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Looking for advice on an upgrade from D1100

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 

Hi all!

 

I am looking for a little advice really on my first pair of expensive headphones. I currently own CAL!, XB500 and D1100. Out of those I like the D110 with a little EQ the best. The reasons being that I like the non fatiguing sound signature, and the extreme comfort I get from them. I dislike the XB500's because to me they sound cheap and unnatural, even with EQ I find them very fatiguing and almost boring I know those two don't really go together but I find that my hearing and ears are hurting my head feels enclosed and it doesn't really bring the music alive. The CAL! I find just a little boring, like they don't do anything well enough for me to notice the music and they are also not very comfortable for the length of time that I wear them for. I tried EQing the CAL! but ended up with distortion so these are now the wife's for the laptop and itunes and the XB500 are a paper weight as I can get 99% of the impact and sub bass from the D1100 but with much more sparkle and aliveness(is that a word?) to the music/game.

 

I EQ the D1100 to give it a little boost in the sub bass but take away the mid and upper bass, give it more mid/upper mids and more treble. It looks like a Nike tick :P

 

So now you know the sound I like the headphones I am looking to get to upgrade are probably the HD650. I want open back headphones and I want them to be very comfy. Would these be a good upgrade to the D1100. I am also looking at the HE400 but I believe the comfort on these may be an issue for me. Someone suggested the DT990 to me, but I prefer sub bass to a mid bass impact. Basically my Grandpa had a Bang&Olufson system that we used to listen to and it had a floor sub. The bass from it didn't blow your head off but it was just kind of there and you could hear it all. Natural I think is the correct term. Like a very soft kind of expensive bass that winks at you and knows you know it's there, it doesn't need to boast :D

 

I currently only have a Creative Recon3D sound card which has a 600ohm headphone amp on it, but that is going soon to make way for an external DAC and amp seperates. Probably a Fire Pheonix for now and a Bravo Audio Ocean amp or a Maverick Audio D1. I will probably use onboard as the audio processor unless anyone thinks there is much to gain in keeping the Recon just for the processing...

 

Sorry for the head blag I am fairly new to all this stuff.... love the site though! 

post #2 of 11
If you are going to go open back, you will most likely lose most of the bass you are currently use to.

Have you thought of staying with the Denon family since you like one of them? Like the Denon d2000, d5000 etc.
post #3 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by MrToastofferson View Post

Hi all!

 

I am looking for a little advice really on my first pair of expensive headphones. I currently own CAL!, XB500 and D1100. Out of those I like the D110 with a little EQ the best. The reasons being that I like the non fatiguing sound signature, and the extreme comfort I get from them. I dislike the XB500's because to me they sound cheap and unnatural, even with EQ I find them very fatiguing and almost boring I know those two don't really go together but I find that my hearing and ears are hurting my head feels enclosed and it doesn't really bring the music alive. The CAL! I find just a little boring, like they don't do anything well enough for me to notice the music and they are also not very comfortable for the length of time that I wear them for. I tried EQing the CAL! but ended up with distortion so these are now the wife's for the laptop and itunes and the XB500 are a paper weight as I can get 99% of the impact and sub bass from the D1100 but with much more sparkle and aliveness(is that a word?) to the music/game.

I EQ the D1100 to give it a little boost in the sub bass but take away the mid and upper bass, give it more mid/upper mids and more treble. It looks like a Nike tick :P

So now you know the sound I like the headphones I am looking to get to upgrade are probably the HD650. I want open back headphones and I want them to be very comfy. Would these be a good upgrade to the D1100. I am also looking at the HE400 but I believe the comfort on these may be an issue for me. Someone suggested the DT990 to me, but I prefer sub bass to a mid bass impact. Basically my Grandpa had a Bang&Olufson system that we used to listen to and it had a floor sub. The bass from it didn't blow your head off but it was just kind of there and you could hear it all. Natural I think is the correct term. Like a very soft kind of expensive bass that winks at you and knows you know it's there, it doesn't need to boast :D

I currently only have a Creative Recon3D sound card which has a 600ohm headphone amp on it, but that is going soon to make way for an external DAC and amp seperates. Probably a Fire Pheonix for now and a Bravo Audio Ocean amp or a Maverick Audio D1. I will probably use on-board as the audio processor unless anyone thinks there is much to gain in keeping the Recon just for the processing...

