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Possible to not notice hifi?

post #1 of 34
Thread Starter 

Hello and all that jazz!

 

I recently, as in tonight, got my pair of ATH-AD700 headphones in.  I'm just not 'getting' it I guess.

 

A few years back I picked up a $12 pair of cheapy sony in-ear buds to listen to stuff at work on my PSP and at home on my computer.  Later, I got myself a $20 pair of some kind of skull-candy in ear buds at a discount store.  They were all fine and jazz.  I wore headphones a lot.  Continually really.  After a tax return I figured I should actually INVEST in something that would really make my sound come alive and be more enjoyable.

 

I spent $129 at Best Buy to get a pair of BOSE AE1 headphones for expensive.  Well, that's not true.  First, I picked up some BOSE in ear buds I can't remember what were, and I was like, "This must be how good music sounds!" and had the money kicking around so I got them.  Much discomfort later, I returned them and got some Beats in ear buds.  Those were also quite horrible feeling so I took THOSE back and proceeded to try the BOSE AE1.  They were VERY comfortable to listen to and were good.

 

Those tore, so I was able to get any headphones I wanted.  I took those back and picked up I think the Logitech MX51 headset set, figured I didn't need the headset and took them back and got a cheapy $15 skull-candy in-ear buds.  I deliberated, signed up here and read a lot.  I asked questions and settled on the ATH-AD700.  I finally managed to secure myself a pair and I put them in, picked a list of my favorite songs and songs with the highest bit-rate I had!

 

Underwhelming.

 

It sounds 'good'.  Likewise, the $15 buds I just had in my ears prior to this were 'good'.  Is it possible that a person just can't 'get' or 'feel' hi-fi like anyone else can?  Should I look into trying better audio equipment outside the cans?  Soundcard?  Amps?  Is this something that is a waste of my time as refined audio is lost on me?

 

Thanks if anyone can shine some insight onto this.

post #2 of 34

Same thing for me until I bought the Xonar Essence STX sound card. AD700's sounded pretty regular from on-board sound.

 

Get a good DAC (and an amp if your headphones really benefit from one) and you'll hear a big difference :). A good DAC will be an investment if you continue to try new headphones. The Xonar Essence has an excellent DAC and a good headphone amplifier built in (for the money) that will benefit low impedance headphones.


Edited by Arnotts - 6/10/11 at 8:14pm
post #3 of 34

When I first bought my Ms-1 I didn't think they were that great. It took me a year and a cmoy to really appreciate the sound. In terms of the AD700, what they really lack is excitement. By the way it would help if you burned them in before listening to them again.

post #4 of 34

You don't know what your listening to probably.  Did you try switching back and forth between the two?  If you still don't hear any difference, i would save your money and be happy! sound is subjective.

 

i recommend a totally different sound first. Try sony xb500  about 50 bucks.  See what differences you see then.

post #5 of 34

If the headphones aren't 'doing it' for you, it's better to just move on and try another headphone.

You need to kinda figure out what you don't like about your current headphones, to try and make a better decision when picking out your next one.

 

I had the AD700 for about a year, if you aren't happy with them right now, I personally wouldn't bother upgrading your DAC/amp, it won't make you suddenly love the AD700's (I've had them with onboard, an essence STX and an Audio-gd dac19).

 

Who knows, maybe they'll grow on you =P. It's quite rare to be happy with your first purchases, especially if you have no idea what kind of sound signature you will like, since you won't know until you hear it for yourself!

post #6 of 34
Thread Starter 

Unfortunately since I use a laptop, I doubt I'll be upgrading the sound card anytime soon.  But... er... I guess I am too newbish but I have no idea what use converting things to analog would be, unless you mean a DAC to go to an amp to use.  I guess I'll see what else I can do, but I pretty much burned my entire budget just getting these, so that'll be a bit out from here. :3

 

... and what is a cmoy?

 

As far as sound signature, honestly I have absolutely and positively no clue what that means or how to practically quantify it at all.  I'm not exactly useful in diagnosing what's not 'right'.  I just can't find any pair of headphones, having tried five pair now in the 100-150$ range that just blow me away.  They make me nod my head a bit and go "It sounds good." in a deadpan way.


Edited by Tinari - 6/10/11 at 8:24pm
post #7 of 34

What song are you listening to with it?  AD700 is notorious for a lack of bass, so that might weigh in heavily on your underwhelmed response.  The quality of recording and mastering of a song also goes a ways in bringing out the best in a headphone, as well as your source.  My iMac's intel hd is rather decent, so I really couldn't tell where people were coming from until I recently went back to my mom's to listen to music on the old G5 iMac I gave her, and the integrated audio in that was pretty awful.  Likely chance that the audio you have in your laptop might be a lemon as well.

