Yamaha receiver or mobo DAC?

Good Evening All! 


I am having an audio dilemma, I recently retired my home theater from my family room to my gaming room and hooked it up to my PC.  I often use headphones (sennheiser HD449's) to listen to music and game.  In the past I have used the on-mobo DAC/AMP (ti burr-brown OPA2134) to power them.  My receiver is a yamaha HTR-3064 which has burr-brown amps for all channels, but doesn't mention headphone output...

Which is better to power my headphones, the on-mobo DAC/AMP or my receiver?


I apologize for any terms I may have gotten mixed up, and thank you!!

Listen to both and see which one sounds better. The DAC will be the same for headphones bit the amp is another question.

They sound identical, maybe I'm over-thinking it... audio causes me to do that! I'm half tempted to crack open my receiver and trace where the headphone out goes to. 

If they sound the same use the mono unless it is easier to get at the receiver but use the receiver for speakers.

It's much easier to get to my receiver, the burr-brown opamp only works with the rear headphone output on the mobo, the front is standard HD audio. Thanks!

Yeah.  If they sound the same, use which ever is easier.  Receiver headphone amplification is hit and miss.  Some actually assign a dedicated amplifier to the headphone jack, others simply tap into the speaker level and step it down for the headphones.  Newer receivers tend to do the former, vintage receivers tend to do the latter.  However, on a lot of newer receivers (even high end ones), they use cheap op amps for the headphone out, which results in poor sound quality and weak performance.  Vintage receivers tend to power headphones better (and with clearer sound), tapping into the main amp (or speaker channel amp), but usually suffer from high output impedance.

Long story short, a good dedicated headphone amp will tend to give you better quality and/or power than most HT or stereo receivers.  End of the day though, if you're happy with the sound you are getting, then that's all that matters.  And if both your mobo and your receiver are running the OPA2134, then their sound is likely better than most (depending on the DAC and other components of course).

The specs say all channels have burr brown 192kHz/24-bit DAC's for all channels, so I guess its all good haha. Thank you all!