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Looking for headphones for metal music; my budget is $0 - 300 - Page 3

post #31 of 60
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Claritas View Post
 

I was surprised when I noticed that the specs sheet states it doesn't need an amp. I took it for granted that it would need an amp anyway. Sorry.

 

Although I dislike cnet reviews for audio because they're very commercial (it's somewhat better for speakers), this report is adequate: "The HE-400 headphones are designed for use at home with a receiver or headphone amplifier due to the drivers' increased weight, but they can work with portable devices; the only drawback is that you'll experience limited volume capability with a weak-powered mobile device." Link: http://reviews.cnet.com/headphones/hifiman-he-400/4505-7877_7-35182256.html. Whilst I doubt it would sound so good off a phone, it would probably sound fine off a laptop. Try it without an amp, and add one later if you think it's needed.

 

As to DACs, I'm not "converted" yet. Many DAPs have acceptable DACs, and many computers have at least tolerable soundcards. A good soundcard is generally a better investment than a stand alone DAC. Moreover, a DAC / soundcard is obviously secondary to any amping you might want.

 

But I do believe in burn in, especially with pink noise. We just had a friendly argument about it (http://www.head-fi.org/t/696168/do-i-really-need-to-burn-in-my-headphones) that shouldn't be rehashed here. So read that thread, and decide for yourself which arguments you find persuasive.

I think that is what I'll do. Buy without amp first, and see how it is, and then later on buy one. As for a sound card I don't really have a dedicated one, I currently just use whatever is stock with my motherboard. Also, what is a DAC, and what is the difference between that and an amp? 

post #32 of 60
Quote:
Originally Posted by Danieru View Post
 

I think that is what I'll do. Buy without amp first, and see how it is, and then later on buy one. As for a sound card I don't really have a dedicated one, I currently just use whatever is stock with my motherboard. Also, what is a DAC, and what is the difference between that and an amp? 


That's a good plan. You will probably enjoy them at first without an amp, and then you will enjoy them even more once you get an amp.

A DAC converts the digital signal to an analog signal. An amp makes an analog signal loud enough to power your headphones. Most DACs connect to your computer through USB, and then you plug an amp into the DAC. 

post #33 of 60
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by manbear View Post
 


That's a good plan. You will probably enjoy them at first without an amp, and then you will enjoy them even more once you get an amp.

A DAC converts the digital signal to an analog signal. An amp makes an analog signal loud enough to power your headphones. Most DACs connect to your computer through USB, and then you plug an amp into the DAC. 

So I would have to buy two devices? Or is there a two in one? Also what is a pre-amp? 

post #34 of 60
Quote:
Originally Posted by manbear View Post
 

Ohhh, you will be once you hear a good one!

 

Please don't be presumptuous about what I've heard. There are differences between decent soundcards and the stand alone DACs, but I'm not persuaded that they're $100+ differences.

post #35 of 60
Quote:
Originally Posted by Claritas View Post

 

Please don't be presumptuous about what I've heard. There are differences between decent soundcards and the stand alone DACs, but I'm not persuaded that they're $100+ differences.


I have no clue what you've heard, what a $100 worth of difference means to you, or what specific models "stand alone" DAC really refers to. Want to fill people in? If you're going to state your opinions authoritatively, you should give them some context. Other people can't evaluate your opinions if they don't know gear you're actually talking about... Does your statement apply to Xonar vs ODAC, for example, or maybe Xonar vs MSB Diamond DAC? 


Edited by manbear - 12/23/13 at 7:39pm
post #36 of 60

They're all super amazing. :rolleyes: I'm disinclined to argue with you.


Edited by Claritas - 12/23/13 at 9:02pm
post #37 of 60
Quote:
Originally Posted by Claritas View Post

 

They're all super amazing. :rolleyes: I'm disinclined to argue with you.


If you want to be sarcastic and unconstructive, go for it. It's not difficult to understand that people can't find your opinions about DAC and soundcards helpful if you don't once name a single DAC or soundcard that you are actually talking about. One might even call it presumptuous. 

post #38 of 60
Quote:
Originally Posted by manbear View Post
 

If you want to be sarcastic and unconstructive, go for it. It's not difficult to understand that people can't find your opinions about DAC and soundcards helpful if you don't once name a single DAC or soundcard that you are actually talking about. One might even call it presumptuous. 

