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Old December 16, 2011, 08:44 AM
ilya ilya is offline
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Join Date: Feb 2010
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The way computer/digital audio works in laymen's terms:
You have your digital source, (MP3, FLAC, etc, file) which is converted into an analogue signal by your DAC. Said signal is then amplified for use with headphones/speakers.

If you're getting distortion adding an extra amplifier will only make the problem much much worse. (your onboard sound *technically* has an amp of its on, unless you're using the line out)

What you need to do is identify where the distortion is coming from. Recording, DAC, amp, or headphones. It could also be that your headphones respond poorly to EQ.

If you can't turn back on the XB1000 purchase, I would look into a quality sound card like the Xonar you mentioned or an external DAC like the Fiio E7. Impedance is merely a measurement of electrical resistance. Inefficient drivers or drivers with more coils will have higher impedance which will in turn require more/cleaner power. However, higher impedance does not always mean better sound - it all depends on the implementation and source. Higher impedance also does not necessarily need an amp and sometimes lower impedance headphones are very difficult to drive without a good amp.

If you're looking for a more aggressive sound, look at some Grados. If you don't want to shell out as much cash for the time being, you could also try Koss KSC75's. (they're readily available under $20) If it's just bass you're looking for, there are plenty of relatively inexpensive cans that can sound very warm and/or fun.
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