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Next $500 Investment: SRH-1540, or Amp/DAC Setup? - Page 2

post #16 of 36

When I first started in this hobby all I looked at were the different models of Beyerdynamic headphones, my first HP was a DT880 Pro running on an E17. And the T1s were that unobtanium for my budget but something I looked forward to getting in the future. Many headphones later venturing into different brands and I found something comparable, if not better, than the T1 in my HE4. Not to say anything wrong with Beyers, they're a fantastic phone, but just that there are other great companies that you might like better. The best part of this hobby is getting to try many different arrays of headphones and their sounds.

Although if you're outputting from your laptop directly I'd suggest getting an external DAC or DAC/AMP along with whatever headphone you get.

post #17 of 36
You seem to imply that price and sounds quality are directly related. I actually wish that were the case so I could simply know in advance how good something will sound by throwing money at the problem.
post #18 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by Claritas View Post

You seem to imply that price and sounds quality are directly related. I actually wish that were the case so I could simply know in advance how good something will sound by throwing money at the problem.


That was my thought at the beginning but going more into the hobby, I'm finding that to not be true. Maybe I didn't explain well enough. AT FIRST I thought the end game would be the T1 as I had somewhat a Beyer fanboy thing going.. Now however and many headphones later, that's not the case at all. You can achieve excellent SQ for less $.

You can buy an HE4 new for $450, an HD800 on the other hand will cost around $1200. In my opinion, the sound quality between the two are on the same level. I actually prefer the HE4 over the HD800 in many ways but comfort and soundstage. Comfort on the HE4 can be greatly increased with aftermarket pads for not a lot more.

 

post #19 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by Soundsgoodtome View Post

That was my thought at the beginning but going more into the hobby, I'm finding that to not be true. Maybe I didn't explain well enough. AT FIRST I thought the end game would be the T1 as I had somewhat a Beyer fanboy thing going.. Now however and many headphones later, that's not the case at all. You can achieve excellent SQ for less $.

You can buy an HE4 new for $450, an HD800 on the other hand will cost around $1200. In my opinion, the sound quality between the two are on the same level. I actually prefer the HE4 over the HD800 in many ways but comfort and soundstage. Comfort on the HE4 can be greatly increased with aftermarket pads for not a lot more.

I was replying to OP's attitude toward SRH840.

I think HD600 sounds better than HD800.
post #20 of 36
Thread Starter 

I guess things would be too easy if quality were proportional to price, wouldn't they?  So many options, but at anywhere from $300 to $1000+, I'm going to be bottoming out quite a bit.  I'll be the first person to admit that I'm willing to learn, though.  :rolleyes:

 

I think I might actually keep looking into a DAC/Amp setup while I read... I know for a fact that I'm losing quality to my laptop's mangled stereo jack, and that someday I'll come across something I like that uses more than what the average laptop can drive.  Aside from that, I'm still flipping through everything that's available... it's tough to get a handle on sound signatures just by reading about them, but I think I'm coming around.

post #21 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheAdmiralty View Post
 

Well, here I am again.  Right now, I'm listening to my beloved SRH-940s, which are unfortunately starting to physically wear out.  Shure just didn't build these things to last.

 

Right now I have $350 saved up, and will be dumping another $150 into that once I get some junk sold off.  I've got a budget of $500, no more, unfortunately.  ATM, I can't afford to care how much better your $1000 electrostatics are, nor how much you think they're worth the money - I'd probably agree, in all honesty, but a college student like myself only has so much to work with.

 

Right now, I'm almost set on buying a pair of SRH-1540s; based on Jude's review and everything else I've heard, they sound like the headphones I've always wanted - a warmer pair of 940s that actually has some substance at the bottom end.  Neutrality may be nice, but I want something fun to listen to - I love my 940s, but at the same time, they are admittedly a bit flat, thin, and airy.

 

On that same note, though, I'm having trouble convincing myself that the upgrade would be worth it, replacing a cracking pair of $300 closed backs with a $500 one.  BTW, I need all the isolation I can get up here, trust me.  I've been flipping through Schiit's site, and am absolutely enamored with their Bifrost/Asgard2 setup, but thats unfortunately a couple hundred above me with USB (I lost optical SPDIF with my headphone jack)... I could, however, pull off a Modi+Asgard2 - I'm avoiding the Magni due to the fact that I don't actually need the gain for any of my headphones, and the Asgard's low-gain setting would be great.  Granted, I only have two - a pair of M50s, and my 940s - but none of them are hard to drive in any sense of the word.  Now, I listen to my music on an Asus G75VW through a headphone jack I literally crushed, superglued together, crushed again, and then soldered back in place (computer engineer :rolleyes:).  I have to say there aren't any problems with it, but I feel like I could do better.  The plug on my 940s' cable has proved more durable than the jack it's stuck into.

