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Dac vs good onboard to drive a 600 ohm headphone?

Slazyel
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Hi guys, i recently bought a used Beyerdynamic T1 and was wondering if i need to buy a dac to drive it or if the dac/amp on the Asus Strix Z370-E is enough. The manafacturer says it can handle up to 600 ohm, but how well? 

 

The other option is to buy a Dac X6.

 

So, what to do?

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Try it first and see?

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Little bit of physics can help. You can usually get the power of the in-built amplifier or for the DAC. 0.77mW is common for a 3.5" jack for a 600Ohm load. Not very loud at all, but we're talking about a headphone here. For reference; A laptop is usually 5W for its speakers, a home audio system may be around 25W*4. A car would be around that too, unless it has an amp, mine is 125*4W. These are all RMS values and over 4 Ohm, our line out for a 4Ohm load would be 0.1155W RMS. Should be just about enough, but you might want a DAC as this is right on the edge of the spec for 3.5". Not that more cant be pushed out, but its more passive control with onboard audio, and that probably wont be possible. 

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4 hours ago, RorzNZ said:

Little bit of physics can help. You can usually get the power of the in-built amplifier or for the DAC. 0.77mW is common for a 3.5" jack for a 600Ohm load. Not very loud at all, but we're talking about a headphone here. For reference; A laptop is usually 5W for its speakers, a home audio system may be around 25W*4. A car would be around that too, unless it has an amp, mine is 125*4W. These are all RMS values and over 4 Ohm, our line out for a 4Ohm load would be 0.1155W RMS. Should be just about enough, but you might want a DAC as this is right on the edge of the spec for 3.5". Not that more cant be pushed out, but its more passive control with onboard audio, and that probably wont be possible. 

Does it affect audio quality too or just the volume? If the mobo can drive the headphone at a good volume i think i will use it, but if the audio quality would be better on a dac like the fx audio dac x6 i would buy it instead. 

But i dont know, looks like asus did a good job in the audio system of this Motherboard with high quality capacitors and a good dac/amp combo. It's really a hard decision but i'm not a specialist so your opinion would be very nice, what do you think?

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3 hours ago, Slazyel said:

Does it affect audio quality too or just the volume? If the mobo can drive the headphone at a good volume i think i will use it, but if the audio quality would be better on a dac like the fx audio dac x6 i would buy it instead. 

But i dont know, looks like asus did a good job in the audio system of this Motherboard with high quality capacitors and a good dac/amp combo. It's really a hard decision but i'm not a specialist so your opinion would be very nice, what do you think?

Well you can always try it out, then if it doesnt drive it, buy a DAC later. 

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amp*

 

dac cant drive shit unless it has an amp

 

try and see first mobos for last 5 yrs have been plenty great if no interference

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6 minutes ago, pas008 said:

amp*

 

dac cant drive shit unless it has an amp

 

try and see first mobos for last 5 yrs have been plenty great if no interference

and how about sound quality? Can the onboard audio from the z370-e be enough for the T1?

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2 hours ago, Slazyel said:

and how about sound quality? Can the onboard audio from the z370-e be enough for the T1?

everyone is different on what they actually like and what they hear somewhat

 

but for those headphones i'd get dac and amp though

 

did you ever state budget?

 

any place/store or people you know that has dac/amp setups that you can compare?

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1 hour ago, pas008 said:

everyone is different on what they actually like and what they hear somewhat

 

but for those headphones i'd get dac and amp though

 

did you ever state budget?

 

any place/store or people you know that has dac/amp setups that you can compare?

max budget would be $150 for dac/amp :/

 

no place or people, sadly

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15 hours ago, Slazyel said:

Hi guys, i recently bought a used Beyerdynamic T1 and was wondering if i need to buy a dac to drive it or if the dac/amp on the Asus Strix Z370-E is enough. The manafacturer says it can handle up to 600 ohm, but how well? 

 

The other option is to buy a Dac X6.

 

So, what to do?

