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Y Splitter and Sound Quality

Discussion in 'Sound Science' started by HifiholicGreg, May 19, 2018.
  1. HifiholicGreg
    So I have use my headphones primarily for gaming and music supplied by my desktop computer. I currently have a Soundblaster ZXR soundcard and running to an my darkvoice 336se amp. I just got a new Klipsch Heritage Amp and I was wondering if running a 3.5 cable to the Y splitter to allow me to have both amps plugged in at the same time would degrade the sound quality.

    The reason I want to do this is because I don't want to have to unplug one amp then plug in a new one when I want a different sound. It sound silly/lazy to do this but the way my layout is makes it annoying. Obviously I wouldn't have both amps on at the same time, just the one I'm currently listening to.

    Also as a side question, the Klipsch Heritage has a built in Dac. When I run the Klipsch Heritage plugged in with usb to the computer the sound is much thinner and seems less full than when I use the sound card as my dac. Is the soundblaster just a better dac or could there be other factors involved? It also seems to be the same case with a much cheaper Aune T1 amp/dac I have. Running it in usb with the Aune T1 acting as the amp/dac from my pc has the audio sounding much less full than if I use the soundblaster.

    Any help would greatly be appreciated. Thank you in advance, and if this isn't the right place for this post please let me know and I will repost in the proper forum.
  2. bigshot
    I doubt that it would make a difference, but if you're worried, you can just get a switch box. Your sound card probably has some sort of bass boost enabled.
  3. HifiholicGreg
    That might be it, Ill check my cards settings later tonight.

    Also does anyone know which would be a better dac, the Klipsch Heritage, Aune T1 or Soundblaster ZXR?
    Or would there really be no audible difference?
  4. SilverEars
    It shouldn't make a difference since you're not driving anything from the signal, but just amping.
  5. sam6550a
    Not knowing what DAC is in the Klipsch, but knowing from specs [and experience] that Creative labs makes very good 24 bit DACs, that you are hearing the difference due to the DAC, assuming that all of the Sound Blaster "enhancements" are disabled. As to your splitter issue, feeding audio to both amps should not be a problem in MOST CASES---however, some amplifiers present a low impedance at their input when powered down. Hook it up, and see if you notice any change in sound by connecting/disconnecting the powered down amplifier's cable. of you notice no difference, you are good to go.
  6. HifiholicGreg
    I tried switching with and without the splitter and I really don't notice a difference at all, so I'm just going to assume there is none.

    Also I don't know what is in the Aune T1 but I'm almost positive ive read that the Heritage uses the Sabre dac.

    I thought that the soundblaster might just have a better dac but I didn't think the sound would be so drastically different. It's honestly like night and day. After listening to the soundcard I almost can't listen to music or games through anything else.
  7. bigshot
    It's probably got some sort of EQ enabled. You can EQ the other sources to match that if you like the sound better.
  8. HifiholicGreg
    I thought I turned all the eq adjustments off but I guess there might be one set by default that I missed. Ill.have to go back and check out later. I hope that it's just the default doing because I'm really looking it and it would probably be pretty tough to get the other 2 to sound like this
  9. sam6550a
    Creative Labs Sound Blaster DACs have generally been very good performers. It is interesting that the Heritage uses the Sabre DAC, many listeners complain about the "Sabre sibilance sound" [Google it], which makes it sound thin in parts of the midrange.
  10. HifiholicGreg
    Yep im pretty sure that's what I wad noticing. Like I said overall it's just a much thinner less bassy sound with mids being rather recessed.
  11. RRod
    'Thin in the midrange' would mean 'not flat through the midrange', and I expect any good DAC to be flat through the midrange…
  12. HifiholicGreg
    Im not very good at describing the sound I heart so I guess that might have come it wrong. Overall it has a thin sound, maybe I should say it just doesn't have much bass at all in comparison.
  13. Glmoneydawg
    Are you sure "thinner and less full" isn't just that one is lower in volume ?
  14. HifiholicGreg
    No I don't believe so, I adjust the volume accordingly when I switch headphones or apms. I turn it up to where it is comfortable on the overall volume then in my pc volume adjustment I adjust game volume, voice chat volume (discord) and music volume to where I can hear everything. Currently I'm using the HD700 for gaming with music playing in the background. When I switch to the Heritage amp I do have to turn the volume up a little but like I said the sound is thinner. I think it's mostly less bass. I know I have all EQ settings turned off on my soundblaster, so it should just direct game sound. When I switch to the Heritage or Aune it is a big difference in sound.
    Last edited: May 21, 2018
  15. SilverEars
    So are you comparing Darkvoice OTL from the soundblaster to another amp that is a solid-state that has a built-in DAC fed via usb?

    If so, I think there will be differences heard since the Darkvoice is an OTL(output transformer-less), whereas I'm assuming the solid-state amps have low output impedance.

    I've actually tried a HD660S with Darkvoice and a solid-state amp with 2ohms output impedance, and the Darkvoice put out more dynamic bass and more in quantity I've heard. Supposedlly HD660S has the same drivers as the HD700, but the housing is obviously different(this is why both have different frequency response despite having the same drivers). The impedance response should be the same though. Since your Darkvoice is an OTL, I believe it has substantial output impedance that maybe comparable to HD700's to cause looser bass response, and I have read that the less damping factor increases distortion(particularly in the bass hump with these dynamic drivers with that impedance hump), probably that loose bass response.
    Last edited: May 21, 2018

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