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What needs an upgrade, and when

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 

I've been searching around these parts for a month or two now and I finally got around to making my own account. Currently I think i know what I want, and the basics of my new found hobby. I think I have finally found my people! 



What I would like some help with is future upgrades. How do I know when I need to change things up a little? Specifically, what needs attention first?


Do need a new dac from my computer?

Does my amp need some attention?

Or do I just need some new cans?


Is there an order or some sort of "rule of thumb" that might help me, or anyone for that matter, trying to upgrade their setup?

post #2 of 13

In general, headphones -> amp -> DAC.


Edit: Why?

Headphones offer the greatest difference in sound.

Amplifiers can (drastically) change the sound signature of the headphone.

DAC's mostly improve the sound of the headphone.


But you need to upgrade the bottleneck in your system. What we need to know is what you have right now and what you want.

Edited by Rage038 - 10/17/13 at 6:28pm
post #3 of 13
Thread Starter 

i am just starting to gather what i want


i am running foobar out to a pair of senn hd203's that i found for dirt cheap.

i have an e11 that im using with my ipod on the go


i was planning on taking my first step twards audophylia with the dt770 pro's and a dac/amp (e07k?) tha i could use with my laptop and whn im away from home

post #4 of 13

I would recommend the FiiO E17 because it's a better product than the E07. You have an E11 which you use on the go, while the amplifier is better than the amplifier in the E17 you'd get a better sound quality with the E17 because of the built in DAC and EQ options. If you would use the E11 + E07 it wouldn't be so portable anymore (at least to my liking, some disagree with me). 


The FiiO E17 would be the best all-round solution because it is an upgrade on all purposes. 


As far as headphones go. Did you ever listen to the DT-770? While it's an accurate monitor with great bass (great as in depth and quality) for me it isn't the easiest to listen to (during longer session). Now I know the Sennheiser HD-203 isn't a great reference but there is quite a difference in sound signature. I can recommend you certain headphones but for that I need to know which music you are going to listen to and what kind of sound signature you'd prefer.

I own the DT-770 Pro for studio purposes and it's certainly not a bad headphone, just not one I (with and emphasis on I) would like to listen to enjoy music, again, this differs per person. 

post #5 of 13
Originally Posted by Rage038 View Post

I would recommend the FiiO E17 because it's a better product than the E07. 


ProblemPeach mentioned the e07k...

I have read that the e17 is almost the same as the e07k.  The Difference is that the e17 has slightly better amp and SPDIF input.  How big is the difference in the amp? Is it very noticeable?




post #6 of 13

I've misread that, sorry for the confusion. In that case they don't differ much on sound signature. The E17 is a bit more powerful when driving headphones.


Now about the E07k. I'd recommend the E07k over the E17 if he didn't have the E11. However, I wouldn't recommend both to be honest. Unless having a portable DAC + AMP (which only will work with the laptop) is needed. The DAC of both (of all 3) E07, E07k and E17 won't work with the iPod. Only the amplifier does. In this case the E11 trumps all 3.


If he needs a portable and this word DAC + AMP for just his laptop I'd recommend him to look in a higher price range. Because the E07k is no significant upgrade to the E11.


If he needs non-portable DAC + AMP there are better options than the FiiO E07k.


It's getting late now so I'll edit my post tomorrow and explain this all in a bit more detail. Or more specific if the OP can provide me with some more information. For what he is going to use which product, what sound signature he is looking for and what music he listens too.

post #7 of 13
Thread Starter 

sorry i didnt clarify very well.


i have a LOD from my ipod to the e11, but it has been on the fritz lately and the left channel only wants to play on certain days thats why im looking for an upgrade/replacement


i was interested in the e07k because it could serve as a dac/amp when i have my laptop and am at home, and be my portable amp. one buy that i could use universally.

looking at the e07k and the e17, they seem pretty close as it is. but with the price point and myself not having SPDIF, i think the e07k is a better option for me.


as music goes i try to sample a lot of different genres. but majority of my everyday listening is down-tempo trance stuff and alternative. but i do listen to a lot of rock and very hard hitting music. i also like a little warmth in my headphones. anything too bright or edgy really fatigues my ears even after shot listening secession.




i havnt listened to very many headphones myself, there arnt any places locally for me to do so. i thought the dt770 pro's would be good to try because i like a little bass in my music (nothing major), and they are mentioned all over the budget recommendation pages. ideally i would like to stay around $150 unless there is the holy grail of entry cans just a few dollars away.


portability isnt an issue with headphones, most of the time that i am away from home and using them is on buses or road trips. i would prefer one headphone and one amp for everything, that would be the most useful for me.

post #8 of 13
Ah, well if the E11 is out of the equation the E07k is (budget) wise the better option. The E17 is marginally better but I can well understand that to you it is not worth the price difference. The E07k is a warm headphone amplifier/dac. So when looking at headphones (reading reviews etc.) look for neutral headphones. Since portability is no major issue it's just about finding the best match.

As for headphones I could recommend the cheaper Sony MDR-7506, you'd have a great bang-for-buck combination. Don't let the price fool you, they are great. Tonally really balanced but the E07k will provide you with that hint of warmth. Other good picks would be the Audio Technica ATH-M50, Shure SRH-840 and Beyerdynamic DT-770 (yes, they are good I just wouldn't want to listen to them for fun).
post #9 of 13
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the suggestions. i have looked at the shure srh 840, and Beyer DT-770. i might end up getting them both and comparing to see what i like better.
The ATH-M50's never really interested me, just personally they arnt for me.

MDR-7506 are a serious contender but something about the dt770's. thanks for the advice, but i could very well end up loving them (you never know till you try). does anyone else use them for "fun"?
post #10 of 13

Well, if there is something about the DT-770 that attracts you, get it. After all it's all about what you want.


Also I'd recommend the 250 ohm version above all.

Edited by Rage038 - 10/18/13 at 12:51pm
post #11 of 13
Thread Starter 
Regardless, thank you for the help.

I was going to get the 250, will the e07k drive them well?
post #12 of 13

It should have no problems at all, also the hint of warmth that the E07k has complements the DT-770 a lot. I'm just a sucker for warm sound.

post #13 of 13
Thread Starter 
I agree its much easier to emerse yourself into IMO.

I think I'll go with the dt770/250's now and sometime next week ill order my e07k!

Thanks again for the advice! You were loads of help.
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