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headphone amp help

  1. tappeddarkman
    im not really sure where to put this, because im not really sure what i need.
    i have a pair of koss pro dj100's. which im sure arent the best. but they suit my needs. they stay at my computer 90% of the time. and for a long time i was just using the on board sound card on my motherboard. which worked. but it felt like i was missing something. so i found a asus xonar d1 sound card that i had laying around. and it sounds better. but im pretty sure i need a amp. what are my options for around $100usd?
    asus xonar d1: http://usa.asus.com/Multimedia/Audio_Cards/Xonar_D1/
    koss pro dj100: http://www.koss.com/en/products/headphones/full_size_headphones/PRODJ100__PRODJ100_Full_Size_Headphones
    motherboard: http://www.gigabyte.com/products/product-page.aspx?pid=3853#sp
    i am also using ASUS XONAR Unified Drivers 1.61. i heard the asus drivers suck.
  2. proton007
    Quality wise not much to expect.
    If volume not enough, then you can get amp.
  3. tappeddarkman
    well the volume is fine. its just when i was using the on board. it sounded more full. and with the d1 it sounds to shallow.
    i know the d1 is a better sound card. but its not amplified. while the on board chip was.
    i can hear a lot more with the d1. its just missing the thump.
  4. proton007
    The onboard sound is not as good as the sound card.
    And the D1 doesn't have a dedicated headphone out, its probably a line out.
    For your budget, the Fiio E17 is a Dac + Amp combined.
  5. tappeddarkman
    would the e17 have a better dac then the d1? also what would be the difference between the e17, e7, and e10?
  6. proton007
    I'm not sure if the E17 would have a better dac. Around the same. 
  7. PurpleAngel Contributor
    The Xonar D1 comes with the CS4398 DAC chip, should be a fair bit better DAC then your motherboard's DAC chip
    Did you disable the on-board audio when using the Xonar D1? (might help)
    I'm guessing the big problem is the Xonar D1s line-out/headphone jack has a really high impedance (resistance, measured in Ohms).
    The impedance on the Xonar D1 is thought to be around 100-Ohms
    and your headphones Koss Pro DJ100 are only 38-Ohm.
    Technically you would want to plug 38-Ohm headphones into something (headphone amplifier) with an impedance of 4.75-Ohms or less (not 100-Ohms).
    The Fiio E17's headphone amplifier is around 1-Ohm.
    A lower cost option is to get the Fiio E11 ($65) portable headphone amplifier, it's also around 1-Ohm.
    Just need to get a spare battery or two (BL-5B) and a simple AC battery recharger, (Micca combo)
    Just plug the E11 into the line-out (green) jack on the Xonar D1.
    The E10 is a USB input only, the E7 & E17 offer more options.
  8. cadzilla74
    I have the Koss ProDJ100 combined with recently purchased FIIO E17. 
    On my Win 7 PC with RealTek audio the headphone output is sorely lacking in power even with these 38 ohm headphones.
    The FIIOS was $139 from Amazon and arrived in 3 days. It has totally changed my listening experience for the better. The USB DAC connection paired with the fairly neutral coloration of the headphones is producing a really nice, wide listening soundstage with clean bass presence and crisp but not wincingly overbearing highs. These headphones are new for me to so have not had any appreciable burn-in period under power.
    After connecting the E17 via USB and then going to Control Panel>Sound and setting FIIOS USB to Default turns it on. When you pull the USB on the FIIOS the PC defaults back to Speaker Output. When you plug it back in you have to reset it to default again.
    The DAC sounds really good and there is no background noise or hiss. I have not tried the SPDIF connection yet even though my soundcard has an output for it. 320K mp3 files sound great through this unit and so do FLAC files. Max Volume is an arbitrary 60 and at 40 I'm right about where I need to be as far as amplification that is clean, clear and your wife standing 5 feet away has to whup you upside the head to get your attention 'cause you can't hear a word she's shouting at ya! (Ah sweet. clear, clean, escapist volume how I do love ya!) Trust me, even with my 60 year old rock'n'roll deadened ears, volume level 50 is for listening to a favorite cut, not the whole album. Pain is possible with this little amp.
    I have been testing the E17 and these headphones with a variety of sources and have zero disappointments for my listening purposes while connected to my PC and unable to crank the speakers instead. Different music file types, movies, Netflix streaming all benefit from this combination. (I am not going to go into other equipment I own which costs thousands more and is totally dedicated to music production and reproduction. What I'm posting here is strictly limited to what I personally consider to be a very inexpensive and viable alternative to the CRAP chips most PCs ship with. For just kicking back and listening to tunes or for late night PC gaming you're looking at about a $220 cash layout for DAC/AMP AND phones that pair nicely and are eminently listenable with little fatigue.)
    I also use Gold Wave software for some PC music editing. Gold Wave has both a standard 10-band EQ and also Parametric EQ built in. I'm a drummer and I listened to a few tunes using the Parametric to try to isolate some drum parts on cuts I've been trying to learn and the results were great. I swear, if pressed, I can tell you the size in inches and brand of the drummer's crash cymbals. The sound is that pure.
    Is E17 the best at anything? Probably not except for its fabulous price point for what it does. Are Prodj100 headphones the best? Define best? I find them to be very neutral regarding sound coloration and pushed by the E17 amp they just sound even better with no coloration from the E17 either. This gives you a lot of room to tweak the sound yourself to taste instead of trying to "turn off enhancements" from either the headphones or the amp.
    My biggest question right now is if the E17 can power 2 sets of the Prodj100's by itself or if I'll have to add the E9 amp. I'm really thinking for the purposes of me and my friend needing to "pack on the cans" for late night gaming the E17 has enough overhead left power-wise to drive them both satisfactorily for that purpose. 
    I could find nothing on-line about anyone driving 2 identical pairs of phones with the E17 and a Y-cord so I guess I'll be the guinea pig on this one. More to come about that.
  9. cadzilla74
    Update to previous post. Fiio E17 drives 2 pairs of Koss ProDJ100 phones with no problem at all.

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