot.

I'm using On board sound card, but I'm planning on buying a set of HD 598 mainly for gaming (from mmo to fps), i was planning on using a DSS but i want to get the best i can from the headphones.

I want to know if i should go for a Sound Card, (Creative Zx), amp and DAC, (schiit or JDS Lab) or a combination of both? I don't have a budget on mind right now, but if i have to set a price, will be around $250 (for the sound card and amp/dac), every recommendation is appreciate.

Thanks in advance
 
May 5, 2013 at 7:32 AM Post #2 of 30

Byrnie

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A DAC would replace your sound card.  I.e. if you went for a Schiit Audio Modi (their DAC) you would connect it USB therefore bypassing any sound card you current have installed.  The amp would then connect to the DAC.  All sound cards have DACs in them they're not just not as good as a dedicated DAC.  Your setup would look like this for those headphones (I have those cans and they're great):
 
computer -> DAC -> headphone amp -> headphones (HD598s).  
 
I hope that helps.  I would suggest getting a Schiit Modi + Schiit Magni (each costs $99).
 
May 5, 2013 at 12:18 PM Post #3 of 30

Anarion

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I wouldn't go that far as saying that every external unit is better. Modi has exactly the same DAC than X-Fi Forte, Z(x) has CirrusLogic CS4398 DAC which on paper is slightly better than AK4396 DAC that Forte and Modi uses (better THD+N). Internal cards are more prone to interference but it doesn't mean it will happen and that external units wouln't pick anything from other unit around.

If you want game related stuff like virtual surround, you can't have that with external DAC. Oh, and if you do plan to pick up Z or Zx, they really do need external volume control for HD 595 and HD 598 at least in my opinion. I use mine through line out but it's still loud as hell.

With that $200 you could get ZxR and I'd almost bet my helmet that it beats Magni + Modi combo hands down.
 
May 6, 2013 at 12:19 AM Post #4 of 30

Bajitopelu

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Thanks you both for the input, so far I'm thinking of buying the HD 598 and the Zx for gaming, surround sound is a most for me on games.
 
And in the future a amp and DAC for music.
 
About the volumen control, the Zx apparently bring one (ACM), that connect to the sound card and then you connect the headphone to the ACM. My question will be if you lose audio quality with that extra connection. 
 
May 6, 2013 at 6:43 AM Post #5 of 30

Anarion

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Thanks you both for the input, so far I'm thinking of buying the HD 598 and the Zx for gaming, surround sound is a most for me on games.

And in the future a amp and DAC for music.

About the volumen control, the Zx apparently bring one (ACM), that connect to the sound card and then you connect the headphone to the ACM. My question will be if you lose audio quality with that extra connection. 
Sensible plan, SB has optical digital out so you can enjoy the game features in the future with external devices too if it has optical input.

Some say that the ACM degrades the quality, I can't spot anything really. If I'd plug my headphones directly in the headphone out port, I'd had to select 2-4 % volume from windows control panel which gives basically no control over volume, line out is tiny bit quieter. In my opinion, windows volume set to 10% and ACM to around 66% gives better sound than using this without ACM at those one digit numbers. Just my opinion.
 
May 6, 2013 at 9:37 AM Post #6 of 30

Byrnie

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Quote:
With that $200 you could get ZxR and I'd almost bet my helmet that it beats Magni + Modi combo hands down.

I would find that very surprising.
 
May 6, 2013 at 11:04 AM Post #7 of 30

cel4145

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I would find that very surprising.


Agreed. Certainly the ZxR offers advantages for gaming that could give it a an edge, but for straight up audio quality of the DAC/headphone amp? Doubtful it will trounce the Magni/Modi, if it's even better at all.
 
May 6, 2013 at 3:52 PM Post #8 of 30

ROBSCIX

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Why is that surprising?
Compare the components used in both devices...DAC, Caps...etc.
 
The ZXR offers some pretty impressive output measurments for components quality and has excellent sound.  The Magni/Modi are entry level products.
Apples and oranges here.  Don't assume external is always better as that is 100% false.
 
 
I would say what you go with depends on your needs for features...etc.
 
May 6, 2013 at 4:39 PM Post #9 of 30

cel4145

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Why is that surprising?
Compare the components used in both devices...DAC, Caps...etc.

The ZXR offers some pretty impressive output measurments for components quality and has excellent sound.  The Magni/Modi are entry level products.
Apples and oranges here.  Don't assume external is always better as that is 100% false.


I would say what you go with depends on your needs for features...etc.


