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Thread Starter 

Hi all, head-fi noob. This is my first set of cans. I have been a 7.1 full HD theater setup up until now (well still have it but late night listening has changed for me) So, this is what I tried to get to the keepers AKG K550's and should inform you, majority of my use is movies and TV and I like it loud and full sounding, so please keep this in mind...


I started off completely green and went for the Tritton True 5.1 surround headphones. Complete crap sound to say the least and I did NOT think surround was very convincing. Unforutnaley I only had these junkers for 1 night and didn’t do the Channel check (below) so I truly don’t know if the surround was any good but I do know the fidelity was terrible so who really cares (imo)


I then bought the Sennheiser 170's hoping the wireless plus their surround mode would satisfy my home theater needs. They were good but some hissing didn't sit well with me and the surround, while adding some depth wasn't at all real surround. I liked them but didn’t love them so….


I then moved up the big time of Dolby Wireless headphones. The Pioneer dir-800cs. These are actually pretty convincing Dolby surround wise. I have tested it with this test from Dolby, to the right named "Channel Check" and while many find Dolby headphone a joke. I don't. I feel it is very convincing the depth and direction of all 5 channels. I truly feel the left/right surrounds are represented just to the back l/r of me. I also feel l/r fronts are situated some distance away and true to my actual HT setup up (center is not as convincing but works IMO. Overall I love the depth and feeling of surround from the Dolby headphone Pioneer amp.


So, all is great then it sounds? That's the problem, the Pioneers just don't have a great sound to them IMO. They are clear enough but zero bass response, zero fullness to the sound.  The dolby adds depth but still feels confined, smallish. Again, decent for movie watching, lousy for any music and overall, for wireless and movies it could be a keeper if 'real' cans didn't exist so…


On to my AKG K550 purchase. Went to Magnolia, they had them to listen to. Fell in love almost instantly and I knew I had to buy them and give them their proper dues at home. At $220 pricematched, it was done. Wow, what a difference in sound to all 3 previous purchases. Hooked up to the Dolby amp from the Pioneers (that I still have but are going back soon) and they sound great! Truthfully they sound great from my Onkyo too with zero Dolby added.


BUT I prefer knowing that the Dolby that, to my ears faithfully recreates a much bigger soundstage, from all directions and for mostly late night movie watching this is still my goal but my long story now short (sorry for the long rant), need your help understanding a few things when it comes to high end cans like the 550's


Dolby headphone amps, not many to choose from... 

1) Astro Mixamp 5.8 is the most intriguing to me, any experiences your guys can share with these two together? Does the Mixamp have enough juice to properly power the 550’s? I would think yes at 32ohms.

2) Turtle Beach DSS1 or 2 experiences with the 550’s?

3) Any other legit ways to get Dolby Headphone into my system. I see creative, JVC but truthfully there isn’t a lot of good info anywhere on those

4) My Onkyo at THX 0 volume pumps some serious decibels and clarity through the 550’s. How much power is a AV receiver like mine putting out in comparison to the millions of headphone amps out there. It would seem doubtful that a headphone amp puts of more or cleaner juice than the Onkyo but please enlighten me. I am looking into a AVR that has dolby headphone built in but most of it is old and hard to find...

5) Could I buy a cheap DSS2 and run a decent headphone amp in-line and retain the Dolby?


Thank you for reading this far! And I urge you all to not dismiss Dolby headphone, the test above is proof of concept. It works IMO and sure, maybe I am more in to the effect than others but I have 4 people the channel check demo and all agreed, the channel separation and locations were very convincing, dolby headphone simulation does work as advertised...


Thank you for your expertize and thoughts,


Edited by UnreelWorld - 4/17/13 at 5:52pm