 

What would you do if you were in my position?  I'm not unhappy with my 940s, but I'd like something a bit different, and the 1540s sound literally perfect in every way for me.  On the same note, I'm not unhappy with my laptop's audio,  but again I could do better with an Asgard setup for $~350 and just go on saving for a new pair of cans in the future.  Any thoughts?  I've been brewing over this for a month now... I've almost blown the money on building a suplus Xeon workstation-server-bastard-child twice now, but have managed to stop myself both times.  I'm not sure I can hold off much longer.:normal_smile :

 

Much appreciated, as always!

The 1540s are sick!  I love mine and it's large soundstage.  I use mine from a Bifrost Uber + Asgard 2 rig and use them for movie-watching, music, anime, etc. I highly recommend these cans.  I used to use a Modi + Asgard 2 and that was great too (minor differences between both DACs).

post #22 of 36
Thread Starter 

*Sigh*

I wish I had a disposable income and could just go out and buy literally one of everything.  Would solve so many problems.

 

On that note, why does this have to be so hard?... I just flipped over to the 1540 appreciation/review thread...

http://www.head-fi.org/t/702042/shure-srh1540-appreciation-thread-review

...and when it was said that they're essentially a 940 with added bass, and are marginally better in just about every way, I'm sold again.

 

Again, I'm hearing it mentioned that while the 940s won't really benefit from an amp's added power, they do sound better on one, and I'm still on edge about buying a Schiit setup, even if more for future purchases than now.  Would there honestly be a noticeable difference?  I'm asking this again, because answers at this point are about half and half.  At what point does one actually go out and buy a dedicated dac/amp setup?  Only when needed to drive more power-hungry phones or when you have too much money to blow?  That's the impression I'm getting at this point.

 

I was looking at Hifiman's HE-400 and HE-500, and to be honest, I hope they're built and designed better than the pictures portray, because I'm utterly unimpressed... the hinge/yoke looks like junk, and the image I was looing at had a horrible job of stitching done on the headband.  Again, I hope I'm wrong and that they aren't as cheap as I'm making them out to be, but at their price points, I can only guess that you're paying for a planer magnetic driver instead of premium build quality.  I'm probably going to be attacked for having said that, but oh well... some peoples' opinions can be interesting to hear.

post #23 of 36
Just to throw one in the mix, buydig has the ath-w1000x on their site and eBay for $380 shipped.

Closed back and gorgeous.
post #24 of 36
Both according to the specs and the engineer I talked with at Shure, 940 doesn't need an amp. But I thought it sometimes actually sounded bad without one. So I would leave this sort of thing to experience, meaning try it unamped and see if it needs one. It's useful to own an amp, even a Cmoy is probably good enough in a pinch. I'm more ambivalent about DACs: it really depends on one's soundcard.
post #25 of 36
Thread Starter 

I feel like I should open a new thread for all the questions I'm about to be asking, but your forums would be overrun very quickly.  I'm going to start putting things into list form to make things faster.

 

1.  I'm looking at Maverick Audio's TubeMagic D1 units right now, mostly due to the fact that while I love Schiit, I don't like AD/DC wall transformers, I'd really like an optical SPDIF input (without buying a Bifrost), and having a single box would be alot easier to manage than two.  Sorry, guys.  Two questions, though.  First, how long will that tube last before I end up needing to replace it?  Secondly, does anyone with first hand experience have anything to say about the amp'ed headphone output on the D1-Plus?  I really like the looks of that unit.

 

SHOUT OUT TO SCHIIT!  If you guys were to make a similar entry-level Amp/DAC for ~$300-500, I swear you wouldn't be able to keep me off you guys.  Get on that.  Name it the Schiit "Valkyrie" and send me a sample for the suggestion. Maybe the "Walküre" to show pride in your history of medieval Teutonic audio experts.  And to compensate for a disappointing lack of umlauts. :rolleyes:  Hell, put the boards from a Magni, Modi, and a 120v transformer into a Bifrost chassis and I'd be happy as pie.

 

2.  I'm seriously interested in both the SRH-1540 and ATH-W1000x right now.  Sorry, I have to spend money soon. I think something's wrong with me.  :blink:  Joking aside, I completely forgot about the W1000x even existing... I hardly ever hear anything about it.  Can anyone say a few words on how comfortable the set is?  I ask, because I'm a bit wary of AT's split headband design... I can't help but think I'd really be bothered by it after a while.  Also, do they heat up quickly?  I've been spoiled by velour pads, and I'm not sure I can go back at this point, though I'd probably get used to it despite my hatred for pleather.  Mmm... could I get velour pads for those things?  Lastly, if you could compare their tonal balance to one or two other sets of cans, what would they be?

 

I bet you people are just loving this thread by now.


Edited by TheAdmiralty - 3/26/14 at 5:02pm
post #26 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheAdmiralty View Post

I feel like I should open a new thread for all the questions I'm about to be asking, but your forums would be overrun very quickly.  I'm going to start putting things into list form to make things faster.

