Hey all, I joined Head-Fi recently for the plethora of information that's available here, which is fantastic! Only problem is, I seem to have too much information now, or lacking in some of the connecting points. I'm looking to enter the hi-fi world, but I am doing so on a budget, as I am (still) a college student, etc. etc. I was looking for equipment advice, based on what I have, what I think I might want, and my budget, and any help offered would be fantastic.
I currently have some lower end IEM's from Phillips, and some older Senn EH150's. I'm looking to start upgrading, and wondering where to start. I like some aspects of what I have, and dislike others. So I guess I'll just dive right in:
My EH150's are what I generally use when I'm wanting to listen to quality music. I like what I know of them, but I don't have much basis for comparison either. I have a really wide range of music that I enjoy, from classical to rock to the occasional dubstep. I like the general clarity, but dislike that they seem to lack and punch in the lower end. Part of what I've been wondering is if this is the phones themselves, or if an amp would help. I listen mainly through my computer and an iPod classic, and I guess my first question is which should I get first, better phones, or an amp? Or both at once? I've been looking at the Fiio E7 for the flexibility of being able to use it with my computer and my iPod (with a LOD, hopefully), and the battery life. I've also looked at the PA2-V2 because I like that it's hand built, battery life, and it's the highest reviewed amp on here. I don't know if it would work at all with my computer, but I'm also not sure if that's all that important.
My other thoughts are for getting new phones. I like what I've seen of the AudioTechnica ATH-M50S's, but they're at the limit of my budget right now, if I buy them used. I also like what I've seen of the Superlux HD668B's, but I'm worried about the lack of bass that some people have mentioned. The HD668B's are definitely more in my price range, but would still prohibit the purchase of either of the amps I've listed above. So I've looked into the Fiio E6, which looks promising, though the battery life leaves something to be desired. I checked out the headphone buying guide, and also discovered the Monoprice 8323's that look somewhat promising, and might allow me to purchase an amp along side them. But, I don't want to purchase new phones, if they're not any better than what I have.
What I like about good headphones (and speakers) is clarity, but with flexibility. I like to feel the bass, and have it well defined, but not overpower the mids and highs. One thing about my EH150's I dislike is that without any eq, they seem very flat, and the mids stand out too much. I have a little bit of hearing loss, so clarity is very important to me. Closed phones would be nice for when I'm trying not to wake my wife, or at school, but may not be the best option, either.
So, any advice on where to start with a US$100 budget would be MUCH, MUCH appreciated.
Thanks in advance, and I'll keep on looking as well, trying to find that golden bit of information...