First and foremost, I'm quite new to Head-Fi. I had an old account - which I need someone to close; so if an admin./moderator can send me a PM on this account, I will send a PM to you, with the relevant information regarding the other account -, but had hardly posted in that, either. [I know that you can ask - voluntarily - for an account to be banned, however.]
--- Introduction ---
Although having a pair of TF10s, a Null Audio Lune cable [which broke...] and some custom sleeves (from ear-impressions), by ACS, I have decided that I'm going to get some cans, but for portability - which is why some particular brands have sprung to mind; but I'll get on to that later.
Due to large storage, compatibility with L-ODs with other amp + DACs, I think I've decided to go for an iPod Classic [160GB]. You should note that I live in the UK, so do recognise how availability and the pricing of products may differ to quite an extent - as well as the cost of shipping.
Budget-wise ...I do have one [probably about £800-£850] - for: source; amp. + DAC [one unit]; cans -, but it's not so much a budget, but rather, something I would like to stay within, if possible. It's flexible, at the end of the day. If I am going to be satisfied with a particular amp. + DAC for the long run and have it last me a long time and possibly cater or be well-suited for newer, better cans - if I wanted to upgrade those -, then that'd be fine.
--- What I've been looking at ---
One combination that you should all be familiar with, that I have looked at, is the FiiO E17 + L9.
I've been discussing this - quite heavily - with 'bowei006', who has been a great help and very kind to spend his time in helping me - so big thanks go out to him!
He stated that he generally wouldn't get an amp. + DAC over $200.
The following is a list of amp. + DAC units that he would recommend, other than the FiiO, from which I have investigated the products and listed what seems to be the pricing for the product and the delivery cost, to the UK [if not more local, already]:
ALO Audio - 'The National' is the cheapest, but still about $250-$300.
iBasso T5 - about $170 for the unit, alone.
Leckerton UHA4 - $199 [With Leckerton - it's $42 for delivery, to the UK]
Leckerton UHA-6S.MKII - $279 [With Leckerton - it's $42 for delivery, to the UK]
Pico Slim - $400
HeadRoom Total BitHead - $150; but being sold for $100 at most places, even the manufacturer is selling for $100 ...but costs $50 for shipping to the UK.
I also spotted the JDS Labs O2 amp. + ODAC Combo; but now that I look more closely at it, it's quite large and also requires a wall-socket output or some form of constant live power. You can get the O2 amp. on its own and the ODAC separately; but that's more expensive and larger, yet again.
I did initially mention the Arcam rPAC that 'bowei006' had reviewed, but he didn't feel that it's portable.
--- The headphones that I've been looking at ...or should I be getting C-IEMs?! ---
The cans that I've been looking at are: BeyerDynamic's DT 880, DT 990 [the 'Premium' models, not the cheaper 'Pro' models], Ultrasone's PRO 900, AKG's K701/702 - although I don't think they're right for me -, and finally... Sennheiser's HD 650. Well... that's the 'main' list.
I've spoken to Gunter, who is the Technical Support Manager at BeyerDynamic and he agreed that because the DT 990 has a 'V-shaped' frequency curve, that the DT 880 would be better for me; especially due to the wide range of music that I listen to.
In regards to the BeyerDynamic headphones, I was looking at the 250 Ohm versions. The reason - as I mentioned earlier - that I needed to raise about being more 'semi-sized' on full headphones, was referring to the Ultrasone product-line. They're more compact, although seem to be a bridge between over and on-ear [still being over-ear ...I think?].
Anyhow... 'bowei006' recommended that I possibly choose some C-IEMs. However; I do feel that I would prefer to have proper cans, as I prefer the feel and audible environment that they provide. I love my custom-sleeved TF10s, but I find that IEMs hurt my hears quite a lot; and if I need to briefly talk to someone, I'd have to twist them out of my hears to hear what they're saying and then get a good, tight seal, yet again - which I find difficult to achieve [strangely shaped ear-canals, I think; as once I get a good seal, it tends to stay put ...until I remove them, of course].
If I were to chose a C-IEM, I think I'd go for the (Logitech) UE7s - although I'd have to have more ear-impressions taken [nearly another £100, excluding travel to wherever - I don't drive; I'm a student by the way ...that should change your view on budget, quite a lot]; whereas ACS already have my impressions [I believe that they keep them for about three years, or something along the lines of that].
--- Music that I listen to; (genres and artists) what suits me best? ---
This is an extremely short list as a set of examples: Orchestral, hardstyle, trance, house, post-hardcore, raggae-metal, rock, trance-rock, liquid D&B, chillstep, J-rock, Japanese orchestral ...and the list goes on ...forever ...well, not quite.
Some examples of those genres, are:
Falling In Reverse, blessthefall, We Are The Ocean, Enter Shikari, Joe Hisaishi, Takanashi Yasuhara, Toshia Masuda, Lorne Balfe, Hans Zimmer, Michael McCann, Feint, Stan SB, Blackmill, Two Steps From Hell, Rameses B, Gammer, Wildstylez, Headhunterz, Clayfacer, deadmau5, Klubfiller, Keeno, Sam Hulick, Moleman, Eminence, Guns 'n' Roses, Billy Talent, System of a Down, Tesseract, Mord Fustang, Morgan Page, Nutronic, Norland, Wolfgang Gartner, Soulero, Pink Floyd, AC/DC, Bon Jovi, Avicii.
--- Advice, choices ...and most importantly; your help ---
So I've explained the basics of everything that I've researched, thought about and now I need the help of the community.
Feel free to recommend whatever you want; but please do justify your recommendations and try and structure everything as best as you can, as it makes many individuals' recommendations easy to compare.
- Alistair (a.k.a. Kizatsu)
Edited by Kizatsu - 11/24/12 at 8:00am