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Help me upgrade from my Audio-Technica ATH-A700

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 

Hey guys,

 

After over 6 years of almost daily use my Audio-Technica ATH-A700 is definitely showing its age with a broken head wing/rest, worn and flaky earpads and one of the cups being held together by tape. Since it still works perfectly even with its Frankenstein-esque body I'll probably continue to use it occasionally, but I believe it's time to get something new to use as my main pair and I decided to use this opportunity to get something a bit better. I'm thinking about spending between $200.00 - $300.00 on this. 

 

I like the isolation its closed-back design offered, but I've been leaning more towards an open-back model since they supposedly sound better (plus the one time I had an opportunity to directly compare the ATH-A700 with the ATH-AD700 I preferred the latter, but that unfortunately was after I bought the former).

 

I'll mainly use it on my PC with an ASUS Xonar DX sound card and occasionally on my Yamaha RX-V675 receiver. I'd say 70% of the time I'll be listening to music on it (Mostly classic rock, heavy metal, MPB and classical music - In CDs or 320kbs MP3s since I've few albums in FLAC) but I'm still looking for something that can work reasonably well for games and movies.

 

The ATH-AD900X instantly caught my eye since I've had a great experience with Audio-Technica so far (Besides the A700 I also have a pair of ATH-CKM77 earbuds) and I think the head wing design is super comfortable, but I'm not married to the brand and will happily buy something made by Sennheiser, AKG or whoever else as long as it's good.

 

By the way: Comfort is a priority since I tend to use headphones for hours on end. Oh, and sturdy construction is preferable since I'm pretty sure I've spent at least $50.00 replacing the A700's flaky earpads over the years and that was pretty annoying. I know I probably won't find a pair made with wood and sheep skin in my price range, but it would be nice if it was better than the plastic and pleather found in my current model.

 

There are no good headphone stores around here so I'll have to import them from the US, meaning I won't have the opportunity to test them before I commit. So I'm trusting you guys to steer me in the right direction. 

 

Any recommendations?


Edited by buemba - 3/14/14 at 2:25pm
post #2 of 21

Q701 or dt880.

post #3 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by b0000 View Post
 

Q701 or dt880.

I would guess the 62-Ohm AKG Q701 is easier for the Xonar DX to drive, over the 250-Ohm DT880.

post #4 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by buemba View Post
.

I'll mainly use it on my PC with an ASUS Xonar DX sound card and occasionally on my Yamaha RX-V675 receiver. I'd say 70% of the time I'll be listening to music on it (Mostly classic rock, heavy metal, MPB and classical music - In CDs or 320kbs MP3s since I've few albums in FLAC) but I'm still looking for something that can work reasonably well for games and movies.

The ATH-AD900X instantly caught my eye since I've had a great experience with Audio-Technica so far (Besides the A700 I also have a pair of ATH-CKM77 earbuds) and I think the head wing design is super comfortable, but I'm not married to the brand and will happily buy something made by Sennheiser, AKG or whoever else as long as it's good.

 

I found my Yamaha RX-V671 receiver is not the best choice for driving my 40-Ohm ATH-A900X (closed) headphones.

But my Yamaha receiver does fine with my 250-Ohm Beyer headphones.

My Xonar DX was not powerful enough to drive my 250-Ohm Beyer headphones.

The 62-Ohm AKG should be able to work decently plugged into the Xonar DX or Yamaha RX-V675

 

You might consider selling off the Xonar DX and replacing it with a Sound Blaster Z sound card, $75-$95.

It's much better at driving headphones then the Xonar DX.

 

You could also just keep the Xonar DX and just get a Schiit Magni headphone amplifier, $99.

The Magni can connect to the Xonar DX and any headphone you like could be plugged into the Magni.

post #5 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by PurpleAngel View Post
 

I would guess the 62-Ohm AKG Q701 is easier for the Xonar DX to drive, over the 250-Ohm DT880.

 

It's actually the opposite. The akg's are really insensitive. They require the most gain out of all the phones i have.

 

Or perhaps i took that wrong and you meant synergy. In that case, i have no idea

post #6 of 21
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the replies so far! Keep the suggestions coming.

 

Man, I was all set to get the DT880 but then read that my Xonar is too weak to drive it effectively (Apparently it caps at 100-Ohm?). Bummer, since seeing at least one person describe it as "like wearing a pair of pillows in your head" made me salivate.

 

So the Q701 would be my Goldilocks choice between the 3 models presented so far? I really like the price since it's the cheapest of them and plenty of people say it sounds awesome, but seems like a not insignificant number of people find it pretty uncomfortable to wear and it doesn't look very durable with all that plastic.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by PurpleAngel View Post

 

You might consider selling off the Xonar DX and replacing it with a Sound Blaster Z sound card, $75-$95.

It's much better at driving headphones then the Xonar DX.

