Looking for some advice
May 27, 2009 at 2:10 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 3


New Head-Fier
May 27, 2009
I was wondering if someone could help a audio novice. I got a pair of ATH-A700s a few months ago. I was wondering if it would be worth it to upgrade my sound card or get an amp.

I use the headphones for all my computer listening (don't use speakers since they disturb others). They are currently hooked up to the onboard audio.

I tend to listen to a wide range of music (metal to folk), and well as gaming (mmos, rpgs, not so much fps).

I have seen some sound cards that have a built in headphones amp. Would it be better to go with one of those or with an external desktop amp? Also, do you have any recomendations for either?

Thanks for the help.
May 27, 2009 at 2:28 AM Post #2 of 3
I'd say...

1. Get a Chaintech AV-710. It's a basic and simple card, but it'll give you a decent and clean music output. It also has bit-perfect digital outputs, if you ever choose to progress to an external DAC. They're only around $20, and it's hard to go wrong with them.

2. Use a separate amplifier. Even a cheap cmoy is likely to be better than the "amplifier" part of most soundcards. You can either build one yourself, or get a pre-made unit from eBay for little money - about as much as the AV-710.

Though it must be said I'm hugely out of touch with computer audio these days, as I've used external DACs for the last 18 months.

May 27, 2009 at 2:49 AM Post #3 of 3
I have a pair or ATH A900s and Ii'll say a couple things:

1. I recently purchased an Asus Xonar DX sound card for my computer and I noticed a very nice quality upgrade over my onboard Asus Realtek HD Audio. The sound quality is definitely better than it was over my old Audigy 2 and it's even more noticeably better than over my onboard sound. So I say go for it and get yourself a sound card.

2. I can't speak from personal experience but from what I've heard, the A900 doesn't really benefit from a headphone amp so if that's the case, the same is probably true of the A700. In fact, that's the reason I chose the A900 to begin with; I had read that it hardly benefited from an amp was one of the best headphones I could get in its price range that didn't require me to shell out extra for a headphone amp, so that's what made me choose the A900 over all other headphones in that price range.

As I said, point #2 is merely something I heard from others, so hopefully someone with personal experience can confirm this for you.

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