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What DAC and amp setup does Best Buy use for display headphones?

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 

I ask this because I was listening to some $400 beats pro or whatever, and it sounded SO FREAKING BAD.

 

I recently spent $35 on a pair of cheap ass headphones which have extremely surprising quality for the price, but are not very comfortable, and they sound about as good as the $400 beats... this made me rofl so hard.

 

 

The only reason I bought these was because the Kevlar cord for my Crossfade LP broke, and I wanted an in line mic. I looked at Walmart, Radioshack, and even best buy for a replacement in line cord with a mic, and none of them had one, and I found this at a gas station for $35 randomly, and got it just for the cord, expecting them to sound worse than apple headphones lol.

 

Point is, why the hell do $400 beats headphones sound almost as bad as my $35 gas station crap headphones? I'm thinking it HAS to be a garbage DAC/amplification..

post #2 of 18
Quote:
Point is, why the hell do $400 beats headphones sound almost as bad as my $35 gas station crap headphones?

Cuz they suck?

/thread

post #3 of 18
Thread Starter 

You'd have to be pretty ignorant and judgemental to assume any $35 headphones can be anywhere near as good as $400 headphones. Your contemptuous feelings towards Beats aside, I know regular beats are garbage, but a $400 pair of beats pro? How the HELL can some $35 headphones sound almost as good, and my Crossfade LP absolutely DESTROY them, when the crossfade are supposed to be complete garbage according to this whole site..

post #4 of 18

When will people get it through there heads that Beats are junk. Only reason beats are popular are because. Over paid athletes get them for free just so the low self esteem people will feel better and buy them.

post #5 of 18
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Caffinefreedave View Post

When will people get it through there heads that Beats are junk. Only reason beats are popular are because. Over paid athletes get them for free just so the low self esteem people will feel better and buy them.

How the hell does everyone think beats are the best headphones when A: the beats solo are worse than skullcandy cheap headphones (not even talking about the aviators which are pretty decent for the price) and B: the beats pro are $400..You can't charge $400 and be as bad as $50 or less headphones...I don't get how the hell this is possible so I'm going to assume that the DAC is compete garbage in the listening setups.

post #6 of 18

The cost in beats isn't really going towards quality... they're designer headphones.

 

That being said, yes they should probably sound better than most $35 headphones.

 

Bestbuy often has terrible quality samples and setups at their stores. I went in one to try out some Sennheisers but I just walked out shortly after trying because the setup they had them with was so bad that it was pointless.

post #7 of 18

Have you heard a $400 pair of beats outside of Best Buy?  Did they sound any better? 

post #8 of 18

I remember asking what the setup at B&H was for all their headphones and one of their workers said it was a Sansa clip+ hooked up to the amps they have so I assume Best Buy probably won't be much better.

post #9 of 18
Thread Starter 

That's kind of stupid when a decent DAC can be had for $80 or less, and a switch system can easily be rigged to simply switch the current to any pair of cans on the line up. Why wouldn't they want to have a nice amplification going to the headphones to sell better? They would gain a retarded amount of profit if they had an older generation ipod hooked up to a high quality DAC going to the switch splitter to split it around 8-10 different ways when you clicked the button next to the headphones. And that's minimalist, they could even mount in an iPad or android tablet hooked up to a high quality dac so people could find any song they wanted to listen to. Or they could find a DAC with an integrated SD card reader, line input with cheap cord already hooked up and glued in place, and usb audio input for ipods and such with adapters secured to the device, and simply have a cheap preloaded music 8gb sd card in with the slot epoxy'd shut so anyone could easily test whatever the hell music they wanted.

 

Honestly the ipad hooked up to the high quality dac would get more people going to the headphones than anything else, because people are so obsessed with apple garbage products.

post #10 of 18

I don't like Beats either but there are already so many Beats rant threads... This isn't really news

post #11 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by c0reyl View Post

You'd have to be pretty ignorant and judgemental to assume any $35 headphones can be anywhere near as good as $400 headphones. Your contemptuous feelings towards Beats aside, I know regular beats are garbage, but a $400 pair of beats pro? How the HELL can some $35 headphones sound almost as good, and my Crossfade LP absolutely DESTROY them, when the crossfade are supposed to be complete garbage according to this whole site..

Quote:
Originally Posted by c0reyl View Post

How the hell does everyone think beats are the best headphones when A: the beats solo are worse than skullcandy cheap headphones (not even talking about the aviators which are pretty decent for the price) and B: the beats pro are $400..You can't charge $400 and be as bad as $50 or less headphones...I don't get how the hell this is possible so I'm going to assume that the DAC is compete garbage in the listening setups.

No, they're really that underwhelming. Price doesn't dictate quality, especially with luxury products. If it was a "bad amplifier or DAC" (which doesn't work as a technical explanation), it would still not explain what you're hearing (especially with the Beats Pro, which are a very invariant load). I don't consider the Beats Pro to be legitimately competitive with other $300-$400 headphones, and I think many others fit into that boat as well.

