or Connect
Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Headphones (full-size) › The AKG K550 Impressions and Discussion Thread!
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

The AKG K550 Impressions and Discussion Thread! - Page 98

post #1456 of 2455
Quote:
Originally Posted by urbshas View Post

Okay, thanks. I'm just worried that I will spend more than I really need to on an amp. I will only be using it for listening with my Mac, occasional iPod so I don't know if I need to spend $140 on an amp when I may only need to spend $20 on something like the Fiio E5.

There would be a significant difference in SQ between the E17 and the E5. If you want just an amp, the E11 would be comparable in SQ to the E17 and much better than the E5. Perhaps you might want to read these portable amp shootouts to learn more:
http://www.head-fi.org/t/596482/the-sub-100-portable-amps-shootout-11-1-amps-compared
http://www.head-fi.org/t/620775/the-sub-200-portable-amps-shootout-13-11-amps-compared
Rankings of the amps follow the reviews.
post #1457 of 2455
I have the e11 which is my first headphone amp and am really impressed with how it brings out the best in my headphones, particularly the k550. However, a few months down the line I do find myself wanting to get an amp with a dac so I can use the usb audio out on my Note 3. It might be worth saving some money and going straight for the e17 or e18.
post #1458 of 2455
Quote:
Originally Posted by lawrecedent View Post

I have the e11 which is my first headphone amp and am really impressed with how it brings out the best in my headphones, particularly the k550. However, a few months down the line I do find myself wanting to get an amp with a dac so I can use the usb audio out on my Note 3. It might be worth saving some money and going straight for the e17 or e18.


I have the E11 with the K550s to but I don't use the E11 as much now. For my computer audio, I use the E10 as a desktop amp. With my old media player that I used on the move, I use the E11 with the K550s then. I now use the Fiio X3 media player. It has a very similar headphone amplifier to the E17. I think it may be the same.

post #1459 of 2455
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheGiantHogweed View Post

I now use the Fiio X3 media player. It has a very similar headphone amplifier to the E17. I think it may be the same.

I heard that, too, in the main X3 discussion thread. Supposed to be the same dac and headphone amp hardware. Only a little better optimized because the X3 design is much newer than the E17.
post #1460 of 2455
Quote:
Originally Posted by cel4145 View Post


There would be a significant difference in SQ between the E17 and the E5. If you want just an amp, the E11 would be comparable in SQ to the E17 and much better than the E5. Perhaps you might want to read these portable amp shootouts to learn more:
http://www.head-fi.org/t/596482/the-sub-100-portable-amps-shootout-11-1-amps-compared
http://www.head-fi.org/t/620775/the-sub-200-portable-amps-shootout-13-11-amps-compared
Rankings of the amps follow the reviews.

How would the E18 do with the AKG K550?

 

A noob asking... :beerchug:

post #1461 of 2455
Quote:
Originally Posted by cehowardNote3 View Post

How would the E18 do with the AKG K550?

A noob asking... beerchug.gif

I'm sure it would do well because FiiO makes good stuff, but I don't know much about it. Here are a couple of reviews (one by the guy that did the portable amp shootout I linked to a few posts back):

http://www.head-fi.org/t/685414/preview-fiio-e18-kunlun-surprise-surprise
http://www.head-fi.org/t/696529/fiio-e18-review
post #1462 of 2455
Quote:
Originally Posted by cel4145 View Post

If the impedance output of the built in amp on the computer is not low enough, it won't affect volume. It will potentially skew the frequency response of the headphones.

Since the Razer Surround didn't work for you, I would recommend going with the Xonar DG or DGX. That has Dolby Headphone virtual surround. And it has a headphone amp built in, so it should work well with the K550s. Or if you want to spend more, the Creative Soundblaster Z would be a step up. It doesn't use Dolby Headphone, but rather Creative's solution for virtual surround.
Quote:
Originally Posted by cel4145 View Post

On second thought, scratch the Soundblaster Z suggestion. I forgot the low impedance output is not very good.

