or Connect
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Choices, choices...

post #1 of 33
Thread Starter 
Good day people. I am on the horns of a dilemma and would welcome any and all input.

My current system is...

flac (main file format) > Samsung Galaxy Note 3 (source) > Neutron MP (player software) > Fiio E18 (DAC/amp) > V-Moda M-100 with Nuforce Transition cable upgrade (closed-back) / Shure SRH840 (closed-back) / Sennheiser PX100II (open-back) / Soundmagic E30 (dynamic IEM).

I listen to a fairly diverse range of music but rarely rap or classical.

I have £250 - £300 to spend and don't know where to go from here. Some of my possible options are as follows...

1. Buy a new source component such as the forthcoming Fiio X5 (or other).

2. Buy a better DAC/amp (open to suggestions).

3. Buy a set of open-back headphones (as you can see, other than the PX100II I don't own open-back headphones (again, I'm open to suggestions but noting that I've previously owned a pair of Sennheiser HD595 - admittedly un-amped - and found the sound dull and unexciting).

4. I've been looking at upgrading the OTG USB cable to an ALO Copper 22 but feel this might be just tinkering around the edges and might bring an improvement but it won't be a large one.

I know, complicated. I'm generally happy with the sound I'm getting right now with my main cans, the V-Moda's, but I know things can improve. My main issue is that the V-Moda's are good at everything they're supposed to be good at but I'd really like to be able to hear a clearer, larger soundstage. I think open-back cans are possibly the only way to achieve this, particularly now that I own an amp (the Fiio mentioned above). But maybe it's possible to improve the Soundstage of the V-Moda's by upgrading the DAC/amp, but to what? That would be the ideal scenario as then I wouldn't own yet another pair of headphones.

I'm married, on a relatively low income and my wife is beginning to think there might actually be something "wrong" with me. She doesn't 'get' headphones at all.

Many thanks for taking the time to read my post and I look forward to any and all advice or opinions proferred.

Gordon.
post #2 of 33

Sony ma900 perhaps. Should sound very open.

post #3 of 33
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by davidsh View Post

Sony ma900 perhaps. Should sound very open.

Thanks for the suggestion, I'd never considered Sony. However, headphones are perhaps the only component in hi-fi where there is something even more important than sound quality; comfort. Whilst these Sony's get good comfort ratings the build quality is questionable for the money. On Amazon right now I could buy AKG Q701's, a headphone I've always admired.
post #4 of 33
I would think you'd probably enjoy the experience of a good pair of open headphones.

Are you able to order from HiFiMan's website? The HE-400 are a very good price at $299: https://head-direct.com/Products/?act=detail&id=115

I don't know if they would meet your comfort requirements since they are a heavier headphone, but they sure do have an engaging sound. smily_headphones1.gif

I have demoed the Q701s at home. They were very nice headphones, too. I just wanted a little more bass extension and emphasis. But if their sound signature seems interesting to you, I would suggest you give them a try.
post #5 of 33
Thread Starter 
The thing that attracts me to the AKG's is they're kind of an enigma, If you know what I mean. A classic style that seems to have been around forever. From what I've heard others say they sound quite unique. This also appeals. I even quite like the luminous green look (never thought I'd ever say that). Of course, I could never wear them in public but then that's not what they're about.

HE400's are definitely an option though. I'm pretty sure there's an importer over here too. I'll need to check that out.

It's interesting that the only ideas I've had so far are for headphones rather than portable amps. I guess this makes sense really as there's no way I'm going to get what I'm after from the V-Moda's.

I need the V-Moda's though because I love going out over the hills with the dogs, particularly since summer isn't too far away. But for in the house they are a bit intense. They clamp quite hard which, again, outside is quite desirable but for sitting around indoors, not so good. Hmm...
post #6 of 33
Not surprising that your are more interested in headphones. The E18 is a good dac/amp. A more expensive one would give you minute improvements in SQ, whereas new (and better) headphones would be a big change. I'm not sure about how good the Marantz PM6004 is, but you know how well it compares to the E18. Starting with a Xonar STX, I've owned an O2 amp, a Little Dot I+, an E17, and now use an ODAC and Asgard 2. It's not that big a difference compared to what new headphones are like.

