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Sennheiser HD598 + Schiit Asgard or Valhalla

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 

Hi, I'm relatively new in the headphone sector and I am looking to buy a new pair of headphones and an amp. I like the look and what I've heard about the Sennheiser HD598s and I'm pretty dead set on those. I'd like to pair them with a nice amplifier. I will be using the headphones primarily on my Macbook. I really like the Schiit line of amplifiers and I'm wondering if there are many opinions on these headphones and amplifiers. The solid state amplifier is 250 and the tube amp is 350. I've heard a ton about how warm and pleasant the tube amp sound is but I'm just wondering if the step up in sound is worth the extra bill. I will at some point be looking into a portable amp for my iPod so any suggestions as to good portable amps would be good. And last are there any more components I should look into adding between my computer and my headphones? A DAC perhaps? I'm just looking for some guidance here because I have very little knowledge of how to get started into this.

 

Thanks for your help in advance.

post #2 of 18

Well firstly, welcome to Head-Fi, get out while you still can!

 

A DAC is always helpful, garbage in garbage out, however, the HD598 isn't the most amazing headphone and may not scale all too well with better DACs or Amps. I haven't actually heard the 598 but am just trying to help out. I have respect for the Sennheiser brand, so am sure its a quality phone.

 

The HD555 I think can be modded quite easily to be the same as the HD598, if price is a problem, maybe you would like to look into that option.

 

Both Schiits are good quality, lots of positive things about them. They should tackle your 598 without blinking. I guess it depends on what you want to use them for. What are your genre preferences?

 

Schiit brought out their tube to tackle the harder to drive, analytical sounding, K701, whereas, the Asgard from memory was designed with the Sennheiser HD650 in mind. Since you are looking at a Sennheiser, I would suggest reading up a bit on the Asgard to confirm that and if true, have a serious think about the Asgard. I personally would prefer to buy the Asgard as a prefer solid state amps to their tube counterparts but thats just me.

 

PS. Headstage Arrow is an awesome portable amp, if you want to fork out that much that is.

 

 

Will

post #3 of 18

Oop just remembered the HD598 is the new release, the HD595 was the one I was thinking of.

 

Ignore everything HD595 related haha, sorry. Haven't read anything on the HD598 but still the Asgard-sennheiser bond still aplies.

 

 

Will

post #4 of 18
Thread Starter 

Ya I read mostly good reviews on the 598s but if people who have tried them on here think otherwise then I will look elsewhere.

 

I'm thinking that for now I am gonna get the headphones and an amp, still undecided between the two amps, as well as a portable amp. Later on down the road once I recoup some of my losses I'll start looking into a DAC and another pair of nicer headphones.

 

My musical tastes vary widely. I listen to rock, classical, punk (high quality headphones not really necessary here), hip/hop, some jazz, a bit of everything really. I'll give anything a chance but I'm very particular with my music in general.

 

I did read that the Asgard does well on Sennheisers but I assume the tube amp does too. I guess the tube amp has some geeky allure to it because it has the tubes showing plus of course what I heard about the tube amp sound. Also would the Valhalla be more future proof for new higher quality headphones down the road.

 

Thanks Will for the info.

 

Edit: Also I've been noodling around in my itunes with CD import settings, if I set it to import in WAV format I can choose the sample rate and what not. Should I have those settings at 48kHz/16-bit/Stereo? It seems like the highest they offer. Does itunes work as a ripping software or do you lose a ton of quality through itunes?  

post #5 of 18

Did you get either of the Schiit amps? Any comments regarding the sound of the combo?

 

I'm also in a market for an amp for 598's.. First I was set on Indeed G2 but now I've started to think that maybe I'll buy something fancier anyway later, so why not do it right away ;)

post #6 of 18
I don't have a 598, but I truly enjoy the Asgard with the 650s. The Asgard was voiced for Senns so I think that would be your best bet, especially since the Valhalla isn't the best match for low impedance headphones like the 598s.
post #7 of 18

schitt asgard rofl

post #8 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Caphead78 View Post

I don't have a 598, but I truly enjoy the Asgard with the 650s. The Asgard was voiced for Senns so I think that would be your best bet, especially since the Valhalla isn't the best match for low impedance headphones like the 598s.


