Casual / first timer looking at Schiit amp or amp/dac stack with PC

I am relatively new to this space. I have been lurking heavily and been reading up on headphones. Currently I have on order some tygr 300r based on this forum and a view reviews and have a few older entry level senheiser’s the hd440 BT and the HD 439. Possibly looking down the line at a Edition XS / DT990 600ohm / 6xx

Currently I am powering everything off of my motherboard an Asus Maximus 12 hero with an ESS™ ES9023 DAC + RC4580 OP AMP. The motherboard has adjustable gain in software and it will go up to 1000 ohm from what is shown in software. Currently I have one computer for audio listening and for simracing however in the future I will have a separate computer for sim racing and will need to have a way to have two seperate inputs into the amp or dac whether it be with a switch or splitter (unsure which). I don’t see any Dac’s that has two USB inputs

I am looking to pickup either an Asgard and utilize the internal Dac on the motherboard or a Magni Heresy / Modi 3e stack. Looking for both a Headphone out and Preamp Out for my powered speakers. I mainly simrace so a wide soundstage is good but I don’t need to have pinpoint accuracy. In terms of audio it is mainly classical / orchestral and then go to the other side with Electronic / Hip Hop. Within the coming year/s I did want to expand my headphone line further to tailor it to my various listening habits.

Would It be better to have just the asgard amp and possibly further down the line get a modius (if necessary) or should I opt for a the schiit stack. What are some signs that I could look out for to determine if my motherboard dac is up to par?

Thanks for reading this and look forward to your suggestions. I am open to other brand suggestions as long as they are not chinese but for the short term I am only looking to spend maximum of 400-500 but of course lower is better since my audio experience is small and i am not looking to squeeze out that last 10%

With what you have and what you are looking at, I think the asgard + motherboard dac is honestly a solid option, would do great with the cans you want to go for down the line and also give you a nice upgrade path on the dac side of things. If you did want to get a nicer dac, honestly instead of the modius I’d suggest an allo revolution dac (although only one input) + nirvana smps, or go for a cheaper one like an earmen donald (also only one input) or modi 3+/3e since the modius value wise isn’t going to be as strong as those other options since you won’t be using it’s balanced outs (still great though, if you want it to stack perfectly then it’s not a bad value or anything)

I’ve got no experience with that specific motherboard but it’s dac is likely good enough for the time being, the maximus boards are pretty high tier and I doubt they would be all that lousy dac wise for motherboard audio, I’d be a lot more concerned if it was a really entry level or older board. You will still notice a pretty worthwhile jump with a dedicated dac, but it’s not something you have to get right away considering the cans you have now but you will want it for future cans mentioned

In terms of feeding a dac with muliple pc, you can just use usb for one and toslink/optical for the other, you can switch inputs on the dac (assuming you get a dac with multiple inputs and that’s a priority). In that case then something like the modi 3e or modius have plenty of inputs, also a jds atom dac+ or jds el dac ii+. If one pc doesn’t have optical out, you can get a usb to optical converter for like 50 bucks (like a douk u2 or something similar). There aren’t really many dac with multiple usb inputs if you need that (at least I can’t think of any off the top of my head)

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i agree with mon. thats a decent dac on your mobo. and asus usually isolates the sound card from the rest of the board to reduce interference. that mobo will run tygr’s just fine as well fyi. they are easy to drive.

Yeah the motherboard audio will drive the tygr decently fine, they were designed to sound fine off whatever, doesn’t mean they won’t benefit from better source gear though. But for the 880 600 that will absolutely not work all that well off most mobo I’ve heard, and assuming similar for the xs (not heard the xs but heard other hifiman)

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@M0N / @joshua_g Thanks for the quick response. Luckily amazon delivers on a sunday so I got my TYGR’s. First experience and I already see a few issues that will require me to figure out what to do. The Asus motherboard after flipping it over to high gain at 100% can barely power these. At 100% I do notice some distortion would that be a telltale sign of the AMP or the DAC?

I’m surprised you have to push that hard with them, are you sure there isn’t some other digital volume that isn’t lowered? I’ve been able to get them plenty loud and decent enough straight out of a phone, I’d assume the motherboard wouldn’t have trouble in high gain

That’s going to be more indicative of a poor amp. Also make sure you are plugging them into the headphone out of your motherboard, not the line out if you have one, otherwise I’d assume they want you to plug into the line out. I don’t see a dedicated headphone out port on the mobo, if there’s a setting that lets you choose between line or headphone out make sure to chose headphone. Also is this out of front panel on the case or rear of mobo? Since typically front panel sounds worse than direct out of the mobo, but it depends

Edit: oh, well this is interesting

Guess they want you to use front panel? Typically most mfg tell you to use the rear


I tried both front audio and back panel and both were same in terms of volume. I do have a 10 Ft extension cable that could introduce additional resistance however when I run straight from headphone the volume difference is not significant.

