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My Descent into Headphone Madness Has Begun...

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 

I figured it was time to do an introduction post since I seem to be firmly headed towards headphone addiction. I am a Mac user, gamer, and fan of many musical genres (from rock to disco to punk to post-punk to hip-hop to trip-hop and pretty much everything in between). And it has no bearing on anything headphone-related but I work in publishing, I live in Cambridge MA, and I'm 49 trying my damnedest to get to 50 (curse this body!). I am in the process of converting my library (a mere 5,500 tracks at the moment) to Apple Lossless—though most tracks are 256kbps AAC so they're not too bad.

 

A few years back I got some Sennheiser PC360s (since I am was an MMO player). I added an Astro MixAmp, so my connection was the S/PDIF from my iMac to the MixAmp for audio out, and iMac USB to the MixAmp for the microphone in. This combo is pretty good for music from iTunes and awesome for gaming and voice chat. I really  like the Sennheiser "sound" and I think the PC360s are the audio equivalent of the Sennheiser HD558s. This was my only headphone setup for a while.

 

I then got tired of using my Apple EarPods at work and got a good deal on a pair of Audio-Technica ATH-M50s. I was attracted to the closed phones and the reports of a balanced, neutral sound. And both aspects proved worthwhile, even with the phones directly connected to my work iMac. But I figured there was something more, so I got an Audioengine D1 DAC/amp (I went combined for convenience and for a future optical connection). It's now hooked up to my work machine via USB and used for iTunes listening. I am bad with buzzwords, but the sound seems crisper and more open. A definite improvement.

 

And this leads me to my third pair of headphones. I was fortunate to win an eBay auction on a pair of Sennheiser HD650s at a great price. I am currently listening to them through the MixAmp, with music coming though Audirvana Plus (TuneBoosters Isone plugin on defaults) controlled by iTunes. They definitely seem to have that Sennheiser "sound" and they are real step-up from the headset. I am really enjoying them with my limited listening time so far. My goal now is a separate DAC/amp combo for the HD650s. I am leaning towards the Schiit Modi/Magni combo as I don't want to invest too much into my obsession hobby at first.

 

So there you go...I welcome any hints or tips to help improve my sound. I especially would like a good guide to how to setup the Isone plugin for best listening. And if you have alternate DAC/amp recommendations or portable iPhone headphone options I'd like to hear them. Or I am willing to have discussions on how the Green Bay Packers are the greatest team in all of sports and how Brett Favre is only my third favorite Green Bay quarterback (and no, neither Aaron Rodgers nor Bart Starr are number one).

post #2 of 16

It's a long & winding road - enjoy the ride!

 

(Much to learn & tons of reading here on headfi will make it an interesting and (mostly) enjoyable journey). ;-)

post #3 of 16
Thread Starter 

I have done a ton of reading here. :) My major motivation at this point is to prepare for a possible 6 to 12 months of being confined to my condo while my immune system rebuilds itself. Good sound will help a lot, as will a Kindle filled with unread books.

 

I don't have a huge budget (keeping $250 as the high-end of my budget for a single component so far) so I went with gear that in general seemed to be safe choices. If I get the opportunity I'll take chances on more polarizing decisions.

post #4 of 16
Do you have a stereo setup or speakers you might want to use? If so, the Asgard 2 can be worth the upgrade over the Schiit Magni for the pre-amp out. Then you could get a pair of Emotiva Airmotiv 4's go to with it. Both would be a nice combo with the Modi.
post #5 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by DanW View Post
 

I figured it was time to do an introduction post since I seem to be firmly headed towards headphone addiction. I am a Mac user, gamer, and fan of many musical genres (from rock to disco to punk to post-punk to hip-hop to trip-hop and pretty much everything in between). And it has no bearing on anything headphone-related but I work in publishing, I live in Cambridge MA, and I'm 49 trying my damnedest to get to 50 (curse this body!). I am in the process of converting my library (a mere 5,500 tracks at the moment) to Apple Lossless—though most tracks are 256kbps AAC so they're not too bad.

 

A few years back I got some Sennheiser PC360s (since I am was an MMO player). I added an Astro MixAmp, so my connection was the S/PDIF from my iMac to the MixAmp for audio out, and iMac USB to the MixAmp for the microphone in. This combo is pretty good for music from iTunes and awesome for gaming and voice chat. I really  like the Sennheiser "sound" and I think the PC360s are the audio equivalent of the Sennheiser HD558s. This was my only headphone setup for a while.

 

I then got tired of using my Apple EarPods at work and got a good deal on a pair of Audio-Technica ATH-M50s. I was attracted to the closed phones and the reports of a balanced, neutral sound. And both aspects proved worthwhile, even with the phones directly connected to my work iMac. But I figured there was something more, so I got an Audioengine D1 DAC/amp (I went combined for convenience and for a future optical connection). It's now hooked up to my work machine via USB and used for iTunes listening. I am bad with buzzwords, but the sound seems crisper and more open. A definite improvement.

