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Headphones + Amp For ~$220?

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 

Since this is my first post I would like to say that I've been on the forums for a while, just never bothered to create an account because generally I could find all of my answers to anything involving audio here. 

 

Also I would like to get into the hopefully wonderful world of higher end audio because I'm the classic story of going from Apple Earbuds to higher end ones. 

 

Anyway, I have had the Klipsch Image x10s for quite some time now, but after listening to my friend's ATH-M50s, they don't cut it anymore, mostly because of the amazing sound stage available when using full-sized headphones versus IEMs. I am looking at some full-sized cans (preferably closed, but have read good things about open-backed headphones) and an amplifier (although apparently not 100% necessary) for around roughly $220. Including that, style is important to me. I.E. Beats are the best looking headphones without a doubt, but unbelievably overrated and lacking in clarity. 

 

I have done quite a bit of research on this, but would like some opinions and recommendations as far as what to get, with no modding involved. After my research, these headphones best suited my needs:

 

Audio Technica ATH-M50

Beyer DT 770 

Audio Technica A900X

Denon D2000

 

As far as the Beyers go, 770 Pro or Premium? Premium looks far classier but I can't find it anywhere even though there are supposedly seldom audio differences. Just heard about the D2000 and would like some opinions on that. And the ATH-M50 apparently has "better" bass (more quantity but less texture) than the A900X. And I've heard issues with the wing design on the A900X and it falling too low on someone's head. Finally, the DT 770, which I had the pleasure of trying out today which I think has incredible clarity compared to my x10s. If I were to get those, 32/80/250ohms? I am open to more suggestions for headphones around this subject however.

 

The amplifier I have been checking out if I were to get some of the higher impedance Beyers would be the FiiO e10. Looks rather modern and sleek (love it) and supposedly can drive anything up to 300ohms. It goes on Amazon for $75 when I last checked, which seems to be a decent deal. Also looking for opinions as far as what to get for an amplifier. Portable would be nice I suppose, but I could use a desktop amp if necessary. 

 

I listen to "fun" types of music, such as rap/pop and a headphone that compliments that would be great. That being said, I will be gaming and listen to classic/rock music as well.

 

Thanks for reading that mess, don't think I forgot anything. I'll reply often and thanks in advance guys.

post #2 of 23
The D2000 was discontinued by Denon and is no longer available unless you buy used. Which, IMHO, is a real shame because the newer Denon 'phones in the same price range just don't sound as good to me.

In theory the E10 can drive a 300 ohm headphone, but in practice it depends on the headphone and your volume preferences. My E10 struggles with my harder to drive 300 ohm headphones - it's not what I would call a really powerful amp - it's fine with something more in the middle of the "hard to drive" pack of 'phones.
post #3 of 23
Thread Starter 

But of the headphones that I listed, the D2000 would have been the best for clarity/bass? If they aren't really an option, then the 770s would be the most likely candidate, but I'm certainly open to more options.

 

Are there any amps in the sub70ish range then that could drive the higher impedance Beyers? If I didn't get the 80/250 ohms 770s, then an amp wouldn't be necessary. The only one that would have an issue with the e10 would be the 250ohms. 

 

Also, what does a DAC improve upon when listening to music? Does it remove buzz or just increase clarity by changing the channel to analog?

post #4 of 23

I have Beyerdynamic DT770 Pros 250ohm and drive them quite easily with a NuForce MMP, which is equivalent to an E7 / E07K / E10 FiiO in terms of output. Plenty of volume, works great.

 

The only difference between Pro and Premium Beyerdynamcs is clamping force. Most have velour pads (me and Zap Branigan prefer these) and a few others like the 32 ohm special edition DT770s have pleather / leather pads, which both Zap Branigan and I find hot and uncomfortable. I love mine, but they are NOT the most stylish of headphones.

post #5 of 23
Thread Starter 

On the NuForce website, the specs say that the MMP can drive a 100 ohm headphone to its ability, whereas the e10 is rated to 300, and the E7 / E07K are both 150 I believe. But the MMP is less expensive. 

 

The reason why I would prefer premium over pro is simply that they look far more stylish, but I honestly can't find them for sale anywhere. I tried the 770s today and the velour was astounding versus pleather. They sound great, just wish I could find out more about where to buy the premium version.

post #6 of 23
I have the e10 and it works fine with the 770s which I'd personally pick over the m50s. It also works well with the DT990s which sound better to me than either the 770s or m50s and have a better sound stage...but they are open.
post #7 of 23
The impedance ratings are not absolute limits - the difficulty in driving a headphone is based on both the impedance and the sensitivity of the headphone. The amp manufacturer doesn't know the sensitivity of your cans, so they make a judgement call. A better indication is probably the amp's mWatt output at 300 Ohms and the distortion at that level. Every amp has a different curve for output & distortion as the impedance rises. Some headphones that are a lower impedance can still be very difficult to get to the desired volume level because their sensitivity is low. It just depends on how much the headphone really requires to reach the desired SPL and deal with dynamic spikes, and how that compares to the amp's output curves.

