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New here (sort of) - Need Help With Stepping into the Realm of Audiophilia (HD650 and DAC/AMP)

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 

Hi all. (long post incoming; if you wish to skip my personal short story of how I got here, then skip the portion of text enclosed by dashed lines).

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So after lurking here for over 6 months, I decided to finally jump into buying some audiophile grade music equipment. As a little background, I first had my sights set on Beyerdynamics 770's, because I just love how they look. After going to a few stores to try them on, I was very impressed with how comfortable they were (there and then I knew velour was the way to go for me and leather just would not cut it). However, I was upset with how they sounded. They were not bad, but just did sound to my liking, which severely disappointmented me. It was then that I stated looking for alternatives and considering the higher priced Beyerdynamics. Although I tried the 880's, I had better but still mixed feelings. Just feels like the sound signature was not for me. (I will be going tomorrow to try them again just for the heck of it).

 

In my search for an alternative, I came across the Sennnheiser HD 598. I never considered open phones but these sounded nice (I just hate how they look :/). These opened my eyes to Sennheiser's. Eventually I made my way to the HD 650's and I have some really good feelings about them. And here is where I need the help of this community.

 

I want to get the HD650 (and a DAC+AMP) but I first new some answers. I listened to these in a loud store (busy hours) while hooked up to a central amp and just feeding random music to the headphones on display. They sounded fine. Then, despite understanding that my Galaxy S4 won't be sufficient to drive them enough, I still gave it a shot. Although I did have to crank up to almost max volume, they sounded fantastic (this could also be due to having to overcome the large background noise). The vocals were clear and not too piercing; while bass was evident but not too present or too far gone; acoustic (rock) instruments sounded amazing; only in some instances something would be a bit piercing (like treble or maybe was it also bass), but in no way was it discomforting or fatiguing. I could only imagine how they would sound with proper equipment.

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Having said that, I need some help with things I could not evaluate about the Sennheiser HD650. For one, due to the background noise, I could not evaluate sound leakage. How does the sound leakage work and how evident is it? What I mean is, could someone make a comparison of from how far away would a person be able to hear my music (at what listening level) and how much would I be able to hear from outside. I know this is subjective, but nonetheless would help me immensely. Also, comfort wise, how long can they be worn without feeling the need to take them off (e.g. due to heat/sweat or pressure).

 

I also need an amp to drive them and a DAC since my on board PC sound is horrendous. I primarily planned to use HD650's for desktop listening (FLACS and/or MP3), however after trying them directly connected to my phone, I am thinking I might use them for portable (MP3's). For sake of simplicity, I am only considering desktop oriented set up. I always had my eye on the Fiio e17 with its desktop dock (e07K was it?). The benefit of this would also be the fact that I could always use as portable. Recently, I have come across the Maverick Audio Tube Magic D1+ and started considering it instead (I liked the idea of having tube amp and solid state in one, until my recent readings state that the tube is only for speakers). Silly me, I love the way it looks. It seems like the D1 is a better choice on paper. So I need input here.

 

To summarize:

1. I plan on buying Headphones: HD650 (you can suggest others under $500, although I feel my mind is pretty set). I listen to many genres of music (Classic, different types of Rock, electronic, Pop, Rap, etc., etc.) so I need something that is generally universally compatible with all.

2. Need DAC/amp (preferably two in one): considering Fiio e17+e7, Tube Magic D1+ (or any other suggestions, such as NuForce ones, they also look slick and have favorable reviews). Budget here would be $300 (maybe go over by a little, depending on the item).

3. Looks matter to me, so between two great items, I would opt for the one that is more aesthetically pleasing.

 

P.S. Sorry for this lengthy and chaotic "essay" of an introduction. I hope someone can help me. Thank you all in advance for taking the time to read even a portion of this post. And yes, I am sorry for my own wallet T_T (and hopefully happy for my ears)!

post #2 of 3
If you're getting the HD650, go with the Schiit Modi And Magni.

Personally, I'd go with the just the Sony MDR MA900 with the Modi and call it a day. If you ask for comparisons against the HD650 in the MA900 appreciation thread, you'll get answers.
post #3 of 3
Thread Starter 

Thank you for the reply. I never came across the Sony MDR MA900. I would have to listen to it live before considering it. But I do like how the reviews say its very light and sounds similar to HD650.

 

As for Schiit, looking into review/comments about it right now. It never really struck me as an option, but perhaps.

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