Amp, or AMP+ODAC

After watching the LinusTechTips and reading the Toms Hardware article, i don't believe buying a DAC would be beneficial in sound quality while having a modern Realtek AC1150 chipset in my motherboard. Would it be better to save the extra $100 on a JDS AMP/ODAC. Both are made in the O2 design, but i was wondering if the addition of the ODAC would be a worthwhile use of money.

Buy one then the other?

I would personally go for the amp first and see how everything sounds then buy a DAC if you think it would be better.

Also, if you want another option, the Schiit Magni looks like a decent amp for a decent price.

If you generally don't use headphone with an impedance over 60ohms, even ~200ohms is even usually fine, there's not much going for you in getting an amp, you want a DAC.

You'd get so much more out of your audio with a DAC. Though the onboard audio isn't absolute trite there, it's the interference from the other components and the impedance that the onboard has that interferes with the power throughput to your headphones.

If you're not noticing any interference from your onboard, then you may not have any use of a DAC and you'd be better off investing in more demanding high fidelity headphones and a DAC/amp together.

To put it simply:

  • DACs are generally for audio clarity.
  • Amps are generally to power high impedance headphones.

But according to both Toms hardware and Linus Tech tips, DACs won't give a noticeable sound difference, and the amp would really help powering my 600ohm Dt 880's

In that case, yes an amp will help.

And whatever you heard about a DAC not improving audio quality/clarity is absolute mularky. I can hear my sound about 3x clearer just using the USB DAC that came with my Siberria V2s on headphones with more sensitivity than the headset.

DACs are always better than onboard as long as the impedence the DAC puts on the audio line doesn't conflict with your headphones, which is almost always the case with onboard and many internal soundcards.

OK where would i look up the DAC qualities of my motherboard - Z87 Fatal1ty Killer. It boasts an impressive Purity Sound chipset with Realteks ALC1150 chipset, solid capacitors, and a clean sound. But no specs. Any way of getting a spec sheet for this, i looked around myself *cursory* and couldn't find anything other then a vague product infomercial. And compare it to the JDSLabs O2 AMP+ODAC

There's the data sheet on that audio chipset. (Page 73 shows the DAC properties)

2Ohms of output impedance, which isn't terrible, but it will be noticeable to get an ODAC alongside with the relief of interference.