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Grado PS500 with Asus Xonar Essence ST Sound Card

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 

Hi,

 

I'm looking at getting the Grado PS500 to pair with my Asus Xonar Essence ST card.

I own the Senn PC360, Westone 4 and Bose Quiet Comfort and Bowers & Wilkins P5 so as you can see, I'm really new to high end headphones. Despite doing research online, it is hard to actually understand what is being said.

 

I have a few questions and would be grateful if anyone could help enlighten me:

 

1) Do I need an AMP? I'll be using the grado PS500 with my PC.

I understand that getting an AMP will increase sound quality but I can't afford an expensive one at the moment.

What amp would you recommend to pair with the ps500? Whats an okay amp? And whats a highly recommended one (so I can start saving for it)?

 

2) I listen to a variety of music. Classical. Heavy Metal. Pop. Old Skool RocknRoll. Triphop. Ambience. Prog Metal.

My favourite band is TOOL though currently I've been listening to a lot of Lana Del Rey, Puscifer and Mazzy Star and the occasional lamb of god.

Would you recommend the Gardo ps500? 

I read up online where people would compare the ps500 to the sr1i, he500 and hd650. 

Out of these 4 headphones, given the kind of music I listen to, which would you recommend?

 

3) Question about impedance: I read somewhere that if headphones have low impedance and you connect it to a powerful amp, it will blow up? According to the xonar essence st website, the sound card supports up to 600ohms -- will this be detrimental to the ps500 since it is only 36ohms? 

 

Thank you for taking the time to read my questions.

Advice appreciated!

 

Best,

J

post #2 of 12

I own three pairs of Grados and the PS500s are my favorite. I even prefer them over the Beyerdynamic T1, which are double the price. Don't get me wrong, I love my T1s...but I love the Grados just a tad more. 

 

I run mine out of my iPhone, Kindle, and laptop all the time and they do great. You can get a little more performance out of them with an amp, however, so I woudl encourage you to do as you said and consider that for a future purchase....but you can get plenty of enjoyment out of them directly from the above mentioned sources. The 500s have a bit more extension in the low end than the other Grados, which makes them quite good with most genres of music. If you're a bass head and like a really potent, thumping low end, then these are probably not the best choice. If you like a natural, crisp low end that stays true to the recording, you're on the right track. 

 

Hard to say whether you'd prefer them over the other headphones you mentioned, because we all have different preferences and those are very highly regarded headphones. You'll find quite a few glowing reviews on the Grados, as well, though...

 

Hope that helps a bit...I'm sure others will chime in with more feedback, as well. Good luck. 

post #3 of 12

I have the 325is and the Xonar Essence STX.

1st question:

With that card you don't need an external amp. The sound quality is very good and it has an integrated amp if you need it. It has 3 gain levels. I use it  in normal level for the 325 (no problem), D2000 and LCD-2 (when i had them); medium level for K701 and never had to use it in high level.

I also had the Burson HA-160 and the Rega DAC (1200€  in total) and the difference in sound quality respect Asus Xonar Essence STX was minimal with the 325is, although it was more obvious with LCD-2 and even more with K701.

So no. You don't need an amp. At least with the 325 that I suppose are very similar to PS500 in amplification needs.

2nd question:

I haven't heard the PS500 so I can't tell. But for what I have read the RS1 could be better for the more aggresive genres (rock, metal, heavy...). But don't trust me, I haven't heard them.

I'm very happy with the 325is and I use them for rock, old-rock,metal, prog rock/metal, thrash, folk, acoustic,... But I have just purchased the RS1 to upgrade the 325 and now I'm waiting for them to arrive.

I want to buy the PS500 too and then compare all of them.

3rd question:
No. As I said the Xonar has three gain levels. In normal level you can drive the headphones without any problem.

Regards,
KWK.


Edited by Kowalski74 - 6/7/12 at 2:48pm
post #4 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by JoelS87 View Post
I'm looking at getting the Grado PS500 to pair with my Asus Xonar Essence ST card.

I own the Senn PC360, Westone 4 and Bose Quiet Comfort and Bowers & Wilkins P5 so as you can see, I'm really new to high end headphones. Despite doing research online, it is hard to actually understand what is being said.

I have a few questions and would be grateful if anyone could help enlighten me:

1) Do I need an AMP? I'll be using the grado PS500 with my PC.

I understand that getting an AMP will increase sound quality but I can't afford an expensive one at the moment.

What amp would you recommend to pair with the ps500? Whats an okay amp? And whats a highly recommended one (so I can start saving for it)?

2) I listen to a variety of music. Classical. Heavy Metal. Pop. Old Skool RocknRoll. Triphop. Ambience. Prog Metal.

My favourite band is TOOL though currently I've been listening to a lot of Lana Del Rey, Puscifer and Mazzy Star and the occasional lamb of god.

Would you recommend the Gardo ps500? 

I read up online where people would compare the ps500 to the sr1i, he500 and hd650. 

Out of these 4 headphones, given the kind of music I listen to, which would you recommend?

3) Question about impedance: I read somewhere that if headphones have low impedance and you connect it to a powerful amp, it will blow up? According to the Xonar Essence ST website, the sound card supports up to 600ohms -- will this be detrimental to the ps500 since it is only 36ohms? 

The grado PS500 is 32-Ohm

The Essence ST comes with 3 gain settings, <64-Ohm, 64~300-Ohm, >300~600-Ohm.

So you would just use the "<64-Ohm" with the 32-ohm PS500.

