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HD598 CS | Do I Even Need a Headphone Amp/DAC? | Desktop Connection

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 
Hey all,

So I've been running HD598 CS's (closed-back) on my desktop since November (woot $99 BF sale). I enjoy my headphones, but I'm not sure that I am really doing these justice by using them purely through the front headphone jack of my PC case. I am no audiophile, but I want my headphones to sound as best as they can (within my financial limits).

That being said, do I even need a Headphone Amp/DAC? My motherboard audio doesn't make the connection noisy from fans and such... the volume is fine... so I really don't know. But I wanted to see what everything thinks based on my needs / uses / set of headphones.

My Primary Uses:
• Games
• Movies
• Music zone-outs after work

My Budget For This Kind of Thing:
• Around $100

The Amp/DAC's That I Was Looking At:
Monoprice Desktop Headphone Amplifier
Micca OriGen+ High Resolution USB DAC and Preamplifier
Schiit Fulla 2

Thanks for any input in advance!
Edited by TheScarecrow - 3/19/17 at 1:59pm
Icarus
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Icarus
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post #2 of 5
Your motherboard comes with the Realtek ALC1150 audio processor.
And the Creative Sound Blaster Cinema software.

I would try and talk you into getting an Asus Xonar DX sound card (used off eBay, $45) and a FiiO A3 (E11K) headphone amplifier ($60).
I personally prefer the Xonar sound cards (over Creative).
The DX itself is not the best for driving headphones, so recommend getting a headphone amplifier (A3) to go with it.

You might also consider a Creative Labs Sound Blaster Z sound card (used off eBay).
Comes with a built in half-way decent headphone amplifier, so cheaper then buying the DX/A3 combo.
But I do consider the A3 amp better then the one built into the SB-Z card.
ENIAC
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ENIAC
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post #3 of 5
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tacoboy View Post

Your motherboard comes with the Realtek ALC1150 audio processor.
And the Creative Sound Blaster Cinema software.

I would try and talk you into getting an Asus Xonar DX sound card (used off eBay, $45) and a FiiO A3 (E11K) headphone amplifier ($60).
I personally prefer the Xonar sound cards (over Creative).
The DX itself is not the best for driving headphones, so recommend getting a headphone amplifier (A3) to go with it.

You might also consider a Creative Labs Sound Blaster Z sound card (used off eBay).
Comes with a built in half-way decent headphone amplifier, so cheaper then buying the DX/A3 combo.
But I do consider the A3 amp better then the one built into the SB-Z card.

Hey Tacoboy, thanks for the response. Ya funny that you mention the Xonar DX. I had a Xonar DG on my last motherboard and really made my audio infinitely better than the onboard. With my current board, I haven't really had a single issue or complaint as far as audio is concerned so I didn't feel the need to install it. (Also, come to think of it, I think the DG is incompatible... PCI v2 vs my PCI Express buses...?)

Anywho, that's a grand suggestion. For some reason I was thinking I needed an external solution and completely forgot to add soundcards in the running (despite this forum section title obviously including "Soundcards"). I definitely saw that FiiO A3 in the options list but was thinking that, because it was just an amplifier (no DAC), I had to skip it. Ha if I can fit in the Xonar DG that I have on hand, do you think that'd be a worthy pairing?
Icarus
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CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel® Core™ i5-4670 Processor  Z87-G45 GAMING MSI GTX 970 Gaming SAMSUNG 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1... 
Hard DriveHard DriveHard DriveOptical Drive
Samsung 850 EVO Hitachi Deskstar Seagate Barracuda Pioneer 16X BD-R 2X BD-RE 16X DVD+R 12X BD-ROM ... 
CoolingOSMonitorKeyboard
Cooler Master Hyper 212 Evo Windows 8.1 Pro 64-Bit Achieva Shimian 27" (2560 x 1440) Rosewill Mechanical Keyboard RK-9000BRI with Ch... 
PowerCaseMouseMouse Pad
NZXT HALE82 650W Coolermaster CM-690 ii Advanced Razer DeathAdder Generic 
Audio
Logitech X-540 
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Icarus
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Intel® Core™ i5-4670 Processor  Z87-G45 GAMING MSI GTX 970 Gaming SAMSUNG 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1... 
Hard DriveHard DriveHard DriveOptical Drive
Samsung 850 EVO Hitachi Deskstar Seagate Barracuda Pioneer 16X BD-R 2X BD-RE 16X DVD+R 12X BD-ROM ... 
CoolingOSMonitorKeyboard
Cooler Master Hyper 212 Evo Windows 8.1 Pro 64-Bit Achieva Shimian 27" (2560 x 1440) Rosewill Mechanical Keyboard RK-9000BRI with Ch... 
PowerCaseMouseMouse Pad
NZXT HALE82 650W Coolermaster CM-690 ii Advanced Razer DeathAdder Generic 
Audio
Logitech X-540 
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post #4 of 5
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheScarecrow View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tacoboy View Post

