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I have tried to read this drop and the O2 + SDAC drop ($149.99) and now I am not sure what are my best options. I have tried to read a lot of other stuff also and finally realized I may need help (well, I may need 'help' otherwise also ;)
I have 3 headphones (Sennheiser HD 6xx, Audio Technica ATH M50x, and Shure SRH940. I mostly have used the Shures until I purchased the other 2 very recently).
I purchased FiiO E6 and FiiO X3 a while back for HiRes audio.
I have tried the Sennheiser with it. Good audio, but not exceptional (as I thought it might be) :(
My usage scenarios:
1) HiRez audio (for now FiiO X3 is what I am going to keep using)
2) Listening to TV through headphones when the house needs to be quiet :) Receiver: Denon AVR-4310CI
Thus, for these 2 usage scenarios, what would I need? And specifically, would O2 + SDAC is needed or can just the O2 be enough?
Thanks in advance, all!
TLDR: (I'm not much of an audiophile disclaimer) 6xx may experience some audible benefits with O2. What you're using isn't crap. O2+SDAC combo would be more for convenience (only the lower tier DACs would concern me to replace immediately). TV receiver is a big question mark - but if you do use something medium gain O2 (an amp with x1 gain option) would be the safer bet if it already gets plenty loud.
FiiO makes pretty good stuff (at least for my ears-actually navigating on my X1 is a pain though). So the SDAC probably wouldn't be any sort of noticeable upgrade unless you clearly hear hissing/background noise that shouldn't be there. However, just having a single unit w/o having to deal with additional wiring is kind of nice. The SDAC doesn't play any ridiculous sample size files either though. It's kind of nice having a toy to tinker with at the extremes (24bit ,192Khz or greater-just something to think about).
The O2 is certainly enough power for the headphones you own. M50x and SRH940 being about as easy to drive as it gets. 6xx scales well and does need something beyond the basics to shine. If the FiiO X3 works how I think it does, I doubt I would be able to hear too much of a difference at the volume I listen to things at - but that's just me. The additional headroom O2 can offer may help.
As for the Denon, shoulder shrug. I always assume that type of equipment doesn't really focus on the headphone output all that much. So use your own judgement when comparing it to FiiO X3 output -listen for if something is lacking. And trying to amplify the analog output of the receiver (with O2 standard gain) may just lead to audible hiss (O2 med gain would more than likely remain hiss-less if hiss wasn't present before amplifying).