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Maxdiken

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Is there some test or some experiment I can do to try and find sound differences between my amp and my motherboard DAC ?
 

Trell

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Interesting details. But now I don't quite grasp why there are so many more expensive amps out there if these are sufficient for the overwhelming majority of headphones ?
Because they can make them, and that some headphones are of the hard-to-drive low impedance type. Etc like any other audio product.

Several of the HP amps are so powerful that they’ll easily can damage your hearing or destroy your headphones.

Also, I'm trying to plan for the future aswell, since I got my eyes on some open-back headphones I'd like to purchase at some point such as the K702, the DT-1990 or the HD600 so spending on an entry-level product I'd have to change when I get more involved in the audiophile universe doesn't sound optimal.
I’ve the DT1990 myself and they’re quite easy to drive, and they’re high impedance as well. They’ll be quite loud on even many (most?) audio interfaces that is not know for their powerful amp section.

“Entry level” HP amps today are quite capable along with low noise and distortion. Just have a look at the many reviews here on ASR. You won’t have to change the HP amp with the headphones you listed.
 

Trell

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Is there some test or some experiment I can do to try and find sound differences between my amp and my motherboard DAC ?
An amp is not a DAC. You mean to compare the headphone output from the motherboard with a headphone amp?
 

Matias

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@Maxdiken welcome to ASR. In your place I would get an all in one such as the DX3 Pro+ below for 170 usd, and save for better headphones or even a great IEM, like 7Hz Zero or Truthear Zero Red.


 
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Maxdiken

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@Maxdiken welcome to ASR. In your place I would get an all in one such as the DX3 Pro+ below for 170 usd, and save for better headphones or even a great IEM, like 7Hz Zero or Truthear Zero Red.


Thank you for that, I'll check it out. Well, I took the DT-770 kind of as an impulse but I can still return it and grab better ones, if you have any recommendation for closed-back headphones, I'm all ears. I have little to no interest in getting an IEM though.
 
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Matias

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You are missing out on IEMs, we are living a golden age of sound quality and low price. I owned quite expensive headphones and today I only own IEMs.

But for a similar price of the DT770, still closed back, and judging by reviews and graphs, the AKG K371 looks like a great choice. Isolation is not its strong point though, but tonality seems alright.

 
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Maxdiken

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You are missing out on IEMs, we are living a golden age of sound quality and low price. I owned quite expensive headphones and today I only own IEMs.
You're probably right, but I play games a lot and I like the immersion you get from having headphones circling around your head haha. Maybe I'll get some for my phone at some point.
But for a similar price of the DT770, still closed back, and judging by reviews and graphs, the AKG K371 looks like a great choice. Isolation is not its strong point though, but tonality seems alright.

I was thinking about something more "prestigious" despite being more expensive, around the 300€ mark maybe ?
 
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Maxdiken

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As for the amp, I might just stick to the Fiio K5 Pro ESS since they come at a very similar price and since I have use for neither bluetooth nor a remote. Maybe just see what the K7 version has to offer but other than that I'm pretty much settled.
 
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JaMaSt

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Maybe just see what the K7 version has to offer but other than that I'm pretty much settled.
The K7 has fully balanced 4.4mm output, which the K5 does not. If you don't need balanced, then the K5 will be fine.
 
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Maxdiken

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The K7 has fully balanced 4.4mm output, which the K5 does not. If you don't need balanced, then the K5 will be fine.
I'm not familiar with what the balanced output does, I tried searching for an explanation but it's still fuzzy in my head. Could you please explain and/or provide a scenario where you'd need a fully balanced 4.4mm output ?
 

JaMaSt

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I'm not familiar with what the balanced output does, I tried searching for an explanation but it's still fuzzy in my head. Could you please explain and/or provide a scenario where you'd need a fully balanced 4.4mm output ?
Truly Balanced 4.4mm provides more power than Single Ended 6.35 mm - but that doesn't automatically make it better. I have some 12 ohm, 110 dB IEMs that benefit from the balanced power provided by the K7. The K5 and K7 spec for 6.35mm look very similar.
 

