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Correct headphones to pair with an Ipod Classic / Fiio e11

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 

Greetings everyone.
 

First of all, let me congratulate you for this forums. I have learned more about portable audio this last week than in the last 33 years, and I am having incredible fun dwelling in all this info lying around here.

Of course, I won't say that I consider myself an audiophile. But I know that I do love music, and that find my standard portable audio experience lacking. As my recently lost my old mp3 player, I am looking forward to acquiring a new one, but this time spending some more money in order to get better sound.

After a bit of reading around here, I think that I have decided on an Ipod Classic 6th gen with a Fiio e11. The Ipod mainly because i really like the physical interface and that I do need to carry all those megs around. And the Fiio e11 because it seems to me it is the option that suits me best after reading the great "10 portable amps under 100". As it seems that the general consensus is that the Ipod DAC is pretty decent for entry level I am going to skip buying one, and dedicate around 150 euros on a good (well, I mean better than I usually had) pair of headphones. Wich is where I got a little lost and would really like some advice about.

First of all, I have rather sensible ears. I love snug headphones, but those witch are too fit or a bid hard on the ears hurt me a lot after one hour. And IEMs do hurt even more after a while. Another handicap is that I have a rather big head, and quite a few of the medium sized (portable? like WESC ones) ones don't even have enough headband (is that the correct term? sorry, English is not my main) to fit over my head. So, I think I need a big, snug, pair.

The music I mainly enjoy is very eclectic. To narrow it, I would say that I enjoy most the noisier tints of Pop, but have room for a lot of the music made in the last 40 years. If it serves as and example, while writing this I jumped from Beach Boys to Divine Comedy, to Teenage Fanclub, to Guided by Voices, to Built to spill, to Sonic Youth. So I'd like something which lets me feel the full strength of Thurston Moore hurting a guitar but doesn't leave out enjoying Brian Wilson vocals.

As I said before, I am looking forward to spend around 150 euros on a good pair. I could try to wait one month and make it to 200 if the difference would be quite noticeable. And would really appreciate any advice I could get from the community. Of course, If you thing the choice of the rest of the rig could be much better than the Ipod/Fiio combo, please do tell me.

I understand I may come as a bit rude to just create an account an come asking for all this help in one day, but I hope this will be my very first step in a community I really want to be a part of.

Thanks in advance for any help given. And nice meeting you all.

post #2 of 10

Heya,

 

Personally I would skip the iPod and go towards something like a Sansa Fuze or Clip+. Something with FLAC support right out of the box, small, and not apple. The only reason is mainly because if you're not going to rockbox it or change it in some way and you're stuck using it's interface software, then it's just a pain. The whole point is to have control. I would get something simple. Also, the Fuze has LOD capability so you can line level out to an amplifier.

 

Note, you don't need an amplifier unless the headphone has high impedance or is insensitive. You can save your money by not spending it on something you don't need. Choose a headphone, then choose an amplifier if it needs it.

 

As for headphones, here's some suggestions to start with:

 

Beyer DT770 LE 32ohm (and 80ohm PRO)

AKG K167

Ultrasone HFI 780

Ultrasone PRO 750

Brainwavz HM5

AudioTechnica A900X

Nuforce HP 800

Mr Speaker Mad Dog

 

Very best,

post #3 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sielagh View Post

Greetings everyone.
 

First of all, let me congratulate you for this forums. I have learned more about portable audio this last week than in the last 33 years, and I am having incredible fun dwelling in all this info lying around here.

Of course, I won't say that I consider myself an audiophile. But I know that I do love music, and that find my standard portable audio experience lacking. As my recently lost my old mp3 player, I am looking forward to acquiring a new one, but this time spending some more money in order to get better sound.

After a bit of reading around here, I think that I have decided on an Ipod Classic 6th gen with a Fiio e11. The Ipod mainly because i really like the physical interface and that I do need to carry all those megs around. 

 

You can stick a 64GB sd card in a $30 4GB Sansa Clip+ or View; the sound will be at least as good as an iPod and you'll have saved a lot of money. And if you are thinking of carrying music as FLACs or something else lossless, do not: 320 AAC or ogg is indistinguishable and a lot smaller.

 

Mal's advice re amps is correct too: you're wasting money if you buy one, money that could have gone on genuinely improving the sound by buying a better pair of headphones. I'd say that a Clip (ideally loaded with rockbox: google it) and the HD25-1-ii would sound great with the music you name - it's the combo I use for the Pixies, Benfolds Five and Brian Wilson, plus jazz and Glen Gould - but you might not like the "on ear" design of the phones. So take a look at reviews.

