I'll preface this with: I'm not an audiophile by any means. Several years ago, while living in an apartment, I found and fell in love with the Pioneer SE-DIR800c Dolby Headphone system. Since then, I've moved into a home of my own and the 800s have fallen apart (and the base station has since stopped working). For the most part now, I can watch movies with an actual speaker setup. It's great. At night though, with 2 kids and a wife, I can't crank it up.
So now I'm on the hunt for a new pair of headphones. After some research last year, prior to owning a pair of HPs, I purchased a Yamaha V-667 AV Receiver (w/ Silent Cinema). Recently I purchased a pair of Senn 558s to try out Silent Cinema for movies @ night. I wasn't impressed. Note: there's no amp involved, aside from the V-667. I have a HTPC hooked up via HDMI. The HTPC is in a closet, far away from the TV (this will come into play in a minute).
So next I ordered a pair of DT990 Pros from Amazon. Out of my AVR, I'm much more impressed by the the sound of the DT990s for movies (and music). The treble is killer though, even EQ'd all the way down using the AVR's tone controls. I've gotten somewhat used to them over the past week but long-term, I would prefer to find a headphone that isn't so shrill. Glass breaking and gun shots make me wince. If I turn the volume down to get those in check, vocals, etc aren't nearly loud enough.
I've since ordered a pair of HE-400s to audition. There are about 1,001 different opinions on the best headphones for movies from - headphones suck for movies to so and so's are awesome (later negated by someone saying so and sos aren't so awesome - haha).
In regard to amps, if I decide to try a stand-alone headphone amp out with the HE-400s, my only real option for hook-up, since I'm using a HTPC tucked away in a closet, is via my AVR. I've done some research and it sounds like using the pre outs are a possibility but since I'm using HDMI for the sound, I'm not sure if that will work or not. I know I can't use Zone 2 or the other RCA audio outs because it won't pass audio over HDMI out from those.
My other option is to use the headphone out to RCAs and then to an amp. From my understanding, double amping. Now, I've read conflicting reports on the HE-400s and whether they will be OK out of an AVR alone- some say yes, some say no. I would like to have the option to try an actual headphone amp if I'm not satisfied with the sound. I'm considering the Asgard. Does anyone see an issue with using the headphone out on my AVR to the Asgard, assuming I don't have the volume on the AVR cranked?
My quest may be fruitless. I may be just as well off with a cheaper setup or going with the SE-DIR800cs again. I'm hoping the HE-400s workout though. I'm still not sure if I prefer Silent Cinema over Dolby Headphone (which I've tried via PowerDVD and foobar2000 for music).
Edited by whiskaz - 1/18/13 at 7:44am