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Old August 5, 2013, 04:29 PM
ilya ilya is offline
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Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Markham
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My System Specs

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A better amp=more power and cleaner power. (Gain is the technical term) More power=slightly higher volume. However the reverse does not apply. You can try it for yourself, the difference is very noticeable - PC350's sound horrible at high volume without decent amping.

As for a sound card that fits your requirements, they're either going to be slightly under your budget or slightly over. <$50 you have the Xonar U3 (USB) or the Xonar DGX, (PCI-E) both of which are excellent budget solutions. >$100 you have the Fiio E7/E17 and O2/ODAC. (both USB) There's plenty of good standalone amps under $100, but you'd want to use the line out from your motherboard's onboard sound. (you need to check if your board has one)

Most people would recommend 24-48 hours of pink noise on the PC350's, but honestly it didn't matter for me when I first used them. But if you really care that much about burn-in you could download Audacity and loop some generated pink noise.
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