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Please some help for gaming setup - Headphones and soundcard\portable amps

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
Hi all,

So i've been "dating" sennheiser's hd 558 for a long time, and finally i had the money to buy them, since i thought they would be the best buy for my needs.
After i got home i connect them to my sound card (asus dx) and i felt the sound was a bit bassy\muflled, not so neutral as i thought it was and to listen to in gaming i have to put it very loud, one thing i don't like to do (besides giving headaches, also i'm affraid of becoming deaf rolleyes.gif)
Been reading some information and it seems asus dx, is more of an speakers sound card and less friendly to headphones (no dedicated amp like dg) since it has 100Ohms output.
This headphones are almost 80% for gaming and 20% for music, videos and occasionally some movies.
So i need your help to choose a better option for me:

1- Since asus is 100Ohm, i've been told to buy an portable amp (Like ehp-O2) and it would drive senn's the best way it can.
2 - Sell the asus sound card and buy a creative sound blaster z (but there's a difference between headphones output (6.25Ohms) vs card output (22Ohms)
3 - I had the chance to buy a Superlux HD681B for relatively cheap price.. was the sennheiser a bad choice? Should i grab the superlux and try to sell the hd 558's?

I'm using win7 64 bit, asus xonar dx (unified drivers), and only headphones (had a sennheiser hd 439, currently using 558's)

If there's some more information i can provide, feel free to ask smile.gif
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post #2 of 10
I'm using a pair of Sennheiser hd558's with a dedicated headphone amp and IMO they're amazing for gaming and music. My bet is that your sound card just isn't cutting It. The Superlux's are nice as well but it comes down to what you're willing to spend. There's a chance that if you get a different set of headphones that they may not sound the best either (if your sound card is the cause of the 'problem') but from my personal experience my 5 5 ' s have amazing clarity and if anything, I would want them to produce just just a little more bass without having to use a software EQ. My last set of headphones were the Steelseries Siberia V2's, and while they did produce a little more bass then the 558's the clarity was nowhere near on the same level, not even comparable. That's just my two cents though smile.gif
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post #3 of 10
If I were you I would say go with option number one. By throwing on the headphone amplifier you won't get the 100 output impedance affecting your headphones, but the amplifier instead. Hopefully that will solve your problem, also it allows you to get much more power-hungry headphones in the future too.
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post #4 of 10
Thread Starter 
Thanks for your replies smile.gif

I forgot to mention that i'm on a budget (100€\137$), so which portable\desktop amp would you recommend (I already took a look at o2 and magni, but magni is too expensive to ship to my country...)?
Well i can get superlux for about 20$ but the thing is, i got senn's 2 weeks ago and i can't return them or ask for a refund... I really like them but i'm affraid it was a bad choice frown.gif
Edited by Snakesoul - 4/6/14 at 11:13am
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post #5 of 10
If you have a soldering iron, DIY kit of O2 is the best/cheapest option (~58€). The "normal" version is a little over 100€. Shipping info: (Click to show)
We offer “Weekly Priority Mail” for all other countries as well, all orders of this type are sent signed for at a very reasonable cost for orders up to two Kilograms. EU member states might opt for this one. Day of shipment is always Wednesday or Thursday and orders received up to 20:00 CET the day before will be included in the next shipping run.

Edited by Tiihokatti - 4/6/14 at 12:22pm
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post #6 of 10
Were you using/demoing them at a friends house, then bought from your friend and then took them home to find it didn't work well with what you have? Or is it that you have been wanting to get them for a long time, then got them and they turned out to not meet your expectations? For amps, I would say get whatever is easier to get in your country, I would imagine the O2 to be pretty easy since it is a DIY project. Buying cheaper headphones won't necessarily fix anything. They might even be more veiled/less to your liking then the 558. Since you can't return them, maybe look into doing the foam mod, which essentially is supposed to give them a articulate ability closer to that of the HD 598.
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post #7 of 10
Thread Starter 
@Tiihokatti, i don't have a soldering iron, so that's not a possibility, but thanks for your reply and help smile.gif

@watsaname, i've been reading a lot and senn's hd 558 would come almost in every post i read (well not only 558, but 515 and 555 back in the day....besides audiotechnica ad700\x or 900)..
Once i heard on a store the 555 i felt in love with them (the sound was neutral, not too much bass, and i thought it would be perfect for games, especially fps) but since they're no longer produced and i had the money, i gave it a shot, but never thought my sound card would be an issue.
Maybe know i see why the sound always seemed so muffle\bassy, because xonar dx can't handle properly headphones. When i bought it some years ago, it was going to be connect to speakers and ocasionally headphones. Turned out i only plug headphones nowadays, but never did i thought it would be a problem.
Well it meet my expectations (at least on my ipod nano, the little one, it sounds great, not too loud and have a great sound). Not saying on xonar it's not great, but the sound is too loud if i want to hear properly what's happening in games..(footsteps, directional position etc....)