The Asus Xonar Essence's built in amplifier comes with a impedance of 10-Ohms, which means it works best with 100-Ohm or higher headphones.

But the Xonar Essence should still do a fairly good job of driving the PS500

External add-on headphone amplifiers can come with a low impedance (under 10-Ohm), but I do not think it would be worth it, unless your willing to spend at least $200 (or more) for an add-on headphone amplifier.

post #5 of 12
Thread Starter 

Heya Guys,

 

Thank you so much for your answers!

I still don't have my grado.. aircraft problem, shipment got delayed till monday :( 

I am however curious though, what amps would you guys suggest?

Say something around $200, and something around $500?

 

Thanks!!

Joel

post #6 of 12
What happened to the phrase "classic rock?"
post #7 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by JoelS87 View Post
Thank you so much for your answers!

I still don't have my grado.. aircraft problem, shipment got delayed till monday :( 

I am however curious though, what amps would you guys suggest?

Say something around $200, and something around $500?

O2 (Objective 2) headphone amplifier (low impedance), $155

Used ones are sold on the "Amplifiers for sale".

The PS500 are only 32-Ohm, do not need much of an amplifier to drive them well.

post #8 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by JoelS87 View Post

Heya Guys,

 

Thank you so much for your answers!

I still don't have my grado.. aircraft problem, shipment got delayed till monday :( 

I am however curious though, what amps would you guys suggest?

Say something around $200, and something around $500?

 

Thanks!!

Joel

 

 

I had read all sorts of positive feedback about the Little Dot I+. I ended up buying one and upgrading the tubes, and I have to say it's a really nice match for the Grados. It's ridiculously good for the price and the owner of little Dot, a gentleman named David, is truly a class act. Another recommendation if you happen to also need a DAC is the AudioEngine D1. This is a USB DAC that also has a headamp built into it, and I've found it to be a perfect little amp for the Grados, as well. The D1 is one of the most underrated and/or unknown products in audio, in my opinion. If you want something portable, the Fiio E11 does a great job, as well.

post #9 of 12
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the recommendations!

Am going to go do some research and save up some money haha

 

One thing that has been bothering me as of late though is that I notice when I play music, I hear white noise gradually getting louder before it disappears (as the music is playing). Then when I stop music, the same thing happens. white noise reappears again, gradually getting louder before stopping abruptly. Is this normal?

 

It sounds like one of those things when you increase gain up significantly and you hear humming white noise in the background? 

 

Could it just be the amp kicking in and out? Or do I need a DAC?

 

That said, the pizza box arrived today!!

I thought due to the delay I was gonna get it monday but UPS did saturday delivery instead.

I woke up to the door buzzing and thought "hmmm.. I don't remember making an appointment with any masseuse or cleaners" - then my heart skipped and I rushed to the door. From the look of the box UPS guy was holding, I knew immediately my grado is HERE!! hahaha

So far I really like the sound when I listen to classical music. But it's abit flat when listening to metal. I thought the westone 4 was pretty neutral and flat but I feel this may be flatter? Not sure yet, only had it for an hour. Gonna try it for a week first! :D

post #10 of 12

Congrats, Joel! I bet that made your weekend :)

 

Definitely give them some time to break in. I've not experienced a lot of that myself, but I've read many accounts from other Grado owners who did. 

 

Enjoy! 

post #11 of 12
Thread Starter 

Heya guys, sorry for reviving this again, but I got a few questions if you don't mind :/

 

I recently went to guitar center and purchased a pair of m-audio bx8 d2 studio monitors.

They recommended the scarlett 2i2 to go with it since I needed to hook up a mic with it.

 

What I'm confused about is, or I guess my questions are:

 

1) I already have the asus xonar essence st and my understanding is if I use a USB interface, it will bypass my xonar essence st sound card right?

But the xonar essence st comes with spdif what is it? Is it for connecting external dac, amps or interfaces?

 

2) Is there a way I can connect the scarlettt 2i2 to my soundcard?

Or should I get a different interface and which would you recommend?

 

3) is the scarlett 2i2 recommended for my grado ps500?

 

Thanks!!

I bought the scarlett and bx8 from guitar center as they recommended them (and were on sale) but they have yet to arrive.

I have 30 days to try em out and I'd love to get advice from you guys.

 

Thank you so much for taking the time to read and perhaps help out.

 

Best,

Joel :D

post #12 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by JoelS87 View Post
Heya guys, sorry for reviving this again, but I got a few questions if you don't mind :/

I recently went to guitar center and purchased a pair of m-audio bx8 d2 studio monitors.

They recommended the Scarlett 2i2 to go with it since I needed to hook up a mic with it.

What I'm confused about is, or I guess my questions are:

1) I already have the Asus Xonar Essence ST and my understanding is if I use a USB interface, it will bypass my Xonar Essence ST sound card right?

But the Xonar essence st comes with spdif what is it? Is it for connecting external DAC, amps or interfaces?

2) Is there a way I can connect the Scarlettt 2i2 to my sound card?

Or should I get a different interface and which would you recommend?

3) is the Scarlett 2i2 recommended for my Grado ps500?

I bought the Scarlett and bx8 from guitar center as they recommended them (and were on sale) but they have yet to arrive.

I have 30 days to try em out and I'd love to get advice from you guys.

The Scarlett 2i2 totally bypasses the Essence ST sound.

Sound like the Guitar Center sales rep. did not understand your situation or is trying to sell you stuff you do not need.

 

I would have just gotten some RCA to TRS (mono 1/4") cables to connect the speakers to the Essence ST

and a regular microphone with a 1/4" jack.

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