Originally Posted by Tarnix
concerning "better headphone amp"... If I use the onboard, I need to keep the volume under 10/100 or my ears would hurt. I don't think an external amp is needed.
Dont confuse more power with louder. Granted more power does mean it can get louder but thats not what its all about.
Take music for example. It doesnt take a lot of power to hit volumes that will hurt your ears. Thats easy. High frequencies dont take a lot of power to reproduce loudly so you can crank up Disturbed to a painful level with a stock CD player in your car. However, the subtle breath and intricate details of the stand up bass on a Diana Krall tack do take more power to reproduce with more impact and dynamics. Thats what its about. Not being loud but rather being dynamic, impactful and realistic.
Same with gaming. The big explosions and other loud things dont need the extra power, but the subtle little sounds like in Dead Space for example or the gasping of Lara Croft in Tomb Raider will be more dynamic and real. With a smaller, weaker amp, those subtle details wont be brought to life as well and even the loud explosions will have more impact and sound more real with a more powerful amp.