I'm relatively new to the audiophile thing, but have been using head-fi for reviews and to learn. As a result of that process I upgraded from cheap headphone to the Audio Technica ATH-M50 when a good deal came up. It was a pretty noticeable change, but not quite as much as I was hoping for. More reading ensued.
Directly connecting the phones to my computers is obviously a serious weakpoint. My budget is fairly low, but the Schiit Magni+Modi stack is doable. From what I've read this will make a fairly big difference in the sound I'm getting. The M50 is a 38 ohm phone, so it should get a lot of power from the Magni. My music is all iTunes, so I won't expect miracles, but the Modi should be a big step up in quality compared to the basic output of a generic sound card in a laptop/desktop.
My question for you experts is whether the M50 is good enough to really benefit from the Magni+Modi stack, or whether I'd be better off saving up for better phones first? Is there a set of phones in the $200-$300 range that would sound better direct off the laptop than the M50 would connected to the Magni+Modi?
Music style probably influences your answer to a degree. Mine is all over the map, but leans toward heavy electronic sounds mixed with real instruments. Lindsey Stirling is a favorite. I love bass, but am past the point of accepting it at the expense of the mids and highs. My craving nowadays is more for punch than rumble, and I love the sharp contrasting sounds in Celldweller's "Soundtrack for the Voices in My Head Vol 2". Similar to how my Yamaha receiver isn't strong enough to really fill out my Def Tech StudioMonitor 350 speakers, I feel like the M50 phones just aren't getting enough power to fill out what I'm listening to.
Unfortunately I can't get new cans and the stack. Thoughts, recommendations?