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Which component to upgrade?

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

Hi there, first I'd like to thank you all for being such an amazing resource.  I've been lurking here for at least 3 months getting tips and reading all I can.  Now that I'm about spend some serious money, I thought I'd ask for some personalized advice before jumping into things.

 

So my current setup goes FLAC/320MP3 -> Foobar -> WASAPI -> FiiO E17 -> FiiO E9K -> AKG K701.

I enjoy it thoroughly as I get a very detailed sound and it's absurdly comfortable.  That being said I've got around $1000 to upgrade components in my system.

 

 

I've been thinking about going all in and getting a flagship headphone like the LCD-2 or maybe the Grado GS1000i.  I've owned SR80i's and demoed some PS500s, which I have enjoyed a lot, but there's much less information about the GS1000i here on than any other Grado.  The LCD-2 does seem to have better reviews and seems to be a safer bet.  I've read that my current Amp and DAC will be fine to drive it, certainly not ideal, but it's not as amp dependent as the HD650s.

 

My other consideration is going for a Lyr and then maybe a DAC (USB Bifrost probably) or the HiFiMan HE-400. 

From my readings I've seen that the common theme sung by members here, is get the best headphones you can and then work on the amp.  As such I'm leaning towards the LCD-2s and then looking to get a Lyr in ~3 months.  That being said, I'd like to hear some opinions of people who know far more than I on the matter.  Thanks in advance for any guidance you can offer and continuing to tolerate and assist those new in the world of audiophilia. 

post #2 of 8

Welcome to head-fi smile.gif

 

What kind of sound you are looking for? specific genres? 

post #3 of 8
Keep your 701s. Get a better DAC and the Heed CanAmp. Done. Great setup.
post #4 of 8

Listen to  hodgjy.

 

KP
 

post #5 of 8
Thread Starter 

Honestly the genre's are relatively varied.  Probably in terms of frequency it goes Alternative > Indie (we could just lump these together as Rock really) > Electronic > Folk > Jazz > Classical.  About 5% of my listening is classical, 10% jazz, so I'm not too concerned about getting cans geared towards that.

If I went the CanAmp route, what would you suggest (just a few names) for a DAC?  It was my impression that the E17 made a reasonable quality DAC and that upgrading it would be a high cost low reward scenario.  That being said I could be totally wrong, but that was my impression of consensus (is there such a thing on headfi?) was that a difference in DACs was least noticeable of all components if you started with good source files.

 

edit: Also, does a CanAmp future proof me at least relatively?  My understanding of it was that it balances the K701s by making them warmer and reducing some of the treble.  As such would that limit where I go with the next tier of headphones without also upgrading the amp?


Edited by Drixxi - 2/4/13 at 7:11pm
post #6 of 8

Does Foobar/wasapi improve SQ?

post #7 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by Drixxi View Post

Honestly the genre's are relatively varied.  Probably in terms of frequency it goes Alternative > Indie (we could just lump these together as Rock really) > Electronic > Folk > Jazz > Classical.  About 5% of my listening is classical, 10% jazz, so I'm not too concerned about getting cans geared towards that.

If I went the CanAmp route, what would you suggest (just a few names) for a DAC?  It was my impression that the E17 made a reasonable quality DAC and that upgrading it would be a high cost low reward scenario.  That being said I could be totally wrong, but that was my impression of consensus (is there such a thing on headfi?) was that a difference in DACs was least noticeable of all components if you started with good source files.

 

edit: Also, does a CanAmp future proof me at least relatively?  My understanding of it was that it balances the K701s by making them warmer and reducing some of the treble.  As such would that limit where I go with the next tier of headphones without also upgrading the amp?

 

Hi

 

I tend to think that if you have a reasonably good DAC then it is very hard to improve on that.

 

The AKG K701s will, in my experience (I have AKG K702s) just keep getting better with more accurate amplification. It is amazing how transparent they are.

 

I have absolutely no experience of the Heed Canamp but personally I tend to be a bit wary of amplifiers (or anything) that "warms things up". I don't want music warmed up :) The AKG K701/2s are not "cold" they just don't warm things up (hooray!). However I would never dismiss an amplifier without personal experience of it so the Heed Canamp could be an excellent choice.

 

Another amplifier I would suggest is the Meier-Audio Corda Classic. If you  go to this web page:

 

http://www.meier-audio.homepage.t-online.de

 

Click on "Phones & Amps" button and then scroll down you will see it.

 

I have two Meier-Audio products, a DAC and a small portable headphone amplifier called a "Head Six". I am very impressed by these and the discussions of the Meier-Audio Corda Classic are very impressive.

 

Meier Audio stuff tends to add nothing to the music, there is no "warming up" it is really neutral. I think this is to be commended. The sound is very natural and transparent.

 

There is a big thread here about the Meier Audio Corda Classic so maybe you should read a bit there.

 

I notice some people are using the Corda Classic with the Sennheiser HD800s and report very good results. If at some stage in the future you were upgrading your headphones then the HD800s would be of interest as they are in the same school as the AKG K701s (transparent), so with the Corda Classic you might be we set up for a future move such as that.

 

If you wish to upgrade your DAC then the Corda Daccord would be a logical one to look at. I use the Meier Audio Corda StageDAC myself and it is very good. The StageDAC is the DAC made by Meier Audio prior to the Daccord.

 

You will see that at the Meier-Audio website Classic and Daccord together are $1235. A stretch, but will sound great with AKG K701s and in the future you could buy some HD 800s or Beyerdynamic T1s or whatever.

 

Edited by p a t r i c k - 2/4/13 at 10:29pm
post #8 of 8

Heya,

 

There's a few good routes to go perhaps.

 

Hifiman HE400 with no other change

Hifiman HE-500 with higher output solid state amplifier

Audeze LCD2 (used) with higher output solid state amplifier

Beyer T1 (used) with OTL tube amplifier

Sennheiser HD800 (used) with OTL tube amplifier

 

I think ideally going ortho at this point would provide you the largest return.

 

Otherwise you could further invest into mid-fi with a re-cable, go balanced, different dac/amp setup for warmth and visual appeal (tubes for example).

 

Very best,

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