or Connect
Head-Fi.org › Forums › Help and Getting Started › Introductions, Help and Recommendations › What option should I go with (Headphones + DAC/Amp)!?
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

What option should I go with (Headphones + DAC/Amp)!?

post #1 of 29
Thread Starter 

Hey guys, I need some assistance from you enthusiast when choosing what headphones and DAC/Amp to buy. I will be using the headphones for various genres of music none specific and I will be watching quite alot of films. After researching for days I've narrowed it down to three options:

 

(in the order they interest me atm)

 

1. Fidelio X1

2. HD600

3. HD650

 

I had a pair of Shure 940's before which I enjoyed very much since I found the mids and highs to be great. The bass was the only thing where I could have wished for more. I powered them with and Audinst MX-1 which is still in my possession, however the 3.5 jack is as good as broken. Therefor I'm considering upgrading after getting my pair of headphones to either a new amp or a new dac and amp. I'm sitting with the following options:

 

1. Buying O2 + ODAC

2. Buying Schiit Magni + Modi

3. Buying either O2 or Magni to pair with my Audinst.

 

What do you guys think? What headphones are must suitable? Should I buy a new combo or will the performance be just as good with just a new amp despite the fact that I will be pairing two different brands?

 

Thanks in advance!

post #2 of 29
Since you are considering the X1s, you should also look into the HE-400s, which are on sale right now for $299. Here's a review, and note how it compares to other headphones in those reviews: http://www.head-fi.org/t/634201/battle-of-the-flagships-58-headphones-compared-update-audeze-lcd-2-revision-2-6-4-13#user_HE400

You can mix DAC/headphone amps no problem. Since you already have the Audinst, you can always order just a headphone amp and add a DAC later. Doesn't it have line outs for connecting a headphone amp?
post #3 of 29

The HD600 and 650 do not have the treble spike/peak of your 940.  So they overall will be a more bass-heavy presentation as a result.

 

I think you should also consider the DT880, very good deep bass extension+impact around ~65-100Hz.  I think DT880 bass is cleaner and more "dry" than the the HD650.... YMMV though if that kind of sound is to your liking.   Heres some graphs to help illustrate.... which coincidently is also I hear each of these cans, albeit on separate listening sessions and not a direct comparison.

 

post #4 of 29
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by cel4145 View Post

Since you are considering the X1s, you should also look into the HE-400s, which are on sale right now for $299. Here's a review, and note how it compares to other headphones in those reviews: http://www.head-fi.org/t/634201/battle-of-the-flagships-58-headphones-compared-update-audeze-lcd-2-revision-2-6-4-13#user_HE400

You can mix DAC/headphone amps no problem. Since you already have the Audinst, you can always order just a headphone amp and add a DAC later. Doesn't it have line outs for connecting a headphone amp?

Thanks a ton for the reply, very appreciated. I'm very convinced that the HE-400's are a very price worthy pair of headphones, despite that they are excluded for my part. Partly because I've heard that they weigh quite a lot and might be uncomfortable during movie marathons and such. But the main reason is simply because I'm not an american citizen and the headphones can not be purchased in my country, therefor it would be too much of a pain to return them if they wouldn't suit me.

 

Regarding the Audinst its correct that it has RCA-out to plug an external amp in there. I was just unsure if the O2 and the Schiit combo was specifically designed to pair better together compared with another DAC. But if that's not the case then I'll just use the HUD MX-1 as a DAC and save myself 100 bucks. Which amp should I go for then, the Magni or O2? Thanks a lot for the massive test you linked, not sure how I could have missed it. 

Quote:
Originally Posted by kramer5150 View Post
 

The HD600 and 650 do not have the treble spike/peak of your 940.  So they overall will be a more bass-heavy presentation as a result.

 

I think you should also consider the DT880, very good deep bass extension+impact around ~65-100Hz.  I think DT880 bass is cleaner and more "dry" than the the HD650.... YMMV though if that kind of sound is to your liking.   Heres some graphs to help illustrate.... which coincidently is also I hear each of these cans, albeit on separate listening sessions and not a direct comparison.

