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Help with putting together a ~1K home setup

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 

Hi-

 

I have recently started doing a bunch of freelance writing from home, and as such am in a position that I need to put together a nice headphone + amp & DAC combo for home. My primary goals are:

 

- Comfortable for long wearing sessions

- I wear glasses

- I don't have to worry about sound leakage

- I have about $1,000 to spend on the headphones and amp / DAC

- My music source is a Macbook Pro (has the optical out or USB 2.0)

- I stream a lot of my music from Google Play Music, but also have a huge collection of music mostly converted from CDs, some HDTracks downloads, and a handful of iTunes tracks (I tend to buy CDs or HDTracks over iTunes)

 

Currently, I am thinking the HiFiMan HE-500 is probably my best bet for the headphones. I am also considering the HD650s from Sennheiser.

 

My current headphones are the Sennheiser Momentum On-Ears (I like the way they sound, a little bass heavy, but I boost the treble a bit with the EQ, and it really evens them out.) The draw back is that since they are on-ear, they aren't as comfortable for long sessions as I would like, especially with the new glasses I got having thicker temples on them.

 

I am pretty lost when it comes to the amp and the DAC. I am thinking about an HRT Music Streamer II+ paired with an amp that has the ability to do EQ and drive the headphones I end up getting.

 

I listen to a ton of different music genres, so my primary goal is a setup that is very versatile. I am more concerned with musicality than technicality, since I don't listen to a ton of classical music. I also prefer music that has air to it. If I had to pick a few songs I would want them to excel with they would be:

 

1) Wild World by Cat Stevens (I want to feel the guitar hook)

2) A Change is Gonna Come by Sam Cooke (Sweet smooth vocals, really want the violin at the start to stand out)

3) More Human Than Human by Rob Zombie (I tend to like slower / driving rock over super fast paced and busy)

4) Adele / Amazing female vocalists

5) Tweeter and the Monkey Man by The Traveling Willburys

6) Chicago Blues a la Paul Butterfield Blues Band, Howlin' Wolf, Muddy Waters, etc

7) 60s Motown

 

In other words, I tend to listen to great vocals, great guitar work, and while mostly slower paced stuff / music that isn't super 'busy', I do enjoy fast paced blues and classic rock.

 

At home I also have a nice stereo setup with B&W studio monitors and a pair of Magniplanars (I like the clarity of the B&Ws, but prefer the warmth and musicality of the Magi's)

 

Thank you for reading my wall of text. If there is anything else you would suggest, let me know. I am tempted to look at the Grado RS1s, but they are on-ear headphones which concerns me.

post #2 of 7

Well, I can only recommend that which I have used, so maybe consider the Sennheiser HD600 with a Schiit Asgard and Bifrost.

 

Its right about $1K and its a pretty great all around setup, at a very reasonable price.  As a plus, you can use Asgard as a preamp for your monitors as well, if you so choose.

 

For info on things I have no experience with, try looking at innerfidelity.

 

http://www.innerfidelity.com/


Edited by AnalogSavior - 5/30/14 at 1:18pm
post #3 of 7

Yulong D200 + Sennheiser HD600 + Nad Viso HP50.

post #4 of 7
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the recommendations guys! I think I am pretty set on the HiFiMan HE-500s, got to listen to a pair that a friend owns, and they really seem to hit that sweet spot for me.

 

Still back and forth a bit, though, and would hope someone with experience with both the HD-650 and HE-500 could maybe chime in?

 

Also, any advice on a DAC/AMP combo that is a bit more portable? As I am on a laptop, I do work away from the desk a fair amount.

post #5 of 7

Here is a nice comparison of several quality portable DAC/amps

 

http://www.innerfidelity.com/content/you-can-take-it-you-survey-portable-usb-headphone-ampdacs

post #6 of 7
A
Edited by csnr - 9/4/14 at 9:15am
post #7 of 7
Quote:
Originally Posted by pjcforpres2020 View Post
 

Thanks for the recommendations guys! I think I am pretty set on the HiFiMan HE-500s, got to listen to a pair that a friend owns, and they really seem to hit that sweet spot for me.

 

Still back and forth a bit, though, and would hope someone with experience with both the HD-650 and HE-500 could maybe chime in?

 

Also, any advice on a DAC/AMP combo that is a bit more portable? As I am on a laptop, I do work away from the desk a fair amount.

 

It's worth it to wait another week or two for the HE-560s to come out. From what you've requested I think it'll be the highest quality option for sound. The HD-650, assuming you can get it around 330$ new, is one of the best buys of all times in headphones. It's surpassed by the HE-560 in the bass and overall ability to resolve detail.

 

For a portable DAC/AMP, check out the fiio E18.

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