Audio newb needs some suggestions. Headphone Amp?


Jun 8, 2005
Alright so I have a set of DT 770 80ohm and was using my trusty Creative Xfi external sound card with them.

But unfortunately the card decided it was time to go. Ive plugged my cans into my Z-5500 control and while it works, its just not the same. (To quiet)

So what would be my next step, Im guessing a dedicated Headphone amp/Dac? Where do I start looking with a budget of say $150?

Main use of the cans are gaming and music when the family doesn't want the house shaking.
Im using the iFi Zen Dac with my 80 ohm 770's and really liking it. It has the power to push them pretty well but I wouldn't want it for anything over 80 ohms. I have some 60 ohm AudioTechinca cans and they push those extremely well! No mic input though so that could be an issue. They run $190, a little higher than you wanted but are still really good. Schiit is really good too. Can't go wrong with either though. I bought mine based off all the reviews which were always raving.

The ifi Zen DAC doesn't have good measurements. The DAC part isn't great and it has tons of distortion. Same goes for the air version. There are better products that cost less, like Topping, Schiit, SMSL, Sabaj or JDS.

Never trust Youtubers who don't provide measurements.

In general I don't trust "a" Youtuber but I do trust when every review I watch raves about a product. Especially when they're from trusted reviewers like Z or Bad Seed who are on record many many many times calling out bad products. And when I own said product and it works as well as the reviewers claim, I tend to trust them even more.
Z & BadSeed aren't trusted reviewers, they have never provided a single proof to what they claim to hear. The ifi Zen DAC is perfectly fine and most people would be happy with it, but objectively speaking? It's too expensive and there are better alternatives.
I have a schiit hella for my Sennheiser hd650. It's made at best a tiny difference over onboard to me.