I took a long hiatus since my last post here more than a decade ago . Of course I have been a lurker all these years but not so much honestly.
Back then a 100 dollar headphone felt like a big decision. Things have since changed. The hi-fi audio bug that I caught here went into HD audio and video craze over these years.
So currently my setup is as follows
Speakers - Focal 826W, PSB T5, SVS Subwoofer
Receiver - Denon 3312
Players - Dune HD D1, PS3, PC with Haswell 17 4770 + Asus Z87 pro board, Galaxy S3
Sources - Multiples of Bluray (concerts, music, musicals), HD Music 24/192 etc., High quality flacs, Some high quality MP3, Some DVDs where Bluray is not available
Storage - 4 Bay Synology NAS
Network - Asus AC Series Wifi router and client
Music taste - Pretty much anything that sounds good, but vocals are very important (Jazz, Rock, Western classical, Bollywood musicals, Flamengo guitars, instrumentals, Pop, Percussions, R&B, Ballads, etc.). I am not a bass freak and do not like to color the music in anyway.
I just love the HD audio and videos and Blurays are my staple source. I have a lot of concerts and Musicals on Bluray and the TrueHD and DTS MA sound a lot better to my years than FLAC from CDs.
I am happy with the system, though may consider upgrading in future.
My current problem is that by the time I am ready to listen to music in the evening, the family would like to sleep. This means that I cannot play anything at moderately loud levels which kills the fun. That's when I decided to rekindle my old interest in headphones which never took off really. I remember lusting for a Sennheiser HD 600 and Etymotics (those were the favorites here then) long back.
I started reading around and was pleased to find how the headphones industry have changed since. The entry of orthodynamic phones and new flagships where price is no factor has changed the game. So I started shortlisting the headphone candidates and the short list included the HD 600/650, AKG K702, AKG Q701, Beyer DT 880, AT 900x and the newer planars that everyone is raving about including HE 500, Audeze LCD 2. Budget started at $300 but I was soon intrigued by the planars. I had read elated discussions on the Stax back then and really wanted to try the newer affordable planars. So short listed the headphones to HD 600, HE 500 and LCD 2. Decided to go with the HE 500 because it represents a great value entry to the world of orthodynamic phones with whatever they promise. Budget is now $700.
Now the sad part is that where I live, Dubai, I can only listen to the Senns. So I have to basically purchase it from US and have it shipped here. The returns are costly options reserved only for a bad arrival.
Having decided on the headphones, I thought all I needed was to plug it into the headphone port on my Denon and be done with it. A bit more reading and I was all for a desktop amp/dac so that I can just listen to the blurays and HD audio from my PC.
In the speaker world, I thought you spent the maximum on the speakers. But on the headphones it seems is not the case. The amp/dac solutions that started with Fiio, went up to Magni/Modi, O2, Pan Am, Schiit Asgard, Lyr +Bifrost , Burson Soloist SL, Woo Audio W7....my god what is happening to me?
Then I started thinking about the fact that none of the DACs mentioned here handle HD Audio. Or will they?
So that's when I thought I will seek the advise of those who are more experienced in this.
What is the best way to enjoy the music (visuals are OK, but not a must. I can just have the blurays or HD music play off my computer with screen closed while listening on my headphones) from Blurays and the like. How do a headphone DAC handle the HD audios? For the following scenarios what is the best recommendations? I know there are HDMI headphones but I am not sure of their sonic qualities. I am not interested in the surround part of HD audio like 7.1 TrueHD, but more on having best possible stereo audio.
DuneHD or PS3 > Denon receiver > ...........headphone
PC > DAC > Desktop Amp > headphone
Galaxy S3 > DAC > Amp > Headphone
Sorry for this long post. I hope someone can help.
Thanks for reading through and thanks in advance for any guidance.