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Advice needed

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
I have recently moved from a large house to an apartment where I no longer have a separate music room. My family claims 99.9% ownership of the main living area and my Quad ESL63s are hardly able to be used now. What is wrong with free jazz anyway?

One possible solution - drive a very good pair of headphones from an IMac, and pack the main stereo away for a while. I have never used headphones and know very little about what is available, but would be willing to spend a reasonable amount of money that would give me a workable solution. I am not a hair-shirt purist audiophile, but I do listen to music seriously and for extended periods of time, and therefore need decent audio and build quality. Is wireless an option - as that would make life even easier. And are electrostatic headphones a reasonable approximation to the sound I get from my Quads?

Thanks in advance for advice that will help me find a solution.
post #2 of 6
You will need a pair of headphones, a headphone amplifier and preferably also an outboard DAC as the one in the iMac is not audiophile grade.

Wireless headphones are usually low to mid-fi, you should probably avoid them.

The configuration I use is the Toslink out on my G5 connected to a Benchmark DAC-1 (combination DAC and headphone amp) and a pair of Sennheiser HD-650. I also have another setup with a Logitech/Slim Devices Squeezebox2 (Ethernet to Audio bridge) connected to a Musical Fidelity XCan V3 headphone amp and a pair of AKG K701. At work, I have the optical out ob my MacBook Pro hooked up to a Headroom Overture DAC and Coda amp (the equivalent in the current lineup is the Micro DAC and Amp). All of these give excellent results.

I can't vouch for electrostatic headphones compared to your Quads. You might want to find a local reseller for Stax and try their Omega-II in combination with either the solid-state or tube amp.
post #3 of 6
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the very helpful reply. The Benchmark DAC-1 looks like a versatile option that is worth considering.

Any advice about where in northern Switzerland would be a good place to look at options for headphones? (Basel / Zurich area).
post #4 of 6
What majid recommended is what I think is needed for a decent headphone set-up.. Not necessarily a DAC1 but you could go the cheaper way with something like the Aria/Cantate/Opera.. or a separate DAC (eg. FubarII) and a separate amp (X-Can).. but if you have the money for a DAC1 and willing to spend it, that's even better!!

Sorry I don't know any places to look for headphones in Switzerland.. Lots of online shops will ship internationally but you do have to find somewhere to audition equipment..
post #5 of 6
I'd suggest shopping for this stuff on the internet, not local. Its 2007. Listening to gear is hard, so if that's a priority stick with your current path, but you can't beat the selection available on the internet and if you are patient and shopping used there are great deals out there. If a site looks sketchy, pass it by the head-fi community and they will never steer you wrong. Furthermore, just ask detailed questions and let the wisdom of head-fi pour forth.

Moving into an apartment, the first thought that struck me was to downgrade the stereo to help finance a top-teir stax O2 stat rig. It should give you approx. the same sound sig. As for the DAC, others can give you much better info on that.
post #6 of 6
Thread Starter 
Thanks again. Are there good European internet based retailers - other than the obvious - of this kind of kit?

wower - just noticed you are based in Hokkaido, a wonderful place - this picture is from my last visit, of Tarumae-san;

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