I test every headphone I review out of my MacBook, my Galaxy S8, the onboard audio on my PC, a SoundBlaster X G5, and a Schiit Fulla, and I only mention this if it makes a significantly noticeable difference…which honestly, it doesn’t, most of the time.
On those rare occasions where it does make a significant impact, I always include an additional section called “Amplification.”
Unless you absolutely hate the way your onboard audio sounds right now, you don’t need to run out and invest in an amp, in my opinion. Neither the Alpha nor the Core are hard-to-drive headphones, and though they’re both revealing enough to show flaws in your current source…you won’t actually know if you’re doing that until you try them with your current setup, first.
So start with the headphones, then invest in a DAC/amp if you’re hearing buzzing/hissing/etc. Or if you just feel like spending more money. ;)
The Takstar Pro 80/Cloud Core isn’t so much “tuned for music” as it is “tuned to sound exactly like the Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pro.” It has a boosted bass and treble, and slightly scooped midrange that can come off as a little hollow at times. The treble is indeed extended, tizzy, and a bit grainy.
If you’re a pure treble-head, then yes, you’d like the Core better, probably. But again, no way to know until you try.
The Cloud Alpha has a cleaner, less artificial sound. It looses the grain and the sharpness of the Core. The overall sound signature is closer to what was originally mixed, and the less intense treble will be easier for most people to listen to for a long period of time. I personally think it’s a “Better” sounding headphone…and beyond that, it has more comfortable ear pads as well.
But I love that 770/Takstar Pro 80 sound too, and in fact my 770’s are probably my favorite personal pair of headphones…and it sounds like that sort of audio is more to your personal taste.
So my advice in short: Get the Cloud Core by itself, then if you feel like you need it, consider an amp later. If you decide you don’t like the Core, hopefully you bought it from a place with a good return policy!
Also, you didn’t really mention gaming at all. Keep in mind that in both cases you’re paying a slight premium to get a microphone.
Thanks for reading and for the question.