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Introduction and Request of Assistance

post #1 of 121
Thread Starter 

Introduction: Hello, I'm fairly new to the world of quality audio.  I've spent decent money on Bose and Logitech systems in the past but I'm ready to move forward to the higher quality, more refined sounds recommended on this site.

 

Summary:  Is there a better DAC/Headphone Amp/Speaker Volume Controller with all the same features as the Audioengin D1 for the price (~$150)?  For someone who likes to listen lots of Acoustic Americana and light rock and play videogames games would you get the HD598, AKG Q701, HE 400, HD 558, or DT-888 something else?

 

The long winded version

 

I recently got some powered monitors for my computer (JBL LSR305's).  I love the sound - in fact it's my first Hi-Fi speaker experience.  Anyhoo, I am really enjoying them, but I can't always use them because I live in a 1BR apt.  Therefore, I am in the market for some headphones, headphone amp and dac.  But this is where it gets interesting.

 

I actually just purchased an Audioengine D1 DAC and a pair of Philips L1/28 Fidelio Over-Ear Headphones.  I'm not too impressed thus far.  So I'm sending the headphones back and looking to replace them.  I'm also not sure about my DAC.  What I like about it is that it allows me to plug my powered speakers in and adjust the volume via the dac/amp (as well as the headphones).  My speakers have volume in the back and I don't like changing the volume on my computer.  I've heard that the D1 DAC is just OK for the money - but because it has all of the stuff I want in it I'm kind of OK with it not being the best of the best in the price range.  But, if there's another dac for the desktop in the $150 range, I'd be interested in swapping this out as well.

 

I listen to a lot of acoustic music (blue grass, country, americana) plus some light rock (no heavy metal or rap).  None of my music is Hi-Fi yet, but I'm looking to build a library.  I also play games - but have a set of Astro a40's for gaming, so that's not my focus (Although if there were a pair that would really blow up my gaming experience, I'd be interested in that if it could also handle music),    

 

So basically, is there a good replacement for my Audioengine D1 that will drive a great set of headphones and also work as volume/dac for my speakers.

 

The headphones that most interest me thus far, although I'm open to suggestion, are the HD598 and the AKG Q701.  I also would consider the HE 400s if the would be awesome for gaming (it sounds like this might not be the best for my music tastes because of treble issues?), the HD 558 (less expensive and more than good enough for a non-audiophile like me), and last the DT-888.  All of these are in my price range - I just don't want to overspend if I'm not going to be able to appreciate it.  

 

OK, whew.  That's it. 

 

Thanks for reading all of this!

 

Naugrim

post #2 of 121
Thread Starter 

So after reading round, I decided to go with the AKG K712 Pro's.  Sounds like they are comfortable, great for games and great for the kind of music I enjoy. Now I just need to know which DAC, given the above constraints, I should get.

post #3 of 121
Quote:
Originally Posted by Naugrim View Post
 

So after reading round, I decided to go with the AKG K712 Pro's.  Sounds like they are comfortable, great for games and great for the kind of music I enjoy. Now I just need to know which DAC, given the above constraints, I should get.

Actually why dont you wait on that purchase, the HE 400 is a great headphone for the money!

 

As for a dac, honestly... if your on a budget the Beringher UAC 202 is a great little Dac for 30 bucks, pair it with a Schiit Asgard 2 for a very killer beginning set up, but if you can get the HE 400 do give it a listen, the hifiman cans are wonderful intro cans into hifi audio! Most people who go from... something cheap like the Sonys or Beats are really blown away by how awesome the HE 400 is, I'm not sure the k712 is going to have that WOW factor, and it's more expensive 

post #4 of 121
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mshenay View Post
 

Actually why dont you wait on that purchase, the HE 400 is a great headphone for the money!

