Check this out:
(Posts from a thread on Omega Claro Halo on a certain forum)
"All soundcards have amplifers, or else the volume would be so low you couldn't hear anything. It's marketing."
"btw- a strong sound card (x-fi, audigy, some nicer cmedia cards) puts out as about as much power as a portable amp. an x-fi does for sure. keep that in mind b4 buying an a cmoy/go-vibe/ppav2 to 'complement' your x-fi. instead save up and get a nicer amp."
"it has op-amps... big deal"
I wouldn't say they are noobs, just not at that stage (of audio) yet. I was once like them too. The difference between a beginner and a noob is that a noob is one who does not listen to others and/or imparts their wrong knowledge as facts to others, both due to huge ego, often resulting in them spending extra for inferior products (due to marketing), misguiding others, and starting flame wars.
I wouldn't say that I'm not a beginner or a noob to some extent too. Well, I do hold some of my own beliefs and impart them, but at least I listen to opinions and learn. :P
They are at most commenting their opinions or some facts that are, in fact, correct and rational (for their stage), and not challenging the knowledge of the more experienced ones.
It's only when you get to the later stages, when you fully understand the stages of audio reproduction, then you'll understand where and why op-amps are used, and that sound cards may not provide enough power for your headphones. Those without a seperate amp chip at least. Then there's also quality of sound.
Well, when you get to the point where cables matter, all these things will be easily acceptable, at least they are explainable and measurable. Cables too are, but much harder.
Ironically, the last guy has Auzen X-Fi Prelude > Soloz Audio Reference IC > TCA Gizmo > Onix Reference 1 MKII speakers for his setup. The Prelude itself has OPA2134 and LM4562, both decent op-amps. For him to make that kind of statement with his setup is enough to call him a noob, don't cha think?
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