 

Aargh... And I was convinced that I had excluded all cans that weren't of interest but the DT880 really caught my eye... They do look incredibly nice to wear and the reviews I've quickly read are stating very promising things. For starters, the test that cel4145 linked to included the headphones and it was only one of four recieving the A+! Do you guys think I should go with the 250 or 600ohm? Can, say, an Audint + Magni give the 600ohm version enough power? 

 

Thanks for your replies guys, keep the advices coming! =)

post #5 of 29
I've only tried the Pro 250 ohm. But I have it on good authority that the difference between the 600 ohm and the 250 ohm is not worthwhile at all unless you get into VERY high end tube amplifiers. Seems reasonable to me smily_headphones1.gif

Just an FYI: HiFiMan is a Chinese company, and they are sold online. So their brand can probably be bought no matter where you live smily_headphones1.gif
post #6 of 29

The DT880s are very comfortable. I can wear them all day with no fatigue at all :dt880smile:

 

As far as an amp/dac goes both the Magni/Modi and the O2/ODAC are great choices. One other option is the Vali as an amp instead of the Magni. I'm currently using a Vali paired with the DT880 250 ohm and they have a fantastic synergy. The Vali adds a touch of warmth to the DT880s which is really beneficial.

 

The O2/ODAC and the Magni/Modi are very close in sound quality. The Schiit stack has a couple of advantages. It's $80 cheaper than the O2/ODAC combo and I think it looks much nicer aesthetically. The Vali is a tube hybrid amp so I'm not sure you can make a direct comparison between it and the O2, but if you were to go with the DT880 it's pretty widely excepted that they love tubes.

 

As far as the difference between the 600 ohm and 250 ohm I totally agree with cel4145. There is supposed to be a marginal improvement in sound quality with the 600 ohm but you need a higher end amp to hear the difference. Plus  the $150 difference in price makes it a no brainer.


Edited by Spiral Out - 4/5/14 at 3:05pm
post #7 of 29

I demo'd the 250 ohm model with my Earmax... Awesome headphone overall.  I'd probably get the 600 ohm model though since all my solid state amps are high gain circuits and my OTL tube amps generally like high impedance loads.   If it had less treble emphasis over the upper mids I'd own either the 250 or 600 ohm model for sure.  The 32 ohm version would be a bad synnergy with most of my amps.  DT880 bass is the best I have heard in a dynamic driver south of HD800, spectrally they are identical.  Good impact, deep extension, highly detail revealing too.  While the HD650 bass is syryppy and flows over everything, the DT880 takes the same spectral presentation but airs it out, drys it out more, cleans up a lot of resonant and time domain artifacts that the HD650 bass imposes.


Edited by kramer5150 - 4/5/14 at 3:17pm
post #8 of 29
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by cel4145 View Post

I've only tried the Pro 250 ohm. But I have it on good authority that the difference between the 600 ohm and the 250 ohm is not worthwhile at all unless you get into VERY high end tube amplifiers. Seems reasonable to me smily_headphones1.gif

Just an FYI: HiFiMan is a Chinese company, and they are sold online. So their brand can probably be bought no matter where you live smily_headphones1.gif

Alright, the DT880 250ohm is most definitely an option. Why would you prefer the 880's before the 990's? Yes I'm sure I can get the HE-400 delivered to my house but if I would like to return them for various reasons then I'd have a big problem...

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Spiral Out View Post
 

The DT880s are very comfortable. I can wear them all day with no fatigue at all :dt880smile:

 

As far as an amp/dac goes both the Magni/Modi and the O2/ODAC are great choices. One other option is the Vali as an amp instead of the Magni. I'm currently using a Vali paired with the DT880 250 ohm and they have a fantastic synergy. The Vali adds a touch of warmth to the DT880s which is really beneficial.

 

The O2/ODAC and the Magni/Modi are very close in sound quality. The Schiit stack has a couple of advantages. It's $80 cheaper than the O2/ODAC combo and I think it looks much nicer aesthetically. The Vali is a tube hybrid amp so I'm not sure you can make a direct comparison between it and the O2, but if you were to go with the DT880 it's pretty widely excepted that they love tubes.

 

As far as the difference between the 600 ohm and 250 ohm I totally agree with cel4145. There is supposed to be a marginal improvement in sound quality with the 600 ohm but you need a higher end amp to hear the difference. Plus  the $150 difference in price makes it a no brainer.

