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Upgrade Headphones or Amp

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 

My current setup is:

 

Beyerdynamic Custom One Pros

FIIO E17

Macbook Pro

 

I was looking to upgrade my headphones to the Beyerdynamic T90s.  From the reviews they seem to offer the extended refinement without sounding too lean in the bass department.  The sale price unfortunately is gone.  It was suggested I'd need something more powerful than the E17 to power the T90s.  I can afford the full retail of the headphones and a new amp.  I am wondering if upgrading my amp may breath more life into my COPs until I can save up for the T90s?


Thoughts? Suggestions? Opinions?


Thanks!

post #2 of 12

You need to tell us your budget, and whether or not you are OK with open cans.

post #3 of 12
Thread Starter 

My budget is around $500.  Open headphones are fine.  I plan on keeping my COPs for listening that needs to be closed.  

 

Considering the cost of the T90s, I could get a pair of DT990s & a new amp.


Thanks!


Edited by seag33k - 12/13/13 at 4:26pm
post #4 of 12

Some excellent cans that won't require (although might benefit from) an amp upgrade include the Shure SRH 1840, Sony MDR 7520, Grado RS-2i.

 

You can also spend $100 to $150 on an entry level Schiit or O2 amp and pair it with the AKG K702 65th Anniversary Edition, Senn HD 600 or (bassier) 650.

 

Your selection will largely depend on the sound signature that you are seeking.

post #5 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by seag33k View Post
 

My current setup is:

Beyerdynamic Custom One Pros

FIIO E17

Macbook Pro

I was looking to upgrade my headphones to the Beyerdynamic T90s.  From the reviews they seem to offer the extended refinement without sounding too lean in the bass department.  The sale price unfortunately is gone.  It was suggested I'd need something more powerful than the E17 to power the T90s.  I can afford the full retail of the headphones and a new amp.  I am wondering if upgrading my amp may breath more life into my COPs until I can save up for the T90s?

Thoughts? Suggestions? Opinions?

Thanks!

The 16-Ohm Beyerdynamic Custom Pros Ones are very easy to drive, so a more powerful amplifier would not make a noticeable difference.

 

You might consider getting Audio Technica headphone for an upgrade, they have lots on nice headphones that are in the 40-Ohm range, easy for the FiiO E17 to drive.

post #6 of 12
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by KG Jag View Post
 

Some excellent cans that won't require (although might benefit from) an amp upgrade include the Shure SRH 1840, Sony MDR 7520, Grado RS-2i.

 

You can also spend $100 to $150 on an entry level Schiit or O2 amp and pair it with the AKG K702 65th Anniversary Edition, Senn HD 600 or (bassier) 650.

 

Your selection will largely depend on the sound signature that you are seeking.

Thus far I like the sound of my Custom One Pros.  Areas I'd like to improve upon are, more detailed highs, better sound stage & imaging, full and accurate bass.  I listen to a wide variety of music types such as rock, country, jazz, and modern rock.  I rarely listen to classical.  Sound signatures I am hoping to avoid are harsh or edgy treble and thin bass.  I am not a basshead, but I do enjoy deep and accurate bass.  My COPs have punch and impact, but feel they probably aren't as accurate which is fine for my use.  I've listened to stereo systems with "accurate" tonal balance and always felt the bass was missing.  I'd rather have a headphone that has a bump in the bass vs. one that sounds anemic.

post #7 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by seag33k View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by KG Jag View Post
 

Some excellent cans that won't require (although might benefit from) an amp upgrade include the Shure SRH 1840, Sony MDR 7520, Grado RS-2i.

 

You can also spend $100 to $150 on an entry level Schiit or O2 amp and pair it with the AKG K702 65th Anniversary Edition, Senn HD 600 or (bassier) 650.

 

Your selection will largely depend on the sound signature that you are seeking.

Thus far I like the sound of my Custom One Pros.  Areas I'd like to improve upon are, more detailed highs, better sound stage & imaging, full and accurate bass.  I listen to a wide variety of music types such as rock, country, jazz, and modern rock.  I rarely listen to classical.  Sound signatures I am hoping to avoid are harsh or edgy treble and thin bass.  I am not a basshead, but I do enjoy deep and accurate bass.  My COPs have punch and impact, but feel they probably aren't as accurate which is fine for my use.  I've listened to stereo systems with "accurate" tonal balance and always felt the bass was missing.  I'd rather have a headphone that has a bump in the bass vs. one that sounds anemic.


Then you should shoot for the open HD 650.  However, I fear that what you really like is significantly more bass than neutral.  If so, the mid bass hump of the 650 may not be enough bass for you.  If this is the case, audiophile cans in your price range will probably not meet you expectations with regard to amount of bass you want in your sound signature.

post #8 of 12
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the input.  I've considered the HD650s but wasn't sure if they would offer that fuller sounding bass or not.  How much more would I have to spend to get that bass? and which models?

 

Thanks!

post #9 of 12

You'll have to specifically define what you mean by "fuller sounding bass".  If you mean a bass emphasized sound signature, there are many basshead and lite cans out there.  If you mean fully extended and present but not over powering bass, then above the HD 650 you are looking at orthos like the HE-500 and "prince of darkness" LCD-2.

post #10 of 12
Thread Starter 

I am not looking for over emphasized bass, necessarily.  I am looking for headphones that have an overall rich sound with bass that can go low accurately.  For example, the album - The Rite of Strings has a song called 'Song to John' where Stanley Clarke plays the stand up bass.  Around 1:57, he hits a low note.  I've listened to this on high end audio systems with speakers that produce clean and accurate bass.  When he drives the bass notes lower, you can hear and feel it as the notes change.  On lesser systems, the distinction of the bass notes is difficult to identify or they can't produce it all together.  I am hoping to find a pair of headphones that can offer that impact but the level of accuracy if this makes any sense.


Thank You!

post #11 of 12

Almost any quality mid-fi can (covered by the price range we have been discussing) should give you what you are seeking.  [The Shure SRH 1840 is the most bass light of the cans I mentioned.]  However, some of the cans will give you the note, but decay quickly.  Others have more body.  With even the very best headphones, you will not feel the note in your chest like you can with speakers.  The other factor is, of course, how you like the rest of the sound signature or each can and secondarily--what it takes to drive it properly.

 

The HE-500 is your ideal can--at least the one closest to your price range.  Quality orthos like the HE-500 due a great job with bass.  They require a fairly heft amp to be driven properly.

post #12 of 12

The T90s are rather easy to drive thanks to the tesla technology. At least for me, the difference between driving them from a Sennheiser HDVD 800 and a FiiO E07K was rather marginal. Unproblematic if you ask me. Although I would look into buying other headphones, since the T90's treble is really aggressive, fatigue kicks in pretty fast if you're sensitive to treble.

Which, of course, doesn't apply if you've already heard the T90 a couple of times and you like the sound.

 

As of reccomendations, I would also suggest the SRH-1840.

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