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budget setup for AKG K242HD

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 

Hi All.

 

I'm trying to improve a bit my home listening experience.

First, I'm not sure I need an amp but we'll see about that in the following paragraph:

 

Currently My favorite setup is cowon iaudio 7 various files at various bitrates -> akg k242hd.

Flac sounds really nice but I have some low quality files as well that would play from time to time.

Genres: versatile from death metal to world music.

At first I was reading about various fiio amps but my current understandign is that I will get not much benefit from that. 

I already have a decent dac (wolfson in iaudio), and power-wise I'm not feeling lacking neither (listening on level 30 out of 40 on my cowon is aready too loud).

So here starts my small search for better detail, maybe better soundstage, a bit punchier bass (though I have dt770 and now m50 specifically for that), or what else should I know.

Tube amps are interesting, a bit more expensive but after reading 

http://www.head-fi.org/t/643817/amp-for-akg-k240s-55-ohm

I'm not so sure.

The description in some places of these 55ohm headphones as easy to drive yet sensitive is confusing me about choosing the right equipment.

Currently, my SB3 is laying around just playing internet radio on cheap speaker. Would I benefit more from connecting it to PC and using it's burr-brown DAC instead of iaudio? I think it's headphone output is weaker that my iaudio.

 

So overall - while I want to achieve nicer listening experience, I don't mind going either route (portable player->amp-> headphones, pc->usb dac+amp->headphones, pc->sb3->amp->headphones) as long as using budget more wisely.

I imagine I could get better amp by avoiding buying DAC or amp+dac combinations, unless the sum is really worth it.

 

Hope I don't sound too confused, would appreciate inputs. I think a 150$ budget solution is something I would like to try starting with, and add/improve later.

post #2 of 10
E17
post #3 of 10
Thread Starter 

Thanks, I was thinking that until I've read

http://www.head-fi.org/t/649167/fiio-e17-vs-galaxy-s3-dacs

 

I don't have galaxy s3 but I assume a decent enough dac will make e17 less attractive.

I might get one eventually due to it's portable quality, but rather hear some more opinions.

BTW my PCs are mostly linuxes, if that matters as possible route.

post #4 of 10
Thread Starter 

small update:

I reinstalled squeezebox server on my ubuntu htpc and checked streaming of flac and other files over wifi with this setup.

sb3 headphone output was too weak, so I added few cables to the RCA (line-level?) outputs forming a headphone jack.

This sounded ok, but volume was almost maxed out. Still I think I could do better with detail and brightness.

(headphone jack was kinda weak also with the m50)

Came back to iaudio 7, this has much more power to give. I shamefully noticed I have bunch of jet effects activated since forever:

V shaped eq, mach bass etc. 

Flattening everything yields similar sound signature as I got from the squeezebox, but I'll have to listen some more.

So for now, I think the desirable direction for me is connecting an amp-only to squeezebox line-out or spdif. I rather have some features like bass boost/eq as I couldn't find anything eq related on squeezebox menus.

So, decent amp suggestions tailored to these headphones would be appreciated.

Also , please enlighten me whether pc-based usb solution is much preferable, as squeezebox listening is very comfortable - clean music only interface, no youtube distractions etc., being wireless I can locate the box farther from my htpc and near my couch, and control it via ir remote / smartphone.

post #5 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by maladjustdeath View Post
 

Thanks, I was thinking that until I've read

http://www.head-fi.org/t/649167/fiio-e17-vs-galaxy-s3-dacs

 

I don't have galaxy s3 but I assume a decent enough dac will make e17 less attractive.

I might get one eventually due to it's portable quality, but rather hear some more opinions.

BTW my PCs are mostly linuxes, if that matters as possible route.


get fiio X3 and be happy.

post #6 of 10
Thread Starter 

X3 seems a nice standalone solution. 

I will look seriously into that. If only it was a bit cheaper...

 

Wonder if and when will I find noticeable differences between wolfson WM8731L (cowon iaudio 7), burr brown PCM1748 (squeezebox 3), wolfson WM8740 (fiio x3 and e17).

Right now i feel the amplification (or lacking of a proper one) may forbid me from doing sensible comparison of that aspect.

post #7 of 10

It is worth considering x3. It is a DAP and also works as dac/amp when connected to computer.

I do not know the differences between the modelss which you mentioned

post #8 of 10
Thread Starter 

ok googled for datasheets, not sure what to look for, but from specifications and SNR perspective, WM8740 > PCM1748 > WM8731L

 

http://www.wolfsonmicro.com/documents/uploads/data_sheets/en/WM8740.pdf

http://www.wolfsonmicro.com/documents/uploads/data_sheets/en/WM8731.pdf

http://www.alldatasheet.com/datasheet-pdf/pdf/90923/BURR-BROWN/PCM1748.html?

 

(just worth updating, not sure it is audible difference).

post #9 of 10
Thread Starter 

Got the E17 today, so far very pleased. 

Works well with the K242HD and I think 12db gain for DT770-80 makes them sound much better.

Next few days I'll have more listening time with it, but It seems I'll have to buy another one (maybe E10, maybe something completely different).

 

It is very hard to conclude which setup is best for home and which is best for work. (closed vs open cans, bright vs dark, background vs critical listening).

So I find myself carrying equipment back and forth all the time.

post #10 of 10

congratulations, I hope that you enjoy this set up

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