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Disturbing Trend - Page 2

post #16 of 528
I agree. I cannot understand how anyone can love the HD650 out of a portable. I hated the 650 until I heard it out of an HR-2, GS-1, Opera and now, balanced through the Apache (not to mention source and cable upgrades).

On the other hand, who am I to say? So many people claim to love their 650 and K701 out of portables that there must be something to it, doesn't there?
post #17 of 528
Quote:
Originally Posted by kramer5150 View Post
IMHO everyone has to start out somewhere, and budgetary limitations vary greatly across the population.

I haven't really followed any threads specifically, but I don't think anyone would recommend a $150 portable amp as the "end-all" solution for either of those cans. Entry level-yes perhaps.
I think the problem lies where some people say ____ (portable amp) meets or exceeds the performance offered by amps several times its price. I've seen a fair amount of that level of commentary.
post #18 of 528
Quote:
Originally Posted by boomana View Post
It reeks of a dumbing down of audio appreciation, and on a forum such as this, where sq is the priority (or is it?), I find it very disturbing.
I agree with what you said. I think some people are just starting to make convenience a higher priority and sacrificing sound quality to get it. The popularity of portable players may have something to do with this.

Quote:
Originally Posted by vcoheda
i don't recall if it was always this way and i just didn't notice it, but head-fi seems to be very much lo-fi now a days; esp. in terms of amps and sources. there is almost zero discussion of high-end stuff and very little discussion of even moderately priced gear.
It wasn't like that a couple years ago. I think the influx of newer members causes the overall discussion to gravitate towards cheaper audio, or rather, bang-for-the-buck components. With a younger crowd, you might see a lot computer/laptop or portable setups as opposed to a stationary CD player.
post #19 of 528
Quote:
Originally Posted by Quaddy View Post
did you mean lossy or lossless?

cause you wouldnt use lossy with an imod if you wanted critical listening!
I don't have personal experience with the iMod, but several iMod users here are on record as saying that even a modest standalone CDP delivers better sound. This is similar to my impressions about the Squeezebox in head to head comparison with a very cheap and outdated CDP.

So to me iMod is still a "portable source", unless someone can prove otherwise.

Sorry for taking Ana's thread off in another direction...
post #20 of 528
Indeed! Portable amps may be fine solutions for those who want a transportable rig, or an inconspicuous work rig, or something else of that nature, or merely want something to tide them over until a further upgrade, but portable amps are NOT ideal for any of the high-end dynamic headphones and I don't understand why they keep getting recommended either.

I've said it before and I'll say it again - I have NOT, on any one occasion, heard sufficient bass quantity or quality from a portable amp compared to AC-powered home amps. Oh the bass on a portable amp is certainly ok, and I haven't heard as many as Skylab or mrarroyo either who can make a better judgment call on this, but it's simply not at the level that a quality AC-powered home amp can deliver.

There is a clear and significant improvement when moving to AC-powered home amps from battery-powered portables in so many aspects it'd take me too long to write them all down. As good as amps like the AE-2, Hornet M, PRII, etc, may be, they're not even designed to act as home amps either. Pico? Well given its USB interface I'd say that's been designed mostly for a computer rig, not for a serious home rig. And even if it matches the AE-2, I honestly don't think highly enough of it to think that it can seriously touch HeadAmp's GS-1. Sure the AE-2 is a fine portable, and it does offer more than a glimpse of the GS-1, but it is NOT at GS-1 level - it merely sounds like it, but it's not at that level, and for anyone looking into a serious amp investment, I will always recommend the GS-1 over the AE-2.

I used to be a huge fan of AC-powered solid-state amps in particular and of the ones I've owned, they all work nicely for headphones like the K701, HD650, AD2000, etc. In terms of synergy there's varying degrees of that (especially considering sonic preferences), but it's only the AC-powered solid-states I've heard that begin to do justice to those headphones. For those looking into an amp for those headphones, just set your sights higher! Whether tube or hybrid or solid-state, home amps are the ONLY way to go for them for serious listening. Otherwise all you're doing is insulting their category and class and fulfilling less than half of their potential.

