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Is this worth considering if I have Sennheiser HD518's that I use for pc gaming and music? Love the headphones, but would like a little more umph....
To the AMP itself, power and input options in the rear if possible. Cleans up the front.
What is the benefit of an ODAC with this unit (or any amplifiers for that matter)? I am new to this whole audiophile thing!
The O2 is a headphone amplifier. The ODAC (ObjectiveDAC) is a DAC (Digital-to-Analog Converter).
A DAC converts your music from a CD or mp3 or flac or whatever digital format you have it in to an analog signal that can be amplified to the speakers. You can find further information by looking these things up, but that's it in a nutshell.
I suppose you can think of a good DAC as better (more faithfully and more cleanly) at reproducing the original sound that was recorded than a "bad" DAC. Your computer already has a DAC. If you plug in your headphones directly to your computer, then you've been listening to the computer's DAC and headphone amp at work.
Now why do you want to buy a separate DAC and amp (like the ODAC and O2)? Objectively, the ODAC and O2 will measure better than what's built-in in your computer (greater dynamic range, better signal to noise ratio, more power to drive high-impedance headphones, etc). Subjectively, the ODAC and O2 will sound better or it'll just sound the same (everyone's hearing is different and being unconsciously biased doesn't help).
"Is this worth considering if I have Sennheiser HD518's that I use for pc gaming and music? Love the headphones, but would like a little more umph...."
I'm not quite sure what you're expecting from the O2. Did you mean "umph" as in more bass? I can't say for certain whether that's what you'll find with the O2. The design intent of the O2 is to be completely transparent, as in, it does not color the sound. For example, a tube amp is generally regarded as "warm." It colors the sound. The O2 is neutral - whatever sound you feed it, it just makes it louder and nothing else.
If you're looking for a bass boost, I recall Fiio makes an inexpensive headphone amp with a bass boost, but I don't remember what the model name/number was.
In any case, welcome to the hobby. It's a lot of fun, and it'll lighten your wallet.
Appreciate the help!!!
I guess "umph" was a poor way of wording my desires. I am looking for something that will clean up the sound for me. I feel that I may be getting some kind of interference when going through my computer. Interference may not be the right word, but that's what my brain is functioning on currently.
Just looking for some options that will clean up the sound quality, looks good, and gives me the ability to crank the volume if I desire.
If you're hearing some noise or interference, I wouldn't be surprised. It's an obvious issue when I tried using my headphone from the front headphone jack (the wiring from the front panel picks up the electrical storm inside the computer case...). The headphone jack at the back of the computer is likely better, but YMMV. At least, it wouldn't cost you anything to try it out, if you haven't already.
I'm afraid simply buying the O2 may not help you, because you could be just amplifying the music along with the noise from your computer. Your best bet might be to move most of the audio processing out of the computer and onto an external DAC.