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Why are my Shenneiser HD 518 so bad? Do i need a DAC + Amp?

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 

Thanks guys for your recommendations for HD518, i today bought Sennheiser HD518 (120$) & honestly saying its not that much awesome as i expected it to be, especially when its rated at a rank of 25 on best cans on head-fi. Its tone is similar to my 20$ philips SHP8500.

Although it drives well for a 50ohm headphone with my Google nexus prime. It sounds **** with my desktop integrated audio card. (MSI H55M-P33) Lows are scooped, mids are ok & highs are very very harsh, is it possible because its not burnt in properly?. Even the sound stage is average.

 

This is what MSI says about my on board.

 


I am planning to buy Grado s60 or s80 after this.

Please suggest a good DAC + AMP for 120$ ? :(


Edited by nikhilthecupid - 11/2/13 at 11:03am
post #2 of 15

Asus Xonar DG (PCI) sound card, $26.80 and there is a $10 mail in rebate this month.

Getting the low costing DG allows you left over cash.

You could return the HD518s and buy something a little better (HD558s, $130 Amazon).

post #3 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by nikhilthecupid View Post 
Google nexus prime.

Whoah, haven't heard someone call the GNex that since before launch! :D

 

 

As for the headphones, perhaps you just don't like the sound signature? A good amp (better than your soundcard) is definitely needed to drive them to their potential, but keep in mind that you may just prefer a different sound! 

 

But if you want a recommendation, scoop up a Fiio E10. It'll drive them to 85% capacity and only set you back $75 :) 

post #4 of 15

get more bass-heavy headphones

sennheiser headphones arent that great for "Punk rock , Techno , Upbeat , Bollywood"

post #5 of 15

Xonar DG or a cheap/used Fiio E10 might do the trick. Don't invest too much on these cans, even though they are very nice indeed.

post #6 of 15
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by wes008 View Post
 

Whoah, haven't heard someone call the GNex that since before launch! :D

 

 

As for the headphones, perhaps you just don't like the sound signature? A good amp (better than your soundcard) is definitely needed to drive them to their potential, but keep in mind that you may just prefer a different sound! 

 

But if you want a recommendation, scoop up a Fiio E10. It'll drive them to 85% capacity and only set you back $75 :) 

 

You call it GNex? :D

 

Anyways which of the FiiO products will best be to have a warmer & laid back sound signature? My entire use is Music only.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by fuzzyash View Post
 

get more bass-heavy headphones

sennheiser headphones arent that great for "Punk rock , Techno , Upbeat , Bollywood"

 

Which ones would you recommend? I was thinking of Denon AH-D1100.


Edited by nikhilthecupid - 11/2/13 at 11:00pm
post #7 of 15

If you don't like the way a setup sounds. Start at the headphone. Buying amps isn't/shouldn't be a hobby lol.

post #8 of 15
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris_Himself View Post
 

If you don't like the way a setup sounds. Start at the headphone. Buying amps isn't/shouldn't be a hobby lol.

 

Ignoring your condescending tone. The reason i am talking about amp/dac is because i think my source is not good enough.

 

Which is i wanted to know from some HD518 users.

post #9 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by nikhilthecupid View Post
 

Ignoring your condescending tone. The reason i am talking about amp/dac is because i think my source is not good enough.

Which is i wanted to know from some HD518 users.

The on-board audio built into your motherboard is very low cost.

(Your Nexus appears to have better built in audio)

The DAC chip and headphone amplifier built into the Xonar DG ($27-$10=$17) would improve audio quality.

If you prefer going external, the FiiO E10 ($75) USB-DAC-Amp will improve audio quality.

post #10 of 15

Chris_Himself  wasn't being condescending.  He's simply trying to help, and I agree that EQing headphones with DACs/amps is a bad idea.  Always start with headphones that you like the sound of, then choose source or amps to get the most from them.

 

Now, having said that:  The second axiom of getting great headphone audio is "crap in-crap out".  If you hear your headphones sound good from one source and bad from another, it's pretty clear that a change needs to be made.  Fiio makes good gear that won't break the bank and is a good place to start.

 

If at all possible, hold off any serious purchases until after you can get to a Head-Fi meet.  Head-Fi meets are bar-none the best place to get exposure to lots of gear at all price points and make informed buying choices based on your own experience with your own cans. Plus you get to meet a lot of nice folks.