My problem is that in my opinion 598's are too bright. I love their clarity, detailing and soundstage, but they are fatiquing, and low end is missing some authority. I've never listened 650's, but they are said to be quite dark, am I right? So what suits 650 would not necessarily suit 598, especially when my "problem" seems to be the exact thing that is most different in the sound in those two headphones?

 

In Schiit webpage they says that Valhalla is good match with "all" the Senn's, including 598. I still hesitate though.. I've always thought that so get rid of this type of problem I'd need/want to buy a tube/hybrid amp.

post #9 of 18

I have both Schiit amps, and in my experience the Valhalla is actually brighter than the Asgard.

 

As a rule of thumb, the Asgard is typically better with lower impedance headphones, whereas the Valhalla is more suited to higher impedance headphones.  The Asgard sounds great with 'phones below 100 ohms, like Denons, Grados, or Audio Technicas.  The Valhalla, on the other hand, really makes the 600 ohm Beyers sing, like the DT880/600 or T1.

 

The higher-end Sennheiser 'phones are kind of in the middle impedance-wise, at 300 ohms.  I've tried both the Sennheiser HD650 and HD800 with both Schiit amps, and both sound very good on either amp.  However, I'd probably give the Asgard a slight edge with the Sennheisers, just for the slightly cleaner sound that solid state seems to offer.

post #10 of 18
Dredging up a dormant thread to add my two-cents-worth...

For quite a while I've owned an HD595 which is very similar (I'd think) to the HD598. Used to have a portable amp for it but lately been just using A/V receiver headphone jacks or directly from various iPods.

I just acquired a slightly-used Asgard and it works brilliantly with the '595. No doubt it would work well for the '598 if anyone is so inclined. The portable amp I used to own (Portaphile V2^2) sounded good but this new desktop amp is the real Schiit, pardon the term.
post #11 of 18


You must be VERY sensitive to treble then. I am somewhat, but the HD-598 to me is very non fatiguing in every way (for my ears). I actually find my HD-650 brighter. If you find the HD-598 bright, I'd hate to see what you'd think of the Grado 325i! Sometimes I can't know for sure if a headphone's signature will bother me until I try it. Somehow the K601's lower treble really tires my ears out, but the K701 didn't at all. It seems to usually be the other way around. BTW do you find the HD-555 or HD-598 also bright? It could be you're extremely sensitive to certain frequencies. I find it amusing how the DT-990's treble doesn't bother me, but the treble of the K601 and even the SRH-750DJ does!

 

I think if you found the HD-598 too bright, the newer HD-650 wouldn't be a good idea. The one ones might be OK, but I'm  not 100% sure on that. Strangely enough my old HD-600 wasn't as bright to my ears as my new HD-650. HD-650 is still non-fatiguing for me though.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dogilainen View Post





My problem is that in my opinion 598's are too bright. I love their clarity, detailing and soundstage, but they are fatiquing, and low end is missing some authority. I've never listened 650's, but they are said to be quite dark, am I right? So what suits 650 would not necessarily suit 598, especially when my "problem" seems to be the exact thing that is most different in the sound in those two headphones?

 

In Schiit webpage they says that Valhalla is good match with "all" the Senn's, including 598. I still hesitate though.. I've always thought that so get rid of this type of problem I'd need/want to buy a tube/hybrid amp.



 

post #12 of 18

I have the Asgard and it works extremely well with the HD-598 and HD-650. It drives them both with ease of course. The Asgard is my first desktop amp and I have zero complaints about it. It's not a perfect match for 600 OHM headphones, but it can drive them quite well. BTW it seemed to be a great match with the Denon D2000 for me also. I don't like that headphone unamped or with a portable amp that much, but I loved it on the Asgard.

 

Sometimes I like to use a docked Ipod touch as a source with ALAC files and 600 ohm headphones generally have to be cranked to 90%. When I use a good CD player like my Oppo, then it's only halfway or up to 60% volume (K601 needed to be at 60% with the Oppo). It's done well with everything I've thrown at it. Somehow I'm not impressed with the K240 Sextett out of it, but I think that's only because I'm not a huge fan of that headphone anyway. I had no problem with the K701 on it either, but I guess it's not a 100% perfect match. I wasn't about to go by a new amp just for drive my K701 anyway. People seem to want to criticize the K701 and the Asgard, but I had zero issues with that combination.

