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Greetings from this new wannabe audiophile, any suggestions for a poor worker with a set of...

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 

First of all wanted to say thanks for this site and all the great post that i have read over the last few months :)

 

I've always loved music, mostly metal and hard rock, though I love good solid classical pieces and pretty much anything but the new stuff.

 

Anyways, a few months ago I was fixing the air conditioning for a customer who was also a audiophile, and he was so excited about his new headphones that he let this poor worker try them to see what I thought, probably the first time I may have really heard music the way it was meant to be heard.  The headphones were Grado PS1000, I have looked at a lot of pictures of headphone amps and dac's, but have yet not figured out what his were.

 

Anyways, long story short, nickel and dime saving over the last few months and pouring over various sites, I now have my very own set of PS1000's and I am loving them.  I don't have a headphone amp, nor dac, though I do have an asus xonar essence stx and I have been doing my best to bring myself up to speed.  I've been re-recording my many old cd's into proper flac files and tweaking my computer settings as much as I can, and know how, and breaking in my new headphones in the process.

 

I think I got my headphones playing as optimal as this setup will allow, but would appreciate any advice firstly on any options that could help me get the best sound on what i have, but also secondly on what I can save up for to improve my rig next :)

 

P.S. I think I almost got them sounding as wonderful now as when I heard them playing at the customers house, but.... I didnt get to listen long enough to know for sure

post #2 of 10
Wow - first off, congrats on having a goal and reaching it! I wish I could get you to talk to my kids... cool.gif

If I had a TOTL Grado, I think I would want to pair it with a really excellent tube amp. My first thought for you would be the Woo WA7 - an excellent DAC plus an excellent tube amp. Of course, we're talking about another $1000... eek.gif

Welcome to head-fi, sorry about your wallet...
post #3 of 10

While it is always satisfying to spend boatloads of money on gear, the returns from that are quite small.

 

The main thing to remember when spending money on things like DACs and amps - trust only your ears, and not those of reviewers or other enthusiasts on forums like Head-fi.    Differences between various DACs and various amps (atleast solid state ones with ample power to drive your headphones) are going to be very, very small - and any report on those differences is likely to also have various placebos and confirmation biases built into them as well.

 

Eg - headfi wisdom has it that the output from an iPod Touch is crap.    I've A/Bed the iPod Touch directly and through an Alo National amp (feeding Sennheiser Momentums in both cases), and you know what - the difference is exceedingly minor to my ears.     Which indicates to me that the iPod amp section is perfectly adequate as long as it has enough juice to drive the headphones (Momentums are very easy to drive).

 

You are on the right track - for now, continue to rip all your CDs into FLACs.   After that, you may want to consider just listening to your rig as is for a while so that you get used to a certain reference sound.

 

After that, audition a good integrated DAC/amp - either solid state or tubes - and see if you can tell a meaningful difference in sound quality.    If you can, then upgrade.   If you cannot, then trust your ears and dont waste the money.

post #4 of 10
Still, there is something just epically awesome about Grados and beautiful tube amps. Maybe not in an audio sense, but just in a "d@mn that's really cool" sense. The kids might buy Beats to be cool, but I would rather have a space heater that glows in the dark...

(The above was written with tongue firmly planted in cheek - I actually agree completely with vkalia, even though I *also* think tube amps are really cool!)
post #5 of 10

^^^ So do I, amigo, so do I, as you no doubt recall from that epic Tube Amp thread from a couple of weeks ago.   My main speaker-based rig has been free of solid-state amplification since 1998  :)

 

But it seems a lot of so-called tube amps these days only have tubes in the input or buffer stage, not in the main gain stage.   And they use the same high-global-feedback circuitry of solid state design.   Those dont really give the real tube sound.

 

It's hard to really get the "real" tube sound for cheap - in addition to a zero feedback design, a 2A3 or 300B tube requires a plate voltage of ~250V and also has to be paired with high-quality output transformers (OTL works for high-impedance cans but not for the vast majority of low-impedance ones).   The cost of materials of such a design is around $200-500, depending on quality of parts chosen, which means that the typical retail price is going to be $1500-5000.    

