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ATH M50 - benchmarking for right sound - Page 2

post #16 of 28

If you want some chewy electronica bass try Phutureprimitive, Cryogenic Dreams off of the album Kinetic. Solid, clean bass pulses throughout the song and a few really stunning places where the bass is very prominent, yet controlled.

post #17 of 28
Thread Starter 
I play it on a thinkpad. No amp, but I am considering buying one - would you suggest a dac/amp? I am looking into the fiio e09 since portability is not my concern. Any other recos? E11, E17?

I don't think I can ever go beyond 200USD for a set of cans, and from what I gather, the M50 is one of the best in this bunch. I might buy a sony xb500/700 just to satisfy the occassional craving for chest thumping bass. smily_headphones1.gif

Sonic Defender - thanks for your suggestions. I will definitely check them out and let you know.

Thanks for the warm welcome. I will guard my wallet. smily_headphones1.gif
Edited by darkspark - 5/24/13 at 7:00pm
post #18 of 28
Thread Starter 
I play it on a thinkpad. No amp, but I am considering buying one - would you suggest a dac/amp? I am looking into the fiio e09 since portability is not my concern. Any other recos? E11, E17?

I don't think I can ever go beyond 200USD for a set of cans, and from what I gather, the M50 is one of the best in this bunch. I might buy a sony xb500/700 just to satisfy the occassional craving for chest thumping bass. smily_headphones1.gif

Sonic Defender - thanks for your suggestions. I will definitely check them out and let you know.

Thanks for the warm welcome. I will guard my wallet. smily_headphones1.gif
Edited by darkspark - 5/24/13 at 7:01pm
post #19 of 28
Thread Starter 
ok, so after two weeks of playing the m50 only on my laptop, i decided to try it on my iphone - and wow! finally i heard what a lot of people have been talking about - crisp, solid, remarkable bass, clarity and presence, and differentiation among instruments. i guess my laptop does not parse sounds well or that phutureprimitive has really opened up the drivers. if in case the problem lies on the sq of my laptop, any ideas on how to improve this? i might go ahead and buy a portable music player just to do my m50 justice - would the sansa clip be comparable/better to the iphone in sq?

anyway, if nothing else, you guys have really introduced me to some amazing music. phutureprimitive is fantastic and trippy. please keep those suggestions coming!
Edited by darkspark - 5/26/13 at 6:06pm
post #20 of 28

Hi dark,

 

I'm pretty new around here too. There's a lot to learn. I'm surely not an expert, still learning a lot.

 

I started this whole journey when I needed to replace a set of headphones I'd been using for years, a relatively cheap Sony MDR NC-40. It had its own built in equalizer/noise canceling unit, and I plugged it directly into my ipod. It was light and portable. That worked for me for over 5 years, until I broke it.

 

I got curious about Head-fi after reading an Amazon review. When I started investigating all this stuff, I kept seeing references to something called a DAC (digital to analog converter). I'm not sure why, but it didn't sink in for me right away, why I might need one of them. I wasn't sure I needed an amp either.

 

The first set of replacement cans I bought was the Audio Technica ATH M40, the model that's a notch under the one you have (and I think a lot less nice sounding, from what I can tell). It did not sound very impressive at all, plugged into my ipod nano. It was ok, but honestly, I missed the old Sony's when I heard how poorly it sounded. So I needed another solution.

 

So I tried a Fiio e6 amp. It was cheap, it had a little EQ, but it was not powerful. It did very little to improve the sound on my M40's. I ended up giving it to my daughter, apparently it worked better on earbuds.

 

I can't plug into my computer at work, so I needed a stand alone solution. The next thing I tried was a better amp. I bought a Bravo Audio V2 after spending 2 weeks reading up on amps. That did the trick. Oh my, I was so excited. It made the ipod sound wonderful, and those headphones really lit up for me. I use the Rock EQ setting on the ipod to make up for the bright midrange on my M40's.

 

I learned a lot by posting here and asking questions. What I eventually learned was, every digital device we use to play music has one of these digital to analog converters in it. Some of them are not very good. Ipods, laptops, smart phones, most anything that plays music these days uses a DAC. You might have a laptop with a lousy DAC. Or, maybe there is a sound effect setting affecting the music (there's a lot of that buried in the sound properties settings).

 

Anyway, for my second headphone setup, I wanted a DAC with a better amp (the Bravo V2 is not bad for the price, but I don't want to bring it home every day either). I also wanted some better cans. Long story short, I settled on a Schiit Magni amp, a Schiit Modi DAC, and a Beyerdyamics DT770 headset. I almost cried the first time I listened to that setup. The sound quality is amazing to me. I know I'm a newbie here, and that setup isn't the top gear out there, but it's a world apart from anything else I have. I use a laptop with iTunes and Foobar as the music players. The Modi DAC bypasses the DAC in my laptop, so I don't need to be concerned about the quality of whatever is built into the laptop.

 

So, I hope that helps explain why your iphone sounded better than your laptop. Thinkpads are kind of dated if my memory serves me correctly ... I think those are all made by Lenovo now. So you might just have a really old laptop with a questionable DAC. If you want to use the laptop as the music source, I would suggest considering a DAC and an external amp. That will do wonders for the sound quality, at least it did for me.

post #21 of 28

The Schiit stuff is always good, as are the DT770s (just sold mine after almost two years with them). You might also look at the FiiO E17 as an amp and DAC. The FiiO stuff is generally regarded as best bang for buck. The hard thing today is the amount of choice you have for all gear, entry level to high-end. Take your time and don't rush selecting something if you have the time. This is a great community to learn from and every decision I have made in the last 2-3 years has been made from listening to what people around here have to say, and I have yet to be unhappy with my gear. Cheers.

post #22 of 28
Thread Starter 
The iphone 4 and m50 combo really blew my mind. Unfortunately, I already gave the phone to my daughter so I can only borrow it. smily_headphones1.gif

As far as DAC is concerned, the schiit is not available in Manila so my only options (cost wise) are the ibasso d7 or the fiios. However I still need to save up given the cost of decent desktop (not portable) dacs.