Edited by cswann1 - 11/3/13 at 6:51am
post #11 of 15
Thread Starter 

I am thinking of auditioning E17 & other DAC's before making a purchase.

post #12 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by nikhilthecupid View Post
 

I am thinking of auditioning E17 & other DAC's before making a purchase.

 

 

Just FYI the new e18  will be available in Europe and the states in a month or two.  I'm fairly sure I'll be grabbing one of these.

post #13 of 15

Just thought I'd mention something, the rankings in the fullsize headphones page are not a true ranking of audio quality at all. The HD518 is a entry level open headphone from sennheiser, there are more than 24 headphones that sound better, and some far far far better. The ranks are just by star rating, however headphones are often review on the idea of their price, so in this case it may be a 4 star $1000 headphone probably is a long long way ahead of a 5 star 150 dollar entry level phone.

 

Now that is out of the way.

 

If those are your genres, the slow and laid back Sennheiser may not won't do them to justice you seek. Maybe check out your dac and amp first over onboard sound. Mind you some/a fair bit of modern punk is poorly recorded and will sound unimpressive through almost any headphone even is the music itself is great. Bollywood likely similar especially if it is a mainstream popular variety.

 

I'd personally recommend if they do not turn out to be your style going for something like HFI-680, DT770 or similar if you are after energetic sound that is good for techno, I also like the DT with metal at the time. If it is just the fidelity which you are disappointing by then the Sony MA900 is imo the best value phone under $200.


Edited by Saren - 11/3/13 at 11:39pm
post #14 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris_Himself View Post
 

If you don't like the way a setup sounds. Start at the headphone. Buying amps isn't/shouldn't be a hobby lol.

 

I agree, absolutely.  The headphone will make a larger difference than the amp in almost every instance.

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by nikhilthecupid View Post
 

 

Ignoring your condescending tone. The reason i am talking about amp/dac is because i think my source is not good enough.

 

Which is i wanted to know from some HD518 users.

 

It didnt appear to me to be condescending - just true; and it will save you money.

The differences between not so good and very good headphones in this price range

are much greater

than the differences between portable amps in this price range (up to around $300).

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by cswann1 View Post
 

Chris_Himself  wasn't being condescending.  He's simply trying to help, and I agree that EQing headphones with DACs/amps is a bad idea.  Always start with headphones that you like the sound of, then choose source or amps to get the most from them.

 

Now, having said that:  The second axiom of getting great headphone audio is "crap in-crap out".  If you hear your headphones sound good from one source and bad from another, it's pretty clear that a change needs to be made.  Fiio makes good gear that won't break the bank and is a good place to start.

 

If at all possible, hold off any serious purchases until after you can get to a Head-Fi meet.  Head-Fi meets are bar-none the best place to get exposure to lots of gear at all price points and make informed buying choices based on your own experience with your own cans. Plus you get to meet a lot of nice folks.

 

 

Yes, this is critically important.

 

OP: are all of your files lossless, and derived from lossless sources?

post #15 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by fuzzyash View Post
 

get more bass-heavy headphones

sennheiser headphones arent that great for "Punk rock , Techno , Upbeat , Bollywood"

these are quiet bass heavy in my experience. not beats level but tend to satisfy most people with bass.

Quote:
Originally Posted by nikhilthecupid View Post
 

Thanks guys for your recommendations for HD518, i today bought Sennheiser HD518 (120$) & honestly saying its not that much awesome as i expected it to be, especially when its rated at a rank of 25 on best cans on head-fi. Its tone is similar to my 20$ philips SHP8500.

Although it drives well for a 50ohm headphone with my Google nexus prime. It sounds **** with my desktop integrated audio card. (MSI H55M-P33) Lows are scooped, mids are ok & highs are very very harsh, is it possible because its not burnt in properly?. Even the sound stage is average.

 

This is what MSI says about my on board.

 


I am planning to buy Grado s60 or s80 after this.

Please suggest a good DAC + AMP for 120$ ? :(


Give it some time to burn in. In about a week sound should settle down. atleast thats what happened with mine.

 

Also am using a audinst hud mini to drive them. you seem to be settled in India so you can get it from here and fiio models as well:

http://www.proaudiohome.com/

 

I believe they do sound fuller with well defined instruments with it. its quiet an improvement, but if you dont like sound signature, no point in buying amp, as it will simply make sound fuller and more detailed.


Edited by vaibhavp - 11/5/13 at 3:21am
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