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Help choosing supporting hardware for HD650

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 

Hi all,

 

Here's the nuts and bolts of it.

 

Headphones: Sennheiser HD650 new.

 

Source: Toshiba Laptop

 

Budget: AUD $600.00

 

First post to this forum. I may have gotten a little carried away and I now have a pair of Sennheiser HD650s on the way. I have made this purchase after some research here and elsewhere and these headphones seem to receive consistently favourable reviews. I owned a pair of HD201s which have left me familiar and partial towards Sennheisers so that too has effected my decision.

 

I have a basic Toshiba laptop that will be used as what I believe is referred to as the "source".

 

I listen to a very wide range of music, including technical metal with very fast bass drumming. I love to scrutinise the technical side of drumming in particular. So I think I want a set up that sounds "analytic"? Is this true?

 

100% for music. 0% gaming and movies.

 

I plan on buying gear that I will keep long term, rather than getting something for now while I save for something else.

 

I can spend about AUD $300.00 on my next piece of equipment. I could not justify spending more than AUD $600.00 on supporting hardware all up, unless that is an injustice to my headphones.

 

My setup will be stationary. I won't travel with it. It will always sit on the same desk.

 

From what I gather I want a DAC/AMP combo, or I want to spend $300.00 on one and continue saving for the other. Then I read about USB cables, USB1 and USB2, SPDIF converters and pretty soon I find myself deep down the rabbit hole, alone and confused! I was satisfied with my HD201s plugged into my iphone so I expect I will be impressed with almost anything and that is why I want your help! I want to get good value.

 

Is it okay to use itunes as my player, playing 320kb mp3s, with these headphones and this laptop?

 

Thanks guys. I hope you can appreciate the research I have done before posting and that the info I have provided comes across as helpful.

post #2 of 11

NFB-12.1. around 240 AUD

http://www.audio-gd.com/Pro/Headphoneamp/NFB12/NFB12EN.htm

 

Or made a Little Dot MKIII tube amp., 240 AUD and a Hifimediy Sabre USB DAC, 50 AUD.

 

Or an O2 (Objective 2) headphone amplifier 150 AUD and the Hifimediy Sabre USB DAC, 50 AUD


Edited by PurpleAngel - 10/30/12 at 9:39pm
post #3 of 11
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by PurpleAngel View Post

NFB-12.1. around 240 AUD
http://www.audio-gd.com/Pro/Headphoneamp/NFB12/NFB12EN.htm

Or made a Little Dot MKIII tube amp., 240 AUD and a Hifimediy Sabre USB DAC, 50 AUD.

Or an O2 (Objective 2) headphone amplifier 150 AUD and the Hifimediy Sabre USB DAC, 50 AUD

Thankyou I will research these now. Anybody want to recommend one of the three suggestions?

Also your suggestions all stay under $300. Is this because hd650s do not require dac and amp in a higher price range? If so, I still have $300 to play with.
Edited by njbaldwin - 10/31/12 at 12:02am
post #4 of 11
If you are into DIY the Bottlehead Crack is an excellent match for the HD650s. The Schiit Lyr is getting a lot of love in the HD650 appreciation thread. I have an O2 and like it a lot but I don't find it matches well with the 650s.
post #5 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by njbaldwin View Post

Thankyou I will research these now. Anybody want to recommend one of the three suggestions?
Also your suggestions all stay under $300. Is this because HD650s do not require DAC and amp in a higher price range? If so, I still have $300 to play with.

I really have zero knowledge about $600 DAC/Amp combos, so I'll let other make $600 recommendations on those.

I like to recommend stuff that I know has a good value (and good feedback) for the price.

 

Years ago, when I worked in a stereo & TV store, Wholesalers would give really good deals to the store employees, I bought (on impulse) a pair of great looking and sounding (Classical music type) speakers, for $1200.

I ended up realizing just a month later that I could have just paid $900 for a pair of JBLs that were more to my type of music (Rock).

(my very first inheritance cash went for impulse buys)

 

So I like to find people the best value for the price. so they do not make my mistake.

 

Plus it does leave you with $300 to play with

post #6 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by njbaldwin View Post

Is this because hd650s do not require dac and amp in a higher price range? If so, I still have $300 to play with.

 

Contrary to the popular myth, the HD 650's don't require expensive or special equipment. There's no truth or even substance to the story. But, if you attached a poorly designed amp, the 650's will sound poorly.