 

Some members don't use decent dedicated source components or high resolution formats, and then they try to fix things after. A DAC can sometimes be a useful corrective when something's noticeably wrong, but it's often a band aid and it's being over-recommended for minor problems the person might not even notice. I use a decent CD player, so I don't have these problems. "You have to get a DAC." Too much audiophile cheer-leading. Among DACs, those of my friends who have needed them have used Asus soundcards to good effect, and ODAC measures better than anything up to $1000. That's all I'm going to say.

post #39 of 60
Quote:
Originally Posted by Danieru View Post
 

So I would have to buy two devices? Or is there a two in one? Also what is a pre-amp? 

dac -> basically think of it as an external sound card

amp -> provides more power to your headphones

 

note for most portable, closed headphones used for on-the-go usage will NOT need a dac/amp. most consumer headphones are designed to sound fine as is without any external equipment. amps really benefit headphones that require more power than the 3.5 headphone jack can provide (such as high impedance headphones). If your headphones cannot play at normal listening volumes even with your volume is maxed out, that is a good sign that you need an amp. you can look at the headphone's impedance as well to determine if you need one (16-32 ohms will not need an amp).

 

if you spend less than $200 on your headphones, I personally think you do not need an amp/dac as the sonic improvements achievable with external equipment is limited by your headphone drivers anyway, so it doesn't make sense to me to spend more than 50% of your headphone's price on dac/amps when the sound improvements is minimal compared to putting that money into nicer quality headphones. however, note there are many people with regular portable headphones that say dac/amps significantly improve the sound quality of their headphones. i personally have not experienced this, but YMMV.

 

this article may be helpful clearing up your confusion about the subject:

http://www.headphone.com/learning-center/how-do-i-know-if-my-headphones-need-an-amp.php

this was a good article I found explaining pre-amps, but you don't need one:

http://www.head-fi.org/a/explanation-of-amp-pre-amp-headphone-amp

 

there are many portable dac/amp devices sub-$100 such as Fiios E70k ($89). there are stand-alone dac available for as cheap as $30 such as the Behringer UCA202 Audio Interface. there are a lot of amps on the market such as the cheap portable $20 Fiio E5.  if you want to try something to see if you notice a significant difference. you can find a wide variety of desktop or portable, standalone or combo dac/amps at a wide price range. I would personally suggest you start low, sub-$100 first, to see if such a device is worth it for you.

 

Note: If you do not like the way your headphones sound after trying them for 1-2weeks, I would recommend you to return them rather than trying to make them sound better with a dac/amp. the actual headphones & your source files have a much much bigger impact on the sound quality over the dac/amp.


Edited by money4me247 - 12/23/13 at 11:03pm
post #40 of 60
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by money4me247 View Post
 

dac -> basically think of it as an external sound card

amp -> provides more power to your headphones

 

note for most portable, closed headphones used for on-the-go usage will NOT need a dac/amp. most consumer headphones are designed to sound fine as is without any external equipment. amps really benefit headphones that require more power than the 3.5 headphone jack can provide (such as high impedance headphones). If your headphones cannot play at normal listening volumes even with your volume is maxed out, that is a good sign that you need an amp. you can look at the headphone's impedance as well to determine if you need one (16-32 ohms will not need an amp).

 

if you spend less than $200 on your headphones, I personally think you do not need an amp/dac as the sonic improvements achievable with external equipment is limited by your headphone drivers anyway, so it doesn't make sense to me to spend more than 50% of your headphone's price on dac/amps when the sound improvements is minimal compared to putting that money into nicer quality headphones. however, note there are many people with regular portable headphones that say dac/amps significantly improve the sound quality of their headphones. i personally have not experienced this, but YMMV.

 

this article may be helpful clearing up your confusion about the subject:

http://www.headphone.com/learning-center/how-do-i-know-if-my-headphones-need-an-amp.php

this was a good article I found explaining pre-amps, but you don't need one:

http://www.head-fi.org/a/explanation-of-amp-pre-amp-headphone-amp

 

there are many portable dac/amp devices sub-$100 such as Fiios E70k ($89). there are stand-alone dac available for as cheap as $30 such as the Behringer UCA202 Audio Interface. there are a lot of amps on the market such as the cheap portable $20 Fiio E5.  if you want to try something to see if you notice a significant difference. you can find a wide variety of desktop or portable, standalone or combo dac/amps at a wide price range. I would personally suggest you start low, sub-$100 first, to see if such a device is worth it for you.

