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I am planing to buy Beyerdynamic A20 amp, can I use My Sound Blaster Zx as DAC?

  1. Arin7
    I am planing to buy Beyerdynamic A20 amplifier for my Sennheiser HD 600, can I use my Sound Blaster Zx as DAC? If yes which output should I use, the regular stereo which are for speakers or the amplified output for the headphone. Many thanks in advance.
  2. ProtegeManiac Contributor
    You need to use the line output normally used for speaker amps.
    Arin7 likes this.
  3. Arin7
    Thanks, so I take it SBZx is ok as a DAC?
  4. ProtegeManiac Contributor
    Good enough. I just prefer using DAC-HPamps to shorten the analogue signal path but since you have the SBZ then just use the analogue output for now.

    I'd worry more about the high output impedance on Beyer amps. It's like they only care about their 250ohm/300ohm/600ohm headphones. Depending on how much you'll pay for the A20 you can look into the Meier Corda Rock instead.
  5. Arin7
    hmm, as you surely know HD 600's impedance is 300 ohms and many people have recommended A20 for driving them, telling me it is a absolutely great choice, so I had made my choice, now after reading this I am bit worried tbh. Thank you for the answers btw.
  6. PurpleAngel Contributor
    The Creative SB-Zx card will make a very decent DAC for use with an add-on headphone amplifier.
    The SB-Zx's Front Speaker jack is technically better at feeding an analog audio signal to an amplifier, then the SB-Zx's headphone jack.
    But the SB-Zx can not feed it's SBX Headphone surround sound thru the Front Speaker jack, but you have no need for surround sound for music and other stereo audio sources.
    Check out the Darkvoice 336SE OTL tube headphone amplifier ($199) sold thru Massdrop.
    The SB-Zx can send it's SBX headphone surround sound thru it's S/PDIF optical port, so you have the option of getting a DAC (with optical input), to connect between the SB-Zx and external headphone amplifier.
    Arin7 likes this.
  7. Arin7
    Thank you PurpleAngel for the answer, but I am a bit confused, what do you mean by "Front Speaker jack", I am easily confused btw, you mean the jack next to the amped headphone jack then I should choose "Front Speakers" from the creative control panel?
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2017
  8. PurpleAngel Contributor
    Yes, the panel of the SB-Zx, that sticks out on the back of the computer, the "Front Speaker" jack.
    (there is also the Sub-woofer/center jack and Rear Speaker jack and Headphone jack and Mic jack).
    So you would set the SB-Zx's control panel to "2-channel" & "Speaker" output.

    If you need SBX headphone surround sound for gaming or movies, you can always just plug the headphones into the Headphone jack.
    Sound quailty might not equal the tube amp, but audio quality should still be somewhat decent.

    A program like Cyperlink PowerDVD (for Blu-ray or DVD movies) can preprocess headphone surround sound, before sending the audio to the sound card.
    Arin7 likes this.
  9. ProtegeManiac Contributor
    If you're sure you won't be using anything with impedance lower than 150ohms then the A20 will be fine.
    Arin7 likes this.
  10. PurpleAngel Contributor
    Check out the Audio-GD NFB-11.28
    Arin7 likes this.
  11. Arin7
    Thank you.

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