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have 7th gen ipod and a decade-old, much loved HD600; want to upgrade, have specific needs; help computer!

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 

I've had the same pair of HD600s on my head daily for a decade, and I use them for everything. first and foremost, listening to music, 1/3 at home, 1/3 on my bike or walking about, and 1/3 reading in public like a weirdo. I have them on my head for about five hours a day. I'm the sort of person that likes to buy something that serves my needs unto death. these babies are in many ways closer to me than my friends, my family, my guitars. I dumped what was at the time two months of rent on these babies knowing I'd never have to shell out a fortune for headphones ever again. over the years, I've eaten through innumerable cords, a set of drivers, and three sets of pads/band padding. the sennheiser label rubbed off years ago, the grills are dented, and much of the paint has chipped off. this concerns me only in as much as it makes them look even more unassuming, which I dig. 


I've few complaints with these headphones. the biggest was the split cable, which I remedied a few years back when my *th cable kicked the bucket, so I bypassed the modular connections, ran the cable to the right earphone and strung the left through the casing along the headband down to the left driver. this particular cable has survived three years and counting, though it's shrunk as I've constantly replaced the 3.5 jack. other than the "catch my chin every time I take my headphones off" issue, which is currently resolved, my only other complains are:


-pads are thick enough new, but after a year or so my ears touch the inner grille, which makes my ears sore after a few hours. by ears, I mean the external, not the internal. 

-in public, classical and ambient gets lost in the noise of the crowd. It is not so much the hearing of things other than my music that is the bother, but when that noise is at least as loud as the music, it ruins it.


now, for what I love, ie. qualities that are necessary to me:


-first and foremost, the reference sound. I'm not a numbers geek, but the response of these is what I know, what I love, and what I want. 

-close second, the fit. my ears cant hold a set of earbuds for five minutes without pain. I can enjoy grados for half an hour before my ears hurt. I want a donut suspending the headphones over my ears, like the hd600s do

-third, weight, but only inasmuch as they are light and "clampy" enough to stick to my head while I ride my bike. I've bucked my girls while mountain biking a few times, but goodness, that is to be expected!


alright, so these days, my headphones spend the majority of their life plugged into a 7th gen ipod classic, and the rest of their time plugged into an maudio firewire 1814. the ipod's DAC is not the greatest, and its amp is rubbish. *my* idea of a good upgrade plan is to strap her to a dac/amp, replace my weathered cable with one of your suggestion and terminate it with a cute 3.5 pailiccs jack, or with the jack optimal to the dac/amp you folk think would best suit me.


dac/amp requirements:

-internal battery that lasts at least five hours, though I'd rather one that lasts as long as the ipod. I do not object to sandwiching a cell between the ipod and a dac/amp that isn't battery powered, but only if someone can describe the schematics; I am excellent at SMD rework, but BGA is beyond my grasp, and my abilities are entirely mechanical. 

-ipod friendly

-not much bigger than an ipod. the size of a 3.5" HDD is the absolute limit of the dac/amp/battery (minus ipod).


Notice the absence of a budget for each component? I leave that to you. my budget is only for the project as a whole. I would like to spend between $400-$600, but I can stretch that to about $1500, but only if it makes sense. I am a bang-for-your-buck guy. when I dumped $500 on my headphones, people thought I was an idiot. a decade later, they've all spent twice that on disposable headphones, and that fact alone is why I will justify spending up to $1500 if it makes sense to do so.


So that is my situation, and I will leave it to you guys to spend my money for me. to save time, I will answer the "what music are you listening to" question:


everything, but not equally. the majority of what I listen to could be (ill)classified as electronic, indie, folk, and classical. if interests as they relate to fidelity are concerned, in order:

1) deconstructing synths (ie. reconstructing the production of noise in my mind),

2) appreciating the genius in production, and

3) obsessing over the nuances in solo classical recordings (pascal roge's take on satie's gymnopedies [and a few of the gnossienns]is one I've been studying for three years now with the obsession of a stalker).


