Recommendation for AMP (and DAC?) for Beyer DT990 Pro (250 ohm) and DT770 (80 ohm) ?
Dec 29, 2020 at 2:08 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 15

jklimek

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I've had beyerdynamic DT770 Pro (80 ohm) for a long time but I wanted to try an open-back so I also purchased DT990 Pro (250 ohm).

I really like the DT990 and I think I might prefer open-back, but the high-pitch treble is a bit noticeable. Still, I got a great deal on the limited edition (black) so I'll probably keep them and I really love them other than that.

---
Audio Source: Desktop Computer (100%)
Computer Motherboard: ASUS Maximus X Hero (ES9023P DAC + RC4580 AMP)
Speakers: Logitech Z-5500 (5.1)
---
Headphones: DT770 Pro (80 ohm) and DT990 Pro (250 ohm)
Usage: Gaming/Music/Movies (equal amounts)
---

The motherboard provides almost enough power but I need 100% volume some of the time plus there is noise (hiss at high volume).
The Logitech Z-5500 control pod has a headphone output, but I also need 80 - 100% volume and there is also hiss at high volume.

What is the best way to keep my 5.1 speaker setup and also add/switch to the headphones?

I'm pretty sure I need an AMP to provide more power to the DT990 Pro (250 ohm). I've done a bit of research and these three look promising:
  • Schiit Magni 3+
    • Supposedly has less treble which is good fit for DT990?
    • Not sure the difference between Schiit Magni Heresy?
  • JDS Labs ATOM AMP
    • I currently use cheap JDS Labs OL Switcher for MIDI equipment (Roland gaming on PC)
  • Fiio K5 Pro
  • Liquid Spark
    • Supposedly also some treble rolloff good for the DT990?
Do I also need a DAC? I'm currently using three outputs on my motherboard for the Logitech 5.1 setup.

If I need a DAC, I've read about the Schiit Modi, JDS ATOM, and the Fiio K5 Pro, but the Modi has compression (?) so it's worse?

Lastly, I'm also considering the SoundBlasterX G6. It seems to have a good reviews, contains both a DAC and an AMP, and it also might have useful features (??) for gaming or virtual 5.1 audio?

Thanks SO MUCH to anybody reading all of this and for any suggestions!
 
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Dec 29, 2020 at 5:37 PM Post #2 of 15

gimmeheadroom

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250 ohm Beyers can definitely benefit from a good amp. Where are you located?

You could start with the mobo dac but generally it is better to use an outboard dac to minimize noise from the computer.

If you can get the liquid spark I think it would be a very nice match for the Beyers. You could use the onboard dac to start with.
 
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Dec 29, 2020 at 6:54 PM Post #3 of 15

UmustBKidn

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I love my bottlehead crack driving my beyers. Match made in heaven.
 
Dec 29, 2020 at 9:47 PM Post #4 of 15

jklimek

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250 ohm Beyers can definitely benefit from a good amp. Where are you located?
USA (Pennsylvania).
You could start with the mobo dac but generally it is better to use an outboard dac to minimize noise from the computer.
Any recommendations for a DAC? I like the idea of matching the DAC to the AMP but mostly for aesthetics?
If you can get the liquid spark I think it would be a very nice match for the Beyers. You could use the onboard dac to start with.
I've actually went ahead and ordered the liquid spark but I still want to hear other opinions. I ordered them because it seems like a few people said the dt990 + liquid spark was a good combination because the liquid spark lowers the treble (but hopefully not too much!).

I'm not too crazy of the unique shape of the liquid spark but it does look OK I guess. I just don't think the stack would look as nice as a rectangle box :)

I love my bottlehead crack driving my beyers. Match made in heaven.
Are you referring to the liquid spark?
 
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Dec 29, 2020 at 11:03 PM Post #5 of 15

PurpleAngel

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You could connect the Liquid Spark between the motherboard's front speaker/headphone output jack and the Z-5500's Front speaker input jack.
 
Dec 30, 2020 at 12:13 AM Post #7 of 15

PurpleAngel

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Yep, so when you unplug the headphones from the Liquid Spark, the signal is then rerouted out the Pre-outs jacks on the Liquid Spark, to the Z5500.
Then just change setting in the computer's audio from 5.1 Speaker, for use with the Z5500,
then to 2.0 for headphones.
 
Dec 30, 2020 at 4:41 AM Post #8 of 15

gimmeheadroom

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USA (Pennsylvania).

Any recommendations for a DAC? I like the idea of matching the DAC to the AMP but mostly for aesthetics?

I've actually went ahead and ordered the liquid spark but I still want to hear other opinions. I ordered them because it seems like a few people said the dt990 + liquid spark was a good combination because the liquid spark lowers the treble (but hopefully not too much!).

