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post #3676 of 9696

Headphones > DAC > Amp in terms of change of sound. They are not for outside use as they don't block out sound and I won't exactly say they look street savvy. Perhaps you prefer the more fun sounding kind of headphones? like dt990, maddogs which are in this price range. Changing DAC is the next best thing, but I don't know what is your stereo receiver to tell u how much improvement you'll see..

post #3677 of 9696
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ophiel View Post

Headphones > DAC > Amp in terms of change of sound. They are not for outside use as they don't block out sound and I won't exactly say they look street savvy. Perhaps you prefer the more fun sounding kind of headphones? like dt990, maddogs which are in this price range. Changing DAC is the next best thing, but I don't know what is your stereo receiver to tell u how much improvement you'll see..

 

Personally, I think it goes from headphones (by a ginormous margin) to amp (casual listeners may not notice at first) to dac (may take more intentional listening) in terms of sound change. 

post #3678 of 9696
Quote:
Originally Posted by imackler View Post

 

Personally, I think it goes from headphones (by a ginormous margin) to amp (casual listeners may not notice at first) to dac (may take more intentional listening) in terms of sound change. 

 

+1

 

The amp and DAC will be very subtle compared to the headphones, but I would definitely place the amp ahead of the DAC in influencing the sound you hear. The amp drives the headphone, so power, output impedance, and other factors directly affect how the headphones are driven. The DAC, on the other hand, simply feeds a line-level signal to the amp - impedance and power are essentially irrelevant.

 

What receiver do you have? We may be able to determine its power and output impedance ratings and give you at least some idea.

post #3679 of 9696

Thanks so much for the info! I normally use an aux cable connected to a computer to the receiver but sometimes a $350 CD Player.(Another regretful buy of mine as I can't really tell the difference between it and the computer's aux input.) The receiver is a Cambridge Audio SR10 and the CD player, a CA CD10. I will definitely look into Schiit's return policy though!
I'm not sure what you mean by 'audible distortion', but I am going to need a portable closed headphone anyway so I guess that could be my headphones that I use for college. So far, the Sennheiser Momentums look like the best portable closed headphones for the price.

The biggest problem for me is that I don't have the audiophile ears. I have no idea what really good gear sounds like so I have nothing to compare my gear to. If I can't tell the difference between a $350 CD Player and an aux input to a computer, then maybe audiophile equipment isn't meant for me or there is a problem with what I'm listening with.

I just love listening to music and want the best gear to do justice to the music and help me enjoy it even more.


Edited by twbostick - 7/31/13 at 9:12pm
post #3680 of 9696

when I moved from xonar dx to my current dac I could feel more of a difference than when i added a class A amp to the setup though.. and the amp costs more than the dac. EDIT: well I just got my new amp yesterday, perhaps i need more listening in :D


Edited by Ophiel - 7/31/13 at 9:19pm
post #3681 of 9696
Quote:
Originally Posted by twbostick View Post

Thanks so much for the info! I normally use an aux cable connected to a computer to the receiver but sometimes a $350 CD Player.(Another regretful buy of mine as I can't really tell the difference between it and the computer's aux input.) The receiver is a Cambridge Audio SR10 and the CD player, a CA CD10. I will definitely look into Schiit's return policy though!
I'm not sure what you mean by 'audible distortion', but I am going to need a portable closed headphone anyway so I guess that could be my headphones that I use for college. So far, the Sennheiser Momentums look like the best portable closed headphones for the price.

The biggest problem for me is that I don't have the audiophile ears. I have no idea what really good gear sounds like so I have nothing to compare my gear to. If I can't tell the difference between a $350 CD Player and an aux input to a computer, then maybe audiophile equipment isn't meant for me or there is a problem with what I'm listening with.

I just love listening to music and want the best gear to do justice to the music and help me enjoy it even more.

 

A newer receiver like that will most likely have a separate opamp driven headphone stage rather than powering it off the main amp. This is good and bad. Good because the output impedance is likely lower and bad because there will be limited power. As long as you listen at "reasonable" volumes, I think power will be OK. To test the output impedance, just plug in a cheap pair of earbuds and set the volume to a comfortable level with a song you know. Now swap in your HD600's and without touching the volume knob, see if the Senhheisers are louder or quieter than the earbuds. If the HD600's are quieter, output impedance is low (that's good).

 

That's about all you can do right now - but know that you would probably have to spend a few hundred dollars to get any improvement over your receiver - and even then, it would most likely be a subtle improvement at best.

post #3682 of 9696
Quote:
Originally Posted by palmfish View Post

 

A newer receiver like that will most likely have a separate opamp driven headphone stage rather than powering it off the main amp. This is good and bad. Good because the output impedance is likely lower and bad because there will be limited power. As long as you listen at "reasonable" volumes, I think power will be OK. To test the output impedance, just plug in a cheap pair of earbuds and set the volume to a comfortable level with a song you know. Now swap in your HD600's and without touching the volume knob, see if the Senhheisers are louder or quieter than the earbuds. If the HD600's are quieter, output impedance is low (that's good).

