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My Entry Level Setup... Opinions?

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

So, I've been lurking the forums for a while and I'm just about ready to jump in. I just want to see what experienced audiophiles think about my setup. My budget for the whole is $250-$300 Dollars. I listen to mostly to classical and all types of metal and to a lesser degree EDM. I'm sourcing from a pc with a generic IDT soundcard so a DAC/AMP combo seems the most cost effective considering I will be buying budget headphones. I like the portable option but my intention is to start getting dedicated equipment once my experience/budget increase. So with that in mind here it is.

My headphones of choice are the Audio-Technica ATH-M50's. This probably isn't much of a surprise, but its hard to ignore the hype. They also seem to hit all my preferences; Portable, over-ear closed, budget and quality. I couldn't really find another set that were comparable and hit all these points. I am open to alternative suggestions but it would be hard for me to justify spending more considering this is my first pair and wont be my last. For my DAC/AMP I like the iBasso D-Zero. I compared it to the Fiio E07 and the E17. It definitely looks better than the E07 and I'm not willing to drop the extra $50-$60 for the E17.

So there it is in a nutshell. I'll update the thread when I make a decision and review whatever I end up purchasing. 

 

PS. I did read the posting guidelines, but since this my 1st post constructive criticism on posting (what to include/exclude etc.) is welcome as well.

 

Update #1: Just saw that the HiFiman HE-300 are going on sale. Since they're now in my price range how do the compare?


Edited by TruffleSHFFL - 11/25/13 at 1:45pm
post #2 of 8

The M50, with its recessed mids and colored sound signature, it not the best choice for classical.  You need something that is more neutral.

 

The HE-300, which is not at the top of my list for this price range, is open.  Are you OK with leakage and lack of isolation?

post #3 of 8

Heya,

 

The HE-300 with the price drop is an incredible value. Add the Fiio E10. This is if you use these at home. The HE-300 is hardly portable and the E10 is not portable.

 

If you want something more portable, look towards the Shure SRH840 and a Fiio E11 perhaps (though you don't even need an amp here).

 

Very best,

post #4 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by TruffleSHFFL View Post
 

My headphones of choice are the Audio-Technica ATH-M50's. This probably isn't much of a surprise, but its hard to ignore the hype. They also seem to hit all my preferences; Portable, over-ear closed, budget and quality. I couldn't really find another set that were comparable and hit all these points. I am open to alternative suggestions but it would be hard for me to justify spending more considering this is my first pair and wont be my last. For my DAC/AMP I like the iBasso D-Zero.

Save a few dollars.

Gemini HSR-1000 (Takstar Pro 80) closed headphones, $50-$60

Asus Xonar DG (PCI) sound card, $27

post #5 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by KG Jag View Post
 

The M50, with its recessed mids and colored sound signature, it not the best choice for classical.  You need something that is more neutral.

 

The HE-300, which is not at the top of my list for this price range, is open.  Are you OK with leakage and lack of isolation?

 

I didn't enjoy classical on M50 either.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by MalVeauX View Post

 

If you want something more portable, look towards the Shure SRH840 and a Fiio E11 perhaps (though you don't even need an amp here).

 

My first thought was SRH840 and I agree that it doesn't strictly need amping. What it needs is a softer headband. Amazon sells a $15 "replacement upgrade headband" that might work.

 

I really like AKG for classical, though not for the other genres you listen to. The AKGs in your price range include K240 and K271. I haven't heard either, so I can't recommend them, but have a look at the reviews.

 

Consider the Fostex RP series if you're willing to mod because stock is very loose.

 

Beyerdynamic DT660 works very well unamped for orchestral and string music and decently for piano.

 

An alternative to a headphone and an amp is buying two or three cheaper headphones that work well unamped. For example, DT660 for classical (I saw a pair on the FS board for $99) and a Grado 60i/80i for metal. I don't know what works well for EDM. V-Moda?


Edited by Claritas - 11/25/13 at 4:51pm
post #6 of 8
Thread Starter 

This is a lot of great informations. Thanks guys. Since most of the responses focus on classical I will be making the decision with classical as my main genre and be less concerned with quality in other genres. Especially since I usually enjoy a more neutral sound anyway. Initially I chose closed so would have the portable option, but I am willing to consider the open non-portable since the HE-300s went on sale. MalVeauX, I like the setup you recommended with the e10. KG Jag is there something else in the same range as the HE-300's on your list if isolation wasn't an issue? If I did decide to go portable the SRH840s look nice. If I pick a pair that work well unamped should I still look at DAC's if I'm sourcing from a PC or my iPhone? Would the AKG K240 MKII benefit from an amp or a dac? 

post #7 of 8

I like the very efficient Sony MDR-MA900, that currently can be had for under $200.  The Audio Technica ATH-AD900X is also very good and quite efficient at about the same price.  You then have about $100 if you want to pick up a DAC and/or amp.

 

Also keep in mind that this time of year many excellent values pop up.  Keep an eye on the Deals IV thread.

post #8 of 8
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by KG Jag View Post

 

Also keep in mind that this time of year many excellent values pop up.  Keep an eye on the Deals IV thread.

Will do

Quote:
Originally Posted by PurpleAngel View Post
 

Save a few dollars.

Gemini HSR-1000 (Takstar Pro 80) closed headphones, $50-$60

Asus Xonar DG (PCI) sound card, $27

I guess I should've been more specific my PC is a laptop not a desktop. 

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