Hello Dear Head-Fi community.
I am a total hifi noob that enjoys good quality music. At home I just upgraded my old Sound Blaster X-Fi Extreme Music to the latest ZXR and the quality difference is staggering to me. I am using it with Sennheiser HD 555 phones. I thought I will add this info about me to at least allow you guys to profile my hearing capabilities at least somewhat J.
I must admit I am not smart enough to learn enough about HiFi to know how to choose appropriate equipment for myself. Which is why I turn to the experts for advice.
At work I sit all day long in front of a laptop. Not a great one and a fairly old one. I am using its built in sound card as my audio source as it is convenient to have winamp on the screen to quickly pick what I want to listen to. The obvious problem is – sound quality is terrible.
I am using in-ear headphones Sennheiser CX 550 which are fairly average but will do for the time being.
I am looking at improving the sound quality as much as possible, as cheaply as possible. I thought about purchasing a pcimcia sound blaster card, but going through the reviews I concluded that none of them (old or new) will improve the situation to any noticeable degree.
Then I found a few bits of information about DAC’s and headphone amps and it appears to me this is what I will require.
The problem I have is all this knowledge is way beyond my understanding and I really would appreciate if someone who knows this stuff could help me out.
So again – I am looking for as simple as possible solution, that will not break the bank.
Looking around I found this Fiio E9K DAC/amp - no idea if this is the sort of thing I should be looking for ? Also seems a bit expensive for what I need (£100). If halving the price is a possibility that would be great. So I guess the budget is around £50? However I am open to be educated.
If you could also recommend me a good replacement for both mentioned Sennheisers I would appreciate it. For home use I was looking to treat myself with Hifiman HE-400. Cannot find them anywhere to listen to as I must admit I need to bring my old HD555's and compare them in q shop as I have no clue what to expect from very expensive headphones (are they worth it? or should I just buys something sagnificanly cheaper) ?
Many thanks for your time in advance.