Background Hiss - Do I Need a DAC?

emcdawg123

Estimable
Sep 25, 2015
1
0
4,510
0
Hello! Today my new pair of Audio-Technica ATH M50x came in the mail, and while testing them I noticed that during relatively quiet parts in music/other sounds there was a slight background hiss. However, there is no hissing during silence. Does this mean I need a DAC? A sound card is out of the question because I have no room in my PC for one. By the way, I currently have my headphones plugged into the audio jack in my mother board. Thanks for the help!
 

ssddx

Glorious
Moderator
the m50 does not benefit greatly from an amplifier. sure, if your amplifier clips, distorts or has audio issues you will notice a difference if buying something higher quality but just adding more amplification power alone does not make them sound better like some other cans on the market. i own a pair.

i'm thinking this is your first pair of decent headphones and as such is the first you noticed such audio issues. this is generally two things: either A) poor quality recordings that you never noticed until now or B) poor quality dac/amp equipment.

clearing some misconceptions here:
- the m50 does not benefit greatly from a strong headphone amplifier over one just good enough to drive them. while quality is important excessive power is not as they do not respond greatly to such. some headphones do, these do not.
- most external dacs do NOT have an amplifier built in unless they say they have an amplifier built in (then they are called dac+amp, dac/amp, or similar). soundcards do have an amplifier built in to them (they are technically dac+amp+software type solutions if you want to think about it in simpler thoughts). some externals are separate dac and amp units while some are combined.

since buying an m50 for music at work i had to stop listening to any streaming below 128kbps as it was like listening to garbage since i could pick out the static and distortion. i never noticed on prior cheap headphones. i would try out some high quality audio files (highest quality ones you can find) and see if that fixes the issue before buying other equipment. it could very well be that you are just noticing poor quality files for the first time.

or, if that is not the case and if even high quality files have issues then its your dac/amp onboard soundcard components. onboard audio is at most equivalent to low end soundcards and while some is decent there are tons of boards with poor quality audio as well. either an external soundcard or dac+amp combination external would work and generally alleviate issues from onboard.

things like the creative omni, fiio e10k, audioengine d1 are all fine though not the only solutions.
 

audie-tron25

Estimable
Mar 23, 2015
71
0
4,660
29
So it's plugged into the back of your motherboard? It possible that you may be getting interference from other components but if your getting it plugged into the back, there's not much you can do with it. I would suggest a sound card because they're a lot cheaper than DAC's but it might be your only option. I don't have much experience with DAC's but the FiiO E10K looks like a cheap and decent option. A side note, your M50x's will sound great with a headphone amp (most DAC's have them but look out for this).
 

TbsToy

Estimable
Oct 19, 2015
45
0
4,610
6
If you are having noise problems a DAC or sound card won't eliminate noise and might make it worse. Analog stuff. Maybe the hiss is coming from that particular recording. Is the hiss issue present on all recordings? When one gets a better playback device more imperfections are revealed. Welcome to the world of audio playback.
W.P.
 

ssddx

Glorious
Moderator
the m50 does not benefit greatly from an amplifier. sure, if your amplifier clips, distorts or has audio issues you will notice a difference if buying something higher quality but just adding more amplification power alone does not make them sound better like some other cans on the market. i own a pair.

i'm thinking this is your first pair of decent headphones and as such is the first you noticed such audio issues. this is generally two things: either A) poor quality recordings that you never noticed until now or B) poor quality dac/amp equipment.

clearing some misconceptions here:
- the m50 does not benefit greatly from a strong headphone amplifier over one just good enough to drive them. while quality is important excessive power is not as they do not respond greatly to such. some headphones do, these do not.
- most external dacs do NOT have an amplifier built in unless they say they have an amplifier built in (then they are called dac+amp, dac/amp, or similar). soundcards do have an amplifier built in to them (they are technically dac+amp+software type solutions if you want to think about it in simpler thoughts). some externals are separate dac and amp units while some are combined.

since buying an m50 for music at work i had to stop listening to any streaming below 128kbps as it was like listening to garbage since i could pick out the static and distortion. i never noticed on prior cheap headphones. i would try out some high quality audio files (highest quality ones you can find) and see if that fixes the issue before buying other equipment. it could very well be that you are just noticing poor quality files for the first time.

or, if that is not the case and if even high quality files have issues then its your dac/amp onboard soundcard components. onboard audio is at most equivalent to low end soundcards and while some is decent there are tons of boards with poor quality audio as well. either an external soundcard or dac+amp combination external would work and generally alleviate issues from onboard.

things like the creative omni, fiio e10k, audioengine d1 are all fine though not the only solutions.
 

gondo

Distinguished
Apr 20, 2004
165
0
18,760
46
Get a DAC. It'll clean you right up.

Emotiva makes beautiful ones, and for a bit less money the MAudio Super DAC is nice. This are a bit higher end and allow to be hooked up to speakers and headphones at the same time. You can get some cheaper alternatives under $100.

If you game, try Razer Surround to get the virtual surround sound through the headphones.

Yeah with onboard sound you'll get the hiss at low volume, the DAC will be super quiet.

 
Thread starter Similar threads Forum Replies Date
C Audio 2
A Audio 1
M Audio 3
M Audio 1
J Audio 1
T Audio 1
A Audio 5
R Audio 6
M Audio 1
potche Audio 3
A Audio 1
P Audio 1
D Audio 2
A Audio 2
F Audio 1
M Audio 1
ArYcEz Audio 1
C Audio 3
A Audio 1
texintaco Audio 1

ASK THE COMMUNITY