Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Portable Source Gear › Best way to spend my money?
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Best way to spend my money?

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
I'm looking to get a decent portable system up and running and have a budget of £600. I've put a fair whack into my vinyl and streaming house system and now want to get some quality for bedside, work and dog walking. I'm really not up to scratch with this side of audio so would appreciate your recommendations.

I currently have a pair of Grado SR60s and an IPod Video Gen 5. My thoughts so far are to blow the budget on a pair of Grado RS2's, get a Fiio E17 and a pair of Grado 325's, or get a colorfly C4 or HifiMan, or a Fiio E17 with sandisk clip and a decent pair of in ear phones (do these really compare with over the ear phones?).

I listen mostly to rock music, acoustic, and a little hip-hop, and listen to a lot of vinyl rips in flac.

I'm at a total loss as what direction to go in.
post #2 of 14
Thread Starter 
Bump.

Does anyone have some advice? Will an iPod classic and Fiio amp/dac be sufficient for quality sound with a decent set of phones? I've seen a couple of devices that interest me (qls qa350 and ihifi812) for less than £200 with built in amp and dac, so I could pair these with a really good set of phones. The problems with most of this gear is that getting an audition is impossible. How will the two devices with good cans compare to a colorfly c4 and my modest grado sr60s.


Here's hoping for a reply wink.gif
post #3 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by chn68b View Post


Here's hoping for a reply wink.gif

 

 

I dunno bud...  biggrin.gif .. but have a free bump on me.. wink.gif

post #4 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by chn68b View Post

Bump.
Does anyone have some advice? Will an iPod classic and Fiio amp/dac be sufficient for quality sound with a decent set of phones? I've seen a couple of devices that interest me (qls qa350 and ihifi812) for less than £200 with built in amp and dac, so I could pair these with a really good set of phones. The problems with most of this gear is that getting an audition is impossible. How will the two devices with good cans compare to a colorfly c4 and my modest grado sr60s.
Here's hoping for a reply wink.gif
The E11 is a very powerful and transparent little portable amp. The ipod E11 combo is a very nice combo indeed to my ears. (with LOD cable)
post #5 of 14

Good question, but I always find it hard to advise... individual tastes and situations vary.

 

You like your Grados and so moving up the line is entirely reasonable.  More refinement,

and familiar sound characteristics.  This is perhaps your safest direction.

 

However you also say you'd like to wear these in bed.  Are your current Grados comfortable

when lying down?  If so, good and you're still on the right track. The RS2'a are a bit bigger

are they not -- and I wonder how that would impact comfort in the sack?  Sometimes a larger  set of

'phones will be pushed off kilter when you smush down into the pillow.

 

You like the current sound of the SR60 -- and can totally see why.  So I gather that the

open design suits you well.  Do you have any hankering for the isolation of a closed phone

-- either to block out noisy cars when you walk, or to save bothering others when at

home?

 

If you stick with the iPod and get an amp, then I recommend getting a "line out dock (LOD)" cable

and take the analog signal from the docking connector.  Well worth it in my experience.

 

There are of course headphones that are up the price spectrum, but still don't require an amp.

post #6 of 14
Thread Starter 
I'll be using this in bed and the wife actually asked if I was getting some quiet ones this time.... Looks like the Grados are out then. So now looking for a closed pairing, together with the best solution for improved sound for my budget.

Thanks DH for the e11 recommendation. I'm looking at these with great interest. I'm still very sceptical about the source, as in my mind if I'm adding a amp and dac then any source will be suitable and have no impact on sound as its simply a digital transport, hence I'll probably keep the iPod.

That's takes a few things out of the equation, so now looking at closed cans and an amp with dac, with a LOD ( thanks flamap).

Looks like ill be saving a bit of money on my initial budget.
post #7 of 14
My bedside headphone for when my wife is sleeping is the K550. Of course I sit up in bed with those on as the cups are huge. If you are looking to lay down flat while you listen the DT1350 would be a great on ear headphone. Very detailed. Very nice for many genre's including rock and even hip hop.

Both can be run direct from your ipod.

I must say I am confused on what your source is. If your source is going to be the ipod, I don't know of a device that bypasses the ipod DAC on the 5th gen. You can do it on a touch and ipad with the camera kit and powered usb hub with a usb DAC but I don't know of any other method of doing this and what I just described is encumbersome if even worth it.

The LOD cable transmits the analog line out. It bypasses the amp circuit not the DAC. I don't have the 5th gen but I find using my E11 (being a very clean and transparent portable amp) sounds better particularly at higher volumes than any of my ipod devices direct headphone out.

Forgive me if I am just misunderstanding what you are saying.
post #8 of 14

Is this the iPod you're using, from back in 2005:  

http://reviews.cnet.com/mp3-players/apple-ipod-5g-30gb/4505-6490_7-31556111.html ?

 

If so then it has the familiar dock connector, for which many LODs are available.  

As Doc H points out, the LOD cable takes the analog 'line out' signal.  So with 

this you're still using the iPods internal DAC, but  bypassing

the iPod's amplification circuit -- which you don't need if you're going to be piping

the analog straight into an external amp.