Okay, so the Soundblaster Z is a bad choice? As I've mentioned, even with the stock motherboard sound card the volume is way louder than I need it to be. I keep it under 10, and usually turn it down in applications too. Does that have anything to do with impedance? EDIT: Okay I just reread your first post and I saw that you addressed my question. However, still being new to this, I don't really understand. Low enough impedance won't affect volume? Does that mean whatever is going on with my volume doesn't have to do with that? Sorry for all the questions.

I'll look into the Xonar DG or DGX. Do you think those will also solve the issue of the rear "speakers" being very quiet? Also what is the difference between the two? I'm looking to get a nice enough sound card that will last me a long time and do justice to the awesome pair of headphones I've acquired.
Edited by CyDe29 - 5/7/14 at 11:37am
post #1463 of 2455
Quote:
Originally Posted by CyDe29 View Post


Okay, so the Soundblaster Z is a bad choice? As I've mentioned, even with the stock motherboard sound card the volume is way louder than I need it to be. I keep it under 10, and usually turn it down in applications too. Does that have anything to do with impedance?

I'll look into the Xonar DG or DGX. Do you think those will also solve the issue of the rear "speakers" being very quiet? Also what is the difference between the two? I'm looking to get a nice enough sound card that will last me a long time and do justice to the awesome pair of headphones I've acquired.

If the impedance output is not low enough, it can skew the frequency response of the headphones. The optimal low output impedance for an amp is 1/8 that of the headphone impedance. Probably not critical for the K550s because their output impedance doesn't vary much from the stated 32 ohms. However, the Soundblaster Z isn't even close with a measured low output impedance of 22 ohms. People guess the Xonar's is 10 ohms, which is good bit closer to optimum for the K550. Still, could give the Soundblaster Z a try. It might sound fine.

I have no idea about the rear speaker thing. I've never used Razer Surround.

DG and DGX is the same sound card but different format. One is PCI; the other is PCIe. Depends on what slot you have open in your computer.

The reason to get the DG/DGX is for the Dolby Headphone feature. Otherwise, it is just a ~$35 sound card with a budget DAC and headphone amp. Better generally then on board computer audio. But I wouldn't expect leaps and bounds better sound quality from the electronics in that card (ignoring the benefit of the Dolby Headphone for a moment).
post #1464 of 2455
Quote:
Originally Posted by cel4145 View Post


I'm sure it would do well because FiiO makes good stuff, but I don't know much about it. Here are a couple of reviews (one by the guy that did the portable amp shootout I linked to a few posts back):

http://www.head-fi.org/t/685414/preview-fiio-e18-kunlun-surprise-surprise
http://www.head-fi.org/t/696529/fiio-e18-review

Thanks much, going to try to read the whole thread tomorrow at work. I have unboxed and charged up my E18 but have not used it. First off, my new AKG K550s are still in transit, should be here in about 3 to 4 more days. In the meantime, after I figure out the connections, I will try it out with both the headphones in my signature..

post #1465 of 2455
Quote:
Originally Posted by cel4145 View Post


There would be a significant difference in SQ between the E17 and the E5. If you want just an amp, the E11 would be comparable in SQ to the E17 and much better than the E5. Perhaps you might want to read these portable amp shootouts to learn more:
http://www.head-fi.org/t/596482/the-sub-100-portable-amps-shootout-11-1-amps-compared
http://www.head-fi.org/t/620775/the-sub-200-portable-amps-shootout-13-11-amps-compared
Rankings of the amps follow the reviews.

alright. i just don't know if i need just an amp or an amp/dac. how do i figure out which one i will need? literally just for listening to music, some tv shows/movies on my laptop.

post #1466 of 2455
Quote:
Originally Posted by urbshas View Post
 

alright. i just don't know if i need just an amp or an amp/dac. how do i figure out which one i will need? literally just for listening to music, some tv shows/movies on my laptop.