 

Whatever you do buy: be careful with phones meant to travel with you, some expensive models break horribly easily (cough.. Focal Spirit One..) One of the reasons I love the '25s is that they are professional TV news/DJ phones and have a well-earned reputation for toughness.

post #4 of 10
Thread Starter 

Well, thanks for the feedback.

The thing with the iPod is that I can't find an alternative that comes near the 160g capacity. This is a very personal thing, but I am not willing to give up that quantity. But I have plans to dwelve in the rockboxing area (which I also discovered in this forums) if I get one. I'll go to the store this weekend anyway, to get a physical feel of the sandisk alternatives, but the gig size (even with expansions) comes too short for me.

As for the amp I'll follow your advice and skip it for the moment, adding the spare money to the headphones. I am thinking of the Mr Speaker Mad Dog. Mainly because I am very partial to supporting handmade stuff, and becuse they do really look very comfortable. Would you recommend the dog or alpha pads?

Would it be worth to get an amp for those in the future? Because if not, I might wait a little bit more and buy a little more expensive pair of headphones, if that meant that buying an amp for 60$ someday could improve them significantly.

 

Cheers all!
 

post #5 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sielagh View Post

Well, thanks for the feedback.

The thing with the iPod is that I can't find an alternative that comes near the 160g capacity. This is a very personal thing, but I am not willing to give up that quantity. But I have plans to dwelve in the rockboxing area (which I also discovered in this forums) if I get one. I'll go to the store this weekend anyway, to get a physical feel of the sandisk alternatives, but the gig size (even with expansions) comes too short for me.

As for the amp I'll follow your advice and skip it for the moment, adding the spare money to the headphones. I am thinking of the Mr Speaker Mad Dog. Mainly because I am very partial to supporting handmade stuff, and becuse they do really look very comfortable. Would you recommend the dog or alpha pads?

Would it be worth to get an amp for those in the future? Because if not, I might wait a little bit more and buy a little more expensive pair of headphones, if that meant that buying an amp for 60$ someday could improve them significantly.

 

Cheers all!
 

 

Heya,

 

Mad Dogs are an excellent choice.


The Dog pads will sound slightly darker. The Alpha Pads will sound more flat, a little brighter. Both are comfortable. Alpha Pads isolate better. More depth to the cup too.

 

They don't need an amp, but benefit from one, I would budget in the Fiio E12 later on if you're using a portable DAP of any kind.

 

Very best,

post #6 of 10
Thread Starter 

It's settled, then. I'm gonna shoot for a pair of Mad Dogs and a rockboxed Classic. The only thing that worries me is that I can't try those (for the sake of comfort) before buying.
Now I'll just have to cope with the impatience of waiting for the headphones to ship from USA to Spain. 

Thanks a lot everyone. You've been very helpful.

post #7 of 10

I'm going to jump in here because I am not sure you are getting the best advice in my opinion.  I also use and like the Ipod 160  I listen mostly to jazz, blues, classic rock so I am not going to jump in with recommendations for headphones. I am familiar with several of the ones listed in post 2.

 

What I will say is that I have yet to hear a set of full sized headphones that did not benefit greatly from the use of an amp and line out.  The Ipod can power to volume, but there's more than just volume to consider.  The amp adds greatly to the clarity and fullness of sound.  I strongly believe that as a general rule when you have a budget to consider you will get a better sound out of a less expensive headphone coupled with the e11 and line out, that a more expensive headphone without the amp.

post #8 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sielagh View Post

It's settled, then. I'm gonna shoot for a pair of Mad Dogs and a rockboxed Classic. The only thing that worries me is that I can't try those (for the sake of comfort) before buying.
Now I'll just have to cope with the impatience of waiting for the headphones to ship from USA to Spain. 

Thanks a lot everyone. You've been very helpful.

Your going to want an amp for that Mad Dog, seriously. 

post #9 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sielagh View Post

It's settled, then. I'm gonna shoot for a pair of Mad Dogs and a rockboxed Classic. The only thing that worries me is that I can't try those (for the sake of comfort) before buying.
Now I'll just have to cope with the impatience of waiting for the headphones to ship from USA to Spain. 

Thanks a lot everyone. You've been very helpful.

 

Keep the iPod. The Mad Dogs are very comfortable, I don't think you'll be disappointed.

post #10 of 10
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the update! Still, I'm still gonna go with the Dogs without amp for the sake of comfort and quality. That leaves the door open for a 50€ amp next month and/or an even better one further down the road.
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