or Connect
Head-Fi.org › Forums › Help and Getting Started › Introductions, Help and Recommendations › can't choose between in-ears and headphones, AND choosing a DAC (each in ~200 price range)
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

can't choose between in-ears and headphones, AND choosing a DAC (each in ~200 price range)

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 

Hello, my experience in portable audio is quite limited. I've never listened to anything better than iPod and some budget earphones. Needless to say, the sound I got wasn't really impressive. Than I decided I need to have some dignity and bought myself Senn HD280 and Rocoo P. Needless to say it changed my view of music.

 

Unfortunately, I had to sell both. The player turned out to crucially lack bass which was a hardware change, and the headphones squeezed my head like a toothpaste tube. But I just couldn't forget the wide, clear soundstage and the instruments which sounded actually like real ones.

 

So, now I've decided to try to put up a good portable rig again. Well, I'm not really going to listen to it on the subway or something like that, I just don't want to be bound to one place with a desktop DAC and be able to take it somewhere.

 

Unfortunately there are VERY little places I can test any headphones where I live, and the selection there is pretty limited. So I just want to decide what to buy right now and do it straight away.

 

 

 

My dream set up is planned to look like:

 

Android tablet (USB Audio confirmed) -> USB DAC via OTG cable -> headphones / earphones.

 

 

I want: 1) good, powerful, natural and clear sound in general (really tired of hissing growl of budget in-ears where you can't tell one note from another on high volume) 2) wide soundstage, 3) comfort.

 

What I listen to: mostly indie, alternative, punk and rock. 

 

My current contenders are Beyerdynamic DT 770 PRO (I'll probably choose them), Sennheiser HD598 (plan B) and Sony XBA-3.

 

On the point 1: It's decided that I need a good portable DAC/amp. But which one do I choose? I was really going for AudioQuest Dragonfly, but I've read mixed opinions on the quality of sound. Not only that, it turns out someone on the internet tried it with Nexus 7 '2013  which I have and it didn't work. So now I'm thinking about either Fiio E17/18 or DACport LX because someone said it's great. 

 

Buuut will I even notice the difference betwen them with entry-level headphones or in-ears?

 

And what combo do I even choose? Am I better off with high-impedance headphones and a powerful amp or something around 50 ohm is enough?

 

2. And here I have a big misunderstanding. I don't actually need to feel like I'm standing on the top of some mountain listening to a song and the guitar is playing from another mountain 1km to the north and the drums are banging are 2km to the south, but every pair of under-50$ in-ears I tried sounded like all the instruments got mixed up and played from the same place which was pretty lame.

 

So, are headphones my only hope then? Am I bound to get instruments mixed up with in-ears, or only the size of the soundstage will suffer? Does that still apply to armature ones like Sony XBA-3 and such? If not, I'll think more about getting some in-ears.

 

3. Why I'm in doubt about getting headphones? Comfort is the issue. From the threads on comfort I've read here, the most comfy entry level/lower mid-range headphones are Senns HD5958/598 or 650, AKG240, and most notably, Beyerdynamics DT770. The only thing I fear is that I'll get my head strained a lot. As far as I'm concerned DT770 is a safe bet. But do they perform well, because I haven't found them in the current HF buying guide? And, to repeat the question, which one do I buy, 80 or 250 ohm? They cost the same, from what I've read they perform with amps about the same, what's the difference?

post #2 of 6

FOr a Dac and equally good amp, there are a couple of options

 

If you own a Android Cell Phone look into the Fiio E18, it MIGHT work with you cell phone. The E18 is finding a lot of succusses with many Android phones, and it was designed for this pourpose as well. 