P.S. Howdy, pleased to meet you, etc.! help computer!

post #2 of 10

I will recomend to buy either highend CIEMs like UE Reference, JH13Pro, 16Pro, Westone ES5, UM Miracle, Heir Audio 8A with portable AMPs and it will easily rival the fine qualities of HD600 or buy fulsize headphones like Sony MA900, Beyerdynamic T1 with AMPs like ALO MKIII.

post #3 of 10
Thread Starter 

I already have a pair of HD600s, why on earth would I downgrade to the ma900s? I love my hd600s, and it likely makes sense keeping them and dumping my money into a recabling them and portable dac/amp

post #4 of 10
Pailiccs are nice jacks, I use them for my DIY cables.

Check out the Soundmagic HP100, they might fit your needs
post #5 of 10
I'm going to give this a bump for you because you've put a lot of effort into the OP.

it was an interesting read mind you too.
post #6 of 10
Thread Starter 

bey, thanks a lot. I was considering cross posting it to one of the other threads, but didn't want to be an annoying first time poster, you know? I'm really busy with school at the moment, so I figured I would let this thread die then repost it in a few weeks to the DIY or portable amp forum. I've been wanting to build a custom pair of headphones for years now but lack a wood shop and live in an apartment, so the idea I had was off the table while I lived here, but I had a neat idea shortly after posting. 


I'm going to track down some cocobolo veneer, and bend/ply myself a set of cans using the spare drivers for my HD600 (thought I had torn my left driver a few years back, made a rattle, but it was actually just a small magnetic flake of something stuck in there). I have it entirely planned out in my head now, excluding the padding, which I'm not worried about as I am quite a good seamstress (well, seamster, I suppose.) I'm quite excited and will be starting it when I get this pile of work finished. on this note, I poked around a few pages deep in the DIY threads, and despite the incredible amount of electronic DIYing, I didn't notice any homemade head phones. am I alone in this endeavour? 


in the mean time, this thread is still entirely pertinent, as the pair I'm building will likely be too heavy for portable use, to say nothing of how they will sound, so the HD600s are still going to be the pair I use from my rig. if my initial post wasn't clear or was too long winded, I'm looking to spend $400-$600 on a portable battery powered amp/dac to mate with my ipod, as well as building a custom cable to mate with this rig. I will spend up to about $1500 in  total if the benefits are worth the added cost, but ideally, I'd like to keep it in the $400-$600 range. there are so many portable DACs, amps, and DAC/amps with such a range of price that I have no idea what to buy, but as I've said, I like to buy something once, and replace it only if it breaks for some reason.


[EDIT]started a thread in the DIY about the headphones with my current design, if you're interested!



Edited by rivermandan - 11/7/12 at 9:50pm
post #7 of 10

The cheapest DAC I know of that works with the iPod (or iPhone) is the HRT iStreamer, $155.

It's not really a "portable" DAC more like one you would carry around in a carrying bag of some type and hook it up when you sitting down.


To me hooking up a Fiio E11 with an Fiio L cable is about as much as someone would want to spend on the portable iPod.


I would say to invest in a new (none apple) portable audio player.

Check out the website anythingbutipod

post #8 of 10
Thread Starter 

thanks for the reply. what's the beef with the ipod if you are using an external DAC? as far as the portability of the DAC/AMP, I'm going to sandwich it to the back of my ipod, so it doesn't have to be miniature, just not monsterous!

post #9 of 10
Originally Posted by rivermandan View Post

Thanks for the reply. what's the beef with the iPod if you are using an external DAC? as far as the portability of the DAC/AMP, I'm going to sandwich it to the back of my iPod, so it doesn't have to be miniature, just not monsterous!

The DAC in Apple portable audio products is usually fairly decent, so most people are fine with it, so very little market for truely portable DACs that work with the Apple's LOD port.

post #10 of 10

IEMs, to be honest, are not as good as full-sized headphones in terms of overall sound quality. I own JH13 and ES5 so I know how they sound. To be honest,  IEMs that sound closest to big cans I have owned or heard are AKG K3003, Fitear TOGO334 and Sony mdr-ex1000. They are above 1000 dollars (except for the ex1000 which u can get around 300) so they have very low performance/price ratio. I would recommend you to try the Hifiman HE-500 and get a good amp for them. They are not painfully expensive but they sound sooooooooo good. I prefer them over HD800, T1, LCD2 and many other world class headphones that costs twice the price. If you don't believe me, try them out.

Edited by czqdtc - 11/7/12 at 10:28pm
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Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Portable Source Gear › have 7th gen ipod and a decade-old, much loved HD600; want to upgrade, have specific needs; help computer!