Is a Schiit Magni and Modi overkill for just gaming?

Discussion in 'Computer Audio' started by viivo, Mar 11, 2018.

  1. viivo

    viivo Gawd

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    I've been putting off getting a dedicated headphone amplifier and DAC for years since my motherboards' onboard "headphone amps" have been good enough. Is there a cheaper solution than a Schiit stack of Magni+Modi that would offer similar non-music performance for gaming with 600-ohm headphones?
     
  2. B00nie

    B00nie [H]ardness Supreme

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    For gaming? Definite overkill. For other uses, no. Of course a 600 ohm headset is overkill to begin with, which leads to the need of expensive side gear.
     
  3. fenixv

    fenixv Gawd

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    What are the power requirements for your headphones? Do you not listen to music on them? "Overkill" is very subjective. Check out the Schiit Fulla 2 if you're looking for a cheaper option. It's only $99.
     
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  4. DoubleTap

    DoubleTap [H]ard|Gawd

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    Depends on who you ask. They're certainly not without their flaws.
     
  5. DeathFromBelow

    DeathFromBelow [H]ardForum Junkie

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    If you do go for the Schiitstack you wont be dissapointed.

    I played around with a variety of lower end DACs and amps over the years. Today I have a Modi 2/Magni 2 stack. I also have a Valhalla 2 I fire up sparingly. Very happy with all of them. My headphones are Beyer DT990s 600 ohm and Sennheiser HD700s.
     
  6. djoye

    djoye 2[H]4U

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    Ppppppppppt, do that overkill. I bought a pair of Klipsch R-26F fronts and an R-25C center powered by a Denon AVR-3806 and I either game or listen to FLAC or MP3 music; so many games have a weak mix, but you'll occasionally play a game that really sounds like someone knew how to mix audio and it's very rewarding. I'm currently playing Metal Gear Solid V and it sounds amazing compared to most games, probably wouldn't have sounded as good on my $100 pair of Sony speakers, but I'm sure these Klipsch speakers are adding to the experience.

    If you're looking at higher-end stuff, maybe it's because you're concerned about audio quality, if cost isn't a concern, then go for it, I think you'll be happier.
     
  7. margrave

    margrave [H]Lite

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    For gaming? It's gross overkill.
     
  8. StoleMyOwnCar

    StoleMyOwnCar 2[H]4U

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    Personally I went with the O2 DAC/AMP combo, but no, what you're describing is not overkill at all. Many games have great soundtracks, and many of the audio files that play throughout them are lossless (or close to lossless). You won't ever be hurt by having higher audio quality across your gaming experience. My Beyerdynamic T1's hooked up to my O2 stack basically provide extremely high fidelity surround sound experience. To the point where even if I prefer to use speakers just so I won't have anything on my head.. sometimes I use the headphones because they're that superior for immersion.

    Not sure why you're randomly set on having 600 Ohm headphones, though. Impedance and audio quality aren't intrinsically linked. There's some stuff about dampening factors and such, but the thing is that there's a lot more to headphones than that aspect.

    That being said, honestly the DAC part of the stack is somewhat unnecessary. For completeness maybe you should get it because Schiit intended for them to be used as a pair, but most DAC's are more than sufficient at this point, even if it's onboard. The biggest gains come from the amplifier (and headphones... actually it's mainly the headphones). If you can get a better pair of headphones by cutting out the DAC, do it.
     
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2018
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  9. Neapolitan6th

    Neapolitan6th Gawd

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    Just keep in mind higher ohm headphones don't necessarily equate to better sounding headphones, just more money you have to spend on an amp to get them to sound their best.
     
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  10. viivo

    viivo Gawd

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    About 600 ohm headphones - I didn't buy them in hopes of better sound, just that of the DT990s, the 600 ohm version happened to be the cheapest the day I ordered them.

    Thanks for the responses. I'm buying a Maverick A1 hybrid tube amp that was posted in FS/T for a fairly good price, so now I just need a USB DAC. Or will my onboard's line out work?
     
  11. Neapolitan6th

    Neapolitan6th Gawd

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    Your line out should work. A 3.5mm--->dual stereo RCA adapter would probably be needed.

    Main issue being noise. If you don't hear any weird sounds from the line out you are probably ok. If you feel like negating any issues, you can get a dac of course. I would think you could find something good from $50-$100.
     
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  12. DeathFromBelow

    DeathFromBelow [H]ardForum Junkie

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    I have never heard an onboard analog solution that didn't sound like garbage when amped. They can sound fine when used as intended with ear buds or whatever but when you add an amp you'll hear all kinds of noise.
     
  13. B00nie

    B00nie [H]ardness Supreme

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    Ever tried the onboard audio of a Macbook pro?
     
  14. DeathFromBelow

    DeathFromBelow [H]ardForum Junkie

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    No. Aren't they still using a Realtek solution?

    Even the higher end onboard audio solutions on gaming motherboards have the same problem. If you amplify the analog output you can hear internal PC noise.
     
  15. B00nie

    B00nie [H]ardness Supreme

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    I have no idea what they use but it works.
     
  16. IdiotInCharge

    IdiotInCharge Not the Idiot YOU are Looking for

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    Realtek audio is great- when properly implemented.

    The 1220A on my Asus Z170-AR was able to easily power my HD600 300Ω cans, no discernible noise.
     
  17. DeathFromBelow

    DeathFromBelow [H]ardForum Junkie

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    Interesting. With what headphones/amp? My coworkers Macbook Pro has a low buzz with anything USB plugged in.