The onboard sounds great problem is for HP's it does not have a amp.  It will sound shi*TTy.... So ya you need drive it out of some sort of HP amp.  good luck

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3 minutes ago, Turtle Rig said:

The onboard sounds great problem is for HP's it does not have a amp.  It will sound shi*TTy.... So ya you need drive it out of some sort of HP amp.  good luck

what?

that mobo has an amp

not anything fancy but there should be enough power to push them

cleanly? I dont  know

he capable of hearing differences

I dont know either

 

tell him to go down the rabbit hole of audiophileness

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, Turtle Rig said:

The onboard sounds great problem is for HP's it does not have a amp.  It will sound shi*TTy.... So ya you need drive it out of some sort of HP amp.  good luck

Info about the mobo:

ROG Strix's SupremeFX audio technology has levelled up, delivering an exceptional 113dB signal-to-noise ratio on the line-in connection for best-ever recording quality — and 120dB on line-out for crystal-clear sound! We've also added a low-dropout regulator for cleaner power delivery to the SupremeFX S1220A codec, plus Texas Instruments® RC4580 and OPA1688 op-amps for high gain with low distortion. It all adds up to audio that envelops you as never before!

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1 hour ago, pas008 said:

what?

that mobo has an amp

not anything fancy but there should be enough power to push them

cleanly? I dont  know

he capable of hearing differences

I dont know either

 

tell him to go down the rabbit hole of audiophileness

 

 

 

I'm really thinking about using the onboard audio for now and maybe when there's a deal on a dac/amp like the Topping DX3 PRO ($225 now) i can upgrade ^^. Looks like the onboard solution on that mobo is very good.

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1 hour ago, pas008 said:

what?

that mobo has an amp

not anything fancy but there should be enough power to push them

cleanly? I dont  know

he capable of hearing differences

I dont know either

 

tell him to go down the rabbit hole of audiophileness

 

 

 

Your using the onboard audio ?  It has amp but is not a HP amp, its to drive speakers.  HP's will work just not properly or loud.  You need something external to get the most out of HP's unless their POS hp's hmm. sighs

Asus Sabertooth x79 / 4930k @ 4500 @ 1.408v / Gigabyte WF 2080 RTX / Corsair VG 64GB @ 1866 & AX1600i & H115i Pro @ 2x Noctua NF-A14 / Carbide 330r Blackout

Scarlett 2i2 Audio Interface / KRK Rokits 10" / Sennheiser HD 650 / Logitech G Pro Wireless Mouse & G915 Linear & G935 & C920 / SL 88 Grand / Cakewalk / NF-A14 Int P12 Ex
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5 hours ago, Turtle Rig said:

Your using the onboard audio ?  It has amp but is not a HP amp, its to drive speakers.  HP's will work just not properly or loud.  You need something external to get the most out of HP's unless their POS hp's hmm. sighs

What?

Do you even know what you are talking about?

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8 hours ago, pas008 said:

What?

Do you even know what you are talking about?

If you can read english you should know what I'm talking about.  Relax I have been producing music for over 22 years, I think I know what Im talking about.  Maybe you can't understand english well.  Sound cards DO NOT have a separate HP AMP to drive them.  They will work but you won't get the most out of the HP's unless you buy a dedicated HP amp and what not.

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Well, every motherboard will have a built-in dac and amp. After all, the dac just converts the digital signal into an analog signal. Then, the amp will shockingly amplify that analog sound and push it through to your headphones, speakers, etc. 

 

Here's what I'll say, while I don't own the same headphones as you do, instead I have the Sennheiser 6xx. I would try it out with your motherboard outputs first before dropping money on a dac and/or amp. The reason I say this is because I believe it will work, however, I can't guarantee that it will 1. be flawless 2. be loud enough 3. sound as best as it can. 

 

1. Be flawless. What I mean by this is that in my experience with my gigabyte motherboard and reading about stuff online, it's not very ideal for a dac and amp to be placed inside a box with tons of electrical stuff. For me personally, I had to get a usb dac/amp because sometimes, whenever I was doing things with heavy gpu strain, the gpu coil whine would somehow make its way into the audio circuitry (probably poor audio shielding?) and then into my headphones. So all I'd hear when playing a game is the game audio and an annoying ass reeeee as well. 

 

2. With high resistance, you'll need power to push it. For me, again, for my 200ohm headphones, my motherboard was able to output it, and my usb dac amp combo does so as well, however, I do need to turn up the volume... like a lot. Oh my windows pc, I'm basically at 100% and for my usb dac amp,combo, I have windows on 80% and the knob on the unit is at 3 o'clock. For you, since you have 600ohm headphones, I would expect something similar. Using it on your phone, pc, etc. It might work, but you might have to be at max volume to get to good hearing/ loud volumes. 

