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At what point are dac/amps recommended?

pegssz

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I have an HD560S and I'm running it off my laptop (Dell G5 15 SE, gaming laptop released in 2020). The headphone gets comfortably loud at 40% windows volume, with foobar's app volume at 40/100 and a -5.5 db preamp from peace. As far the dac in the laptop I can hear a slight audible noise floor with my Blon Bl-03s which gets worse when the laptop gets hot and the fans start speeding up.

I was planning on getting a Topping L30 & D10s but would it even matter in my case? It seems there is enough power to get my headphones uncomfortably loud with enough headroom for EQ if I wanted to. Nevertheless is it possible that the audio is clipping without me realising (i.e. could upgrading to a dedicated amp improve the sound)? And if so how do I tell if there is some kind of clipping going on? As for the dac, would it be a good idea to skip it for now and just buy an amp running a 3.5mm to rca cable from my laptop to the L30's rca inputs?

Thanks for any help.
 

raistlin65

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Using this power calculator and a sensitivity rating of 108db/V, your HD560S require 14mw/1.3V to reach 110db dynamic peaks. Which is loud enough for most people

https://www.headphonesty.com/headphone-power-calculator/

And of course the BL-03 are also easy to drive.

Get a good dongle. Tempotec Sonata HD Pro for around $60 on Amazon (free returns) has enough power for them and measures so accurate that it arguably noise and distortion free within the range of human hearing. So the highest fidelity sound reproduction you can perceive

https://www.audiosciencereview.com/...sonata-hd-pro-review-headphone-adapter.22625/

Now it will auto sense your headphones as low impedance. So if you find it doesn't get loud enough, you can fool it into high gain for full power by having the 3.5mm adapter for your HD560S plugged into the Sonata HD Pro. Then when your computer recognizes the Sonata HD Pro, plug your main headphone cable into the adapter. But you might not need to do that.

The iBasso DC03 is another very good dongle in the same price range. It may not have the auto impedance sensing.
https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/ibasso-dc03.19295/

If you go with it, update to the latest firmware as there was an earlier firmware version that caused some audio performance issue.
 
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pegssz

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Ah thanks for your suggestion, I think I'll get the Sonata for now and keep it as a dac if I decide to upgrade later down the line.
 

raistlin65

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Ah thanks for your suggestion, I think I'll get the Sonata for now and keep it as a dac if I decide to upgrade later down the line.

Sounds like a good plan to me!

After getting the Sonata HD Pro, I ended up selling my desktop DAC. I couldn't tell any difference between it and my Topping D50S when used with my Atom (now using it with a THX 789). Plus, it's great to have a DAC that just hides back there with the cables.

So I sold the D50S and bought a second Sonata HD Pro so I'd have one for portable and one for my desktop setup. :)
 
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