So no, nobody is being ignorant here - it's just the unfortunate reality of how over-priced a lot of headphones have gotten recently. I think you've probably found a curious gem with your $30 pair of headphones as well, got any more information on them?

This thread is kind of neat in it's own way too - kind of an "eye opening experience with hi-fi" sort of thing that we get to watch a new user go through. smily_headphones1.gif
Quote:
Originally Posted by c0reyl View Post

That's kind of stupid when a decent DAC can be had for $80 or less, and a switch system can easily be rigged to simply switch the current to any pair of cans on the line up. Why wouldn't they want to have a nice amplification going to the headphones to sell better? They would gain a retarded amount of profit if they had an older generation ipod hooked up to a high quality DAC going to the switch splitter to split it around 8-10 different ways when you clicked the button next to the headphones. And that's minimalist, they could even mount in an iPad or android tablet hooked up to a high quality dac so people could find any song they wanted to listen to. Or they could find a DAC with an integrated SD card reader, line input with cheap cord already hooked up and glued in place, and usb audio input for ipods and such with adapters secured to the device, and simply have a cheap preloaded music 8gb sd card in with the slot epoxy'd shut so anyone could easily test whatever the hell music they wanted.

Honestly the ipad hooked up to the high quality dac would get more people going to the headphones than anything else, because people are so obsessed with apple garbage products.

I'd appreciate less hate-words in the future. Just saying. redface.gif

Anyways, to respond: from a technical perspective the above is not really rational. Both because most of the headphones they sell are invariant, and because it's needlessly complicated. That said, every Best Buy I've seen (which is not "lots") have demo stations that let users connect their own source directly to the headphones, which basically eliminates all of the above problems. I still think you'll find the Beats Pro coming up short when you take their price into account, but overall they aren't "terrible" - it's just that you can get really good sound for under $100, and they're asking $400 for the same.
Edited by obobskivich - 9/15/12 at 9:46pm
post #12 of 18
Interesting this came up today. I went to best buy earlier today to try and test some akg 550's. They didn't have those on display, but various kiosks scattered throughout the store with multiple other options. Of course the beats had their own display independent and away from the other "monitoring" headphones. Anyways, I took a listen. First the beats. Alright, sounded pretty sloppy. And I brushed them off as, eh, their beats. Then I go to the monitoring headphone kiosk....give those a test.....while certainly not so bass sloppy, none of these actually sounded very good either. There was no separation. It all felt very compressed, as if it was shot through a telephoto lens for the more visually inclined. And there was next to no bass. I listened to a pioneer hdj 2000, a sennheiser 280, and another sennheiser I don't remember the model. None of them matched anywhere close to my shure 840's with e17. Now i KNOW that some of these were well respected around here, so it can only be that they havent been reasonably demo'd.

Simply put, if I was unaware, assuming all of these were demo'd optimally, and I tested out all of these.....the beats would have won. But they're not.

And I don't know which best buy you're going to, but There was no way they'd let me hook up my own sources. Hell, they wouldn't even let me test the akg's I wanted to try. They told me I could buy them and return them if I didn't like them,.... maybe that would be the best option considering......
post #13 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Caffinefreedave View Post

Have you heard a $400 pair of beats outside of Best Buy?  Did they sound any better? 

 

Yes. 

 

Actually, the Pros really improve with ampage, probably because of their hilariously low ohmage (18ohms)

 

But regarding the lack of a good source, does it actually matter? I mean honestly, most of the people that buy Beats won't be able to tell the difference between amped headphones and unamped headphones, so basically more money is being spent for no actual reason. None of the Beats are technically good, that's not their deal. Their main goal, no matter what they try to tell you, is to have an incredibly fun, unrefined sound that appeals to Gen Y.

post #14 of 18
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by machoboy View Post

I don't like Beats either but there are already so many Beats rant threads... This isn't really news

I wasn't focusing on the beats as much as asking about their DAC setup lol

Quote:
Originally Posted by obobskivich View Post


No, they're really that underwhelming. Price doesn't dictate quality, especially with luxury products. If it was a "bad amplifier or DAC" (which doesn't work as a technical explanation), it would still not explain what you're hearing (especially with the Beats Pro, which are a very invariant load). I don't consider the Beats Pro to be legitimately competitive with other $300-$400 headphones, and I think many others fit into that boat as well.
So no, nobody is being ignorant here - it's just the unfortunate reality of how over-priced a lot of headphones have gotten recently. I think you've probably found a curious gem with your $30 pair of headphones as well, got any more information on them?
This thread is kind of neat in it's own way too - kind of an "eye opening experience with hi-fi" sort of thing that we get to watch a new user go through. smily_headphones1.gif
I'd appreciate less hate-words in the future. Just saying. redface.gif
Anyways, to respond: from a technical perspective the above is not really rational. Both because most of the headphones they sell are invariant, and because it's needlessly complicated. That said, every Best Buy I've seen (which is not "lots") have demo stations that let users connect their own source directly to the headphones, which basically eliminates all of the above problems. I still think you'll find the Beats Pro coming up short when you take their price into account, but overall they aren't "terrible" - it's just that you can get really good sound for under $100, and they're asking $400 for the same.

