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New and looking to make the next step up.

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 

Hi Im looking for better headphone sound quality from my desktop pc. I'm using an older pci creative xfi xtreme gamer sound card and have a pair of hd555's(50 ohm I believe), have had both for probably 4-5 years. The soundcard is fairly cheap but got good reviews for processing all sound on the card and not through software like newer cards.

 

For $200-300 what should I be looking at to give me better sound(amp/ dac/ new headphones)? I dont need it to be portable and I dont need it to work with speakers, just headphones. I was looking at the recently released vali amp but I always have my windows volume set to 18-20/100 so I'm not sure if an amp will do me much good.

 

Any tips on what to purchase would be great, something I can add to in a year or so instead of selling will be a plus as well.

post #2 of 14
Perhaps some fidelio x1 would be a nice upgrade.
post #3 of 14

New headphones will usually make the biggest difference. 

As for amp and DAC... Considering that you don't need to turn up the volume all the way, your soundcard already has enough power. However, this doesn't mean that an amp won't give you an improvement in sound quality. Power is one side of the coin, but the other side has to do with quality -- distortion, impulse response, etc. Most headphone amps have more power than you will ever need, but they still sound different. 

I'd recommend a new headphone, then for future upgrades a cheap amp like the Vali (plugged into the line out of your soundcard), then a cheap DAC like a Modi. 


Edited by manbear - 1/4/14 at 2:48pm
post #4 of 14
A cheap DAC like the modi*
post #5 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by davidsh View Post

A cheap DAC like the modi*

LOL you got me... Too much barleywine for me :beerchug:

post #6 of 14
Thread Starter 

Thanks guys for the recommendations, I see the fidelio's have quite the following. If I wanted a noticeably better headphone than the x1 how much would I have to spend? The hd600 is $113.50 more at the moment.

post #7 of 14

You could get an HE-400 for $350 at Razordog.

post #8 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by dvom View Post
 

Thanks guys for the recommendations, I see the fidelio's have quite the following. If I wanted a noticeably better headphone than the x1 how much would I have to spend? The hd600 is $113.50 more at the moment.

Noticeably better? That is of course subjective. The HE400 with a suited amp would probably be noticeably better (technically speaking). But its presentation.. Whether you like it or not.. that is the question.

 

Something like the hd600 might be better for you... Or maybe not. No one can really tell you. Of course you can say that one is technically superior over the other, but that only gets you somewhat there. Highly subjective stuff..

post #9 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by manbear View Post
 

You could get an HE-400 for $350 at Razordog.

Actually, HiFiMAN products don't qualify for my $50 rebate on my site. Most other items do but not this brand. 

post #10 of 14

Bummer.

post #11 of 14

I have a question: what kind of music do you listen to?

post #12 of 14

Me? Mostly electronic (you will find that most HE-400 owners like electronic music). The headphones are well-suited to the genre, due to the bass, aggressive transients, and layering. It's not as good for, say, acoustic music. 

post #13 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by manbear View Post
 

Me? Mostly electronic (you will find that most HE-400 owners like electronic music). The headphones are well-suited to the genre, due to the bass, aggressive transients, and layering. It's not as good for, say, acoustic music. 

 

I meant OP, but I always like to hear what people listen to with their headphones, so it works!

post #14 of 14
Thread Starter 

Oh yea that's important, I listen to a lot of hardcore, metal, and alt rock. Protest The Hero, Atreyu, As Blood Runs Black, Alter Bridge, Pearl Jam, Queens Of The Stone Age, Soundgarden. I also like to throw in music like High Contrast and The Mars Volta. Above all else I like good vocals.

I just purchased a used set of he-400's, and after a couple days with them will then most likely buy an amp $150-300 looking at the audio-gd 11.32 atm.

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