I've just bought an Asus Xonar DX for my PC, and it has drastically improved the sound quality of everything on my pc.
However my headphones now seem a little quiet. Do I need an amp? Any recommendations?
It really depends on the headphones you are trying to drive.
There should be enough juice to drive most low impedance cans.
If you can not get yours loud enough with the volume cranked, you probably have a higher end pair that does need an amp.
I would recommend swapping the DX for an Essence ST or STX.
Although they are around twice as expensive as your current DX, they have an onboard amp that is capable of driving ANY pair of headphones out there.
The sound quality out of these cards will easily beat what you would get from the DX and a much more expensive amp.
Thanks for the reply.
My headphones are Beyerdynamic DTX900 which are fairly low end. In fact I was thinking of getting some new headphones.
Would rather not change my soundcard now, but maybe it would be cheaper to swap it for one you suggested to save buying a separate amp.
If you are thinking of getting a separate amp, I would defiantly recommend changing the card.
Not really for the higher quality sound, more for the onboard amp and the combine price.
If you want to get an amp that can match/beat the Essence's you are looking at an easy $400+....
Even with the amp set to it's medium output setting, my AKG K701's sound amazing and are quite loud at 25% volume.
I just checked Head-Fi's Headphone Buyer's Guide and I do see the Beyerdynamic dt990 ($200 to 300 range, Open Headphone) as a recommended set of cans.
They defiantly DO need amplification to really shine.
I would be willing to bet that, with proper amplification, your cans really are quite good.
Even if they are making noise now, they really are not making the sound they are intended to with out some real juice!