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New "at-home" headphone setup - $600 or thereabouts

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 

Hello

 

I have fairly recently accidentally fallen into the potential money-pit that is Head-Fi.. I've been enjoying the significant upgrade to my on-the-go musical enjoyment that my Sennhesier Momentum / HTC One combination has given me. However, having done a bit of research on Head-Fi, I now realise that there's a whole new world of HiFi sound out there for relatively little money if I'm careful.

 

I'm thinking about a dedicated Headphone setup for the home. The source would likely be my Macbook Air or possibly the HTC One. I'd like to pair that with a DAC / Amp and a new set of open-backed headphones. I'm obviously looking for a much improved listening experience than I currently have with the Momentum / phone combination. I understand (and I am a complete amateur at this stuff) that by going with open-backed phones, one of the immediate advantages I can expect is that of a much broader and realistic soundstage. That sounds wonderful and is something that I'm lusting after as I think it should provide a more immersive listening experience.

 

I listen to a pretty broad range of music although for home listening it would almost always tend towards music to unwind to or complex and layered music to immerse myself in. Classical, jazz, indie / alternative music, nu-folk type stuff. Tricky for me to narrow down, but I will give some examples of what I think the first few artists would be that I'd spin up:

 

 

Popular

- Kate Bush

- Alt-J

- Anthony and the Johnsons

- David Sylvian

- Talk Talk

- Mumford & Sons

 

Indie Rock

- Arcade Fire

- Radiohead

- Kurt Vile

- The National

 

Electronica

- Bjork

- Daft Punk

- DJ Koze

 

Jazz

- Oscar Petersen

- Charlie Parker

- Pat Metheny

- Brad Meldau

- Art Blakey

- Thelonius Monk

- Herbie Hancock

 

Classic Rock

- Frank Zappa

- Pink Floyd

- Rolling Stones

- The Who

 

Classical

- Philip Glass

- John Adams

- Martinu

- Shostakovich

 

etc. etc.

 

So fairly wide - but also lacking in Hip Hop, Dubstep, Drum and Bass etc that is seriously bass heavy so that would have a bearing on my choice on gear I would think. So - could anyone please advise? I really want a setup that's going to "take me there", but my budget is not unlimited. About $400 for the headphones and perhaps $250 for the DAC / AMP would be about right.

 

For my initial list, I was looking at the AKG 702s (because of their great soundstage, good detail, excellence with classical / jazz and decent price - but unsure how they would fare with my other music...) or perhaps the Sennhesier HD650 (bit more money, good all-rounders, not as pretty - although that doesn't matter too much!). As for the Amp / DAC - I really don't know - perhaps the Fiio E17? And not sure if adding in a E09K is necessary or not - but a volume dial would be an advantage.

 

Apologies for the huge post, didn't mean it to be this long! One further complication (which you can ignore if you wish) is that I live in Shanghai most of the time, so getting a Chinese brand DAC like Fiio might actually be easier - although I doubt it...

 

Many thanks in advance for any advice that you can give me..

post #2 of 7

Heya,

 

Perhaps consider:

 

Hifiman HE-400

Beyer DT880 250ohm

Sennheiser HD600

Sony MA900

Philips Fidelio X1

 

With:

 

Schiit Modi

Schiit Magni

HRT Mustic Streamer II

Little Dot MK II (for high impedance only, such as DT880 and HD600)

Maverick TubeMagic D2

Schiit Asgard 2

Matrix M-Stage

 

Very best,

post #3 of 7
Thread Starter 

Fantastic, thanks for the recommendations. A couple of questions though: I notice that you left off the AKG 702s and that you had the Sennhesier 600s rather than 650s.. any particular reason for that please? I had presumed that the 650s were a replacement for the 600s but I guess not..Thanks again for taking the time to respond..

post #4 of 7
Quote:
Originally Posted by warth0g View Post

Fantastic, thanks for the recommendations. A couple of questions though: I notice that you left off the AKG 702s and that you had the Sennhesier 600s rather than 650s.. any particular reason for that please? I had presumed that the 650s were a replacement for the 600s but I guess not..Thanks again for taking the time to respond..

 

Heya,

 

Some love the AKG K70X's. I think they have a little too much artificial sound staging sound and a cold presentation myself. Others disagree. It's just a preference thing. The HD600 and HD650 are not the same headphone and the HD650 is not better. They're just two options. The HD650 has rolled off treble, it's a dark headphone, with a very slight bump in mid-bass for a little more warmth. The HD600 is more neutral and sounds a little brighter.

 

Very best,

post #5 of 7
Thread Starter 

OK thanks very much. I've looked though all your recommendations and that has helped a lot.That doesn't mean that I've made a decision though! I particularly like the Schiit Modi / Magni comibation as it looks like a lot of value for a really good price.

 

I am also increasingly interested in the AKG K702s but not sure how to pair them. I know they need  a lot of power to drive and that they could probably use some warming up - so maybe a tube amp like the Little Dot would work? But that's an amp only I think,so would still need a DAC - any thoughts about a tube amp / dac combo that would be suitable for the AKGs in the $250 range?
 

post #6 of 7

IMO, tube amp+dac for under $250 seems a bit of a squeeze... you might also want to consider the further pratfalls of getting a tube amp with tube rolling which could end up costing more than the amp itself, with vintage russian tubes that have ceased production since the 1940s at $200, and tubes have limited number of hours, so you might have to change them out every 1-2 years if you use them often enough...

post #7 of 7
What about a Stax 2170 system from pricejapan? That would be a darn nice setup for 650 or something like that. Going used could get you further, going vintage would be even better.
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