Thanks for this awesome reply! Concerning the Vali... It seems like a really great amp to pair with the DT880. I dont know how I feel about tubes tough, don't they need to be replaced after a while and need time to heat up before the amp can perform? Do you think the Vali would work to pair with the MX-1 or should I get the Modi as well? 

 

In another perspective, how well would the Audinst Hud MX-1 perform with the DT880 250 ohm compared to the Vali? In terms of sound quality, is the improvement great enough to be worth 150$?

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by kramer5150 View Post
 

I demo'd the 250 ohm model with my Earmax... Awesome headphone overall.  I'd probably get the 600 ohm model though since all my solid state amps are high gain circuits and my OTL tube amps generally like high impedance loads.   If it had less treble emphasis over the upper mids I'd own either the 250 or 600 ohm model for sure.  The 32 ohm version would be a bad synnergy with most of my amps.  DT880 bass is the best I have heard in a dynamic driver south of HD800, spectrally they are identical.  Good impact, deep extension, highly detail revealing too.  While the HD650 bass is syryppy and flows over everything, the DT880 takes the same spectral presentation but airs it out, drys it out more, cleans up a lot of resonant and time domain artifacts that the HD650 bass imposes.

Thanks alot for the input. Right now the DT880 seems to be the best choice. 

 

I hope you guys could answer the last questions I had and I'd appreciate it a great deal. So far I'm a rookie in this are and I appreciate that you point me in the right direction.

 

Greetings, Matheew

post #9 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Matheew View Post
 

Thanks for this awesome reply! Concerning the Vali... It seems like a really great amp to pair with the DT880. I dont know how I feel about tubes tough, don't they need to be replaced after a while and need time to heat up before the amp can perform? Do you think the Vali would work to pair with the MX-1 or should I get the Modi as well? 

 

In another perspective, how well would the Audinst Hud MX-1 perform with the DT880 250 ohm compared to the Vali? In terms of sound quality, is the improvement great enough to be worth 150$?

 

 

The tubes in the Vali are rated to last between 10,000 to 20,000 hours. That's 7 to 13 years listening to it for 4 hours a day, everyday. If the tubes do go bad Schiit will replace them for a flat fee of $20. They tubes operate at close to room temperature, which is why they last longer than many other tubes. As far as the amp warming up goes, I usually turn the Vali on a minute or two before I start listening. There is a slight improvement after the first five to ten minutes of warm up, but it sounds great from the moment I turn it on. It does settle in a little after it has fully warmed up.

 

To be honest I have never head the Audinst. I have read a lot about it on Headfonia. The reviewer over there recommends it highly as a first amp/dac combo. I'm not sure you can make a direct comparison between the Hud MX-1 and that Vali, they are very different designs. If my memory serves me,I remember reading on Headfonia that as much as they like the MX-1, the O2/ODAC was better. Based on what I have read the O2/ODAC and the Magni/Modi are supposed to be pretty equal in sound quality, so by deduction, I would think the Magni/Modi would be better than the Audinst. 

 

Concerning the Vali, think of it as a Magni with a tube gain stage. It's not overly tubey or warm. It adds a touch of the warmth but doesn't overdo it. It's the perfect amp to experiment with the sound of tubes without diving into the deep end. The DT880s work far better on the Vali than the Headroom little I also have, which is a solid-state amp. The DT880s are far edgier and brighter on the Little. They still sound very good on the Little, but no where near as good as they do on the Vali.

 

I would imagine the Modi would be a better option that the Hud MX-1, but I don't have any facts to back it up, just a gut feeling. The Modi is supposed to be almost as good or equal to the ODAC for $50 less. I use an ODAC with my Vali and DT880 and can't recommend the system highly enough, they all click into place very nicely :dt880smile: 


Edited by Spiral Out - 4/6/14 at 7:41am
post #10 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Matheew View Post

Alright, the DT880 250ohm is most definitely an option. Why would you prefer the 880's before the 990's? Yes I'm sure I can get the HE-400 delivered to my house but if I would like to return them for various reasons then I'd have a big problem...

I didn't say that I would recommend the DT880s over the DT990s. I thought you were asking about the difference between the 250 ohm and 600 ohm versions of the DT880s. The DT990s would be the better choice if you want more bass emphasis and don't mind a little more treble emphasis--the DT880s will be more neutral than the DT990s.