Well as for the amps, the only way to order them is getting them from UK, since there's no shop in my country selling those models.
That's why i'm not sure what to do. I could sell xonar and get creative z (ordering from internet but in my country), or i can order the amp from UK..
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post #8 of 10
Mmm, I see. That is unfortunate. The O2 is a really great amp, that I recommend (as I personally own one). If you don't see your self getting too crazy with the tube rolling craze or balanced headphones and all that, it would probably be the last headphone amplifier you would ever need to buy because it works great and is literally transparent in its amplification.

Buying a Creative Sound Blaster Z has its own can of worms associated with it. Some people have compatibility problems with it, some people say that it detects their computer one minute then it doesnt detects it another minute, and the amplifier on it won't actually power 600ohm headphones to full potential. Forums say that they will power up to ~250 ohm headphones before they feel that the sound card starts to "strain".

Another option is the Fiio E10, which is a usb dac and amp. This will completely bypass your sound card and is another solution you can look at. This also has the ~250ohm headphone max. If you wanted to keep your sound card in the loop for something like Dolby Surround, there is the Fiio E09k which is a desktop amplifier that can power 600ohm headphones.
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post #9 of 10
Even with proper output impedance, HD 558 still has a slight midbass hump I think. Or in any case, some bass rolloff under the midbass.

Just get a cheap amp to run off the DX. No, you won't get quite exactly the same quality as something better, but other stuff can cost a lot more. FiiO E5 or E6 will fix the output impedance issue and have enough power for the headphones.

With ~100 ohms output impedance, you're attenuating things say 9 dB except more like 2.7 dB around 90 Hz.
post #10 of 10
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by watsaname View Post

Mmm, I see. That is unfortunate. The O2 is a really great amp, that I recommend (as I personally own one). If you don't see your self getting too crazy with the tube rolling craze or balanced headphones and all that, it would probably be the last headphone amplifier you would ever need to buy because it works great and is literally transparent in its amplification.

Buying a Creative Sound Blaster Z has its own can of worms associated with it. Some people have compatibility problems with it, some people say that it detects their computer one minute then it doesnt detects it another minute, and the amplifier on it won't actually power 600ohm headphones to full potential. Forums say that they will power up to ~250 ohm headphones before they feel that the sound card starts to "strain".

Another option is the Fiio E10, which is a usb dac and amp. This will completely bypass your sound card and is another solution you can look at. This also has the ~250ohm headphone max. If you wanted to keep your sound card in the loop for something like Dolby Surround, there is the Fiio E09k which is a desktop amplifier that can power 600ohm headphones.

Thanks for your help watsaname smile.gif Well i only use headphones for pc gaming, (besides some music\youtube videos etc...), but i'm not in a audiophile mood sort of speak smile.gif so for me 558's is enough for now, i'm not seeing on buying a new pair of cans in a few months or even years, so that's not what i'm worried about right now smile.gif
I thought creative had already fixed some issues and it had stable drivers..
To be fair, and from some videos i saw on youtube, the sound on creative was more "real" (by real it can capture more environment sounds) than dx.. so i got a little bit more curious about this card..
But i'm aware of the bugs in those drivers..
Hmm Between fiio e10 or e09k, i would prefer to order O2, i think it's better for my needs, and i think it would be a better long term bet.
Which one should i get?
Quote:
Originally Posted by mikeaj View Post

Even with proper output impedance, HD 558 still has a slight midbass hump I think. Or in any case, some bass rolloff under the midbass.

Just get a cheap amp to run off the DX. No, you won't get quite exactly the same quality as something better, but other stuff can cost a lot more. FiiO E5 or E6 will fix the output impedance issue and have enough power for the headphones.

With ~100 ohms output impedance, you're attenuating things say 9 dB except more like 2.7 dB around 90 Hz.

Thanks for your hlep mikeaj smile.gif well my only concern right now, is if i should order an amp or a new sound card tongue.gif
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