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How badly do I need a DAC/AMP for these? My motherboard is decent but not great for onboard audio. However, I have a Sound BlasterX Katana that has a DAC but it is only rated to 30 Ohms. In short, how badly do I need a DAC for these headphones?
I will be upgrading from a HyperX Cloud II (which I think sound pretty good for what I paid for them).
A decent amp would be a really good idea for these. This way you can properly power the headphones across the frequency range and get it loud enough (or too loud) vs maybe loud enough without an amp. I think in a pinch it won't be the end of the world, but you might as well treat yourself. The bass is likely not going to be the same as your old closed headphones, but without an amp it'll likely be a very large change. $200 more will get you a desktop amp and DAC which will easily pay for themselves when your ears constantly thank you. I'm using a Schiit Magni 3 Amp and Topping D30 DAC. Don't forget RCA cables for between the two.
for average listening (podcasts, video games, etc) these should do fine without one, I believe... for cellphones... it's a bit too soft, depending on your cellphone hardware of course. My motherboard has a chip called "audio boost" on it, so that may be helping my desktop performance in that case.
I would not be using these on my cell as I use Jaybirds on the phone. I think I'm going to end up holding off because I cannot swing the headphones and AMP/DAC right now (just spent 500 buying two Katanas because one found a home in the living room).
You really don't need an amp/dac for these. Especially for desktop, most motherboards have a DAC that is more than powerful enough for these, with sound quality most users will find perfectly acceptable.
You are going to need a DAC/amp badly. I dk why some here are saying “you should be fine.” Without the DAC/amp you are not going to be able to push those drivers. The headphones will end up sounding like dudu. When looking for a DAC/amp you don’t need anything crazy if you are tight on money. Keep in mind the headphones are designed with a nominal impedance of 300 ohm. If you are not planning on using a DAC you really should’ve looked at headphones with a much lower impedance. This is my opinion, from the knowledge and experience I have built on the subject matter, regarding the dilemma you posted.
Any experience with the Sound Blaster E5, G5 series as a portable DAC/AMP. I plan to use the headphones with laptop and PC with a mix of movies, music, games, and spoken text (review lectures).
One can limp along without an external amplifier. I wouldn’t do it. I’m driving them with a Schiit Magni3 (solid state).... and sometimes a Vali 2 (tube amp).
I pulled the trigger on these and sold some stuff on eBay to get a Sound BlasterX G6 DAC/AMP combo (figure if I don't like the amp then I get another Amp and use the blasterX as a DAC) and the portability is a nice feature. I have to say I'm impressed with it so far powering my HyperX Cloud II's.
The E5 and G5 are good. I build my PCs so I throw a decent sound card in during construction. Sometime, oddly enough, higher end motherboards will have integrated DACs and amps. Some of the new Z370s include them. However, in my opinion, I’d go with portable Amps/DACs. Some say they don’t push out as much power. Though the portable units have drawbacks l. The mobility factor outweighs the drawbacks, for me, in most cases. To conclude choosing a DAC/amp is part personal preference and part matching the specifications to what you require. Sorry if I’m rambling on I just had 3 major surgeries and I’ve been recovering for the last several months.