New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Upgrading from HD598 - Page 2

post #16 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sonido View Post
 

Sounds like you've made a decision. I listen to similar genres of music in JPop (YUI, Stereopony) and orchestral (Final Fantasy, Fairy Tail soundtracks). The headphones I've gone through are in order of acquisition: ATH-M50, HD598, HD700, Beyerdynamic T90, Hifiman HE-500, Koss ESP950, HD800, and AKG K812. The amps I've gone through in order of acquisition: JDS Labs O2, Woo Audio WA7, Bottlehead Crack, and Questyle CMA800R. My DACs: JDS Labs ODAC, WA7 DAC, Firestone Audio Spitfire HD, Audioengine D3, Schiit Modi, and Emotiva DC-1.

 

While I have not heard the T1, I owned the T90 which is supposedly the baby T1, and many who have owned both say it's 90% the T1. I have not owned the HDVD800 either, but I found myself to stay away from amp/DAC combos after owning both the O2/ODAC and WA7. The reasoning for this is that you'll inevitably want to upgrade one of the components, and that part of it goes to waste in your combo. The WA7, for example, has a great amp section, but the DAC is mediocre. Really a $200 DAC at best for a $1000 combo device. I believe the HDVD800 has a similar problem where the DAC is also quite mediocre, and I'd recommend you get the HDVA600 instead if you really want the Sennheiser amp. The HDVD800 and HDVA600 has the exact same amp section, with the HDVA600 being a standalone amp. It's a good $500 cheaper, and really the DAC in the HDVD800 is a $200 DAC at best.

 

Once again, I want to reiterate that I have not heard the T1 or the HDVD800/HDVA600.

 

I got into this hobby about a year ago. Actually purchased the M50 last March. I soon upgraded to the HD598 and was enthralled by the open headphone sound. I immediately wanted to upgrade to something better. I went for the HD700 and the WA7. I bought each at the full price of $1000 each. But soon as I went on to other headphones, I realized how foolish a mistake that was. The HD700 was not worth $1000, and neither was the WA7 imo. The HD700 soon dropped to $650, and I ended up selling it for $500, half of what I paid for. I soon learned from then on to only buy when there is a deal. I don't know how much you paid for the T1, but it was listed on two different websites the past two months for only $750 new. You can read some more of my experiences in detail here:

 

www.head-fi.org/t/689679/a-lesson-in-audiophilism-saving-wallets-15-minutes-reading-this-will-save-you-15-or-more

 

Even that I wrote a couple months ago. I recently did the math on how much I've spend since getting into this hobby about a year ago. The raw amount I spent, not counting money made selling some stuff later on, was about $12,000. Yes that's more than the cost of Stax SR-009 + BHSE. Again, the actual amount I spend is somewhat less at around $8000-9000 if you consider the money I made back from selling gear I moved on from. Currently, I am very satisfied with my headphone and amp combo. I'm using the HD800 and Questyle CMA800R. The MSRP of each is $1500, but because I'm more seasoned now, and look out for deals, I got the HD800 at $890 and the Questyle at $1000, both new. This is cheaper than what I paid for HD700 and WA7. And to me, it's easily twice as good in sound quality. How much I would have loved to know what I know now and pocket back that $6000 and just gotten the HD800 and Questyle in the first place.

 

Now for me personally, I find my current HD800 and CMA800R to be the best I've heard and great for both JPop and Orchestral. The pairing takes away any brightness concerns the HD800 may have. Mids are the smoothest I've heard, especially with female vocals.

 

I just wanted to share my personal experience, because I see you are in a similar situation I was. I wish I has someone to tell me ll this back then. Personally, I think getting the HDVD800 out of convenience for the DAC/amp combo is a rookie mistake, as is buying the T1 at any price higher than $800.

 

Note: Don't get the Questyle for the T1. It was built for the HD800, and really only sounds good with the HD800. If you really like the HDVD800, get the HDVA600 instead. Even then at $1500, you have plenty of other options for the amp. If you have any soldering experience and wouldn't mind trying tube amps, look into Bottlehead. They sell DIY kits that cut away any of the labor costs. The Bottlehead Crack at $300 plays on par with many amps in the $1000 range, and should pair well with the T1. The Bottlehead Mainline is their top of the line amp at $1200, and I'd imagine it to compete with some of the $2000-$3000 amps such as the offerings by Eddie Current. Even then, you can get these kits at a sale price. I've seen the Mainline sell for $1000 during a sale they had, and I bought my Crack with the Speedball included for free ($120 value).

