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Headphone, Dac, and Amp Recommendation for Rock, Metal, and Blues

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 

Budget: About $500, can be flexible, budget includes DAC and AMP

 

Music: Blues, rock, and some metal

 

The headphones would be used with primarily MOBA games, but a decent sound stage would still be nice.

 

The amount of use would be about 60% music and movies, 40% games

 

I would prefer open backed headphones, but I also wouldn't mind closed headphones. Currently I am using a creative x-fi with jbl creatures, and don't own any headphones, dac, or amp. The headphones would be for home use.

 

I haven't owned any headphones. Although, I've had a Tritton AX PC Pro headset, but my experiences were unpleasant, and they don't really qualify as a  decent headphone.

post #2 of 13
He500 > hd650 > hd600

You won't go wrong with either one. I suggest you spend as much on headphones first before looking at amps and DACs.
post #3 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by Harath View Post
 

Budget: About $500, can be flexible, budget includes DAC and AMP

 

Music: Blues, rock, and some metal

 

For around $600:

 

Headphone - refurb Sennheiser HD600 from Razordog, $299; spare ear pads, $60 (get them now and swap them out every few days to keep from wearing out one pair too much and immediately feeling the change in sound)

 

DAC-Amp  - any Audio GD for around $200 to $300

 

I don't think surround simulation will go through USB though, but if you have one of those MSI motherboards with an OPA6152 headphone driver stage, it's enough for it to get loud with not enough audible distortion for games

post #4 of 13
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ProtegeManiac View Post
 

 

For around $600:

 

Headphone - refurb Sennheiser HD600 from Razordog, $299; spare ear pads, $60 (get them now and swap them out every few days to keep from wearing out one pair too much and immediately feeling the change in sound)

 

DAC-Amp  - any Audio GD for around $200 to $300

 

I don't think surround simulation will go through USB though, but if you have one of those MSI motherboards with an OPA6152 headphone driver stage, it's enough for it to get loud with not enough audible distortion for games

Would using a soundcard instead of a DAC be feasible for positional cues in games? I was looking at HD 600's, but I also think I may be jumping into this to quickly, and possibly start with something lower in price.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by b0000 View Post

He500 > hd650 > hd600

You won't go wrong with either one. I suggest you spend as much on headphones first before looking at amps and DACs.

I've seen a few reviews for the He 500 and I would love to have them, but for $500 used, they are much more expensive than the 650 and 600. I do like the suggestion.

post #5 of 13
Grados are well known for being great for rock, metal, and blues. Read up some about them.

I would suggest getting headphone for gaming, and then a pair of Grados for music listening. The HD558 would do well for the former, and the a pair of SR80i. I'm not familiar with the X-Fi, but a Xonar STX or ST would be a great soundcard.

But start with the Grados and see what you think.
post #6 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by Harath View Post
 

Would using a soundcard instead of a DAC be feasible for positional cues in games? I was looking at HD 600's, but I also think I may be jumping into this to quickly, and possibly start with something lower in price.

 

Yes it should work, but keep in mind you will need to use the headphone amp output on the soundcard as an input signal into the amplifier. Redundant and might just introduce noise, or the signal can be too strong that it might be difficult to match the gain settings. If your motherboard has onboard sound than can do this processing, I'd rather get a cheaper gaming headset that is easier to drive (much less of a concern if you have one of those Asus or MSI mobos that have a high-output headphone driver) and then separate the signal chain for music. With the HD600 in particular, for the cost of new pads, you can get a gaming headset already, and using the HD600 on games will wear out the pads sooner. You either buy an extra pair and swap them out every few days, or just use a different headset for gaming. A good enough headset if driven cleanly at the levels you need isn't going to be that much farther behind a hi-fi headphone because when you're gaming, your brain and senses are focused on fragging, not the details of the SQ or if that explosion sounds "right" the same way you'd notice the percussion sounds off on cheap earbuds.

 

 

 

post #7 of 13
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by cel4145 View Post

Grados are well known for being great for rock, metal, and blues. Read up some about them.

I would suggest getting headphone for gaming, and then a pair of Grados for music listening. The HD558 would do well for the former, and the a pair of SR80i. I'm not familiar with the X-Fi, but a Xonar STX or ST would be a great soundcard.

But start with the Grados and see what you think.

I definitely will, I've read only a little bit on Grados. I may end up going for the sr80i, and start building up. The on ear was the only detraction from the grados, but I can probably live with it.

 

I wanted to get a DAC and AMP since I use my laptop the majority of the time. My desktop is overall a better machine, but I've been lazy in hooking it up; I use my laptop for school work, and I don't have MS office installed on the desktop. I have one of the multiple USB adapters that I could probably use to switch stuff back and forth (keyboard mouse, etc.), do you know if that would be a good option?

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by ProtegeManiac View Post
 

 

Yes it should work, but keep in mind you will need to use the headphone amp output on the soundcard as an input signal into the amplifier. Redundant and might just introduce noise, or the signal can be too strong that it might be difficult to match the gain settings. If your motherboard has onboard sound than can do this processing, I'd rather get a cheaper gaming headset that is easier to drive (much less of a concern if you have one of those Asus or MSI mobos that have a high-output headphone driver) and then separate the signal chain for music. With the HD600 in particular, for the cost of new pads, you can get a gaming headset already, and using the HD600 on games will wear out the pads sooner. You either buy an extra pair and swap them out every few days, or just use a different headset for gaming. A good enough headset if driven cleanly at the levels you need isn't going to be that much farther behind a hi-fi headphone because when you're gaming, your brain and senses are focused on fragging, not the details of the SQ or if that explosion sounds "right" the same way you'd notice the percussion sounds off on cheap earbuds.

 

 

 

For gaming, I'm not too worried about being competitive, I would just like immersion. Right now I'm thinking some headphones around $100, to get me started off, then buy a condenser of sort.


Edited by Harath - 4/19/14 at 8:54pm
post #8 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by Harath View Post

I wanted to get a DAC and AMP since I use my laptop the majority of the time. My desktop is overall a better machine, but I've been lazy in hooking it up; I use my laptop for school work, and I don't have MS office installed on the desktop. I have one of the multiple USB adapters that I could probably use to switch stuff back and forth (keyboard mouse, etc.), do you know if that would be a good option?

Look into the Audioquest Dragonfly USB DAC. That would be ultra portable for your laptop.
post #9 of 13
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by cel4145 View Post


Look into the Audioquest Dragonfly USB DAC. That would be ultra portable for your laptop.

I've read a little bit about the Dragonfly as well, I didn't know how great it would be. If I were to get like an Ms1i or sr 80, I wouldn't need any kind of amp to use with the DAC would I?

post #10 of 13
The Dragonfly has a headphone amp built in.
post #11 of 13
Thread Starter 

Portability isn't really my main concern. Although I've read reviews on the dragonfly, and they all seem very positive. 

 

I was wondering if an amp & dac setup like the magni & modi would be better than buying the dragonfly, since I would be spending near the same amount of money.

 

Thanks for spending so much time helping me out, I really appreciate it.

post #12 of 13

+1 for the grado sr80i

post #13 of 13
The Modi and Magni are considered by many on Head-Fi to be the best DAC/amp for $200. I'd go for that over the Dragonfly if you don't need the portability of the Dragonfly.
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