Headphones connected through speakers -- sound quality affected?
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QuidQuo

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A few years ago I got a nice deal on a Xonar DS sound card--just cost me $20. Upgraded the Op-amp to a LM4562NA, and bought myself a pair of Sennhesier 280's. I already had a pair of speakers lying around--Creative Inspire T10's from an old laptop. I like having a volume knob and hate using audio panel controls, so I've just been plugging the headphones into the T10's headphone jack. Coming from junky headphones I'd had in the past, this average setup was bliss.
 
So the setup is: [ Xonar DS w/ LM4562 > Creative Inspire T10 > Senn 280's ] - are the T10's a weak link?
 
When you plug a pair of headphones into the speakers, the volume knob on the speakers remains functional while the tone knob does not. This (unscientifically) leads me to believe the audio is just passing through the speaker and isn't being distorted/gutted by inferior sound processing before reaching the headphones. Or, maybe it is and the tone knob just doesn't work with headphones for whatever reason. It is Creative after all.
 
I figured I would just plug the Senns into the sound card directly, then the speakers' headphone jack to see if here was the noticible difference in quality--that would answer my question well enough. Problem is, when I plug the Senns directly into the Xonar DS, I get odd distortions and it sounds like I'm listening to bargain bin junk cans. The only thing that comes to mind as to what's causing this is the 280's not being amped enough. I suppose the speaker connection is providing that (which explains it sounding fine when plugged in there), but to be completely honest I'm just guessing here. It's not a problem with the source either, vinyl flac rips have the same problems as 128kbps mp3's (when the 280's are plugged in directly, that is).
 
The sound through the speakers has been good enough that I haven't really thought to ask anyone about it until now. I was thinking of getting a nicer pair of cans so the question of what I'm actually listening to came back to mind. I'd appreciate any insight.
 
Thanks.
 
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trog

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Hi this is my set up and the USB DAC/Headphone amp Fiio E7 is equally potent with cans/iem as well as functioning as a DAC only for my speakers IMHO so happy camper here wee~
http://www.overclock.net/sound-cards-computer-audio/1081726-sharing-my-el-cheapo-move-better.html
As a guide even my el cheaposet stuff (Soundmagic PL11) sounds like 3-4 times their price paired with the E7 hehe so i can't imagine how a Senn 280 would do!
 
 
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