Do I want a DAC or a sound card or... what?

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Funkosapien

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Let me preface this by saying I know a little, but I don't know enough to really make an informed decision with this purchase. So I've come to ask you to help me get the most bang for my buck with my purchase. <3

What I'm after is basically just some extra volume. I think my onboard sound (Asus Sabertooth Z77) while not to dedicated card quality levels is actually pretty decent quality for onboard sound. When I had it plugged via optical into an amp I didn't hear one crackle or hair or whatever so I think its as well insulated as on board can be.

So while not amazing I think the quality's at least 'ok', what I'm really after is some extra volume, I got a Sennheiser Headset and I love the quality of them (so much so I just can't listen to my old hand me down 2 channel stereo anymore =p), but when I get listening to some music I feel I just need it to be that little bit louder. Ya know?

So what would you say is the best option I have for getting some extra volume? Extra quality being considered a bonus. And preferably outboard (to retain optimal airflow in my case) DAC? Sound Card? Headphone AMP? ... Something else? I'd like to spend around $100, but I could stretch up to $200 if it is worthwhile.

Here's some options I was looking at :

Headphone AMP : https://www.pccasegear.com/products/30096/creative-sound-blaster-e1-portable-headphone-amplifier

EiiO DAC : https://www.amazon.com/Portable-Headphone-Amplifier-Extreme-Stereo/dp/B00VET0NZ8/ref=sr_1_1?s=aht&ie=UTF8&qid=1472112318&sr=1-1-spons&keywords=FiiO+E17&psc=1&smid=A364KLI3BZY8MZ

One my buddy recommended a while back : https://www.amazon.com/NuForce-uDAC3-Headphone-Amplifier-Black/dp/B00FG9MJ6I/ref=dp_ob_title_ce

I saw some guy recommend this but honestly I just not sure if I can stretch the budget that far : https://www.jdslabs.com/products/48/o2-odac-combo-revb/

TLDR:

I dunno man. Honestly I know what these numbers 'are', but Know don't know what they 'mean'. What's a good headphone amp / DAC for a reasonable price? Plz! HALP!
 

basroil

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Both suggestions should drive headphones up to 600ohm with ~5V, how much power you can get from the voltage to pressure conversions provided by the manufacturer. Both will go very well with that headphone
 

basroil

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A soundcard is simply a DAC, so you're just asking for a dac/amp

If your budget is ~$100, the EiiO has good reviews, and the Sound Blaster G5 is also an option (currently $100, usually hovers around $150) which also gives you a beamforming mic, virtualization, and compatibility with PS4/XBO (usb for ps4, optical input for xbo)
 

Funkosapien

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With the EiiO. With like, it's stated Headphone Impudence and frequency response. How does that match up against my Cans? Will it do the job? And how much power would it output in comparison to my current sound output?
 

basroil

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Both suggestions should drive headphones up to 600ohm with ~5V, how much power you can get from the voltage to pressure conversions provided by the manufacturer. Both will go very well with that headphone
 

Funkosapien

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Sweet dude. Thanks. Ill pick one up as soon as I get home. Sinçe they're both about the same on Amazon. Lemme ask you. Which would you get? I'm thinking maybe the g5.
 

basroil

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I'm not in the market for an amp right now, but I do have the G5 on my wish list for all the other benefits besides a straight up amp (sound quality is important too, but I would need a bit more to justify a purchase)
 

Funkosapien

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I'm not in the market for an amp right now, but I do have the G5 on my wish list for all the other benefits besides a straight up amp (sound quality is important too, but I would need a bit more to justify a purchase)[/quotemsg]
Btw dude, thanks a bunch. Few weeks with the DAC now and it's changed my outlook on life. <3
 
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