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~$350 amp/DAC for Sennheiser HD 600s, (through Apogee Duet or turntable?), all music (especially post-rock, rock, jazz)

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 

Hello everyone!


I'm incredibly excited to have purchased the Sennheiser HD 600s, my first pair of high-end headphones. But now, I'm very confused about what amplification or DAC I need to get.


I could go about the audio set up 2 ways. One, I could use my new retina macbook pro (the newest model) or my mid-2010 iMac. I have an Apogee Duet 1 which I read COULD be used as a DAC, but I don't know if it's ideal. I'm wondering what, up to about $350 dollars (less is best!) do I need to get to supplement this? I've read about the fiios line but I guess these are considered "portable" and thus not as good? I could download FLAC files from the Internet for this.... 


But, another option is my Music Hall MMF 2.2le. I have lots of vinyl and currently it runs through a preamp into my Bose Wave, just because it was what's available. If this turntable coupled with an amp would be a better audiophile solution, I'd prefer doing that.  If 350 won't cut it for good amplification, I will save up. It's entirely possible there is some other source option, but I don't know what it is but if it exists let me know!! I love to learn.


I love all music, and play a ton of it. Literally anything besides country and screamo (except I love stuff like At the drive-in, etc). Some of my favorites are Sigur Ros, Deafheaven (listening to Sunbather on ipod earbuds was actually what sparked the desire for high-ends), Coltrane and any jazz, especial modal, classical (modernist period), Radiohead, pop music and folk, hip hop from Kendrick Lamar to Young Thug, electronic from dubstep to James Blake (LOVE)... really anything. But I really do love that wall-of-sound, shoegazy, atmospheric stuff that you hear in sigur ros or deafheaven.


Music affects me more than anything in my life, it is my life. I just want a setup (fit for a small apartment) that can bring me it in the fullest way possible.


Thanks for all the help, I'm so excited!




EDIT: Changed the focus of the topic a bit after choosing the 600's. Thanks for the help before!

Edited by CarlosK - 2/19/14 at 10:55pm
post #2 of 6
Welcome to head fi, it's nice to see someone asking for recommendations that's already done a sufficient amount of research. Because you don't have a powerful amp right now the he400s aren't going to be a good option, they are planar magnetic and way harder to drive than a normal dynamic headphone.. If you plan on buying (and it sounds like you are)on buying a nicer amp down the road the hd600s would be great they have amazing tonality and make every genre Sound good and they also scale up nicely meaning you'll notice quite an improvement when you buy a nice amp. If you don't want to get an amp I'd look at the hd598s they make more sense for mobile use don't need an amp and have a similar tonality as the HD600. Neither are super detailed but they are amazing with vocals and seem to be a lot more emotional than other more detailed cans.
Edited by linglingjr - 2/19/14 at 3:38pm
post #3 of 6
HiFiMan is currently selling the HE-400 for $299.00. http://www.head-direct.com/Products/?act=detail&id=115
post #4 of 6

looking through the sold listings on ebay ( I don't remember how much I got my 600s for) you should be able to pick up a used pair for $240-$300.  That leaves you with out much for an amp.


 I would drive them out of the Apogee duet 1 you have which I can't find any specs on but if it's anything like the duet 2 they should sound pretty good  I obviously have no experience with the Duet but after reading this I think you should be good for a very long time running them out of your Duet : http://www.head-fi.org/t/339551/apogee-duet-hd-600-or-650s


Honestly I was going to recommend some budget $100 amp that would be just enough to make them show their potential but it sounds like the duet is already way farther ahead of that.

post #5 of 6
Thread Starter 

I had about $650 for a total setup. I bought the 600s for $400 off Crutchfield but what I might do is, if I like them, return them and buy a used pair. Then I have somewhere around $350 remaining for an amp. I could just save up for the next step up from the Duet, I suppose, what might that be?

Edited by CarlosK - 2/19/14 at 11:10pm
post #6 of 6

The less-well-known Audio-Gd are building a new batch of NFB-15.32's right now - http://audio-gd.com/Pro/Headphoneamp/NFB1532/NFB15.32EN.htm - if you can wait for them!

I've been using one of these for a year, paired with Sennheiser HD598s. Soundstage and detail are exceptional. It comes at the cost of some bass, but that suits me fine.


At $187 for the 598s, and $235USD for the 15.32, I feel as though I've ripped someone off. The 15.32 is a lovely wee solid-state. It happily destroys my Onkyo receiver in an A/B for both soundstage and clarity, and costs bugger all.


I play everything from Nils Frahm to Crowded House, SBTRKT to Sub Focus, Electric Six to Cult of Luna. It's so good, that it changed my listening habits. The setup does a fantastic job of decyphering wall-of-sound recordings, for instance Devin Townsend's Ocean Machine - Biomech. Guitars and drums sound lifelike and captivating.


The 15.32 comes with a Low/High switch, so it'll happily drive 300 ohm headphones like your HD600s, even with the volume knob below 50%.

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