Should I get an amp or op-amps?

Hello all, just received my TR-X00 Ebony and unfortunately I had to tweak the hell out of the settings on my Xonar STX (Output Impedance 10 ohm). They still sound great, but I'd like to get the full potential out of them.
I've heard there's some really good op-amps, but they do get expensive, and considering that the sound card is 9 years old or so, I'm not sure if it's worth it.
I also know that if I get an amp, you do lose the option for enhancements via line-out, which kind of defeats the purpose of the sound card in the first place.
Would it be best to just hold off for something like the JDSLabs O2 dac / amp or an NFB-11 / R2R?

Jul 30, 2018
The problem with your sound card isn't the amps nearly so much as the power supplies. They are terribly noisy and that will make its way into your sound. I'd go to an external amp with its own dedicated power supply if it were up to me. I'd also pair it with an external DAC for the same reason.
Jul 31, 2018
I know the Massdrop Grace is suppose to be one of the best for the X00's, but $500 is a bit much, and yeah, not being able to try them out first is quite worrisome, especially since everyone seems to have a different opinion.
Aug 1, 2018
Definitely. I wish I had learned my lesson earlier on, but eventually set a firm limit of $200 being the most I will spend on any piece of audio gear without hearing it first. It has saved me a lot of money since I came to that conclusion.
Jul 29, 2018
You really do need to get something with a lower output impedance...10 ohms is way too large for the TH-X00 series, 2 ohm or less is what you want - preferably lower than 1 ohm. Personally I like a warmer leaning amp for my TH-X00PHs, and a modded Gustard H10 running Burson V6 opamps is absolutely fantastic for them. Discontinued amp though and requires mods to be reliable. I'd wait and save up for a better unit and use the interim to research DACs and amps.