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Best headphones for around $500? - Page 2

post #16 of 53
Thread Starter 

I don't think a digital signal being noisy really makes any sense... packet loss is the only possible thing that would cause this and I've never heard of people having any packet loss problems with USB.

 

I'll definitely consider that, it would seem to render a soundcard pretty much pointless especially if it's around the same cost. They're not powered by USB as well are they?

post #17 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by Eric_C View Post

That's pretty much how they work, yeah. They're called DACs: digital-to-analogue convertors. The USB or optical input indicates a DAC function, in addition to amp function. 

I've seen some debate on whether the USB ports of a computer can be "noisy", but that issue aside, an external DAC will likely give you cleaner sound.

 

Heya,

 

Some connections are noisy because you have a circuit that allows vibration/jitter to come across from the machine; it's more typical of a machine with internal moving parts (think case fans, cpu fans, gpu fans, hard drives spinning, etc). It's not the USB protocol itself completely. A lot of electronic noise is simply due to physical vibration and electronic interference. Soundcards and internal jacks on computers tend to be noisier to me. I've found most USB options to be discreetly less noisy in general. And outputting via optical I've found has no noise unless it exists in the recording or the DAC has flaw/poor quality, etc. But in general the latest USB chipsets are fantastic with little jitter and are high quality.

 

Very best,

post #18 of 53
Thread Starter 

Vibrations and electrical interference should be irrelevant(to an extent) in a digital signal, it's all one's and zero's. I mean when you transfer files via USB you don't end up with extra bits of data. I would think that problem would only lie in the DAC but maybe I'm mistaken... At any rate it would seem logical that an analogue connection would be more prone to this. For example my current soundcard could hear network traffic from the wifi adapter until I got a new wifi adapter.

 

I think I'm definitely going to go with the external DAC though, seems to have a definite advantage over internal soundcards when it comes to using headphones. I don't need any soundcard that is engineered towards hearing footsteps in game as I'm not a hardcore gamer and nowadays software seems to do that good enough.


Edited by chewy4 - 8/28/12 at 6:59am
post #19 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by chewy4 View Post

Vibrations and electrical interference should be irrelevant(to an extent) in a digital signal, it's all one's and zero's. I mean when you transfer files via USB you don't end up with extra bits of data. I would think that problem would only lie in the DAC but maybe I'm mistaken... At any rate it would seem logical that an analogue connection would be more prone to this. For example my current soundcard could hear network traffic from the wifi adapter until I got a new wifi adapter.

 

I think I'm definitely going to go with the external DAC though, seems to have a definite advantage over internal soundcards when it comes to using headphones. I don't need any soundcard that is engineered towards hearing footsteps in game as I'm not a hardcore gamer and nowadays software seems to do that good enough.


Heya,

 

It's not the 0's and 1's of binary digital code. It's the fact that you have metal touching metal with electricity flowing across all of it and moving parts being involved. The USB protocol itself is fine. But sometimes the connections are damaged/loose or just low quality on the circuit board to begin with and so you have a lot of electricity and vibration traveling around. Optical uses light, naturally, so these movement/electricity issues are not traveling with that signal the same way. It's not universal, but whatever gives you the least noise for one's circuit/setup is of course best for them since everyone has different equipment.

 

Very best,

post #20 of 53


In your budget range, I'd say there are two headphones I'd really push out as being my top two picks as recommendations for all applications:

 

Hifiman HE-400

Denon D5000

 

From there, there's an incredibly long list of other flavors that you can sift through. But it's better if you describe what kind of sound you want to narrow it down.

 

Very best,

 

These are very good suggestions!!

post #21 of 53
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by MalVeauX View Post


Heya,

 

It's not the 0's and 1's of binary digital code. It's the fact that you have metal touching metal with electricity flowing across all of it and moving parts being involved. The USB protocol itself is fine. But sometimes the connections are damaged/loose or just low quality on the circuit board to begin with and so you have a lot of electricity and vibration traveling around. Optical uses light, naturally, so these movement/electricity issues are not traveling with that signal the same way. It's not universal, but whatever gives you the least noise for one's circuit/setup is of course best for them since everyone has different equipment.

 

Very best,

I see. I believe my motherboard does have a SPDIF output so I can always stick to that.

