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Decent quality Amp or soundcard for 250 ohms on a budget?

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
So so far I'm leaning towards DT990 250 ohm version based on suggestions and experiences at an hi-fi audio store, which means that I need a proper hardware to handle it. At the moment I'm using VIA on-board audio, but I also have X-FI XtremeGamer sound card, however as I've found out around here in older threads - it's not able to drive a higher-end headphones - it doesn't have an amp. That being said, I need a new sound card OR an amp that would be able to handle those up to their full potential.

I'm also on a budget, I would prefer to spend up to $50, however I could go up to $80 maybe? Or something like that. Which would be the equivalent of 30-50 pounds, as the price I'm gonna pay is gonna be from amazon.co.uk (European). If it's impossible to get a decent quality amp/sound card for these headphones (so that I would actually be able to listen to them properly, as good as they are, without distortions or whatever else poor amps 'offer'), how much do I need?

I will be buying both the sound card or an amp and the headphones in around 2-4 weeks.

P.S. At the moment both with on-board and the sound card that I have I can hear static in my headphones. It's only active when I plug them into my PC, not to an MP3 or whatever, but to my PC. That being said, I presume it's because of the hardware. The static is quite annoying really, so I'm worried about buying a sound card - presumably it'd make sense for the static to still be there anyway, although it's possible that it'd still be there even if I'd connect an amp to my on-board/xtremegamer x-fi anyway. If anybody knows how to solve it - please do say, I haven't found any info online that'd help so far.

Oh, and ask if you have any questions - I don't mind answering anything.

Thanks!
post #2 of 7

The best option in my opinion is the Creative Sound Blaster Z, the OEM version is just under £50.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Creative-PCI-E-Sound-Blaster-Soundcard/dp/B009S1NTUU/

 

The Asus Xonar DGX will do the job, if you want the cheapest option possible.

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post #3 of 7
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by twerk View Post

The best option in my opinion is the Creative Sound Blaster Z, the OEM version is just under £50.
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Creative-PCI-E-Sound-Blaster-Soundcard/dp/B009S1NTUU/

The Asus Xonar DGX will do the job, if you want the cheapest option possible.

Think I'm gonna go with the Z OEM, as DGX goes up to 150 ohms. Is the sound quality good using that? By that I mean that I hope it isn't tuned to popular tastes - lots of bass/etc. - I'm looking for naturally-sounding solution (as are DT990).
Thanks.
post #4 of 7
Quote:
Originally Posted by newn View Post


Think I'm gonna go with the Z OEM, as DGX goes up to 150 ohms. Is the sound quality good using that? By that I mean that I hope it isn't tuned to popular tastes - lots of bass/etc. - I'm looking for naturally-sounding solution (as are DT990).
Thanks.

Just FYI, the DT990's are very mid-bass heavy, not neutral (I think you meant neutral not natural).

 

The DGX will work, even though it says 150 ohm it will drive 250 ohm headphones fairly well. They will sound great with the Sound Blaster Z, obviously not as good as a standalone amp/DAC but for the money it's a great solution.

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post #5 of 7
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by twerk View Post

Just FYI, the DT990's are very mid-bass heavy, not neutral (I think you meant neutral not natural).

The DGX will work, even though it says 150 ohm it will drive 250 ohm headphones fairly well. They will sound great with the Sound Blaster Z, obviously not as good as a standalone amp/DAC but for the money it's a great solution.

Yes, I could feel the base being 'mixed' with the mids a little bit (I also disliked that the highs kick a bit too high sometimes), it was a 32 ohm version though, so I presume the 250 ohm one will give better results at separating sounds, including mids/bass. Despite that though, they were the best headphones in the price range that I've tried, and by best I mean the most neutral (which is what I meant - not too keen on the terminology as of yet). Maybe equalizer would help, or an amp/sound card that 'corrects' that in a way? But I doubt it. In any case, the only better-sounding headphones that I've tried so far was T90 (they were amazing), but the price is way out of my price range.

I know it can drive it, but as far as I know (please do correct me if I'm wrong), it not only will give me less sound (which is not a problem in itself), but the sound quality will also be lower. If the sound quality would be exactly the same, I'd go for the lower sound, as long as it's still decent volume, though.

In that case, maybe a cheap amp would be a better solution? I know there are cheap ones, though I'm very unsure of the quality they'd give me in this scenario.

EDIT: I'm not trying to be picky or anything, I just don't know much about it, at least not enough to make a decision on what I may want or need in this case - I can't actually try anything, so I'm just looking for help and the best solution that there may be available (and I always welcome more info/explanations/etc.).
Edited by newn - 5/15/14 at 4:02pm
post #6 of 7
Just get the Z. It will also give you access to EQ built into the card, which will let you tone down the mid bass and highs a bit.
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post #7 of 7
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by DrGroove View Post

Just get the Z. It will also give you access to EQ built into the card, which will let you tone down the mid bass and highs a bit.

Okay then. So far goals for next month then: buy DT990 + SBZ.

Some other choices that I've found (for consideration for anyone who knows something in this field, unlike me):

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Creative-Sound-Blaster-X-Fi-Surround/dp/B00FJMQ4C2
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Asus-Xonaru3-Mobile-USB-Soundcard/dp/B004ZI5E1S/
http://www.amazon.co.uk/FiiO-E11-Portable-Headphone-Amplifier/dp/B0053KWDES
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Fiio-E6-Headphone-Amplifier/dp/B005HJWWW8/
http://www.amazon.co.uk/FiiO-E5-BK-E05-Headphone-Amplifier/dp/B0026RJQJ6/
http://en.europe.creative.com/p/sound-blaster/sound-blaster-e1

Thanks!
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