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Need Advice On Headphone Setup Purchase

post #1 of 27
Thread Starter 

Hey guys,

 

I've been doing a lot of research on this forum lately trying to find the best headphone setup for my needs. I think I'm headed in the right direction, but I still have a couple questions and figured I'd join up anyways.

 

I have a decent 2.1 speaker setup running off the onboard on my PC that's served me well so far, but my new living situation dictates I get a pair of decent headphones, and I know I can do better than the onboard for cheap (I used to have a decent soundcard but it broke). I'll mainly be using these headphones for gaming and listening to music on my PC, as well as using it with my guitar amp for quiet playing, and occasionally connecting it to my laptop when I'm not at home.

 

It looks like the best headphones for my specific needs and bang for buck are the DT-990 Pro's which run at 250 Ohms. Now, from what I can tell after researching the forum, the ASUS Xonar DGX should be a big step up from the onboard audio for my speakers, and should be able to power the DT-990's *enough*. This card also has Dolby 5.1 which is a pretty big deal for gaming, and it's also pretty good value.

 

I know these headphones plugged directly into my laptop will probably sound like crap, and they'll probably sound equally as bad plugged directly into my guitar amp. I also know that the DGX won't be capable of fully powering these headphones, so I might lose some quality there. It seems to me like the best solution to this problem would be to get a budget portable headphone amp to use with the laptop, guitar amp, and help the DGX power the headphones if need be.

 

So I guess my question is: what portable amp should I be looking at? I don't really want to have to charge the amp over and over again if I'm going to be using it as a desktop amp with my PC all the time, but I guess I can't really use a USB amp with my guitar amp either. My guitar amp actually has a USB Mini B port on it, so maybe I could use some sort of adapter with a USB powered portable amp, but I'm not even sure if that USB port is capable of powering an amp.

 

What do you guys think? I want to save as much money as possible, and I'll be ordering from Amazon.ca . I know that in this scenario it's not likely I'll be able to have my cake and eat it too.

 

Thanks for the help.


Edited by DoubleFish - 11/9/13 at 5:41pm
post #2 of 27

Fiio E11, portable headphone amplifier can easily drive 250-Ohm headphones

Get the E11 Micca combo, $63.

post #3 of 27
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by PurpleAngel View Post
 

Fiio E11, portable headphone amplifier can easily drive 250-Ohm headphones

Get the E11 Micca combo, $63.

 

Ok.. So if the E11 can easily drive 250-Ohm headphones then why not something like the E6? If the E6 is combined with the DGX, guitar amp, or laptop onboard, it should be able to power 250-Ohm headphones right, or not? 

 

Neither of these are really that appealing to me though because apparently they can't be used while charging, which would really suck for PC use. Also, the E9 isn't that much more expensive than the E11 and it comes with an AC adapter so..

 

I was really hoping to find something less expensive and more portable than the E9 though, that doesn't run off a rechargeable battery or that can at least be used while plugged in. Surely something like this must exist?

post #4 of 27

A cmoy amp (JDS labs makes good ones) runs off one or two 9v batteries (you pick), and can be powered from an AC adapter while plugged in. I used the 18v type on my DT990-250's and it worked well. However, you will need a DAC or something with a line level output to use with it from the computer. It's no good to plug the headphone jack into it, since then you are still listening to the headphone jack's internal parts. 

EDIT: Your soundcard probably has a line level output. 


Edited by manbear - 11/9/13 at 5:53pm
post #5 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by DoubleFish View Post
 

Ok.. So if the E11 can easily drive 250-Ohm headphones then why not something like the E6? If the E6 is combined with the DGX, guitar amp, or laptop on-board, it should be able to power 250-Ohm headphones right, or not? 

Neither of these are really that appealing to me though because apparently they can't be used while charging, which would really suck for PC use. Also, the E9 isn't that much more expensive than the E11 and it comes with an AC adapter so..

I was really hoping to find something less expensive and more portable than the E9 though, that doesn't run off a rechargeable battery or that can at least be used while plugged in. Surely something like this must exist?

The Asus Xonar DG/DGX or FiiO E6, with the volume maxed out, can barely drive the 250-Ohm DT990.

Where as the FiiO E11 can drive 250-Ohm headphones with the volume knob at 40%.

 

The PAV2V (Pocket Amplifier 2 Version 2) might do the job, usually sells of eBay for around $60 (auction).

http://www.ebay.com/itm/PA2V2-Headphones-Amplifier-Rechargeable-Headphone-Amp-/190963358453?pt=US_Headphones&hash=item2c764d9af5

http://www.electric-avenues.com/


Edited by PurpleAngel - 11/10/13 at 8:27am
post #6 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by DoubleFish View Post

I was really hoping to find something less expensive and more portable than the E9 though, that doesn't run off a rechargeable battery or that can at least be used while plugged in. Surely something like this must exist?

