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Equipment to go with new Sennheiser HD650?

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 

I have been wishing for a pair of Sennheiser HD650s for years, but the wife always shoots me down. Then a thought occurred to me. She enjoys TV, so we spent a couple thousand on a TV. But I LOVE music, so why wouldn't I spent 25% of the TV's value on a pair of headphones that will outlast it? Damn right I'm getting them.

 

My Sony home theater in a box has no shot at driving them, so I'm trying to figure out what to do for an amp. I'm trying to decide between a Fiio e11 and an ASUS Xonar Essence STX. The E11 is cheaper and gets good reviews, but the Xonar gets great reviews. They will be for home use 99.9% of the time, only going out for the occasional flight. So the Xonar seems like a good deal as they will stay hooked up to the computer all of the time.I'm just looking for some advice as I'm coming from the world of some Sennheiser cx-300 and Klipsch S4, so I'm going pretty far out of my depth on this one. I'll be using them some movies, and mainly music (primarily rock).

post #2 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by meeklo062704 View Post

I have been wishing for a pair of Sennheiser HD650s for years, but the wife always shoots me down. Then a thought occurred to me. She enjoys TV, so we spent a couple thousand on a TV. But I LOVE music, so why wouldn't I spent 25% of the TV's value on a pair of headphones that will outlast it? Damn right I'm getting them.

 

My Sony home theater in a box has no shot at driving them, so I'm trying to figure out what to do for an amp. I'm trying to decide between a Fiio e11 and an ASUS Xonar Essence STX. The E11 is cheaper and gets good reviews, but the Xonar gets great reviews. They will be for home use 99.9% of the time, only going out for the occasional flight. So the Xonar seems like a good deal as they will stay hooked up to the computer all of the time.I'm just looking for some advice as I'm coming from the world of some Sennheiser cx-300 and Klipsch S4, so I'm going pretty far out of my depth on this one. I'll be using them some movies, and mainly music (primarily rock).

I vote Asus Xonar Essence STX,

the senn HD650 are 300-Ohms and I believe the more you amp them the better they get.

post #3 of 13
Thread Starter 

I keep reading things from people saying that the Xonar won't have a problem driving them, and some say they can't drive them all the way. I'm basically at square one on this. So I'm not sure if I'll need an extra amp on top of the card, or if I should pick up a DAC, or whatever else I could do. The last person I want advice from is some dude on commission, so the best place would be here from the folks that have it, and have tried it all. I'm not super concerned with trying to save money, but I don't want to get more than I'll need.

post #4 of 13

Just curious, but what made you decide on a Sennheiser HD-650? You should check out your options. See what best suits you. Post in the recommendation thread: http://www.head-fi.org/t/529144/recommendations-thread-i-e-dont-start-a-new-thread-ask-for-advice-here-please-read-op and also check out the Head-Fi Summer Guide: http://www.head-fi.org/t/618255/check-out-the-head-fi-summer-2012-buying-guide

 

I have both the CX-300 and S4 Reference just like you...and over-ear headphones are in a whole different league. I'm actually very disappointed in the S4, it just sounds way too muffled and never really liked the CX-300 too much.

post #5 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by meeklo062704 View Post

I keep reading things from people saying that the Xonar won't have a problem driving them, and some say they can't drive them all the way. I'm basically at square one on this. So I'm not sure if I'll need an extra amp on top of the card, or if I should pick up a DAC, or whatever else I could do. The last person I want advice from is some dude on commission, so the best place would be here from the folks that have it, and have tried it all. I'm not super concerned with trying to save money, but I don't want to get more than I'll need.

I'm guessing if you spend $255 on a Little Dot MKIII tube headphone amplifier, the HD650 will sound really sweet.

Of course that does not even include the price of a nice DAC ($150) to go with the amp.

Some people are willing to spend $400 for a DAC & Amp.

 

 

Get the Xonar Essence for now, maybe spend an extra $60 for improved op-amps (AD787BRs or LME49990s).

You can always replace the Xonar Essence in the future.

