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New to the head-fi game, have a question about my rig

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 

I purchased a pair of Audio Technica ATH-M40fs headphones a few years ago to listen to idoser (binaural beats) because they had good reviews and a broad frequency range.  I now however listen to music and movies on them strictly.  I love the sound they give and the clarity/drive behind them but I want more.  I feel that they aren't driven well by my Galaxy S3 and think an inline portable amp would do just the trick.  I have a friend who bought the Fiio e17 Alpen and LOVES it, but I don't know if it's worth buying an amp that's $140 for a pair of headphones I paid $80 for.  I've also done some research and decided a better way to go is either the e6 ($30) or e11($50).  I wouldn't be able to use it as a DAC with my computer if I don't buy the e17, but for now that's not a big issue.  Has anyone ever used these headphones with the formentioned amp's?  Or any amp period?  I figured since the AT are 60ohms it would definitely show an improvement over not having an amp but I'm not quite sure.  How does Head-fi feel about my situation?  buy a cheap amp and rock what I got?  or buy the expensive amp and have room to upgrade my headphones later?  Or just buy new cans right now and get lower ohm phones so my phone runs them better?  Thanks!

post #2 of 14

Caveat: I've never tried the M40 and the Galaxy.

 

have tried the M30 and M50, so I think I can guess where the M40 is at. I would guess the M40 is a decent headphone, but far from audiophile; AFAIK it was made for studio work and based on its pricing (more than M30, less than M50), it is doubtful that it would benefit from amping. It's already debatable whether the M50 needs an amp, so... you know.

 

In general, I must caution you about "feeling" that your headphones aren't being "driven well enough". Sound is a science. Driving a headphone is about physics, the numbers of your music device, its headphone jack, and your headphone's specs. Whether you like the way something sounds is subjective, but "driving" a headphone is a science. 

You're thinking of "low ohm" headphones--this already suggests that you have misconceptions about amping requirements. I have very little knowledge in this area, so I won't overstep my bounds here. I would strongly suggest you factor in sensitivity, and that you do not use headphone impedance only as a gauge for whether a headphone needs an amp.

 

Bottom line: 

Would not bother amping.

Consider new headphones but please try before you buy. If you can't (e.g. no headphone shops nearby), strongly advise that you do not buy anything at all.

post #3 of 14
Thread Starter 

My knowledge of audio and sound comes from 10 years of installing and testing car audio, so I am very new to the headphone/amp world.  I can tell the difference in "driving force" drastically between my computer and phone so I thought an amp would help fill the void when I'm walking around town.  I understand how a 30ohm headphone will be easier to power then a 120ohm headphone because of the way the output signal comes from my phone.  You don't think the e11 would help fill in the lows and mids a bit better?  I am happy with my headphones but if I were to buy a new pair I was thinking of the Hifiman HE400 and I can demo them because a friend of mine purchased a pair months ago.  Like I said though, I am happy with my headphones just thought a cheap efficient portable amp would give them more depth while keeping the clarity that I like.  Thanks for your input! 

post #4 of 14

I think an E11 might give you more voltage swing than your S3, that's for sure. But by the same token, you should rule out the E6--it isn't a powerful amp, and arguably more suited to IEMs where it displays excellent channel balance and zero discernible hiss.

 

I still maintain that the M40 shouldn't be amped. For that reason alone, I would recommend getting new headphones. In 3 years of this hobby, I have to say that it's usually transducers first, then bitrate/recording, then amp.

 

You're considering the HE 400 for home use only, right? 

post #5 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by peenemunde View Post

I purchased a pair of Audio Technica ATH-M40fs headphones a few years ago to listen to idoser (binaural beats) because they had good reviews and a broad frequency range.  I now however listen to music and movies on them strictly.  I love the sound they give and the clarity/drive behind them but I want more.  I feel that they aren't driven well by my Galaxy S3 and think an inline portable amp would do just the trick.  I have a friend who bought the Fiio e17 Alpen and LOVES it, but I don't know if it's worth buying an amp that's $140 for a pair of headphones I paid $80 for.  I've also done some research and decided a better way to go is either the e6 ($30) or e11($50).  I wouldn't be able to use it as a DAC with my computer if I don't buy the e17, but for now that's not a big issue.  Has anyone ever used these headphones with the formentioned amp's?  Or any amp period?  I figured since the AT are 60ohms it would definitely show an improvement over not having an amp but I'm not quite sure.  How does Head-fi feel about my situation?  buy a cheap amp and rock what I got?  or buy the expensive amp and have room to upgrade my headphones later?  Or just buy new cans right now and get lower ohm phones so my phone runs them better?  Thanks!