And I agree with Spiral Out about the O2/ODAC and Modi/Magni being great choices. Although you will probably not be able to buy them locally (or the Vali for that matter).

As for the Vali, it is a hybrid tube amp, which means it's a solid state amp with a tube added in to give it a little flavor. It's not going to have the rich tube sound of the much more expensive tube OTL amplifiers. However, the tubes in hybrid tube amps, as Spiral Out pointed out, last a long time.
post #11 of 29
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Spiral Out View Post
 

The tubes in the Vali are rated to last between 10,000 to 20,000 hours. That's 7 to 13 years listening to it for 4 hours a day, everyday. If the tubes do go bad Schiit will replace them for a flat fee of $20. They tubes operate at close to room temperature, which is why they last longer than many other tubes. As far as the amp warming up goes, I usually turn the Vali on a minute or two before I start listening. There is a slight improvement after the first five to ten minutes of warm up, but it sounds great from the moment I turn it on. It does settle in a little after it has fully warmed up.

 

To be honest I have never head the Audinst. I have read a lot about it on Headfonia. The reviewer over there recommends it highly as a first amp/dac combo. I'm not sure you can make a direct comparison between the Hud MX-1 and that Vali, they are very different designs. If my memory serves me,I remember reading on Headfonia that as much as they like the MX-1, the O2/ODAC was better. Based on what I have read the O2/ODAC and the Magni/Modi are supposed to be pretty equal in sound quality, so by deduction, I would think the Magni/Modi would be better than the Audinst. 

 

Concerning the Vali, think of it as a Magni with a tube gain stage. It's not overly tubey or warm. It adds a touch of the warmth but doesn't overdo it. It's the perfect amp to experiment with the sound of tubes without diving into the deep end. The DT880s work far better on the Vali than the Headroom little I also have, which is a solid-state amp. The DT880s are far edgier and brighter on the Little. They still sound very good on the Little, but no where near as good as they do on the Vali.

 

I would imagine the Modi would be a better option that the Hud MX-1, but I don't have any facts to back it up, just a gut feeling. The Modi is supposed to be almost as good or equal to the ODAC for $50 less. I use an ODAC with my Vali and DT880 and can't recommend the system highly enough, they all click into place very nicely :dt880smile: 

 

Wow, you guys are truly amazing. I've been on hundreds of forums in my life and I've never experience getting replies this fast and certainly not so well written ones. I'll order Modi + Vali this week together with the DT800. Hopefully I'll be satisfied, if not then I'll try the HD600... What type of music would you say works best with the DT880 + Vali? Have you tried any Iron Maiden? Thanks alot for your help on everything!

Quote:
Originally Posted by cel4145 View Post


I didn't say that I would recommend the DT880s over the DT990s. I thought you were asking about the difference between the 250 ohm and 600 ohm versions of the DT880s. The DT990s would be the better choice if you want more bass emphasis and don't mind a little more treble emphasis--the DT880s will be more neutral than the DT990s.

And I agree with Spiral Out about the O2/ODAC and Modi/Magni being great choices. Although you will probably not be able to buy them locally (or the Vali for that matter).

As for the Vali, it is a hybrid tube amp, which means it's a solid state amp with a tube added in to give it a little flavor. It's not going to have the rich tube sound of the much more expensive tube OTL amplifiers. However, the tubes in hybrid tube amps, as Spiral Out pointed out, last a long time.

Now I follow, thanks a great deal for the support. Hopefully I'll find the 880 very suitable for me. I wonder if I need to pay customs for my Schiit products shipping to Sweden?

post #12 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Matheew View Post
 

 

Wow, you guys are truly amazing. I've been on hundreds of forums in my life and I've never experience getting replies this fast and certainly not so well written ones. I'll order Modi + Vali this week together with the DT800. Hopefully I'll be satisfied, if not then I'll try the HD600... What type of music would you say works best with the DT880 + Vali? Have you tried any Iron Maiden? Thanks alot for your help on everything!

