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New audiophile here, where do I start?

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 

So technically I've been an audiophile since I got my Tritton AX 720's two years ago just to game on, and thought they were the best thing I'd ever listened to... That is until a week or two later when I looked up some real audiophile headphones. Don't get me wrong, my 720's are still a great pair of phones, but I think now that I have some disposable income I can finally put down a few hundred on a -real- pair.

 

So here's me asking for a bit of help with choosing some nice cans.

 

I need something that will pair well with my Xonar Essence STX card. I'm also just launching myself into home recording, so I need something I can use to make sure what I record sounds as good as it can. Other uses will be music listinin', and lastly game playin'. Unfortunately I can't give you a specific genre that I mostly enjoy because my library goes from Benny Goodman to Brand-X to deadmou5e. So, yea.

 

I think the AKG K701's might be for me, but honestly It was just a gut feeling pick so I would love some validation/recommendations. If you do recommend something keep is sub-300$, or have a REALLY good reason why I should save up another month to get your pick.

 

Thanks a ton in advance, I really hope to be here a bunch to talk about how great my my headphones are. (when I get them :P)

post #2 of 14

Heya,

 

Almost all headphones will easily be driven from the STX. Only a few will struggle (mostly inefficient planar magnetics). Otherwise, there's no impedance that you have to worry about, the STX can do it. Some will say you need something more powerful, but the STX is no slouch, if it sounds good to you, then stick with it. So with that out of the way, it's easier to simply get down to the headphone.

 

We need more criteria for a headphone(s) for you.

 

There's two issues going on. You want a headphone for recording, but you also want one for listening/gaming. These are very different functions. Pleasure listening and gaming are very different than a recording/mixing headphone environment. When recording/mixing, you want something very flat, nothing over-emphasized (especially bass) because it will result in very poor sound on the listening end when you record/mix using a headphone's sound that is exaggerated, versus something flat. You want flat for recording/mixing. Simple as that. Doesn't have to be fancy or expensive. But I would basically keep it simple and have a recording headphone and get a separate headphone for pleasure listening and gaming. That is, if you're serious about recording/mixing at home.

 

That said... it matters... what are you recording/mixing? If you are doing live instruments or vocals, you need closed headphones. If you're doing electronic music that is all digitally composed and mixed, then it matters less. It comes down to... are you hearing things through speakers or through live instruments or live vocals, and if so, you need closed headphones to monitor recording. If everything is being done via headphone, and it's all digital, and there's no instruments involved, like mixing electronic music in fruity loops or something, then it doesn't matter. But in general, if looking to record/mix, look at a closed and very flat/neutral headphone if you want best results for mastering and listening.

 

For your pleasure/gaming headphones, give us criteria for your preference. Do you want something neutral? Something a little more bassy? Open air? What's your total budget?

 

Very best,

post #3 of 14
Thread Starter 

Hmm, I think it's list time.

 

Budget: 300$ (I might go higher if it's really worth it.)

 

Main use: Pleasure listening

Secondary uses: Gaming, home studio recorded instrument and vocal mixing. (Amature stuff, so not a major priority)

Sound preference: Since my music taste is so varied I'd like to keep it more neutral, but I am an audiophile noob, so I don't really know what sound compliments what.

Open or closed: Open. Reading about the difference, I think the greater soundstage of open phones is more to my taste. (again, though... im a noob.)

 

I have a large .flac library and I'd like to finally take advantage of all the work I put into acquiring that.

post #4 of 14

Heya,

 

Ok, gives plenty to work with. I would again split this into two headphones. The open headphone is not going to be good for recording an instrument. You don't want the microphone picking up the headphones which are near the instrument too and open to the room. You want closed headphones for recording an instrument. So i would get a basic monitor for that, of good quality, but basic. Then put the rest of your budget towards a nice open air headphone for pleasure listening.