 

You could also just keep the Xonar DX and just get a Schiit Magni headphone amplifier, $99.

The Magni can connect to the Xonar DX and any headphone you like could be plugged into the Magni.

 

Mmm... The SBZ cost $230.00 around here and I can't find the Magni anywhere. Gonna have to do some research to see how much I'd be able to get for my used DX, but it looks like replacing it wouldn't be very cheap.

post #7 of 21

don't let the ohm ratings scare you too much. The dt880 has three versions: 32, 250, 600 ohm. The differences between them are marginal at the same volume.

post #8 of 21
Thread Starter 

The 32 version appears to be discontinued so I can't find it for cheap. From my admittedly limited understanding it seems the 250 version would sound a bit quieter on my DX when compared to the 32 version (Or the AD700x and Q701), right?

 

I think I'll take the Q701 off the table. I love the way it looks and it appears to be really popular, but since I've a big ol' noggin I'm worried I might not be able to wear it very comfortably. I remember trying a pair last year when I went to Japan, but don't remember what I thought of it (And since testing open headphones in Yodobashi or Bic Camera is a foolish endeavor due to the noise pollution inside I couldn't even tell how good their sound was).

 

Mentioning the RX-V675 was probably a mistake. While I'd like to have the option of using it with my headphones I already have quality speakers hooked to it so it's not that important, but my computer needs a good way to output sound and my desk if too cramped for speakers. I'll look into replacing my sound card with a better one later, but for now please assume I'm sticking with the DX.

 

Edit: Any thoughts about the HiFiMan - HE-400? To be honest I never heard of this brand before, but it seems to be well liked and doesn't seem to require much omph to drive it.


Edited by buemba - 3/14/14 at 7:35pm
post #9 of 21

If it's volume you're worried about, you should look at the headphone's sensitivity rating, not the impedance. The akg's are quieter than my hd800's (300 ohm).

 

I admit i missed your requirement on comfort, so i mentioned the akg's. You should just go for the beyers, regardless of impedance. It's still gonna be better than most offerings even if it's not properly amped.

post #10 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by b0000 View Post
 

It's actually the opposite. The AKG's are really insensitive. They require the most gain out of all the phones I have.

Or perhaps i took that wrong and you meant synergy. In that case, i have no idea

I've never used the AKG Q701s so I was just "guessing" on the Xonar DX/Q701 combo.

The Xonar DX can decently drive the 80-Ohm DT770s.

Hopefully the OP at least swaps the Xonar DX for the SB-Z.

I tested the SB-Z last month and found it could even (decently) drive my 600-Ohm Beyers

post #11 of 21
Thread Starter 

Guess it's the DT880 then. Gonna read a bit more before I make the purchase, but it seems to be pretty much exactly what I'm looking for.

 

Is there much difference between the Pro and the Premium models? There's a $106.82 difference between both models on Amazon currently.

 

And yeah, I'll look into a better sound card eventually. I'll probably go to the US before the end of the year so that'll be a great opportunity to upgrade for cheap(ish).

post #12 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by buemba View Post
 

Guess it's the DT880 then. Gonna read a bit more before I make the purchase, but it seems to be pretty much exactly what I'm looking for.

 

Is there much difference between the Pro and the Premium models? There's a $106.82 difference between both models on Amazon currently.

 

And yeah, I'll look into a better sound card eventually. I'll probably go to the US before the end of the year so that'll be a great opportunity to upgrade for cheap(ish).

The difference between the Premium and the Pro is the Premium models makes Beyerdynamic more profits.

So get the 250-Ohm Pro model.

post #13 of 21

Do u have a quiet listening environment? if u do then open cans are fine...

if u dun, then better stick to closed cans.

 

AD900x has a more forward sounding stage...as if u are nearer the orchestra..

sometimes i think i am on stage.

 

dt800 presents the music further back, u get to hear the orchestra further away.

 

 

if u just gonna buy one and stick to it for ages, 

then its a safer bet to stick to Audio Tech which u liked.

 

if u think u are keen to change cans ever so often,

then by all means try another brand.

 

jus my quick tots.

post #14 of 21
Thread Starter 

Pro it is then, thanks.

 

My listening environment is kinda quiet for the most part. In truth closed cans would be better suited to me because I do get the occasional airplane flying by, specially on weekends, but I got tired of not being able to hear when my family calls me while I wear the A700. Plus if I was going to go with closed headphones I'd blow way past my budget and go with the ATH-A900xltd because I'm a moron with poor impulse control when it comes to limited editions so I'm trying to avoid doing that.

 

Like I said I really do like the Audio-Technica stuff I own, but I think it's useful to try different things as well. The forward sounding stage does sound pretty appealing, though.

post #15 of 21
DT880s are a nice headphone. Hope you enjoy them smily_headphones1.gif
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