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Will my headphones benefit from an external DAC + Amp?


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I've been researching for a solid week and I've been finding a lot of conflicting information and need some help. I've been reading and some people say that as long as you dont hear any background noise from PC interference and your volumes are loud enough, you will not benefit from a DAC+Amp.

 

Anything Above $2 Buys More Features, Not Better Quality - What Does It Take To Turn The PC Into A Hi-Fi Audio Platform?

 

NwAvGuy: Headphone Amps/DACs Explained

 

Right now I'm using my PC (Realtek ALC889 codec) to play FLAC files through my modded Fostex T50RP headphones and they sound great. The volume at 60% is comfortable to listen to for hours and these headphones are just the best headphones I've ever heard. There is no static or hissing that I can hear either.

 

Since I've never listened to a high end pair of headphones through a DAC+Amp, I want to know if I can improve on the sound that I'm currently getting with my setup. So with my listening experience now (clear audio + comfortable volume @ 60% max volume) will I perceive any noticeable changes in sound if I buy a DAC + Amp?

 

Will I hear things or experience sound differently so that I'd call the DAC+Amp a necessary upgrade?

 

Thanks

 

PS I was looking into the O2/ODAC if that matters

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T50RP variants are very good. That said, it definitely benefits from a good DAC and amp. (BTW, my main headphone is a heavily T50RP.) T50RPs are actually some of the more difficult headphones to drive, so even a cheap amp really does help. A headphone like the T50RP deserves an external dac and amp.

 

Tt just depends on price:

 

Odac+O2 should be very good. If you want some cheaper but good options consider

 

Audioquest Dragonfly v1.2 $150

ifi nano iDSD $190

 

I've been researching for a solid week and I've been finding a lot of conflicting information and need some help. I've been reading and some people say that as long as you dont hear any background noise from PC interference and your volumes are loud enough, you will not benefit from a DAC+Amp.

 

Anything Above $2 Buys More Features, Not Better Quality - What Does It Take To Turn The PC Into A Hi-Fi Audio Platform?

 

NwAvGuy: Headphone Amps/DACs Explained

 

Right now I'm using my PC (Realtek ALC889 codec) to play FLAC files through my modded Fostex T50RP headphones and they sound great. The volume at 60% is comfortable to listen to for hours and these headphones are just the best headphones I've ever heard. There is no static or hissing that I can hear either.

 

Since I've never listened to a high end pair of headphones through a DAC+Amp, I want to know if I can improve on the sound that I'm currently getting with my setup. So with my listening experience now (clear audio + comfortable volume @ 60% max volume) will I perceive any noticeable changes in sound if I buy a DAC + Amp?

 

Will I hear things or experience sound differently so that I'd call the DAC+Amp a necessary upgrade?

 

Thanks

 

PS I was looking into the O2/ODAC if that matters

Roon ->UltraRendu + CI Audio 7v LPS-> Kii Control -> Kii Three

Roon->BMC UltraDAC->Mr Speakers Aeon Flow Open

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As inexpensive as some of these things are like the AQ Dragonfly I think its a no brainer and do feel you will experience s benefit over direct output from your computer. I always believe a pulse built product beats a jack of all trades.

"If you fly a flag of hate you are no kin to me"

Ry Cooder

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The DAC chip may cost $2 but implementation is what matters for sound quality.

There are a lot of associated components required to build a DAC, beyond the DAC chip itself.

 

You don't need to spend thousands for good audio, but no matter what the specs say, on-board PC audio is not very good at all. I've tried it again and again with the same results.

 

And it doesn't cost $2 either. Try buying a motherboard with a good Realtek implementation for $2 and see what that gets you. They're being hyperbolic to attract more clicks. (ad revenue)

 

I'd say that something like the O2+ODAC or Schiit products are probably the starting point for a good headphone amp/DAC.

After all, the O2+ODAC were built to the minimum cost for high quality audio, with a number of compromises, and you end up with a DIY product - for $300.

 

Beyond those, you are paying more for features, connectivity, build quality, reliability, warranty/support, and performance that is largely measured rather than heard, but it doesn't mean something which is higher-end is not worthwhile.

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Just get the Dragonfly or Schiit Modi, use them for a few weeks then come back and give us your thoughts - compared to the money many of us had to shell out to get our first decent DAC, audiophiles have never had it better. I have two of HRT's DACs and the incremental improvement from the chunky MSII to the microStreamer is something I'd be happy to demonstrate to anyone on this board, sighted or otherwise. More air around instruments, better imaging and decay, yada yada - I can wax eloquent for paragraphs but at the asking price you owe it to yourself to shell out the pittance they are asking for these gadgets.

Just one more headphone and I know I can kick this nasty little habit !

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You will be very pleased. Did you get it from JDS Labs?
That "limited edition" they're selling looks nice - probably about six months ago I requested pretty much exactly those changes and was told they couldn't do it.

 

I may not have ended up with my Benchmark DAC2 if they had offered it then - not that I regret the purchase one bit.

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