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Looking for a good $800~ budget setup.

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
Hello, Head-Fi'ers. I am in need of some advice and recommendations. I've been lurking around the forums for the past couple of days gathering information for my first audiophile headphone purchase. I'm looking to make a purchase online this weekend but I'm undecided on which setup to go with. It's proving difficult to make a purchase decision as it seems that there are so many recommendations on the forums for the range of music I listen to.

My budget is approx $800 USD and I'm willing to stretch it a bit more if it can be justified. I'm assuming I'm going to be needing an amp and possibly a DAC as well to fit into the budget.

I listen to a variety of music genres so I'm looking for some cans that are fairly well rounded. I enjoy a healthy amount of bass in my music but I don't want it to overpower everything else like the vocals in my trance and jazz tracks.

Genres: EDM (Trance -> Electro -> House -> Dubstep), Hip-Hop, Rap, R&B, Jazz, Classical (mainly piano compositions), and some Pop music.

I mostly listen to lossless music files on my desktop computer which has an old X-Fi Fatal1ty sound card w/ a front panel. I also listen to music on my iPod and phone on occasion. Portability is a plus but not necessary as I wont be taking these outdoors much, if at all.

Right now I'm looking at buying the Beyerdynamic DT 880 600ohm w/ FiiO e9 and e17. Is this a good buy for my budget or can I get better for my needs? Also looking at the Denon D5000, Sennheiser HD650, and Ultrasone Pro 900 (although I'm leaning more toward not getting these due to the recessed midrange).

Thoughts? smily_headphones1.gif
post #2 of 12

Well you could use the Fatal1ty card for a dac and run it to a Schiit Asgard. Run that with a D5000, HE-400, or Pro 900s and you should be very happy. I LOVE MY d5000s and my he400s are a close second. Depending on the music they are a first. If you can find a D5000 get it as they are very hard to find now. Eventually you could add a bifrost to the setup to replace the dac in the sound card. Thats basically where I am at right now and dont regret my purchase at all. Granted I use a different sound card for a dac but the X-Fi cards are decent. 

 

Another option would be using an e10 usb amp/dac combo. Cheap but sound amazing for the price and have a warm sound to them. That with the D5000s would be amazing too for your music choices.

 

cheers

post #3 of 12
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the input, KCxSmacker. Like you said, it looks like it is really hard to find a D5000 which sucks because now I really want the setup you mentioned.

Would you say the HE-400 + Asgard setup will work well? I'm reading some reviews saying that the HE-400s do better on a tube amp.
post #4 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by jinetix View Post

Right now I'm looking at buying the Beyerdynamic DT 880 600ohm w/ FiiO e9 and e17. Is this a good buy for my budget or can I get better for my needs? Also looking at the Denon D5000, Sennheiser HD650, and Ultrasone Pro 900 (although I'm leaning more toward not getting these due to the recessed midrange).
Thoughts? smily_headphones1.gif

 

Heya,

 

Here's some suggestions for tiers of budget for what you're looking for:

 

Headphones: Beyer DT880 PRO 250ohm, Ultrasone HFI 2400, Hifiman HE-300 revision 2, AudioTechnica A900X, Mr Speakers Mad Dogs.

DAC/AMP: JDS Labs O2 & ODAC, Maverick TubeMagic D1, Fiio E17, Fiio E7 + Fiio E9, Fiio E10, Audio GD NFB 12.1 & 15.1, Asus Xonar STX soundcard, Creative Labs X-fi Titanium HD soundcard.

 

Headphones: Hifiman HE-400, Sennheiser HD650, Ultrasone PRO 2900, Denon D2000, Denon D5000, Beyer T90, Mr Speakers Mad Dogs.

DAC/AMP: Music Streamer II + Schiit Asgard, Schiit Valhalla, DarkVoice 336SE, Little Dot I & MKIII, Maverick TubeMagic D1, D2 & A1, JDS Labs O2 & ODAC.