 

Note: If you do not like the way your headphones sound after trying them for 1-2weeks, I would recommend you to return them rather than trying to make them sound better with a dac/amp. the actual headphones & your source files have a much much bigger impact on the sound quality over the dac/amp.

Thank you, that information is very useful. 

 

Also when you say "source files" do you mean music files like mp3 or flac? 

post #41 of 60
Quote:
Originally Posted by Danieru View Post
 

Thank you, that information is very useful. 

 

Also when you say "source files" do you mean music files like mp3 or flac? 

yes, your source would be your CD or music files (encoded in whatever format). the difference between flac & 320kbps mp3 is really not very noticeable (IMO) especially if you are not using really, really high-end luxury gear. in a blind test, most people have trouble distinguishing between the two.

 

If you are noticing any deficiencies in your audio experience, I would highly recommend upgrading your source files first! That has a tremendous impact on your sound quality. I personally prefer 320kbps mp3s. The next biggest factor on sound quality would be your headphones. From my personal experience, I have found that dacs/amps and everything else is simply the last 10% of adjustment/improvement for sound.

 

note: audio drivers for your computer can sometimes negatively impact your experience as well, so make sure they are up-to-date! I actually ran into an embarrassing problem where I couldn't figure out what was causing the slight distortion with my audio & it turned out to be my audio drivers. lol!

post #42 of 60
I find that a good audio setup can even make YouTube or 128kbps mp3 sound better, in a way at least. But you will also start to hear the limitations of these formats. In any case, 320 Kbps mp3 is a good practical minimum for hearing what your system can really do. Recording quality, separate from file format quality, can also be a limiting factor. The HE-400 is the first headphone that truly revealed recording quality (with flac files) to me.
post #43 of 60
Quote:
Originally Posted by manbear View Post

I find that a good audio setup can even make YouTube or 128kbps mp3 sound better, in a way at least. But you will also start to hear the limitations of these formats. In any case, 320 Kbps mp3 is a good practical minimum for hearing what your system can really do. Recording quality, separate from file format quality, can also be a limiting factor. The HE-400 is the first headphone that truly revealed recording quality (with flac files) to me.

lol..... reallyyy? i found a good audio setup makes bad youtube or 128kbps mp3 sound so much worseeee. it's terrible too when i go watch tv shows online...

 

boo #1st world problems.

post #44 of 60
Quote:
Originally Posted by money4me247 View Post

lol..... reallyyy? i found a good audio setup makes bad youtube or 128kbps mp3 sound so much worseeee. it's terrible too when i go watch tv shows online...

boo #1st world problems.

I watch TV online through my setup all the time. I definitely hear what's wrong with the audio, but it still beats my laptop speakers or gym earbuds. For example, even if the soundstage of a video is constricted, it still sounds largest through my main setup. It's a matter of personal taste though. I kind of like hearing the flaws in a way. It's just interesting. But of course there is a reason all my music is flac.
post #45 of 60
Quote:
Originally Posted by manbear View Post

I watch TV online through my setup all the time. I definitely hear what's wrong with the audio, but it still beats my laptop speakers or gym earbuds. For example, even if the soundstage of a video is constricted, it still sounds largest through my main setup. It's a matter of personal taste though. I kind of like hearing the flaws in a way. It's just interesting. But of course there is a reason all my music is flac.

....errrrr ewww?

 

non-pg13 analogy =P (Click to show)
that's like saying that you want to watch ugly fat chick p0rn on the new 4k resolution TVs... no thank you, just keep it nice & blurry... i'll save my 4k TV for some hot talented professional "actresses". ;)

 

using nice bloated bass-boosted non-transparent headphones easily hides the flaws of lower quality audio files. you wouldn't want to use the latest dslr to take a picture of some awkward ugly dude w/ acne... you want to use a cheap disposable kodak that doesn't have the resolution/detail to pick up on the uglyness. 

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