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HD650s with no amp/dac. How out of luck am I?

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 

Hey everyone, Since my PXC450s were not working, and I realized that I'm probably going to do most of my studying at home, I dont need closed headphones. I used the return money on some HD650s that I was able to pick up with a 4 year warranty for $350. 

Here is my issue, being a college student, I don't have THAT much money. I can't afford an amp at the moment, I will get one, but just not right now. Will my 650s work at all on my laptop/Samsung S4 without an amp/dac? I don't want to spend this money to have a sweet paperweight until I can get the money for an amp. 

Most of my listening is done in my room at night, so they do not need to be ear rupturingly loud, but I would like to use them. 

post #2 of 14
Thread Starter 

Actually, I just ran across a Fiio E18 portable amp/dac for $100 on Ebay used. I know this belongs more in the 'portable amp' section, but would this be a good add on to the HD650? This is well enough in my range that I could afford to get it now rather than waiting, but if it's not worth it on such cans then I'll just save my money.

post #3 of 14
My guess is it might do well for a portable dac/amp. I would read around in and ask in these threads:
http://www.head-fi.org/t/685414/preview-fiio-e18-kunlun-surprise-surprise
http://www.head-fi.org/t/696529/fiio-e18-review
I'd trust the guys that did those reviews and started those threads to give you a reliable answer smily_headphones1.gif
post #4 of 14
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by cel4145 View Post

My guess is it might do well for a portable dac/amp. I would read around in and ask in these threads:
http://www.head-fi.org/t/685414/preview-fiio-e18-kunlun-surprise-surprise
http://www.head-fi.org/t/696529/fiio-e18-review
I'd trust the guys that did those reviews and started those threads to give you a reliable answer smily_headphones1.gif

Thank you, I did read the review, but the reviewer said it worked well with no distortion on a 32ohm headphone. Seeing as the 650s are 300ohm, I was curious if the amp would make any difference at all from my smartphone. Perhaps it's too weak.

post #5 of 14
Yeah. You gotta do more work that that. smily_headphones1.gif

Skim the threads and then ask questions and see what people say. The reason I recommend it is that this is how I would go find out about a product in this kind of situation. smily_headphones1.gif
post #6 of 14

You are not at all out of luck! I more than enjoy my HD650's straight out of the audio jack. Tbh, plugging them into pc without an amp/dac, I actually have to turn down the volume very low (6-10% depending on the recordings) for it to be pleasant, and that's on a basic onboard sound chip (RealTek something something). I also have fiio e17 and I cannot say that it makes much of a difference (it does indeed provide some audible difference, but maybe not as much as I would wish for). In the end, unamped these still sound great. Stop worrying and enjoy your new cans. You can upgrade later down the line when you come into some money, be it a couple of months or a year. Congrats, btw!

 

P.S. same thing applies to mobile. On my S4 I can easily listen at 3-4 volume level. Only time I go up to 5 is when I am doing something noise like washing dishes (yes it does not perfectly overcome the background noise but if it's not your first time listening to the song, it should be more than enough to hear most of the basic details to enjoy it during such a task).


Edited by Dynamo - 5/3/14 at 9:55pm
post #7 of 14

Don't go for the E18, it gives very little amount of power output. FiiO themselves state on their website that the recommended headphone impedance for the E18 is 16~150.

post #8 of 14

I tried my HD600 with an iPod before, and also on my Samsung Galaxy S and S3. On the iPod and the original Galaxy S, you can barely get to an audible level with the volume setting at near maximum, but the bass is bloated (no impact, instead of just too powerful) and the highs can be a bit shrill in some recordings. Dynamic range is non-existence - there's barely any difference in volume between, say, the percussion coming in and the guitars. It's not to say that they're "equal," but that it is hte reverse of how a Grado seems to throw everything at you, where everything is too shy. The PRAT of the music is also noticeably "slow" (runtime isn't affected of course, just the slower decay of the notes). These problems are exacerbated by old earpads but are still audible on new/relatively new earpads. The S3 is a little bit better than the iPod, also gets loud enough at 80% volume, but on worn earpads there's still the same problem with it exacerbating the distortion. On new earpads the sound is too thin, everything lacking body and texture, so much so that it feels like there's a "hole" between the midrange and the higher range of the treble - a discontinuity for example between the vocals and the very forward cymbals (not like there was any real soundstage to begin with). You can of course just use NeutronMP as your player app and tweak the EQ a little bit just to minimize this, until you get a proper DAC-Amp; also keep the volume low.


An SR325 or SR225 would have been a better choice, especially if you're not going to mind the soundstage shape (strong L-C-R, weak between L-C and C-R) and just enjoy their presentation of the music. If you're really going to keep the HD650 for now, you can always get a player like the Ibasso DX50 later on as it has a good enough amp built into it, or just wait around for incredible deals on used DAC-Amps that have the kind of voltage output it needs - for example a used AudioGD NFB12 for $150, or the Schiit Magni+Modi combo. Just make sure that whatever you get later can actually drive them a lot better than the smartphone especially if you're trying to keep costs down, as there are low-cost products that don't make that much more power nor cleaner. For example a 30mW amp might have six times the power of a 5mW smartphone, but the question is how much are either actually making at 300ohms. 


Edited by ProtegeManiac - 5/4/14 at 8:30am
post #9 of 14

For what it's worth, I have been using the HD650 with an Fiio E10 DAC/AMP worth <100$ for the past year and it works pretty well. Maybe not as good as the big amps (I don't have a reference), but the Fiio drives it pretty decently, I generally listen at vol 4~5 and going all the way up is generally a volume I'd not like to listen at. 

post #10 of 14
Thread Starter 
Well I just got the phones and they drive pretty well out of the box. Full volume on my laptop is generally too loud. I'll be using these frequently and I can't wait until I can get some gear to make them sound better
post #11 of 14

Good luck with the HD650s. They are beautiful. 

 

I broke down and ordered a Bottlehead Crack kit yesterday. Let's see what better amplification brings to the table. 

post #12 of 14
The first time I heard the HD650's was unamped out of an iPod and I hated them. Properly amped they are one of the best headphones I've heard (I've only heard Mid-fi cans to be fair).
post #13 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by ProtegeManiac View Post

... just wait around for incredible deals on used DAC-Amps that have the kind of voltage output it needs - for example a used AudioGD NFB12 for $150, or the Schiit Magni+Modi combo

+1 . And this would be the bare minimum acceptable, trust me. I drove my HD650 for about 3 years from an audio gd fun, I just upgraded to a schiit valhalla and it's like a night and day comparison.
post #14 of 14

Search for some of these on the bay, NuForce Icon DAC or uDAC.  They are small and they have a lot of different models but the headphone amps and DACs work very well with the 650's, 600 and 580's.

There is at least one NuForce Icon 2 that might slip into your price range and new it is about $450.

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