 

The AKG K550 is reputed to have a nice soundstage for a closed design.  That's

something you may appreciate coming from Grados.  But, yeah, these are pretty

big... and when closed-back headphones are dislodged by the pillow, you're like

to not get a good seal.  So smaller may be better.

 

I do sometimes wear my ATH M50 closed back headphones in bed. But

nowadays I more often wear my Etymotic IEMs.  That's the perfect thing

for bed, in my experience.  Complete in-ear seal and doesn't get dislodged

by the pillow.  Not everyone like the feeling of IEMs... but for me is was

something I became accustomed to after a couple of weeks of use.

post #9 of 14
Thread Starter 
Yes that's my iPod flatmap, battered and bruised now...

Thanks for the advice both. I was under the impression that the LOD was indeed a digital out that bypassed the internal dac, my fault, I just presumed this.

This leads me back to a better source. I really like the look of the Colorfly but it seems to me to be significantly overpriced. I'm not a huge apple fan, so I don't want a touch. What are the alternatives if I want a source which I can hook up to an external dac and amp, bypassing the onboard dac? Is there a device with decent amp and dac onboard for half the price of the colorfly? Doc, I appreciate that the headphones I'm looking at can be driven by the iPod, but I'm simply not in love with the sound I get out of it. Whilst its ok, it doesn't excite me with the grado sr60s, its a little lifeless to my ears, no pizzaz.

Although the AKGs are large, I'll be sitting up in bed whilst listening. I'm still unconvinced in the quality ill get from iem's.
Edited by chn68b - 12/16/12 at 6:05am
post #10 of 14

If you're sitting up in bed then the K-550s probably well worth considering.  There are other digital music players of course.  

Search for postings on the  Hifiman players: I think the HM-601 starts at around $260, but they offer more expensive models.

I've seen the Astell & Kern AK100 (~$700) discussed.  No experience with either one, but both oriented to the high end.

Some of these play higher-than-CD resolution files, as well.

 

For more economical players, the SanDisk players all come in for less than the iPod and there are many fans here

given the cost/performance ratio.  I haven't tried these personally... not sure I'd expect them to be better than your iPod

given the pricing... but possible.

 

Also it may be that the newer iPods sound better than some of the older apple models;  that's my

impression.

 

 

Are you are using full resolution files on your music player?

post #11 of 14
Thread Starter 
Yes, I'm using mostly flac and vinyl ripped to wav. I've been a bit daft, in that I've been basing my opinion on the Ipods disappointing sound whilst listening through Goldring GX200's. They're ok for £20, but they're struggling with any strong bass and treble, sounding heavily compressed when pushed. I've had the Grado's setup with the vinyl system and not plugged them into the Ipod for ages.

After playing around with the EQ on rockbox, I've found a sound that I'm completely happy with. With the addition of the Fiio amp I've just ordered, I think I'll be happy with this setup and the K550s.

However, there is a further turn. I've just remembered that I have £200 in amazon vouchers, which could be put towards the Coldfly... I know it may seem madness but I've fallen for the look of it, and with the addition of the amp and dac (and of course vouchers) its not going to seem so much of an daft outlay. I'm sure that the C4 and K550's will be a nice match.
post #12 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by chn68b View Post

After playing around with the EQ on rockbox, I've found a sound that I'm completely happy with. With the addition of the Fiio amp I've just ordered, I think I'll be happy with this setup and the K550s.

That's a good plan. Keep in mind you are changing headphones entirely which is going to make the hugest difference in sound. Next adding an amp is going to be the next largest difference maker. The DAC of your ipod is going to be the least noticable and I wouldn't stress about it until you have the amp and new headphones hooked up and get a chance to see what you get out of it. You are likely to be happy with just adding the little amp with the new headphones. Hell you might even just be happy with the upgrade of the headhpones only, who knows. I do think you will benefit from amping the K550 as I do enjoy them amped out of the fiio.

Don't know if you ordered the K550 but just a warning if you are a glasses wearer. Keeping a seal with glasses on is near impossible and your sound gets very thin. Hope you don't wear glasses in bed.
post #13 of 14
Thread Starter 
Luckily I don't wear glasses. If the AKG's manage to sound as good to me as the Grado's (albeit slightly different due to being closed) then I'll be more than happy.

Here's to the start of my step into the realms of headfi. I think it may become an expensive hobby...
post #14 of 14
Thread Starter 
A bit late now, as I've just ordered the Colorfly C4, so should have that and the K550's tomorrow. I would never have spent the money on the C4 but with the amazon vouchers I had tucked away I couldnt resist.

I will look at the Fischers though as I could do with some decent iem's for outdoor use.

So my current setup will now look like this:

Outdoor walking to work/dogs:
Ipod G5.5
Fiio E11
Goldring GX200's (to be replaced, might well be with those Fischers Randomkid)

Indoor:
Colorfly C4
AKG K550's/Grado S60's
Edited by chn68b - 12/18/12 at 3:24am
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Portable Source Gear
Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Portable Source Gear › Best way to spend my money?