SB Live! + Grado SR-60 = Amp ?
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TheHappyHippo

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I use Grado SR-60 headphones with my SoundBlaster Live! sound card (I suppose this aint the best...but eh... thats what I have
)

Now, I'm wondering if buying an Amp would do any good. And if so, what should I buy ? (something around 100$)

Thanks for the help !
 
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antness

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First, I recommend you buy a santa cruz sound card and ebay your sb live.

Then, for an amp, you won't have enough for a META42 unless you build it yourself. That said, you can have a cmoy or CHA47 built for you (contact JMT) for probably about $75.
 
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Ob3ron

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Quote:

First, I recommend you buy a santa cruz sound card and ebay your sb live


I can second this motion based on what I've hear from numerous current and past users of both cards. I would say that santa cruz->sr-60 would still sound better than live->amp->sr-60, you've heard the cliche... garbage in, garbage out. If however you're not convinced, listen to Antness.
 
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kin3tix

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what's the best price on the sc soundcard now? might be interested to pick one up because i have plenty of mp3's.
 
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antness

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Best price is about $60 online. Cheapest will probably end up being $62 at www.newegg.com because they don't try and get you on shipping costs. You can pick one up on ebay for about $45-$50. Also check the For Sale forum at http://forums.anandtech.com. People tend to let stuff go much cheaper than eBay over there.
 
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kin3tix

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thanx a ton for the links antness. those sound like great prices for a quality sondcard.
 
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TheHappyHippo

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Hey, thanks for the answers guys. That SC sound card looks pretty damn interesting. I've read reviews and some talk about drivers trouble with win 2000. Is that still true ?

That said, I still think I'd rather spend my few bucks on a good Amp, since I could use it with my discman too (yeah, should have mentionned it in my first post...). Then I could manage to save a few more bucks, and go for the Santa Cruz... (or maybe even something better ? Is there anything even better (no matter what the price is...))

So, my question still stand... Is it worth it ? Will I notice any change ? I mean, I never used a headphone amp before, and I got those sr-60 something like 4 months ago... I know next to nothing about audio quality...but everything I like just got waayy better with the sr-60..and if simply adding an amp would make that even better....well, I want one.
 
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LobsterSan

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Well, I don't know too much about the grados because i don't have much experience with them, but they are supposed to have a fairly low impedance... meaning they are probably pretty well driven from most sources. they might not benefit that much from the use of a dedicated headphone amp. there will probably be some improvement, but nothing that will simply *dazzle* you.

of course, i don't know this for certain, but this is my guess. anyone with firsthand knowledge?
 
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andrzejpw

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Nope, no problems running the card in win2000 here. Actually, its awesome! I'm also running the cards fraternal brother, the hercules fortissimo II, with optical in/out, in winXP. Again, no problems! Oh, and it just kills my old sound blaster live.

But first, get that amp, if you'll be using the discman. The amp is really your step into our crazy little world!
 
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D-Audi

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how would the SC compare to the Audigy??
 
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XXWoodmanXX

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Audigy sounds SLIGHTLY better, IMHO. I'm sure Creative's site would be able to show you a side-by-side comparison of the 2 cards(Audigy vs. Live!).
In my systems, I have an Audigy, Audigy2, and a Phillips Acoustic Edge.

I'd have to agree with antness on the Santa Cruz. It's an excellent card, for it's price now-a-days. You can get'em OEM for around $35 if ya do a little hunting.
 
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dokebi

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I like the SC's clarity and performance over the audigy which sounds sorta muddy to me. IMHO.
 
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Mystic

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TheHappyHippo,

I have the SB Live and occasionaly hook my CMOY up to it. There definitely is an improvement in the music. BUT, the hiss from my card gets amplified too, it can be annoying. Using an amp and good cans really brings out the flaws in the SB Live. If I listened to music more often from my soundcard, I'd definitlely get a better one.
 
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DarkWolf

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I'm certanly not much of an expert on amps and phones, though what I do feel comfortable saying is that the Grados are pretty easy to drive based on their specs and sound cards actually put out a reasonable amount of power, so I think a cheap amp wouldn't make a huge diference. Can't say for sure. What I can say for sure is that I had an SB Live and then I got a Terratec DMX 6-Fire and the sound quality is MUCH better. The Audigy is bad, it's engineered to have big numbers on the box and that's about it. It's NOT a real 24/96 card. I haven't heard many other cards, but people say the SC is bettr for music than the Audigy and I believe it. I think you should upgrade your sound card before buying an amp. Though, if you use your discman a lot on the go, a portable amp might still be a better choice to do first. If it were me, I'd get a new card, save up a little more and do some research and then get a cheap amp.
 
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TheHappyHippo

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Ok,

Sounds like the best choice is the Santa Cruz, so I think I'll go for it. I still have one stupid little worry though.

With my SbLive and Creative's control panel, I'm able to easily switch the output from my speakers to my headphones and vice-versa. Speakers are hooked to the Digital Out and Headphones to the Line Out. So, in the control panel, checking the "Digital Output Only" let me use my speakers, while unchecking it shut the speakers off, and turn the headphones on. I kinda like how easy it is to switch from one to the other. Will I be able to do the same with Santa Cruz's Control panel ?

Thanks a lot, again and again.
 
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