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Upgrade for X-Fi Titanium HD + Audio-Technica ATH-AD700 setup?

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 

I use my headphones mostly for gaming and music. I play online shooters so positional cues are important. I have very eclectic musical tastes so I need cans that can do it all well. I like a balanced, "flat" sound. "Flat" has a negative connotation sometimes but that's not how I mean it -- I'm sure you get the idea :)

I have an itch to upgrade something and have about $250 to spend. I'd prefer if it were something available on Amazon since I have Prime and a $225 gift card balance. At first I thought I would just upgrade the headphones and had a mind to get Beyerdynamic DT 880 or 990, the 250-ohm versions.

I've been reading dozens of forums threads here and elsewhere though, and I'm getting the impression that it would be kind of a sidegrade, i.e. not really worth it (unless I spend a lot more than $250 on the headphones, in which case the rest of my equipment would also need an upgrade).

 

I'm also getting mixed feedback on my X-Fi Titanium HD's ability to drive headphones without an amp. I connect my headphones to my sound card's rear headphone output, which is rated for 330 ohms, so any headphones rated for 330 ohms or less should be fine, but since I'm not knowledgeable in this field, I'm not sure if there's more to it. But I read conversations with people looking to buy a desktop headphone amp to pair with my sound card, and responders seemed to say that there's no point.

 

At least, my understanding is that my current setup would not benefit from a desktop amp such as a FiiO E9. But would it?

 

And if I were to get the 250-ohm DT880 or 990s, would I benefit from a FiiO E9 then, or am I good to go?

 

Anyway, like I said, initially my thought was to get new cans and sell the ATH-AD700. Now I'm not sure if I should do that, or get an E9, or ditch the ATH-AD700 AND get an E9, and if I ditch my current cans, what to get instead... or just do nothing at all? Keep in mind I'm happy with my current setup. In a nutshell I have some money to spend and am wondering if there's anything out there that would be a worthwhile upgrade.

post #2 of 10

Pick up a E11 instead or wait for the new E12?

post #3 of 10
Thread Starter 

Aren't these portable? I don't want something with a battery.

post #4 of 10
Thread Starter 

Bump!

post #5 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shub-Niggurath View Post

Aren't these portable? I don't want something with a battery.

As the E12 has not been released yet, it's full features are only speculation.

There is the PAV2V headphone amplifier, $70?, it uses batteries, but I believe you can use it like an AC powered desktop.

 

I guess the "minor" problem with the Ti-HD (Titanium HD) is it's headphone output jack has an impedance of 35-Ohms :(

So with low impedance headphones, like the 32-Ohm ATH-AD700, you get problems, like a bloated bass.

The AD700s would technically work better with a headphone output jack of 4-Ohms.

So basically you want the Ohms of the headphones to be at least 8 times more then the Ohm rating of whatever headphone output jack the headphones are plugged into.

So maybe the DT880 250-Ohm might be a good choice for plugging straight into the Ti-HD.

You can always get a dedicated external headphone amplifier in the future.

 

Maybe ask here if anyone else is using the DT880 250-Ohm headphones plugged straight into the Ti-HD.

http://www.head-fi.org/t/513393/guide-sonic-differences-between-dt770-dt990-models-more


Edited by PurpleAngel - 1/7/13 at 10:39am
post #6 of 10
Thread Starter 

I thought the rear headphone output on the TiHD was 330-ohm while the front header headphone output was 32-ohm? I use the rear output :)

post #7 of 10
Thread Starter 

Bump :p

 

I think I'm leaning toward the Beyerdynamic DT990 Premium at this point. I'm still confused by the impedance I should be looking at. I read this 8:1 ratio thing here and on other sites and it makes no sense to me. Chalk it up to my sempiternal lack of understanding of physics and numbers.

To be clear, my TiHD has two headphone outputs:

Rear: 330 ohms

Front: 32 or 33 ohms

I'll only be using the rear output. Is it as simple as getting headphones rated for 330 ohms or less, such as the 250-ohm DT990?

What would happen if I used the 600-ohm DT990 instead?

 

Finally, would you recommend that I connect a desktop amp to the RCA output instead and forget about the dedicated headphone out?

I'm willing to spend up to ~$300 on headphones + $100 on an amp if it's justified. In that case I'd definitely get the 600-ohm DT990 and the amp is up in the air at this point.

 

People elsewhere have been recommending me the Hifiman HE-400 but I don't want to drop $400 on just headphones, and from what I've read it sounds like it has a stronger clamping force than I'd like.

post #8 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shub-Niggurath View Post

I think I'm leaning toward the Beyerdynamic DT990 Premium at this point. I'm still confused by the impedance I should be looking at. I read this 8:1 ratio thing here and on other sites and it makes no sense to me. Chalk it up to my sempiternal lack of understanding of physics and numbers.

To be clear, my TiHD has two headphone outputs:

Rear: 330 ohms

Front: 32 or 33 ohms

I'll only be using the rear output. Is it as simple as getting headphones rated for 330 ohms or less, such as the 250-ohm DT990?

What would happen if I used the 600-ohm DT990 instead?

Finally, would you recommend that I connect a desktop amp to the RCA output instead and forget about the dedicated headphone out?

I'm willing to spend up to ~$300 on headphones + $100 on an amp if it's justified. In that case I'd definitely get the 600-ohm DT990 and the amp is up in the air at this point.

People elsewhere have been recommending me the Hifiman HE-400 but I don't want to drop $400 on just headphones, and from what I've read it sounds like it has a stronger clamping force than I'd like.

Adding an external headphone amplifier and plugging it into the Ti-HD's RCA outputs seems to be a good idea.

The Schiit Magni seems to be well liked.

Currently the price on the DT990 Premium 600-Ohm is on the high side.

Try to find a used DT990 Premium 600-Ohm, sometime you can get a good deal.


Edited by PurpleAngel - 1/8/13 at 10:44am
post #9 of 10
Thread Starter 

Actually... Are the Magni and 600-ohm DT990 a good match, or should I get the 250-ohm DT990 instead? I keep reading that it's best to get headphones that leave the amp with some headroom, and if I'm understanding this right (which I very likely may not be), the 600-ohm DT990 wouldn't leave the Magni with any.

Likewise, in terms of sound signature, is the Magni a good match for the DT990?

 

Or again, should I just use my sound card's native 330-ohm headphone output and just get 250-ohm headphones? I mean, if I don't need an amp, why buy one? (Yes I realize this is a loaded question for this website tongue.gif)

 

I wish I understood the relationships between the numbers better but despite all I've read, I'm really struggling.

post #10 of 10
Thread Starter 

So I ended up getting the DT990/600 and a Schiit Magni. The headphones should come on Wednesday and I'm hoping to get the amp around the same time, give or take a day. Very exciting!

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