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ATH-M50 + Prodigy HD2 or DT 990 pro + cheap amp or HE-400 ??

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 

Hi, I have only $420, no more no less, to spend on audio for my new pc but I'm a bit lost, I've done a lot of research and don't really know how to best spend those $420. 

 

First of all, I would like to use this money to improve my pc audio, for gaming, watching films and listening to music.

All my musics aren't in .flac or other lossless codec. I have no soundcard (other than my integrated soundcard) or amp but I already have a JVC HA-RX900, they're nice cans but I find the sound to be somewhat too flat, not detailled enough. I don't know if it's because of my integrated soundcard or if I should use an amp to use them at their best. 

 

So I've done a lot of research and ended at those 3 choices:  

 

- ATH-M50 with an audiotrak Prodigy HD2 Advance DE 

                                                                                       

- DT 990 pro with a cheap amp (don't know which one actually, maybe a Fiio?)

                                                                                       

- HE-400

 

I don't really know wich one of those choices would be the best, I've heard that the ATH-M50 are nice and relatively cheap wich would allow me to buy a soundcard or a cheap amp. Same goes for the DT 990 pro that I can get at the same price than the ATH-M50. And recently, I've heard about the HE-400 wich seems to be a bargain but if I buy them, I would have no more money to buy an amp or even an other soundcard than the one in my motherboard + I don't know if they really worth the money for my use : gaming, listening to .flac and .mp3 and watching films.

 

Can someone help me to get the best sound out of my skinny wallet?

Sorry for my poor english btw.


Edited by Moustache - 9/23/12 at 4:35pm
post #2 of 14

If you're looking for me detail, away from the M50. You really can't go wrong with the HE-400, but I really dislike listening to them straight from a PC without a DAC or good soundcard... And they really shine with Amps. You could try the HE-400 and the Fiio E10 as a start and eventually upgrade the E10?

post #3 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by planx View Post

If you're looking for me detail, away from the M50. You really can't go wrong with the HE-400, but I really dislike listening to them straight from a PC without a DAC or good soundcard... And they really shine with Amps. You could try the HE-400 and the Fiio E10 as a start and eventually upgrade the E10?

He probably could afford a 2nd-hand HE400 from here, or a B-stock "like-new" HE400 from Headroom, and have enough dosh left over for something like an E7 or E10. Better than nothing, and it's always more cost-effective to get the ideal headphone first, before getting the upstream gear.

post #4 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by jerg View Post

He probably could afford a 2nd-hand HE400 from here, or a B-stock "like-new" HE400 from Headroom, and have enough dosh left over for something like an E7 or E10. Better than nothing, and it's always more cost-effective to get the ideal headphone first, before getting the upstream gear.

 

True, that would be a better choice, but try to avoid the first version HE-400. HE-400 and a E10 should be a good start

post #5 of 14

Headroom has a B-stock HE400 for $339, and an cheap amp/dac like the E10 will run ~$70. Add in shipping and taxes, and I'd say that would fit your budget. The HE400+E10 combo have become the definitive set for movies and games for me. They are highly dynamic at movie/gaming volumes, the presentation just works wonders with movies, the leanness and clarity is perfect for speech and the separation is really fun during scenes with tons of background noise that you just love to pick out. My poor LCD-2s are just sitting there all alone, since the HE400s have relegated them to quiet listening sessions only.  Oh, and the E10s should drive the HE400s quite adequately. I hardly use anything else with more power than these, they scale, but not too much, The DAC1 is probably where all the power requirements and improvements peak out, but it's not really that far off from the E10s.

 

Another way to go would be a used HD580 on eBay for ~$100, and then a ODAC+O2 combo for $280. The HD580s are extremely unfatiguing for long-term listening and really long movie marathons. Just watched ~8h of Jim Carrey and Planet of the Apes last night, fell asleep with them on. I can't stress how comfortable these are. FYI, the HD580s are pretty much the same as the older driver version of the HD600, which has slightly bit more of treble energy.  

 

Also, the usual questions haven't been asked yet: What type music are you planning to listen to them with, anything that you're looking for specifically in terms of build, comfort, sound signature?


Edited by TwinQY - 9/23/12 at 6:17pm
post #6 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Moustache View Post

Hi, I have only $420, no more no less, to spend on audio for my new pc but I'm a bit lost, I've done a lot of research and don't really know how to best spend those $420. 

First of all, I would like to use this money to improve my pc audio, for gaming, watching films and listening to music.

All my musics aren't in .flac or other lossless codec. I have no sound card (other than my integrated sound card) or amp but I already have a JVC HA-RX900, they're nice cans but I find the sound to be somewhat too flat, not detailed enough. I don't know if it's because of my integrated sound card or if I should use an amp to use them at their best. 

So I've done a lot of research and ended at those 3 choices:  

- ATH-M50 with an audiotrak Prodigy HD2 Advance DE 

- DT 990 pro with a cheap amp (don't know which one actually, maybe a Fiio?)

- HE-400

I don't really know wich one of those choices would be the best, I've heard that the ATH-M50 are nice and relatively cheap wich would allow me to buy a soundcard or a cheap amp. Same goes for the DT 990 pro that I can get at the same price than the ATH-M50. And recently, I've heard about the HE-400 which seems to be a bargain but if I buy them, I would have no more money to buy an amp or even an other sound card than the one in my motherboard + I don't know if they really worth the money for my use : gaming, listening to .flac and .mp3 and watching films.