One option.

Do not buy a DAC, sell off your Recon3D and buy a Creative X-Fi TiHD (Titanium HD), then get any external headphone amplifier you like and plug it into the TiHD's RCA jack.

The TiHD seems to be preferred over the newer Recon3D cards, also the TiHD comes with a nice DAC chip (PCM1794) already built in.

The TiHD can send headphone surround sound thru the RCA outputs/.

post #4 of 11
Thread Starter 

Thanks for your responses!

 

Firstly the Denon's:- I did consider them a while back, obviously the D7000 is a little out of my league and the D2000 seems more reasonable. But I really wanted an open headphone for various reasons but being able to hear both myself and ambient noises whilst playing games was a big reason. I have been on an epic quest for bass, but now I seem to be EQing bass down and mids and treble up more, I prefer a more alive sound to muddy and cave like. So as long as the headphones can do bass when called for and the bass is of a really good quality I think I would be happy, I hear the HE400 is better for bass than the HD650 but the comfort of the HD650 is better? I want that high quality sub wooferish sound not the xb500's punch you in the face with bass so you can't hear anything else. Based on that and knowing that I kinda need open back this time do you have any suggestions? Or do open back all really lack so much bass that I will never get a sub woofer sound from them?

 

Secondly the TiHD:- I have heard this is an awesome card and I was considering it when I bought the Recon. Along with  Xonar (can't remember which one) I know the Recon3D wasn't much to shout about but I chose it in the end due to me not owning anything high end and it being really cheap (I like my bang for buck :P) The system is only uATX and I have a triple slot gfx card in there so I only have one slot left and wanted to open it up for something else. I was going to get an astro mixamp for gaming and the Fire Pheonix for music, would the DAC in the TiHD really be that much better than that option so as to forgo the PCI slot? It is really close to my GFX card so I wasn't sure whether it would be better to get something external to allow the card to breathe a bit better... Also I wanted to get some speakers as well, and the FP has an output to go to a receiver or amp same with the D1. Maybe the D1 would be a better all around option for DAC and HP amp in one so I don't need to mess about with so many seperates? How does the TiHD DAC compare to these two (fire pheonix and Maverick Audio Tubemagic D1)?

post #5 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by MrToastofferson View Post

Thanks for your responses!

 

Firstly the Denon's:- I did consider them a while back, obviously the D7000 is a little out of my league and the D2000 seems more reasonable. But I really wanted an open headphone for various reasons but being able to hear both myself and ambient noises whilst playing games was a big reason. I have been on an epic quest for bass, but now I seem to be EQing bass down and mids and treble up more, I prefer a more alive sound to muddy and cave like. So as long as the headphones can do bass when called for and the bass is of a really good quality I think I would be happy, I hear the HE400 is better for bass than the HD650 but the comfort of the HD650 is better? I want that high quality sub wooferish sound not the xb500's punch you in the face with bass so you can't hear anything else. Based on that and knowing that I kinda need open back this time do you have any suggestions? Or do open back all really lack so much bass that I will never get a sub woofer sound from them?

