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Amp recommendation for Audeze LCD-3
Burglar
post Mar 9 2013, 02:24
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Hey. I am new to this forum and want opinions from you, especially if you know that headphone:
I have an Audeze LCD-3, currently driven by an Asus Xonar Essence STX.
The card doesn't drive the phone well and I clearly recognize distortion (on higher volumes)
and noise (on low volume passages). I heard it on 3 different headamps so far and know what the phone is capable of.

The specs of the headphone:
Impedance: 50 Ohms, nominal
Efficiency: 93 dB/1 mW
Maximum output: 133 dB, 15 W

Specs of the card:
11 Ohms output impedance.

The problem seems to be that the 1/8 rule isn't fullfilled.
I want to get a DAC and an amp for the phone. The DAC I am currently considering is the Mytek Stereo 192 which has a built in amp.
Does anyone here know that DAC and can comment on the amp capabilty?
The specs I could find out so far are only vague:
500 mA (?)

Thx in advance
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SonicBooom!
post Mar 9 2013, 03:09
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I think you should go to this website.


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sin(α) = v sound/v object = Mach No.
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Burglar
post Mar 9 2013, 03:14
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QUOTE (SonicBooom! @ Mar 9 2013, 03:09) *
I think you should go to this website.


Why? Because I came to the conclusion that my soundcard hasn't got enough power to drive my headphone?

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SonicBooom!
post Mar 9 2013, 03:24
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QUOTE (Burglar @ Mar 9 2013, 10:14) *
Why? Because I came to the conclusion that my soundcard hasn't got enough power to drive my headphone?

There's a lot of discussion about DACs and amps there. And also, there's a lot people there who owns an Audez'e.


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Burglar
post Mar 9 2013, 03:34
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Okay thank you. The consense there seems to be to get SS amps ~ 1000$ or even tube amps > 2000$.
Maybe the amp of the Mytek will be enough. But again - 500 mA isn't a very helpful specification.
As I understand one should aim for an amp with <1 Ohm and enough current to drive low impedance and
low efficient phones.
Then if it has a nearly linear frequency response they should sound very similar if I understood it correctly.
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SonicBooom!
post Mar 9 2013, 03:56
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Well if you have the budget, try those amps/DACs made by Musical Fidelity or Burson Audio. They both have a good reputation on fellow headphone enthusiasts wink.gif


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extrabigmehdi
post Mar 9 2013, 03:57
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The LCD2 is considered to be easy to drive by traditional "head-fier", and I guess it wouldn't me much different with the LCD3.
So if we don't nitpick on subjective considerations, that are not much tolerated here, I 'm wondering why you get "noise on on low volume passages" (are you sure it's not on the recording ?) and distortions with a soundcard that I believe is good.

This post has been edited by extrabigmehdi: Mar 9 2013, 04:01
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saratoga
post Mar 9 2013, 05:13
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QUOTE (Burglar @ Mar 8 2013, 21:34) *
Okay thank you. The consense there seems to be to get SS amps ~ 1000$ or even tube amps > 2000$.
Maybe the amp of the Mytek will be enough. But again - 500 mA isn't a very helpful specification.
As I understand one should aim for an amp with <1 Ohm and enough current to drive low impedance and
low efficient phones.


I'd just get a Fiio amp. They're cheap and thats not all that hard of a load to drive. Spending a grand on an amp for something like this is a huge waste. Even a $100 amp will be overkill.

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Burglar
post Mar 9 2013, 05:27
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Okay thx. Sounds reasonable.
I will check out a Fiio asap and test it against my soundcard to "see" if I still can detect that noise and the distortions.
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extrabigmehdi
post Mar 9 2013, 06:17
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QUOTE (saratoga @ Mar 9 2013, 04:13) *
I'd just get a Fiio amp. They're cheap and thats not all that hard of a load to drive. Spending a grand on an amp for something like this is a huge waste. Even a $100 amp will be overkill.



But why a xonar stx is not enough good ? Mine can drive my hd800 without problem (well strictly speaking: without "noise on low volume passages", nor distorsions) , and the hd800 is rated 300 ohm .
I'm thinking there's a problem with his setup. Maybe his soundcard is defective, I don't know.

This post has been edited by extrabigmehdi: Mar 9 2013, 06:18
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DVDdoug
post Mar 9 2013, 06:52
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Noise is a tricky issue because it can depend on the computer... the computer's internal electrical noise... If you stick the same soundcard in a different computer, you might not hear any noise.

An external USB soundcard or DAC might make an improvement. I bought this inexpensive USB soundcard just to have on-hand for troubleshooting purposes, and it's so quiet that I can't tell if my headphones are plugged-in or not when no sound is playing. I don't know anything about it's impedance or output-voltage capability, and I'm not recommending it for you... I'm just saying that an external device, isolated from the computer electronics, can be very quiet.

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Burglar
post Mar 9 2013, 07:00
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QUOTE (extrabigmehdi @ Mar 9 2013, 06:17) *
QUOTE (saratoga @ Mar 9 2013, 04:13) *
I'd just get a Fiio amp. They're cheap and thats not all that hard of a load to drive. Spending a grand on an amp for something like this is a huge waste. Even a $100 amp will be overkill.



But why a xonar stx is not enough good ? Mine can drive my hd800 without problem (well strictly speaking: without "noise on low volume passages", nor distorsions) , and the hd800 is rated 300 ohm .
I'm thinking there's a problem with his setup. Maybe his soundcard is defective, I don't know.


maybe because the HD800 has sensitivity of 102dB instead of 93dB.
And besides in your case:
300ohm / 8 > 12 ohm (xonar output impedance)
the 1/8 rule according to NWAVguy is fullfilled. At least that would be an explanation.
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saratoga
post Mar 9 2013, 08:40
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QUOTE (DVDdoug @ Mar 9 2013, 00:52) *
Noise is a tricky issue because it can depend on the computer... the computer's internal electrical noise... If you stick the same soundcard in a different computer, you might not hear any noise.

An external USB soundcard or DAC might make an improvement.


Since the USB bus is electrically connected to the PCI bus via the 5v rail in a typical computer, I would not expect this to make much difference unless there was some specific fault with your PCI controller or driver.
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extrabigmehdi
post Mar 9 2013, 15:16
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@burglar
I just thought of one thing.
Are you using the dedicated headphone jack of your xonar stx, or the front panel headphone jack of your pc ?
The front panel is not as good, and is more susceptible to be sensitive to "internal electrical noise".
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Burglar
post Mar 9 2013, 15:37
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I am using the dedicated headphone jack on the lowest gain settings mostly (<64 ohm) since the LCD-3 has 50 ohms.
Sometimes this is not loud enough though and I have to switch to 64-300 ohm setting.

And it's not the recording since noise can be recognized on every file on low volume passages if I make it loud enough.
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extrabigmehdi
post Mar 9 2013, 16:41
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QUOTE (Burglar @ Mar 9 2013, 14:37) *
And it's not the recording since noise can be recognized on every file on low volume passages if I make it loud enough.


Well if the noise comes from the source, you'd hear each time something different in the noise when playing the same file.
I'm not sure if it's a valid test , but you could play a completely silent file, and see if you still hear noise.

Otherwise some people were complaining of background with the xonar st before, and it seems that playing with bit depth,
and sampling rate might help.
http://www.head-fi.org/t/559991/xonar-esse...ackground-noise
Note: with wasapi you can force a bit depth to the output.
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Burglar
post Mar 9 2013, 17:03
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Thank you. I read something similiar and already do playback at 24 Bit / 48 khz and wasapi mode.
It doesn't help. Also not under Linux.
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