Can someone help me to get the best sound out of my skinny wallet?

Sorry for my poor english btw.

First off I would say take the ATH-M50s off your list, they are good for music, but limited surround sound for movies & gaming.

The DT990 Pro 250-Ohm has a great "movie theater" like sound, great for watching blue-rays with.

and they do everything else fairly well.

The Hifiman HE-400 seems to be a fairly well liked headphones, but uses up too much of your budget.

 

On the Head-Fi thread "Headphones for Sale" thread, there are some Beyerdynamic DT770 Premium 250-Ohm (closed) headphones selling for $155, good buy.

The Asus Xonar Essence STX sound card ($180) will do everything for you need, music, movies & gaming.

Should be able to find a used Essence STX for $155 or less.

 

If you wanted to save a few dollars for now.

Asus Xonar DG ($21) or DGX ($40) sound card.

Technical Pro HPT990 (Takstar Hi2050) headphones, $50.

So for under $100, you could have something fairly decent audio.

post #7 of 14

Definitely the he-400, they work very well without an amp (although an amp would really benefit). I used my he-400 out of my ipod without any problems. The sound quality was decent and not much different from when I used it with an marantz integrated amplifier. Unlike the other full size open headphone in the same range such as the HD600/HD650 that requires an amp to play well, the magic of the he-400 is that is plays well with or without an amp. 

 

I am under the same situation as you. I have a tight budget and had to decide between getting a he-400 and buying an amp later on, or buying a cheaper headphone without an amp. Turns out I decided to buy the he-400 and is a great decision I made. 

 

I am saving up for the fiio e 17 dac/amp as that would greatly improve the sound quality out of the computer and DAP.

 

GL 

post #8 of 14
Thread Starter 

Hi, thanks for all the answers!

I'm not planning to get a second hand product since I live in Belgium and it could be difficult to send it back if there is a problem with it. That being said, I could probably find some more money to buy a Fiio E10 in a week or so if I buy a HE-400. So at first, an amp would be a better choice over a DAC or a soundcard?

 

I'll do some reasearch about the HD580, thx TwinQY. I think that I've already heard of them before but I didn't know where I could purchase them here so I just skipped this choice.

About my kind of music I listen to about everything but mostly pop, electro, jazz and classic. I wanted to have lighter headpohnes (I find my HARX-900 to be somewhat too heavy) but if the sound of the HE-400 is great, I don't think that it would be too much of a problem. But what I'm sure about is that I want to have a more detailled sound than what I currently have with my JVC.

 

So, I can take the ATH-M50 off my list it seems. Also, I have already checked the Asus Xonar Essence ST and on some reviews, the Audiotrak Prodigy HD2 Advance DE was said to be better (except for the fact that the Essence ST has a better amp).

 

Actually, I think that the HE-400 would be the best option for me (even if I buy it, I won't be able to buy something else for my computer like a new keyboard or a ssd, or anything else for the moment). If I go for it what would be the best cheap amp, DAC to go with it? If I could choose between the Fiio E10 and E17 for example?  


Edited by Moustache - 9/24/12 at 9:31am
post #9 of 14
Actually, I think that the HE-400 would be the best option for me (even if I buy it, I won't be able to buy something else for my computer like a new keyboard or a ssd, or anything else for the moment). If I go for it what would be the best cheap amp, DAC to go with it? If I could choose between the Fiio E10 and E17 for example?  
[/quote]

The fiio e17 seems to be highly recommended for the he-400 as a budget portable dac/amp.

GL
post #10 of 14
Thread Starter 

Ok, I'll probably go for the E17 too then. Following the HE-400 topic, the Lyr would be the first choice amp for it but damn, it's not cheap. o_o

post #11 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Moustache View Post

Ok, I'll probably go for the E17 too then. Following the HE-400 topic, the Lyr would be the first choice amp for it but damn, it's not cheap. o_o

 

It'd be good upgrade down the line, but you don't need it for these cans to sing.

post #12 of 14
If you have a source that has an SPDIF/optical out, the Fiio D3 is just a $26 DAC, and I swear to you, I can't tell a difference between the D3, the E17, and NFB5's DAC. I'd get that and the E11, if you can't spring for the E17 (though the E17 is about $50, and I'd say to save up for it over the D3+E11)
Edited by Mad Lust Envy - 9/24/12 at 10:04am
post #13 of 14
Thread Starter 

Here there is only a $20 difference if I get the D3 + E11 combo over the E17 anyway. (At the cheapest price on amazon.fr).

post #14 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Moustache View Post

Hi, thanks for all the answers!

I'm not planning to get a second hand product since I live in Belgium and it could be difficult to send it back if there is a problem with it. That being said, I could probably find some more money to buy a Fiio E10 in a week or so if I buy a HE-400. So at first, an amp would be a better choice over a DAC or a soundcard?

 

From Headroom's B-stock outlet: 

HIFIMAN (1) HE-400 [BRAND-NEW/ Opened for testing] - $339

So it seems it isn't really second-hand, although you can never be too certain in terms of quality.

 

I don't really care about DACs, my rule of thumb is that if it doesn't needless sample, and doesn't do much harm to the sound, it should be fine. An amp would benefit you more probably

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