DT990 pro (250) soundcard + amp or dac + amp

hairydruidy

Estimable
Sep 8, 2014
5
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4,510
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Hello all,

Sorry for the long read, but I will try to be as specific as possible.

2 days ago my long standing Logitech G35 headset got screwed, after a 5 year usage. When I first put it on back then, I was wowed while gaming because of the virtual surround sound.

Now I didn't know any better yet, looked up the best gaming headset for a budget and found the steelseries arctic 7. (just like I did, 5 years ago.) After a couple of reviews it was clear to me that virtual surround is a gimmick.

After reading some more, I found out that any descent headphone with a good sound stage can create "directional sound". I tested this out with my m50-x (audio technica), and I could indeed hear some directional stuff).

After some more looking up and comparing different models and brands, I ended up with the DT990 pro. Already bought it and I should expect it to be delivered tomorrow.

Now, I only have an onboard audio. And I'm not sure what to do regarding the dac/amp.

Clearly my onboard audio from my motherboard won't cut it, a rather old board. It does have

  • ■ 1 x Optical S/PDIF out
    ■ 6 x Audio jack(s)
Should I buy a pci-e soundcard?

  • ■ pro: cheaper than external dac & amp
    ■ con: can only use it on my pc
    ■ con: can't use it on receiver
Usb soundcard:

  • ■ pro: can use it on both laptop and pc
    ■ con: can't use it on receiver
    ■ con: another thing I would have to plug into usbs
PCI-E soundcard + amp

  • ■ con: will not be able to use it on laptop?
dac & amp

  • ■ pro: can use it on everything
    ■ con: most expensive
    ■ I am not really sure if I will even use it on my receiver, as I mainly use the receiver with my surround system when watching movies and series, not or listening to music when not using headphones. The option would be nice tho.
I'm leaning towards the dac & amp, that way I can hopefully use it on my yamaha rx-v667 receiver as well, if it supports it. Because I have read somewhere that the driver for the speakers are alright, but that they usually cheap out on headphone stuff. But is this really worth it?

Regarding the dac & amp, I have read a lot of posts from people using schiit 2 stack or shiit 2 uberstack .
If I would go for this, I would pick the uber, as I would be able to connect speakers later on as well.

But since most of those articles aren't really recent, I was wondering if this is still a good entry option, or is there better stuff, around the same price? (+- 200 euro)

And what option would be better?

I mainly listen to music while working, or watching series, and whenever I found a hole between renovating a house, working 60 hours a week I do some occasional gaming. (which should increase once the renovations are done)

PS: I don't want tubes, as those need to be replaced over time, and I am entry level guy. I should start with solid first ;) (or so I was told)
 

hairydruidy

Estimable
Sep 8, 2014
5
0
4,510
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Update: I forgot to mention this. Somewhere in the beginning of next year, I will build a new gaming rig, and keep this system as my work station for virtual machines.
So the new motherboard with on-board audio then, might be adequate
 

anort3

Distinguished
Moderator
Schiit Magni 3 / Modi 2 combo is a great choice if you want to be able to move it around. The ifi Micro Black Label is another great choice. It's more money than a Schiit stack but it goes on sale pretty often for ~$350 at least here in the US.

If space is a premium an Asus Xonar Essence STX II is a very good choice for an internal soundcard. I have an original Xonar Essence STX and it drives my HD 600s and HD 650s just fine. It will also give you gaming modes and virtual surround you won't find with most amp/DAC combos.
 

hairydruidy

Estimable
Sep 8, 2014
5
0
4,510
0
It won't leave my house, but it will move from table to toable a bit, depending on where I will be seated. Probably won't have to move that much most of the time, as I do have descent long cables for nearly everything. (won't even need to be that long. Laptop is seating ontop of my pc, when I'm working. receiver is just behind my chair as well :p

I think i'll move up my budget and get the vali 2 + multibit (modi). It's a tad more expensive, but as I usually go for a descent start with tech, and don't skim out so I won't have to replace it I think this should be a save bet as well?

I can still get a soundcard after that, for the gaming part of things. (I don't expect to be able to game the next couple of months, but I do listen to music a lot while working).

On the europe stores, one doesn't have the magni 3 yet, on the other it's sold out. On both stores the 2 uber is sold out as well
 

anort3

Distinguished
Moderator
The Magni 3 is new and slowly replacing the Magni 2 Uber. It may take stock a while to catch up.

The DT 990 Pro is a great headphone but it's not something you need 'the best' amp/DAC for. If you think you will buy more headphones in the future then it's certainly a good idea get the best amp/DAC you can now though.

HD 598s were my gateway. Now I've got HD 598s, HD 600s, HD 650s and I just bought a set of Massdrop x Fostex TH-X00s a few weeks ago. Audeze LCD 2s may be next. It never ends! :lol:

 

hairydruidy

Estimable
Sep 8, 2014
5
0
4,510
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That's the problem. For now I won't buy new headphones. But who knows what the feature brings. Knowing myself, I may end up looking again in a year or so.
Therefor I was thinking, better buy the better setup now, so I won't regret it later on, and need to upgrade. (Would be wasted money buying twice).

Other than that. If I buy an external amp & dac. Is it still worth it getting a better soundcard? Like the Creative Sound Blaster Zx for example. Or is that just wasted money.

I'm not quite sure if
pcie-card -> external dac -> amp -> phones would help with the positional sound for gaming, or if I could better use something like razer surround and use the onboard -> external dac -> amp -> phones

PS: thank you for your earlier replies already.
 

anort3

Distinguished
Moderator
All you'd really be gaining with a sound card would be various surround modes for gaming. If you buy the Schiit amp and DAC maybe invest in a mid range sound card without an amp and DAC just for the software package.
 

hairydruidy

Estimable
Sep 8, 2014
5
0
4,510
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After switching my headphones from my receiver to my PC, I had forgotten I was never able to get my on board 3.5 jacks to work on my motherboard, ever since I bought it. I thought, will never use it. As I had a USB headset. So I had to use one of the jacks on my monitor.

So it seems like I will have to buy a sound card after all. I will probably go for something like the creative sound blaster z. Not too cheap, but not too expensive either. Unless there is a better option for the price. WIll read some reviews

Guess I will wait a bit for the dac (so I can save up again and buy the schiit modi multibit), and then now decide wether I want the vali2 (hybrid tube amp) or magni 3 (solid amp).

Thanks! :)

PS: I just checked your suggestion for the amp in some of your earlier posts. Can't seem to find it. As with most things that have better pricing in the USA than here. Used to order some stuff overseas, but ever since the import is so high, it would have to be a good reduction covering shipping + import.

And damn, those headphones you linked. I see myself spending 300 euro for a headphone, but 1000? Maybe if I want to throw with some money :p
 
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