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Hi All - New Member

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 

Hi all,


I am new to the Head-Fi scene. I've always been interested in Audio gear though. I've had some decent lower budget setups for my home and car. I finally came to the realization that I spend 8 hours a day with iPhone earbuds in my ears listening to music while I work. I figured since I spend so much time listening to music in my cube, that I should invest in a good rig. 


I've been listening to Slacker Radio on my Galaxy S3 with my old iPhone earbuds, but I recently found my Grado SR60s I got a while back and starting using them again. I had stopped using them because they made my ears hurt after long listening, and they were too noisy for my last office. I've started a new job that has better cube dividers so I pulled them back out. I've enjoyed the new level of detail. I got new ear cushions and messed around with the band a bit. I can now wear them all day at work with only minor pain in my right ear. 


I started reading on here about the FiiO E6 and you can't beat the price so I got one. It arrived to day and I've been listening to it sense. It's pretty impressive considering the price and size. 


I also read about folks using the Sana Fuse as their MP, which surprised me because I had one of those in a box deep in a closet. I dug it out yesterday and charged it up. I pulled over some music to it and then RockBox'ed it after I read about how the Fuse doesn't playback at the correct speed. Huh? 


 I also have some Etymotic ER6i IEMs. I'm not to fond of them, but I use them when I'm mowing the lawn and other yard work, lol. The FiiO E6 seemed to help them out some, but still not my favorite. 


Now I'm thinking about getting a whole new rig. I want some new over the ear cans , a DAC, and an Amp. Not sure if I'll get a DAC/AMP combo or get separate units. Then the remaining question is if I use the Fuse, S3 or some other MP. Not sure yet.


I've really enjoyed doing my research on here. There are some amazing rigs out there. I had no idea what I was getting myself into. 


I'm open to suggestions on what I should get. 



post #2 of 7
...and that's EXACTLY why the traditional greeting is:

Welcome to head-fi, sorry about your wallet...

What price range are you looking to spend?
post #3 of 7
Thread Starter 

Ha ha ha!! I'm thinking about $500 for the entire rig. I read your post on another thread about the important and impact of each component and I will use that in my search. 1- Headphones, 2- Amp, and 3- DAC. I tried to find a place in Dallas to listen to some different headphones, but there is apparently only one store worth going to in the area. I did see that there is a Head-Fi meetup in Austin that might be worth attending. I've been looking for a reason to go to Austin :).


So I was thinking about $200 for the headphones, but maybe I should devote more of my budget to headphones. My ignorance prevents me from making any real decisions yet.


Some of the ones I've been researching are:

  • Sennheiser HD 518

  • Audio-Technica ATH-M50

​But really I have no idea. That is just based on reviews from other folks. I have no idea how to objectively compare headphones.



post #4 of 7
Is this intended to be a portable rig, or a desktop rig or both? Are you looking for a boom-boom bass-heavy sound, or something more neutral?

I'm not that knowledgeable on the DAPs - I have an old ipod that I've used for almost 10 years and still works great. I have a line-out dock so I can bypass the ipod's amp and feed lineout level signals to an external amp. I'm not sure what I would buy if the ipod dies - I would probably either use my iphone or get a Sansa Clip+. I do kind of prefer having my music on a separate device from my phone, but that's just personal preference - it has nothing to do with the sound.

It doesn't really matter whether you get a DAC/amp combo or two separate boxes - it's usually a little cheaper to get the combo. If you get a DAC/amp that also has the capability to provide a lineout (bypassing the amp) then you can always use it as just a DAC even if you later get a different amp. The Fiio E10 is an example of a desktop USB DAC/Amp with the ability to provide lineout. The Schiit Modi+Magni stack is also a popular desktop option that works very well. If you need portability, you won't need the DAC - at least not unless there is a way to get a digital signal out of the music player. You could just keep using your Fiio E6, or if you want to step-up, there is the Fiio E17 (or E18 if you want something made for Android) that can also be used as a DAC at home. Fiio has pretty much killed-off all the rest of the $100 portable amps & DAC/Amps - except for the various Chinese units you see on eBay. The next step-up from the Fiio are probably the units from JDS Labs - the O2+ODAC and C5/C5D.

As far as the headphones, assuming you spend $100 - $200 on the the DAC & Amp, then that will leave ~$300 for the headphones. There are many excellent choices depending on whether you need an open headphone - like your Grados they would let external sound in and leak your music out, or a closed headphone for isolation. My favorite $300 headphone is probably the Mr. Speakers Mad Dog - I really like the smooth and detailed sound that is a bit warm. However, those are fairly big and heavy headphones, and they won't provide enough low-end boom for a basshead. There are also very good headphones from Sennheiser, AKG, Beyerdynamic, Audio-Technica, VModa and others in that price range.
post #5 of 7
Thread Starter 

Ah, I should have put all this in my original post.


This will be used mainly at work. So a portable rig I guess? I rarely use my headphones outside of work. I think I would prefer an open headphone vs closed but that's only because they are supposed to give you a better sound. If there is a closed headphone that works great in my price range, then I'll get it. As far as what kind of sound, I would say more neutral, but I do like a little bass. I mainly listen to EDM while I work, but I also enjoy listening to everything from 90s Alternative to Country. 


I didn't know you could get an amp/dac combo unit that could bypass the amp. Good to know.


Thanks for all of your help by the way. 

post #6 of 7
Thread Starter 

I am thinking about the Sennheiser HD 600 as my choice of headphone. They seem to be like a great starting point (maybe beyond that) for a beginner like myself. I haven't seen one bad review on them, and the price isn't too far outside my budget. I see there are some used ones for sale on this forum. I'm not sure if its worth the risk, but it's about $100 cheaper than a new set. Then I could think about the Fiio E18 or Fiio E12 if I just wanted an amp and get the DAC later.


I also forgot that I have an old iPhone 3G laying around I can use to as my music player. I'm not sure which is the best of my 3 choices. Galaxy S3, iPhone 3G, or Sana Fuze (v2). The iPhone might be good because I believe I can easily use a LOD cable with it. I couldn't figure out from the posts if the Sana Fuze v2 would actually work or not especially after I Rockbox'ed it.

post #7 of 7
Thread Starter 

So I went down to Guitar Center of Dallas and tried out several headphones. I ended up getting a Shure SRH440. I tried out the Audio-Technica ATH-M50, Beyerdynamic DT770 Pro, and the Sennheiser HD 280 Pro. The ATH-M50 had too much bass for me. The DT770 was too neutral for me and the HD 280 had no bass and sounded the worst of all of the ones I tested. 


I ordered a Fiio E18 to work with my Galaxy S3. 

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