 

That's about all you can do right now - but know that you would probably have to spend a few hundred dollars to get any improvement over your receiver - and even then, it would most likely be a subtle improvement at best.

 

Thanks! I tested it out with cheap earbuds and unfortunately the HD600s seemed to be the same volumes as the earbuds. It might be because earbuds are completely different than over-ear headphones, it was really hard to tell. I'll do more research on the reveiver.
 

post #3683 of 9696
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ophiel View Post

when I moved from xonar dx to my current dac I could feel more of a difference than when i added a class A amp to the setup though.. and the amp costs more than the dac. EDIT: well I just got my new amp yesterday, perhaps i need more listening in :D

 

if u keep the dac still, n change the amp, the sound changes...

if u keep the amp still, n change the dac the sound changes...

if u keep both still n change the cables, the sound changes...

 

if u keep still, the estate-ownership changes.tongue_smile.gif

 

==============================================

 

hmmm...thinking of my own particular journey, if i need to generalise,

the dacs affected the soundstage more, my audiodg nfb10 drastically expanded the soundstage for eg.

 

and the amps, they then to affect the energy n the color of the sound. They do portray their own characteristic soundstage.

concerto, Lyr, asgard are brighter more aggressive...vs the cooler BCL. eg

 

the cables affected the color mostly, but the recent cabledyne cables sounded v neutral,

and instead affected the soundstage drastically...superb buy.

So its hard to say one way or the other, every piece in the setup could affect/unclog your particular setup.


Edited by Lorspeaker - 7/31/13 at 11:39pm
post #3684 of 9696
Quote:
Originally Posted by twbostick View Post

Thanks so much for the info! I normally use an aux cable connected to a computer to the receiver but sometimes a $350 CD Player.(Another regretful buy of mine as I can't really tell the difference between it and the computer's aux input.) The receiver is a Cambridge Audio SR10 and the CD player, a CA CD10.

 

If you can't tell the difference between your computer and a decent* CDP, there are a lot of factors. First, your music could be too compressed (what format are you using?), or the music you listen has less detail, less (acoustic) instruments, less spatial information in the manner that it is recorded. Detail and the number of instruments in the recording can sound very muddy on some systems, basically when you listen to it the presentation can be overwhelming and confusing (on the flipside, some instruments can be unduly emphasized and others not enough) usually because the DAC isn't very good at laying it all out evenly** or the speaker/headphone can't resolve detail well enough.*** Spatial information depends on the microphone configuration during the recording process to simulate their position on the stage. It can be basic stereo recording where one quitar is on the left, the other is on the right, bass and vocals dead center and drums panning left to right depending on which one is struck, or for the most complex spatial info (barring action movies on surround sound), orchestras where playback should allow you to hear where each section is.

 

My first exposure to decent reproduction was actually in a friend's car. That //////Alpine CDA-9833 playing through Steg amps and Focal speakers was really different enough, tonally as well as with the details that I haven't heard in my music before, got me into all this. Going back to my music on relatively less hi-fi equipment, I realized those details are somewhat there - except when I didn't know they were they were so subtle in the background that really critical listening (ie I'm looking specifically for detail I wasn't aware of, instead of focusing on listening to music and then I just hear them there along with the midrange) was necessary.

 

 

*not to say I actually think it's good value at $350, considering the entry-level, regular chassis size larger Cambridge CDP (350C? Not sure) sounded really weird on my HD600 and Meier Cantate - it's putting the percussions in front of all the other instruments.
**be aware many equipment, including cheap ones, can measure "flat" on a test bench with a test tone like a sine sweep, but many can sound profoundly different with real music; not that test tones are useless, because if your gear measures badly at that point, you shouldn't trust its output on real music

***in some cases the amp cannot drive the speaker/headphone properly - for example when fast, solid bass distorts into what sounds more like mudslide

****if you can, try to borrow CDs from friends into car audio. Look for IASCA or EMMA test CDs - they test for this on car audio competitions

 

---------------------

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by twbostick View Post

The biggest problem for me is that I don't have the audiophile ears. I have no idea what really good gear sounds like so I have nothing to compare my gear to. If I can't tell the difference between a $350 CD Player and an aux input to a computer, then maybe audiophile equipment isn't meant for me or there is a problem with what I'm listening with.

I just love listening to music and want the best gear to do justice to the music and help me enjoy it even more.

 

Well, "audiophile ears" can be summed up as three things: healthy ears (because heck if you're hearing things really wrong to start with), love of music, and knowing your music. You love your music enough you'd know what's in it, and if you listen on a better system, you can hear how it changed. Sometimes that's psychological more than physiological - you might be paying attention to some aspects of the music and ignore the ones that change, for example PRAT (search for it in the audio glossary here), which is something that, among my friends, only my old bandmates were able to notice when they use my equipment. At the same time the flipside on the psychological aspect is that some people will claim that putting some rare-earth magnet on top of a CDPlayer manages to improve the sound worth the thousands of dollars they spent on some suspect crystals.

