[Looking for help] Denon AH-D7100 - DAC or Soundcard ?
May 5, 2013 at 6:24 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 4

azarac

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Hey guys,
 
Just got myself a pair of AH-D7100's and I'm undecided on what source gear to use for them. Currently I'm using Asus's Xonar Essence STX soundcard. Given that the Denon's are a top end pair of cups I would like to get the best out of them. 
 
Would you go for a top end soundcard or a DAC / Amp ?
 
Some info that might help out:
 
-Will mainly be for listening to trance 
-Doesn't need to be portable
-Price isn't a big factor
 
Cheers for the help!
 
PS. where the f*&@ does everyone get their lossless trance music from ? lol
 
May 7, 2013 at 11:35 AM Post #2 of 4
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Quote:
Hey guys,
 
Just got myself a pair of AH-D7100's and I'm undecided on what source gear to use for them. Currently I'm using Asus's Xonar Essence STX soundcard. Given that the Denon's are a top end pair of cups I would like to get the best out of them. 
 
Would you go for a top end soundcard or a DAC / Amp ?

 
Honestly, you should be fine.  The Xonar Essence STX is reputed to be fairly good card so unless you want to spend mega bucks chasing diminishing returns, I'd say what you've got is fine.
 
On the subject of amplification, the D7100 is very low impedance and doesn't require amplification.  In fact, a few of here believe that is actually sounds worse when amplified - gets all woolly and unnatural sounding.
 
May 7, 2013 at 1:18 PM Post #3 of 4

azarac

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That's easier than expected! =)
 
Most of the listening I do will be from my pc, is there anything that you would recommend to increase the quality of the music ? (apart from sourcing higher quality music files)
 
So because the AH-D7100's have quite low impedance (25ohms) for a high tier headphone, amps are not needed?
 
If I was to use the AH-D7100's with my ipad (highly doubt that I will, but just in case) will I need a DAC / Amp to keep the music quality up there ?
 
Thanks for the quick reply, much appreciated!
 
May 7, 2013 at 1:34 PM Post #4 of 4
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Quote:
That's easier than expected! =)

 
LOL, wasn't it? 
biggrin.gif

 
Quote:
Most of the listening I do will be from my pc, is there anything that you would recommend to increase the quality of the music ? (apart from sourcing higher quality music files)

 
If you like, and if your music warrants it (24/96 or 24/192), you can get a hold of a decent USB DAC.  I would imagine that something like a DragonFly or an AudioEngine D1 would do.  I myself use a HRT HeadStreamer for that purpose because I don't want to be left at the mercy of my laptop's sound card (which is not nearly as good as yours I might add).  Just keep in mind that such DACs (usually) either come with or require an amp... and that amp may make the D7100 all woooooo (not in a good way).
 
Quote:
 
So because the AH-D7100's have quite low impedance (25ohms) for a high tier headphone, amps are not needed?

 
Well no, it's not quite that simple.  Even though low-impedance cans don't really require amplification, doing so can often enhance the sound of a pair of cans (usually to suit personal preferences).  However, in this specific case where we're talking about the D7100, I'd say don't do it.  In my experience (as well as some others), amping the D7100 tends to cause the bass to bleed into the mids, and adds some congestion.  For lack of a better description, it makes the D7100 sound like it's drunk.
 
Quote:
 
If I was to use the AH-D7100's with my ipad (highly doubt that I will, but just in case) will I need a DAC / Amp to keep the music quality up there ?

 
Maybe.  In that case, a portable USB DAC might help.  But again, this is only because you're looking for bit perfection and wanting to maximize the quality inherent to your source files.  If you do this, try to find DAC with a low-gain and clean amp stage because, again, the D7100 tends to get drunk with power.
 

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