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New Setup --> Grado GM-1000i vs. GMP 450 Pro & which portable DAC??

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 

Looking to figure out which cans and other hardware would be best for me. My musical preferences vary - classical, jazz, acoustic, hard rock, heavy house, etc.  I'm looking for all day listening from my Android device.


The Grado GS-1000i's sound amazing. So do the GMP 450s. I love a great soundstage. I've read on here than all-day listening might not happen with the 450s. But are the GS-1000i's "worth" the extra $600ish? 


Also, I'm having a hard time understanding what hardware comes between the cans and my Android, and which one would be best.  I would also like to use the hardware with my desktop PC as well but it ultimately needs to be portable.  This will be my main and sole listening setup!


Budget for the hardware would be about $500.


Any advice and/or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

post #2 of 7

First of all, there is ocean of headphones which are far better than GS-1000i, with quite many of them cost less than 1000i. Try HD650 or K712 (and others) and I am pretty sure you will be blown away with big soundstage and superior sound.


So those stuffs that between your smartphone/tablet and headphones, this is typical setup.



Android Smartphone -> OTG USB cable -> DAC -> amp -> headphones




If you do not have smartphone that does not support OTG and/or cannot obtain DAC that supports android/ios devices



Smartphone -> amp -> headphones



A DAC translates those digital signal from USB port from the smartphone to analog signal

An amp amplifies those analog signal loud and clean enough so you can hear the sound from headphones.


I assume you have total of 1.5k USD as budget since you mentioned GS-1000i and hardware for $500. Does your setup need to be portable? Stuffs like desktop computer and notebook can be a good source of sound if you use a external desktop DAC, and desktop amps are less expensive compared to similarly spec'd portable amps.

post #3 of 7
Thread Starter 

Thanks for your response!


This will mostly be used at work; however, I won't be able to hook up to my work PC since my source will be my android phone; a Samsung Galaxy S2 - which can do OTG.


Also, I'm hoping to find amazing sound at low levels in a closed circumaural format coming from portable hardware. From what I understand, cans such as the HD650s require significant drive. 


I realize there are endless "transparent / neutral" vs "augmented" debates. I'm not a bass-head. I also don't have perfect music and I don't want cans which will expose imperfect recordings. I'm looking for all-day listening at low levels which somehow still give me that front-row experience while not bothering my co-workers. From what I've read, it sounds like the GS1000i's are what I'm looking for. I realize they might not be completely neutral but from all I've read, they do appear to be right up my alley for what I'm looking to experience. The GMP 450s seem to be in the same arena; however they're significantly cheaper in price.


In terms of DAC / Amp, I'm looking for portable formats for these and preferably 1 device providing both. 

post #4 of 7

Argh, GS1000i is not closed. It is open, and due to being vented stuff, it leaks the sound to outside far worse than other open headphones.


If you need closed headphones look for Mad Dog or Alpha Dog. And quite a lot of portable amps can drive HD650 well.

post #5 of 7

i have different grados and use an analog squared paper tu-05 battery driven tube SET amp. sound is amazing. as source i use a colorfly c4 or my mobile phone with the HRT microstreamer.


a good alternative could be the analog squared paper tu-06, a hybrid tube / mosfet amp. have a look at the analog squared paper appreciation thread or the reviews here on head-fi.

post #6 of 7
Thread Starter 

Thank you both for your great input!


GermanGuy I've been browsing through the A2P appreciation thread and have been drooling over the reviews of those 2 amps and the great info on the tubes!


There is so much info to consume that it's staggering. I believe that, given the right tubes, the tu-06 might be the perfect amp for me. I've owned a desktop tube amp before and absolutely loved it, so this portable / transportable version would be excellent.


I think I need to step back and think about the best overall setup for me. Should I even use my Samsung phone as the source, or should I instead get a dedicated source device? Should I get an iPod? Would another source be more appropriate for use with the tu-06?


So which circumaural closed cans would work best with and at showcasing the abilities of the tu-06? Which Grados do you use with your tu-05? Do you have any recommendations?

post #7 of 7

lots of questions :-)


- closed headphones preferred in the a2p appreciation thread - Fostex TH900 and Beyerdybanic T5P


i use mainly the following grado or grado-style headphones with my tu-05 (and in addtion: the AKG K3003 and Final Audio Design Piano Forte VIII):


- SR325is (unmodded)


- SR 225i (in the office) (modded):




- my own design / grado style headphone (and my best and favorite one i am nearly always using):




Here are just some thoughts:


- how to say, i would not start with a compromise, so if you love the GS1000i sound (assuming that you have listened to it) then buy one or you will ever regret not to have done it.


- if i got all the money back invested in compromises or buying mistakes, i would be a rich man


- i also have a samsung galaxy note II and an HRT microstreamer, but never using it


- i love dedicated devices


- to speak of my colorfly c4, its sound is amazing, great soundstage and a powerfull 6.3 mm jack output, great synergy with the grados


- as long as you have low to mid impedance headphones, i would buy a tu-05 because it has even more resolution and fine detail


- the mean lifetime of a good electronic component (speaking of my Nakamichi Dragon, Stax SR Lambda, ProAc Tablette, handmade german amplfiers) is about 30 years, so .......


so what to say, first of all choose a headphone, because this is the most sound relevant part and the impedance then may show which player and/or amp to choose.


i started with the colorfly C4 after having bought a T5P, so if you have a headphone and an excellent player, you have the time to save the money for the right amp.


- investment is a process, not a single point of action


assuming you love music the best compromise is to buy a good closed but not to expensive headphone for office use ( or to get promoted to have a single room office) that sounds ok out of your mobile phone, but give your bank account the time to get filled with money to buy components one after the other to add EXCELLENT components to your sound chain.

Edited by GermanGuy - 12/8/13 at 3:04pm
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