Huh, would have expected better considering what they touted. Do you have a phone or laptop or something else to plug the tygr into and see if that drives it to satisfactory volume without distortion? I’m just curious at this point and want to see if it’s only the mobo struggling. If you listen at pretty high volumes most basic electronics might not suit it well, but I personally found them fine out of an lg phone I had at the time at moderate to lower levels

Either way, I guess it’s time to get an amp lol. If the audio is already really that bad where it can’t drive the tygr you might as well grab one of the 100 buck dacs now to not really risk it with the motherboard. Dac is still likely fine inside the mobo since that’s just going to be line level, but again might as well just get something better off the bat and not deal with more potential mobo issues

Just tested with a samsung galaxy tab A7 and the volume at max on the device is worse than compared to the computer. I had my wife try the same headphones and for her at 40% volume on high gain was sufficient for her so it may be personal preference alongside partial hearing loss over the ears.

Ah ok, you must listen at a fairly high level. Yeah in that case then I can see why mobo can’t handle it well lol. Anyways though, asgard is a solid option, I’d honestly pick up a modi 3+/3e and call it a day for your preferences mentioned beforehand, should serve you very well. If you can’t grab the dac now, then mobo should suffice for the time being (you just need a 3.5mm to rca cable), asgard should be able to give you plenty of volume range in high gain and work as a great pre (and it should sound pretty awesome as well)

Should I be worried if I crank the volume up too much that I might blow out the headphones? Also, what are your thoughts on just utilizing the dac module that is available with the asgard?

You could theoretically do it, but in practice it likely wouldn’t happen unless you were absolutely trying to blow the headphones. They would likely distort but I don’t actually know if you would blow the headphones outright. I haven’t tried to do anything like that so really don’t know (can’t say I’ve really had the urge to test with any of my headphones lol). If you were super worried you could just keep it on low gain which likely couldn’t do much damage

You could do that, but considering it’s the same price, I would get their modi instead since it does sound better than the internal, and also the internal dac card only has a single usb in, the modi has usb + other inputs so with an internal card you couldn’t hook up more than one device to it. Also gives you more flexibility in the future, if you wanted to upgrade or change things it’s helpful to have things separated out

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Thanks, before i pull the trigger on the Asgard/Modi stack which will run me about 430 after shipping. Is there any other options that would also be good ?

You could also consider a lake people g103s which has excellent synergy with the future 600 ohm if you go that route and should play nicely with the hifiman but it has no pre outs so might not be viable. You could also consider something from geschelli but they don’t have pre out either iirc. I think most options I’d mention instead would really be ending up over the price point. I guess stuff from topping or smsl are also an option but personally most all topping and smsl gear around this price point that I’ve tried I didn’t really find worthwhile considering the price

Ah a jds el amp ii+ would be good, I do have a bit of a preference for the asgard though in most aspects but it would have pre outs and work pretty well with the future headphones you have in mind

Yeah my situation is very specific. I was looking at the Element 3 and the El amp as well but was worried that the power for 600 ohm would not be enough since they were half the power of the asgard.

I would agree the asgard is more satisfactory with the 600 ohm, but the el amp actually still did a pretty solid job to where it could still be a viable option from my experience. But also considering you listen at higher levels the extra power of the asgard could come in handy

One last question hopefully, when I have the second computer you mentions a usb to optical converter. Wouldnt that be going through another DAC? With the second computer wouldn’t it be easier to just use the onboard audio and go through optical out direct from motherboard?

usb to optical is digital to digital converter. dac is digital to analog. analog is what amps need to operate.

If your mobo has optical use that, I only brought up the USB to optical converter in case that wasn’t an option. It would be digital to digital regardless though

Thanks for all the help, I came to the realization that if I am going to be doing dual computer in the future I didn’t want to be tethered to one amp/dac and have to deal w/ extensions like I currently am. Since the second computer would only be used for gaming having a high end amp/dac is not necessary. With how new I am in this space and how unsure of what I like in terms of sound profile (warm/cool/bright/etc…) I opted to go with the Modi/Magni stack. It will work with my current setup and be able to provide the volume and clarity I am looking for.

Then once I get a taste for things and have the second computer I can then get a better dac/amp and use that as the music listening station and relegate this setup to the gaming computer.

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