Well and then there's the inevitable issue of source too but let's not go there yet.
post #21 of 528
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mcmyers View Post
Funny you should post about this disturbing trend, as I was recently considering starting a thread on the disturbing trend of people saying that HD 650s will not sound good unless you have an expensive home amp. I recently bought 650s, and I'm amping with my Hornet, and I was worried that they might sound slow and muddy and boring, as lots of people have claimed, but they sound amazing to me. I also tried them straight out of my iPod Nano, and they still sounded pretty good.

Now, is this to say that they won't sound increasingly better with increasingly better equipment? Of course not. Of course I eventually want to get a great home amp. But to claim that they sound bad with something like the Hornet, to me, is misleading.
I've owned your identical set-up. It doesn't sound bad. It just doesn't sound good once you've heard other. Again, nothing wrong with starting out this way, or enjoying what goodness it offers. I'm just tired of recommendations that say portables can drive certain headphones, when they can't in terms of the sound quality the headphones were meant to have.

Re the Pico, and even the Predator, I'm hoping to hear both this weekend. I'm encouraged that better quality portable amps and amp/dacs are being created. They serve a purpose, but I sincerely doubt that either Justin or Ray would say that their portables drive these headphones as they should, even if they do it better than previous models. They'd stop making home amps altogether if they thought that, and that ain't happening.
post #22 of 528
Thanks Boomana,
Just last night I ran my 701s through a Move and then sat down at the desktop and ran them through a Heed Canamp.
It was if the 701s were completely different headphones, not
better, completely different and exponentially superior. Boomana's point is well-founded.
post #23 of 528

Not Bad, Just Not The Same

Quote:
Originally Posted by mcmyers View Post
Funny you should post about this disturbing trend, as I was recently considering starting a thread on the disturbing trend of people saying that HD 650s will not sound good unless you have an expensive home amp. I recently bought 650s, and I'm amping with my Hornet, and I was worried that they might sound slow and muddy and boring, as lots of people have claimed, but they sound amazing to me. I also tried them straight out of my iPod Nano, and they still sounded pretty good.

Now, is this to say that they won't sound increasingly better with increasingly better equipment? Of course not. Of course I eventually want to get a great home amp. But to claim that they sound bad with something like the Hornet, to me, is misleading.

I have a theory. I've heard it said that the HD650s, perhaps more than any other dynamic headphone, can change their sound signature based on the equipment driving them. And I think that the people who claim that 650s only sound good with specific amps are people who don't like the sound signature they provide with different amps. Many people prefer a sound with some treble sparkle. They think this is more exciting. I, personally, do not. So perhaps someone listening to my 650s with a Hornet would call them boring or dark. To me, they are luscious.

So I wish people would stop claiming that 650s sound boring, bloated, or slow without a stellar amp to drive them. What they should say is that if you prefer a brighter, more exciting sound, you might have to get one of several specific amps for the 650s. But if you prefer a darker sound, you have different choices, including IMO the Hornet.

(Sorry I only addressed half of your argument. I have not heard K701s.)
MC, I don't recall Boomana saying bad just not on par with a solid home amp intended to drive larger less efficient phones.

Like I said as have many port builders they will push the big phones just fine but should not be confused with amps of a much higher caliber as opposed to a cigarette box size amp. Everything is a give and take so if you can live with a Mini^3 pushing your 650's or 701's more power to you

Just my .02 FWIW
post #24 of 528
Boomana pretty much summed it up in this:

"They'd stop making home amps altogether"

I bet Ray would be glad to explain and 10 to 1 his first question would be what environment are you going to be using.

If you never plan to leave you listening quarters and want to get everything out of your high end phones as intended you are not going to be recommended the Tomahawk or even the SR-71 when he makes the HR-2, XP-7 and Raptor!
post #25 of 528
Quote:
Originally Posted by boomana View Post
Every time I check into this forum, I find more and more threads recommending portable amps for headphones like the K701 and the HD650. WTF? I have not heard every portable amp out there, but I've owned and heard quite a few and currently own a LaRocco PRII, an SR-71 and a Rockhopper mini^3. NONE drive these headphones as they should be heard. I just gotta say it, and I'm surprised that more HD650 and K701 lovers, who've been lucky enough to hear them properly sourced and amped, aren't saying it as well.

