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Newbie needing explanation of how DAC/amp work with AV receiver

Discussion in 'Headphones (full-size)' started by jtmccoy, Jan 22, 2014.
  1. jtmccoy
    So I got my headphones.  They sound good with my AV receiver, but I keep reading about how they'll sound SO MUCH BETTER with a DAC/amp combo.  If I were to go the whole DAC/amp route (*sigh...and so it begins*), how exactly does that work? I see a lot of people recommending Fiio as a budget-friendly option, but it seems those are mostly for PCs and portable devices. I want to listen to music and watch movies through my Blu-ray and game through my Xbox. My Blu-ray just has an HDMI out and a coax out, the Xbox has HDMI and Toslink. Do they make DAC/amp combos that work with HDMI, and if so, how would I still get video? Or does the DAC/amp plug into my AV receiver?  Finally, do I need both a DAC and amp?
    I have no idea what I'm doing.
  2. NA Blur
    If you are satisfied with how you gear sounds through the receiver there may not be any reason to "upgrade".  Your receiver most likely has a DAC in it and it surely has an amp built in.  Any device that plays digital media like a CD player, XBOX, etc all have DAC chips in them.
  3. PurpleAngel Contributor
    Technically an external DAC & head amp might improve audio quality, but trying to integrate them "effectively" into your PC/Xbox/Denon setup would not really be worth it.
    Best to just use HDMI cables for all the connections and plug the HD598s straight into the Denon receiver.
    You could get a Creative Labs Sound Blaster Z sound card, $60-$90 and install it into the PC, and plug the HD598s into the SB-Z, which might help for the PC side.
    But there is not a whole lot you can do for the Xbox side.

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