1.  I'm looking at Maverick Audio's TubeMagic D1 units right now, mostly due to the fact that while I love Schiit, I don't like AD/DC wall transformers, I'd really like an optical SPDIF input (without buying a Bifrost), and having a single box would be alot easier to manage than two.  Sorry, guys.  Two questions, though.  First, how long will that tube last before I end up needing to replace it?  Secondly, does anyone with first hand experience have anything to say about the amp'ed headphone output on the D1-Plus?  I really like the looks of that unit.

SHOUT OUT TO SCHIIT!  If you guys were to make a similar entry-level Amp/DAC for ~$300-500, I swear you wouldn't be able to keep me off you guys.  Get on that.  Name it the Schiit "Valkyrie" and send me a sample for the suggestion. Maybe the "Walküre" to show pride in your history of medieval Teutonic audio experts.  And to compensate for a disappointing lack of umlauts. rolleyes.gif   Hell, put the boards from a Magni, Modi, and a 120v transformer into a Bifrost chassis and I'd be happy as pie.

2.  I'm seriously interested in both the SRH-1540 and ATH-W1000x right now.  Sorry, I have to spend money soon. I think something's wrong with me.  blink.gif   Joking aside, I completely forgot about the W1000x even existing... I hardly ever hear anything about it.  Can anyone say a few words on how comfortable the set is?  I ask, because I'm a bit wary of AT's split headband design... I can't help but think I'd really be bothered by it after a while.  Also, do they heat up quickly?  I've been spoiled by velour pads, and I'm not sure I can go back at this point, though I'd probably get used to it despite my hatred for pleather.  Mmm... could I get velour pads for those things?  Lastly, if you could compare their tonal balance to one or two other sets of cans, what would they be?

I bet you people are just loving this thread by now.

I never thought the w1000 sounded very good. I auditioned it a few times and never gave it a second thought.
post #27 of 36
Thread Starter 

Well, I'm back:  After having my budget cut back by a bit of laptop repairing, I ordered two things:  a Maverick TubeMagic D1, and a set of Alcantara 1540 pads for my 940s - I'm told they fit, and if not, oh well.  I'm also told they do wonders for improving bass response, and I'm left with a fair bit of cash to work on other running projects I've had going for a while now. 

 

I don't think I'll 'suffer' too much with a pair of 940s until the summer rolls around and I'm back at work... I figure that by waiting until next semester starts in the fall, I won't be a completely broke college student anymore, and after bills + a new laptop are purchased I'll have a much better $800-1000 to work with.  Man, this is an expensive hobby I've gotten myself sucked into, but with as much time as I spend listening to these things, it's money very well spent, and I'll have a decent dac/amp to drive them at that point too.

 

  :)

 

On that same note, I'll be sure to write back here and/or start a new thread on whether or not a set of Alcantara pads can change the sound signature of these if they turn out to fit properly.  Cracking doesn't seem to be getting any worse, which is a good thing... let's hope it stays that way for another half of a year.

post #28 of 36
Thread Starter 

UPDATE: The pads came today.  Short story:  if you have a pair of 940s and like them, do yourself a favor and buy a pair of these.

 

http://www.amazon.com/Shure-HPAEC1540-Replacement-Alcantara-Headphones/dp/B00HXAV0UY/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1397058063&sr=8-1&keywords=srh+1540+pads

 

As expected, the pads are a perfectly identical fit between all of Shure's upper end cans, and these are so much more comfortable that it's worth the extra $40 for that alone.  They do make the 940s a bit warmer and I can't help but feel like the soundstage isn't any wider, but more 'dispersed' with a little bit better separation, probably just due to these pads being thicker.  I don't have anything to back those claims up, but that's the nature of an opinion I guess.  If anyone wants more detail, I'd be glad to give it... now let's just hope that my hinges don't comletely give out any time soon and I'll be happy.  Maverick D1 supposed to be here sometime early next week I believe, can't wait to try it out.

 

UPDATE 2:  I just found something funny:  A pair of ATH-M50s with SRH-940 pads (which are about 2-3mm too big to fit snugly, but DO fit) sounds nearly identical to a pair of SRH-940s with SRH-1540 pads in terms of sound signature, and I say in terms of signature because they'll never have quite the same level of resolution as the 940s, but man do they come pretty damn close.  I swear, the bottom end doesn't even sound muddy anymore... I'm putting all blame on the junk pleather pads for that right now.  Huh.  These things are amazing for being ~$150... I think I'm going to work on making a new headband covering to replace the flaking pleather they used and these things will be golden.  I'm concluding two things:  1540 pads have an impressive warming quality to them, and 940 pads kill any bass that could have hoped to be present.  Hell, listening back and forth, I think the M50s with 940 pads have LESS bass.


Edited by TheAdmiralty - 4/9/14 at 9:05am
post #29 of 36
Hmm. I use 940 pads on my T50RP so I might try these (as Grizzly did on his MD Pro).

Are they deeper than 940 pads? They look textured; do you feel that against your ear?
post #30 of 36

If you're looking for a nice DAC/amp combo with USB and Optical, check out the NFB 11.32 and 15.32. They're nicely priced and work very well. 

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