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Newbie Needs Help Finishing System

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 

Hello I am new to the thread (as I’m sure you can guess), and I need some help. I have become completely bored with my entire very high end solid state audio components, and sold everything except my Thiel speakers….which I plan to be buried with. The fun part here is that I am aiming for the very best sound I can get from low or medium priced components, anyone could put together a terrific $20,000 system…...I want to put together a terrific $4,000 system. Takes a lot more research, but that’s been part of the fun so far.

 

I spent a lot of time hovering on this and other threads over the last couple of months, and I have made most of my purchases or at least decisions. I unfortunately have completely talked myself into a state of indecision on the last couple of pieces; headphones and headphone amp. I figured what better place to bring my quandary to than here? Here is the equipment I have in place or have already decided on for the overall system:

 

(1) Thiel CS1.2 and Thiel CS2.3 speakers

(2) NOS Volex 17604 power cables (AKA as Sun Micro Systems X311L, and easily found on ebay)

(3) Blue Jeans or Monoprice interconnect cables

(4) NOS Vampire Wire or Blue Jeans speaker cables

(5) Onkyo C-7030 CD player

(6) Maverick Audio TubeMagic D2 DAC with OPA627 OpAmp and NOS GE 5670W tube upgrades (price for DAC with upgrades recently reduced to $289 and use “15OFF” code for additional $15 off price)

(7) Bob Latino VTA ST-120 tube amp with all of Bob’s capacitor upgrades and stepped attenuator. Tubes are Tung-Sol KT120 power tubes, Phillips NOS 5R4GYS rectifier, and RCA NOS 5963 driver tubes....to drive the Thiels

 

Now for where I’m stuck and where I have no real historical experience, as I have never used headphones and/or a headphone amp (and any associated cables needed). If I could get comments, feedback, or suggestions to help eliminate or choose the last two components; I would be most appreciative. I have tried to do my research before asking for help:

 

(1) Headphones narrowed down to (I will not be listening to them for hours on end, maybe an hour at a time): Griffin Woodtones, Grado SR60i or SR80i, Hifiman HE-300 or HE-400, Denon AH-D340 or AH-D600, Beyerdynamic DT-770 Pro or DT-880 Pro or DT-990 Pro, Ultrasone DJ-1 or Pro 750, AKG K172 HD or K240S, Sennheiser HD-25-I II or Momentum, Vmoda Crossfade M-80

(2) Headphone amps (I do not need these to be portable, will only listen at home)– Schiit Magni or Valli, Fii0 Qogir EO9K, Maverick Audio A1, Aune T1, Topping D2 or TP21 or T30. Only issue here is several of these amps are Chinese made, and ship from China or Hong Kong…..not sure that is or isn’t an issue, but not sure either

(3) Headphone cables or upgrades – Have not yet gotten down to which headphones have replaceable cables, and if it’s worth even looking into that at this point

 

I know that is a lot, but I truly appreciate any input to help me break the log jam in my head

post #2 of 10
Thread Starter 

I forgot to mention music type: Depeche Mode, The Cure, The Cult, New Order, The Black Keys, Bob Marley, Nirvana, Supertramp, Pink Floyd, Lynyrd Skynyrd, The Outlaws, Sara McLauchlin, Eminem, Tiesto, Armen Van Buren, INXS, blah blah blah

post #3 of 10

I think the magni is more than enough for any of those headphones.

post #4 of 10
Don't forget the HD558. smily_headphones1.gif. You may want to spring for the Asgard given the rest of your system.
post #5 of 10
Thread Starter 

Grinding Thud thank you for the reply, I've added the HD558 to my list.....I may end up getting two sets of headphones to figure out what style works best to my ears. Hoping to eliminate a couple of pairs on my list soon.....leaning toward a pair of Sennheiser and another from the list. Any that you think might be problematic? especially considering I am only going to be playing CDs through the C-7030 and Maverick DAC?

 

Part of my indecision is that I have the feeling I need to "pair" the proper headphones with the proper head amp, I went through a lot of trial and error when trying to pair the right amp/preamp combo with the Thiel speakers. For example: don't want a bright pair of cans with a bright amp; don't want a dark amp with a pair of dark headphones, don't want a set that are fatiguing, don't want muddy bass (don't need overwhelming bass, just don't want sloppy)

post #6 of 10
The HE-400 sound slightly colored (recessed mids) to some people (they do to me)....but otherwise sound outstanding. You may notice this more coming from your ultralinear tube setup and the Thiels. The Vali I think you'd find unacceptable because of the noise floor / tube ringing. Other than the Magni, I think all the other amps you listed are chip amps of some kind. I've only heard the Schiit gear on your amp list, so I can't comment directly on how the others sound.
Quote:
Originally Posted by VTHokie83 View Post

Grinding Thud thank you for the reply, I've added the HD558 to my list.....I may end up getting two sets of headphones to figure out what style works best to my ears. Hoping to eliminate a couple of pairs on my list soon.....leaning toward a pair of Sennheiser and another from the list. Any that you think might be problematic? especially considering I am only going to be playing CDs through the C-7030 and Maverick DAC?

Part of my indecision is that I have the feeling I need to "pair" the proper headphones with the proper head amp, I went through a lot of trial and error when trying to pair the right amp/preamp combo with the Thiel speakers. For example: don't want a bright pair of cans with a bright amp; don't want a dark amp with a pair of dark headphones, don't want a set that are fatiguing, don't want muddy bass (don't need overwhelming bass, just don't want sloppy)

Edited by GrindingThud - 2/1/14 at 6:45am
post #7 of 10
Thread Starter 

OK an update on the headphones, the Denon AH-D340 and AH-D600, Griffin Woodtones, VModa M-80, and Sennheiser HD-25 and Momentums are out.....by popular Head-Fi recommendation added the Sennheiser HD-558 and HD-598s

post #8 of 10
Thread Starter 

Headphones decided on, ordered a pair of Sennheiser HD 558s, got them for $117 with free shipping. I thought that was a terrific price, and I just couldn't justify the extra $80 or so for the 598s. That's a start for now, I am sure I'll listen for a while and try some mods and see where I am.....like most, will probably end up with a few more pairs. Now I can focus on the headphone amp; leaning to the Schiit Modi/Vali or Maverick A1 right now, as I have no need for portability.

post #9 of 10
Thread Starter 

Headphone amp decided on and ordered, Schiit Magni.......only thing left is cables. I need a 10' run of speaker cables, 2 analog RCA 2' interconnects, and 1 2' dgital cable.

 

Would like to buy the analog and digital cables from the same vendor, right now have narrowed down to:

 

Interconnects (As usual I've over complicated this again): Blue Jeans Belden 1505F and Belden 1694A, Mapleshade Clearview ribbon, Livecables Quad Core Jena (analog only) Ultra, Epiphany Atratus analog and Atratus II digital, Anti Cables Level 1 Reference analog and Level 3 digital, Silver Resolution Reference Analog and Digital Reference, and finally Morrow MA1 analog and DIG1 digital cables.

 

Speaker cables: Blue Jeans Canaire 4S11, Livecables 4S11, Anti Cables Level 3 reference, Morrow SP4 Reference, Mapleshade Double Helix, and Signal Cable Silver Resolution

 

Any real world experience would be helpful here, especially with the components

post #10 of 10
for the gear you are buying i definately wouldn't break the bank on cables, audioquest is about as high end as i would go
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