Your motherboard comes with the Realtek ALC1150 audio processor.
And the Creative Sound Blaster Cinema software.

I would try and talk you into getting an Asus Xonar DX sound card (used off eBay, $45) and a FiiO A3 (E11K) headphone amplifier ($60).
I personally prefer the Xonar sound cards (over Creative).
The DX itself is not the best for driving headphones, so recommend getting a headphone amplifier (A3) to go with it.

You might also consider a Creative Labs Sound Blaster Z sound card (used off eBay).
Comes with a built in half-way decent headphone amplifier, so cheaper then buying the DX/A3 combo.
But I do consider the A3 amp better then the one built into the SB-Z card.

Hey Tacoboy, thanks for the response. Ya funny that you mention the Xonar DX. I had a Xonar DG on my last motherboard and really made my audio infinitely better than the onboard. With my current board, I haven't really had a single issue or complaint as far as audio is concerned so I didn't feel the need to install it. (Also, come to think of it, I think the DG is incompatible... PCI v2 vs my PCI Express buses...?)

Anywho, that's a grand suggestion. For some reason I was thinking I needed an external solution and completely forgot to add soundcards in the running (despite this forum section title obviously including "Soundcards"). I definitely saw that FiiO A3 in the options list but was thinking that, because it was just an amplifier (no DAC), I had to skip it. Ha if I can fit in the Xonar DG that I have on hand, do you think that'd be a worthy pairing?

The Xonar DG & A3 will make a decent pairing.
ENIAC
(15 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel i5 7600k Asus M5A99FX Pro 2.0 AMD 470 8GB 16GB DDR3  
Hard DriveOptical DriveCoolingOS
Samsung EVO 500GB Lite-On Blu-ray Burner 4 case fans Win 7 Pro 64-bit 
MonitorKeyboardPowerCase
Yamakasi DS270 SE 27"  Logitech G110 Cooler master 700 Watt Cooler Master 690 II 
MouseMouse PadAudio
Logitech G500 My desk Audio-GD NFB-15.32 
  hide details  
Reply
ENIAC
(15 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel i5 7600k Asus M5A99FX Pro 2.0 AMD 470 8GB 16GB DDR3  
Hard DriveOptical DriveCoolingOS
Samsung EVO 500GB Lite-On Blu-ray Burner 4 case fans Win 7 Pro 64-bit 
MonitorKeyboardPowerCase
Yamakasi DS270 SE 27"  Logitech G110 Cooler master 700 Watt Cooler Master 690 II 
MouseMouse PadAudio
Logitech G500 My desk Audio-GD NFB-15.32 
  hide details  
Reply
post #5 of 5
Those headphones are 50 ohms... The answer is... Yes, you will benefit from an amp. The front headphone jack really isn't that great for anything that's much higher than 30 ohms. Aside from that, their output impedance is generally too high, making things sound muddy.

The Micca Origen+ is great. If you want to save a bit, go with an open box one;
http://www.ebay.com/itm/162422298578?_trksid=p2055119.m1438.l2649&ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT
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