 

Got my Asgard on the forums here for $200. Even at $250 it's a pretty good deal. I have no reason to upgrade for awhile, but if I do I might get a Woo Audio tube amp. I honestly don't listen or like music enough to justify getting a $700+ amp.

 

 

post #13 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by tdockweiler View Post

Got my Asgard on the forums here for $200. Even at $250 it's a pretty good deal. I have no reason to upgrade for awhile, but if I do I might get a Woo Audio tube amp. I honestly don't listen or like music enough to justify getting a $700+ amp.

 

 


Well since you mention the HD650, in a few days I will receive one of those I purchased yesterday. Both the Asgard (c. $200 for mine, as well) and the HD650 are forum FS page purchases. At used prices, something close to an affordable setup in my book.

I think the only way I'd feel any urge to upgrade beyond that point would be if I intended to use a source other than an iPod and play something other than indifferently mastered content in a mixture of ALAC and 256K AAC formats. But I'm not, I like keeping everything on my iPods and listening both at home and on the go. Past a certain point of sound quality, convenience rules.
post #14 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by tdockweiler View Post

I have the Asgard and it works extremely well with the HD-598 and HD-650. It drives them both with ease of course. The Asgard is my first desktop amp and I have zero complaints about it. It's not a perfect match for 600 OHM headphones, but it can drive them quite well. BTW it seemed to be a great match with the Denon D2000 for me also. I don't like that headphone unamped or with a portable amp that much, but I loved it on the Asgard.

 

Sometimes I like to use a docked Ipod touch as a source with ALAC files and 600 ohm headphones generally have to be cranked to 90%. When I use a good CD player like my Oppo, then it's only halfway or up to 60% volume (K601 needed to be at 60% with the Oppo). It's done well with everything I've thrown at it. Somehow I'm not impressed with the K240 Sextett out of it, but I think that's only because I'm not a huge fan of that headphone anyway. I had no problem with the K701 on it either, but I guess it's not a 100% perfect match. I wasn't about to go by a new amp just for drive my K701 anyway. People seem to want to criticize the K701 and the Asgard, but I had zero issues with that combination.

 

Got my Asgard on the forums here for $200. Even at $250 it's a pretty good deal. I have no reason to upgrade for awhile, but if I do I might get a Woo Audio tube amp. I honestly don't listen or like music enough to justify getting a $700+ amp.

 

 

Can you compare the Asgard with the FiiO E7 + E9 combo when paired with the HD598? 

 

post #15 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by khoi14021993 View Post

Can you compare the Asgard with the FiiO E7 + E9 combo when paired with the HD598? 

 



Honestly I really don't remember! It seems like an eternity and I rarely used the E9 with the HD-598. Based on my experiences, the HD-598 doesn't really benefit from amp upgrades all that much as long as it's driven well. I never used the E7 with the E9 for more than 10 minutes. I returned the E7 because it made all my headphones have painfully bright and fatiguing. When I removed the E7 I didn't have this issue.

 

E9 seems to be a fairly bright amp, so maybe E7+E9 is like a double whammy. I didn't find the E7 all that neutral as a DAC. Most say it is.

 

I remember with my HD-650, the Asgard wasn't as clear sounding as with the E9. Someone will hate me for saying that, but that's the impression I got.

 

I think the Asgard is overkill for the HD-598, but for $200 used it's not bad. I'm not a fan of the Asgard at all, but it sounded great with my HD-600. Not as good with the HD-650 for whatever reason.

 

BTW Am I the only one that feels like the E9 makes the soundstage of a headphone artificially huge?! I don't know how this is possible, but it's just weird..

 

Now for the K702 I'd take the E9 over the Asgard any day. The E9 actually made me like the K702 a bit more.

 

I think the Asgard SHOULD be perfect for the HD-598 if you want to spend the extra money.

 

If I only used the HD-598 as my only headphone I'd not buy a $200 desktop amp and just use a $100 Total Airhead biggrin.gif

 

BTW the Total Bithead (amp+dac) is on sale for $129. Not bad! The Airhead itself can even drive the HD-600/650 quite well!

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