 

3. Sounds better. Some people say that with better gear, your audio can sound better. Unfortunately, I have not had the chance to try it out as I'm personally trying to find an upgrade for my headphones as well so I can't personally vouch and say that audio will sound much better if I got a powered amp or something, however, researching into my headphone specifically, many people have claimed that the 6xx scales much better if you get a nice set of amps. I would assume the same for your T1s, but don't quote me on that.

 

What would I do. Again, I would wait and test it out on your motherboard first. See if any annoying electrical noises make their way into your music or audio. If so, then I suggest you buy a separate dac + amp, or get a dac/ amp combo (examples, schitt modi + magni, aune t1 SE mk3). If you don't have any annoying audio buzzing, however, you do feel that your audio is quiet, and not loud enough for you, then all you need is an amp only, no need to buy a dac as you can use the dac on your motherboard (examples, schitt magni, o2 amp). You can easily do this buy connecting your motherboard and amp using a line out to rca.  

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15 hours ago, Turtle Rig said:

Your using the onboard audio ?  It has amp but is not a HP amp, its to drive speakers.  HP's will work just not properly or loud.  You need something external to get the most out of HP's unless their POS hp's hmm. sighs

 

1 hour ago, Turtle Rig said:

If you can read english you should know what I'm talking about.  Relax I have been producing music for over 22 years, I think I know what Im talking about.  Maybe you can't understand english well.  Sound cards DO NOT have a separate HP AMP to drive them.  They will work but you won't get the most out of the HP's unless you buy a dedicated HP amp and what not.

https://www.asus.com/us/Motherboards/ROG-STRIX-Z370-E-GAMING/specifications/

 

read on audio plz do, lol who doesnt know how to read lol

 

and this just shows how lost you are many onboard and cards have headphone amps

 

yes external solution would be beneficiary if he can hear the difference or has interference, not many actually do have golden ears

hence why I said use onboard and try to test on external solution

its like you are telling someone to change their 120hz  tn panel to 240hz tn when they cant even notice difference to 144hz tn (ips/va is another variable considering each of these are similar tn panels)

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43 minutes ago, dwang040 said:

Well, every motherboard will have a built-in dac and amp. After all, the dac just converts the digital signal into an analog signal. Then, the amp will shockingly amplify that analog sound and push it through to your headphones, speakers, etc. 

 

Here's what I'll say, while I don't own the same headphones as you do, instead I have the Sennheiser 6xx. I would try it out with your motherboard outputs first before dropping money on a dac and/or amp. The reason I say this is because I believe it will work, however, I can't guarantee that it will 1. be flawless 2. be loud enough 3. sound as best as it can. 

 

1. Be flawless. What I mean by this is that in my experience with my gigabyte motherboard and reading about stuff online, it's not very ideal for a dac and amp to be placed inside a box with tons of electrical stuff. For me personally, I had to get a usb dac/amp because sometimes, whenever I was doing things with heavy gpu strain, the gpu coil whine would somehow make its way into the audio circuitry (probably poor audio shielding?) and then into my headphones. So all I'd hear when playing a game is the game audio and an annoying ass reeeee as well. 

 

2. With high resistance, you'll need power to push it. For me, again, for my 200ohm headphones, my motherboard was able to output it, and my usb dac amp combo does so as well, however, I do need to turn up the volume... like a lot. Oh my windows pc, I'm basically at 100% and for my usb dac amp,combo, I have windows on 80% and the knob on the unit is at 3 o'clock. For you, since you have 600ohm headphones, I would expect something similar. Using it on your phone, pc, etc. It might work, but you might have to be at max volume to get to good hearing/ loud volumes. 

 

3. Sounds better. Some people say that with better gear, your audio can sound better. Unfortunately, I have not had the chance to try it out as I'm personally trying to find an upgrade for my headphones as well so I can't personally vouch and say that audio will sound much better if I got a powered amp or something, however, researching into my headphone specifically, many people have claimed that the 6xx scales much better if you get a nice set of amps. I would assume the same for your T1s, but don't quote me on that.

 

What would I do. Again, I would wait and test it out on your motherboard first. See if any annoying electrical noises make their way into your music or audio. If so, then I suggest you buy a separate dac + amp, or get a dac/ amp combo (examples, schitt modi + magni, aune t1 SE mk3). If you don't have any annoying audio buzzing, however, you do feel that your audio is quiet, and not loud enough for you, then all you need is an amp only, no need to buy a dac as you can use the dac on your motherboard (examples, schitt magni, o2 amp). You can easily do this buy connecting your motherboard and amp using a line out to rca.  

agreed

nicely said

some people cant tell the difference even after hours of listening on their upgrades and some can tell tube differences because of the coloration of it on voices/etc

hence my statement above on panels above

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7 hours ago, Turtle Rig said:

Relax I have been producing music for over 22 years, I think I know what Im talking about. 

