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I'd like to improve my setup.

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
I'm not sure how to go about it though, as I'm not exactly a hardened veteran audiophile.
I'm currently using an ASUS Xonar Essence STX with a pair of HD555s.
I really don't know what I should be looking for.
Help would be nice! So would a cup of tea..
post #2 of 17
From all reports, the Xonar is a decent amp. I think the most dramatic improvement to your listening will probably come from upgrading your phones. I can't make any recommendations without knowing what music you like, whether you need isolation or not, and at what volume levels you normally listen at and for how long.
post #3 of 17
Thread Starter 
Well there's my music. Thought I'd just post that instead of reeling off lists of genres and artists. My house isn't noisy at all, so that shouldn't be a problem, and I usually listen for hours at a time. I'd like to save my hearing so I don't listen at silly volumes.
I was reading up on amps but it's all quite confusing - that being the main reason I posted, obviously
post #4 of 17
Buy new headphones The choice depends mostly on your budget, though.
post #5 of 17
Thread Starter 
I don't necessarily have to spend any money at all for a while, so it'd all be a case of saving up really.
post #6 of 17
Save your money and buy a pair of Grado HF-2s when someone is selling a pair (they were limited edition, so not available new). They drive out of anything and sound great and will contrast your 555s nicely and sound a lot better in many ways.
post #7 of 17
Thread Starter 
Any other suggestions on headphones that I could buy?
post #8 of 17
Well, the HF-2 is from all reports a spectacular set-o-cans, but hard to come by and pricey.

I tend to like to listen to open cans for the most part and my HD580's will likely be with me till my rocking chair days. Recently I've also been enjoying my Denon D7000's which I performed a portion of the Markl mod (do a search on it, interesting reading) on and upgraded with JMoney lambskin pads. They are quite breathtaking imho.

So having said that, I recommend looking onto the Denon D2000. It's a great all-around performer that is easily driven. Like all the Denon DXXXX cans, the bass is very prominent and somewhat uncontrolled. They are definitely fun to listen to in stock form. I grew tired of the dominating bass response and decided to mod my Denons. The results were very dramatic, and for the better. The bass tightened enormously and brought everything into better balance. I didn't do the full mod as I wanted to keep added weight of the mod to a minimum, and after all, I can always do the rest later if I want.

Honestly I recognized very little of the artists you display on you linked page but if you like stringed instrument and acoustic/vocal stuff, open would probably be a better choice. Grado are some of the most easily driven open cans you can get, but many have comfort issues with them for longer listening sessions and they are pricier in the UK (so buying used may be the best bet on them). Many report that the Alessandro Music Series are a more balanced presentation than the Grado's, with a less in-your-face sound and less listening fatigue. At about $110 US you can get the Alessandro MS1i, which by all reports is one of the finest cans available in this price class (and higher). Then later if you want you can add a good external DAC/Amp like the Pico, Compass or HiFiMAN EF2, depending on how much you want to spend.
post #9 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ilovebeef View Post
Any other suggestions on headphones that I could buy?
I was thinking that a Sennheiser HD-600 would work well with your music.
post #10 of 17
Thread Starter 
I was looking at the HD600s and 650s. I'm tempted by the 650s, but would I absolutely HAVE to get an amp for them straight away? Or would my sound card suffice for a few months?
post #11 of 17
Get some AD2000, it much easier to drive than the 650s and sound better too IMO although many agree its HD650 but you may not like the bass.
post #12 of 17
so, wait, people have given all these suggestions... but no one asked..

What's wrong with your current setup?
What do you want to be improved?
I think thats important to look at before giving suggestions.

If you just want the same as what you have just 'better', the HD580/HD600 would probably be your safe bet.
post #13 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by nullstring View Post
so, wait, people have given all these suggestions... but no one asked..

What's wrong with your current setup?
What do you want to be improved?
I think thats important to look at before giving suggestions.

If you just want the same as what you have just 'better', the HD580/HD600 would probably be your safe bet.
well..in the first two posts it was agreed that the main problem is with the headphones. as you can see, the suggestion so far are all toward that direction.

OP, I am not familiar with you setup but you were right when you said that with the HD600/650 you will need a decent amp. almost every high end can needs one, or benefits a lot from one.
post #14 of 17
Thread Starter 
Hmm. Suggestions on decent amps then?
Also, no one answered how well my sound card would hold up. It wouldn't be for long if it is in fact an absolute necessity.
All these things I've read about people plugging into computers are laptop users with crap onboard sound, so I could understand why they would need an amp. But this thing has settings for up to ~600ohms apparently, so I'm confused.
Maybe now you all know why I've posted here. Totally clueless haha
post #15 of 17
If you like the Senn sound I'd go ahead and upgrade to HD580,600,650 and enjoy those out of your soundcard until they get well broken in before getting an amp.
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