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HE-500 & Xonar STX - Page 3

post #21 of 63
Okay, cleaner power's not going to hurt, but hopefully we can expect that Asus engineers are accounting for less-than-perfect power and have enough power supply filtering (mostly capacitors and dedicated regulator chips) to get the job done. If you look at performance results in the wild, that seems to be the case for those systems tested, though maybe not always.

A few more comments:
  1. Power "requirements" for many planar magnetics seem to often be quite overstated... unless people are actually listening at 115dB+ levels (kind doubtful, even for really loud peaks)
  2. Planar magnetics are almost purely resistive (easy) loads, so the differences between amplifiers should be mitigated, so long as you do not drive them past what they can handle
  3. The issue is just the low sensitivity and low impedance meaning that higher power levels are required than for other headphones; fortunately, some TPA6120-based amp like the one in the Essence has high output current capability and will not lack for power, should not even clip at max volume setting (which should deliver up to 115 dB SPL)
post #22 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by gauchotodd View Post

Good point. I think I assumed at first that having a great power supply powering the STX would be sufficient for powering the headphones, but I get how the card powers the 'phones (a little) better now.
Yup, the amp section of the soundcard is all based off its circuitry. The PSU has nothing to do with how much it outputs. Hope everything works out. HE-500 will take you straight to the high-end and you'll never want to look back!
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post #23 of 63
Thread Starter 
Yeah, I usually keep volume low to medium, with the occasional brief loud session, but I don't expect the latter to become any more adamant given the immersive (did I just make that up?) quality of the headphones. But again, who knows... I'm just far more concerned with clarity and attaining that sort of naturally immersed feeling than with volume.
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post #24 of 63
Amping isn't all about volume. When you read about cans like the HE-6 or just orthodynamics in general, good power brings out better qualities from the headphone. Even the cheap integrated sound from mobos can make my HE-6 loud, but it doesn't have the same qualities a powerful, discrete, Class A amp does. Opens up the soundstage, fixes up the imaging issue orthos have, and just tames up the can.
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post #25 of 63
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ohhgourami View Post

HE-500 will take you straight to the high-end and you'll never want to look back!

If I were to skip the STX and go for best value amp+DAC to push them close to if not completely to their potential (keeping in mind clarity over volume, if that makes any difference) instead, will running that through USB have any drawbacks? And where should I start looking?

Edit: looking through your other post again...
Edited by gauchotodd - 11/7/12 at 8:38pm
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post #26 of 63
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ohhgourami View Post

No need to consider a DAC and amp for 1k. I'm using a cheap little Nuforce Icon2 which only runs for $350 and drives my HE-6 very well out of the speaker outputs and I've tried some VERY nice DAC and amps before. You obviously don't need that much power.

Reread and saw you got the Icon2; if it does your HE-6 well, and the general consensus I've seen is that the HE-500 is a lot easier to drive, shouldn't it at least get very close to getting the most out of the 'phones? It sounds like the DAC is nice and neutral, and would you guess should do at least as well as the STX?
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post #27 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by gauchotodd View Post

Reread and saw you got the Icon2; if it does your HE-6 well, and the general consensus I've seen is that the HE-500 is a lot easier to drive, shouldn't it at least get very close to getting the most out of the 'phones? It sounds like the DAC is nice and neutral, and would you guess should do at least as well as the STX?
Yes the Icon2 is quite a good DAC/amp combo which is neutral with plenty of power through the speaker taps. I don't really recommend the Icon2 for your case since the speaker outputs is VERY wire messy (2 x rj45 to banana plugs). If I were to go for an amp DAC/combo, audio-gd has some great offerings. I just saw this on the FS section of head-fi: http://www.head-fi.org/t/635301/audio-gd-11-32-32-bit-usb-input-32-bit-es9018-dac-amplifier-with-tcxo-upgrade
Seems like a perfect little combo. I'm a big fan of the Sabre ES9018 chip sound which is VERY neutral. Also has 1.8W at 50ohm which should drive the HE-500 with ease. Price is very good too!

BUT with this DAC/amp combo, you won't get all that virtual 3D stuff a soundcard will give you that you might want for gaming. Question still remains if the STX can drive the headphones properly.

Ideally, you will buy both. If you can't afford both, you have to buy one or the other first. As an audiophile, I'd get the audio-gd NFB-11.32 first since it will definitely drive the headphones well and comes at a good price second hand. The price of the STX normally stays around the same price range with the uncertainty of power.

USB output doesn't have that much issues if at all. The past year or so, companies have been improving a lot of USB implementation to reduce jitter. Plus external DACs have an advantage over soundcards in that computer "noise" is isolated because of USB.

I also made another thread that has questions and answers related to your situation: http://www.head-fi.org/t/635268/dac-vs-soundcards-for-games
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post #28 of 63
How is the STX's DAC a bottleneck? It uses a Burr Brown 1792. The only bottleneck of the STX is its headphone amp. It will drive them, but it's not very high quality.
 
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post #29 of 63
the dac chip doesn't matter as much as implementation. A standalone dac, amp, or combo is a better option.
post #30 of 63
...for no reason other than audiophoolry.
 
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