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Setup recommendation for home use?

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 

Hi all,

 

I first discovered Head-Fi a few months ago when I successively broke my Sennheiser CX-30s and lost my iPod touch. After looking through the forums for a bit, I replaced my setup with a Sansa Clip+ and Vsonic GR02s, which I have since been quite happy with, especially given the price I paid.

 

Now, a few weeks ago, I listened to a pair of Sony MDR-1s at IFA in Berlin (they were paired up with one of Sony's DACs, but I couldn't tell you which one). The listening experience felt much more full to me than what I could get out of my Vsonic/Clip. I've since been thinking of investing into a full sized setup. I think I'll still stick to IEMs and the Clip for on-the-go use, however. So I am looking for a recommendation for headphones and (possibly) an amp/DAC combo to use at home.

 

I've narrowed down important criteria to comfort (especially with glasses), soundstage and a "fun" sound signature. Primary uses would include music, movies and games. It's difficult to specify a particular music genre, as what I listen to varies a lot from month to month. Budget is up to about 300 CHF (about the same as in USD) for the headphones and another 200 or so for an amp/DAC.

 

Here is my current list of candidates for headphones:

 

-Philips Fidelio X1. Price online: CHF 299.-

-Beyerdynamic DT 990 Pro. Price online: CHF 184.- 

-Sony MDR-MA900. Price online: CHF 255.-

-AKG Q701. Price online: CHF 369.- (possibly less if shipped from abroad)

 

I'm currently torn between the X1 and DT 990, so if anyone has experience with both of these, I'd be glad to hear your thoughts.

 

The second big question is about the amp/DAC. First of all, do I need such a combo at all with the headphones mentioned? My current laptop is a Late 2011 MacBook Pro hooked up to a Thunderbolt display. Would the laptop be sufficient, at least at first, to achieve a good listening experience?

 

As potential candidates for amp/DAC combos, I was looking at a Schiit Magni/Modi combo or the FiiO E17. Although this would mostly be for stationary use, I frequently go back to my parents' house on weekends, so a bit of portability wouldn't hurt. Also, the Schiit combo costs about 80 bucks more than the FiiO when I take shipping into account.

 

Any advice would be very appreciated.

post #2 of 9

Heya,

 

Beyer DT990 PRO with a Fiio E10. Best budget mid-tier setup with a lot of fun in mind. Go Fidelio X1 if you want less treble.

 

Very best,

post #3 of 9
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the advice.

Any thoughts on DT 990 Pro vs Premium? From what I've read, the main difference is the clamping force of the Pro, which is stronger. This seems to also affect soundstage and bass. I just don't know how big of a difference this makes.

post #4 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by ExtremeMildness View Post
 

Thanks for the advice.

Any thoughts on DT 990 Pro vs Premium? From what I've read, the main difference is the clamping force of the Pro, which is stronger. This seems to also affect sound stage and bass. I just don't know how big of a difference this makes.

Between the DT990 Pro 250-Ohm and the Premium 250-Ohm, very very minor sound difference.

Get the Pro.

 

But I think me, personally, would go for the Philips X1/28 Fidelio and Fiio E17.

As the Fidelio is only 30-Ohm, it is very easily driven by the E17.

And the E17 is very portable.


Edited by PurpleAngel - 10/6/13 at 10:55pm
post #5 of 9
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the reply PurpleAngel.

Any reason you prefer the X1/E17 combo other than portability? Also, given that the X1 is only 30-Ohm, would an amp/DAC really be necessary?

post #6 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by ExtremeMildness View Post
 

Thanks for the reply PurpleAngel.

Any reason you prefer the X1/E17 combo other than portability? Also, given that the X1 is only 30-Ohm, would an amp/DAC really be necessary?

As the Philips is only 30-Ohm it can be plugged into a lot of unamped headphone jack and should work at least decently. Where as the DT990 (250-Ohm) really needs to be used with an amplifier 100% of the time or can sound muddy.

The Philips does not really need an amplifier for power, more so it's how a good amplifier delivers the power.

With the 30-Ohm Philips, you want to use it with an amplifier with a low impedance, 3-Ohms or less.

The E17 headphone output impedance is around 1-Ohm :)

If you had something like an A/V receiver, which usually has a headphone output with a high impedance, then the 250-Ohm DT990 would be preferred over the Philips.

Portable audio players (and some smart phones) usually have a low impedance, so your Sandisk Sansa Clip+ should work great with the Philips plugged straight into it.

You also have the option of using the E17 with the Clip+/Philips combo, or just use the E17 with whatever computer you have or other Win PCs or Mac computers or and laptop (PC or Mac)

Chances are the DT990 (250-Ohm) would be under powered plugged straight into the Clip+.

Now I have not listened to the Philips (just the DT990), so I'm just making my best "guess".

post #7 of 9
Thread Starter 

Thank you both for the help.

I just ordered a pair of Philips X1s, which should get here within the week :)

Given the low impedance, I think I'll hold off on the amp for a bit, but I have my eye on the FiiO E7K, which, according to Mike from Headfonia, pairs wonderfully with the Philips.

In the nearer future I may simply look into changing the stock cable.

post #8 of 9

Save your money. Cable upgrades offer very little performance for the dollar, and probably won't be noticeable if you aren't using an amp. Put the cable money towards a better DAC/amp, like the Schiit. Also check out the JDS Labs ODAC and O2 amp -- they aren't quite as portable as the Fiio, but the ODAC runs straight off USB and the O2 has a built in battery, so you can take them pretty much anywhere. Definitely more portable than the Schiit stuff, and the JDS gear is very commonly considered to be at the exact same quality/ tonal flavor as the Modi/ Magni.  

post #9 of 9
Thread Starter 

Well, I wasn't thinking of dropping big bucks on the cable. It's just that I've read that the stock cable on the X1 has a relatively high impedance, which can cause some (minor) problems with the sound. So it's more a matter of getting a "normal" cable.

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