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Best setup for under $1000 (headphone, amp, and dac)

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 

EDIT: See second post as this one is not relevant since I have changed the title of this thread.

 

To start off I would just like to let people know that I am new to this forum, so sorry if I am not posting in the right section or have broken some sort of rule.

 

I am aware that many He-400 vs He-500 threads exist already, however I have a slightly different situation so I figured that it would be okay to start a new thread. I have a budget of around $900-$1000 and need to decide between the He-400 and the He-500 and then depending on which one I go for an amp and dac that works well with it. Since the He-400 are only $400 I would be able to afford a slightly nicer setup such as a Schiit Asgard 2 and HRT MSII which may be overkill but would allow me to drive other headphones in the future. On the other hand, if I purchased the He-500 I would be forced to go with the more affordable Schiit Stack (magni + modi) for around $200. My dilema is choosing between the two headphones and finding an amp and dac that would drive the given headphone well and produce a nice sound for my budget.

 

I am relatively new to the high-end audio scene, so any advise would be appreciated. I would also be interested in other headphone recommendations. I have considered the hd650, but I would like something that is a little bit more engaging to listen to.

 

As for my musical tastes, I mainly listen to jazz and female vocalists, however I occasionally listen to pop.


Edited by cangle - 4/15/13 at 12:13pm
post #2 of 23
Thread Starter 
Quote:

To start off I would just like to let people know that I am new to this forum, so sorry if I am not posting in the right section or have broken some sort of rule.

 

I am aware that many He-400 vs He-500 threads exist already, however I have a slightly different situation so I figured that it would be okay to start a new thread. I have a budget of around $900-$1000 and need to decide between the He-400 and the He-500 and then depending on which one I go for an amp and dac that works well with it. Since the He-400 are only $400 I would be able to afford a slightly nicer setup such as a Schiit Asgard 2 and HRT MSII which may be overkill but would allow me to drive other headphones in the future. On the other hand, if I purchased the He-500 I would be forced to go with the more affordable Schiit Stack (magni + modi) for around $200. My dilema is choosing between the two headphones and finding an amp and dac that would drive the given headphone well and produce a nice sound for my budget.

 

I am relatively new to the high-end audio scene, so any advise would be appreciated. I would also be interested in other headphone recommendations. I have considered the hd650, but I would like something that is a little bit more engaging to listen to.

 

As for my musical tastes, I mainly listen to jazz and female vocalists, however I occasionally listen to pop.

 

After doing a little more research, I would like to slightly modify my question to be what is the best setup I can get for under $1000 (cheaper is better). I am still strongly considering both Hifiman headphones but it seems like there may be better choices out there for my budget. For now my source will be Alac and Aiff files from itunes on my macbook air. That may change somewhere down the road to foobar using flac files on a pc. Also I would like to use usb to connect the computer to the source.


Edited by cangle - 4/15/13 at 8:16am
post #3 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by cangle View Post

To start off I would just like to let people know that I am new to this forum, so sorry if I am not posting in the right section or have broken some sort of rule.

 

I am aware that many He-400 vs He-500 threads exist already, however I have a slightly different situation so I figured that it would be okay to start a new thread. I have a budget of around $900-$1000 and need to decide between the He-400 and the He-500 and then depending on which one I go for an amp and dac that works well with it. Since the He-400 are only $400 I would be able to afford a slightly nicer setup such as a Schiit Asgard 2 and HRT MSII which may be overkill but would allow me to drive other headphones in the future. On the other hand, if I purchased the He-500 I would be forced to go with the more affordable Schiit Stack (magni + modi) for around $200. My dilema is choosing between the two headphones and finding an amp and dac that would drive the given headphone well and produce a nice sound for my budget.

 

I am relatively new to the high-end audio scene, so any advise would be appreciated. I would also be interested in other headphone recommendations. I have considered the hd650, but I would like something that is a little bit more engaging to listen to.

 

As for my musical tastes, I mainly listen to jazz and female vocalists, however I occasionally listen to pop.

I particularly find HE-400 to be well suited for Jazz, but as for female vocals, I'd look into another headphone, maybe the HD650.

 

And don't worry too much about the amp and dac. Priority should always be the headphones as they're the main source of what you're hearing. I'm not saying an amp is not important, but it's much better to have a good headphone and a bad amp than a good amp and a bad headphone. Besides, none of the hp's you're interested into are hard to drive, so no need to be concerned.


Edited by Okamoto - 4/15/13 at 7:28am
post #4 of 23
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Okamoto View Post

I particularly find HE-400 to be well suited for Jazz, but as for female vocals, I'd look into another headphone, maybe the HD650.

