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View Full Discussion Hi All,
After doing quite a bit of research I have a question/concern about using this amp (or any really) the way I'm planning to. I'm hoping to get some feedback before making any purchases. The headphones I will be driving will be the HD6xx when they arrive later this year. The system I will be listening to them from is built on top of an ASUS Z170-A motherboard, which has a fairly capable audio system already.
I have dug up the audio specific details on this board and it has a Realtek ALC-892 for a DAC and a TI R4580 for the amp (full amp specs here: http://www.ti.com/lit/ds/symlink/rc4580-q1.pdf). ASUS has also taken some measures to protect the audio signal further, such as a pre-regulator in front of the ALC-892, splitting left and right audio signals between different PCB layers, various levels of EMI shielding, and a de-pop circuit.
I'm not very well versed on reading amp spec sheets, but from what I can gather from the link above, combined with what the headphone power calculator on digizoid is telling me, it actually seems like this amp probably could power the HD6xx fairly well, though probably not with the headroom many here would recommend, and it's likely that bass frequencies especially could suffer a bit. So... I am looking for a good amp that will supply this headroom and really breathe the life into the 6xx that they deserve.
I am planning on starting with just an amp, as the 24bit/192kHz the Z170-A integrated audio is capable of seems more than sufficient for me, for now at least. Because of this, my plan then is to drive the amp straight off the motherboard, with a 3.5mm to RCA (L/R) cable off of the headphone jack. My concern is, given the fairly high output of this board's amp, won't this be "double-amping" the signal, or will the Z170-A essentially be acting as a pre-amp in this case?
Will it just be a matter of turning the system volume in the OS down to a lower level to prevent too high a signal coming into the amp? And, if so, if the OS level accidentally gets turned all the way up at some point, do I risk damaging any of the hardware (amp and/or headphones), or eardrums (I guess this one's fairly obvious)?
Since the Z170-A also has an optical output, would I be better off putting a DAC with an optical input in between the motherboard and the amp to avoid this issue?
Sorry for the long, rambling post. As you can probably tell I've been doing a lot of reading lately (maybe too much).
USB from pc to DAC. RCA out to RCA in of Mcth amp. I'm using the line out a Micca origin & foobar2000.
Right, I guess I should have included that as another (fairly obvious) option, but let's assume at this point that I want to skip the external DAC entirely (for now). Can you (or anyone) speak to any of the implications of running the MCTH off the integrated amp via a 3.5mm to RCA connection?
The MCTH has more than enough power for the HD 6XX. I'm running them straight from my mobo using a 3.5mm to RCA cable with no issues.
Thanks, both, for the responses. I actually do not have any concern about the MCTH being powerful enough for the 6XX. I was more concerned about double-amping the signal from the on-board amp on my PC. I have found the answer to that concern though, in another discussion on this site.
It appears that the on-board amp is configurable to limit itself to the front panel output only, which I would do if I hooked the MCTH up to the rear audio jack. This would prevent any double-amping of the audio signal. Thanks again for your inputs on this!
I have a Asus Strix Z270 motherboard that has Realtek S1220A codec.
It could just be me but I seem to hear the effect of jitter. The drums and any impact sound seem dull through my motherboard audio, and the reason why I chose to purchase a DAC (MD O2+SDAC DAC/Amp).
Try listening to the 1Khz sine wave with jitter here:
If you're unable to distinguish the jitter samples from the Original (click on the "1KHz v??" to reveal what the sample is) then there might be jitter in your audio system (e.g. the motherboard).
Not sure what to say about the clips on that page. If I hear any difference between the clips there it is fairly minimal, other than the obvious increased level of static white noise in some of the 1kHz samples with jitter introduced. Maybe my scumbag ears are just incapable of hearing it, or my motherboard or headphones are not representing it properly. The only external (USB) sound device I have available at the moment is the cheap-o HyperX virtual surround device that came with my Cloud IIs, and I heard (or didn't hear) the same things through that as I did my on-board audio, for whatever that's worth.
Oh well, I guess. At the moment I still don't see a huge need to go out and get an external DAC.
"Double amping" isn't necessarily as bad as it sounds. The MCTH should have an input impedance of 20 - 50k ohms, so even if you were using a DAC / headphone amp as a source (like your front out) you're putting next to no load on the source amp thanks to ohms law, and thus getting the best possible performance out of it. Having said that, definitely use your rear stereo out, even better if is specifically configured as a line out and front out's can pick up a lot of noise.
There's nothing wrong with using mobo and picking up an external DAC later on if you feel the need to upgrade.