Help Switching Computer Audio between a Speaker Amp and DAC/Headphone Amp
May 27, 2015 at 10:33 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 10

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I currently have the Dayton B652 and LP2020A+ speaker setup for my computer.  These are great for me (for now) and I still want to be able to use them for listening while not sitting at my desk.  I also have been wanting a pair of good headphones for both gaming and listening to music. 
 
I am an avid Sennheiser fan think I'm going to go with the Sennheiser HD 558s because of their clarity and soundstage (don't listen to a lot of bass-heavy music so that weakness doesn't affect me as much). I realize that getting a DAC/amp for these headphones can drastically improve the quality.  From my research I believe the FiiO E10K would be a good choice for me.
 
My question is whether or not it is possible or reasonable to be able to switch between the LP2020+ speaker amplifier to the FiiO E10k DAC/Amp -- in other words I want to switch from my speakers to my headphones while still using these amplifiers.  Is there a way to do it easily and effectively without losing sound quality on either?
 
Note: if you have any other recommendations for products please let me know.  The headphones and DAC/amp I have chosen have been based on simple research and budget -- not experience.  Any help would be appreciated.
 
May 27, 2015 at 4:25 PM Post #2 of 10

PurpleAngel

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Creative Labs Sound Blaster Z sound card.
 
May 28, 2015 at 11:21 AM Post #5 of 10

PurpleAngel

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  These are both good advice, thank you! I'm going to do more research and decide between them.

 
I believe with the E10K, you would have to unplug the headphones from the E10K, for the line-output (speakers) to function.
Where as with the SB-Z, you could change the output thru the control panel.
 
May 28, 2015 at 1:54 PM Post #6 of 10

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I believe with the E10K, you would have to unplug the headphones from the E10K, for the line-output (speakers) to function.
Where as with the SB-Z, you could change the output thru the control panel.

 
Understood.  While my PC is going to be the main outlet, I plan on using the headphones on multiple devices so this is definitely a factor in my decision. 
 
Out of these two options would you say one is better than the other in terms of sound quality?  Or because of my admittedly entry level setup would either option benefit me about the same?
 
May 28, 2015 at 2:04 PM Post #7 of 10

cel4145

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If you like to use your headphones for gaming or movies, you might appreciate the virtual surround that the SB card has.

Sometimes, internal sound cards are subject to EMI issues, whereas an external DAC/amp usually avoids such issues. This is impossible to predict, though. You might not have any problems.

The E10K has very low impedance output that would potentially make a better match for low impedance headphones should you ever use them with it.
 
May 29, 2015 at 9:43 AM Post #8 of 10

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If you like to use your headphones for gaming or movies, you might appreciate the virtual surround that the SB card has.

Sometimes, internal sound cards are subject to EMI issues, whereas an external DAC/amp usually avoids such issues. This is impossible to predict, though. You might not have any problems.

The E10K has very low impedance output that would potentially make a better match for low impedance headphones should you ever use them with it.

 
 
Thanks for the info.  The HD558s are relatively low impedance (at 50ohms), so it sounds like the DAC/amp might be the way to go.  I don't really mind having to unplug my headphones as I play to store them elsewhere anyway. 
 
May 29, 2015 at 10:06 AM Post #9 of 10

cel4145

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Yeah. If you don't mind unplugging your headphones to your speakers, I'd go external. Nice because then you always have the option of using it with another computer if you like.
 

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