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Best headphones for around $500? - Page 3

post #31 of 53
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by chewy4 View Post

 

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.

EDIT: Sorry, quoted instead of edited.

post #32 of 53

The he400 is a quality hp and a whole lot of tech for the price. Buy them from Amazon and take advantage of their return policy. I don't hear about many people returning them, nor do I see any fs on the used forums. 

post #33 of 53
Thread Starter 

I didn't know Amazon let you return working products that you've already opened. That's reassuring.

post #34 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by MattTCG View Post

The he400 is a quality hp and a whole lot of tech for the price. Buy them from Amazon and take advantage of their return policy. I don't hear about many people returning them, nor do I see any fs on the used forums. 

Last time I checked Amazon does not sell the HE400 directly. Although you can buy the HE400 through head-direct or headphone.com and if you don't like them both of those stores offer a 30-day return policy.
post #35 of 53

Yeah, you're right. Amazon is showing them as "sold by head direct." I believe that you would still have the amazon return policy behind you though.

 

I have no issue buying them from head-direct also...

post #36 of 53
Thread Starter 

On the Amazon page it has "Seller Warranty Information" that lists 30 days so I should be good ordering it from there. As long as I got it in writing...

post #37 of 53
Thread Starter 

Alright... so I've been researching stuff about amps and DAC's, and I'm a little confused as there seems to be a lot of mixed opinions.

 

For the HE-400's, if I'm looking to use them for games as well as music, it seems like my best option would be a good soundcard + amp? Would a soundcard have a good enough DAC, and would an e11 be a good amp to use?  I was thinking about this: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16829271006 plus the e11. Good match? 

post #38 of 53

From what I've read, the HE-400 actually perform very well even without outboard amps. That's part of their inherent strength--you don't have to worry so much about matching it with fancy amps. I'm sure Mal will chime in to confirm/deny this soon enough.

 

Do you need help understanding amps and DACs?

post #39 of 53
Thread Starter 

Well I've heard that too, but at the same time I hear that the HE-400 can keep scaling up until you get to like $1000 amps. I'd like for them to be somewhat up to their potential.

 

I am a little confused on why amps seem to be the focus for the most part when it comes to sound quality, I would think DACs would be the main thing behind that seeing as they're actually converting the sound...

 

I'm also not sure if the "7.1" support is relevant when it comes to headphones... I mean obviously headphones can't get true 7.1(those would be some weird headphones), but I dunno if the soundcard itself makes the simulated surround that much better.

post #40 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by Eric_C View Post

From what I've read, the HE-400 actually perform very well even without outboard amps. That's part of their inherent strength--you don't have to worry so much about matching it with fancy amps. I'm sure Mal will chime in to confirm/deny this soon enough.

 

Do you need help understanding amps and DACs?

 

Uhm, not really. I mean you can run it right from an ipod, but without much volume and the potential is just not there. Now an ipod with an e17 and l7 cable will get you started. It will give you even more with a Schitt stack such as Asgard/BF. I'm listening to it now with a fiio e09 and odac and it's sounding pretty nice!!

 

Just plugged into an nfb-6 with a balanced cable and the he400 takes on a whole new level.

post #41 of 53

Err, this is an audiophile forum after all. So you're bound to get claims that spending money is going to improve things in one way or another...

 

Aside from the recording/mastering/compressing/ripping end of things, yes, the DAC would be the starting point for sound quality. However, the argument that convinces me (and many of the much more knowledgeable, science-y members I've seen) is that DAC chips have reached a point of being cheap and efficient. That is to say, reliable DACs can be considered a foregone conclusion in any player/soundcard today.


If we assume this to be true, then moving down the chain naturally leads us to focus on amps.

 

The HE-400 is rated as low impedance, (relatively) high sensitivity. These would be in line with the majority of in-ears and consumer-level headphones, which run just fine off the majority of built-in amps. So, aside from electrical interference, I don't see how much one would need an external amp. Besides, you can always buy the headphone first, and add an amp later if need be?

 

Matt: I'll defer to your impressions. I'm only speaking from a very basic, theoretical standpoint.


Edited by Eric_C - 8/28/12 at 7:40pm
post #42 of 53

Heya,

 

The HE400 runs from nearly anything. It's not super from a random droid smart phone, but with even a slight bit of current/amplification, it does what it was designed to do. Whether it's a little E10 or a Lyr or something in between or even much higher up. Dr Fang produced an efficient planar magnetic that doesn't sound like a wet apple out of the box (eg, T50RP). The HE400 as a planar magnetic can take near endless amounts of current, so yes you can feed it ridiculous amounts of power even at it's low ohms and it's not going to get cranky. Does it get better with higher end gear? I would say it's possible, but not as likely. If you blind test it with someone other than yourself at equivalent volume levels and the same track, you won't be able to determine if you're hearing the difference in slight signature slant in each amp, or if the headphone is behaving better or not. More likely is that with more current from a higher quality amplifier, psychologically, you will think it sounds better.

 

Very best,


Edited by MalVeauX - 8/28/12 at 7:45pm
post #43 of 53
Thread Starter 

The impedance is quite low. I'm currently using a set of headphones with an impedance of 63Ohms, and I can make them damage my ears with a $30 soundcard and no amp. And they sound good to me.

 

If the main thing behind having an amp is how loud they can get, then yes there's no way in hell that I'm going to need one. I'm not trying to lose my hearing. But I just hear a lot about them drastically increasing sound quality. Maybe I'll buy the card now, and the amp in a month or so. That way my budget for an amp would be more flexible anyways.


EDIT: Thanks yet again Mal. I think I'm gonna just stick with the eClaro or the STX and leave it at that.


Edited by chewy4 - 8/28/12 at 7:50pm
post #44 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by chewy4 View Post

The impedance is quite low. I'm currently using a set of headphones with an impedance of 63Ohms, and I can make them damage my ears with a $30 soundcard and no amp. And they sound good to me.

 

If the main thing behind having an amp is how loud they can get, then yes there's no way in hell that I'm going to need one. I'm not trying to lose my hearing. But I just hear a lot about them drastically increasing sound quality. Maybe I'll buy the card now, and the amp in a month or so. That way my budget for an amp would be more flexible anyways.

 

It's not exactly about loudness. AFAIK how loud a headphone gets is directly related to its SPL rating--that's literally how many decibels you get per...mW? W? Something like that. Anyway that's a measure of loudness per unit power.

 

Impedance would be resistance to current (EE guys, please correct me if I'm off the mark here). The HE-400 has low impedance, like most regular consumer audio gear, so I'm thinking most regular consumer built-in amps will work fine with the HE-400 too. 

It's when people consider high impedance headphones (DT 880 in 250 or 600 ohm variants, HD 600, etc.) that there is a stronger argument for getting an amp. But this would be an amp that handles more voltage, instead of current.

post #45 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by chewy4 View Post

 

I'm a little confused about how a USB amp would work. Would the audio be completely processed by it so it would work like an external soundcard? My onboard sound is terrible, riddled with interference.


Yes it is exactly the whole key point to completely bypass built-in audio

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