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Indecisive and overwhelmed; Audiophile in the works...

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 

...or hopeless cause? So I'm looking into a "decent" set of cans. Apparently I've been completely neglecting one of our most important senses. As of now I'm a complete audio-noob.I have only owned "junk" headphones and speakers my whole life. I've browsed google and multiple forums off and on for a while now. It seems I've been missing out but I'm still a bit confused on what I should do about it.

 

I primarily want a set up for gaming. Although, like most people I do enjoy music as well. I don't need to travel with them and noise generally isn't to big of an issue. I have a decent rig (except the audio it seems?) with quite a bit put into video and the other peripherals. I know audio is very subjective and this is a difficult subject when it comes to suggestions. I'm not to sure on the difference between the internal soundcard vs. amp/dac. I'm gathering they do about the same job? Although it seems some higher impedance cans might require an amp as well a card for optimal clarity? I guess what I'm really asking is what do I actually want? Anyone have a guess? Haha.

 

After my some of my "research" I was leaning towards a pair of AD700's and a Xonar DG sound card to power them. I don't require a lot of bass or volume in my listening. It's a pretty thrifty get-up as far as these things can go. As an entry level user it seems this would give me a noticeable sound /  headphone surround improvement.  But both the items and all the reviews I've seen are pretty old. Once I found your community here I also noticed the cans listed a bit lower on the rankings. Wasn't totally sure if I should be looking for open or closed cans to help with environmental immersion/surround.

 

 I'm wondering: Will my basic set-up be enough to hear difference? Are there some other alternatives/newer options I should look into? I'm afraid to get a cheapo setup that that leaves me in awe wondering what I might of had if I had a higher end set up. Right now I'm completely stumped on what I really need. I'd be very grateful if anyone made it through my ramble to post some feedback. I don't mind spending a good bit more on a setup. I didn't know if it was needed for my media or worth it for my unrefined ears.

post #2 of 19

Heya,

 

Avoid the AD700. Unfortunately the internet is drowning is ridiculous amounts of recommendation and commentary on this half-a-headphone due to some weird conception that it's just "the" gamer's headphone, when it's really not. Does it fill a niche? Yes. It's a bassless headphone with a good sound stage. But beyond that, very few people actually want a headphone that lacks sub-bass. Everything under 100hz is just a butterfly fart. This is not balanced. This is half-a-headphone, you're not getting all frequencies that a normal competent headphone should provide. The AD700 is crippled, and missing a lot of what a balanced headphone should have no trouble with. It's an over-priced toy because of this, and wrongly over-recommended to nausea inducing levels. I say this as someone who owns one. Please do yourself a favor and look at other headphones.

 

If you're wanting to get a headphone "for life" so to speak, that is balanced and does everything well, then maybe consider some of the following:

 

Beyer DT880 250ohm

Sennheiser HD600

Hifiman HE-300 r2

HIfiman HE-400

Ultrasone HFI 2400

AKG Q701

Sony MA900

 

Very best,

post #3 of 19

Get a reasonable amp and dac combo such as the O2/ODAC or Schiit Magni/Modi along with any of the above mentioned headphones.

 

It will make a great rig while not being over the top. If you have money to burn, then well the sky,s the limit.........
 

post #4 of 19
Thread Starter 

I appreciate the feed back guys! Especially as I'm sure you see this same kind of thread to often. 

 

I've read for hours and only find myself with more and more questions. It's alot of information and quite overwhelming at first, I don't mind going balls deep and spending up to a grand for something I can truly enjoy that will last for several years. That said, I'm extremely cheap at heart and would be much happier in the 200ish range. Where will I find the most bang for my buck? Currently have a $30 set of platronics with onboard audio and an unrefined ear? 

 

I was intrigued by all the hype on the entry level Schiit amp/dac. I was thinking of going all out and pairing these with a pair of Sennheiser HD650's. From what i can gather from all I've read is I'm looking for a good sound stage with virtual surround for a deeper immersion in my games, movies, and music. Do I also need a sound card to provide the digital signal to the dac? 

 

Is this set up overkill for a starter? I notice people tend to run different cans and combos genres of music for alot of different situations, I'm just looking to upgrade my desktop/gaming rig with some quality sound. I don't need a lot of bass or volume. I don't listen to hip hop but can get into about anything else at times.

post #5 of 19

How much of a priority is gaming/music, and what do you listen to? If gaming is a priority you should not get a dac, but maybe rather a good sound card, because then you have both the dac and the surround sound features. Look into the x-fi titanium HD. Then also get an amp.

post #6 of 19
Thread Starter 

Gaming / surround sound (immersion) was the initial reason for the investment. I do listen to a bit of music and the gaming comes in spurts, though. I used to be into music a lot more. Perhaps poor quality is the reason I haven't been as drawn to it. I like a lot of rock, oldies, folk music, jam bands and instrumentals. I can listen to a variety depending on my mood. Again heavy hitting bass and loud volumes isn't really my style.

