I’ve spent the last week trying to learn what hardware I need only to feel more lost than before I started. Can someone please offer advice for what I should get in order to accomplish the following?
PC: Gaming and music (in that order)
Current Hardware I have
Headphones: Sennheiser HD 700
Speakers: KEF LS50
- Get the best out of the headphones and speakers that can be expected from a PC
- Support switching between headphones or speakers without having to physically unplug cables
- Elegant volume control (preferably not a remote) that can live on a desk and not take up a large amount of space - the ideal would be if the same unit could control both the output selector (headphones/ speakers) and volume
I’m fairly certain I need a DAC/ AMP but don’t know which would work best for this combination of headphones/ speakers?
I like the look of the Sennheiser GSX 1000 (small and elegant volume control) but Zeos review makes me think it’s under powered for HD700’s and unusable for the KEF’s? He mentioned attaching an additional amp so you can use the 7.1 feature and still function as an elegant volume control but again, I’m not sure which amp would best service the hardware I’ve listed?
The switch selector between headphones/ speakers can be hardware or software (like https://audioswit.ch), just want to make sure it doesn’t need to be done via plugging/ unplugging cables each time you switch
Don’t particularly have a budget in mind apart from thinking it should be on parity with the current headphones/ speakers?
At some point I might add a subwoofer.
I plan on getting a mic which would plug directly into the PC to avoid the complexities of having it run through the above (again, based on Zeos recommendation).
Your thoughts and opinions are really appreciated - thank you!
The schiit ragnarok 2 would fulfill all your needs in an all in one unit, but is pricy
As dumb is it sounds, if you want an all in one unit, the main limiting factor is the requirement of not unplugging the cable. Most manufacturers design their all in one speaker and headphone amps where having headphones plugged in will silence the speakers.
You might be able to get a dac, headphone amp with a passthrough, and a speaker amp and chain them together, but it’s definitely more cumbersome
I would just say no to the GSX 1000. It is very under powered, you definitely won’t get the best out of your 700. It’s a good concept, but I wouldn’t recommend it.
Thanks for the replies!
Understood on skipping the GSX.
I’d looked at Schiit but completely missed the Ragnarok 2. Reading through the specs and it sounds like it’ll do exactly what I’m looking for so thank you very much for the recommendation.
Out of interest, is this somewhat uncommon a request; dac/ amp for headphones and speakers?
There are other products that are all in one dac and headphones speaker amps, but seriously though, not a joke, this is like one of the only all in one unit that allows you to switch between headphones or speakers without unplugging the headphones. Also you have to choose fully loaded option to get the built in dac
I see. If I was to remove the need for a switch I’m guessing they’d be far more options? Not that the Ragnarok 2 doesn’t sound really appealing, rather the switch is looking like a niche request that’s restricting the field of options and I might be better served to go with the more common setup.
With this in mind:
- What are good options for an all in one DAC, headphone/ speaker amp for this combination of headphones/ speakers?
- Is the common habit to manually plug/ unplug when switching between headphones/ speakers or is there other more common solutions, for example an external switch?
Thank you again for your help and imparting knowledge.
A good example would be the PS audio sprout100, great headphone and speaker amp all in one, but you have to unplug the headphones for the speakers to play. Manufacturers expect that if you plug in headphones, you don’t want your speakers playing at the same time, and don’t bother putting in a switch
I would personally rather have a separate dac, headphone amp, and speaker amp connected together, but that’s just me
Another thing is that usually in an all in one unit, you are making some sort of sacrifices either with the dac, headphone amp, or speaker amp. The schiit aio and the sprout really don’t seem to do this imo, so they are solid options for the price
This is super handy - thank you M0N.
I’m going to see if I can listen to both and compare