New member here and looking for some advice
Dec 5, 2019 at 6:14 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 7

Wolfskin07

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Hello from Portugal :wink:

I just joined and I'm looking for some advice on some headphone amps.
I mostly game on the PC, listen to some music as well and sometimes even watch a movie but my main focus is casual gaming. A lot of casual gaming (when I have the time that is...)!!

While researching the internet on this subject I became increasingly confused with the amount of technical information and diversity of opinions in this particular area and so what better place to get help than Head-fi :D

I've been a user of headphones for quite some time, mostly gaming grade headphones, and recently purchased a pair of Audio-Technica ATH-PG1 for my gaming needs. Have them for a couple of days and I can say they sound very good but I think they can still sound better and that's why I need your help!

I'm currently running them from a Xonar D2X, having previously used my onboard audio front headphone jack (ALC12220-VB with a ESS Sabre amplifier on a Z390 Aorus Master motherboard) and while the loudness looks to be about the same, I noticed an improvement on the most subtle sounds in games. Since the D2X lacks an headphone amp, I thought maybe I could get an headphone amp to go with it and really take my sound to a different level!

I was looking to spend around 100€ (give or take a couple €) and really need some advice on which way to go

Should I buy a stand alone amp to connect to the Xonar and be done with it or should I get a DAC/Amp combo? And would the latter improve my sound meaningfully?
Or maybe I already have the best I can for these specific headphones?

Sorry for the long post and hope to learn a lot from you guys!

Cheers!
 
Dec 5, 2019 at 7:34 PM Post #2 of 7

buke9

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While I usually favor a amp in most situations it is not always necessary but a little extra power never hurts. Taking it to the next level at $100 don’t really think so but I have none of your gear so can’t say for sure. For gaming I would say no on a dac/amp as then you would lose all the functionality of your sound card for the most part . Most gaming headphones are made to plug straight into a computer so will a amp help probably a bit if you are maxing out the volume on the computer but like I said don’t have any of your gear so can’t say for sure.
 
Dec 5, 2019 at 7:41 PM Post #3 of 7

PurpleAngel

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The Asus Xonar D2X comes with a good built in DAC function.
So I say just to get a headphone amplifier, with a low output impedance.
FiiO and Schiit make headphone amplifiers with a really low output impedance.

The D2X's headphone jack might have an output impedance of around 100-Ohms (more or less).
So the D2X's Front Speaker/Headphone jack is more like a line-output jack, then a "true" headphone jack.
Chances are the ATH-PG1, plugged into the D2X, the PG1 has a bloated (louder, less detailed) bass and other sound problems.
With 38-Ohm headphones like the Audio-Technica ATH-PG1, you would want to (prefer to) use a headphone amplifier with an output impedance of 3.8-Ohms or less.
 
Dec 6, 2019 at 4:10 AM Post #4 of 7

Wolfskin07

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The Asus Xonar D2X comes with a good built in DAC function.
So I say just to get a headphone amplifier, with a low output impedance.
FiiO and Schiit make headphone amplifiers with a really low output impedance.

The D2X's headphone jack might have an output impedance of around 100-Ohms (more or less).
So the D2X's Front Speaker/Headphone jack is more like a line-output jack, then a "true" headphone jack.
Chances are the ATH-PG1, plugged into the D2X, the PG1 has a bloated (louder, less detailed) bass and other sound problems.
With 38-Ohm headphones like the Audio-Technica ATH-PG1, you would want to (prefer to) use a headphone amplifier with an output impedance of 3.8-Ohms or less.
Hello and thank you for your reply.

From what I’ve been able to read up on, most people tend to favor an external DAC/Amp because it sits outside your PC and as such is not subject to the electrical noise or interference inside of it. Do you agree with this? Altough I do have a nice Corsair power supply with ample wattage and stable delivery of power, I do run an overclocked 9900k with and overclocked gtx 1080ti and a rather powerful watercooling pump.

Regarding your technical advice, do you have any suggestions for a good budget amp around the 100€ price tag? Or maybe even a good DAC/Amp combo?

Another piece of info I failed to mention is that it would be nice to have mic in port and maybe even a speaker out so I could run my Logitech Z533 of the same unit.

Any thoughts?

Thank you for helping me out :)
 
Dec 6, 2019 at 1:17 PM Post #5 of 7

PurpleAngel

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Schiit Magni or JDS Atom headphone amplifier.
Some of these headphone amplifiers come with a line-output, that could be connected to the Z533
 
Dec 8, 2019 at 12:00 PM Post #6 of 7

Wolfskin07

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Schiit Magni or JDS Atom headphone amplifier.
Some of these headphone amplifiers come with a line-output, that could be connected to the Z533
I was doing some research and I’m now looking to the schiit magni heresy. Seems like a pretty solid budget amp and I can live without the mic in jack. Ticks all the right boxes that you told me to look for and more.

only problem is that it’s 130€ from Schiit EU + 20€ more for shipping. In the US site it’s only 99$ but I’m afraid to pay VAT and customs fees from the US :/ if it gets stopped.

what do you think?
 
Dec 8, 2019 at 12:34 PM Post #7 of 7

PurpleAngel

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I was doing some research and I’m now looking to the schiit magni heresy. Seems like a pretty solid budget amp and I can live without the mic in jack. Ticks all the right boxes that you told me to look for and more.
only problem is that it’s 130€ from Schiit EU + 20€ more for shipping. In the US site it’s only 99$ but I’m afraid to pay VAT and customs fees from the US :/ if it gets stopped.
what do you think?
A FiiO A3 headphone amplifier ($60 USD) would easy drive your headphones.
Check the website avforums, they are located in the UK, people on the website might be able to point out the better deals in Europe.
Like a used JDS Atom or Schiit Magni or O2 (Objective 2) head amp.
 

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