If the Xonar Essence can drive my AKG K240 Monitor 600-Ohm headphones, 300-Ohm headphone should be ok.

post #6 of 13

Be aware that HD650 on STX with LME49860 opamps lacking deep sub-bass most noticeable with classical or jazz but will and other music styles. HD650 are very picky with pairing but if you insist on getting them get Maverick Audio TubeMagic D1 they made in haven for each other

post #7 of 13
Thread Starter 

I couldn't agree more about the s4. If the fit wasn't perfect, it would pinch and cut off the sound. Those went back quick. As for why I decided on the HD650, I've done a ton of reading on all of the brands, and sounds they put out. It's tough to really judge without hearing, but it's pretty tough to find a place that has them on display to check out. I don't want the super bright, bumpy headphones. Virtually everything I've read on them says that they have a laid back, natural sound. I want the sound that was intended to come out. Before I knew better, I picked up a pair of bose over ear headphones, and thought they were great. Until I got the cx-300 and found out that a pair of $40 Sennheisers smoked the $150 bose. For as long as the HD650 has been getting all of the accolades and praise, and even it's own thread here dedicated to everyone's love of them, it doesn't really seem to be something that you can go wrong on.

 

So basically I'm going to start with the headphones, then build around them. I have a lot of research to do though. Because I know that they need an amp, but there's a ton I don't know about yet. As far as op amp, or pre-amp, or the exact purpose of a DAC (I know it converts to analog, but not sure of it's place or necessity), or even if I'll need to upgrade to some aftermarket cables. I have finally learned that electronics are one of the few things where, if you do your homework, you'll actually get what you paid for.
 

post #8 of 13
Thread Starter 

So I have been looking around for something that will capably drive the HD650's, but I kind of feel like I'm going in circles. So I guess I need a piece of info to successfully complete this search. What is the spec from a receiver, an amp, and a DAC that actually specifies that any one of those things has the power to properly drive the HD650? I look at the specs for lots of different things, but I just don't know which one expresses its adequacy for the job.
 

post #9 of 13

All you need is an amp can drive 300ohms easily. I'm pretty sure the e11 won't suffice. I'd recommend a solid state amp since the HD650 is already very warm and is, dare I say, slightly coloured.  I like the O2 and it can drive the HD650 easily, but any mid range solid state amp should suffice. I don't have any experience with soundcards though, so no recommendations there. Personally I like having a separate amp.

post #10 of 13

Forgot to mention,

Quote:
Originally Posted by PurpleAngel View Post

I'm guessing if you spend $255 on a Little Dot MKIII tube headphone amplifier, the HD650 will sound really sweet.

Of course that does not even include the price of a nice DAC ($150) to go with the amp.

Some people are willing to spend $400 for a DAC & Amp.

 

 

Get the Xonar Essence for now, maybe spend an extra $60 for improved op-amps (AD787BRs or LME49990s).

You can always replace the Xonar Essence in the future.

If the Xonar Essence can drive my AKG K240 Monitor 600-Ohm headphones, 300-Ohm headphone should be ok.

Changing OP amps usually don't do anything. 99.99999999999999999% of OP amps are transparent to me. A DAC isn't as important as the amp for something like the HD650 if you have a decent soundcard/source. The Fiio e7 should suffice in my opinion.

post #11 of 13
Thread Starter 

I want a portable amp, and was looking at the Fiio e17. But I still want to get a dedicated home receiver that can properly drive them. I keep looking at receivers, but I'm not sure which spec indicates what the power output for headphones is. Is it mW? Volts? Headphone amps are pretty straight forward as they pretty have only one purpose, so they come right out and say "capable of this many ohm". Receivers do everything, so they don't really advertise that stat. As for source, I'm already redoing my music collection in FLAC, and aiming for vinyl rips if possible.
 

post #12 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by meeklo062704 View Post

I want a portable amp, and was looking at the Fiio e17. But I still want to get a dedicated home receiver that can properly drive them. I keep looking at receivers, but I'm not sure which spec indicates what the power output for headphones is. Is it mW? Volts? Headphone amps are pretty straight forward as they pretty have only one purpose, so they come right out and say "capable of this many ohm". Receivers do everything, so they don't really advertise that stat. As for source, I'm already redoing my music collection in FLAC, and aiming for vinyl rips if possible.
 

If you were to get a home receiver, what kind of capabilities would you need? The only home amp I can think of that could drive the HD650's would be something like the Dayton DTA100A or something like that, but that only has stereo support for your speakers. They do pack a lot of punch though.

post #13 of 13
Thread Starter 

I'm not really looking for a feature packed receiver. Just something that I could run a computer into, put some cd's into, and get the proper power from to drive the HD650's. Eventua;;y I could probably pick a speaker or 2 at a time for a 5.1 0r 7.1 system, but that would be something I would do if I had some money to burn.
 

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