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Which amp/DAC?

Discussion in 'Sound City' started by MrRockliffe, Sep 22, 2018.

  1. MrRockliffe

    Wise Guy

    Joined: Apr 14, 2014

    Posts: 1,794

    Location: Hampshire

    After doing some testing with my MMX 300, I'm finding the onboard audio on my Strix Z270-I isn't performing well enough. Getting a reasonable amount of distortion vs using say, a Macbook.

    In fact, all headphones sound pretty poor through it. Everything sounds harsh, and bass distorts (to the point where I thought it was the headphones, until I tried them with another source).

    Not looking for anything super amazing, as long as the output quality matches a Mac, and looks pretty decent, I'm happy.

    Will need to drive 300 Ohm headphones potentially, as looking at getting some HD650s

    Been trying to do a bit of research myself, but can't find anything. Needs to be external.
     
  2. Marsman

    Capodecina

    Joined: Oct 18, 2009

    Posts: 10,219

    What are you looking to spend and will it be used for gaming?
     
  3. MrRockliffe

    Wise Guy

    Joined: Apr 14, 2014

    Posts: 1,794

    Location: Hampshire

    I haven't got a set budget, but the lower the better.

    It will be used for gaming, but I'm not overly fussed on surround sound etc - the MMX 300 have a very open sound as it is :)
     
  4. Marsman

    Capodecina

    Joined: Oct 18, 2009

    Posts: 10,219

    As you have your eye on the HD650's; FiiO E10K would be a good choice. Affordable and can do a pretty decent job of driving the HD600/650's. I'm not sure there is much else that can do a decent job with the Senn's without spending double or more what the E10K costs.

    I'm sure esat will be along at some point though, to tell you that for gaming you must get something with SBX prostudio because you can't play games without surround sound. Fine if you want that, but not everyone does. Like you, I'm not overly fussed with surround sound effects stuff. I used to make use of it, but I don't miss it at all since just getting a DAC/amp; but then, I'm not a serious gamer.

    If you did want something with SBX prostudio for surround effects that can also drive headphones such as the HD650, then you'd probably be looking at a Creative E5/G5 or the new G6 for around £120+.
     
  5. MrRockliffe

    Wise Guy

    Joined: Apr 14, 2014

    Posts: 1,794

    Location: Hampshire

    I've had a look at the E10K, however the main issue I had going with it was the lack of a microphone input, as I'd be using my MMX 300 with it.

    Might take a look at the creative stuff - happy to pay the extra if it can simplify the setup
     
  6. Marsman

    Capodecina

    Joined: Oct 18, 2009

    Posts: 10,219

    Oh, yes that's a good point. I wasn't thinking that you're using a headset.

    Yep, not much else worth looking at than the Creative E5/G5 or the new G6. There is nothing else that can take a microphone input that will drive the Sennheiser HD650's properly, should you get a pair.
     
  7. EsaT

    Mobster

    Joined: Jun 6, 2008

    Posts: 4,289

    Location: Finland

    New Sound BlasterX G6 is overall clearly better than E5 or G5.
    Besides more capable headphone amp design (from AE-5) it also adds Dolby Digital decoding, so it can be connected to consoles with full functionality.
    Which is certainly very good for any later/other uses.

    Though another thing is Creative should be soon releasing at least some "Super X-Fi" products with head and ear shape customizable HRTF.
    But apparently initial product is just that fashionable USB DAC dongle.
    And with SBX G6 just released it's entirely different question in what schedule they're doing sound cards with it.
     
  8. MrRockliffe

    Wise Guy

    Joined: Apr 14, 2014

    Posts: 1,794

    Location: Hampshire

    Thanks both for your input.

    I've looked at the Xonar U7 MK II as well, which I can get for 66 quid - seems like a pretty good price for the Cirrus DAC inside it

    Again, I don't need it to be amazing, just as good as the output on my Macbook
     
  9. EsaT

    Mobster

    Joined: Jun 6, 2008

    Posts: 4,289

    Location: Finland

    Doesn't look like there would be any improvement from original U7.
    Headphone output : 1.3 Vrms (3.677 Vp-p)
    https://www.asus.com/Sound-Cards/Xonar-U7-MKII/specifications/

    https://reference-audio-analyzer.pro/en/report/amp/asus-u7-hp.php#rw11
    Struggling to give same voltage to high impedance low current load than Realteks are specced to give into current hungry 32 ohm load is very poor!

    Guess that MkII comes from changing software.
    If they only spent as much effort to actual design as marketing, like that Sonic Radar hype.
    I mean if binaural simulation algorithm is good you can get same data just by listening.
    And lot faster than needing to look at any graphics overlay!

    You can actually test Creative's binaural simulation from gaming videos, like first minute of this with sounds from different directions and distances:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d1_20T8x_OI
    Or this:
    https://youtu.be/B8xZp0WPwxs?t=19m51s

    One thing you might test is if integrated gives different sound quality from case front connector than motherboard's rear port.
     
  10. Marsman

    Capodecina

    Joined: Oct 18, 2009

    Posts: 10,219

    U7 will be fine for the MMX 300, but it won't up to the task of driving HD650's well. You'll likely need to get something better, so it depends whether you are looking for something just for the MMX 300, or something that can drive headphones such as the HD650.

    My only criticism of the U7 would be how long it lasts. I've seen a few people post that found they develop a fault after only a year.
     
  11. MrRockliffe

    Wise Guy

    Joined: Apr 14, 2014

    Posts: 1,794

    Location: Hampshire

    Currently, it has to power the MMX 300, but I'm not overly fond of the sound signature - it's quite treble heavy, and cant be quite tiring to listen to for long periods of time because of it.

    I think the HD 650 would become my daily headset, so I guess it's probably better to aim for something to drive them, as then they'll be able to drive anything with less power requirements with ease.
     
  12. Marsman

    Capodecina

    Joined: Oct 18, 2009

    Posts: 10,219

    Yeah, the Beyer's (DT770 on which the MMX300 is based) are criticised by some for having a treble that is too fatiguing. Bright treble is one of those things that you either like or don't.

    HD650's are anything but in contrast, and are like treating your ears to some smooth goodness.

    What would you do for a microphone, should you just get headphones to replace the MMX300? Modmic maybe; or just not bother with one?
     
  13. TALON1973

    Mobster

    Joined: Jul 28, 2004

    Posts: 4,289

    Location: llanelli , south wales

    The hd650 need a good amp...... I’m happy with mine :D:cool:

    [​IMG]
     
  14. MrRockliffe

    Wise Guy

    Joined: Apr 14, 2014

    Posts: 1,794

    Location: Hampshire

    I've got a blue snowball that I'll use :)
     
  15. PapaLazaru

    Capodecina

    Joined: Dec 23, 2009

    Posts: 17,022

    I wouldn't buy the HD650 anymore if you are considering them. The newer 660S is out and has a lower impedance so will likely run nice with a G6.
     
  16. MrRockliffe

    Wise Guy

    Joined: Apr 14, 2014

    Posts: 1,794

    Location: Hampshire

    From what people have said, the 660S sound different, and as I know I like the sound of the 650, I don't want to buy them and be disappointed :)
     
  17. MorleySA

    Hitman

    Joined: Aug 6, 2010

    Posts: 670

    Location: Suffolk