Looking to improve Chain for sort of High end setup for PC Gaming (Ether Flow)
Mar 20, 2017 at 1:44 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 2

Sportsfan56

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Hey everybody!

I currently own the Valhalla 2, Ether Flow open, Modi Multibit coming from a Soundblaster Z from SPDIF out. I have the Ether flow is the 1/4 in jack. I was wondering from a PC gaming perspective would I have better luck using a solid state amp with balanced cable help detail and soundstage. Really just looking for more immersion in gaming. The music and movies are awesome after turning the SBZ off.  

Budget is roughly a 500-800 give or take what I can sell the Valhalla 2 for. 

 
I know the Valhalla 2 isn't best pair with the EF. Any other suggestions would be recommended (Cables, different sound card etc)
 
Looking to finish TOTL sound setup for a long time. 

I ordered the ether flow Electro Stat pads yesterday if that helps any decision.
 
Mar 21, 2017 at 4:03 AM Post #2 of 2

jodgey4

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Balanced operation personally I don't think generally is needed for headphones since you're using short cable runs. I own a balanced DAC/amp (NFB-28), but only because at the time I bought it I had planned to add studio monitors where the balanced operation makes more sense.

The Vahalla 2 is a tube amp without an output transformer (OTL its often called, meaning output-transformer-less). This generally means that the output impedance is high, and that current output is thusly limited. This really isn't ideal for planar headphones, which generally want a lot of current as they're lower impedance and lower sensitivity.

The soundcard should be able to stay just fine since it's just supplying 1s and 0s to your DAC. I wouldn't worry about cables, though make sure what you have isn't crap and try and keep from using cables that are obnoxiously long.

If you like the tube sound, you could look maybe for a hybrid amp like the Lyr 2. Personally, for my Audeze LCD-2.2Fs, I use an Audio-GD NFB-28 DAC/amp unit because it has a clean and neutral DAC section with a powerful smooth Class A amp section. A pure Class A amp with good power I think is ideal for all headphone types, since it's just about the purest form of amplification you can get - tubes add distortion which can always be added later, but not removed.

Looking just at amps, the Asgard 2 (yes, I know it's "cheaper" but it might pair better because of the lower output impedance and higher power into low impedance loads, producing better results) could be an option from Schiit, or the http://audio-gd.com/Pro/Headphoneamp/C22015/C22015EN.htm C-2 from Audio-GD could work as well. The Asgard 2 will do 1W of clean Class A power into the Ether Flow, and the C-2 will do 3W of clean Class A power, with the ability to push ~10W in Class AB if needed - which is a silly amount of overhead :p.

There are of course plenty of other options and brands out there, but I hope this helps.
 

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