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help for finding good headset amp/dac combo fo classical music

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 

hi

i'm looking for a good headphone/amp/dac combo for classical music
i'm fairly new to audiophile world and it appears that i don't have any clue about what should i do
the more i try to find a good pair, more i become confused
so i came here hoping for some good advise

my budget is $500, i know that it's not really good but thats all i got
but if i saw that $500 won't get me any where i might as well wait until i gather $1000, so please give me your choices for 1)combo up to $500 2)combo up to $1000

i listen to 320kbps mp3 with my laptop

i mostly listen to symphonies, operas, consertos, ballet and string trio (but i prefer somthing that goes great with every kind of classic music)

although i listen to other genres, they are not important for me are not important for me

thanks in advance ^_^

post #2 of 12
Thread Starter 

????

post #3 of 12

Will the headphones be used in public or private?

Does it matter if the headphones are open or closed?

The Fiio E10, USB-DAC-headphone amplifier ($70) is about as cheap as you would want to go.

post #4 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by straife View Post

hi

i'm looking for a good headphone/amp/dac combo for classical music
i'm fairly new to audiophile world and it appears that i don't have any clue about what should i do
the more i try to find a good pair, more i become confused
so i came here hoping for some good advise

my budget is $500, i know that it's not really good but thats all i got
but if i saw that $500 won't get me any where i might as well wait until i gather $1000, so please give me your choices for 1)combo up to $500 2)combo up to $1000

i listen to 320kbps mp3 with my laptop

i mostly listen to symphonies, operas, consertos, ballet and string trio (but i prefer somthing that goes great with every kind of classic music)

although i listen to other genres, they are not important for me are not important for me

thanks in advance ^_^

I've always preferred the HD598/ HD600 over many other expensive headphones, in particular with classical music. I'd give the edge to the 598 for their far bigger soundstage, though the HD600 sounds better with chamber music imo. The HD598 needs more midbass though, which can be EQ'd and amp helps. 

post #5 of 12
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by PurpleAngel View Post

Will the headphones be used in public or private?

Does it matter if the headphones are open or closed?

The Fiio E10, USB-DAC-headphone amplifier ($70) is about as cheap as you would want to go.


i use them in private (but if i could find something that i can use for both purpose it would be awesome)

it does't matter if they are closed or not, the only thing that's important for me is sound quality

post #6 of 12

Heya,

 

HIfiman HE-400 with a Fiio E10 would be my top pick here in that budget range. If budget increased, simply a better DAC/AMP. And if budget increased more, jump to Hifiman HE-500 with a significantly more powerful amplifier, something like NFB12.

 

 

 

Other excellent classical headphones would include: AKG Q701, Beyer DT880, Beyer T70, Beyer DT770 premium, Sennheiser HD600, Denon D2000 & D5000, HIfiman HE-300 (revision 2), AudioTechnica AD900 & A900 & A900X, and Brainwavz HM5 (or Fischer Audio FA003), Fischer Audio FA-002 & FA-002W (closed, wooded version).

 

I've played around with a lot of DAC/AMP's and found that so long as the DAC is clean and not ultra-cheap-junk, and the AMP has the right kind of power output for your headphone's needs, then you don't need anything crazy or expensive. I actually ended up technically down grading to more simple solutions that were less expensive even with high-end headphones because I just found there to be minimal to no difference that I could appreciate that I couldn't just claim was signature sound difference, compared to technical or quality difference. So that said, my top two recommendations are the Fiio E10 for most situations that don't require gobs of power like an ortho. For everything that needs gobs of power, I recommend the Audiobase GD NFB series, like the NFB12.1 and higher (latest models; they keep updating all their models often). These two offer you everything in nice, tight, simple, clean, inexpensive packages that let you put most of your budget into your headphone which is far more important until you go summit-fi and gear-fi.

 

 

Very best,

post #7 of 12

Try the AKG K-702 with the Apogee Duet, or Duet ll (you can get them used, here on the FS forum). The Apogee Duet will work on Mac OS platform.

post #8 of 12
Thread Starter 

malvaeux thanks for the great reply

but there is some thing bothering me

first of all i'm not really sure about pairing he-400 with e10, i'm fully aware of he-400 capabilities, but it appears that driving he-400 is quiet a difficult task, at least that's what i found out after reading so many reviews

so don't you think i would be better off with a cheaper headphone and better dac/amp combo?

although i would buy a descent amp (around $250) after sometime, so if they are good enought to be used as an dac with other amps and good enought satisfy me for around 6 months, i will consider buying them

on the other hand i listen to music all the time (more than 10 hours a day nonstop!) so i prefer light, comfortable headsets that dont get warm. in case i couldn't stress it enought i want them to be really comfortable

and the other thing is that i really have sensetive ears, i listen to music in very low volume so do i need a better amp or some thing special to hear every thing the music have to offer in low volume or not? (i'm a total newbie)

thanks ^_^

post #9 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by straife View Post

malvaeux thanks for the great reply

but there is some thing bothering me

first of all i'm not really sure about pairing he-400 with e10, i'm fully aware of he-400 capabilities, but it appears that driving he-400 is quiet a difficult task, at least that's what i found out after reading so many reviews

so don't you think i would be better off with a cheaper headphone and better dac/amp combo?

although i would buy a descent amp (around $250) after sometime, so if they are good enought to be used as an dac with other amps and good enought satisfy me for around 6 months, i will consider buying them

on the other hand i listen to music all the time (more than 10 hours a day nonstop!) so i prefer light, comfortable headsets that dont get warm. in case i couldn't stress it enought i want them to be really comfortable

and the other thing is that i really have sensetive ears, i listen to music in very low volume so do i need a better amp or some thing special to hear every thing the music have to offer in low volume or not? (i'm a total newbie)

thanks ^_^

 

Heya,

 

The HE-400 is not difficult to drive. It's easy to drive. It's ideal to give it gobs of current. But it will virtually run well from most basic devices.

 

Until you go summit, frankly, you are way better with the best headphone you can get that has the signature you enjoy most, and spending less on your DAC/AMP. A low end headphone is going to sound just as low end coming from a middle to high end DAC/AMP. A good headphone sounds pretty good regardless of "entry level" powering, so long as it has enough amplification to be dynamic, which depending on the headphone, is either very little to quite a bit. The HE400 doesn't need gobs of power. It's a rather efficient ortho.

 

$250 will buy you a DAC/AMP like the NFB12 that has both good quality and gobs of power, covers all headphones except electrostats (require different amplification and connection in general) and the HE-6. Other than that, 99% of all headphones are going to be driven just fine from it with overhead.

 

The headphone and it's relationship with impedance and voltage/current is what determines how it will sound at low volume, not the amplifier itself. The more you read on the internet, the more it will have you think you need an amplifier for some reason even on headphones that do not need amplification. There's a massive rash of people putting amps on their efficient headphones that are built to work without amps, and they confuse "louder" with "better."

 

Very best,

post #10 of 12
Thread Starter 

thanks for the quick and great answer
i really appreciate your helps and i think i'm pretty much know which are the perfect headsets for me (he-400 or hd-600)
there is only one thing left for me to ask, is he-400 good for male and female vocals too?
or hd-600 is better for listening to vocals?

thanks a lot

post #11 of 12
Thread Starter 

any other suggestions?

post #12 of 12

I'd echo Mal's suggestions - but suggest looking for used at the FS forums here.  Most people baby their gear pretty well.

 

Then $500 should cover a new NFB-12 and either a K701/K702/Q701 or HD600.  Both are very good with classical, and the NFB-12 will handle them no problem.

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