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Amp/DAC confusion

post #1 of 45
Thread Starter 

I am completely new to the headphone audio world. My experience with speakers is a different story. I have been looking into sets like Sennheiser HD25-1 II for portable use and the HD598 for listening at home. I've also recently considered the AKG Q701. This is besides the point. I am curious as to how the AKG701 is being recommended with the FiiO E10, an amp/DAC that has a 3.5mm output. The HD598 and the Q701 have 1/4" headphone jacks. Is there absolutely no trouble in using an adapter for this scenario? I only recently realized that amplifiers are used on 3.5mm headphones. I figured it was not necessary. Would i see an improvement in the HD25-1 II headphones if i used something like the FiiO E10? Any extra details and explanations beyond what I am asking is completely fine. I love to learn.

 

Thanks

post #2 of 45

The AKG Q701's default plug is 1/8" (so it will plug right into the E10's headphone jack). If you need to plug it into a receiver or something, there is a gold-plated 1/4" adapter that screws onto the 1/8" plug. (This adapter plug comes with the Q701; you don't have to pay extra for it or anything.) It looks like this:

 

1/8" to 1/4" plug adapter

 

Does that answer your question?


Edited by wilky61 - 4/23/12 at 1:12pm
post #3 of 45
Thread Starter 

Well that makes sense... I feel stupid. What would be recommended to use as an amp/DAC with the HD598 or HD650.

post #4 of 45

Just to narrow it down what's your price range? They go from the sub $100 E7 to $800.

post #5 of 45

Adapters will always change the SQ, even if it's minimal or even unnoticeable, the laws of physics dictate that.  The AKG K701 may fare success with the E10 but it will take quite a bit of power to full drive them to their potential although I don't wish to exaggerate their impedance because they ain't no HD800 :P.  Have you considered a E7/E9 combo?  There are some people selling it on here for around 125.

post #6 of 45

Judging by how easily my E17 powers my AKG Q701, I see no reason why the E10 should be any different... Their output power specs aren't that far off from one another...

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cassadian View Post

Adapters will always change the SQ, even if it's minimal or even unnoticeable, the laws of physics dictate that.  The AKG K701 may fare success with the E10 but it will take quite a bit of power to full drive them to their potential although I don't wish to exaggerate their impedance because they ain't no HD800 :P.  Have you considered a E7/E9 combo?  There are some people selling it on here for around 125.

 

 

post #7 of 45
Thread Starter 

I'll be honest. Im probably leaning more toward the HD25-1 II for the portability and isolation. I am in school and spend a lot of time at the library wishing I had some isolating headphones. I've not decided on this yet because I want a pair that performs well with video games; something with a better soundstage. Would the E10 offer anything to the HD25-1 II experience? Any better portable headphone recommendation? How about any in home use pairs such as the AK Q701? (Are these a highly regarded pair for the price)?

 

Thanks!

post #8 of 45

Youre thinking of the HD25-1 is good for portable use is good. It cancels out the noise really good and isnt too heavy. It is also playing nice with lots of small headphone amplifiers such as Fiio and GoVibe. It makes a kinda dark sound so maybe you could think of a amplifier that is sort of bright? The AK 701 wont make noise cancelating as well as the Sennheiser headphone will but it is very nice.

post #9 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by DimitriTrush View Post

Youre thinking of the HD25-1 is good for portable use is good. It cancels out the noise really good and isnt too heavy. It is also playing nice with lots of small headphone amplifiers such as Fiio and GoVibe. It makes a kinda dark sound so maybe you could think of a amplifier that is sort of bright? The AK 701 wont make noise cancelating as well as the Sennheiser headphone will but it is very nice.



I don't think I'd describe the HD25 as dark sounding. If anything, I find them lively, a tad bright (though not nearly as bright as my Shure 440's), and very forward.  I don't think there's much of a veil, at least for rock / metal / pop.  I never realized how dark my old M-Audio Q40's were until I got the Shure's and the HD25's and started comparing.  I've been very happy with my JDSLabs C421 (with OPA2227 opamp) with my HD25's.

post #10 of 45

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mutnat View Post



I don't think I'd describe the HD25 as dark sounding. If anything, I find them lively, a tad bright (though not nearly as bright as my Shure 440's), and very forward.  I don't think there's much of a veil, at least for rock / metal / pop.  I never realized how dark my old M-Audio Q40's were until I got the Shure's and the HD25's and started comparing.  I've been very happy with my JDSLabs C421 (with OPA2227 opamp) with my HD25's.

 

Seconded. 

When out of the box, i felt the treble was too much for me. The sound can be compared like a closed back grado..

post #11 of 45
Thread Starter 

Sounds like you all aren't in love with the HD25-1 II. I can grab the HD25-1 II and B&W P5s for 160 each. Which would you get?

Are there any other headphones you would get that are good for all-purpose(music, movies, games), portable use?


Edited by crzycuyler - 4/25/12 at 11:32am
post #12 of 45

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by crzycuyler View Post

Sounds like you all aren't in love with the HD25-1 II. I can grab the HD25-1 II and B&W P5s for 160 each. Which would you get?

Are there any other headphones you would get that are good for all-purpose(music, movies, games), portable use?

