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Need an upgrade...

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
Looking to buy a pair of headphones, something comfortable, over ears.
I wanna spend $200-300 on the headphones and $100-150 on the amp. I have aviators which all my enjoyment in them has gone bland.
I listened to the 598s and liked the sound, thought they needed amping, or the frys i was at was really noisy. I wanna spend more money and shoot for the mad dogs woth alpha pads.

Im into radiohead but also into a big range from rock, to electronic, a little hip hop.

I like bass, nothing too big, neither non existent. I need something warm, sharp highs kill my ears with tinnitus. I really enjoyed the mids in my aviators and especially the 598s

Not looking to take these out, lrobably my only option is my ps3, so i want a good DAC/AMP in the $100 range with optical out.

I live in the states if that helps.

I appreciate the help.
post #2 of 15

Go for the Philips x1 + a new cable for it. They don't really need an amp as they don't scale up that much. If you really gotta amp them, a fiio e10 or something like that will be plenty. The sony ma900 is also a solid choice.


I assume you're going to use them a lot for gaming so you might want to get a dolby headphone processor or something similar like the astro mixamp, creative recon3d, or turtle beach DSS.

post #3 of 15
Thread Starter 
Not for gaming, just that its my only source.

The reason i want amping is to get loud sound without turning it up so high. I know the only compatible ps3 amps need an optical cable.

What amp would i need for an he400?
post #4 of 15

I suggest you stay away from the he400. I used to have one, but returned it because it had too much sibilance.


You're gonna need an amp/dac combo if you want to make use of the optical out. Specifically, a dac with an optical input. Optical transmits files digitally, meaning you need a dac to convert it to an analog audio signal that an amp can work with.


basically, your chain will go from ps3 -> to dac (something like this) -> to amp (like this) -> headphone.

Edited by b0000 - 3/1/14 at 9:20pm
post #5 of 15
Thread Starter 
Looks like a good setup. For some reason, i didnt think you could connect a dac and an amp together, i thought id need 2 optical ports in my ps3 to connect em.

Would you recommend good amps and dacs?
post #6 of 15
Originally Posted by b0000 View Post

I suggest you stay away from the he400. I used to have one, but returned it because it had too much sibilance.



Sibilance is a very, very subjective thing.

post #7 of 15
Originally Posted by viralcow View Post


Sibilance is a very, very subjective thing.


Uh, yeah. +1


I didn't have a problem with HE400, the jazz master.

post #8 of 15

OK, but as a warning to MellonCollie, a good amount of people, including me, has found it's treble to be too hot and sizzly. 

post #9 of 15
Thread Starter 
People said things about vmodas highs and they killed my ears.

I just dont want anything piercing. Sennheiser usually gives out nice highs.
post #10 of 15
Originally Posted by MellonCollie View Post

People said things about vmodas highs and they killed my ears.

I just dont want anything piercing. Sennheiser usually gives out nice highs.

OK then, used HD6x0.
post #11 of 15

get some MAD Dogs 3.2 or Some ZMF modded fostex v.2 with alo cryo copper. Those would be the ticket and the sub bass isn't missing like the hd650. STAY AWAY FROM THE HE400 based on your post.


Ideally the ZMF v.1 is the best option but its bass may be a little shy for you. The rest would be perfect and smooth at loud volumes even smoother than the hd650. That is why I say v.2 that has a bit more bass but also a bit more highs. 


another one is the Focal Spirit Pro. That is a good all a rounder and if you use a portable amp with bass boost you have got yourself an amazing portable rig.


The philips x1 is better for gaming than music. It sounds a bit distant.


my votes in preference:

1. ZMF v.2 with alo cryo copper (not silver)

2. MAD Dogs 3.2

3. Focal spirit pro


all of them have similar bass quantity


the focal has the best balance

the ZMF has the best details and interment separation

The MaD dogs have the best comfort and the highs are a little more tamed than the ZMF


bass qty goes to the MD though

clarity to the ZMF

balance to the FOCAL


the focal is the most sennheiser like

post #12 of 15
Thread Starter 
Its all down to mad dogs, or sennheisers.

Ill decide once im about to drop my money, the 15 day return really has me interested with mad dogs. Ill definitely wait for the hd6x0 to drop on mass drop, not sure about buying used headphones on my birthday.

Thanks for the help guys. Have you guys heard good things about topping tp-d2 amp/dac.

Is a dac necessary?
post #13 of 15

if you plan to use the optical out, then yes, a dac is necessary.


optical/usb transmits digital signals (1's and 0's) which headphones can't turn into sound, that's where a digital to analog converter (DAC) comes in to save the day. However, dac's have a fixed output, and that's where the amp comes in for gain adjustment.


If a device has a usb/optical input, it has a dac, If it has a volume (gain) knob, then it has an amp. The topping tp-d2 you mentioned has both.

post #14 of 15
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the help bro. Cant wait to see (hear) what ill get.
post #15 of 15

I bought a Hifiman HE-300 a couple weeks ago, and have been thoroughly enjoying them.  They seem to be an underrated headphone on here.  It's a dynamic headphone, and not a planar magnetic like its HE series siblings.


So far, I've found them to be warm and smooth, with solid but not overwhelming bass.  Just a fun, musical headphone that works good for rock and especially jazz.  Trance sounds pretty good on it too.


It's a nice all arounder that's 249 new and less than 200 used.  Really a good deal for the price, especially if you find a lightly used pair for sale.


Check out Headfonia's write-up on it (there are other reviews too); it's from 2011 but hits on the main attributes.  They went through two (maybe 3?) revisions, and the newer production ones supposedly fixed some weirdness in the midrange that early models had.

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