I'm not sure if the C&C BH can drive the DT990s, but inquire in the discussion thread and see: http://www.head-fi.org/t/644363/c-c-bh-portable-headphone-amp-80-hours-from-a-single-charge-buyer-review. Great little portable amp with amazing battery life.
post #7 of 27
Thread Starter 

@manbear

 

I couldn't find the JDS one on Amazon.ca but I did find this: http://www.amazon.ca/LP-2020A-Tripath-Class-T-Amplifier-Supply/dp/B0049P6OTI/ref=sr_1_fkmr0_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1384066395&sr=8-1-fkmr0&keywords=cmoy+amp

 

Do you think this thing could power 250-Ohm headphones?

 

@PurpleAngel 

 

Alright thanks, and I checked but that amp's not available on Amazon.ca .

 

@cel4145 

 

Thank you, I just did, but then I remembered I didn't check Amazon.ca so I just checked and it's not available on there either. :/

 

It sucks because Amazon.ca isn't nearly as good as Amazon.com and it's really limiting my choices, but I get free 2-day shipping / cheap one day so it's what I want to go with. I lack patience, lol.

post #8 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by DoubleFish View Post

@manbear


I couldn't find the JDS one on Amazon.ca but I did find this: http://www.amazon.ca/LP-2020A-Tripath-Class-T-Amplifier-Supply/dp/B0049P6OTI/ref=sr_1_fkmr0_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1384066395&sr=8-1-fkmr0&keywords=cmoy+amp

Do you think this thing could power 250-Ohm headphones?

That's a t-amp meant for speakers. So no.
Quote:
Originally Posted by DoubleFish View Post

@cel4145
 

Thank you, I just did, but then I remembered I didn't check Amazon.ca so I just checked and it's not available on there either. :/

The C&C BH? You order it direct from China via ebay. I already provided the link smily_headphones1.gif

As for the FiiO E09K (if that's what you were referring to), once you are in that price range that it is listed for it on Amazon.ca, you would do better to consider the Objective 2 amplifier. Heck of an amp, and you can order off Ebay from JDS Labs or Mayflower Electronics, or from Audio Poutine.
post #9 of 27
Thread Starter 

@cel4145

 

Alright, I'm still waiting for a response in that thread so I'll have to see, but I may just do that if I get the answer I'm hoping for. I can wait on the amp, at least I'll still get the headphones and sound card pretty fast.

 

Thanks for the help man. :beerchug: 

post #10 of 27
I think you're really limiting your choices by restricting yourself to amazon. What's a couple extra days in the mail if it means getting the best option for the money, vs. getting a mediocre product just to have it a couple days sooner? This is where you order a CMOY or O2: http://www.jdslabs.com/store/
post #11 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by manbear View Post

I think you're really limiting your choices by restricting yourself to amazon. What's a couple extra days in the mail if it means getting the best option for the money, vs. getting a mediocre product just to have it a couple days sooner? This is where you order a CMOY or O2: http://www.jdslabs.com/store/

The OP is in Canada. Does JDS Labs have reasonable shipping to Canada? If not, the other place to also look for a CMOY is from Freds Store on Ebay. ClieOS talks about fred_fred_2004's CMOYs in his amp reviews, and I've ordered a couple from Fred. Fred is shipping from Australia, so pricing may be the same to Canada as the US. Fred also has multiple models to choose from. Email Fred, and he could tell you which is best suited for the DT990 Pro 250.
post #12 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by cel4145 View Post


The OP is in Canada. Does JDS Labs have reasonable shipping to Canada? 


I think so... Shipping on their website for an O2 is 16 bucks for Canada vs 7 bucks for US. These aren't huge heavy amps. 

post #13 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by manbear View Post


I think so... Shipping on their website for an O2 is 16 bucks for Canada vs 7 bucks for US. These aren't huge heavy amps. 

That's not bad at all smily_headphones1.gif
post #14 of 27
Thread Starter 

@manbear

 

So you're saying the C&C BH is a mediocre product?

 

Update:

 

It turns out the price I was looking at for the DT-990's was actually on Amazon.com the whole time, so Amazon.ca and fast shipping is a no go. I guess this is a good thing as it opens up my options quite a bit.

 

I was pretty much sold on the C&C BH last night, but I'd really like to know why @manbear you think it's a mediocre product. I know it doesn't have a DAC, which could be a problem. I think the Xonar DGX has a built in DAC but my guitar amp is solid state and digital, so the DAC could be really bad, and my laptops DAC is probably not the greatest either.

 

What exactly is a CMOY? I've seen that acronym used quite a bit.

post #15 of 27
CMOY is a particular style of headphone amp design.

ClieOS rated the C&C BH right up there with the JDS Labs CMOY in his portable amp shootout. Note that one of fred_fred's amps rated the best. I have heard a couple of fred_freds CMOY amps and own the C&C BH. In terms of SQ, the C&C BH is right up there, but wins big in usability (small size and battery life).

The Objective 2 amp definitely beats everything else you have considered. ClieOS used it as his reference amp in the sub $200 portable amp shootout. It's consistently described as an extremely transparent, accurate amp by people that have owned it/heard it.

So if you want the best portable headphone amp for under $200, you won't do better than the O2. However, it is more transportable than portable. Doesn't fit in one's pocket, but not so big that it adds much bulk to a laptop bag.
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