I've been reading this site on and off for awhile now (mainly reviews and misc stuff) but never saw the need to really register (I don't consider myself an audiophile, just a regular guy who appreciates good (relatively) sound. Audio - and more specifically gaming and positional audio - has been my interest for a number of years now. I was the guy who got the Aureal Vortex2 "3D Sound" card before a Voodoo2. They guy who - almost always, actually - upgraded my sound card before a graphics card. And yes, the one who had the original Sound Blaster and Sound Blaster 16 before anyone else in a 100km radius and was very happy with that. (also the one who rigged a "3.1" system out of a PC Speaker, but that's probably more than you want to know...:D ) As you can guess, I'm first and foremost a gamer, and a music listener second. (Thus, I've tried a bunch of things you folks here probably don't appreciate :)
That said, most of my systems that I've used have always been speakers, not headphones. Headphones came in late and I've somehow managed to make a hobby out of collecting (lousy) sets of headphones over the years. I've never really had a *good* pair before and never saw the need for a separate headphone amp.
Now, however, the hunger has grown while eating, as they say. I recently changed my speakers around, bought a new set and noticed that I haven't been using those lately that much, and my "big" speaker system haven't even been turned on for years - I've just used headphones. (Must've come with kids, that one. Can't really play loud when small ears are around.)
So, now I'm in the spot of having a bunch of headphones - some of which I actually think are good, but that's just my experience with them, I don't have a reference of "good" other than "best of what I got".
So, I'll have this to ask: If I'll list my current setup (and what is possible to add) and how everything is connected, you'd give recommendations of what I should do with the hardware? At least I'll hope that's what happens :)
So. Currently my output for practically anything is a Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi Titanium (Fatal1ty) sound card. (I don't really own anything that would need a different device to play, everything I have is digital.) That outputs optically to a Logitech Z-5500 speaker set and analog to a pair of Speed Link Medusa NX 5.1 and [currently, stereo only] to a Sony STR-DB930 A/V receiver. The Medusas are my "gaming 'phones" and I actually like them a lot. I've managed to get the EQ so that sounds are the way I like and the positional audio actually works pretty well (with my ears and head, I know that YMMV).
My "Listening to Music" headphones are connected to the Sony receiver (I used to connect them to the Z5500 headphone -port, but that uses some form of Dolby Headphone that cannot be turned off and it was driving me nuts. I also used to just connect them directly to the analog out on the X-Fi, but when I connected the DB930 in-between, at least to my ears the sound was miles and miles better.)
The headphones I currently use, on and off, I tend to switch every now and then, are Sony MDR-605, Philips SHP2000, Turtle Beach Ear Force X12 (this is also mostly for gaming/communication) and my newest addition; a pair of Sennheiser HD202's.
(I really do like the Senn's but I'd love to have a over-the-ear version of them. My ears are rather big and almost all on-ear phones hurt after awhile - so do the Senn's, unfortunately.)
I've already ordered a toslink to connect X-Fi to the Sony digitally, but that's still in the mail (so the analog stereo-only is really, really temporary). I cannot use the current toslink cable for a mundane fact: it's too short :)
Anyway, digital out from sound card to receiver and/or Z5500, gaming headphones on analog, "music headphones" connected to the receiver.
Is this fine, or should I change something around, lose something altogether, get something new..? (For that, I'm currently unemployed, so I can't justify anything expensive and any and all additions are max 100€ total.)
But, well, yeah. That's me. Hello. My first step on the road for the Headphone Heaven. (I heard that once you start, there's really no going back and you can kiss your money goodbye :D That sounds familiar, somehow.. :)