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Denon ah-d600 and Audioengine D1 / Alternatives

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 

I've got a pair of Denon Ah-d600's and they are pretty good headphones, however I think I could defiantly get more out of them as I plug them into my PC and only have on-board audio (when I got the PC I was trying to save money and only have cheap Logitech speakers) but now I have decent headphones I want something better. I started looking into DACs/Amps and was completely confused by all the different things people say about Ohm and low and high impedance etc and how some work better with others depending on these things ( and a lot of people disagree with each other and I have no Idea who's right)

I was looking at the Audioengine D1 and was wondering if it was a good match for these headphones. I know it is a DAC and a headphone amp and I would connect it to decent speakers at some point down the line and I'm not bothered about portability at all, I never use these headphones anywhere but home so it would be nice if they were a good match. 

post #2 of 7
In short, you don't need to spend too much to get better quality over your standard pc components. The Ah-d600 is really easy to drive, but the DAC can significantly improve the quality of sound. I recently added a cheap Native Instruments traktor Audio 2 and that is an improvement over running directly from an iPhone or MacBook Pro line out.

Importantly, with the DAC you should notice that higher quality files will sound better. Go for it!
post #3 of 7
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the reply

I really like the look of the Native Instruments traktor Audio but does it suit my needs? It's described as DJ equipment but all I want it for is to sit on my desk and make my headphones sound better. What is it exactly a external soundcard/amp/DAC? Do you own a pair of ah d600's and have tried them with it? 

Also, I mainly listen to music through Spotify, would that work with it? Also it says the Load impedance is 28-600 Ohms but the Denons are only 25 Ohms so what does this mean? I've heard it's important to get the right match when it comes to this and actually read somewhere on here that you should be getting an amp/DAC that is less that 1 Ohm for Denon headphones.

Here's the post I read http://www.head-fi.org/t/619181/list-opinion-amp-recommendations-for-fostex-denon-headphones. All the recommendations are either too expensive or not easy to find online in the UK 

Sorry, I know that's a lot of questions but I have no clue about these things, feel free to correct anything I'm getting wrong.

post #4 of 7

I honestly I'm not as experienced or qualified with amps to give you solid advice here. I'm hoping one of the more experienced members can chime in. 

What I do have, is this very setup right in front of me right now. For the money, roughly $100, there may be a better dedicated DAC out there. However, the DAC put in the newest Audio 2 is no slouch and is an upgrade over basic PC components. Also, this DAC is pretty portable and can easily connect to an iPad or iPhone. To me thats a bonus. I have a power adapter that I use with it, it doesn't come with one but I also have a NI Maschine Studio so I use this adapter with it. personally, I got this for its portability and that it has two stereo outs, which is handy for DJing. 


I've seen another head-fier recommend these for the D600 http://audioengineusa.com/Store/D1-24-Bit-DAC


One thing, is that Spotify is not good in sound quality unless if you are using premium, which is arguably very good at 320kpbs. If you are going to continue using Spotify without premium, then I'd just stick with what you have and enjoy it for what it is. 


Basically, out of an iPhone or similar quality output, the first thing to increase the quality is the file quality. The upgrade from 160 to 320 is drastic. Spotify premium would give you this. Next, a low cost DAC will give the next level of quality. This last upgrade may subtle, but once you have it it will trounce your current listening setup. 


Regular Spotify has a 160kpbs I imagine variable bit rate quality. Even for Mp3, this is not very good, but is somewhat typical for web streams. You lose a lot of information using that compression quality. Its often 'splashy' sounding with less bass quality and lacking in overall definition. 


The Denon AH-D600 is a great headphone. its not an accurate headphone, but has some great qualities. I enjoy listening to them, and their signature can work very well on certain pieces. They are bit cavernous, so some tracks can sound a bit muddy, resonant or with too much reverb. They do perform better with higher quality files and output, as the increased definition and high-end really helps. While I'd like to say electronic music is what these headphones excel at, actually they sound better with reference recordings, be it jazz, classical, etc. What do you enjoy listening too?

Edited by Malfunkt - 5/15/14 at 11:53am
post #5 of 7
Thread Starter 

Thanks again for the detailed reply

I do have Spotify premium and I have the streaming quality turned up to extreme ( which I believe is 320), I do understand the basic about sound files and quality and compression, more than I do about amps and DACs anyway.

The link you provided is the  amp/DAC I was looking at but it's £125 so I'm not sure it's worth it atm, although I would like to use it speakers as well in the future. Everything in the UK is so expensive, you can pretty much swap that $ sign for a £ one. Don't suppose you have the link to the post where this is recommended? Don't worry if it's going to be a mission to find, just nice to read the comments and see what people think of the pairing. 

Yeah, I've noticed on some tracks, especially older hip hop recordings, these headphones pick up all the sort of 'fuzz' if you know what I mean haha, it's not the headphones either, I can hear it in 2 other sets of headphones ( just) and my speakers (just) and sometimes they sound a bit muddy I would defiantly agree with that. That's really why I want a DAC/Amp just to clean them up a bit not expecting drastic improvement they sound really good anyway just a few minor niggles.

I mainly listen to metal ( Opeth and stone sour sound amazing through these) but I listen to DnB, Dub and Reggae some dubstep, 70's funk, 80's pop, some modern pop but not much, rock, classical to death metal haha so everything really, what about you?      



post #6 of 7

Whoops, i actually referenced the wrong amp, that AudioEngine D1 was just going to be my recommendation though I have not heard it. I have heard good things about it. 


The one that was referenced by a fellow head-fier is on this page http://www.head-fi.org/t/717094/denon-d600-or-for-pc/15  and the amp is http://hifimediy.com/index.php?route=product/product&product_id=123 


I like Opeth as well, they are amazingly talented musicians. I primarily listen to a range of electronic music (currently listening to a pretty solid atmospheric dnb album 'Etherwood' by Etherwood which I think is here on Spotify) , to podcasts Electric Deluxe podcast (which is great for a range of darker, minimal, ambient, and experimental), to stuff played by the likes of Dominik Eulberg, Steve Bug, Martin Landsky, etc. Last night I listened to a remast of U.F.Orb from The Orb on the Denons. That was a perfect matching, and any misgivings I had about the headphone melted away.


Also recently have been listening to a Riverside SACD remaster of Bill Evans Trio 'Explorations'. A lower bit-rate version (16-bit) is on Spotify and for all intents should sound as good on our meagre setups. 


I do listen to dub as well, more along the stuff produced by Youth, but classic stuff as well. Just getting back into it, and the D600 is operfect for it. Check out Dub Trees on spotify here

post #7 of 7
Thread Starter 

Cheers I'll defiantly look into that one as it's so cheap.

I'l be honest, most of who you listed I've not heard of haha but thanks always good to find new artists.

Thanks for your reply's mate, been real helpful   


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