It's a $250 sound card that has to do lots of things for the money vs. a $200 DAC/amp stack which there is consensus is on par with the ODAC/O2 (which has been thoroughly measured). There's no reason to think the ZXR is significantly better in SQ. Claims that the ZXR " beats Magni + Modi combo hands down" are pretty wild speculation. But claims that the Magni/Modi are better would also be just as wild a guess.
 
May 6, 2013 at 4:46 PM Post #10 of 30

ROBSCIX

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Yes, and you are speaking of an entry level product offering entry level components and specs so, keep things in perspective.  You have a $99 DAC that has to support external operation, so much of the price is used on items not related to sound quality, chassis, controls,psu...etc.  As I said, apples and oranges.
Compare the actual specs and components as it might help to answer the questions.
 
May 6, 2013 at 7:15 PM Post #11 of 30

Bajitopelu

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Quote:
It's a $250 sound card that has to do lots of things for the money vs. a $200 DAC/amp stack which there is consensus is on par with the ODAC/O2 (which has been thoroughly measured). There's no reason to think the ZXR is significantly better in SQ. Claims that the ZXR " beats Magni + Modi combo hands down" are pretty wild speculation. But claims that the Magni/Modi are better would also be just as wild a guess.

 
I found that line very interesting, is there a considereble different (apart from price) betwen the mobi/mani and the Odac/O2? I have seen the spec of the O2 and the Magni, but i dont understand them much
 
Quote:
Sensible plan, SB has optical digital out so you can enjoy the game features in the future with external devices too if it has optical input.

 
Some say that the ACM degrades the quality, I can't spot anything really. If I'd plug my headphones directly in the headphone out port, I'd had to select 2-4 % volume from windows control panel which gives basically no control over volume, line out is tiny bit quieter. In my opinion, windows volume set to 10% and ACM to around 66% gives better sound than using this without ACM at those one digit numbers. Just my opinion.

 
Yeah, i read about that too but in the same thread some people were saying the opposite, after reading that, i decide to search for volume controller with not a lot of luck, i did manage to found this Sennheiser HZR-62. It look interesting i may need to find more information about it later or tomorrow.
 
May 6, 2013 at 9:24 PM Post #12 of 30

cel4145

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I found that line very interesting, is there a considereble different (apart from price) betwen the mobi/mani and the Odac/O2? I have seen the spec of the O2 and the Magni, but i dont understand them much


I've seen some measurements that show the O2 and Magni to be comparable in performance. There are some people with experience with both that have posted testimonials citing the ODAC and Modi as similar in class. So no. You should not expect any significant difference between the ODAC/O2 and Modi/Magni stacks other than one is cheaper but the other is smaller and more portable.

The thing is that if solid state amps and DACs are designed and built well enough and aimed at transparency, the differences can become very, very minor, if any at all. That's why suggesting that the ZXR is somehow going to be vastly superior to the Modi/Magni or O2/ODAC doesn't make sense. Those units have already reached that price/performance point where spending more for better design/builds results in very diminishing returns.
 
May 7, 2013 at 9:00 AM Post #13 of 30

Anarion

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Agreed. Certainly the ZxR offers advantages for gaming that could give it a an edge, but for straight up audio quality of the DAC/headphone amp? Doubtful it will trounce the Magni/Modi, if it's even better at all.
Why wouldn't it or why you assume it woudl be inferior? On paper it has superior DAC and really good headphone amp. Looping audio from that DAC to amp is one weak point already. On paper, Modi isn't anything spectacular (and they same dac has been used on various cards) and clearly over priced considering how simple it is or at least it's very profitable for them...
 
May 7, 2013 at 9:19 AM Post #14 of 30

Byrnie

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Quote:
Yes, and you are speaking of an entry level product offering entry level components and specs so, keep things in perspective.  You have a $99 DAC that has to support external operation, so much of the price is used on items not related to sound quality, chassis, controls,psu...etc.  As I said, apples and oranges.
Compare the actual specs and components as it might help to answer the questions.

One could also say that the ZxR is an "entry level product" similar to the MM combo.  I would find it hard to believe given all the other features/inputs/outputs/software that comes with the ZxR that it has the same sound quality as the MM for the same price.  I mean let's keep things in perspective here, we're talking about a Creative product here and it's a sound card that supports a load of other features.  I would just have a hard time thinking Creative would produce something so cheap that could match the sound quality of the Magni/Modi combo.  Now i don't know which one is better but if I was a betting man I would put money on the magni modi given it's specific use and focus is on quality parts and quality sound but again i don't know which one is better.
 

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