 

The ODAC+O2 combination is neutral and will drive the HD 650 easily: It's US$285. However, if you're looking for "tube audio" (colored) sound, the O2 is a bad choice.

post #7 of 11

If you want to use something low cost for now, while you search around and think about what appeals to you

 

Hifimediy Sabre USB DAC, $52

http://www.ebay.com/itm/140847495065?ssPageName=STRK:MEWAX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1423.l2649

 

Indeed 6922 tube headphone amplifier, $94

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Indeed-MK-2-Class-A-Hybrid-Tube-Headphone-Amplifier-Electro-Harmonix-6922EH-New-/290678335270?pt=US_Home_Audio_Amplifiers_Preamps&hash=item43adc76726

 

Bravo V2 12AU7 tube headphone amplifier, $49

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Valve-Class-A-Tube-Headphone-Amplifier-pre-Bravo-V2-e-/261121107433?pt=US_Home_Audio_Amplifiers_Preamps&hash=item3ccc07e5e9

 

A hybrid amplifier sold out of Perth

12UA7 JRC4556 cmoy tube amplifier, $69

http://www.ebay.com/itm/12AU7-JRC4556-Valve-driven-cmoy-RA-1-headphone-amplifier-real-tube-warm-sound-/200807704603?pt=AU_Electronics_Audio_Amplifiers&hash=item2ec112681b

 

The HS-DAC (Hifimediy Sabre) is a USB DAC that uses some of the same chips (receiver & DAC) as the ODAC.

I'm not saying the HS-DAC (which has good reviews) is as good as the ODAC, but still should be a great value at only $52,

 

The three amplifiers I've listed are not anything that might win a gold ribbon award.

But they should be able to easily drive 300-Ohm headphones like the Senn HD650.

Give you lots of time to maybe find that prefect (and used?) amplifier (at a good price) of your choice.

post #8 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by PurpleAngel View Post

I really have zero knowledge about $600 DAC/Amp combos, so I'll let other make $600 recommendations on those.

I like to recommend stuff that I know has a good value (and good feedback) for the price.

 

Years ago, when I worked in a stereo & TV store, Wholesalers would give really good deals to the store employees, I bought (on impulse) a pair of great looking and sounding (Classical music type) speakers, for $1200.

I ended up realizing just a month later that I could have just paid $900 for a pair of JBLs that were more to my type of music (Rock).

(my very first inheritance cash went for impulse buys)

 

So I like to find people the best value for the price. so they do not make my mistake.

 

Plus it does leave you with $300 to play with

 

IMO Purpleangel has it right. Get a cheap but adequate point to start with. Then as you start listening to music you'll find out what you enjoy and what you don't enjoy.

 

There's no such thing as spending 800 bucks at once and being happily ever after with it. Why? You spend 800 bucks. You imagine that what you're getting must be truly awesome. You read reviews of people comparing your item to other stuff and mentioning disadvantages. You hear some stuff that you wish was different about your amp. Next thing you know, you're wondering about other equipment. You're now ready to regret your investment.

 

It's better to start cheap and get a feel for what you like. If you know what you like, it's easier to buy the right stuff. The only way to know what you like, is to have gear and listen to it.

 

Also, don't look at "cheap" as if it equaled "bad". Good but cheap stuff is actually the best value for money you are going to find.


Edited by Nirvana Woman - 11/2/12 at 12:14pm
post #9 of 11

In terms of enjoying fast bass drums and metal, I guess you'd be better off with a solid state amp (say asgard or m stage or m3) than with a tube amp. But I wouldn't worry too much about choosing the right kind of amp since your headphone is going to determine compatibility with genres and styles more (although I've never been fully convinced about the extremes to which some claim this to be true).


Edited by Nirvana Woman - 11/2/12 at 12:25pm
post #10 of 11

get the NFB-12.1, if you are going to keep it for a long time, its the best value for money.

post #11 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by PurpleAngel View Post

If you want to use something low cost for now, while you search around and think about what appeals to you

 

Hifimediy Sabre USB DAC, $52

http://www.ebay.com/itm/140847495065?ssPageName=STRK:MEWAX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1423.l2649

 

Indeed 6922 tube headphone amplifier, $94

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Indeed-MK-2-Class-A-Hybrid-Tube-Headphone-Amplifier-Electro-Harmonix-6922EH-New-/290678335270?pt=US_Home_Audio_Amplifiers_Preamps&hash=item43adc76726

 

Bravo V2 12AU7 tube headphone amplifier, $49

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Valve-Class-A-Tube-Headphone-Amplifier-pre-Bravo-V2-e-/261121107433?pt=US_Home_Audio_Amplifiers_Preamps&hash=item3ccc07e5e9

 

A hybrid amplifier sold out of Perth

12UA7 JRC4556 cmoy tube amplifier, $69

http://www.ebay.com/itm/12AU7-JRC4556-Valve-driven-cmoy-RA-1-headphone-amplifier-real-tube-warm-sound-/200807704603?pt=AU_Electronics_Audio_Amplifiers&hash=item2ec112681b

 

The HS-DAC (Hifimediy Sabre) is a USB DAC that uses some of the same chips (receiver & DAC) as the ODAC.

I'm not saying the HS-DAC (which has good reviews) is as good as the ODAC, but still should be a great value at only $52,

 

The three amplifiers I've listed are not anything that might win a gold ribbon award.

But they should be able to easily drive 300-Ohm headphones like the Senn HD650.

Give you lots of time to maybe find that prefect (and used?) amplifier (at a good price) of your choice.


those would all be a mistake and probably not better than the laptops sound card

 

your budget is good, spend it.

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