Will the soundblaster ae-5 be enough to push hi end headphones?

Discussion in 'Soundcards, Speakers HiFI & File formats' started by Lowki, Dec 8, 2019.

  1. Lowki

    Lowki Master Guru

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    This is one area I'm not super up to speed on. Yesterday I ordered a set of Hifiman he560 planar magnetic headphones. I'm not sure if I will need a separate amplifier to drive them or will the sound card be enough?
     
  2. sverek

    sverek Ancient Guru

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    In general planars are easy to drive. I used iPhone to audition Sundara and volume was decent.

    There shouldn't be any issue with ae5, unless you it gets electronic interference from video card or other pc parts, causing noise or disruption.
    If you getting noise, you might benefit from getting dedicated headphones dac/amp.
     
  3. kosta20071

    kosta20071 Active Member

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    No! I have Hifiman HE-560 and AE-5 and still need an amplifier and a strong one (I use schiit magni 3) . HE-560 is very hard to drive and the "High" gain option in AE-5 degrades the audio quality so better not use it which means "Normal" gain option is the way to go but not strong enough for HE-560
     
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2019
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  4. mbk1969

    mbk1969 Ancient Guru

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    Of course not. You need hi-end amplifier, and hi-end cables.
     
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  5. sverek

    sverek Ancient Guru

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    Some people don't understand sarcasm. Especially those who recently threw $800 on headphones.
     
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  6. mbk1969

    mbk1969 Ancient Guru

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    Well. I restrained myself from mentioning hi-end DAC.
     
  7. Lowki

    Lowki Master Guru

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    Thank you for the replies. How about tube amps vs solid state? Also the sound blaster x ae-9 looks like it would be perfect. Just as a heads up these will be my first audiophile class headphones.
     
  8. Mufflore

    Mufflore Ancient Guru

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    I'll do it ;)

    To get the best from those headphones a better DAC and amp are needed.
    I'm serious, I own a high end pair of planars.

    The AE-5 doesnt bring out enough detail which is where planars excel, its an unfortunate waste of them.
    I tried the AE-5 on my HD650 and my planars, both were missing a fair amount of space/air, twinkle and micro detail from recordings.
    It didnt matter so much on the HD650 as they havent got an amazing top end response anyway but it made the planars suck somewhat.
    The HE560 will make good use of a better DAC and amp.
     
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2019
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  9. Mufflore

    Mufflore Ancient Guru

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    Tube amps with planars are lovely.
    Get a well reviewed one 'capable' of over driving the headphones to be sure it copes well with bass transients to reduce the risk of a dry sound.
    I decided to build one from a Bottlehead kit, worth a look.
     
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  10. Mufflore

    Mufflore Ancient Guru

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  11. Chastity

    Chastity Ancient Guru

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    Proof?

    Only thing I know in regards to this is if you use low Ohm headphones on high gain, and the mismatch will cause distortion.
     
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2019
  12. kosta20071

    kosta20071 Active Member

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    I mean for He-560 . The he-560 is not high impendence headphone (45 ohms) so high gain sounds louder but the bass flattens and overall sound quality sounds worst then Normal.
    I would recommend also a decent dac for the great HE-560 headphones rather than using AE-5 processing
     
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  13. Mufflore

    Mufflore Ancient Guru

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    I missed your mention of the AE-9.

    I havent heard the AE-9 but I owned an Oppo 205 that uses the same DAC chip (Oppo surround chip, AE-9 stereo chip for the front channels).
    It was incredibly detailed if a bit too laid back with music for me (using my hifi), down to how Oppo implemented the DAC chip. My brother also has the Oppo 205 and agrees.

    After all, I had the Oppo 105 with the exact same DAC chip as the Stereo Minimax Tube DAC Plus (I also owned) and the Minimax blew all over the Oppo for soundstage and micro detail.
    I used the Oppo for surround and the Minimax for stereo.

    The DAC chip is important but so is implementation.
    Reviews are key.
    If you dont want to spend big bucks the AE-9 should serve you well.

    edit
    ooh, forgot to mention.
    When I got my planars and tried them on my brothers Oppo 205, that worked very well.
    Even better was the Oppo 205 feeding my tube amp, the headphone amp on the Oppo is good but can be bettered.
     
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2019
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  14. sverek

    sverek Ancient Guru

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    On a serious note, I think you should go slowly with additional hardware. Just take your time.

    Listen to headphones with your current hardware, compare to how it sounds directly off your smartphone, see if you can notice the difference.
    If you can't tell the difference between devices, you might not be able to tell the difference between sound card and dedicated headphones amp (solid state).

    Tubes are totally different beast, that mess with sound, it will add more confusion imo, especially If you don't understand what your headphones originally sounds like.
     
  15. Lowki

    Lowki Master Guru

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    So I have been using hyper x cloud revolver wired with my ae-5. I'm hoping this will be like the jump from 60 to 144hz just on the audio side. Is it similar the I could never go back to that?
     

  16. sverek

    sverek Ancient Guru

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    In my experience, it was more like 30hz to 144hz.

    30hz (Closed gaming headphones) -> 75hz (open headphones [HD599, DT990, etc...] ) -> 144hz (high-end audiophile grade open headphones [HD800, DT1990, AKG712, etc... ])

    But again, we all have different sound preferences. If you really enjoyed the sound signature of HyperXCloud, it might take a while to adjust your brain to new headphones sound signature. So don't worry if you find your new headphones lacking in terms of bass quantity. Higher-end headphones are about quality over quantity.
     
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