 

I think I am going to get one of your two suggestions (HE-500 and Denon), or the Sennheiser HD650's. I'm gonna see if I can find some open cans in store that I can try so that I can see if I like that more than closed first. Bigger soundstage, and more like being at a live performance seems like it would be a good thing for me. I have always preferred outdoor concerts to indoor ones too.

post #22 of 53

You should strongly consider the MrSpeakers Mad Dogs for 300. I have the 250 dollar model (smaller earpads) and I feel they outperform many 500-ish dollar headphones I have used before - including the Denon D5000, Grado PS500 and Senn HD600.

 

they're mostly flat in response. a bit dark in tonality. Their imaging is very good but the soundstage is not as tall or wide as, say, the HD650.

post #23 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by LCfiner View Post

You should strongly consider the MrSpeakers Mad Dogs for 300. I have the 250 dollar model (smaller earpads) and I feel they outperform many 500-ish dollar headphones I have used before - including the Denon D5000, Grado PS500 and Senn HD600.

 

they're mostly flat in response. a bit dark in tonality. Their imaging is very good but the soundstage is not as tall or wide as, say, the HD650.

 

I find this statement about the MD pretty true. I picked it over the d5k. In fact I sold it if that tells you anything. wink.gif

post #24 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by MattTCG View Post

 

I find this statement about the MD pretty true. I picked it over the d5k. In fact I sold it if that tells you anything. wink.gif

You've got to be kidding me, must I stand by my 5k's alone? The bass can't be the same, no way.

post #25 of 53

I didn't say the bass was the same. tongue.gif I said I liked the MD so much that I sold off my d5k. When the fostex is modded correctly the bass facilitates and irrepressable smile. biggrin.gif

 

The sub bass has more impact with the d5k but I prefer the overall sound signature of the MD. Also, it isolates MUCH better and I enjoy the mids and highs better. 

post #26 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by RushNerd View Post

You've got to be kidding me, must I stand by my 5k's alone? The bass can't be the same, no way.

 

The bass is not the same. it's less bloated and more neutral :P

post #27 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by MattTCG View Post

I didn't say the bass was the same. tongue.gif I said I liked the MD so much that I sold off my d5k. When the fostex is modded correctly the bass facilitates and irrepressable smile. biggrin.gif

 

The sub bass has more impact with the d5k but I prefer the overall sound signature of the MD. Also, it isolates MUCH better and I enjoy the mids and highs better. 

Pretty remarkable for a $100 set, seriously. But they are from the makers of the Denon line so I could see how you could like it. It shouldn't bother me that you like them more, but it does. Maybe I need to try them.

post #28 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by RushNerd View Post

Pretty remarkable for a $100 set, seriously. But they are from the makers of the Denon line so I could see how you could like it. It shouldn't bother me that you like them more, but it does. Maybe I need to try them.

 

The ones we're talking about have been modded by MrSpeakers and cost around 300. The stock T50RP don't sound as good.

post #29 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by RushNerd View Post

Pretty remarkable for a $100 set, seriously. But they are from the makers of the Denon line so I could see how you could like it. It shouldn't bother me that you like them more, but it does. Maybe I need to try them.

The stock T50RPs (~$100) are not even close in performance to any cans mentioned in this thread. The magic with modded T50RPs like the Mad Dogs and the Paradox are in their damping, which tunes the frequency response, and removes all traces of ringing / chamber resonance, to HUGE degrees. The stock vs modded frequency responses and CSDs look like entirely different headphones.

post #30 of 53
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by LCfiner View Post

You should strongly consider the MrSpeakers Mad Dogs for 300. I have the 250 dollar model (smaller earpads) and I feel they outperform many 500-ish dollar headphones I have used before - including the Denon D5000, Grado PS500 and Senn HD600.

 

they're mostly flat in response. a bit dark in tonality. Their imaging is very good but the soundstage is not as tall or wide as, say, the HD650.

 

I think I'd rather have a warmer set than a dark one.

 

Here's a good example of a song that has most of the elements I want in a good pair of headphones: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gs8I0ZqvNGk

 

Pretty warm tone to it, good acoustics, good bass, but not necessary for it to be "punchy", ability to separate the sounds of a complex song, large soundscape etc... Also usually the stuff I listen to isn't focused on vocals so they're not a huge deal.

 

From what I've been reading the HE-400's seem to be perfect for this, but dammit I can't find anywhere I can try it out so far.


Edited by chewy4 - 8/28/12 at 4:48pm
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