Looking for AMP/DAC for console & PC gaming, help me please.
Oct 4, 2015 at 2:35 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 2


New Head-Fier
Oct 3, 2015
Hi guys, I'm a new poster here but I've been reading threads and posts from this forum since late 2013, a great place with well informed & opinionated members, many great threads have been read over the years.

I'm a console gamer and light PC gamer (more console than PC), I'm after a AMP/DAC for gaming and mainly first person shooters but I made some silly buying decisions and purchased myself an Astro Mixamp and Audio Technica ADG1 headset, now whilst I don't think the ADG1 was a bad choice, I could have saved money is why I thought it was a bad decision overall, as I could have saved money getting the ATH-AD700x & modmic.

I'm after a new pair of headphones, I've been eyeing the Philips Fidelio X2 so there's no issue there but I'm stuck on the AMP/DAC to buy. The main purpose will be for gaming (SPDIF input needed) but I wouldn't mind also enjoying some use for movies, basically I'm after any/every sound advantage a solid AMP/DAC can provide for me in games, the more clarity the better.

I was hoping with the Fidelio X2's that I could gain great positional audio, ability to hear enemy footsteps (possibly at further distances) as well as enemy call outs and even enemies reloading their weapons. Sadly with my Astro Mixamp and ADG1 combo I just cannot hear most of these things, I think the mixamp fails to feed the headset optimally...

Regarding budget, the thing is I'm from Australia where prices vary from those inside the US/Canada.
I've been eyeing the following AMP/DAC solutions which offer SPDIF input as well as the ability to drive a number of different headphones, in case in time I decide I want to change headphones.

Fostex HP-A4, Aune X1S, Aune S16, Matrix Quattro II releasing soon I'm told (waiting on reviews) and outside my budget but would spend if it made my gaming total bliss, the Fostex A8C.

I'm more than aware there are marginal price differences between all mentioned models but what I do not truly know is if the lower end/cheaper models are more than enough for me.

I already have a Blue Yeti microphone which will work with both my Xbox One and Playstation 4 consoles, so I thought the Fidelio X2 (for now) would pair nicely, just stuck with the AMP/DAC solution...

Any advice or different suggestions would be sincerely appreciated, please weigh in your opinions.

Thanks for your time,
Oct 4, 2015 at 4:39 AM Post #2 of 2
IME there's not dramatic differences between DACs, especially when it comes to games (and it's also worth pointing out that not all games are cut from the same cloth, and you may never "hear the footsteps" with some games, simply because the quality isn't there in the first place). Stuff like the MixAmp (I don't own the MixAmp itself but I'm not unfamiliar with similar devices) may actually confer some advantages in this regard, because those devices tend to have DSP modes meant to enhance the gaming experience.

Going further on this, the point of diminishing returns for headphone quality and gaming is pretty low - IME there's no point to have mega-buck cans (or speakers) for games, because the audio quality (on average) just isn't there. If I'm getting headphones out specifically for gaming, I rarely bother discriminating SQ/fidelity very much, and more often than not end up with my Bose AE2 because they're very light and comfy, and the sound is more than good enough for gaming.

Now whether or not the MixAmp is driving your headphones properly is another question, and one that ultimately I don't know the answer to. I'd try the headphones plugged into something more robust like an AV receiver or some other hi-fi component and see if the sound changes significantly.

Where I'm going with all of this: get whatever is compatible with the device(s) you need to plug into, and worry about amplification as it relates to the headphones directly (that is, get something that can drive whatever cans you like). I've yet to try a piece of mid-fi (or better) gear that doesn't do a knockout job with gaming, including competitive online play.

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