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PC audio/headphone device recommendation

  1. Yevgeniy Sivkov
    Hi to all involved, new guy here. I have a question of sorts. I need a device that is similar to Creative labs sound blaster X7 Link: https://us.creative.com/p/amplifiers/sound-blaster-x7-limited-edition

    My set up now is my computer sound card that i have been using since the creative unit died. Sound card I have is that Asus Xonar Essence STX. I need a device that has the ability to hook up a couple of books shelf speakers, have a pair of klipsch RP-150M units,
    device spec sheet: http://assets.klipsch.com/product-specsheets/RP-150M-Spec-Sheet.pdf
    Also needs to have a good built in headphone amp, specifically to drive the Sennheiser HD 800S I use my headphones with the Asus card now but need something that has more power for the headphone. Does such a device exists that has all the features mentioned above, do i need to be searching for a couple of devices to get a good setup? Any suggestions is appreciated. Thanks.
  2. PurpleAngel Contributor
    Listing a budget would be helpful?

    Darkvoice 336SE OTL tube headphone amplifier, $199 + tax/shipping

    Buy a used stereo speaker amplifier off Craigslist.

    Connect the Essence STX's line-output (RCA) jacks to the inputs on the 336SE, run a connection from the 336SE line-output to the input on the speaker amplifier.
  3. Yevgeniy Sivkov
    Budget, I am willing to spend between $600 to 2K, I am trying to spend my money once wisely and get a good setup, I don't want to be looking for better equipment 6 months from today. Thanks for the pointers so far.
  4. Yevgeniy Sivkov
  5. Yevgeniy Sivkov
    So with all the people out there, no one has any suggestions?
  6. ProtegeManiac Contributor
    Not a single box. For that kind of money there's no amplifier that has a good speaker amp and really good headphone amplifier. Best thing you can get there is the NAD D3020.

    If you can go with separate boxes you can get an AudioGD R2R-11 and an Emotiva BasX A-150. Could go a little over your budget though. Hook up the STX to the R2R-11 via SPDIF optical, then hook up the A-150 to the preamp output on the R2R-11. Manually select headphone amp or preamp output on the R2R-11 - no need to unplug the HD800S to use the speakers.

    Alternately you can just sell the Klipsch and get powered monitors with amplifiers built in, like the KRK Rokit 6. Unless you already heard the RP150M and know you like them, in which case get the R2R-11 and A-150.
  7. Yevgeniy Sivkov
    Thank you for the suggestion, I guess I have some choices to make. Also what could be the ideal setup for what i have now if no budget constraints.
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2018
  8. Monsterzero
    McIntosh MHA150 is pretty damn nice.
  9. ProtegeManiac Contributor
    If you're keeping the Klipsch, I'd still get the R2R-11 and A-150.

    If you can spend more and can replace the Klipsch, I'd get the R2R-11 or get the NFB-28, but I'd use a pair of the Focal Alpha 65 with it.
  10. Yevgeniy Sivkov
    I decided to order the NFB-28 I will have my tracking info any day now. If I keep the klipsch speakers, would there be any benefit to get the A-300 amp over the A-150?
  11. PurpleAngel Contributor
    Did you order the NFB-28.28 or NFB-28.38?

    Assuming you will have no more need for the Essence STX card, might as well remove the STX and connect the NFB-28 using USB.
  12. Yevgeniy Sivkov
  13. ProtegeManiac Contributor
    Not likely as the A150 has enough clean power anyway. Then you have to consider how you can't crank it up that much without neighbours complaining, unless you have an acoustically isolated room.
  14. Fastnbulbous
    I considered the NAD 3020 but I needed something that would fit on the narrow-ish space at top of my captain's bed, and the NAD was too long, and I don't like how it looks like a crappy projector, and the cats might knock it over. PS Audio Sprout sounds great, can drive even my Wharfedale Evo 20 floorstanders. Massdrop had a Sprout II with double the power for same price, $500, but that drop ended. It may come back. TEAC AI-301DA-BK is available for $336 right now (normally $400).

    If you ever want more flexibility to power bigger speakers at some point, how about something like the Schiit Jotunheim balanced ($499) connected with balanced cables to a Crown XLS 1002 ($299) or 1502 ($399). Lots of power to spare yet much lighter than most amps I've had with half the power. If Crown is good enough to drive the $20K JBL M2 Master Reference loudspeakers, it's good enough for nearly anything.
  15. ProtegeManiac Contributor
    NAD D3020 can sit on its long sides. You just put on rubber feet with the adhesive backs. Cat will not knock that over that way any more than any other amp on its side. For additional insurance use BluTack. Won't scratch on the surface its on and its sticky - cat will have to push it hard to knock it off that shelf. Used the same stuff on the vases at home and my two cats and at worst (or best, depending on how one looks at it) four fosters never knocked anything over.
    Fastnbulbous likes this.

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