Questions about a stereo receiver

To start off, I'm going to say I'm not an audiophile; but I would like to get decent sound quality from the "studio" headset I just bought.

My question is, I have an extra stereo receiver (onkyo ht-r520) that I would like to use to drive my headphones, and maybe save a couple $$$; but would it produce the kind of quality I'm looking for? And if so, what would be the best way to connect my receiver to my motherboard (asus m5 a97 let r2.0) with minimum quality loss?

I'm going to use these headphones for gaming, music, and a little bit of studio work. If this receiver isn't the way to go, what are some other good options? I've seen the gaming myths video, and I'm willing to stay away from sound cards, but also don't want to spend a lot on an amp if all I need is a DAC, or equivalent, to make this receiver that I already have work.


Sound cards are not totally a myth, they do have usefulness for many pros. But a Receiver is not the way to go unless you are just gaming. I personally run my powered mixer for input. I use stock headphones (AKG 240S) also, do not worry about a "lossy" signal, It is digital, it wont be lossy, at your distances anyway. If you cannot plug your cans into your board. Get a DAC. then, Use a software EQ. My personal solution is a lot more complicated, but I do live sound professionally. if you are dead set on using that receiver, Run your 3.5 From your line out of your pc to a 3.5 to RCA adapter (or whatever the headphone socket type is) and plug your headset into that. TEST VOLUME BEFORE PUTTING HEADSET ON 

Assuming you have an HDMI on your PC you can run that to the receiver and then receiver to headset and that may prove better. but I do not know if you can run HDMI out of your PC.

Thanks! I think I'm going to see how the set sounds with the onboard audio before I buy a DAC; but if I do decide to buy one, what would be a respectable price point I should consider spending for a setup like this one? Should I get an amp as well? 

Amp Depends on your set's OHm rating. If you run through Your receiver, you should not need an Amp. If your board supports 600Ohm headsets you will not need an amp. You are going to need to ask someone else that uses a DAC for their opinion. I have never bought one or needed one with my setup

Prosonic touches on a few points I would like to expand on. 

1: what headphones are you trying to drive exactly? Specs are semi important in figuring out what your best option(s) is/are. 

2: That video you watched was complete nonsense. At least half of what they said I could refute with a simple google search. Plus they were comparing sound cards which are largely under 100 bucks to an o2 amp dac combo which is near 300 dollars. Soooooo the video is a bit.......skewed. 

3. I will agree with prosonic that in normal circumstances that a receiver is not a great solution for a headphone amp, but onkyo is not bad. I would say to give the receiver a shot before you spend money on something else. 

4: you could plug it up using a simple optical cable from your mobo to the receiver. That way your receiver will act as both a DAC and amplifier. 



Your 4th point brings me to a question. My receiver has optical, but my motherboard does not. I'm willing, and curious, to test out optical to my receiver, but don't know what to do in order to add optical to my motherboard. Would a sound card be appropriate for this? Is there an external card that would be worth buying to accomplish this? What would you suggest? 

Also, I picked up a set of Superlux hd 681 evo (I know, cheap) to experiment with before I bought anything super expensive, if that helps.

Plug them in and see what you you think.


Alright, I'll have to give it a shot I Tuesday or Wednesday when I get home. 

Well that sucks. Apparently the regular board has optical, but the LE version doesn't? That makes no sense, but what ever. 

In any case, what I would suggest is for you to get a asus DGX sound card for a couple of reasons. 

1: It will give you an optical out for your receiver. 

2: it will give you a small headphone amp that could give you something to compare your receiver against to see what you like more. 


Thanks tj, I'll order one and give a shout out as soon as I get a chance to test it.

The set came yesterday; I've tried them out with my phone for awhile, and I'm fairly surprised with their quality for <$50. The soundcard and optical come come today. I'll see if I get the chance to actually test them out today or not.

Just set up the sound card and and hooked up the optical cable. I don't have anything to reference to, but it sounds pretty great! The sound card has some interesting features too, i'll have to go through them. Big thanks to those who helped!

Dude you have a DAC already its built into your receiver just use that and save your money unless having a large receiver is too big and power hungry for you. I would not bother getting another DAC you already have one it does not make any sense. Go digital out of your pc into the receiver and plug in the headphones. Save your money for a graphics card upgrade. :) Also turn off all the add ons like bass boost, leave all the parameters flat for studio work do not use an equalizer for studio work. If your mastering use the eq/compressor in the software though if needed just leave the amp flat. Check out the interwebs for setting up windows to be flat there are several things you'll want to do to the sound settings especially if you decide to just use the 1/8" jack str8 out of the pc. If I had that receiver id do the same thing this is coming from a 10 year hifi audio professional and speaker/component builder.

That's exactly what I did, Optical to my receiver, then to my headset. Everything is set to be flat, and sounds great!