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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So I picked up some Samson SR850s, currently in shipping and according to reviews I've seen they help more when amplified.

I am a gamer so I'd like to try some positional audio and I am new to audio, obv clueless. What should I be looking for in a decent amp.

So far I've seen the FiiO E7 and it seems good. I can use it as an external soundcard and people are saying it is pretty good. Can anybody back that up?

Thanks in advance!

I must add that I currently have a Creative Labs XfI Titanium. I guess what I am getting at is an AMP worth getting to boost the cards performance.

Trying to stick to $100 max.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
OP edited to include budget.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Can anyone let me know if the FiiO E9 is any good. Only a tad more than e7.
 

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On your $100 budget, for a different presentation that may improve perception of positional audio, either get a sound card with some surround-sound processing or emulation (e.g. Dolby Headphone, Creative's CMSS-3D)...or just forget about the Samson and get the Audio-Technica ATH-AD700, which most people feel has very good imaging for the price.
 

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I agree on the idea of a sound card, they are much better at positional audio, but if you are dedicated to the idea of the external DAC/amp, the Fiio e7 is a really great deal. And by the way, the e9 is not a DAC. It is only an amp, but it is special in that you can dock your e7 on top of it and use the much higher quality amp of the e9 and the e7 DAC rather than the e7's amp.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
OP updated with more sound card info.
 

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Some people claim improved imaging from better or different amplification, but I've never heard a significant difference there, at least nothing on the level of different headphones. In theory an amplifier with lower distortion (so clearer sound with less garbage mixed in) with a flatter phase response, should improve fidelity in ways that would impact the perception of positional cues. There also could be some impedance interactions between source (if not a low-Z out) and load that would effect the phase response, depending on the headphones.

In practice, the headphones just make a lot more difference, as usual.

A FiiO E7 is a USB DAC + amp that can be used as an amp only, if you plug in an analog input. Not sure why you'd want to buy it to only use it as an amp (internal amp isn't much better than E5/E6 around $20), or to use as DAC + amp and thereby bypass your sound card?
 
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