 

As for a dac, honestly... if your on a budget the Beringher UAC 202 is a great little Dac for 30 bucks, pair it with a Schiit Asgard 2 for a very killer beginning set up, but if you can get the HE 400 do give it a listen, the hifiman cans are wonderful intro cans into hifi audio! Most people who go from... something cheap like the Sonys or Beats are really blown away by how awesome the HE 400 is, I'm not sure the k712 is going to have that WOW factor, and it's more expensive.

 

Thanks for your feedback Mshenay,

 

I don't personally own Beats, but ironically, my job has about 30 pair floating around for anyone to use.  So I'm familiar and unimpressed..they feel soupy/muddled.  

 

My primary concern with the HE 400's is the comments I heard about comfort/padding/weight.  That's pretty much the reason I didn't get the Q701 either, people said the bumps on the head pad hurt.  That being said, I wouldn't mind a little wow :).  Is it the base that makes them 'wow" you?

 

Also, the amp you are recommending is a little bit more than the D1, but I guess it's substantially more powerful or something?  Why that one in particular?

 

Thanks again.

post #5 of 121
Thread Starter 

So I added all your suggestions to my order.  I'm going to see which I prefer and return the loser.  Good thing I have Amazon Prime. Sounds like it is time to get some HD tracks!  

 

Can't believe how obsessive I'm getting about all this.  I just want to get them and move on with my life.

 

Thanks again!

post #6 of 121
Quote:
Originally Posted by Naugrim View Post
 

So I added all your suggestions to my order.  I'm going to see which I prefer and return the loser.  Good thing I have Amazon Prime. Sounds like it is time to get some HD tracks!  

 

Can't believe how obsessive I'm getting about all this.  I just want to get them and move on with my life.

 

Thanks again!

NOOOOOOOOO

 

dont get tracks from HD Tracks, I mean you can if you want but it's not nessicary. If you have some CD Ripping Software you can rip some of [or purchase] some CDs that you like. As far as I'm concerned any new headphone should be tried with music that you like, an in addition 16 bit CD quality or 24bit Vinyl quality is all you need to download, if you want to purchase music from HD tracks your welcome to do so, but I think you'd enjoy your music more buy sticking with cheaper formats and applying that money to an amp like the Asgard 2, and yea it's a little more powerful than the D 1 and has a better sound

 

you can also browse the Head Fi For Sale thread, as many of our members sell their gear for less than what they paid for [it's against our rules to turn a profit on gear any ways] which means your going to get a great amp, for less than what it costs new... and as obbessive you are about this I can assure you the rest of us can be and are just as bad, meaning when and if you purchase and amp from another user, there's a high chance it's going to be "like new" since we audio philes take care of our gear!

 

 

Non the less, let us know how you enjoy your 2 new headphones :D 

post #7 of 121
Quote:
Originally Posted by Naugrim View Post
 

So I added all your suggestions to my order.  I'm going to see which I prefer and return the loser.  Good thing I have Amazon Prime. Sounds like it is time to get some HD tracks!  

 

Can't believe how obsessive I'm getting about all this.  I just want to get them and move on with my life.

 

Thanks again!


lol, the way you worded that made it seem like Amazon offers downloadable high definition digital audio formats like 24-bit and DSD. :rolleyes:

 

I own some HDtracks albums and was impressed by how much better they sound than the CDs...although some sound so different that they may be tricking us by using different masters. If I could turn back time, I would take Mshenay's advice and upgrade my gear before spending a small fortune on collecting music.

post #8 of 121
Thread Starter 

I've been using Spotify for a few years, but yeah I've got a good CD collection as well.  Guess it's time to get burning.  Wonder how long it will take to fill up a 1 TB HD?  I wish Spotify offered higher quality streaming.  Does anyone know if there is a plan for this kind of streaming service?

 

I'll keep watching this site - just another obsession to add to my list.  Next I want to get some earbuds for work (to be used with my mobile phone). Probably spend  A LOT less on those.  I'm afraid to ask for a recommendation.  Although, I think I need to make custom fitting caps or whatever you call them - my ears are sensitive to things being put in them.

