Upgrade from Xonar DX - DAC/AMP or different sound card?

OsaX Nymloth

Community Contributor
Ok, not sure this is the best place to ask this, but I trust mods will forgive me and put the thread in correct place if needed.

Anyway, I have a sound card: Asus Xonar DX and I've been using it for like 10 years. I swapped it from old PCs to every new PC's because the sound it offered absolutely slayed anything offered by integrated audio circuits.

Recently I started to wonder tho: is it time to upgrade?
I slightly jumped into the hole called AMP/DAC and all that aaaand it's endless. Especially since a lot of stuff that was/is recommended is either impossible to get, is not sold here in Poland or only used units are available that cost a hand and half.
I looked at external and internal audio cards, where basically I could either try to get used Xonar from higher shelf or go for Creative of some sort. Also there's EVGA with their audio cards, but those seems to be quite expensive.

So, would it make sense to upgrade to anything?
Budget: 100-200, maybe 300$ if I am convinced.
Would be best if recommended stuff is available in Poland or Europe. Not keen on importing stuff from NA.
What hardware will it need to power: headphones mostly (Sennheiser HD 569), have also 2.1 speakers from Edifier, but they're not so important in my case.
Usage: music mostly (death/black metal, so extreme for the most part), gaming, little of anime watching.
Would be nice if there was an option to connect both headphones and microphone like on Sound Blaster X3/X4 (which means microphone AMP of some sort, yeah I know). If I could have connected both + switch to speakers, that would be even better.

Any thoughts, recommendations etc. are welcomed.
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I have an Audioquest Dragonfly Black for streaming Amazon Music HD which I really like (with some Grado headphones). It's not a replacement sound card for gaming as there is no mic input.

For gaming I was using a Hyper X Cloud 2 (I think that's what it was called.

Having 2 options works for me but it's less convenient.
Not really my wheelhouse, but I remember a lot of talk about the Audioquest dragonfly as being very good for the money.

I use a Fiio E10K DAC which powers my 80 Ohm headphones fine for me and was reasonably priced compared to a lot of the amp/DAC combos out there. Apparently the amp part is quite weak though and higher resistance headphones might struggle for volume with it. Just what I've heard, as I say not my area really.

I rarely use my mic, but I just plug a clip on Antlion modmic into the onboard when I do and people tell me that I come across very clearly.


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