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Do I really need an amp for these headphones? I got mine from Massdrop about a week ago and have been listening to them non-stop. My soundcard on my computer drives these plenty loud enough for me, so is it really necessary to buy an external amp? Is there something I'm missing? I do occasionally hear clipping, and I'm guessing I would better off investing in a decent dac instead.
With these headphones, you'd be doing them justice getting a good external dac/amp. Since I personally don't want to go down the tube route, I plan on getting a schiit magni 3 and modi 2 uber until I can get a jotunheim with the balanced dac module. Until then, I'll be using my soundcard as well.
Many soundcards already have an implemented headphone amp. Which card do you have?
The 6x0 series scales up with better amplification. dacs also matter, but to a lesser degree
schiit makes low price decent gear... magni, vali 2 for amp and modi for dac.
I have headphone amps from 100 to over 1000 dollars and it makes a big difference to me
Having enough volume doesn't mean it's been driven with enough power, optimal power delivery will lead to better performance i.e. bass control, more holographic soundstage, better resolution and clarity etc. But it's not necessary to upgrade your amp, considering you're already happy with the way it is. Gear upgrades, whether it'd be DAC or amp, is an endless journey since the HD6XX has near unlimited scaling potential.
So I'm looking to add a modmic and make a nice pc gaming headset out of a pair of these HDXX's Do you suggest a sound card or an external amp / DAC? I know nothing about amps and Dacs, but am familiar enough with PC building that I can install a card.
I have a Z97 G45 motherboard with "audio boost." It gets plenty loud, but becomes fatiguing above what I would consider a normal listening level. In other words, I can turn my other headphones up louder and not get a headache.
I would recommend an external DAC/amp, it doesn't have to be expensive. There's a few choices out there around the $200 mark like the Schiit Modi/Magni stack or Aune X1s which you'll find on Massdrop from time to time. Both are good, the Schiit is more engaging but Aune has better clarity and I like it more purely due to my own personal preferences. There's the O2/ODAC (or Massdrop's O2/SDAC which is supposedly better), people call this the reference sound, but I find it boring and lacking of euphonic quality. All three options can take USB directly from your PC.
Thank you for the quick response. I'm just getting my feet wet on what looks to be a rabbit hole of gear and money. Hoping to get better quality than my garbage Astro gaming headset, without having to go deep into financial crisis =)
Your motherboard already has a build-in amp. But of cause this amp will not be anywhere near as powerful as a dedicated amp.
I see. So an external amp is necessary to get more performance out of them.