 

Now let's assume you want nothing to do with Cell Phones, there is the Hifiman HM 602, which should be around $300, which is a POrtable Dac and a Portable Music Player! If you acn stretch your budget you may really like it! I own the HM 801 [the upgraded Hifiman DAP] which has a Dac in it as well, and I like it

 

For your price range and since you want portability, I'd recommend yo stick with Dac Amp COmbo Units, since I doubt you want to carry around a Dac and the Amp needed to process the dac's signal

 

For JUST a DAC/Amp there is the Fiio E17 and the JDS Labs C5D, both are pc comabatible Dacs, that are portable and contain headphone amps.

 

For headphones, look at the Sound Magic HP 100 as well. For $200 new I really like mine. They where very portable as well. I HIGHLY recomend the HP 100 actually, it is around 30-40 ohms? Very easy to drive and I found it to offer a sound very simmilar to my DT 880, meaning the HP 100 had a nice sound stage, it was very comfortable and it was easy to drive! I think if your looking at teh DT 770, the HP 100 might be a nicer offer. Since it's foldable, comes with it's own carryin case and is easier to drive. That said, the DT 770 Pro 80 ohm is a... Bassier than the Pro 250. I've not heard the DT 770s, so I can only really recommend the HP 100, there are other closed headphones in the price range as well, but non that I liked as much as the HP 100

 

That said, welcome to head fi! And I think the only headphone that makes it sound like there's a guitar to your left and a Drum 1km at the bottom of a mountain is the HD 800, so with $200 headphones. You should be plesently suprised :D but not too distant from your music 

post #3 of 6
Thread Starter 
Thank you. I looked into HM601 and 801, but were shied away by the price tag and the looks. They are supposed to be great, but I really can't think of a better media center than tablet + DAC, especially with streaming going, uh, mainstream.

I'd really look into HP100 if comfort wasn't so much of an issue for me. That's why I sold HD280 and don't really consider M50. I can't take the pressure on my head, it's driving me mad. But thanks for advice, haven't considered them before.
post #4 of 6
Quote:
Originally Posted by erythrocytes View Post

Thank you. I looked into HM601 and 801, but were shied away by the price tag and the looks. They are supposed to be great, but I really can't think of a better media center than tablet + DAC, especially with streaming going, uh, mainstream.

I'd really look into HP100 if comfort wasn't so much of an issue for me. That's why I sold HD280 and don't really consider M50. I can't take the pressure on my head, it's driving me mad. But thanks for advice, haven't considered them before.

I found the hp 100 was equally as comfotable as my beyerd

with a streaming tablet for music player. I strongly suggest u look into something running Windows 8. As win 8 recognizes usb dacs... ofcourse the tablet would need a usb port. There is also the fiio x5 launching soon. Itt should b running on droid so it would b n excellent player with streaming
capacity

Cowon also makes a few daps that run droid. Using a dedicated digital audio player or dap would eliminate the need for a dac. As the dap has a high quality dac inplimented into it already
post #5 of 6
Thread Starter 

Well. I have already said that I have Nexus 7 '2013. I'm 100% sure it supports USB DACs with a custom firmware. I've seen numerous people confirm it working with various DACs, Dragonfly was just an exception for some reason. Since DACs bypass the internal souncard of a DAP I don't think there'd be much difference between using it on Win 8 or Android device, as long as they, well, work.

 

I think most of any responses on comfort should be considered very personal, since everyone's had is a little different. I've seen some reviewers complaining about HP100 because it gave them sweaty ears after long listening. Anyway, i've seen 20+ people praise DT770 for comfort, and I can find them easily, so I'll probably stick to them.

 

 

And the more and more I read, I think I've already answered all my questions, thank you for replying anyway.

post #6 of 6
best of luck to u. Droid does not nativly support usb preiphials. Even with custom firmware u may still run into problems. Hence win 8 which has native usb support

But. The e18 has been designed espicslly for celluar devices. So im fairly confident it will wrk. An the Dt 770 need an amp so the e18 should take care of that too

happy sound to ya!
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
Head-Fi.org › Forums › Help and Getting Started › Introductions, Help and Recommendations › can't choose between in-ears and headphones, AND choosing a DAC (each in ~200 price range)