Well, I'm not exactly new to Hi-Fi, I have pretty decent studio monitors hooked up to my computer's Auzentech X-Fi Home Theater HD analogue out, a Gallo Nucleus center for home theater use only, and a Velodyne ULD-18 400 watt 18" 10 ohm sub amped by a Velodyne ULD 18 400 watt class B servo controller (there's an accelerometer attached to the woofer diaphragm that measures woofer movement about 3000 times a second and constantly corrects the position to eliminate distortion, as well as makes the woofer itself more stiff. It's the most musical subwoofer Iv'e ever heard, and puts out 104db @ 20Hz with under 0.5% THD (total harmonic distortion), and that's not the THD on the amplification, it comes out of the woofer itself via sound waves, oh, and it does this with a QUARTER INCH OF EXCURSION, which is precisely why it sounds so damn musical. The average car subwoofer has about 20-30% THD, if you wanna go louder, it's capable of over 120db @ 20Hz with under 3% THD, and the sub's -3 db cutoff is at 13Hz. Oh, and it's the PRIME DRIVER for the ULD 18 model.

 

 

 

My studio monitors, 5" Kevlar woofers and 1" Silk domes

 

 

 

3" Center channel $200 Gallo nucleus I got as a gift from a friend. I only use it for home theater use while watching movies because voices sound so natural with it. and my computer is setup so that lower frequencies go to the studio monitors.

 

 

 

And, the sound card analogue out has like .00003% THD, and is extremely high quality, and a much better DAC than you will find in even in that true high fidelity NAD T751 home theater receiver you see under the Velodyne amp.

 

I might be piss poor with money, but for about a grand spent on my entire system, it's phenomenal. I'm seriously doubting that anyone that posted on my topic has ever heard a sub that sounds more clean and hits as deep as that, and the sub only cost me $200 from a guy who used to build them, AKA my friend's dad, who has crazy stuff like a set of JMlab micro utopies, a $4,000 pair of ATC bookshelf speakers, a home theater center using a nice in wall sub, gallo 3.1 system worth 4 grand itself and some gallo nucleus for the rear all driven by mcintosh tube amps, and he has a lot more crazy stuff that Iv'e heard.

 

>_>

Quote:
Originally Posted by pickleweed View Post

Interesting this came up today. I went to best buy earlier today to try and test some akg 550's. They didn't have those on display, but various kiosks scattered throughout the store with multiple other options. Of course the beats had their own display independent and away from the other "monitoring" headphones. Anyways, I took a listen. First the beats. Alright, sounded pretty sloppy. And I brushed them off as, eh, their beats. Then I go to the monitoring headphone kiosk....give those a test.....while certainly not so bass sloppy, none of these actually sounded very good either. There was no separation. It all felt very compressed, as if it was shot through a telephoto lens for the more visually inclined. And there was next to no bass. I listened to a pioneer hdj 2000, a sennheiser 280, and another sennheiser I don't remember the model. None of them matched anywhere close to my shure 840's with e17. Now i KNOW that some of these were well respected around here, so it can only be that they havent been reasonably demo'd.
Simply put, if I was unaware, assuming all of these were demo'd optimally, and I tested out all of these.....the beats would have won. But they're not.
And I don't know which best buy you're going to, but There was no way they'd let me hook up my own sources. Hell, they wouldn't even let me test the akg's I wanted to try. They told me I could buy them and return them if I didn't like them,.... maybe that would be the best option considering......

 

I don't understand it either, they should provide a good fool proof source like an ipad hooked up to a high quality DAC that anyone can use IMO

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ishcabible View Post

 

Yes. 

 

Actually, the Pros really improve with ampage, probably because of their hilariously low ohmage (18ohms)

 

But regarding the lack of a good source, does it actually matter? I mean honestly, most of the people that buy Beats won't be able to tell the difference between amped headphones and unamped headphones, so basically more money is being spent for no actual reason. None of the Beats are technically good, that's not their deal. Their main goal, no matter what they try to tell you, is to have an incredibly fun, unrefined sound that appeals to Gen Y.

Haha my crossfades are 32 ohm 55mm dual diaphragm drivers and they get like 5 times better from an ipod to using a high quality headphone amp. I noticed that an ipod will literally start making the bass clip from not enough power to make the headphones work right on high volumes.

post #15 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by rawrster View Post

I remember asking what the setup at B&H was for all their headphones and one of their workers said it was a Sansa clip+ hooked up to the amps they have ...

We appreciate this feedback. You may be gratified to know that one of our sales managers found this and in addition to bringing it to my attention he's opened a discussion about how to improve this department and make it more appealing to a wider range of audiophiles.

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