 

And this leads me to my third pair of headphones. I was fortunate to win an eBay auction on a pair of Sennheiser HD650s at a great price. I am currently listening to them through the MixAmp, with music coming though Audirvana Plus (TuneBoosters Isone plugin on defaults) controlled by iTunes. They definitely seem to have that Sennheiser "sound" and they are real step-up from the headset. I am really enjoying them with my limited listening time so far. My goal now is a separate DAC/amp combo for the HD650s. I am leaning towards the Schiit Modi/Magni combo as I don't want to invest too much into my obsession hobby at first.

 

So there you go...I welcome any hints or tips to help improve my sound. I especially would like a good guide to how to setup the Isone plugin for best listening. And if you have alternate DAC/amp recommendations or portable iPhone headphone options I'd like to hear them. Or I am willing to have discussions on how the Green Bay Packers are the greatest team in all of sports and how Brett Favre is only my third favorite Green Bay quarterback (and no, neither Aaron Rodgers nor Bart Starr are number one).

Well I'm a Steelers fan and I'd have to beg to differ!:eek:

Just had to say that...

post #6 of 16
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by cel4145 View Post

Do you have a stereo setup or speakers you might want to use? If so, the Asgard 2 can be worth the upgrade over the Schiit Magni for the pre-amp out. Then you could get a pair of Emotiva Airmotiv 4's go to with it. Both would be a nice combo with the Modi.

Currently no stereo setup though I have thought about speakers, but my "listening" room abuts our neighbors bedroom, which brings out a certain incompatibility between my preferred listening volumes and their peace and quiet. Of course, if they're at work from 9-5 that gives me 8 hours of potential high-volume listening.

 

Asgard and Modi? But then I lose the matched set! ;)

post #7 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by DanW View Post

Asgard and Modi? But then I lose the matched set! wink.gif

LOL

They still match in aesthetics. Just aren't the same size smily_headphones1.gif
post #8 of 16
Thread Starter 

Part of my nature is a certain compulsion towards symmetry and repetition. It has served me well in my chosen profession but it tends to bleed over into the rest of my life. :)

 

Speakers would have to wait a few months as I am close to exceeding my spousal-approved audio budget and I want to make sure I get a good DAC/amp setup for the HD650s. We also have a complete exterior facade replacement project to pay for, plus a needed new furnace and kitchen renovation. *sigh*

post #9 of 16
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Trunks159 View Post
 

Well I'm a Steelers fan and I'd have to beg to differ!:eek:

Just had to say that...

We can agree to disagree. At least you're not a Bears or Cowboys fan. ;)

post #10 of 16

well dan, i'm sure you're smiling right now, the pack just scored and dallas lost today (i hate dallas)

i'm 49 myself, and have been right where you are in your head-fi journey, addiction (and i used to be an addiction counselor! lol)

i started with a little fiio dac/amp and some audio technica ad300's about a year and a half ago, maybe a little longer.

the second dac amp i had was the audioengine, its a great piece, very convenient .

in the $250 to $300 range there are some really good choices out there, and more coming out every day it seems.

take your time, do plenty of research, one thing to remeber though, we all hear things differently

so the best judge of what is good sounding to you, is your ears .

i'm a big fan of the schiit guys, they make great stuff, i've had the modi, magni and currently have the

lyr and bifrost(usb,uber)

my one bit of advice regarding schiit amps right now, is they have a new tube amp , the vali, that'll be available soon

for $120, its supposed to be killer !

just get ready to have fun, enjoy the ride !

 

oh, i'm a falcon fan, and i'm not happy with them as of late ! lol

post #11 of 16
Why so many Dallas haters?
post #12 of 16
Dallas: Love the fans, hate the team.

Many years ago, during the Joe Montana years with the '49ers, I was in a restaurant/bar in Dallas and somehow the subject of Cowboys & 'Niners came up with our waiter. When he found out we were from California, he immediately said: "Hang on a minute, I'll be right back." He then hurried off into the kitchen. At this point, we didn't know if he was going to come back with a posse of Cowboys fans to chase us out of town, or what the heck was going on. He came back about 10 minutes later, no longer wearing his apron and carrying a tray full of Tequila shots. He set the tray down, pulled up a chair and said: "I had to clock out - I'm off now - so, let's talk about football!"

That's about as much of that night as I can remember... tongue.gif
post #13 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by Trunks159 View Post

Why so many Dallas haters?


whats NOT to hate ?? lol

i've loved certain cowboy players over the years, just hated the team, i guess it started with them beating atlanta way back in the day

the first time atl maid the playoffs

then there was jimmy johnson

oh,and  jerry jones too

post #14 of 16
Thread Starter 

The bad news? Aaron Rodgers knocked out of game vs. the hated (HATED!) Bears. I hope it's nothing too serious, though he is out for the game. :(

 

The good news? I received my Schiit Modi and Magni today, and have them hooked up to my HD650s. Sounding great so far, at least to my ears. I also picked up an iPad Air this weekend so I don't have to share my wife's Mini anymore. :)

 

I'll probably leave them on overnight with some music set to shuffle. I'm not sure if they'll benefit from some burn-in, but I don't think it can hurt. ;)

post #15 of 16
Dam congratulations on the Schitt set up but as as someone born in Wisconsin the news about Aaron is far far worse. I hate Jay Cutler.
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