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Introduction and Buying First Good Headphones

post #1 of 49
Thread Starter 

Hi all.  Just joined Head-fi today and this is my first post =).

 

After listening to music for a long time on average iem's, I decided it's time to finally get a good pair of headphones to enjoy the music more.  Since I'm new to headphones, I thought head-fi fould be a great place to ask for recommendations.  I am looking for a pair of headphones and an amp+dac for under 350 but if something substantially better could be had for 400, then feel free to post those recommendations as well.  I will listen mostly through my laptop (which I believe has no soundcard or a really bad one if it does so I need a dac) or through an ipod nano 4th gen.  I listen to mostly rock, and alternative rock with some metal and some blues.  Also, most of my music is ripped at 250-320 kps, whatever I felt like that day/time.  Is that good enough for a pair of headphones of this kind of caliber?  In addition, it would be a nice if this setup could be easily upgraded.

 

This is what I'm thinking about for headphones (other suggestions are welcome)- Sennheiser hd595, Grado sr125/225, AKG 601.  Will the AKG 701 or the sennheiser hd600 be too hard to drive with a cheap (<200) amp?  Also, what are everyones opinions on refurbished headphones?  Are they worth the money you save?

 

I don't really know too much on amps but the headroom total bithead seems good, any other options?

 

Thanks all

post #2 of 49

This is what I'd do.....take care of your source/amp first and get something in the $300 range like an Audio GD FUN or the Matrix Mini-I. Those units serve as a DAC and amp and can plug into your laptop via usb. Those are just ones that initially come to mind, though I'm sure there are others that are just as good. Then I'd get the DBI Pro 700s off ebay for $40. 

 

I can't stress enough how good the DBIs are, and not only "for the money". They're just good, period. I think they normally sell for $180 direct from the manufacturer, but theres a guy on ebay selling "used" ones for $40 + shipping. My brother has a pair and from the looks of it, they are new but probably just kept in a storage closet somewhere collecting dust. They'd be a good beginner audiophile headphone and you can always get something better later on (though you'd have to spend A LOT more for better headphones).

post #3 of 49
Thread Starter 

Ok, this seems like a viable option except for two problems.

 

1. I could not find the DBI's on ebay, therefore if I had to buy them new it would cost alot of money.  If you could give me a link for them on ebay that would be greatly appreciated.

 

2. Both amps are relatively unportable and with shipping the audio gd fun is 250 and the matrix is 350 and since I can't find the suggested DBI headphones for the low price of 40, I don't have enough money to purchase a good enough pair of headphones since wouldn't such an expensive amp/dac be overkill for my relatively average audio files and cheaper headphones due to not enough money left over? 

 

post #4 of 49

source source source.

skimp on the cans if you must, but get a good dac/amp.

 

audio-gd fun was mentioned.

i haven't heard it, but it would be on my list if i were in your shoes.

 

then, get something like an ath-m50, or creative aurvana live, or some other sub-$100 headphone which is well liked on here.

 

later, when you have more bucks, the dac/amp you shelled out for will carry over nicely to your new cans...

 

whatever you do, don't pull the inverse of this.

which is, buying a k702 (for instance), then having to get a udac or something 'cuz you've spent your wad on the headphones.

they will sound clinical, dry, unvinvolving, and you will wonder why you got into this hobby in the first place. 

 

 

post #5 of 49

I believe the DBI sold out on eBay quickly after a glowing review of them was posted on head-fi.

 

Lately the Audinst HUD-MX1 dac+amp ($180 new) has been getting a fair amount of praise. It can work purely on USB power if you need portability, or you can plug in the included wall wart adapter for more juice. I haven't heard a whole lot of headphones (none of the ones you mentioned), but I really like the M50s that I have for rock and metal. 

 

As for refurbished stuff, have a look at the For Sale forums on this site. Most head-fiers take good care of their gear.


Edited by Yoga Flame - 7/6/10 at 11:46am
post #6 of 49

I am a firm believer that anything above 256 kbps won't make a difference to most people.  Look online for any of the bitrate tests, and if the lesser music sounds fine to you, then don't worry about having the best for no reason. If you still enjoy 256kbps, or even 128, then enjoy it.  The less compressed files will do nothing but take up more space.

 

The DBI ebay setup was good for us, but it's like he either found a bunch that fell off the back of a truck, or he got them from some place that was going out of business.  It was nice while it lasted, but you should start looking at regular options.  If you are listening through your laptop and ipod, how portable do you want to be?  You can get yourself some 32 Ohm Beyer DT880 and be done with it.  You won't have to worry about a DAC/amp.  Otherwise, get one of your headphones that you mentioned, and then a udac or e7.  The Grado won't even need an amp, although a small one would help.

post #7 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by hullohihello View Post

Ok, this seems like a viable option except for two problems.

