As of right now I am using HD555s with the foam mod and just my motherboard's integrated sound. I bought the Titanium HD the other day (when it was $110 on amazon) and have been playing around with it today. Performed several blind tests with various quality songs (from 120kbps to FLAC) and have noticed some, but not a huge, difference in sound quality (I also performed the test with 3 other people and everyone had about the same opinion). With the HD I find that there is a more punchy/pronounced bass and that the sound is overall *cleaner*, but it is not a large difference and I will probably sell the HD on ebay.
I've spent the last week doing tons of research prior to testing out the HD and reading up on headphones, sources, amps, etc and am now looking for some advice as to what to do. I've had the HD555s for 3.5 years and am finally at a point where I would like a better pair of headphones and an overall better experience.
I spend about half of my time at college and half at home so my listening is split between my desktop (home) and my laptop (school). After thinking about it that way, I decided that it wouldn't be worth keeping the titanium HD when I could only use it half the time and the sound quality wasn't a big enough difference. However, I would still like to improve my system. At this point, I am considering the schiit magni/modi (so that I could bring it to and from school) and a new pair of headphones.
I listen to pretty much every genre of music except rap and country. I would say that most of my music is alternative. I like more emphasis on mids/vocals than bass although I still enjoy a punchy/tighter bass. A huge factor is how *clear* the sound is for me. I cannot stand muddled or tunnel like sound and would like a large soundstage with my headphones. I have enjoyed the HD555s for the last 3.5 years, but I have found it lacking in these areas a little bit.
My overall budget is $420 for both the headphones + the source.
1) Would the magni/modi offer a better experience over the titanium HD to the point where it would be a large difference in SQ?
2) What would be some recommended headphones given what I have said above (I do not care whether they are open or closed back). They do not need to portable either.
3) Would I be better off forgoing the dac/amp and just buying headphones?
If there will be a huge difference, I might be able to stretch my budget slightly. Overall I am looking for a major upgrade over what I currently use. I really need to be blown away to justify spending the money.
Thanks in advance and sorry about being so picky!