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Some good Headphones and a combo amp?

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 
Hello all, first post for me, so I'll try to be as descriptive as I can without making too many rookie mistakes . I would like to think/hope,that I am an audiophile by now.(I'm 49) When it comes to the in home listening enviroment anyway. I have what I consider to be, a pretty elaborate room set up as not only my home theater but also and more so as my dedicated music listening room. A 7.1 system Consisting of Tannoy Sensys DC 2s front Mini(38 inch tall models)tower speakers for my front left and rights,Tannoy Arena Highline 500s for my rear left and rights, Tannoy Arena Highline 500 for my front center channel speaker, and for my left and right side surrounds, a pair of regular Tannoy Arenas(the ones that look like bug eyes) My subwoofer is an Aperion Audio Intimus S-12. The system is driven by an Onkyo  AVR TX-SR875. And it's all in a 10 X 20 room that is strictly dedicated to sound and vision. So I THINK I am an Audiophile not only because of the 'set up' that I have and how long I've been at it, but also because my music taste has basically always been all over the place(LOL)since I was about 10 years old. So whether it's my favorite super audio CD(SACD) by Telarc titled 'Time Warp', or AC/DC's Back in Black album(on CD or Vinyl) that I'm listening to, I make it a point to get myself totally immersed in just about every detail there is to be heard in anything that is coming out of the speakers all around me. I should also mention the strategically placed sound treatments and bass traps that I have in 'The Room' also. Which makes for a nice solid and flat listening environment. We even went so far as to create double sheet rock walls and a ceiling which all had a layer of 'Green Glue' sound proofind 'Goo' sandwiched in between the two separate 1/2 inch thick walls and ceiling of sheet rock before they went up. This room was a true labor  of Love. There were Family and Friends, and one very very helpful Cousin in particular, who all helped not only save me at least half of what it would have cost me to build this room if I had had it done by 'professionals'. but they all helped to also make the entire process an enjoyable learning experience too. So why am I here now, right? Well, due to My handicap making it more difficult now than it ever has been to go down to My basement and into 'The Room', I am not only extremely behind in My second Favorite hobby of watching movies, but my Favorite hobby, spending 3-5 hours at a time just listening to music 4 to 5 times a week, has been cut down to less than half. So I want and need to get a new pair of headphones, that are not only 'tight' and a bit more refined(clean), but that also provide more than a decent amount of bass and 'punch'. And all while remaining within my budget. Not too difficult a task, right? Ha! The only source(s) that I will be using to play my music through when using headphones is My PC, My iPod, or the one I use most often now, My iPhone 4S. I have had a pair of Sony XB500s for a little over 2 years now, which fit me just the way I like a pair of headphones to fit me. They can manage what I feel and hear as ONLY an average amount of bass when used with the 3 sources that I currently own for strictly headphone use.(mentioned above) And they tend to lose their manners ('tightness')if the volume is just a bit on the higher side.  But I did choose them after I had went and ordered and then sent back a pair of Seinheisers(please forgive me for forgetting which model they were)on 'the blind'. And to me, the Sony's were just cleaner sounding and had an overall 'good sound feel' to them no matter what I threw at them while at the store I went to to audition what ever headphones that they had to offer at the time on that day. So now, after the 2+ years I've had with the Sony's, and a new need to get more than half of my  'better' music listening experience from headphones now, I'm going to attempt to step up to headphones that provide me with a listening experience that is more reflective of the one that I've grown accustomed to in 'The Room'. (LOL)   My Sister, being the Saint that She is. knowing that I wanted to upgrade my headphones, tried Her very best this past Christmas to spoil me with a new pair of Headphones(Audio Technica ATH-M40fs) and a Combination amp/battery booster case for my iPhone 4S(i.Fuzen HP-1). And I have to say, I was truly impressed and delighted by the  great lengths She went to-in getting Me something that She knew I was interested in, and all of the reading up she did to get herself familiar with 'good' headphones in general. So there we were on Christmas Afternoon, My new headphone amp/battery booster fully charged and my iPhone encased in it now, my new AT headphones connected, and Stevie Wonder's  'Master Blaster' (hotter than July)cued up and ready to be listened to on my iPhone. I gave my Sister first honors because it was only right that She get first listen on what She had put together for me. Well lets just say that about 30 seconds into the song Her facial expression was less than a positive looking one as she exclaimed "Joe, these things don't even sound as good as your Sony's do!". Me, being the so called expert on the subject exclaimed right back "please give those to me right now!" There was no way that She knew what She was talking about I thought to myself. Turns out, that after about 2 1/2 hours of listening to songs from about 6 different genres of music in a side my side test vs my Sony's, that I agreed with my Sister. Hardly any punch or deep sounding bass to speak of.(for me anyway). The highs were so high and piercing at times that it made my inner ears ache. And that was with the playback of at least 3 or 4 different genres of music. And even though I like my music to be clean and tight sounding, the highs through these M40fs' were just too much. And with all that, they still managed to sound muffled in the vocals of a lot of songs too. And as far as the i.Fuzen amp/battery booster is concerned, I was very dissapointed about a few things with that too. You can not listen to your music while the i.Fuzen is plugged in and charging no matter how low it is or how close the unit is to being fully charged. And listening time runs out pretty quickly when your using the headphone jack(there's 2)that amplifies the unit the most. So we are returning everything, and I am able to add another $100 to the total budget for what I want. So my total budget is about $250.00 for headphones and a combo amp/battery booster for my iPhone 4S, that's actually good by the 'Head Fi's' community standards as well as useable while in the plugged in and charging process. If something like this exists that is. I can go as far as adding another $50.00 to my budget if I have to. But that's it for me. Due to being disabled for life now, I am on a fixes income. So though my taste in all things Audio/Video remain and always will be on the upper scale, My purchasing of such things will have to be cut back to maybe 2 or if I'm very lucky, 3 times a year now. Thank you for any and all suggestions that any of you may have for me. And Thank you for reading my 'run on' post.  Joe B.
post #2 of 3
Dude. Carriage Return. Please use it.

post #3 of 3
Originally Posted by Gatsby191 View Post





For headphones, it is understood that they will never sound as good as speakers in terms of imaging, soundstage and instrumental separation. For $250~$300, there's really no need of adding an amp in between it, but if you wish to, you can look into the E07K + AKG K550/1. This combo gives you deep-sub bass but it is definitely not as powerful as your Sony headphone. The AKG K550/1 can be found new for $201 on amazon and E07K can be found new for $90 @ Amazon. I do suggest getting a FiiO L9 if you wish to connect the amp to your iPhone to avoid "double amping". In my opinion, the K550 + E07K produce a very clean sound with bass that extends deep. You can always boost more bass on the E07K although I doubt it will be anything close to your Sony bass. 


If you are willing to give up the idea of pairing an amp, the AH-D600 is not bad either. The bass is much, much stronger than K550 but it will not be as clean sounding as the K550. The AH-D600 can be driven straight out of the iPhone 4S with ease [the K550 as well but a warm amp like the E07K will benefit the K550 more]. 


For less treble spike, the PSB M4U1 is worth looking into as well! 


Hope it helps

Billson :)

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