SONY MDR-XD100 -- need amp? - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 4 Old 11-27-2019, 10:30 AM - Thread Starter
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SONY MDR-XD100 -- need amp?

So I have SONY MDR-XD100 headphones, which I use to listen to classical music on my PC. I just plug them straight into the audio jack. Question is whether the sound will be significantly improved by a headphone amplifier? If not, something else? Classical music tends to be pretty quiet, especially some of the old recordings, so I turn up the volume, and the sound often comes out distorted at the higher volumes.
What's recommended?

I didn't spend a lot for the headphones, so I don't want a high-end amplifier. I am looking for a budget-friendly way to improve (not perfect) my sound quality.

Suggestions are welcome, and if my quest is in vain, just say so...
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post #2 of 4 Old 11-27-2019, 10:45 AM
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Sounds like there might be an issue with the headphones. Can you test with a different set?

If it's not the headphones but, say, the jack on the soundcard, you could try something like this mini-amp:
- digital audio out from PC to amp; and
- headphone out from amp to your ears.

Last edited by eljaycanuck; 11-27-2019 at 11:19 AM.
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post #3 of 4 Old 11-27-2019, 01:40 PM - Thread Starter
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I tried with some cheap earbuds, and it's louder, but that's to be expected with earbuds, as opposed to over-the-ear headphones, as far as I know.
The low volume is typical of some of the old non-digital recordings of classical music performances from way back.

So what's the deal with DAC? I don't need it?
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post #4 of 4 Old 11-27-2019, 03:23 PM
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Your PC's sound card has a built-in DAC (digital-to-analog(ue) converter). A better-quality DAC might improve the sound quality but it's unlikely to resolve the issue of distortion at higher volumes (unless that issue lies somewhere in the sound file --> DAC --> headphone jack path on your PC's sound card).
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