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Sennheiser and Marantz PM710 AMP. New here and need some help with that duo :D

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

Hi there.

I have owned my Headphones for 6 years now but always just had them plugged into my laptops. They were never used loud and I actually never used them because of that.

Now I bought this old school Marantz PM710 and bought some new cable with the big jack for the headphones. Got my ipod hooked with some cheap jack cable and this is a different world now.

Could I make this any better?

Are my headphones burned in?

post #2 of 8

Welcome to Head-Fi! (Sorry about the wallet)


burn-in is something that happens (if it even happens at all, there's still debate over its existence) within the first few dozen hours of the headphones listening-life (or several hundered on a few particularly robust headphones). All it takes to "break-in" a headphone is to play music through it, nothing special. Given that your headphones are 6 years in, I'm sure they are quite broken in, and ready for many more years of listening enjoyment!


As for making it better, there's always "better", new headphones, new amps, Digital audio converters that convert the music files into analog signal more efficiently than a regular computer, etc.


Many will suggest a stand-alone headphone amp, but (being a personal fan of older Marantz gear), I'd say the headphone out on your receiver is probably pretty good already. So, if you are itching to upgrade, you could try a new headphone, either with a similar sound signature (think "built in equalization") to the one you already have, but with more detail and resolve, or you could try something different. Or if you are enjoying everything just fine the way it is, nothing lacking, nothing missed, my honest advice would be to take that money and spend it on music! L3000.gif

post #3 of 8
Thread Starter 

Could you maybe advice me what would a good way to transfer the music from a laptop/ipod to the headphones?

I dont know if I am gettin it pure throug the heaphone jack on the laptop/ipod.

I am going to stick with the phones I got for now.

post #4 of 8

The simplest way, the way you've been doing, is just headphone jack to aux input on the amp, and to be honest, the Macs seem to have slightly better headphone-outs than most laptops. Another way is to use a DAC. This is like an external soundcard for your computer, where a more rigorous (and complicated) circuit converts the 1's and 0's of your music files into an analog wave (the wave that travels through your RCA/headphone cables, gets amplified by the amplifier and then pushes the speaker diaphrams back and forth).


Entry-level external DAC's tend to start around the $100 range, usually run off of usb-power, and only have 1 or 2 input options. The sky is the limit as far as how much one can spend on a DAC, but as with everything else, the law of diminishing returns is present (the difference between a $300 DAC and $400 DAC is SUPPOSEDLY much less than the difference between no DAC and a cheap one, I say supposedly because I haven't spent that much on one myself yet.) Generally, results of using a DAC are clearer transmission, crisper sound, more "transparency", and more fine details in the music, along with better soundstage (the positioning of the instruments and noises within the mental "room" you hear them in).


Some common "entry" level choices are: uDac2, the ODAC, the Music Streamer II. I have a Gamma2, which is a Do-it-yourself DAC that gives you a few more options, but unless you're familiar with circuit-board assembly, I would stay away from that, as it's a fairly complicated circuit with small components. I also had the uDac2, which was nice, but was more of a DAC+headphone amp, and the headphone amp couldn't hold a candle to my vintage stereos. The HRT Music Streamer 2 gets very good reviews and is no frills, usb goes in one side, RCA connection goes out the other. They're ~$160 new, but show up in the used section here fairly regularly. (I buy all of my equipment used, audio guys tend to take good care of their stuff, and if I ever decide to get something different, I can sell it for nearly what I paid for it, and not lose much). The Audioengine D1 may also be worth looking into, at around the same price.



Note: Keep in mind, these won't work with your iPod, only with your laptop. iPod USB connections have special tamper protection circuitry that basically means that only certain "licensed" products can access the stream. The real kicker? Most iPod DAC's won't work on computers! The only entry level iPod DAC's I can think of are the iDo by nuforce and the HRT iStreamer, which is the same as the Music Streamer 2, but for ipods/ipads. These are both in the $200 to $250 range (the licensing and chips cost extra money for the manufacturer)



May I ask what Sennheiser headphones you are currently using though? It's possible that a headphone upgrade might be more bang-for-your-buck than a DAC upgrade, given that the Mac's headphone out isn't as dreadful as some, and you've already got a solid amp. (I just looked up the PM710, and I'm a bit jealous, that's a mighty fine stereo you've got there. I've got a Marantz 2245 myself)


Edit: Just saw you plan on sticking with what you've got now, there's not a thing wrong with that, I hope someday I can do the same!

Edited by Maverickmonk - 9/26/12 at 7:36am
post #5 of 8
Thread Starter 

Forgot to mention the headphones. Was sure I wrote it. They are Sennheiser HD600.

I was thinking about a portable DAC. Fiio E17.

So you say that I should not be getting any better sound from the Marantz that I am getting. I was hoping maybe a cable upgrade or something like that.

post #6 of 8

The HD600 is supposed to be a very nice phone, which I've not heard unfortunately.


I wont say that your amp is the best, but I would wager you'd likely have to spend a couple hundred dollars to hear something more, and then it's more about preference and tweaking the sound. Is there something you feel is missing from the sound signature? Is it too warm/dark, not detailed enough, grainy or something else?


Also, has your Marantz been restored? If you're looking for a clarity boost, replacing the old, warn out capacitors (especially the filter capacitors and power supply capacitors) can help tighten everything up inside and increase clarity/reduce grain. It requires you to know how to wield a soldering iron though, but at ~$50 in parts, it can make a fairly decent difference in what you're hearing

post #7 of 8
post #8 of 8
Thread Starter 

I will have to look into those cables and have my amp cleaned and restored.

It is really a nice amp and it pulls good.

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