 

I will say one that that awed me on the AD700 even without critical listening of the best of files was its treble response.  I was so used to listening to the computer speakers, iBuds, and some other warm headphones with severe treble roll-off, that when I first heard the treble coming out of them, I nearly shed a tear in how beautiful and sparkly it was.


Edited by TMRaven - 6/10/11 at 8:33pm
post #8 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by deadlylover View Post

If the headphones aren't 'doing it' for you, it's better to just move on and try another headphone.

You need to kinda figure out what you don't like about your current headphones, to try and make a better decision when picking out your next one.

 

I had the AD700 for about a year, if you aren't happy with them right now, I personally wouldn't bother upgrading your DAC/amp, it won't make you suddenly love the AD700's (I've had them with onboard, an essence STX and an Audio-gd dac19).

 

Who knows, maybe they'll grow on you =P. It's quite rare to be happy with your first purchases, especially if you have no idea what kind of sound signature you will like, since you won't know until you hear it for yourself!


With onboard they sound like any other pair of headphones. With a proper DAC they sound a LOT better.

 

If you want to try out more headphones in the future, get a decent DAC (and amp) first. The difference between regular on board and having a good DAC/amp is pretty damn big, and for me they made me really enjoy listening to the AD700's instead of thinking "well these sound the same as my $20 headphones". Also you'll be able to use the DAC/amp with the headphones you use in the future. Remember that LISTENING to headphones before buying them is VERY important - going by subjective reviews and making a blind purchase isn't good. Everyone has their own preferences and what someone considers their favourite headphone you may consider absolute rubbish.

 

A cmoy is basically a cheap DIY headphone amp. They can be bought pre-made from places like JDSLabs for about $60, or you can actually DIY :). A cmoy is just the basic design though, different cmoy's made by different people will all perform differently.

 

EDIT: Also make sure you're listening to either 320kbps MP3's or lossless audio (FLAC/ALAC/CD quality). Low bit rate MP3's sound pretty dull on good setups, but high bit rate or lossless songs sound fantastic (provided they're recorded and mastered decently as well). Remember that to hear the best quality audio everything in the "audio chain" needs to be good - good quality songs (high bit rate), good quality DAC, good quality amp and good quality headphones. An amp is only "necessary" if your headphones REALLY benefit from one; all headphones benefit from amping to some degree but some benefit so little they really don't need one. AD700's don't benefit much from one.

 


Edited by Arnotts - 6/10/11 at 8:37pm
post #9 of 34

I say return them (or sell them on the FS forums) and pick up a pair of M50's. They have a very enjoyable, detailed sound and there's a reason they're highly recommended here. They also don't need an amp.

 

EDIT: I also recommend buying the M50's on the FS threads if you don't mind used. Most likely, they'll be fully burned in and you'll definitely get a better price ($100 more or less) than buying new. Just my 2 cents. I hope you find the headphone you're happy with.


Edited by roma101 - 6/10/11 at 8:39pm
post #10 of 34

AD700's are also excellent headphones for classical and jazz music, but lack the impact, bass and energy to really be enjoyable (imo) with rock, electronica etc.

post #11 of 34
Thread Starter 

I actually played a game or two with these and I have to say that really changed my tune drastically.

 

While my music may not be as punchy I guess as I wanted (the song in particular was http://ocremix.org/remix/OCR00969/ which is a 160kbps MP3 file, a few 256kbps files in my audio directory and one 320kbps.

 

But I say again.  The quality difference when playing GAMES really just made the sounds quite detailed and crisp.  So these headphones are great, but NOT for the reason I intended, hah.

post #12 of 34

you need better quality ! 160 is terrible L3000.gif

post #13 of 34

I'd say come back when you have a full sized amp, high quality DAC, some good cables, and some 24bit/192kHz files.  You'll notice right away.

post #14 of 34
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by wdahm519 View Post

I'd say come back when you have a full sized amp, high quality DAC, some good cables, and some 24bit/192kHz files.  You'll notice right away.



Well, looks like I have me a goal.  I'll hold you personally  accountable for my results.  (just kidding! :p)

post #15 of 34

That song you linked to was rather interesting.  Definitely sounds nice on a headphone with good soundstage to accentuate its depth, but also one with good bass impact to give it body and punch, which the AD700 does not have.  However most of what I find interesting in the song-- its depth and treble, can be accomplished by AD700.  I think you might consider an entry level dac/amp or a change in headphone for music.

 

I'm along the same lines with the AD700.  I use them for gaming, but I do not use them for music anymore.  I wanted something with the sondstaging, treble and comfort of the AD700, but the bass extension of the M50, so my next headphone was the DT990, which I've kept so far.

 

Edit:  I did a quick a/b and the AD700 still sounds really nice with it even compared to the DT990 while hooked up to the dac/amp.  I'm thinking the problem might be the dac/amp in your computer?  Or you're really after some serious deep bass with impact-- which this song actually does not provide.


Edited by TMRaven - 6/10/11 at 9:26pm
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