(I just noticed this is a bit long but I hope its worth the read and consideration since I am trying to mix work and fun here)
I've been reading quite a few threads over the last few weeks whenever time allowed and I want to get a kit going and my requirements are not incredibly technical, but more like a bit "all rounder" type of thing.
I love my music, like all of you here do, and I really love just getting sucked into it. I never had a reference for good or great quality sounding kits before but my experience with DAPs and headphones has been:
Panasonic CD player (cant remember which one but it was the one with the vibrating headphones)
iRiver H120 (the one with the remote)
iPod Classic 5g
Samsung GS II
The only two pairs of headphones I bought purposefully are AKG K271 II and Shure SE215
The reason for the AKGs are for video editing (someone not very informed at the store advised so) since I need to clean and work with audio.
The reason for the SE215 was a compact noise isolating earphone (London underground can be very noisy so I don't want to compete with loudness and these worked great)
In short, I only have the BB Q10 running with Neutron now (sounds OK but not very rich) paired with the SE215s.
The previous DAPs or the SGS II either died or were sold (actually, only the SGS II was sold)
I want a dedicated player and whilst researching Sony walkmans I came across head-fi and you guys are a great resource I need your help.
I do video editing and although not synonym, I do the audio for it too. I'm not great with it but I want to hear a nice clean sound to make sure I can clean as much noise from the audio as I can. So far the AKGs (go figure) worked well since most of my colleagues are either going deaf or not very critical since most like how I work the audio out. Knowing its a bit of a bassy headphone, I'm rather concerned I am not getting much headroom to work out other audio nuisances. I used it always plugged straight to the computer (I am a real starter here, bare with me) and it wasn't up until a week ago that I heard the AKGs with the AQ Dragonfly that I realised how much I was really missing. All of the albums I ripped or downloaded in either FLAC or WAV sound amazing now! (amazing for me, that is)
I perceive not much of a difference with the SE215s though.
So, I love my music and I ought to work with sound too. I wish I could pay a sound engineer to do the work part, but as a freelance I have to kind of be a one man band until I can afford a team.
What I want is a great DAP+IEM/Headphone (circumaural please - my ears never liked on ear headphones, tried them) where the headphones/IEMs can also double up as good audio monitors for editing. My budget is shown above and I know it isn't much in the great perspective of all things audio.
After a few weeks of research here, I found that the Fiio X3 can also be used in a similar way as I am using my Dragonfly now (which means I can sell the Dragonfly to gather cash) and amp up a good pair of IEMs/Headphones since the X3 is also a bit amp-ed so I will me amp-ed-out while working and while listening to music on the go.
It appears to be that the X3 is also a player with a marginally better UI minus the mucho-pressing the up/down buttons to scroll through hundreds of folders.
I was also looking at the Colorfly C3 because of its price. I am slightly drawn away from it now since a few people here seem to use it predominantly hooked to an amp to get the best of it. To that end, would a straight C3+IEM/Headphone combo be not much better than a Sansa Fuze/Clip+ and IEM/Headphone combo? If so, is there a pair of IEM/Headphones that can be a great match to the Sansa that I can also use as monitor iem/headphones?
If not, then would you advise anything other than a Fiio X3 (since an amped C3 is as large and likely as expensive according to my research)?
If X3, what sort of headphones/iems can cover my editing and my music:
Punk (Ramones, Rancid, Sex Pistols)
Metal (Megadeth. Pantera, Metallica)
Electronic (Prodigy, Juno Reactor)
Other Classics (Elvis, Johnny Cash, Deep Purple)
Other Rock (Readiohead, Nirvana, Smashing Pumpkins, Audioslave, Velvet Revolver, Pearl Jam, Black Keys)
Rap/Hip Hop (Cypress Hill, Public Enemy, Tres Delinquentes)
Last but not least, if it helps anyone here with their hobby (other than audio) I can very thoroughly help with their photography...I am a professional.
Thanks in advance.