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Amp for HD598s? Other questions aswell...

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 

I have never owned headphones of this quality before (I saw these in my colleges student union store) and I have heard an amp boosts the audio quality of headphones like these to amazing levels. I have no idea where to begin looking the the amp department and would love if I could get some suggestions. My price range is around $150 but I may be able to go a bit higher. Could you guys also explain why amps are so recommended?

 

I just plug these headphones into my laptop with the 3.5mm converter (which I'm sure is somewhat blasphemous to the elite haha). Is there anything I can install on my laptop to boost sound quality as well? It is THX certified and has THX pro preinstalled on it if that makes any kind of difference (does it?). I generally use these headphones for gaming, music, and movies in that order.

 

What would be the best bitrate to listen to? I am not familiar with the best audio qualty. It appears most of my music is at a bitrate of 128. What would be the best bitrate to listen to for my HD598s?

 

Sorry for all the questions I am not too familiar with the world of higher end headphones and I am looking forward to learning!

 

Thank you all for any respones and all of your help!

post #2 of 5
Quote:
Originally Posted by SargentChimera View Post

I have never owned headphones of this quality before (I saw these in my colleges student union store) and I have heard an amp boosts the audio quality of headphones like these to amazing levels. I have no idea where to begin looking the the amp department and would love if I could get some suggestions. My price range is around $150 but I may be able to go a bit higher. Could you guys also explain why amps are so recommended?

I just plug these headphones into my laptop with the 3.5mm converter (which I'm sure is somewhat blasphemous to the elite haha). Is there anything I can install on my laptop to boost sound quality as well? It is THX certified and has THX pro preinstalled on it if that makes any kind of difference (does it?). I generally use these headphones for gaming, music, and movies in that order.

What would be the best bitrate to listen to? I am not familiar with the best audio quality. It appears most of my music is at a bitrate of 128. What would be the best bitrate to listen to for my HD598s?

Sorry for all the questions I am not too familiar with the world of higher end headphones and I am looking forward to learning!

For good 2-channel audio, the Fiio E10 ($68) USC-DAC-headphone amplifier should improve the audio quality of your HD598, over the laptops built in (hardware) audio.

For being able to use you any surround sound audio features built into your laptop (for movies and gaming) and if your laptop comes with S/PDIF (optical or coaxial) output,

then get the Fiio E17 ($140), it comes with S/PDIF optical & coaxial input (as well as USB input) and should also improve the audio quality of your headphones.

 

Also for playing your audio (music) files, get the free program Foobar2000.

 

How well a 128k bitrate mp3 audio file is made can effect audio quality, but you should on average get better audio quality with a higher bitrate.

Personally I just get my mp3s off Amazon for 99 cents each, bitrate is usually around 224k to 256k.

 

Or you can buy the music CDs and make your own 320k or FLAC music files.

post #3 of 5
Quote:
Originally Posted by PurpleAngel View Post

For good 2-channel audio, the Fiio E10 ($68) USC-DAC-headphone amplifier should improve the audio quality of your HD598, over the laptops built in (hardware) audio.

For being able to use you any surround sound audio features built into your laptop (for movies and gaming) and if your laptop comes with S/PDIF (optical or coaxial) output,

then get the Fiio E17 ($140), it comes with S/PDIF optical & coaxial input (as well as USB input) and should also improve the audio quality of your headphones.

 

Also for playing your audio (music) files, get the free program Foobar2000.

 

How well a 128k bitrate mp3 audio file is made can effect audio quality, but you should on average get better audio quality with a higher bitrate.

Personally I just get my mp3s off Amazon for 99 cents each, bitrate is usually around 224k to 256k.

 

Or you can buy the music CDs and make your own 320k or FLAC music files.

I agree, E10 or e17 are great suggestions. Personally I feel MOST 128k bitrates sound pretty bad. Buy 256k from amazon or Itunes or get something more with bitrate. If you can get music on cds and burn them in FLAC or ALAC depending on your player/library.

 

I have a feeling once you get some higher bit rate music, even just that will sound better, combine that with one of the suggested amp/dacs and you will be rocking those 598s like you never thought you would. 

 

cheers

post #4 of 5

I want to chime in as a new owner of the Hd 558 - you will notice a big difference from burn-in alone on these headphones (they share the same driver 558=598). As the days go by the sound will change and they should come into their own. As for an amp, the impedance of the 598 is 50ohms, which should be pushed relatively easy, so if you are going to get an amp/dac I would save up for a good one that you can grow into, and that will last, as it isn't going to be 100% necessary to get great sound out of the 598s due to their low impedance needs, and generally they are designed to be driven easily by any laptop or desktop. Basically, I am saying that $150 may not make a big difference with these headphones...but as far as amps and dac is concerned, I have no experience to draw from, so maybe another forum member can chime in and agree with me, or say that I am full of it wink_face.gif. This is based off my understandings of the 5X8 line of Sennheiser headphones and what hardware they need to thrive.

 

Either way, good luck and I'm sure you are going to love your headphones either way. I run mine off an Asus DGX internal sound card, but they sound equally awesome out of my Sansa mp3 player. It's just that I don't get as many options to play with on the mp3 player. But, all the same, let them burn in for about a month before you decide to buy anything to boost them with. I know mine sounded underwhelming when I first got them...now they laugh at anything I throw at them - and every once in a while they truly amaze.

post #5 of 5
Thread Starter 

Thank you all for the replies! I will look into both of those amps and if you all have any other suggestions I would absolutely love to hear them! A friend of mine recommended the amp the Astro A40s use, how does it compare to the ones you al mentioned?

 

Thank you all so much!

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