 

And as you said, they are very efficient space heaters - my 2A3 consumes 50W of power and outputs 47W of heat, with about 2-3W being left over to run my speakers/headphones.

post #6 of 10

I heard Grados pair exceptionally well with Graham Slee amps, and they are quite affordable as well...

post #7 of 10

Grados are pretty easy to amp.....so you can get by pretty cheap.

 

Amping Grados is all about finding the right synergy, IMO.

 

Many amps work....but some just take your cans to the next level.

 

May want to check into a MAD EAR.

 

I have never heard it with the PS1000.....but with the RS1i it is off the hook......synergy times 10!

 

I hear the woo WA6 is nice also, but I have never heard it.


Edited by whirlwind - 2/1/14 at 4:24am
post #8 of 10
Thread Starter 

Thanks,  Appreciate the reply and the advice, and at this point I am just enjoying the ride, Its hard to go back to my logitech g430 headphones, but I have a few times to judge the difference when tweaking a particular setting or when testing various sound formats, and I may be wrong, but after 8 days and probably about 50 hours I think I about got them setup as well as my rig will play, and that is substantial to me, there are songs that I liked, but sounded too harsh, that now I love.  Running equalizer flat too, found the uni drivers for asus cards, found the right bit setting, figured out how to turn off virtual speakers and turn on hifi mode for a less processed sound, and tinkered with wasapi plug in for foobar, though I had mixed results with that one.  I know I'll probably switch on virtual speakers for gaming, but...havent played video games in 8 days, too busy rediscovering music.

 

I will definitely be listening, and to more than just the music that I usually do, I've already found 8 new cd's I used to hate that now sound insanely good.  I've heard melodies and words in songs that I have heard thousands of time like welcome to the jungle- Guns n Roses, and Metallicas S and M album, that I've just never heard before.

 

Listened to Jars of Clay's Flood, ended up playing the whole album and both of their other cd's that I own.

 

It'll be a long road, but I'm not looking back :)

Thanks again

post #9 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by flailure View Post
 

Thanks,  Appreciate the reply and the advice, and at this point I am just enjoying the ride, Its hard to go back to my logitech g430 headphones, but I have a few times to judge the difference when tweaking a particular setting or when testing various sound formats, and I may be wrong, but after 8 days and probably about 50 hours I think I about got them setup as well as my rig will play, and that is substantial to me, there are songs that I liked, but sounded too harsh, that now I love.  Running equalizer flat too, found the uni drivers for asus cards, found the right bit setting, figured out how to turn off virtual speakers and turn on hifi mode for a less processed sound, and tinkered with wasapi plug in for foobar, though I had mixed results with that one.  I know I'll probably switch on virtual speakers for gaming, but...havent played video games in 8 days, too busy rediscovering music.

 

I will definitely be listening, and to more than just the music that I usually do, I've already found 8 new cd's I used to hate that now sound insanely good.  I've heard melodies and words in songs that I have heard thousands of time like welcome to the jungle- Guns n Roses, and Metallicas S and M album, that I've just never heard before.

 

Listened to Jars of Clay's Flood, ended up playing the whole album and both of their other cd's that I own.

 

It'll be a long road, but I'm not looking back :)

Thanks again


You are in for  great ride.

 

I know exactly what you are saying, about discovering your old music.

post #10 of 10
Thread Starter 

Well,  another week and I'm still very impressed with the grado's.  Loving them even more, although I regret all the music I had acquired off of amazon digital... the difference from cd quality flac and 270vbr mp3 is, unfortunately, crystal clear on these headphones and not in a good way.  At least I usually only bought the 5 dollar or less albums, but it still seems like wasted money now.

 

Other than that, just trying to keep the volume down :)   Fortunately they sound incredible at low volumes too.

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