 

Just want to treat myself to an enjoyable experience that will last. A notable difference that will keep me coming back for more. Did I mention I'm extremely cheap? (But willing to dish out a few bucks for a reasonable cause) Just looking for that all important value. Where are the biggest gains and the most bang for the buck for the untrained ear?

post #7 of 19

I'm in the same boat you are Scrubby. I started out last week thinking I was going to go with HiFiMan He-400 headphones and a Fiio E17/E9K combo..Now after a week of OCD forum reading i'm looking The Schiit Mjolinr/Gungnir - Audeze lcd-3 headphones, who knows what another week of reading will bring!

Anyway if money is an issue try the Audio-Technica ATH-M50 's when on sale they are at or less than $115. Hard to beat those headphones for the money. Thr amp/dac's listed on above posts are good recommendations.

 

Good luck and stay off the forums or you budget will grow!!

post #8 of 19

k701 is said to be good for gaming. Then get a x-fi titanium HD, maybe an amp later. For your genres though, I would say the HE-400/500 would be good for the music you hear, though.


Edited by davidsh - 12/28/12 at 1:51pm
post #9 of 19
Thread Starter 

Haha. OCD forum reading about sums it all up.  From overall reviews the M50's sound like a great value. I was a bit worried about the "small sound stage" and "to much bass" messing with a good virtual surround. I've nearly hit the buy now on these and a couple of the thriftier sets but I don't want to leave myself yearning, wondering what I'm really missing out on. Just trying to find most quality at the best value, if that's possible with out trying it first hand

post #10 of 19

Have a crack at the JVC S500 too. They sound great and good for music.Can be powered by almost anything.

post #11 of 19

I'm a gamer and music lover too, and currently using the Hifiman HE-400 headphones which are truly terrific sounding. With that said, I don't think it's necessary to spend that much on your first setup considering you lack an amplified source too. I've had the Beyerdynamic DT-990 headphones aswell and those are truly great for gaming in my opinion, and I don't think they are so bass heavy as some people make it sound. Maybe a lot of bass for an open can sure, guess it depends on what you compare to. But the soundstage is very big and the sound is so crisp and clear you can very easily pick out direction in sounds, as an example I played a lot of Counter-strike GO with them. The reason I bring them up is because the Pro version can be had for pretty cheap, I had the newer version myself but as it would seem the sonic differences are very small. But if you can buy from Amazon you get them for 200$.

 

Pair it with a Creative SB USB that gives you a descent DAC and virtual surround for your games, I've had that one myself. Then you can get a Fiio E9k amplifier, discounted aswell on Amazon at the moment, goes for 109$.

 

Something like this would be a very nice setup for a gamer with a bit higher expectations in the sound in my opinion, for a quite modest price of around 360$. If you want to make it even cheaper you could skip the amplifier for now and get something like the Xonar DG/DGX internal sound card (DG is PCI slot and DGX PCIe slot, otherwise the same card), or the Creative SB X-Fi HD if you want to stay with USB, they have a built in headphone amplifier, though I don't know how well they will power the DT990 Pro's. But you can always add the amp later if you feel like it.


Edited by spittis - 12/28/12 at 3:08pm
post #12 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Scrubby View Post

Haha. OCD forum reading about sums it all up.  From overall reviews the M50's sound like a great value. I was a bit worried about the "small sound stage" and "to much bass" messing with a good virtual surround. I've nearly hit the buy now on these and a couple of the thriftier sets but I don't want to leave myself yearning, wondering what I'm really missing out on. Just trying to find most quality at the best value, if that's possible with out trying it first hand

I got mine when Amazon had them on sale December 5th for $104.41. Amazon is constantly changing the price on them. They are $110 now:)

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000ULAP4U/ref=oh_details_o03_s00_i00


Edited by ghostchili - 12/28/12 at 3:50pm
post #13 of 19
Soundmagic HP100 fit the bill perfectly
post #14 of 19
Thread Starter 

Does anyone else have any experience with the hp100's? Seem to be a bit newer setup, with positive reviews, even though they are Chinese made. I haven't heard much feedback  from owners only the reviewers though. After looking around a bit more, I am leaning towards these or the q701 for the sound stage and more balanced spectrum with a more modest entry price.

 

Will probably try to power these with a sound card for the dolby headphone. Will my thriftier cans run okay with a Xonar dg or should I shell out for the essence stx or a x-fi titanium HD and be done with it? Will I notice a difference besides the extra speaker outputs i'll never use? Will this be sufficient or should i look into an external amp as well? 


Edited by Scrubby - 12/28/12 at 7:11pm
post #15 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Scrubby View Post

Does anyone else have any experience with the hp100's? Seem to be a bit newer setup, with positive reviews, even though they are Chinese made. I haven't heard much feedback  from owners only the reviewers though. After looking around a bit more, I am leaning towards these or the q701 for the sound stage and more balanced spectrum with a more modest entry price.

 

Will probably try to power these with a sound card for the dolby headphone. Will my thriftier cans run okay with a Xonar dg or should I shell out for the essence stx or a x-fi titanium HD and be done with it? Will I notice a difference besides the extra speaker outputs i'll never use? Will this be sufficient or should i look into an external amp as well? 


x-fi titanium HD for the good DAC and more gaming features, and then a proper external amp.

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