My workaround (while I save) is to buy the sansa clip. Would that be a good plan in your opinion?
Edited by darkspark - 5/27/13 at 12:37am
post #23 of 28

I have no direct experience with the Sansa Clip, but recently I have been reading that it is a very good little device. The E17 seemed like a good option back when I bought my E11 (which I bought as I didn't need a DAC for portable use as I couldn't bypass the iPod DAC anyway). I'm not experienced at all with DAC/Amp for the portable world, but you aren't focused on portable are you? Have you set a budget that you would like to stay within? After you get some more input head over to the for sale forum here as you can find almost everything used and you can save some money. If you opt to go new, what do you have access to in Manila?

post #24 of 28
Thread Starter 
the fiios, firestones and ibassos are available in manila. budget wise, was hoping not to spend more than the cost of my m50s (150usd). i am not a technical listener, just here to enjoy the music. i must admit though, my new cans have redefined what good music means to me, i really enjoy discovering the musician's intent. with that being said, i would like to be able to unlock the potential of my cans without necessarily breaking the bank. from what i have been reading and your suggestions in this thread, i need a dac more than an amp, so any thoughts on the brand i mentioned above?

i think music on headphones is a very intimate experience, especially since words cannot fully capture how they sound and make us feel. while we can do as much research as we can, the decision is still a leap of faith. i know the goldilocks sound for me when i hear it - transparent, differentiated and with good bass. and i may have found it in the iphone 4 and m50 combo. hopefully, while i cannot buy a dac yet, the sansa clip+ with the m50 will give the same experience.
Edited by darkspark - 5/27/13 at 10:40pm
post #25 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by darkspark View Post

the fiios, firestones and ibassos are available in manila. budget wise, was hoping not to spend more than the cost of my m50s (150usd). i am not a technical listener, just here to enjoy the music. i must admit though, my new cans have redefined what good music means to me, i really enjoy discovering the musician's intent. with that being said, i would like to be able to unlock the potential of my cans without necessarily breaking the bank. from what i have been reading and your suggestions in this thread, i need a dac more than an amp, so any thoughts on the brand i mentioned above?

i think music on headphones is a very intimate experience, especially since words cannot fully capture how they sound and make us feel. while we can do as much research as we can, the decision is still a leap of faith. i know the goldilocks sound for me when i hear it - transparent, differentiated and with good bass. and i may have found it in the iphone 4 and m50 combo. hopefully, while i cannot buy a dac yet, the sansa clip+ with the m50 will give the same experience.


I am not familiar with the Sansa Clip, but it looks like a decent MP3 player. If you're going to use this device as the source, you can plug it into the M50's directly. I am not sure what kind of fidelity you'll get from that arrangement (though it should play your music, it might sound a bit weak).

 

You might want to consider an amp, if you're using this Clip device. While there are some headphones made to work with portable devices, not all of them are. Headphones like your M50's were originally intended to be plugged into some kind of amplifier. They are studio monitor headphones. So headphones like these need a bit more power to really sound good (at least in my experience).

 

At work I can't plug into my computer so I must use an ipod. I plug my ipod into the Bravo Audio V2 amp, and it absolutely lights up my M40's. The difference is astounding, and the Bravo V2 is only about $75 usd. In this arrangement, the DAC is inside my ipod. Your clip will have the same sort of setup.

 

The Bravo is made in China and there are lots on eBay, example:

 

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Valve-Class-A-Tube-Headphone-Amplifier-pre-Bravo-V2-/261215566109?pt=US_Home_Audio_Amplifiers_Preamps&hash=item3cd1a9391d

 

That particular seller says he'll ship worldwide.

 

This and the Schiit gear are the only amps I have any direct experience with, but I absolutely enjoy both of them. Well, I did briefly try a Fiio e6, but I was so disappointed with it, I decided to avoid any further Fiio gear. Some people really enjoy theirs, however.

post #26 of 28
Thread Starter 

UmustBKidn - thanks for the great tips. I an ebayer but have not bought any electronic stuff, but will certainly check them out.  :)

post #27 of 28
An
Quote:
Originally Posted by darkspark View Post

I play it on a thinkpad. No amp, but I am considering buying one - would you suggest a dac/amp? I am looking into the fiio e09 since portability is not my concern. Any other recos? E11, E17?

I don't think I can ever go beyond 200USD for a set of cans, and from what I gather, the M50 is one of the best in this bunch. I might buy a sony xb500/700 just to satisfy the occassional craving for chest thumping bass. smily_headphones1.gif

Sonic Defender - thanks for your suggestions. I will definitely check them out and let you know.

Thanks for the warm welcome. I will guard my wallet. smily_headphones1.gif
amp for the m50 really is a waste they don't improve I have tried a few when I had them and when in a tube amp the sound changed but didn't improve iPods drive them great. For your computer though it sounds like a Dax would be a worthwhile investment. Shiit makes one called modi for 100 that would work great
post #28 of 28
The d7 would be as good as the modi.
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