 

Headphones: Hifiman HE-500, Beyer T1 (used), LCD2 (used)

DAC/AMP: Speaker amps

 

Very best,

post #5 of 12
Add the Grado SR80i on that list, it has great bass. I really enjoyed the HE400 and LCD-2 while I had them, because the bass on those two are just astounding. They are both incredibly uncomfortable though, and that I why I don't have either of them anymore. I currently use Alessandro MS1i, because I've been getting into a lot of Jazz and Rock, so basshead cans and even just bass heavy cans are a no no right now. Add the thunderpants to your list as well, I just remembered how great those were. In fact the Mad Dog T50RP were great too. Those both sound like LCD-2 ($995 dollar headphone) but are a lot cheaper and more comfortable.
post #6 of 12
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by vampire5003 View Post

Add the Grado SR80i on that list, it has great bass. I really enjoyed the HE400 and LCD-2 while I had them, because the bass on those two are just astounding. They are both incredibly uncomfortable though, and that I why I don't have either of them anymore. I currently use Alessandro MS1i, because I've been getting into a lot of Jazz and Rock, so basshead cans and even just bass heavy cans are a no no right now. Add the thunderpants to your list as well, I just remembered how great those were. In fact the Mad Dog T50RP were great too. Those both sound like LCD-2 ($995 dollar headphone) but are a lot cheaper and more comfortable.

In what way is the HE-400 uncomfortable? After doing some research on them I was going to pull the trigger on the HE-400 + Asgard combo. Will they be uncomfortable for someone with a small head as well?
post #7 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by jinetix View Post


In what way is the HE-400 uncomfortable? After doing some research on them I was going to pull the trigger on the HE-400 + Asgard combo. Will they be uncomfortable for someone with a small head as well?

 

It's uncomfortable if you have a weak neck, mostly (HE400 is 440 grams). Fresh out of the box there will be quite a bit of clamp, but that is easily remedied by some good old headband flexing. Also using Hifiman velour earpads mitigates clamp pressure further. Lastly some find the Hifiman headband slightly underpadded, but that's subjective as others find it perfectly reasonable.

post #8 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by jerg View Post

 

It's uncomfortable if you have a weak neck, mostly (HE400 is 440 grams). Fresh out of the box there will be quite a bit of clamp, but that is easily remedied by some good old headband flexing. Also using Hifiman velour earpads mitigates clamp pressure further. Lastly some find the Hifiman headband slightly underpadded, but that's subjective as others find it perfectly reasonable.

The headbands are pretty malleable. I left them stretched with a vice overnight, and the clamp got progressively better. Very tolerable even without the velours or the padding. The clamp was even less than what I experienced with the demo unit in store (which presumably have been stretched by various head sizes like no tomorrow). And I could just as well bend them back into shape, with that semi-death clamp.

post #9 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by jinetix View Post

Thanks for the input, KCxSmacker. Like you said, it looks like it is really hard to find a D5000 which sucks because now I really want the setup you mentioned.
Would you say the HE-400 + Asgard setup will work well? I'm reading some reviews saying that the HE-400s do better on a tube amp.

Some like tube amps, some don't. Personally SS is just easier and saves me money. ( wanting more and more bulbs) The asgard is a great though. 

 

 MalVeauX has a lot of knowledge and his suggestions are great. 

 

cheers

post #10 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by MalVeauX View Post

 

Headphones: Hifiman HE-500, Beyer T1 (used), LCD2 (used)

DAC/AMP: Speaker amps

 

Very best,

I would recommend this the most as, I, personally, think that one should get the best headphone that one can get and than get an alright amp with it then go half and half. Then, later on, get a better amp.


Edited by wolfetan44 - 12/8/12 at 8:28pm
post #11 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by jinetix View Post


In what way is the HE-400 uncomfortable? After doing some research on them I was going to pull the trigger on the HE-400 + Asgard combo. Will they be uncomfortable for someone with a small head as well?

The HE-400s were my first Mid/Hi-Fi can, and for me, they weren't uncomfortable at all. They are heavy but the weight is distributed pretty well throughout your head. Based on some short demos, I concluded that the HE-400s weren't particularly comfortable, but not uncomfortable either. 

post #12 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by jinetix View Post

Thanks for the input, KCxSmacker. Like you said, it looks like it is really hard to find a D5000 which sucks because now I really want the setup you mentioned.

Would you say the HE-400 + Asgard setup will work well? I'm reading some reviews saying that the HE-400s do better on a tube amp.

I have tested my HE-400 with a few tube amps (Lyr and Woo audio fireflies) and I liked the asgard better.

In general, I always try to pair dynamics with tubes and SS amps with planar. The added distortion in tube amps can be very nice of dynamic drivers but on very precise planars it can feel out of place and unnatural (at least thats how i felt it).

 

For those preferences in music I agree that the HE-400 is a decent option (+asgard and Modi maybe?)

 

On the weigth... For me its not a problem after 1 year of use, but If i use them over 3 hours I do notice some neck pain (but when you start wearing them you wont even manage 20 minutes).

 

I assume the HE-400i might be better in this regard but more expensive.

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