You don't "need" any of this stuff, its just a want. A DAC will give you improved sound quality and the ability to play higher resolution music. If you want that, then go for it. If the sound quality of what you have now is fine, then you don't need the DAC or the amp. The K550 will play just fine out of your computer, but the DAC and amp both add a little bit extra. The headphones are doing most of the work. Now, do I NEED a good DAC and amp now? Pretty much. I get really disappointed with music through crappy sources now.

post #1467 of 2455
Quote:
Originally Posted by sludgeogre View Post
 

You don't "need" any of this stuff, its just a want. A DAC will give you improved sound quality and the ability to play higher resolution music. If you want that, then go for it. If the sound quality of what you have now is fine, then you don't need the DAC or the amp. The K550 will play just fine out of your computer, but the DAC and amp both add a little bit extra. The headphones are doing most of the work. Now, do I NEED a good DAC and amp now? Pretty much. I get really disappointed with music through crappy sources now.

Yeah I don't want to get myself so used to high quality music that i can't listen to anything else. I will wait a bit before I get something to up the quality, I guess

post #1468 of 2455
Quote:
Originally Posted by urbshas View Post
 

Yeah I don't want to get myself so used to high quality music that i can't listen to anything else. I will wait a bit before I get something to up the quality, I guess

 

it depends on your perception.

 

I used to think cheap products are extremely bad and should be avoided like plague.

 

but when i hear say a $10 earbud, i think they are not that bad.

post #1469 of 2455
Quote:
Originally Posted by vaibhavp View Post

I used to think cheap products are extremely bad and should be avoided like plague.

On the other hand, a high price tag is no assurance that it's not overpriced junk. Go watch the Audio Myths Workshop on Youtube. It has some funny examples of absurdly priced snake oil.

Anyway, I think a good rule of thumb answer to questions like, "do I need a DAC?" and "do I need an amp?" is "if you don't know then you don't need one." Dedicated DACs and amplifiers augment what you have when what you have doesn't operate as expected or desired. It's impossible for you not to know if the system isn't operating the way you want. If you know that it is not working as expected or desired then the answer is foregone; if you don't know that it is working as expected or desired... that's something you need to figure out for yourself before you start spending more money.
post #1470 of 2455
Quote:
Originally Posted by CyDe29 View Post

Hi all
So after some struggles, I got these headphones to be comfortable for me. Now I'm wondering about improving their sound quality. I'm a big gamer, and of course I love to listen to music as well, so I'm wondering if I should get a DAC or a sound card. I need to have surround sound ability for gaming, but I've heard a lot of conflicting things about sound cards vs DACs. Any help? I don't know what budget I have, I guess preferably under $100.

Well, an 'audiophile' DAC won't give you simulated surround sound, if that's what you're looking for. A DAC like the Audioengine D1 will give you arguably greater sound quality and balance, while a sound card for the same money will give you greater flexibility and very good digital surround sound, plus better audio than your onboard sound card.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by urbshas View Post
 

Yeah I don't want to get myself so used to high quality music that i can't listen to anything else. I will wait a bit before I get something to up the quality, I guess

You can still remain objective and humble when learning to appreciate high quality audio. I still play ten year-old games even though I have a high-end PC and can play any game I wanted to. Don't forget that music can still be appreciated no matter how far up the ladder you climb.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by ratinox View Post


"if you don't know then you don't need one."

This.

 

If you have the money to spare and are always interested in furthering your knowledge and experience in the various aspects of life and interaction, go wild. You'll learn a lot more through testing and personal experience than by reading stuff online. If you're on a budget, however, and you're just starting out, make sure your audio is at least mp3 320 (or equivalent) or ideally lossless and make sure you have a decent pair of headphones. The K550's are most certainly decent. ;)  That'll be more than adequate. If in time you feel like upgrading, invest in an affordable high-end DAC/amp from someone like FiiO, Audioengine, JDS Labs, Audioquest, Aune, etc., and maybe a different set of headphones. Not to move up in the world but to simply fine tune your personal preference. The $300 is one of the most popular ranges because you can find astonishingly good sounding and well-built 'phones that compare to their $1000 brothers. Obviously it's up to you whether that's true or not. I personally can tell the difference, but can spare that kind of money? No, so to me it's not worth it. To others it is.

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Headphones (full-size)
Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Headphones (full-size) › The AKG K550 Impressions and Discussion Thread!