I'm not really the world's most passionate audio connoisseur, but I listen to podcasts and music 8 hours/day, and I'm a geeky developer who has to over-research everything. Lately I'm taking a Nexus 7 to work everyday and listening to stuff that I pre-download on Play Music All Access. It's my understanding it's 320kbps MP3 files.
First off, I'm a little out of the loop, and I don't really know where the quality of 320kbps MP3s falls in comparison to the headphones/amp I'm considering, so that might be something I need some advice on.
I had some Sennheiser 555s that broke a year ago, and I've been using PortaPros since then, but I want something better. I listen to a lot of relaxing stuff (Joey Fehrenbach, Ulrich Schnauss, Geminiani) and a lot of talk.
I think I want a pair of AKG Q701s. I'm looking at getting them and a Schiit Magni. I was considering the FiiO E09K or an O2, too, but it sounds like FiiOs aren't very durable, and I like the cleaner look of the Magni compared to the O2.
I want to use Bluetooth because I'm constantly coming and going with my tablet, and I already have a dock with wireless charging. I don't want to buy a USB audio DAC and hassle with trying to get that working over OTG, so my options are:
1) 3.5mm-to-RCA cable => amp
I'd probably get the $4.61 (+ $6.95 shipping) Monoprice #9301 cable.
I need a long cable to go under the desk from where I keep the tablet dock to the amp. Probably wouldn't see any improvement with better cables using the tablet's DAC.
2) Bluetooth Receiver => 3.5mm-to-RCA cable => amp
I'd probably get the $35 "BrightPlay Home HD Bluetooth 4.0 Music Receiver / Adapter with apt-X."
This is a toss-up, because if I could get it working with the mpeg codec over A2DP, quality would be at least as good as the on-board Nexus 7 DAC, and it'd certainly be more convenient.
3) Yamaha YBA-11 Bluetooth Receiver => digital coax DAC (don't know which one) => amp
The Yamaha aptX Bluetooth receiver is only $51. This seems like a good idea, but I don't know if I'll notice an improvement if it's not doing direct mpeg over A2DP. If I'm going to have to wait until I get an Android device that supports aptX, I might as well hold off on getting the Bluetooth DAC because there might be something better by then.
There's also a $49 Monoprice Bluetooth receiver with optical out that might be an alternative.
And there are other options like the $249 Arcam rBlink, but if something besides aptX caught on it'd be nice to only have to upgrade the $51 Yamaha YBA-11.
So my concern is that, in the case of #1 and #2, the Q701s would be wasted if I was just going to plug the amp directly into a tablet or a cheap Bluetooth thingy, but in the case of #3, I don't know which DAC to get, and I'm worried it would all be a waste if Android doesn't natively support aptX soon and I can't root it and force it to stream using the mpeg codec without recompressing.
Edited by tostada - 12/6/13 at 1:59pm