 

i have never heard the he-400 but based on reviews alone they are supposed to be pretty bass capable cans. they are also listed on the basshead club list of bassy headphones so i guess they should be fine. infact they get great reviews in general, i do remember people saying they need a strong amp though, but im really in no position to comment on this.

post #6 of 11

the d2000s go really really low and rumble nicely like a sub woofer... and the upper bass/mid bass punch is literally very smooth and not existent(comparing to the xb500 ofcourse) so you might like it more as it has more detail all around than the D1100... it should suit you the best.... i don't believe, though, that you were able to get the bass impact of xb500(exaggeration on your part but understandable)... and if you want sub bass then do not go for the hd650 as the might deliver a decent mid bass punch but the sub bass is not really there... i can tell you one thing, that you will fall in love with the bass of d2000s...

post #7 of 11
Thread Starter 

@ h4mm I presume you mean you don't believe I was able to get the bass impact from the D1100 that I got from the XB500? If that is what you meant we are both right and both wrong kinda... basically I didn't like the bass punch or warble from the xb500 so that is EQ's down, the sub bass on the D1100 is EQ'd up, so basically what I mean is that with tweaking the sound the way I like to hear it the D1100 has nicer bass and is 99% present of the XB500 in tweaked states.

 

So yes you are correct that the XB500 has way more bass both sub and mid, but you can make the D1100 rattle your teeth as well if that's what you like, the XB500 just sounds like bass, there is no music there, it is just a noise, the D1100 has the music at the lows and based on my EQing of both my D1100 has similar impact and rumble to a EQ'd XB500 does that make more sense?

 

I am turned off the D2000 by the fact that I am fairly happy with the D1100 and they are both closed, so I don't see the point as I don't crave anything more from the D1100 really, and they will work well as portables if I get something rediculous and massive :)

 

@ adam I have seen this many times too, so I think the HE400 would be perfect for me, but I see some concerns regarding the weight of the cans and possible comfort issues it entails. I can't seem to find any subjective comparisons that say the 650 sounds similar but more comfy, so the 650 seems to lack a lot of bass compared to the 400's. I see a lot of graph's and I get what they mean, but I am happy to EQ, and even buy equipment to make EQ better and more reliable so the graphs can be changed and a soundcurve of your liking made to come out of the headphones.

 

I guess what I am asking is can I get a low rumble from the 650's through EQ whilst retaining an open and airy sound being able to hear outside noises and not having my head pinned to the desk under 3 tonnes of headphone....

 

I know I want it all I would be willing to compromise. So maybe my compromise would be comfort and go for the HE400?

post #8 of 11
Thread Starter 

I think what would be better now is if I explain how I feel the XB500 and D1100 sound on a flat EQ.

 

XB500: Muddy congested in my head kind of sound, no detail no sparkle and no excitement to the music.

 

D1100: Very similar in some regards but with the congestion feeling more like in the lower mids and mid bass than because of the bass like the XB500, a lot more detail all around but a cave like sound and still very muddy, a touch more excitement but not much, still a very muddy headphone.

 

CAL!: the least muddy and congested, still an inside your head sound but at least there is some detail and such. No excitement though, it doesn't portray the music it just plays it if that makes sense.

 

Both of them flat sound like my head is under water one is just much worse than the other...


Edited by MrToastofferson - 11/8/12 at 4:56am
post #9 of 11

Heya,

 

Based on your descriptions, for an open headphone, I'd have you explore:

 

Beyer DT880 (eq the sub-bass)

Ultrasone HFI 2400

Hifiman HE-400

 

Very best,

post #10 of 11
Thread Starter 

thank you very much that seems like another vote for the HE400. I briefly looked up the Ultrasones you mentioned but it seems they are supra aural so I feel the comfort may be even less again. I am sure there are things I can do to the HE400 if the weight is too much, get a stronger neck, make some kind of bungee rigging from the ceiling, or more likely buy a thicker head band cover to spread the weight.

 

Many thanks for all your helps.

post #11 of 11
Thread Starter 

So I have pretty much decided on the HE400's then, what would be a good DAC amp combo, I was thinking of the Xiang Sheng DAC-01A/Maverick Audio D1 as the DAC or a Fire Pheonix and either a Bravo Audio Ocean mini tube amp or a Hifiman EF2A.

 

Any other recomendations? Not bothered if it is all in one or seperates and doesn't have to be tubes either....

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