 


Oh don't get me wrong, I absolutely ADORE my HD25-1 II's!!!!!  I was merely pointing out that they aren't dark.  What I love about them is that they are quite forward (not laid-back), and very energetic.  They are great for rock, hard rock, metal, pop, some hip hop and rap, etc.  They are slightly warm and just very pleasant to listen to.

 

The P5's I only ever sampled in a store and only for a short time, but they didn't appeal to me, because they were more laid back (which some people prefer!).  I found them a bit dry or boring to my ears personally but lots of reviews speak very highly of them.  I think if you are able to, you should listen to both.  They are very different sounding headphones and likely one will appeal to your tastes more than the other.

 

It also might depend what styles of music you are into.  The P5's might be better for acoustic music, maybe jazz, vocal pop, etc., whereas the HD25's are best on more electric energetic music.

post #13 of 45
Thread Starter 

 


Let me lay things out a bit clearer...

 

Environment: I will be using the headphones at work, the university library, on walk to campus, and at home. 

 

Use: I will be using the headphones for music, computer games, and an occasional movie. The ratio for music to games usage is nearly 50/50, but my main concern is with music. I care more about my audio experience with music than with computer games, but do not want to suffer terribly in my gaming experience.

 

Purpose: To provide the most detailed audio without sacrificing a natural/accurate sound. I am very OCD when it comes to certain areas. I appreciate a balanced sound. I want to hear the most accurate reproduction of the recording. I am a very analytical and intellectual listener. I listen to tracks multiple times through to follow different instruments, rhythms, harmonies, and pick up on unique features. I sing, play guitar, play mandolin, and write music, and I like to hear the details behind what is occurring so that that I can grasp what the artist is doing. If theses descriptions make for a boring headphone, I could look for something a bit more fun, but I cannot stray far from these characteristics. 

 

Music: I listen to Punch Brothers, Iron and Wine,The Civil Wars, Glenn Hansard, The Frames, Nickel Creek, and anything Chris Thile, firstly. Secondly, I will on occasion listen to many genres consisting of The Raconteurs, Incubus, Matchbox Twenty, Jason Mraz, Jamie Cullum, John Mayer, Radiohead, and The White Stripes. 

 

Gaming: Games I play consist of Elders' Scrolls: Oblivion, Skyrim, Fallout 3, Starcraft II, Diablo, Guild Wars, Bioshock. I mostly don't play first person shooters. I love RPGs, and it just so happens that almost all the games I have mentioned have very unique and intricate soundtracks.

 

Summary: I may not know the best thing for me, but what I have concluded thus far is that I need a portable, isolating headphone for my use. Feel free to argue with me. I also believe I need a well balanced, versatile, accurate headphone. This would mean it does not lack significantly in anything. For game use, is bass important? 

 

Models considered thus far:

-Sennheiser HD 25-1 II - The talk of balanced sound, build quality, and isolating ability has excited me. I have not and will not be able to test them. I hear the bass is nice; this helps video games and some genres of music. I hear they are accurate; this fill my OCD craving. I hear they are detailed; this is the most important factor as I am VERY interested in hearing the minute details.

-B&W P5 - I know very little about these. I like the look. I've read they aren't very detailed, but that they have nice mids? This did not have substantial support. 

-Shure SE535 - I know very little about these, as well.

-Audio Technica ATH-ESW9A - I'm hoping that if the HD 25-1 II are not for me, that these will be. The pricing I display in a moment will explain this.. They are pretty attractive. I've read a few nice reviews, but they were few and very subjective. Advice here would be nice.

-Klipsch Image X10i - Someone recommended them before... that is all I know.

-Etymotic ER23-HF3-C - These were recommended and through research I read that they are very accurate IEM. I am not sure if this is a "very accurate for the price" statement, or if it is overall.

-AKG Q701 - Clearly not a portable or isolating headphone, but it is of interest. If it can support much better audio than the portables, then maybe sacrificing my portability and isolations may be worth it. I'll take a fantastic experience on regular occasion, rather than a pretty good one all the time. I've read the AKQ Q701 are pretty raved about for value, detail, balance, and bass. Any thoughts?

-Sennheiser HD650 or HD598 -  I know little of the differences, but my thoughts in this direction are near exact as the AKG Q701 thoughts. 

 

Final Vital tid bit: I work at Best Buy. I get employee discounts. They can be substantial. I also get the discount on replacement plans, and I can get 18 months no interest financing. Therefor, I am wanting to choose from the selection at Best Buy. 

 


Edited by crzycuyler - 4/30/12 at 2:00pm
post #14 of 45

This rules out all of the open-back headphones you listed (e.g., AKG Q701, Sennheiser 598/650, etc.). I enjoy my Q701 greatly, but I would never leave the house with them.

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by crzycuyler View Post

 

Environment: I will be using the headphones at work, the university library, on walk to campus, and at home. 

 

 

post #15 of 45
Thread Starter 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by wilky61 View Post

This rules out all of the open-back headphones you listed (e.g., AKG Q701, Sennheiser 598/650, etc.). I enjoy my Q701 greatly, but I would never leave the house with them.

 

 

 

 

 

I understand this. I also mentioned I might sacrifice portability for quality. Meaning I may not even purchase a set to take out. Maybe I should buy both an at home and on the go headphone.

 

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