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Which sound card for headphones?

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#1
I just bought a pair of Sennheiser HD 598 headphones. (Don't critique that; I don't care.) I have an X-Fi Titanium sound card currently and a spare Xonar DGX. The X-Fi doesn't have a headphone amp on it so I'm wondering how I should connect the headphones.

Would using the DGX's headphone amp make for a better experience than using the X-Fi with my Z506's headphone pass-through? Or is plugging it directly into the X-Fi best?

Eventually I would like to get a proper DAC but for now these are my options.
 

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#2
the DGX does come with a headphone amp according to the rest of the interwebs. If youre really serious about getting something new try a Xonar STX or Xonar STX II. you could also get a Creative Soundblaster Z
 

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#3
just get a DAC headphone app. That plugs into the sound card then you plug your headphones into it.

Stick with the Titanium then just get a DAC.
 

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#4
You could get something like the Aune T1 DAC/Amp that will replace your sound card and provide amplification. No need to get a DAC if you're going to use your sound card to manage your audio and EQ...

You could just try your soundcard output...it might be enough for you to enjoy. If not, get an amp....the FiiO E9 puts out plenty of power and you can find them used for a decent price. You could also get a receiver if you have or are planning a small hi-fi audio setup.
 
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#5
I just bought a pair of Sennheiser HD 598 headphones. (Don't critique that; I don't care.) I have an X-Fi Titanium sound card currently and a spare Xonar DGX. The X-Fi doesn't have a headphone amp on it so I'm wondering how I should connect the headphones.

Would using the DGX's headphone amp make for a better experience than using the X-Fi with my Z506's headphone pass-through? Or is plugging it directly into the X-Fi best?

Eventually I would like to get a proper DAC but for now these are my options.
no.
 
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#6
I am new to headphone amping, but when I plug a high end headphone into the onboard soundcard (SupremeFX by Realtek on a Asus Maximus board) the driver detects it and offers "extra amplification" depending of amperage. At the end what it offers is a slightly higher volume out of 3 levels. (I could turn the volume up by myself too)
A gimmick this amplification retoric in my "ears".
o_O
 
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#7
I just bought a pair of Sennheiser HD 598 headphones. (Don't critique that; I don't care.) I have an X-Fi Titanium sound card currently and a spare Xonar DGX. The X-Fi doesn't have a headphone amp on it so I'm wondering how I should connect the headphones.

Would using the DGX's headphone amp make for a better experience than using the X-Fi with my Z506's headphone pass-through? Or is plugging it directly into the X-Fi best?

Eventually I would like to get a proper DAC but for now these are my options.
The sound cards ARE proper DACs, with the flexibility of being adjustable. Maybe you meant to say an external amp?

Also, why not just test them?

I am new to headphone amping, but when I plug a high end headphone into the onboard soundcard (SupremeFX by Realtek on a Asus Maximus board) the driver detects it and offers "extra amplification" depending of amperage. At the end what it offers is a slightly higher volume out of 3 levels. (I could turn the volume up by myself too)
A gimmick this amplification retoric in my "ears".
o_O
Are you concerned that it's distorting your audio, or clarifying if it's a gimmick?
 
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#8
Asus Xonar good for Sennheiser.
 
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#9
The OP is worried as his sound card does not have amp buidl in. I say, dont worry too much. OP: just listen to your present equipment, is sound fine? Having already 2 expensive soundcards, there may be no need to adding crap at home.
 
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#10
Yeah just plug them in and listen.

Before I bought a couple headphone amps I just ran a digital out from PC to my HK receiver and used it's built in headphone jack.
 
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#11
Get something like a t1 or fiio e7k.

I got an e7k w my Beyerdynamic DT 770 pro 80s.
 
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#12
First he just needs to try each sound card and see about the clarity, quality and volume /power availability. It could be the Titanium is easier to setup, use and has naturally better sound though with a lower output forcing him to consider an external amp. Or the DGX may be near enough in quality AND have enough power to drive the phones without an external amp, saving him some money.

Unless I've misunderstood?
 

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#13
For the love of god don't buy an Asus Xonar. Take a look at the last time they updated the drivers. Brainbitz has been working on custom drivers for the cards that I've been using for years, and the sound cards are still a relative nightmare if you're interested in doing tweaks to audio for various purposes. Save yourself the trouble and buy anything but the Asus sound cards.

Asus Xonar good for Sennheiser.
It doesn't quite work that way, but (the right)sennheisers work wonderfully with a good quality soundcard or DAC.
 
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#13
I just got a second hand ASUS Xonar Essence ST and im using Uni drivers with it rather than official older ASUS drivers. I would much rather have gotten an external headphone amp but i needed something less noisy on the mic input as my onboard is just too crap to get the best out of my Mod Mic. It has a headphone amp and a mic pre amp. The DAC on my sound card is superior to the onboard Realtek and being a card it's less noisy and more clean sounding.

A Soundblaster ZXR is similar to the Essence cards. The Soundblaster ZX is a lower end card, its also physically shorter so you can tell the model from that alone.

X-Fi Titanium might be good as a DAC and you can just turn down the volume on it so your not amplifying an already amplified signal and just use the amp to control volume, i'd recommend a external headphone amplifier then.