 

I'm glad I could be helpful :dt880smile: I listen to a lot of progressive rock mostly. Bands like Pink Floyd, Yes, Tool, Genesis, Porcupine Tree. I also enjoy hard rock and classical. I find the DT880s to play very well with those types of music and many other types of music.They are sort of a jack of all trades. Very open sounding with good imaging and a very nice soundstage without being too wide. Very Hi-Fi sounding if you know what I mean. Tonally, they are very balanced but a little unforgiving with poorly recorded and mastered material. Bad recordings may sound too bright and dry. Most of the music I listen to is for the most part very well recorded so it's never an issue. The DT880 is very analytical and runs on the brighter side of neutral, but nothing like a Grado for instance. 

 

The Vali adds a bit of warmth to the character of the sound without  rounding it off too much. It seems to round out the midrange and bass nicely on the DT880 while still sounding exciting with rock. The treble peak on the DT880 is also smoothed out a bit. I don't feel any need to equalize the DT880 with the Vali. I have tried EQ with the pair but I prefer the unaltered signature.

As far as Iron Maiden goes, Powerslave is one of my favorite albums. It sounds simply awesome on the DT880+Vali :dt880smile:

post #13 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Matheew View Post

Now I follow, thanks a great deal for the support. Hopefully I'll find the 880 very suitable for me. I wonder if I need to pay customs for my Schiit products shipping to Sweden?

Glad to help smily_headphones1.gif

It might be cheaper to get the EHP-O2D from Epiphany Acoustics in the UK. That's the ODAC/O2 with their model number put on it.
post #14 of 29
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Spiral Out View Post
 

I'm glad I could be helpful :dt880smile: I listen to a lot of progressive rock mostly. Bands like Pink Floyd, Yes, Tool, Genesis, Porcupine Tree. I also enjoy hard rock and classical. I find the DT880s to play very well with those types of music and many other types of music.They are sort of a jack of all trades. Very open sounding with good imaging and a very nice soundstage without being too wide. Very Hi-Fi sounding if you know what I mean. Tonally, they are very balanced but a little unforgiving with poorly recorded and mastered material. Bad recordings may sound too bright and dry. Most of the music I listen to is for the most part very well recorded so it's never an issue. The DT880 is very analytical and runs on the brighter side of neutral, but nothing like a Grado for instance. 

 

The Vali adds a bit of warmth to the character of the sound without  rounding it off too much. It seems to round out the midrange and bass nicely on the DT880 while still sounding exciting with rock. The treble peak on the DT880 is also smoothed out a bit. I don't feel any need to equalize the DT880 with the Vali. I have tried EQ with the pair but I prefer the unaltered signature.

As far as Iron Maiden goes, Powerslave is one of my favorite albums. It sounds simply awesome on the DT880+Vali :dt880smile:

 

For that incredibly helpful insight I dare to say that you're my hero. Is amazing how perfect these headphones seems to be for me, I've probably hyped way too much at this point. How do they perform in movies? 

Quote:
Originally Posted by cel4145 View Post


Glad to help smily_headphones1.gif

It might be cheaper to get the EHP-O2D from Epiphany Acoustics in the UK. That's the ODAC/O2 with their model number put on it.

 

Doing some math I realized that it would be hell of a lot cheaper to order the O2-combo from Head n Hifi since they can ship from Germany and I get rid of the custom and tax costs. If I were to order the Modi and Vali combo it would cost me 460$ because if the price of the product is higher than 200 I have to pay a custom fee at approx 100$... 

 

I feel though that after Spiral Out's review I need the Vali and I've found a work around! If I order the 0DAC from Germany and the Vali (which is cheaper than 200$ - no custom fee!) I will end up with a price tag of approx 320$ compared to 300$ for the O2-combo, It seems like a no brainer. This will give me the exact same setup as Spiral Out, you better be telling the truth about the gear! :D

post #15 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Matheew View Post

I feel though that after Spiral Out's review I need the Vali and I've found a work around! If I order the 0DAC from Germany and the Vali (which is cheaper than 200$ - no custom fee!) I will end up with a price tag of approx 320$ compared to 300$ for the O2-combo, It seems like a no brainer. This will give me the exact same setup as Spiral Out, you better be telling the truth about the gear! biggrin.gif

That really depends on your personal listening tastes. I prefer the accuracy of a solid state amp over a hybrid tube/ss amp. I used to have the Little Dot I+, but stopped using it once I got the O2.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
Head-Fi.org › Forums › Help and Getting Started › Introductions, Help and Recommendations › What option should I go with (Headphones + DAC/Amp)!?