You might know what you're talking about, until you venture outside of "producing music" and say:

 

Quote

Sound cards DO NOT have a separate HP AMP to drive them.

...which is simply false.  A lot of discrete and on-board "sound cards" have separate, inline phone amps included.  They may not be the best phone amps on the market, but they're there.  The sound card I use, for example, can easily drive a pair of 600 ohm cans without any issue.  Are external, discrete amps better at doing it?  Of course!

 

pas008 is saying all of the right things here.  Test the cans with onboard first.  If it doesn't sound pleasing enough, then consider an external amp.  And when ready, then add an external DAC (depending on what our OP intends to do with them).

 

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Thank you guys, will try it first with onboard audio ^^

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On 12/17/2018 at 11:43 PM, Slazyel said:

Hi guys, i recently bought a used Beyerdynamic T1 and was wondering if i need to buy a dac to drive it or if the dac/amp on the Asus Strix Z370-E is enough. The manafacturer says it can handle up to 600 ohm, but how well? 

 

The other option is to buy a Dac X6.

 

So, what to do?

I would recommend an amp and a DAC. Your best option would be to get a Schiit Magni and Modi Multibit from http://www.schiit.com/

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On 12/19/2018 at 2:50 PM, jasonvp said:

You might know what you're talking about, until you venture outside of "producing music" and say:

 

...which is simply false.  A lot of discrete and on-board "sound cards" have separate, inline phone amps included.  They may not be the best phone amps on the market, but they're there.  The sound card I use, for example, can easily drive a pair of 600 ohm cans without any issue.  Are external, discrete amps better at doing it?  Of course!

 

pas008 is saying all of the right things here.  Test the cans with onboard first.  If it doesn't sound pleasing enough, then consider an external amp.  And when ready, then add an external DAC (depending on what our OP intends to do with them).

 

My motherboard's onboard audio caps out at 300 OHMs. This is not always true.

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1 minute ago, thunderflame2 said:

My motherboard's onboard audio caps out at 300 OHMs. This is not always true.

I think you should carefully re-read my entire post and then try again, perhaps?  If your motherboard can drive a 300 OHM pair of cans, that means it HAS AN AMP.  Which is precisely what I said: they have amps.  They may not be the best amps on the market (almost certainly aren't), but they have amps.

Editing Rig: Mac Pro 7,1

System Specs: 3.2GHz 16-core Xeon | 96GB ECC DDR4 | AMD Radeon Pro W6800X Duo | Lots of SSD and NVMe storage |

Audio: Universal Audio Apollo Thunderbolt-3 Interface |

Displays: 2 x BenQ EW3280U displays |

 

Gaming Rig: PC

System Specs:  Asus Rampage VI Extreme board | Intel Core i9 10980XE | 64GB Corsair Vengeance LPX (OC'd to 4GHz) | NVidia 3090 FE card (OC'd) | Corsair AX1500i power supply | CaseLabs Magnum THW10 case (RIP CaseLabs ) |

Audio:  Sound Blaster AE-9 card | Mackie DL32R Mixer | Sennheiser HDV820 amp | Sennheiser HD820 phones | Rode Broadcaster mic |

Display: Asus PG32UQX 4K/144Hz displayBenQ EW3280U display

Cooling:  2 x EK 140 Revo D5 Pump/Res | EK Asus R6E monoblock | EK 3090FE waterblock | AlphaCool 480mm x 60mm rad | AlphaCool 560mm x 60mm rad | 13 x Noctua 120mm fans | 8 x Noctua 140mm fans | 2 x Aquaero 6XT fan controllers |

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4 minutes ago, jasonvp said:

I think you should carefully re-read my entire post and then try again, perhaps?  If your motherboard can drive a 300 OHM pair of cans, that means it HAS AN AMP.  Which is precisely what I said: they have amps.  They may not be the best amps on the market (almost certainly aren't), but they have amps.

I knew that. I don't know if most motherboard amps are rated to drive 600 OHM headphones. Anyway, with such an expensive pair of headphones, I would recommend an external amp and DAC.

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