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Thinking of picking up some Sennheiser HD600s--is there a good portable amp for under $50?

post #1 of 25
Thread Starter 

Exactly what the title says. I currently have the 518s and I'm thinking of upgrading (speaking of which, can anyone detail the difference I might experience between the two models? I'm by no means a knowledgable audiophile by the way). For a set like this I figure an amp would be absolutely necessary and preferably one portable. Again, I know next to nothing about amps as I've never owned one before. Is there anything I could get that would do my headphones justice for under $50?

post #2 of 25

I don't think there is an up to $50 amp that can drive HD600...probably try Fiio E11. Something is better than nothing

post #3 of 25
Thread Starter 

If I have to budget higher than so be it. What's the cheapest amp that would do my headphones justice?

post #4 of 25

For HD600, you may not need an portable amp but a Colorfly C4 player, which is great for listening to symphony. And because HD600 is awesome for symphony as well, that would be a perfect combination. 

HOWEVER, do not expect they sound as great as desktop dac+amp+HD600. 

 

Hope my advice helps :)

post #5 of 25
Thread Starter 

Can you explain the function of a DAC? 

post #6 of 25

Wait, you said you want an HD600 and an amp up to $50???(so you have $390+$50=$440 budget)

Then why not upgrade to HD598+Fiio E17( $240+$140=$380)?? HD598 is much easier to drive, E17 is a good choice. I'm using this combination right now, so pleased with it so far. 

post #7 of 25

Well, for different format of sound source (MP3, AAC, WAV, Flac, APE, etc..), the bit rate varies. Basically, higher bit rate means better sound quality, or technically speaking, closer to original recording. A DAC is there to help to decode those bit rate. Let's say you have an iPod, and all your music format is WAV(Bit rate greater than 1000 or so). But iPod itself decode poorly so that you can't hear a difference between MP3( 320bit rate) and WAV. Now then you need a DAC to improve the decoding capacity for a better sound! 

 

English is not my first language, hope I explained well... :(

post #8 of 25
Thread Starter 

I definitely want to go for a better pair of headphones. I currently have the 518 and I doubt the step up to the 598 is as great as what I'm looking for. 

 

I don't really listen to lossless anyway (mostly 256+ mp3s) so is the DAC even necessary? How noticeable do you think the flaws in a 320 kbps or lower bit rate song will be with the 600s and an amp? 

post #9 of 25
From my own experience, some instruments are missing when I listen to 320k mp3 or 256k AAC. And because of this, soundstage seems to be smaller. In short, my music is "incomplete" with low bit rate sound source. personally, I never auditioned HD518 but I always listened to my friend's HD558 and my own HD598. These two, in comparison, I prefer HD598( 558 is good as well though). Can you be more specific about what "improvement" do you want? Soundstage? High,mids, and bass? Or something else? So I can see whether HD598 would fit your needs?
post #10 of 25
DAC won't be necessary if only listening to AAC and MP3
post #11 of 25
Thread Starter 

Since I listen almost exclusively to metal, I'd definitely like something with better highs and bass. Clearer soundstage couldn't hurt either.

 

I'm sorry, I really don't know anything technical about headphones or speakers, I have difficulty describing exactly what it is I want. I'd definitely like clearer differentiation between instruments and layers in the music and crisper, more accurate sound. I really don't know what to say beyond that. 

 

Also--with headphones like the 600s or even the 598s or 518s, would listening to lossless with a DAC sound vastly different than a 320 mp3 without one?

post #12 of 25
What subgenres of metal do you listen to? If you listen to something like sludge, death and heavy metal then the HD600 is an excellent choice. But for power, thrash or black metal it could feel a little slow in speed and attack. You might want to consider the Hifiman HE-400 then.

Anyway I don't recommend using a portable amp with HD600 but if you really want to pick up something in the $50 range, you can look into JDSLab Cmoy v2.3. The Fiio E11 and HD600 combination would be too dark.
post #13 of 25
I listen to Rock music as well. It is a kind of music that requires great sound quality! Go ahead and try some lossless, you may see details you've never noticed before in your music.
Back to headphone issue. I'd say in our country, HD600 is regarded as the Deity for classical music, but not for rock. According to your budget($400-$450 if I made no mistake), I highly recommend SR325! It's 32ohm so easy to drive. With amp, It even sounds better. It meets almost every requirement for listening to rock: very "fast", punchy bass but nota barrier for more details, and crispest high at this price range.
But it looks ugly, I have to admit.
post #14 of 25
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by imoffline View Post

I listen to Rock music as well. It is a kind of music that requires great sound quality! Go ahead and try some lossless, you may see details you've never noticed before in your music.
Back to headphone issue. I'd say in our country, HD600 is regarded as the Deity for classical music, but not for rock. According to your budget($400-$450 if I made no mistake), I highly recommend SR325! It's 32ohm so easy to drive. With amp, It even sounds better. It meets almost every requirement for listening to rock: very "fast", punchy bass but nota barrier for more details, and crispest high at this price range.
But it looks ugly, I have to admit.

SR325s also appear to be about $100 cheaper which is nice. But yes, I really hate that design, and I definitely prefer the ear over the style. I guess I could possibly get past these issues, but do you really think I would really prefer the sound over the 600s for metal?

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by risenfallen View Post

What subgenres of metal do you listen to? If you listen to something like sludge, death and heavy metal then the HD600 is an excellent choice. But for power, thrash or black metal it could feel a little slow in speed and attack. You might want to consider the Hifiman HE-400 then.
Anyway I don't recommend using a portable amp with HD600 but if you really want to pick up something in the $50 range, you can look into JDSLab Cmoy v2.3. The Fiio E11 and HD600 combination would be too dark.

I listen to a very broad variety. Mostly prog but also a healthy amount of death (mostly tech), power, symphonic, folk & viking, doom, thrash and touches of black. Regarding the headphones, I really do love the Sennheiser brand for build quality, design, and comfort. Sonically too I've never had a pair I didn't love, so I suppose there's a bit of brand loyalty. You really think the 600s wouldn't be satisfactory for the music I listen to? I suppose I don't need a portable amp but it would be nice to have the option. 

post #15 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by CrimsonTowers View Post


I listen to a very broad variety. Mostly prog but also a healthy amount of death (mostly tech), power, symphonic, folk & viking, doom, thrash and touches of black. Regarding the headphones, I really do love the Sennheiser brand for build quality, design, and comfort. Sonically too I've never had a pair I didn't love, so I suppose there's a bit of brand loyalty. You really think the 600s wouldn't be satisfactory for the music I listen to? I suppose I don't need a portable amp but it would be nice to have the option. 

If you want to stick with Sennheiser, I wouldn't say the HD600 is a bad choice, it's a great all-rounder. I love listen to the old Opeth stuff on those cans (I don't have the HD600 anymore). But as I said, you'd need a desktop amp to pull the best out of them. The only portable amp I've read to have good power and synergy with the HD600 is the Neco portable amp but it's out of your set budget (never tried the combination myself but that amp is really a powerhouse with very clean sound). Otherwise JSD Lab cmoy 18v should do an ok job driving the HD600 while you wait for an desktop upgrade.
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