    Directly connecting headphones isn't normally a problem even on the cheaper implementations (other than being underpowered for more demanding headphones). The noise issue arises when you try to amplify that onboard analog output with a headphone amp.
     
  18. viivo

    viivo Gawd

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    My onboard is ALC1220 (MSI z370 M5) as well, but the integrated headphone "amplifier" is much worse than the OpAmp one on my old Z170 Gigabyte board. I saw a used Creative X-Fi 5.1 HD USB DAC on Amazon for $23 and grabbed it. I know it's old, but it should be somewhat better than the Realtek, and pair better with the amp with less noise, and if not it's cheap so no big loss.
     
  19. DeathFromBelow

    DeathFromBelow [H]ardForum Junkie

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    I used this model for a long time until it accidentally got fried. Worked fine with the little hybrid tube amp I was using at the time. If you play older games you should be able to set up OpenAL/the Creative Alchemy app with any of the X-Fi USB cards to enable EAX.
     
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2018
  20. ironforge

    ironforge [H]ard|Gawd

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    I am using soundblaster OMNI 5.1 for my gaming.. and I also own a schiit stack. I think the schiit is a little cleaner and more detailed. They both go loud no issue there..
    Of course with the soundblaster I can use their software for positional audio.

    Headphones: Fidelio X1
     
  21. B00nie

    B00nie [H]ardness Supreme

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    I've used it with several different setups. Mostly Yamaha amps and/or with MiniDSP in between. Compared to a windows laptop with 'premium' sound the macbook is dead silent even when plugged into a loader.
     
  22. IdiotInCharge

    IdiotInCharge Not the Idiot YOU are Looking for

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    Neither my XPS13 nor my 13" ASUS 2-in-1 have issues with audio noise- though laptops are likely far easier to implement properly given the lack of variables. 250Ω DT880s? No problemo :D.
     
  23. pek

    pek prairie dog

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    You can check Massdrop, they have great deals on hifi stuff on a rotating basis, lot's cheaper than amazon if you shop carefully.
     
  24. viivo

    viivo Gawd

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    I canceled the X-Fi order so am looking for another DAC. Does anyone have experience with the Micca OriGen+? A refurb is $69 on their site.

    I couldn't find any active drops for a DAC.
     
  25. IdiotInCharge

    IdiotInCharge Not the Idiot YOU are Looking for

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    The Soundblaster Z line includes 600Ω headphone amps.

    And honestly, I'd look for some lower impedance cans simply due to the difficulty of amping 600Ω.
     
  26. viivo

    viivo Gawd

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    I have a separate amp ordered. Finding just a quality, reasonably priced DAC without an integrated amp is rather difficult.
     
  27. the snake

    the snake [H]ard|Gawd

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    i have a Micca OriGen+ running my JBL305's and subwoofer, sounds great to me, my headphones are sennheiser 558's and it's nice to switch between them with a flick of a switch

    not sure about high impeadence headphones though ..............
     
  28. viivo

    viivo Gawd

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    Like I said, I also have a Maverick A1 TubeMagic amp on the way. Quite a few people are using 600 DT990s with it, and it's not like I'm a super critical listener since they're only used for games and movies.
     
  29. MrGuvernment

    MrGuvernment PM Kyle for the TItle You Pick.

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  30. IdiotInCharge

    IdiotInCharge Not the Idiot YOU are Looking for

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    Pretty much any DAC will do- including the one on the motherboard. I'd honestly try that first, and if that has problems, get something that can convert optical out.
     
  31. RPGWiZaRD

    RPGWiZaRD Gawd

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    My ASRock Z370 Taichi with dedicated PCB layer for only audio has zero noise with my pretty noisy analog amp. Really great sound too, I know ZxR, ASUS STX Essence II, SoundBlaster G5 USB DAC can't compare to non-gaming oriented manufacturers of the same price but I prefer the onboard sound over all those (5.1 speaker setting over headphones that with Realtek seems to bring an enhanced surround HRTF compared to stereo even for stereo music it expands the soundstaging to sound more "around the head" rather than "inside your head" but even the frequency response itself is more to my liking with the onboard Texas NE5532 amps that are very detailed sounding).

    PS, many aren't aware that "disable enhancements" also disables the surround 5.1 speaker HRTF for some reason, often more audiophile oriented users enable that box but then they miss the nice thing about Realtek, really like how my music/games sound with 5.1 speakers as there's absolutely no sound quality hit, it just enhances soundstaging & imaging, works flawlessly with Kingdom Come Deliverance that I'm playing atm that voices of characters follow the exact direction of the NPC and for example a sheep herd in the distance has a very realistic perception of distance and direction.
     
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2018
  32. viivo

    viivo Gawd

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    Don't know if I should start a new thread, but I'll just post here for now. Finally got everything together - Maverick TubeMagic A1, X-Fi Surround Pro, DT990s - and true to my luck there is an ever present and unacceptable amount of noise. I ruled out the amp and DAC and narrowed it down to my PC. I've gone through every troubleshooting step I can think of. My only options seem to be trying a powered USB hub in hope that the separate USB power has an effect, or justifying the exorbitant price of one of those USB decrapifiers.

    The noise modulates when I move the mouse. Turning off and disabling fans has no effect, nor does disconnecting all cables, or turning off all routers and mobile devices. Any help or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
     
  33. IdiotInCharge

    IdiotInCharge Not the Idiot YOU are Looking for

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