The old saying is: When in doubt, add power... tongue.gif
post #8 of 23
Thread Starter 

I love the idea of the 990 Premium, but they are out of my price range and the 990 Pro does not fit my style standard whatsoever, despite being in my price range. Which impedance 770s do you have? The 250?

 

As far as the amp, it means I would have to take the distortion level into account with the e10, but people say it will drive the headphones fine if I went with a 770.

 

And nobody has really compared the A900X to the 770s or 990s if I recall correctly. How do they compare?

post #9 of 23

Most of the time I drive my DT770s from my uDAC3 which is noticeably less powerful than my MMP, and even then I usually never go past about halfway. So it probably depends a lot on how loud you like to listen. I've considered a higher power amp but honestly I never listen to MMP at any volumes anywhere near max and its quite loud so it's hard to justify a bigger amp. I like the uDAC3 and MMP because of their small portable form factor and clean sound. 

post #10 of 23
Thread Starter 

The uDAC3 looks rather nice, especially since you say it can drive the 770s. Only issue is that the uDAC3 is significantly out of my price range. However, the MMP does have a sleek portable form factor but lacks a built-in DAC from what I am reading which supposedly affects the quality of the sound. But you are turning me towards going for the DT 770s at that. Thanks for the input.

post #11 of 23

Yeah for what you want the E07K is likely a better choice. At $90 or so on amazon it's a good unit.

post #12 of 23
Thread Starter 

From what I've heard, the combo that could do me well could be the Beyer DT770 250ohms with the FiiO E07K DAC. Would I need a 3.5mm to 3.5mm LOD cable if I was using my iPhone as the audio source? Also, will the E07K be able to power it to it's 100% potential, and any downsides of the amp such as reducing the soundstage?

 

Sorry about all the questions, have to make sure before I pull the trigger.


Edited by hailed - 1/19/14 at 8:39pm
post #13 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by hailed View Post
 

I love the idea of the 990 Premium, but they are out of my price range and the 990 Pro does not fit my style standard whatsoever, despite being in my price range. Which impedance 770s do you have? The 250?

 

As far as the amp, it means I would have to take the distortion level into account with the e10, but people say it will drive the headphones fine if I went with a 770.

 

And nobody has really compared the A900X to the 770s or 990s if I recall correctly. How do they compare?

 

Both the Beyers are 250 Ohms.   Don't have the A900X but have listened briefly and didn't like them as much as the m50s.

 

 

Right now am listening to my KRK KNS-8400s through the e10.  The clarity is amazing and they have more than enough bass when called for.  For what they cost me, $72 at BestBuy, they are one of my top 3 value purchases.   Currently, they're $79 at Cowboom.com (BB clearance site).    http://www.cowboom.com/product/1039128

 

Here's a good review of them http://www.head-fi.org/t/570501/the-krk-kns-8400-you-can-have-it-all  

 

FWIW, the guy that wrote this review (http://www.head-fi.org/u/51614/marximus) has owned all of the cans you're looking at -- some multiple times.  

post #14 of 23
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by GearMe View Post
 

 

Both the Beyers are 250 Ohms.   Don't have the A900X but have listened briefly and didn't like them as much as the m50s.

 

 

Right now am listening to my KRK KNS-8400s through the e10.  The clarity is amazing and they have more than enough bass when called for.  For what they cost me, $72 at BestBuy, they are one of my top 3 value purchases.   Currently, they're $79 at Cowboom.com (BB clearance site).    http://www.cowboom.com/product/1039128

 

Here's a good review of them http://www.head-fi.org/t/570501/the-krk-kns-8400-you-can-have-it-all  

 

FWIW, the guy that wrote this review (http://www.head-fi.org/u/51614/marximus) has owned all of the cans you're looking at -- some multiple times.  

The 8400s look pretty nice and he makes them seem pretty stellar - worth $250 at least in his eyes. Will pay more attention to those, plus they have memory foam ear cups and at only $80 that's some ridiculous value. 

 

How do they compare to the 770 in your opinion? Looked around here and people tend to prefer the beyers. 

post #15 of 23
Thread Starter 

And another option would be the AKG K551. Apparently don't need an amp to drive but would they benefit from one/anybody have any experience with them?

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