I'm not too crazy of the unique shape of the liquid spark but it does look OK I guess. I just don't think the stack would look as nice as a rectangle box :)


Are you referring to the liquid spark?
What the other guys said is what I meant. Try the onboard dac first with your amp. I think it will be a good start. Yeah the amp does not look very attractive. But everybody who has one loves it. :)
 
Dec 30, 2020 at 9:08 AM Post #9 of 15

jklimek

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Thanks for the suggestions and information!

How does the Magni 3+ or ATOM compare to the Liquid Spark (especially for the DT990 headphones) ?

It seems like most people consider the ATOM to the best (cleanest) amp. However, I've seen people describe the Magni 3+ as similar to the Liquid Spark and having less harsh treble?

I'm just wondering if the Magni 3+ (vs the ATOM) might be a possibility as well or not.

EDIT: Also, if I stick with the Liquid Spark, would the Liquid Spark DAC be the best match as well? I'm wondering if that make reduce the treble too much? (I do gaming as well so I want to balance the amp/dac between music/movies as well as gaming)
 
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Dec 30, 2020 at 1:32 PM Post #10 of 15

PurpleAngel

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Thanks for the suggestions and information!

How does the Magni 3+ or ATOM compare to the Liquid Spark (especially for the DT990 headphones) ?

It seems like most people consider the ATOM to the best (cleanest) amp. However, I've seen people describe the Magni 3+ as similar to the Liquid Spark and having less harsh treble?

I'm just wondering if the Magni 3+ (vs the ATOM) might be a possibility as well or not.

EDIT: Also, if I stick with the Liquid Spark, would the Liquid Spark DAC be the best match as well? I'm wondering if that make reduce the treble too much? (I do gaming as well so I want to balance the amp/dac between music/movies as well as gaming)
The Magni or Atom or Liquid Spark should be fine for driving your headphones.
Just about any DAC should work with the Liquid Spark.
 
Jan 4, 2021 at 11:29 PM Post #11 of 15

UmustBKidn

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Are you referring to the liquid spark?

No. I was just commenting that high impedance beyers go well with the Bottlehead Crack tube amp. FYI I drive my Crack with a Schiit Modi DAC, which is then driven either by my Fiio or my laptop. I have also driven the Crack directly with the Fiio. Either arrangement achieves the near ear bleeding volume levels needed to ignore my tinnitus and hearing loss.
 
Jan 5, 2021 at 2:34 PM Post #12 of 15

PurpleAngel

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No. I was just commenting that high impedance beyers go well with the Bottlehead Crack tube amp. FYI I drive my Crack with a Schiit Modi DAC, which is then driven either by my Fiio or my laptop. I have also driven the Crack directly with the Fiio. Either arrangement achieves the near ear bleeding volume levels needed to ignore my tinnitus and hearing loss.
The Bottlehead Crack (w/Speedball) is something that always peaked my interest, when I had a more youthful fetish, for high impedance headphones.
 
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Jan 5, 2021 at 8:07 PM Post #13 of 15

UmustBKidn

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The Bottlehead Crack (w/Speedball) is something that always peaked my interest, when I had a more youthful fetish, for high impedance headphones.

Well personally, the exercise of assembling a Crack seemed to me to be an essential component of the journey to musical appreciation, at least as often discussed here. Other than wiring my input transformer to the wrong voltage (and the subsequent damage to a couple caps on first test), the process was all sorts of fun. The wiring mistake was my fault; I had used an extremely cheap voltmeter to measure household voltage, which gave me a bad reading. Lesson learned: spend at least $50 on a voltmeter, or borrow a good one. The manual is very detailed, and the support forum over at Bottlehead is top notch. Highly recommend giving it a try, its certainly worth the price.

Caveat: Having only limited experience compared to some, plus my experience with tinnitus/hearing loss, I may not be the best reviewer of the product. I found the 300 ohm DT770 Beyerdynamic cans to sound amazing on the Crack. They met my needs for volume, and do not seem to produce appreciable distortion, up to my ear bleeding listening levels. I don't find the DT770'S to be bass heavy, in fact, I find them to have more realistic bass representation than many other cans (I speak as a former musician of many years). I would expect the high impedance DT990's to be just as good.

Vocals are a real treat to listen to on this setup. I have far too many tubes to test on this setup, I really need to sell some 12au7's lol. Currently using a vintage Mullard 12au7 preamp tube, and I'll have to recheck what I'm using for the power tube, but it wasn't cheap. I'll avoid the religious discussion of tubes and just say, I love having a genuine tube amp that I assembled myself. Highly recommend.
 
Jan 11, 2021 at 9:40 PM Post #15 of 15

UmustBKidn

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Just get the Atom or any amp that can power hungry headphones. Motherboard DAC's are fine assuming your PC is noise free.

Motherboard DAC's are "fine?" Heresy you say!
Assuming your pc is noise free? Lol. Not really.
Even my broken ears can tell the difference between a pc with just any headphones, vs. a competent setup.

I'm sorry, but that's a dismissive answer that misses the point of this thread.
If you have any experience related to Meniere's disease, however, I would be thankful for the courtesy of a reply.
 

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