 

---------------------

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by twbostick View Post

I will definitely look into Schiit's return policy though!

 

If you're using the computer, might as well get the Modi if you're getting the Magni, see how it stacks up against your Cambridge CDP. You can always return it if it doesn't do well enough.

 

----------------------

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by twbostick View Post

I'm not sure what you mean by 'audible distortion', but I am going to need a portable closed headphone anyway so I guess that could be my headphones that I use for college. So far, the Sennheiser Momentums look like the best portable closed headphones for the price.

 

I think they'll be driven easily enough even by a smartphone. Another option is to look into replacing the HD600 with something like the K550, or K551 (this is just the more portable version with a mic on the cable). Lots of detail on these, designed originally as a home audio headphone (perhaps for those who have other people in the house who complain about sound leak?) that can be driven by portable devices, and with a few modifications they came up with an even more portable headphone (shorter cable, mic, etc).

post #3685 of 9696

If you're listening to the audio out from the computer, I have your solution!  You want an affordable, quality DAC/Amp ---- get the Audioquest Dragonfly.  Of all my expensive amps/dacs/ and headphones, I think I realized the most eye-opening jump in wow factor when I went from the computer audio out to the Dragonfly.  Plugs into your USB port.

post #3686 of 9696
Quote:

Originally Posted by ProtegeManiac View Post

 

I think they'll be driven easily enough even by a smartphone. Another option is to look into replacing the HD600 with something like the K550, or K551 (this is just the more portable version with a mic on the cable). Lots of detail on these, designed originally as a home audio headphone (perhaps for those who have other people in the house who complain about sound leak?) that can be driven by portable devices, and with a few modifications they came up with an even more portable headphone (shorter cable, mic, etc).

I looked into those recently! They might be the perfect solution for me to use at home and at college. If they sound better than the Momentum then they might be the right headphones to switch to but I will need a way to sell my HD600s or trade them. Do you know of a good way to do that?

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by ProtegeManiac View Post

 

If you can't tell the difference between your computer and a decent* CDP, there are a lot of factors. First, your music could be too compressed (what format are you using?), or the music you listen has less detail, less (acoustic) instruments, less spatial information in the manner that it is recorded. Detail and the number of instruments in the recording can sound very muddy on some systems, basically when you listen to it the presentation can be overwhelming and confusing (on the flipside, some instruments can be unduly emphasized and others not enough) usually because the DAC isn't very good at laying it all out evenly** or the speaker/headphone can't resolve detail well enough.*** Spatial information depends on the microphone configuration during the recording process to simulate their position on the stage. It can be basic stereo recording where one quitar is on the left, the other is on the right, bass and vocals dead center and drums panning left to right depending on which one is struck, or for the most complex spatial info (barring action movies on surround sound), orchestras where playback should allow you to hear where each section is.

Pretty much all of my music is 16 bit lossless audio ripped from CDs. I'll probably still use the CD to player to listen to full albums without interruptions from the computer. If I did get the K550s or K551s then I don't think I'd be too concerned about the amping issue with my receiver as I'd probably get a DAC/amp for college and not take the receiver.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by BobJS View Post

If you're listening to the audio out from the computer, I have your solution!  You want an affordable, quality DAC/Amp ---- get the Audioquest Dragonfly.  Of all my expensive amps/dacs/ and headphones, I think I realized the most eye-opening jump in wow factor when I went from the computer audio out to the Dragonfly.  Plugs into your USB port.

I have no idea how a DAC/Headphone amp could be that small but I'll look into it! I was thinking about getting a DAC/amp that also had an RCA ouput and more digital inputs like coax and toslink to connect my Blu Ray Player and CD Player to so I could get the most out of it but the Audioquest Dragonfly would be perfect for potable use with my laptop!

post #3687 of 9696

I believe the DAC is a bigger impact than the amp but it depends on what source you are coming from.  My dad recently upgraded his stereo system from the late 80s with an outboard DAC instead of his old Technics CDP.  The change in sound was not only instantly apparent but it totally changed the tonal balance.  Obviously the new DAC is going to outpace a 30 year old CDP but when you upgrade from from something built in the last few years, it will likely not yield quite as staggering results.

post #3688 of 9696

I absolutley love those headphones! Anyone who owns them are very lucky! Hopefully someday I can own a pair!

post #3689 of 9696

I love the naturalness and warmth of the sound, but really not a fan of the lack of details.

post #3690 of 9696
Quote:
Originally Posted by tonyleonhart View Post

I love the naturalness and warmth of the sound, but really not a fan of the lack of details.

What were you amping with?  The detail can sometimes appear less apparent than the DT800 or K701 - but it's all there.

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