 

Pleasure headphones (open air):

 

AudioTechnica AD900X

Beyer DT880 PRO 250ohm

Hifiman HE-300

AKG K702 or Q701

Sony MA900

Phillips Fidelio X1

 

Recording headphones (closed):

 

KRK KNS 6400

AudioTechnica M30

Shure SRH440

Sony MDR 7506

 

Very best,

post #5 of 14
Thread Starter 

Oh wow thanks for the speedy and helpful responses ^-^

 

I'll take a look into all of these and I'll come back with what I decide on.

post #6 of 14
 

 

Pleasure headphones (open air):

 

Beyer DT880 PRO 250ohm

 

Recording headphones (closed): [Both very neutral and isolate well with large sound stages] 

 

Sound Magic HP 100 [$200 new]

Akg K550 [$200 check eBay or the For Sale Thread here at head fi if you don't mind used]

 

 

 

 

post #7 of 14
Thread Starter 

After reading head-fi and amazon reviews of all the listed headphones, I'm in a bit of a tug of war between the DT 880 Pro's and the

MA900's.

 

I think I am going to pick the MA900's, though because of the larger drivers, and reportedly more natural soundstage.

 

I have a day or two to mull it over, though. More suggestions and just any helpful information would be appreciated before I hit the bank ;)

post #8 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Verva View Post
 

After reading head-fi and amazon reviews of all the listed headphones, I'm in a bit of a tug of war between the DT 880 Pro's and the

MA900's.

 

I think I am going to pick the MA900's, though because of the larger drivers, and reportedly more natural soundstage.

 

I have a day or two to mull it over, though. More suggestions and just any helpful information would be appreciated before I hit the bank ;)

 

I'd like to hear the MA my self, that 70mm driver is well... I'm very jealous and wanting a pair my self, I will say though I find the Beyer DT series to be the toughest built cans I own. Sony on the other hand... I've broken many of those ><,  Still I'm a Beyer fan boi so ignore my bias 

 

That said both should be enjoyable to use! 

post #9 of 14
Pleasure headphones (open)
Akg k702's (if you like bright/very large soundstage)

Pleasure headphones (semi open)
*Mad dogs by Mr. Speakers (Is a planer magnetic headphones and the best IMO for 300 budget)
post #10 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Verva View Post
 

After reading Head-Fi and amazon reviews of all the listed headphones, I'm in a bit of a tug of war between the DT 880 Pro's and the

MA900's.

I think I am going to pick the MA900's, though because of the larger drivers, and reportedly more natural sound stage.

I have a day or two to mull it over, though. More suggestions and just any helpful information would be appreciated before I hit the bank ;)

The Sony MA900s are only 12-Ohm and the Essence STX's headphone output is 10-Ohms.

It's usually better (but not required) for the headphones to have several times the impedance (Ohm) of whatever headphone jack they are plugged into.

So to me the MA900 & STX seem like less then perfect union.

Unless someone knows something about the MA900s that I don't?

post #11 of 14
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by PurpleAngel View Post
 

The Sony MA900s are only 12-Ohm and the Essence STX's headphone output is 10-Ohms.

It's usually better (but not required) for the headphones to have several times the impedance (Ohm) of whatever headphone jack they are plugged into.

So to me the MA900 & STX seem like less then perfect union.

Unless someone knows something about the MA900s that I don't?

 

So you're saying my card is... overpowered for the MA900's?

 

Is the impedance really that important that it would take precedence over the fact that there are larger drivers?

post #12 of 14
Thread Starter 

I went ahead and purchased the MA900's

 

For a quick demonstration of my excitement...

 

Me now: :bigsmile_face:

 

Me in a few days: :beyersmile:

post #13 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Verva View Post
 

 

So you're saying my card is... overpowered for the MA900's?

 

Is the impedance really that important that it would take precedence over the fact that there are larger drivers?

It preferred to have the headphone impedance to be at least 8 times the impedance of the source it's being plugged into.

If you have the Essence STX (10-Ohm), then it would be good to get headphones that are 80-Ohms or higher.

If you have the 12-Ohm Sony MA900s, then a headphone amplifier that is 1.2-Ohm would be preferred.

But, I plug 40-Ohm headphones into my (10-Ohm) Essence STX, they sound fine to me.

Nothing is written in stone and sometimes the headphones claimed impedance does not tell the whole story.

I've heard the Sony MA900 have some extra something in the cups that helps it work around the impedance issue.

But I'm far from an expert on headphones and headphone amplifier technology.

post #14 of 14

Take a deep breath before plunging in and keep your wallet open.


Edited by zorin - 9/26/13 at 10:09am
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