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Help me upgrade my ATH-A700s

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 

Hey, all!

 

It's time for me to get a new pair of headphones and was wondering if you guys could help me with some suggestions. I know the basics, and have been reading reviews for the better part of the day, as well as reading the various lists on this forum, like the flagship list and the portable headphone roundup. I have narrowed it down to a few and would like to get some input.

 

My first 'real' pair, I guess you could call it, was some Sennheiser HD 280 Pros, which I really liked (possibly, because I was coming from a pair of noise-cancelling Bose headphones :\ ). I really liked the bass and had two pairs back to back before moving on the my current ones, the Audio-Technica ATH-A700s. These ones survived through 3 sets of replaceable ear pads and lasted 5+ years up to now. Alas, the plastic housing for the head is starting to crack, and the cups no longer get support to stay on. And, I can only glue the pieces and brace them back together so many times :(  What really sucks, is the fact that the drivers and core still work really well, it's just the plastic holding them together. Anyway, I digress :)

 

To be honest, I'm not sure what I really liked about the A700s, since I've only had one other headphone set before it. I don't think the bass was as deep or heavy as the 280s, rather, it was just right. Actually, I think there's a good balance on all ranges, which makes sense, I guess, being monitor headphones. I could fiddle with the software equalizers. Maybe that's what I really like.

 

My setup is PC only- no mobile or portable and not in the near future (I still have some Shures for that) using onboard sound, though I want to get a soundcard maybe. Also, no amp or any other mods. Since I don't have any speakers, this will be used for everything- gaming (MMOs, shooters, action, RPGs and some other stuff here and there), music (rock, metal, alternative, some symphonic, some pop, lots of female lead singers), movies, podcasts, etc. Not really any mixing or producing, though... What I'm looking for are closed-back, although, maybe, I can stray a bit into the open arena, but I worry about too much sound coming in, and I do like the isolation of closed. Also, supra-aural is really preferred. The sound should probably be like these monitor headphones, but I do like heavy bass that goes with pop and heavy guitar riffs in music, so I wouldn't mind bass-heavy headphones.

 

From what I can see, I have two paths I can go down- lower-end with the sound card, or a little higher end with no sound card, and hope my onboard sound can drive them + my old setup of DFX software / Winamp equalizer / RealtekHD software. I really think I can benefit from a sound card, so I'm looking at the Xonar DGX PCI-E GX2.5 because my entry motherboard has only one PCI-E 2.0 available. My budget, with any tax or shipping already set aside, is about in the $150 USD range. Here's the ones I was looking at:

 

Xonar DGX + AKG K 240 - $79

Xonar DGX + Denon AH-D1100 - $95

Xonar DGX + Audio-Technica ATH-M40x - $99

Audio-Technica ATH-M50S - $122

Beyerdynamic DT 660 - $139

Honorable mention: Beyerdynamic DT 770 PRO - $150

 

I can maaaaaybe stretch the budget and get the DGX and the M50s, but that would be the limit, and the 660's cannot possibly be bundled. I was so impressed with the reviews of the DT 770s, that I would probably hit the max budget, BUT, that's for the 250 ohm version, and I read that the 150 ohm capabilities of DGX can barely power the 770s, and that you would probably have to put the volume at 80% or so. That means onboard would most likely be out for these.

post #2 of 6
Look into the Brainwavz HM5 and Fisher FA-003:
http://www.head-fi.org/t/585281/review-brainwavz-hm5-a-new-neutral-champ
http://www.head-fi.org/t/491632/review-fischer-audio-fa-003-a-neutral-champ
These headphones are manufactured by one company, have the same cups and drivers, and then are rebranded. So same sound, and they are available as other brands, too, that use the same drivers and cups. They are regularly recommended as great headphones for under $150, and they appear in the Head-Fi buying guide. Right now you can get the NVX Audio XPT100 version for $80 through Amazon (or direct from Sonic Electronix). The NVX model has a flexible headband and comes with two different pad sets.

Now these are neutral sounding headphones. They'll have better bass than your A700s, but they won't have the bass emphasis of something like the M50 or DT770. But you could always used a little EQ to increase the bass response. I think the Xonar DGX control panel has a built in EQ (if not, use the Xonar Uni Driver version).
post #3 of 6
Thread Starter 

I had read about the Brainwavz, but forgot why I passed by them and the XPT100s sound even better because of the price. Plus detachable cords and second pads? Very cool.

 

I think this might be the one, and I can get the sound card, too. Do you think the DGX will have any issued powering these up?

 

Thanks for the advice :D

post #4 of 6
They certainly seem like a great deal if you want to keep your budget total around $100 or so.

The HM5/NVXs are 64 ohms, 105 db sensitivity. The DGX should not have any problems driving those, but I don't know for sure because individual expectations about listening volumes are different.
post #5 of 6
Quote:
Originally Posted by minecrawler View Post
 

I had read about the Brainwavz, but forgot why I passed by them and the XPT100s sound even better because of the price. Plus detachable cords and second pads? Very cool.

 

I think this might be the one, and I can get the sound card, too. Do you think the DGX will have any issued powering these up?

 

Thanks for the advice :D

 

I own the Brainwavz HM5, nice sound, but to me the bass is a little light.

 

I would say to put all your budget into used ATH-A900X headphones, with Hifiman HE Velour ear pads.

post #6 of 6
Thread Starter 

I was actually thinking about buying used stuff, especially from the market here, but I can't find a decently priced pair and I'm almost set on a sound card now. I have a few days to decide, so I'll keep my options open.

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