 

Thanks again for your comments, advice and recommendatins. I'll update this thread after I've received them!

post #9 of 121

Spotify Premium streams at 320 ogg vorbis. It's still lossy but it's pretty damn good considering how much music you have access to.

 

- Roy

post #10 of 121
Quote:
Originally Posted by Roy Munson View Post
 

Spotify Premium streams at 320 ogg vorbis. It's still lossy but it's pretty damn good considering how much music you have access to.

 

- Roy

oooh really it's 320 .ogg do you know what the compression rate is? Which V

 

of all the Lossy .ogg is the... better of them! It's bigger than most but in tern you get a better sounding lossy imo 

post #11 of 121
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Roy Munson View Post
 

Spotify Premium streams at 320 ogg vorbis. It's still lossy but it's pretty damn good considering how much music you have access to.

 

- Roy

Premium

Your music is everywhere.

$9.99 a month.

 devices-premium.png

  • Play any song, anywhere
  • Download music & listen offline in high-quality audio
  • No ad interruptions & no commitment
post #12 of 121
Thread Starter 

Aparently, I'm too new to post images, but here is the add I just saw:

Premium

Your music is everywhere.

$9.99 a month.

  • Play any song, anywhere
  • Download music & listen offline in high-quality audio
  • No ad interruptions & no commitment

I wonder if you DL it the quality is better? I'll do some more reasearch.

post #13 of 121
Thread Starter 
All you have to do to stream in higher quality is click a check box under preferences - it is not enabled by default though.  Obviously, you have to have premium.  I wasn't able to figure out where the "offline" files are stored, unless it is in the cache.  The cache seems to have a 100 GB limit.  
 
Spotify uses 3 quality ratings for streaming, all in the Ogg Vorbis format.
  • ~96 kbps
    • Normal quality on mobile.
  • ~160 kbps
    • Desktop and web player standard quality.
    • High quality on mobile.
  • ~320 kbps (only available to Premium subscribers)
    • Desktop high quality.
    • Extreme quality on mobile.

Click here to learn how to change streaming quality.

 

post #14 of 121
Quote:
Originally Posted by Naugrim View Post
 

Aparently, I'm too new to post images, but here is the add I just saw:

Premium

Your music is everywhere.

$9.99 a month.

  • Play any song, anywhere
  • Download music & listen offline in high-quality audio
  • No ad interruptions & no commitment

I wonder if you DL it the quality is better? I'll do some more reasearch.

 

I use lossless audio exclusively, unless it's only available in lossy.

 

Streaming services are nice for discovering new stuff, but nothing beats listening in the original format the artist intended, or the closest you can get to that. (Then again, I really hate when an artist has an awesome song and they don't release it in anything but crummy distorted MP3/AAC. Better than nothing, I guess.)

 

So yes...the quality is better if you download (or rip) it in a lossless format. The better your system is, the more you will hear the difference.

 

The differences in quality between streamed lossy and downloaded lossy are more negligible, depending on factors like bit rates, which service you use, etc.

 

I don't know exactly what you get with Spotify Premium (the ad you typed), but for the monthly fee, it doesn't look too shabby unless you compare it to free alternatives. I think it only lets you "download" songs into a proprietary lossy format for offline listening, also forcing you to use a certain app on certain devices. Useful for variety perhaps, but if you want quality, it would be better to simply buy the albums you know you want.

 

Do yourself a favor and make it a point to never pay the same price as a CD for an MP3 album unless it's the only way to get exclusive content.


Edited by Music Alchemist - 7/12/14 at 2:01pm
post #15 of 121
Thread Starter 

I like Spotify because I'm constantly on the search for new music.  If I find an album or band I love - I can see buying that - assuming I really notice the difference when using my new speakers/headphones.  I'll have to do a bunch of AB testing. Looking forward to it. 

 

The way I listen now is I find related artrists to ones I'm listening to - and then favorite a few tracks from each artist.  I rarely listen to an entire album anymore.  

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