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Headphone Amp or sound card?

Discussion in 'Portable Headphone Amps' started by asada203, Oct 2, 2012.
  1. AsadA203
    Hi Guys,
    Well I posted a while back about my X-Fi Forte analog outs dying on me so I have been forced to use the DAC on my Z5500 (from the digital out of the X-Fi Forte) to power my HD 555s.  I have personally found the Logitech's headphone out to be awful compared to the Forte's headphone amp (well, obviously lol) and I have been considering to either replace the X-Fi Forte with a new soundcard or get a USB DAC.
    I am leaning towards the USB DAC because I can use it with my iPod and my Macbook Pro but I am concerned if I will be able to purchase one that will be audibly onpar with my X-Fi Forte.  So far, I was considering the Fiio E7 but I am open to other suggestions. 
    Thanks in advance.  
  2. PurpleAngel Contributor
    For your computer you can get an Asus Xonar DG sound card, $20-$30.
    A Fiio E6 for use with the iPod and Macbook Pro, $30.
  3. proton007
    Not all DACs can be used with iPod.
    A DAC can be used with multiple sources.
    Mention your budget for more suggestions.
  4. AsadA203
    That unfortunately won't work as I don't have any PCI slots on my mobo, it would need to be PCI-E (also am looking for a headphone amp that is on par or better than the Forte, even though I don't think my HD 555s will notice that too much).  
    The Fiio E6 does look interesting though.  
    Below $100 for a USB headphone amp.  I am flexible on a PCI-E soundcard with a headphone amp, although I don't want another Auzentech/Creative product.  
    So is there a USB DAC/Sound card that supports ASIO?
    Edit: I don't think the Fiio E6 will work since it only charges via the USB, it doesn't accept audio through it.  I would preferably want to bypass the analog audio out on a device like an iPod/Macbook/Galaxy S3 and get it right through the USB instead for no added distortion.  
  5. PurpleAngel Contributor
    There is the PCI-E version of the DG, called the DGX ($41)
    You could always get the Essence STX for $180.
    It $155 for an external DAC that works with portable Apple products and it's not really a "portable" DAC, for on the go.
    I'm not sure you can bypass the Galaxies built in DAC, but I'm going to double check on that.
    The Fiio E10 ($66) USB-DAC-Headphone amplifier should be able to work from the Macbook's USB output.
  6. proton007
    Agree ^^.
  7. AsadA203
    Thanks for the info.  I think I will just go with the STX then, it seems to have a lot of fixes that the Forte should have come with and hopefully should last longer than my Forte.  I think I will go with the Fiio E7/E10 for my portable gear.  
    I am pretty sure the S3 can have the DAC bypassed via USB when I was researching it on XDA, that would definitely suck if I was wrong :frowning2:.  That was one of my big complaints with older Android phones.  
  8. PurpleAngel Contributor
    I've heard the newer Galaxy does have digital audio output with it's USB port.

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