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Interesting details. But now I don't quite grasp why there are so many more expensive amps out there if these are sufficient for the overwhelming majority of headphones ?
That's more of a marketting/sales issue than output power or other aspects (connectivity, functionality, looks, ergonomics)

Also, I'm trying to plan for the future aswell, since I got my eyes on some open-back headphones I'd like to purchase at some point such as the K702, the DT-1990 or the HD600 so spending on an entry-level product I'd have to change when I get more involved in the audiophile universe doesn't sound optimal.
All can be easily driven with both amps.

Last thing I'm a bit ashamed to admit, I got a Fiio K5 Pro ESS two days ago to experiment with my headphones while I make up my mind and I'm having a hard time hearing differences between amp and no amp. I can get more than enough volume both on my PC and my phone with no distortion. Is this normal ?
Yep, normal.
 

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There are no audible differences between these amps.
Only some measurable ones (far below audible thresholds) and differences in max. output voltage.
You are very unlikely to reach clipping levels on both amps with the suggested headphones.
Besides... when you do hit those levels you will be playing incredibly loud and the headphones will already distort anyway.

Connectivity, functionality, looks, ergonomics, availability and price are decisive factors here. Not technical performance nor SINAD or whatever other spec.
 
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Maxdiken

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There are no audible differences between these amps.
Only some measurable ones (far below audible thresholds) and differences in max. output voltage.
You are very unlikely to reach clipping levels on both amps with the suggested headphones.
Besides... when you do hit those levels you will be playing incredibly loud and the headphones will already distort anyway.

Connectivity, functionality, looks, ergonomics, availability and price are decisive factors here. Not technical performance nor SINAD or whatever other spec.
Oh, I was talking about differences between my motherboard audio codec, the Realtek ALC892/ALC897 and the K5 Pro ESS.
 

solderdude

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Differences will be in bitrate support, max. output voltage (power) and maybe even output resistance.
For lower to medium loudness listening levels there probably won't be very audible but at somewhat higher desired listening levels the mobo will fall short.
 

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Don’t get me wrong now, but I have been where you are now. You worry to much. I think you allready have all the answers you need from others in this thread. ASR is full of data about DAC:s and headphones amps and combos of the two. Just pick one of the DAC/ amps that meets your needs, and don’t pay more than neccesary. You mention Bayerdynamic 770. I have those headphones, and I think you ought to put a lot moore conciderations into whitch headphones suit you best. BD 770 is mediocre in my opinion, and despite if you like them or not, your choice of headphones matter more than your choice of headphone amp/DAC as long as you pick one of the ”good enoughs” from amirms list of meassured DAC:s/headphone amps.
 
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Maxdiken

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Don’t get me wrong now, but I have been where you are now. You worry to much. I think you allready have all the answers you need from others in this thread. ASR is full of data about DAC:s and headphones amps and combos of the two. Just pick one of the DAC/ amps that meets your needs, and don’t pay more than neccesary. You mention Bayerdynamic 770. I have those headphones, and I think you ought to put a lot moore conciderations into whitch headphones suit you best. BD 770 is mediocre in my opinion, and despite if you like them or not, your choice of headphones matter more than your choice of headphone amp/DAC as long as you pick one of the ”good enoughs” from amirms list of meassured DAC:s/headphone amps.
Yes this isn't the first time I'm being told that. I tend to try to get everything perfect all the time and it can be counter productive quite often.
As I mentioned earlier though, I didn't give much thoughts when I bought my DT-770 Pro, I was struggling to find decent closed-back headphones and the DT-770 Pro was the one that seemed the most popular so I went for it. I can still return it for a few weeks though so if you have better closed-back headphones recommendations, even for a larger price, I'd be glad to check them out.
 

Matias

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Well I have owned the Audeze LCD-XC and they were my favorite Audeze. 1.3k usd though, large and heavy too.
 
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