 

1. I could not find the DBI's on ebay, therefore if I had to buy them new it would cost alot of money.  If you could give me a link for them on ebay that would be greatly appreciated.

 

2. Both amps are relatively unportable and with shipping the audio gd fun is 250 and the matrix is 350 and since I can't find the suggested DBI headphones for the low price of 40, I don't have enough money to purchase a good enough pair of headphones since wouldn't such an expensive amp/dac be overkill for my relatively average audio files and cheaper headphones due to not enough money left over? 

 

 

Sorry, I had no idea they sold out. He had about 15 pairs about a month ago when I ordered. For portability, a lot of people like iBasso, though I haven't heard them myself. They have a nice line of DAC/Amp combos that are very portable. Also, do you need open or closed headphones? For your genres, the MS1s seem like they would be a good buy at $109 shipped, leaving you room to get a nice amp/dac. If you need closed, then the vintage AKGs are good for rock type genres, and I just happen to be selling mine .
 

edit: As for bitrates, out of an ipod or my laptop, I personally couldn't hear a difference between 320kbps and FLAC, and it was very hard for me to hear the difference between 256kbps and 320kbps. However, after upgrading to the S:Flo2 and Alo combo, I can definitely hear a difference between all bit rates, and therefore I use mostly FLAC if I can help it.


Edited by clou91 - 7/5/10 at 3:35pm
post #8 of 49

I "started" from scratch and got me a iBasso D4 (AMP/USB DAC) $230 and a pair of ATH-ESW9, $240. Very pleased with it...
Would've been nice with a better amp but since portability was a prioity the D4 is mighty fine.

Later on it'll serve as a DAC/portable amp only.

Point being - I'd get a proper amp/dac first and headphones second. It's impossible to just have one pair :)

post #9 of 49

You can get the Udac also. 

post #10 of 49
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheWuss View Post

source source source.

skimp on the cans if you must, but get a good dac/amp.

 

audio-gd fun was mentioned.

i haven't heard it, but it would be on my list if i were in your shoes.

 

then, get something like an ath-m50, or creative aurvana live, or some other sub-$100 headphone which is well liked on here.

 

later, when you have more bucks, the dac/amp you shelled out for will carry over nicely to your new cans...

 

whatever you do, don't pull the inverse of this.

which is, buying a k702 (for instance), then having to get a udac or something 'cuz you've spent your wad on the headphones.

they will sound clinical, dry, unvinvolving, and you will wonder why you got into this hobby in the first place. 

 

 



 

First of all, thanks for all the replies from everybody.  =) So from what I'm getting out of this post is that a good amp/dac with an average pair of headphones will be alot better than a average amp/dac with a good pair of headphones and as a bonus will be easier to upgrade. So for now I think I'll budget 275 or less on and amp/dac and 100ish on headphones. Besides the audio-gd fun which I am looking further into, any other amp sugggestions in that price range? For headphones are the ATH AD-700 or A-700 good options? They're 90 and 110 respectively on amazon and probably cheaper elsewhere and then I would be able to fit my budget.

post #11 of 49
Thread Starter 

Did some research and came across the maverick audio amp/dac and the beresford tc-7520 amp/dac.  Any opinions on those? 

post #12 of 49

I want to know what the best amp to buy at this pricerange or maybe a bit lower would be as well. I'm in a similar boat as hullohihello and I think I'll be buying either the M50's or the HD25's.

 

Are there any amps closer to ~$150 that are decent enough rather than the $250-300 mark?

 

Didn't mean to hijack the thread if it comes off that way!

post #13 of 49

I had a chance to hear the hfi-2400 headphones and they sounded incredile

post #14 of 49
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by commandercup View Post

I want to know what the best amp to buy at this pricerange or maybe a bit lower would be as well. I'm in a similar boat as hullohihello and I think I'll be buying either the M50's or the HD25's.

 

Are there any amps closer to ~$150 that are decent enough rather than the $250-300 mark?

 

Didn't mean to hijack the thread if it comes off that way!


Good to know I'm not the only one with this kind of decision =).  What I think I'm going to do is to further look into the amps but I'm favoring the maverick amp due to the price of 200.  For headphones though, I'll probably go with AD-700's since from what I'm reading it will suit my music preferences better.  In terms of amps around 150 I can't really think of any and most of them at that price range would probably be portable unless that's what you're looking for.

post #15 of 49

For easy to drive headphones such as the M50s or HD25s you could look into the iBasso T3 at 119 + shipping (~20). 

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