 

And don't worry too much about the amp and dac. Priority should always be the headphones as they're the main source of what you're hearing. I'm not saying an amp is not important, but it's much better to have a good headphone and a bad amp than a good amp and a bad headphone. Besides, none of the hp's you're interested into are hard to drive, so no need to be concerned.

 

Thanks for the quick response! If I were to consider something like the HD 650s, do you know an affordable amp and dac or amp/dac combo ($300ish max) that could sufficiently drive them? 

post #5 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by cangle View Post

 

Thanks for the quick response! If I were to consider something like the HD 650s, do you know an affordable amp and dac or amp/dac combo ($300ish max) that could sufficiently drive them? 


Modi & Magni stack should be more than enough for the HD650.

post #6 of 23

I have the HD600's and the Schiit M&M stack is a great match, IMO. Should be good with the 650's...

post #7 of 23

I would look into the Audiolab M-DAC an build your system around that. imo. 

post #8 of 23

What about HE-400 and HD6xx and the M&M stack?

post #9 of 23
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Flognuts View Post

I would look into the Audiolab M-DAC an build your system around that. imo. 

Thanks for the suggestion but the M-DAC looks like its a bit too expensive for me. Also I am a big aesthetics person so I'd rather have an amp and dac with a cleaner design, which is why I'm intrigued by the products Schiit makes.

post #10 of 23
Thread Starter 

It seems like some prefer the Schiit Modi over the HRT MSII. Given that opinion and that I really enjoy the looks of the Schiit products, what do you think of pairing the HD 650s with the Modi and the Asgard 2? The Asgard 2 comes out on the 26th of april so I still have time to decide before going through with my purchase.

post #11 of 23

Quote:

Originally Posted by davidsh View Post

What about HE-400 and HD6xx and the M&M stack?

 

Will do the Job, but if you go with the HE-5 it will be short on power. (not future proof) its more oriented to mid range setups. 

 

 

 

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by cangle View Post

It seems like some prefer the Schiit Modi over the HRT MSII. Given that opinion and that I really enjoy the looks of the Schiit products, what do you think of pairing the HD 650s with the Modi and the Asgard 2? The Asgard 2 comes out on the 26th of april so I still have time to decide before going through with my purchase.

 

Unfortunately i have't used the Hrt streamer to compare vs the Modi (which is similar to the Odac) 

post #12 of 23

I have both the HD650 and the HE-500.  My DAC is the MusicStreamer ii+, and my amp is the Magni.  I also have an FiiO E9 (meh) and an O2 (terrible).

 

Personally, I'd go for the HE-500 with the Schiit Stack.  The Magni is powerful enough for the HE-500 and listening to female vocals sends shivers up my spine (It's actually changed what music I like, as I wasn't previously a big fan of female vocalists).  You can upgrade the DAC later, and at some point you can upgrade the amp.  That said, I'm unbelievably satisfied with the Magni.  I can't believe Schiit makes an amp at this price point that makes my HE-500 sound so damned good.

post #13 of 23
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Personally, I'd go for the HE-500 with the Schiit Stack.

How is the comfort with the HE-500? I've heard that they clamp on your head a lot and are heavy. This is one of my main concerns with going with a hifiman headphone as I would like to have one that I can wear on my head for at least 2 hours without needing to take them off due to being uncomfortable

post #14 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by cangle View Post

How is the comfort with the HE-500? I've heard that they clamp on your head a lot and are heavy. This is one of my main concerns with going with a hifiman headphone as I would like to have one that I can wear on my head for at least 2 hours without needing to take them off due to being uncomfortable

They are heavy, and I've added a pad to the headband.  I have a small head, so they don't clamp at all for me - only the heaviness is a 'thing'.  I wear glasses and the ones I normally use are plastic with very 'bowed' stems.  When I wear the HE-500, I wear either my rimless glasses with very thin, flat stems or a pair of plastic rims that similarly has very 'flat against the head' stems.

 

I frequently wear the headphones for at least two hours at a time, but then again, sometimes I'm drinking wine at the same time and may be simply drunk-blivious to the weight.

post #15 of 23
Thread Starter 

I've been exploring other headphone options (particularly closed headphones), and was wondering if anyone has opinions on the Denon AH-D5000. It doesn't look they are still made but they seem to be popular and was wondering how they might compare to the HE-500.

 

Also, how would the Denons be for jazz and vocals? I know they are supposed to have great bass, but I am not sure how they would perform for the genres of music that I prefer.


Edited by cangle - 4/15/13 at 12:17pm
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