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Headphone limitations and when to draw the line on Source components

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
I'm currently looking for a good source to pair with my HE-5LE/EF5 combo. What I'm wondering is at what point am I spending beyond my headphones capabilities. I'm looking at units such as the Chord MOJO and A&k AK100II. But am I spending to much and would I be better off with lower end stuff as my current setup would not be able to exploit the abilities of the above.???


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post #2 of 8

There's definitely a sweet spot for gear when it feels like it plateaus, but if the headphone and gear pairs well it should always sound great when you sit down and take a listen. My biggest recommendation is to you is to ensure you are investing in some great tracks as the music can make the biggest difference once you have a good setup. There are a few users out there that do not like the EF5 amp and I'm not a big fan of tubes. I have yet to hear one that does not add noticeably distortion to a track. Sometimes it takes a while to find a track that reveals the flaws of a tube amp, but very few perform better than solid state gear. You deal with tube wear, warm up time, and added distortion. Some combos do sound fun like the HD800 and Bottlehead Crack with Speedball, but in the end this setup is altering the headphone's sound signature with the gear behind it. To me an amp and DAC should get out of the way and you tailor the speaker, in this case headphone, to your taste.

 

I do have a few questions.

 

1.) What DAC are you using?

 

2.) What pads do you have on the 5LE headphones? Take a pic and post it please and make sure the pic shows the inside of the earcup and outer pad. I'm hoping we can upgrade the pads with the Focus A pads.

 

3.) What is the best sounding track you have? Please post a link preferably on YouTube so we can take a listen and give you some feedback.

 

If I remember correctly the upper midrange on the 5LE sounds a bit uneven so my guess is you are looking for some more detail?

 

Here are three tracks I really enjoy you should try with your setup.

 

Artist: Ben Prestage

Track: 2:19

Album: Down-Home & Home-Made

 

Artist: Karl Latham, Ryan Carniaux, Mark Egan & Nick Rolfe

Track: The Dull Flame of Desire

Album: Constellations

 

Artist: Entheogenic

Track: Urubus

Album: Flight of the Urubus

 

Those tracks should open your ears a bit to what the next level of music can sound like. That is if you are not already at this level.


Cheers!

post #3 of 8
Thread Starter 

Quote:

 

 

Originally Posted by NA Blur View Post
 

There's definitely a sweet spot for gear when it feels like it plateaus, but if the headphone and gear pairs well it should always sound great when you sit down and take a listen. My biggest recommendation is to you is to ensure you are investing in some great tracks as the music can make the biggest difference once you have a good setup. There are a few users out there that do not like the EF5 amp and I'm not a big fan of tubes. I have yet to hear one that does not add noticeably distortion to a track. Sometimes it takes a while to find a track that reveals the flaws of a tube amp, but very few perform better than solid state gear. You deal with tube wear, warm up time, and added distortion. Some combos do sound fun like the HD800 and Bottlehead Crack with Speedball, but in the end this setup is altering the headphone's sound signature with the gear behind it. To me an amp and DAC should get out of the way and you tailor the speaker, in this case headphone, to your taste.

 

I do have a few questions.

 

1.) What DAC are you using?

 

Currently I'm just using my cell phone as first step was to get the headphones now I'm onto getting a proper source

 

2.) What pads do you have on the 5LE headphones? Take a pic and post it please and make sure the pic shows the inside of the earcup and outer pad. I'm hoping we can upgrade the pads with the Focus A pads.

 

 

 

 

 

3.) What is the best sounding track you have? Please post a link preferably on YouTube so we can take a listen and give you some feedback.

 

Lately when I've wanted to see what a speaker/headphone can do I would play the following 

 

 

If I remember correctly the upper midrange on the 5LE sounds a bit uneven so my guess is you are looking for some more detail?

 

I would say more detail and seperation, some tracks are better then others but I find everything is all close in. 

 

Here are three tracks I really enjoy you should try with your setup.

 

Artist: Ben Prestage

Track: 2:19

Album: Down-Home & Home-Made

 

Artist: Karl Latham, Ryan Carniaux, Mark Egan & Nick Rolfe

Track: The Dull Flame of Desire

Album: Constellations

 

Artist: Entheogenic

Track: Urubus

Album: Flight of the Urubus

 

Those tracks should open your ears a bit to what the next level of music can sound like. That is if you are not already at this level.


Cheers!


Edited by Sphinx - 2/28/17 at 4:54am
post #4 of 8
Take a look at the Focus A pads by HiFiMAN. Dig around and make sure they'll attach to the 5LE, but the memory foam with the thin layer of felt will help smooth out the uneven sound of the 5LE. The bass will sound a bit thicker too.
post #5 of 8

I own the Chord Mojo. Even with the Koss KTXPRO1 (which only costs ten or twenty bucks), it sounds far superior to cheaper DACs I've used. But synergy may be more important than sheer performance. You might end up preferring a cheaper DAC and/or amp. With most headphones, I prefer the Mojo, but with at least one, I prefer the Schiit Fulla, for example, despite the Fulla's sound quality being not so good in comparison.

post #6 of 8
Thread Starter 
So after long reading its safe to assume that if I went with the Chord MOJO that I wouldn't be leaving anything behind with my headphones. As opposed to going with let's says a audio quest dragonfly red and wanting more. You guys think that's a safe assumption. I have ordered the focus pad-A from Amazon also.

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post #7 of 8
Thread Starter 

After long hours and research I ended up with the Marantz NA6005, and purchased the FocusPad-A which are amazing. All together it's a very nice combo, really opened up the HE-5LE and gave a much more vast sound stage. Sound placement also improved a great deal. The Headphone amp in the Marantz is nice and it does power the HE-5LE but I prefer the sound coming out of the EF5 it's a little less fatiguing. The Marantz remote software is a little wonky but once you get the music going it does sound really nice .. 

 

post #8 of 8

Sweet!

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