I'm guessing your Galaxy 3 comes with a decent built in headphone amplifier, so getting another amplifier might not improve the sound that much anyway.

So I say sell off your ATH-M50fs and buy new headphones.

post #6 of 14
Thread Starter 

Yes, the HE400 would be for home use strictly (music and pc gaming).  The Audio Technica's would turn into my rainy day around town beaters.  But I'm not quite sure if I want to spend $400 on the hifiman headphones when the HE300 are only $250 and reviewed very nicely.  I don't need to have the biggest most badass hifi system around, but I do love sound quality and appreciate nice bass and clarity from headphones while gaming.  I've been debating what to do for a while now and I'm glad I made a head-fi account to bounce idea's off of the community :)  This is definitely the place I will confide in for knowledge and speculations before I make any purchase in the future

post #7 of 14
Thread Starter 

@ PurpleAngel

That's what I have been gathering from checking out the buzz online.  Are there any recommendations you can make for new phones that would work fabulously without an amp?  I would like to spend under $200 because I can't justify any more then that considering I won't use them a whole lot.  Damn my brain for being so logical :/  lol

post #8 of 14

Okay FWIW about the HE's:

I bought a 400. I think it's an excellent all-purpose can for home use. I use it for single player gaming on PC and Xbox, where it's driven by a Xonar DX and MixAmp respectively, and it's capable, comfortable enough* and gives good clear sound with decent directionality. 

It's nice for a wide variety of music genres too (powered by a DIY tube amp, or a Meier Rock). 

 

Here are some reads which shed some light on HE 300 vs HE 400:

http://www.head-fi.org/t/594839/he-400-he-300-vs-sennheiser-hd650-hd600/45

http://www.headfonia.com/mike-and-lieven-on-the-hifiman-he-400/

post #9 of 14

A list of standard USB DAC/amp reportedly interworking with the Android-powered smartphone Galaxy S3 can be found at the following link:

http://www.head-fi.org/t/595071/android-phones-and-usb-dacs/750#post_8845185


Edited by DanBa - 11/7/12 at 12:53am
post #10 of 14
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the input guys!!!  I'm thinking about the Sennhesier HD558.  They seem like they would give me everything I wanted in a headphone for just around $180.  Anyone know of a better pair for the same price, or a little cheaper? 

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

Thanks for the input guys!!!  I'm thinking about the Sennhesier HD558.  They seem like they would give me everything I wanted in a headphone for just around $180.  Anyone know of a better pair for the same price, or a little cheaper? 

For a better price, check out the used HD558s sold on Amazon and eBay.

Also check out Head-Fi "Headphones for Sale" thread.

post #12 of 14
Thread Starter 

I've never ordered anything used from amazon before so I have no experience with it.  I found a "Like New" pair of the M-Audio Q40 for $105 and new they are $130.  I think these phones would best fit my music preference and very well priced while doing so.  Have you had good experiences ordering used from amazon?

post #13 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by peenemunde View Post

I've never ordered anything used from amazon before so I have no experience with it.  I found a "Like New" pair of the M-Audio Q40 for $105 and new they are $130.  I think these phones would best fit my music preference and very well priced while doing so.  Have you had good experiences ordering used from amazon?

I ordered my Beyer T70s used from Amazon, but your only "warranty" for used is the 30 return window, and I'm guessing that has it's limits.

You can buy a 3rd party warranty thru Amazon, but you never know how good those warranties work out until you use it.

post #14 of 14
Thread Starter 

Ended up ordering the M-Audio Q40's and did a Beyer Velour pad mod:)  I'm very happy with these cans so far, I think I'm addicted to nice headphones now.... Thanks HEAD-FI!!!! <3 

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