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Laptop amp questions for the Sennheiser HD380pro, and some hd380pro vs hd595 questions

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 

Hey, been following the forum and head-fi "gear" rankings for a couple of years now whenever I'm interested in some new head gear, but this will be my first time asking a question on the forums!


I'm currently using a pair of "soundstage-modified" HD 595s (removed the isolation stuff on the outside of the speakers, and it truly imporoved the clarity, much to my liking), with an Asus Xonar essence stx card. This is a combo I'v fallen very much in love with over the past two years or so I have had it.

I also have a laptop (Asus g74sx) that I'm now working from more and more, thus I'm listening to music from it more then previously. The onboard soundcard is plenty good to drive simple earplugs, which is what I have used so far, but it's useless for my 595s. In addition, the 595s are leaking so much sound it's not possible to use them in an office or on public transport.This is why I have been considering buying a pair of noise-canceling headphones, and I have had my eye on the HD380 pros. A friend of mine has the Bose QuietComfort 15, and he's very happy with them, but the 380s, being almost half the price, are more tempting. I'm also not requireing complete 100% sound isolation, some slight leakage is fine, as long as I can listen to music next to another person without annoying him.


I read on several of the reviews on the HD380 pro that they really do require an amp, and when that's a recommendation less mentioned for the 595s, I assume I'm really going to need one for the 380s as I know my 595s absolutely require one to function propperly. If I were to buy a pair of 380s, they would be used 95% of the time on my laptop. Initially i was intrigued by the FiiO e11, but I later realized it's not ideal for laptop use due to the way the charging works, as well as the lack of DAC.


I read on one of the 380 reviews that "at least a FiiO E7 is required to drive them propperly", so I checked out the E7 and it seems like a pretty decent choice. However I have also read some reviews claiming the E7s are not nessescarily much better than what you would find onboard some laptops. Sadly I have no idea what onboard soundcard the g74sx have, and the only thing I have to compare it to, is the fact my 595s run horribly on it. I thus assume the FiiO E7 will be a significant upgrade, but I cant really know.

Would anyone have any suggestions or ideas as to what I should do? I'm not interested in spending more than 100$ on the amp, which is why the E7 seems so nice. It also has to be portable, preferably also usable with my phone (currently HTC desire HD), though I'm much less dependant on the quality improvement there.


How are the 380s compared to 595s, easier or more difficult to drive without the amp?
Does E7 seem like a good choice, and is it likely it's sigificantly bettter than the asus g74sx laptop onboard sound controller?

Finally, with my described situation, is there any other headphones or amps I should be considering?

post #2 of 6

The HD380 sounds very different from the HD595. The HD380 isolate extremely well, clamp very tight, are easier to drive, and while they have a decent sound for a closed headphone they will sound very boxy compared to your 595 if you're looking for something similar.


The HD380 don't *need* an amp, though they do benefit from a bit more headroom but it's not a "must have". If you can live without the portable amp capability since you're on your laptop 95% of the time, the FiiO e10 may be a more suitable solution for you.

post #3 of 6
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the comparision between the 595 and 380, Armaegis.


I have had a look at the E10, as well as some of the other FiiO "E"s, all the various versions can be confusing for a mortal like myself. I understand the e10 only have the usb in, which I suppose makes it tailored for PC use and not phone use. This is tempting indeed, as I really can live without an amp for the phone. The E10 is likely to be the amp if I buy one.


I was wondering about the ability to tweak the settings of the amp though. I'm sorry for my lack of knowledge with propper audio expressions, but I'm used to my xonar essence stx which, I have tweaked quite a bit in the effects tab of the xonar audio center (are they called the equalizer settings?). Are there any such options with the E10? What are otherwise your options? Should I expect the E10 to be more propperly adjusted for my liking by default? The xonar essence stx sounds rather awfull when using the Default equalizer (hope I'm using the right word now), only after playing with the sliders for a long time I settled.


I also came across the Audio-Technica ATH-M50S, which I must say are even more tempting than the 380s. The only part I'm slightly worried about is the sound leakage, but I get the impression from reading reviews it's fairly isolated. I dont really need complete noise-canceling.


A friend of me have a DT770 pro 80ohm that I tried today. They have near no sound leakage, and I was fairly impressed by the sound quality, even without an amp. Would anyone be able to give a comparison between the sound leakage of the ATH-50s, dt770 and the 380s? (I realize this goes slightly beyond the forum subsection, I'm sorry).


Would anyone dare to recomend either of the 3 headphones I have mentioned now, or even direct me to look at another pair? So far I have relied heavily on the rankings of Head Gear section, as well as the reviews on the headphones I have checked, but it's scary not getting some more direct feedback from the forum.


Also, just to have put it out there, I dont believe I'm a "bass head", and I dont believe I enjoy the most "bassy" headphones. My 595s probably lacks a bit in the bass department for my likings, but I'm not interested in headphones from the other end of the scale either. I listen to a wide variety of music, but to mention some bands there is Tool, Opeth, God is an Astronaut, Dark Tranquility, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd and a variety of classical music. I do get down with the "wub-wub" occasionally, but I'm not after the bass per se.

Edited by Gemt - 1/15/13 at 9:31am
post #4 of 6

The e10 has a bass boost switch and that's it. Any other tweaks will have to be done through your laptop player. Your STX settings are probably some equivalent of an equalizer or possibly other processing which could add other acoustic effects. There are similar things that can be done on your laptop, but it depends what program you're using. 


The M50 is a good headphone. Personally not quite my cup of tea, but it is a very strong performer in all areas. The HD380 is better for leakage and isolation. The DT770 about on par or slightly better than the HD380, depending on fit. The M50 with Shure 840 pads isolates better. The DT770 with gel pads is about the best you can get. 


All three clamp, but I would say the HD380 is the strongest here. 


The DT770 really wants to have some extra amping behind it for proper headroom. The M50 and HD380 are just fine without. 


The DT770 is the bassiest of the bunch. The M50 is slightly V shaped. The HD380 sits sort of in the middle, though it has some funny stuff happening in the middle too (I think an odd narrow midrange dip from my recollection).

post #5 of 6
Thread Starter 

After much research and some testing in local stores I finally ended on a rather suprising (to myself at least) purchase.


DT770 250ohm and FiiO e10.


Looking forward to testing this, havent tried the 250 with the e10, but I see posters here on the forum seem to feel it does the job.

post #6 of 6

Testing with your own ears is always the best course of action. Hope you enjoy your new toys.

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