 

This isn't super relevant to the OP, but have you ever tried the HD650's?  If you like the open Sennheiser sound, I think the darling of the Sennheiser lineup (HD650) could be worth getting to replace the HD700's.  ...which i know sounds like a downgrade, but I don't often see reviews of the HD700's that say they're worth the price.  The HD650's on the other hand, are highly recommended by everyone, despite all the early talk of being dark or veiled.  People actually LIKE the dark/veiled sound.  It's not actually that veiled at all.  The highs are just slightly rolled, but they're actually quite good, and paired with a hybrid, or even better, a full tube amp, like the crack, they're amazing.  If you want a completely balanced set of headphones that have a massive soundstage, the HD800's won't be beat, but for a set of headphones with warmth and character, I don't know if you can beat the HD650's.

 

I keep seeing people in the HD650 thread say that they own HD800's, T1's, LCD-2's, etc, and they still find themselves going back to their HD650's.  I've never heard that kind of praise for the HD700's, so I figured I'd mention if you haven't already thought about it, that it might be worth selling the 700's and picking up some 650's.  Just planting a seed!  No pressure lol.  You already own the amp with the best synergy with the HD650's so it just makes sense!

post #17 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by bleudeciel16 View Post
 

 

This isn't super relevant to the OP, but have you ever tried the HD650's?  If you like the open Sennheiser sound, I think the darling of the Sennheiser lineup (HD650) could be worth getting to replace the HD700's.  ...which i know sounds like a downgrade, but I don't often see reviews of the HD700's that say they're worth the price.  The HD650's on the other hand, are highly recommended by everyone, despite all the early talk of being dark or veiled.  People actually LIKE the dark/veiled sound.  It's not actually that veiled at all.  The highs are just slightly rolled, but they're actually quite good, and paired with a hybrid, or even better, a full tube amp, like the crack, they're amazing.  If you want a completely balanced set of headphones that have a massive soundstage, the HD800's won't be beat, but for a set of headphones with warmth and character, I don't know if you can beat the HD650's.

 

I keep seeing people in the HD650 thread say that they own HD800's, T1's, LCD-2's, etc, and they still find themselves going back to their HD650's.  I've never heard that kind of praise for the HD700's, so I figured I'd mention if you haven't already thought about it, that it might be worth selling the 700's and picking up some 650's.  Just planting a seed!  No pressure lol.  You already own the amp with the best synergy with the HD650's so it just makes sense!


Heh I sold the HD700 months ago. ;)

 

I've not had the chance to hear the HD650 yet, but I plan to at a meet next month.

post #18 of 22
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sonido View Post
 

Sounds like you've made a decision. I listen to similar genres of music in JPop (YUI, Stereopony) and orchestral (Final Fantasy, Fairy Tail soundtracks). The headphones I've gone through are in order of acquisition: ATH-M50, HD598, HD700, Beyerdynamic T90, Hifiman HE-500, Koss ESP950, HD800, and AKG K812. The amps I've gone through in order of acquisition: JDS Labs O2, Woo Audio WA7, Bottlehead Crack, and Questyle CMA800R. My DACs: JDS Labs ODAC, WA7 DAC, Firestone Audio Spitfire HD, Audioengine D3, Schiit Modi, and Emotiva DC-1.

...........................

Thank you for your advice! I may consider buying the HDVA 600 instead.

I picked T1 just because it performs well in most situations. It is good overall, but does not excel in any particular cases. I would like to try other headphones that performs better than the T1.

I guess I will not consider tube amps as I dislike warm sounds. I love neutral sounds in most cases.

Any suggestions for headphones, dacs or amps?

btw, I want to ask if I need a sound card even if I am using my dac. Does it make a difference in terms of sound quality? Moreover, I only got an optical output on my motherboard, is it a good idea for me to make use of the other outputs such as coaxial output on the sound card( if I buy one)?

post #19 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by enochtesta View Post
 

Thank you for your advice! I may consider buying the HDVA 600 instead.

I picked T1 just because it performs well in most situations. It is good overall, but does not excel in any particular cases. I would like to try other headphones that performs better than the T1.

I guess I will not consider tube amps as I dislike warm sounds. I love neutral sounds in most cases.

Any suggestions for headphones, dacs or amps?

btw, I want to ask if I need a sound card even if I am using my dac. Does it make a difference in terms of sound quality? Moreover, I only got an optical output on my motherboard, is it a good idea for me to make use of the other outputs such as coaxial output on the sound card( if I buy one)?

