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Sennheiser HD 380 Pro: Amp, DAC, or both?

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 

I bit the bullet and got the HD 380s (54Ω), I've given them some time to burn in and I like the neutrality of their sound. They sound a lot better than the cheap headphones I was using  before, but being a newbie to this world of audio gear my inexperience with the accessories make it hard for me to determine what I should get to improve the sound.

 

I use the headphones a lot for mixing on a Mackie analog board, I have no problems driving them, and they sound good, really good- at least compared to my setup at home, which consists of nothing more than the 380s directly connected to my computer through the built-in audio jack. I know what I'm missing out on compared to when I'm using the board, and I'm wondering what my best options would be to improve the sound quality of these headphones when I'm using them for recreational purposes (Out and about on smartphone, laptops etc.).

 

I've been looking into amps/DACs for the past few weeks and I've narrowed it down (but still open to suggestions) through my research to the Fiio E17, E07k, E12, and a few others that had potential- but I haven't focused on nearly as much on compared to the Fiio products (E07K fits budget well, others are a stretch). My problem though, is that I've never listened to headphones running through an after-market DAC. I've listened to a few songs from my phone running through a smaller Behringer board and I was surprised at how the soundstage and overall quality improved so drastically with only the use of the board's phone amp; but I haven't heard a DAC at work, so beyond the techno-babble I've read discussing it's importance- I don't have a clear view of how it will improve the sound in my 'set-up',

 

Is the E17's DAC a deal-breaker compared to the E07K? Will these options be on par, or better than the Behringer UB1002 phones out (+19 dBu / 150 Ω (+25 dBm))?

Should I be worried about the DAC, or is the amp the real concern?

Are there any other options I should be considering for $120ish range?

 

And an unrelated question: Are there any cheap amps/DACs available that have comprehensive EQ settings? Such as some sort of multi-band graphic equalizer? Or am I looking at the wrong parts for EQing?

 

 

Thank you all for taking the time to read/respond to my questions, I've learned a lot the past few weeks reading the forums, hopefully I can clear a few things that still seem to be in a gray area of my understanding.

 

 

Thanks again,

cloudbinary

post #2 of 4

The Asus Xonar DG (PCI) sound card is only $27 and some places sell it with a $10 mail in rebate this month.

 

I believe the Fiio E07K and E17 both use the same WM8740 DAC chip.

post #3 of 4
Thread Starter 
Problem is I don't have a tower pc available. Just a laptop, so I'm probably going to need a portable amp/dac or something that'll work over usb.

If the dac is the same in the Fiios. Why do people say they sound different, will the different amps really impact the sound a lot?

Sent from my MB886 using Tapatalk 4 Beta
post #4 of 4
Quote:
Originally Posted by cloudbinary View Post

Problem is I don't have a tower PC available. Just a laptop, so I'm probably going to need a portable amp/dac or something that'll work over usb.

If the DAC is the same in the Fiios. Why do people say they sound different, will the different amps really impact the sound a lot?

I think (guess?) the E17 utilizes the WM8740 DAC better then the E07K.

The E17 head amp might also be a little more powerful, then the E07K.

But I'm too tired right now to double check my facts.

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