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Headphone help with iMac - I am new......

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 



I love audio and I am at the point where I am using Bose in ear headphones.  I also have Sure SE 535 in ear.  I can't wear cans they hurt.  I have two Bose Headsets, on ear and over ear.  Ouch!


Most of my music is on my iMac.  I have a few sets of Bose Music Monitors, Subwoofer, and stream via Airplay to a Bose large Wave System.  


I am old, I use to run B&W monitors with Macintosh Amps.  They old days.  Wish I still had them.  But I listen at home, in the car, and office.  


I think I need a DAC.  I would like to try one.  But I need help.  Audiophiles seem to like headphones.  Why?  Easier than building a sound room and that special material to put on the walls (Baffles)?  


Can I get the best sound quality and avoid over ear headphones?  Can any DAC be used with in-ear?  At work I love to listen to music also.  I use a bluetooth Bose Speaker in my office or just headphones.  iPad Air with 128GB.  Packed full of music.


My music library is mostly classical.  Besides music I have floor to ceiling bookshelves about the subject.  Just about any book on classical music I own.  Huge library in iTunes.


Any of you like me?  What is the next level?  A DAC for work and one for the iMac?  I hope I am not alone here.  New, sorry and looking to learn more about audio in search of that perfect system in the digital world.




post #2 of 3
What is it about headphones that causes you pain? Where does it hurt? Is it at the top of your head where the headband touches, or it it on the side where the pads are touching your ears, or is it the clamping pressure on the side of your head?

A very inexpensive way to try a USB DAC/amp for your PC is the Fiio E10K. The concern with using a DAC/amp with IEMs is that IEMs tend to be more sensitive and have a lower impedance. This can cause issues if the amp has too much gain and/or too high an output impedance. If the gain is too high, you will lose adustment of the volume (touching the volume control makes the volume blast) or you might cause the IEMs to distort. If the amp's output impedance is too high, you can get hiss and distortion. The E10K should be fine for most IEMs when used on its low gain setting.

With efficient IEMs, you might find the difference from adding a DAC/amp is not huge like it can be with harder to drive full-size headphones. It will be more subtle with IEMs because they do need such high power.

Audiophiles at head-fi love headphones because that's what this site is for. There are other sites where home audio systems are discussed. I think the popularity of portable audio devices and smartphones has completely changed the audio industry and the audiophile's hobby. Dr. Dre turned headphones from a minor accessory into a fashion statement and a multi-billion dollar business. Home audio systems are primarily being used for multichannel home theater, not home audio.

There are all kinds of people at head-fi. From young adolescents to old f@rts like you and me. They come from around the world and listen to every possible kind of sound - music, spoken word, nature sounds, movies, gaming, etc. Head-fi music fans listen to classical, blues, jazz, classic rock, rap, hip-hop, EDM, Pop, JPop, KPop, metal and every possible flavor of sub-genre. The young'uns sometimes seem to flood into the forum to talk about gaming headsets and dance music (for example during the holidays), but the old f@rts still have more money and better gear! wink.gif
post #3 of 3
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the reply.  This site is really amazing.


I tried again with no luck both sets of Bose headsets.  The hurt around the ears.  The pressure makes me sweat.  Both are neither made today most likely 2012/2013 model.  I seem to love the in ear headphones.


This may seem like a stupid question, but using my Bose Music Monitors I plug them into the back of the iMac with the 3.5mm jack.  I guess there is no way to run them through a DAC?  Would love to upgrade slowly.  


Thanks for the information about using in ear headphones with a DAC.  I had thought about that too.  I am not sold on Bose, and actually really love the Sure SE 535 with the triple drivers.  But how often do you get to try headphones before you buy them?  Maybe a better chance with over ear models?


Listening to classical music I like to crank it up.  Parts are very low, and the wife does not like it.  Partly why I bought the Sure model.  Listening seriously is mostly done with headphones.  Work or home.  


Thanks again for the recommendation for the Filo E10K.  I research everything.  Would be nice to try a DAC just to see if I can notice any difference.  I will spend a lot of time here reading posts to get educated.  Technology is harder when you are older.  I am 52.  Grew up with party line telephones.  



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