I just thought I'll share my experience. It may help some on the quest for quality audio out of the pc I used to run an Auzentec Forte 7.1 - which has shat itself after a couple of years - with Audiotechnica AD700 cans. It was a pretty good combo while it lasted, altho it had some quirks with the driver, the music sounded very nice. After it was gone I went for a simple SoundBlaster recon3D as an interim solution, boy was it a downgrade...A few month later the AD700 broke, too. Bugger. I bought another pair. But it gets worn out after a few monhts, and becomes somewhat uncomfortable, and to be honest it's just not secure enough, an enthusiastic nod gets it off my head. So I thought; time to upgrade...how bad can it be, a few hundred at most, right? And I can do it in steps. Well.... First I went for a planarmagnetic HE-400, at headphonic, but I found it not comfortable enough. And the sound wasn't much better. So I had to realise the step up from the previous setup is not in the few hundred $$$ range.... Final solution is a Mayflower O2 odac+headphone amp and a set of Beyerdynamic T90. It's a rather pricey solution (compared to my original idea, certainly), but thank god for headphonic's return policy on the He-400 What can I say...it is heaven on earth. Forget sound cards, forget AD700 sound quality, it's all rubbish. Well, not really, but it's a mayor step up from there. I guess what I want to say; I had to realise a proper quality sound costs proper money. But if you can afford it, you're better of going straight for a DAC, rather than playing around with sound cards. The cans can be a personal thing, but the T90 has not left me wanting in any way, comfort, sound, it's all there. p.s. I'm not associated with headphonic, but I love their business model & helpfulness. I can remove the links if it bothers someone, just thought it could help to get an idea about the items.