At the very least, if you have the ability to order the Q701s and return them for only the cost of shipping, it would be great to see that as a demo cost if you don't like them. I did that with the intention of keeping them if I liked them. They were not quite right for me, but I'm so glad that I tried them at home for a week and got a chance to listen to them.
post #7 of 33
I have both the HE-400 and Q701. They are kind of polar opposites. The choice comes down to what genres you listen to and what kind of soundstage you prefer. For bass heavy music the HE-400 will suit you well. For acoustic and vocal the Q701 will be preferable. The Q701 also has much bigger soundstage than the HE-400, though the latter has better imaging. If you want neutrality the Q701 will be what you want, even if it might be lacking in bass quantity and sub-bass.
post #8 of 33
Thread Starter 
Thanks guys. I'm looking for something that isn't the V-Moda sound. Something to relax to. Artists like Iron & Wine, Bill Callahan, The Low Anthem, Great Lake Swimmers, Midlake, The National, Will Oldham & The Tallest Man on Earth. Acoustic guitars feature quite heavily.

When I'm out & about the V-Moda's are perfect because I'm more likely to be listening to bands like Yello, Burial, Younger Brother and Rammstein. You know, get at it kinda music. The M-100's are fantastic at that but there's no getting away from it, they don't like to chill out.

The Q701's from Amazon seem like a good idea, especially for £210. And as cel says, I could always return them if I didn't like their sound. The E18 is my first headphone amp and I know it's fairly well regarded but I think the Q701's might benefit from allow future amp upgrading, from what I've read of them. Am I correct in thinking this way? The AKG's aren't a cul-de-sac and will allow me to experiment with different amplification in future? I'm thinking along the lines of the likes of the Valhalla from Schiit.
post #9 of 33
The Valhalla is an OTL amp suitable for high impedance HPs, not for low impedance ones like q701.
post #10 of 33
No doubt. The Q701s are some of the more difficult headphones to drive well. I have no idea if the Valhalla is a good choice. I would imagine someone in the main Valhalla or Q701 discussion thread would know.
post #11 of 33
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Za Warudo View Post

The Valhalla is an OTL amp suitable for high impedance HPs, not for low impedance ones like q701.

OK, thanks. I admit to knowing zip about tube amplification other than I've always wanted to own a valve amp after hearing an Audio Innovations am blowing my socks off with its warmth (both literally ad figuratively).

Quote:
Originally Posted by cel4145 View Post

No doubt. The Q701s are some of the more difficult headphones to drive well. I have no idea if the Valhalla is a good choice. I would imagine someone in the main Valhalla or Q701 discussion thread would know.

I've also read that they're difficult to drive properly which in a perverse kinda way makes them quite good value for money. Thanks for the input. I have the review thread bookmarked and I'm reading through it.

More importantly, it's my birthday in 5 days time and my wife just said she'll "allow" me to get myself these. Excellent!

How do we all feel about the green model? Outrageous? Cheap looking? I've never seen them in the flesh so I'm not sure. It's either the green or the black though. White doesn't do it for me.
post #12 of 33
Ideally, you should get the HE-5le or HE-4 used and use it from the marantz speaker taps IMO.

The q701 isn't exactly relaxing, but rather slightly bright and plasticky according to some.
post #13 of 33
Thread Starter 
I've just pulled the trigger on the Q701's in black. They should be here tomorrow so we'll soon see. I've read them described as plastic and I've read them described as the best headphones on earth. It seems to happen with most headphones. My V-Moda M-100's are generally described as bass-head cans. They aren't. Not to me anyway.

I wanted something which will allow me to listen to music which my other headphones aren't so good at. I suspect, If I do like them, they might well become my gateway to tube amps.
Edited by Solrighal - 3/11/14 at 11:32am
post #14 of 33
Many full tube amps prefer higher impedance cans, sorry to disappoint you. Good luck, hope you'll like them
post #15 of 33
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by davidsh View Post

Many full tube amps prefer higher impedance cans, sorry to disappoint you. Good luck, hope you'll like them

So do you think I'd have been better going for something like the HD650? I know that's a popular choice but I've never really enjoyed the Sennheiser sound. I did consider Beyer's DT880 in 600ohm guise but I don't think I'd get away with using the E18 as an interim amp. Hi-fi man's range may be good but I know little about them and sourcing them is not easy.

This isn't intended to be a do-it-all headphone. I'm not sure such a thing exists. This is an indulgence, something a bit different. I've always tended to choose the safe option in the past. Shoulda went for the hi-viz green!
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home