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Best office set up for under $800

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 

I'm a recovering audiophile who was forced to sell his dream system during a move to San Francisco. My current living situation requires that I listen to most of my music at work.  I'm currently listening  with some Sennheiser HD 280 Pro's, but they are falling apart after a few flights.  I find the soundstage lacking a bit and not enough definition in the over all sound.

 

I'd like to invest in a top notch set up for the office.  I sit close to people, so I need headphones that do not leak sound much.  Most of my listening will be from my MacBook Pro (iTunes, Rdio, Pandora, etc) though I may invest in an external hard drive and store my CD's in lossless.  I have about $800 on the set up not including the hard drive.  

 

I'm looking for some suggestions on headphones and amp so I can track down places to listen.  I can lock up the headphones and amp in my desk overnight, so portability isn't a huge issue.  I like big sound stages, tight/punchy bass that doesn't over power.  I'm looking for a set up that is comfortable and non-fatiguing.  I mostly listen to rock, anything from Pink Floyd to The Arcade Fire.  I also love Jazz, especially Mingus.

 

Looking forward to hearing suggestions.

post #2 of 9

- Source: via USB on your Macbook: Zero DAC + upgraded opamps ($125, you can easily upgrade the opamps yourself, no soldering)

- Amplifier: Fiio E9 ($110)

 

This leaves $565 for a headphone allowing you to buy something REALLY nice like, for example:

 

- Beyerdynamic DT770 250ohm (closed headphone, circumaural, bassmonster, $250)

- Fischer Audio FA-002w (closed headphone, circumaural, wood, balanced sound, $300)

- Ultrasone PRO 900 (closed headphone, circumaural, hifi bassmonster/allrounder $500)

- Denon AH-D5000 (closed headphone, wood, circumaural, very musical, $600)

 

- Earsonics SM3 (universal in ear monitor, $350)

- 1964Ears Triple driver custom in ear monitor ($400 + ear impressions)

 

No need to spend much on the DAC (source) and amp. The headphone makes the sound. The prices I mentioned are estimates. 


Edited by Negakinu - 4/29/11 at 11:40am
post #3 of 9
Thread Starter 

Thanks Negakinu.  I noticed that most of these are described as bassmonsters.  While I dig a tight, punchy bass, I don't tend to like overly bass-y sound.  Any other headphones you think would fit this or is the bassmonster moniker here more punchy than overpowering?

post #4 of 9

How about something like the Headstage Arrow 12HE and the Ultrasone HFI 2400 (open) phones or HFI 780 (closed)? That setup will probably look a little disappointing, but should still make you smile :)

 

OTOH Denons are always recommended when it comes to closes headphones with a huge soundstage, but I have never heard a set of Denons myself - so I can't share my opinion on these.

post #5 of 9
Thread Starter 

Also, of the headphones mentioned above, I'm leaning toward the Ultrasone's as Amazon has them for $397 new right now and the reviews seem stellar.  They appear a bit small though.  Do they fit comfortably over the ears?  Do you still recommend the Zero DAC and Filio E9 with these above other set ups?

post #6 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by bgupton View Post

Thanks Negakinu.  I noticed that most of these are described as bassmonsters.  While I dig a tight, punchy bass, I don't tend to like overly bass-y sound.  Any other headphones you think would fit this or is the bassmonster moniker here more punchy than overpowering?



Then you should probably take a look the Beyerdynamic DT250, very comfy even if somebody accidently locks you in the office and no bassmonsters - at least from my point of view, and they are covering my ears right now :)

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by bgupton View Post

Also, of the headphones mentioned above, I'm leaning toward the Ultrasone's as Amazon has them for $397 new right now and the reviews seem stellar.  They appear a bit small though.  Do they fit comfortably over the ears?  Do you still recommend the Zero DAC and Filio E9 with these above other set ups?


IIRC they are the same size as the HD280. The HFI 2400 (open) is more comfy for me, but thats because I do not like the pleather/leather pads.

 

The Zero DAC is surely a good pick if you read through the threads, I would go a for DAC/AMP combo at least for the office. Something like the Styleaudio Carat Ruby2, etc. there are plenty of choices right now - if you go for one of the chinese DAC/AMP combos you should be able to grab something in the "higher end" class and stay well within your limits.

 


Edited by smuh - 4/29/11 at 2:09pm
post #7 of 9

I agree with the Zero recommendation it's a good starting out point, but there really is no need for a Fiio E9, the upgraded Zero should suffice. On occasion I use the Zero with my 600 Ohm Beyers and it powers them just fine, albeit not as full sounding as my tube amp but I would be happy with this for an office setup.

post #8 of 9
Thread Starter 

Where are some good places to purchase an upgraded Zero if I go that route?

post #9 of 9

Ebay although shipping from China is around $50... now and again they appear in the FS forum.

 

OPA627 would be considered the newer chip however I greatly preferred the LT1364 which is dual channel.


Edited by Graphicism - 4/29/11 at 2:33pm
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