Please note that I'm not saying that a portable amp isn't a good starting point (my first amp was a Headroom mircoamp, which I used with HD580s), can't offer enjoyment, or isn't an appropriate solution for people who travel or, like me, take things back and forth to work. I am saying that I'm disturbed by what I see as a trend that infers that if someone buys the K701s or the HD650, pairing them with a portable amp will give them the quality for which they are known. I'm not trying to be a snob, but I'm a big fan of both the Senns and the AKGs, and it irks me to think they are being short-changed with recommendations that make it appear portable amps will offer them what they need when it's not true.

That's it. My two cents. Flame away if you want, but know I'm not trying to dissuade anyone from getting either headphone and starting out this way. That's fine. I'm just confused as to why people on an audio forum, who should clearly be interested in the qualities of reference headphones, would continually recommend that they be short-changed to fit someone's budget, rather than suggesting people save their money and buy something created to drive them well. It reeks of a dumbing down of audio appreciation, and on a forum such as this, where sq is the priority (or is it?), I find it very disturbing.

BTW, sufficient volume does not equal sound quality.
Newbies think otherwise.. Misinformation is never good.. I can drive my 340's to loud levels with my DAC1, but I can tell they are very being limited by a amp is isn't powerful enough to drive them..
post #26 of 528
I think the HD-650 and SR-71 mate quite well. I have not heard the 701 with the SR-71 but I would have no complaints with a HD650 and SR-71 combo... for classical

As far as portability goes I do not understand such a combo. HD650 and K701 are both huge and open in design so that means they are portable when you are alone? The combo does not make much sense to me unless the amp is purchased to do double duty. Also keep in mind that portability is part of the price so a home amp could give you more SQ for the buck depending on the amp.
post #27 of 528
The Pico is the only portable I've been tempted into having replace my desktop rig. But since I have the K1000's, my desktop rig is staying put for now.

-Ed
post #28 of 528
Boomana- I agree with you wholeheartedly. The portable amp trend parallels another trend: People using computer-based rigs versus a high-end dedicated CDP(with or w/o DAC) based rig. I started with a computer-based home rig with an outboard DAC myself, and when I made the jump a while back to a dedicated CDP it made me almost cry at the difference in sound quality. While a computer based home rig is very convenient, I believe a lot of Head-Fier's are shortchanging themselves, thinking "it's just as good."
post #29 of 528
Quote:
Originally Posted by boomana View Post
I've owned your identical set-up. It doesn't sound bad. It just doesn't sound good once you've heard other.
Well, I look forward to the day when I have heard other (HR-2, Opera, or whatever). Because if what I'm hearing now isn't great, I'm going to need a new pair of shorts when I finally do hear great.

Seriously, though, I take your point that you just don't want people being misled into low-end gear for the convenience sake of portability. My only point is that the 650s sound better than any other headphone I've tried (including SR-80s, 595s, D2000s, and DT990s) even though I'm not driving them as well as they can be driven. And if I had taken the advice of many, I would have stuck with easier to drive phones and been less happy until I bought a better amp.

Plus, there's something exciting knowing that I now have the phones I like, and that they have almost limitless scalability.
post #30 of 528
I remember reading too many threads where most of the people recommended portable amps when the person wanted a quality desktop solution at an affordable price. The way I see it, some of the newer portable amps are putting more emphasis in rechargeable systems and miniaturization. I also guess there is a large number of users who don't want to lug around an amp the size of a computer desktop either. They want to use at work and at home too, so a portable solution is more convenient and it doesn't look as obtrusive.

I think people just make recommendations without much thinking about the person's actual requirements and since most people seem to use their gear with ipods, it would make sense most of the recommendations will be based on portable or small solutions.
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