The DAC replaces the soundcard. Sound does the same thing, but usually not as good because of electronic interference from other components in the computer. Since you have optical out, you can use with a DAC like the Bifrost. Otherwise you can use USB DAC as well, though some believe optical is better. If you get the upgraded Bifrost (uber-Bifrost), it's likely better than the DAC in the HDVD800, and only like $450. Or if you plan on going balanced one day, you'll need a balanced DAC. Remember you'll have to pay like $300 for recabling on the T1 since it doesn't have detachable cables.

 

As for SS amps, there are plenty of options under the $2000 mark. Not sure what works great with T1, but someone had listed out some in the HD800 thread recently:

 

Questyle CMA800R: $1499 - I own and it's amazing with HD800 because it was built for it. Not so much other headphones like K812 or HE-500. And I've read from someone else it's not great for T1 either. YMMV.

AURALiC Taurus MKII: $1899

Senn HDVA 600: $1499

Bryston BHA-1: $1395

SPL Phonitor 2: $1899

Schiit Ragnarok: $1499 - schiit that's coming out soon

 

You'll have to look through the T1 thread to find a good pairing.

post #20 of 22

When possible, it's known that digital coax is still slightly better than toslink optical, and usually better than finicky usb.  (though higher end usb converters are getting much better lately, like schiit's usb upgrade)

 

I use my soundcard for the digital coax out.  The soundcard I use also has an isolated power supply from the one in the pci express rail so it doesn't have any issues with noise like onboard soundcards do.

 

cheapest route, outside of using a FIIO dac/amp, is to use a soundcard with built in headphone amp like the asus xonar essence stx.  You can get better by getting a discrete dac and amp, but that depends on what your budget is.

post #21 of 22
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sonido View Post
 

The DAC replaces the soundcard. Sound does the same thing, but usually not as good because of electronic interference from other components in the computer. Since you have optical out, you can use with a DAC like the Bifrost. Otherwise you can use USB DAC as well, though some believe optical is better. If you get the upgraded Bifrost (uber-Bifrost), it's likely better than the DAC in the HDVD800, and only like $450. Or if you plan on going balanced one day, you'll need a balanced DAC. Remember you'll have to pay like $300 for recabling on the T1 since it doesn't have detachable cables.

 

As for SS amps, there are plenty of options under the $2000 mark. Not sure what works great with T1, but someone had listed out some in the HD800 thread recently:

 

Questyle CMA800R: $1499 - I own and it's amazing with HD800 because it was built for it. Not so much other headphones like K812 or HE-500. And I've read from someone else it's not great for T1 either. YMMV.

AURALiC Taurus MKII: $1899

Senn HDVA 600: $1499

Bryston BHA-1: $1395

SPL Phonitor 2: $1899

Schiit Ragnarok: $1499 - schiit that's coming out soon

 

You'll have to look through the T1 thread to find a good pairing.


Thank you very much! I'll see if I can have a try on those amps!

Concerning the sound card and output method, I decided no to use a sound card, which means I have to stick to optical output.

I'll consider uber-Bifrost. Are there other dacs that you guys recommend?

 

btw, is it save not to try out the combination of dac and amp? Sometimes the dacs and amps are not sold at the same place, hence cannot try out the combination itself.

post #22 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by enochtesta View Post
 


Thank you very much! I'll see if I can have a try on those amps!

Concerning the sound card and output method, I decided no to use a sound card, which means I have to stick to optical output.

I'll consider uber-Bifrost. Are there other dacs that you guys recommend?

 

btw, is it save not to try out the combination of dac and amp? Sometimes the dacs and amps are not sold at the same place, hence cannot try out the combination itself.


It's been my experience the difference between DACs are generally smaller than differences between amps. In other words, the sound quality will be more affected by the amp. There are some very transparent amps and when coupled with a very transparent headphone, will make the DAC sound signature come out and make the DAC more important in the chain. Usually, you gotta spend a decent amount before you're there though. For example, when I used my HD800 with Crack, I couldn't tell too much difference between Schiit Modi and Emotiva DC-1. Now with HD800 + Questyle, the difference is pretty clear. Also, DACs hit the diminishing marginal returns curve pretty quickly compared to headphones and amps. A $500 headphone might get you 80% of a $1500 headphone, but a $500 DAC would probably get you 95% of a $1500 one. Amps are somewhere in between like $500 amp is 85% of a $1500 one. YMMV of course depending on what you are actually comparing in each price range.

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home