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

post #1 of 3
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
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Icarus
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post #2 of 3
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 3
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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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 
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Logitech X-540 
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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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