A little help for a beginner :)
Apr 25, 2021 at 4:37 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 66

PurpleFury

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Hello everyone !

I'm a beginner at this and I need a little help with choosing a new pair of Headphones.

Since I'm a family man now my loudspeakerdays have taken a turn😀

But I have always loved being able to close off the world around me with a couple of headphones listening to music.

So the time has come to invest in something a bit more audiophile friendly.

I don't have unlimited funds as a regular working man so I want to make the investment count.

My setup today is:

Mobile phone Samsung Galaxy (note 9 at the moment)
Audioquest dragonfly Cobalt
Sennheiser Momentum2 wireless run in passive mode with a cable.
As software I use plexamp and USB Audioplayer PRO

I have flac 24-bit-files in a memory card and a NAS with flac-files.

I really enjoy my current headphones but I'm curious what a upgrade can do for me.

I have had my eyes on the sennheiser hd800s so I guess that's my price range. But maybe they are overkill for my setup?

I sometimes listen In bed beside my wife sleeping so I guess not to much sound leaking would be preferable.

I know I will have to listen first and foremost but It's a jungle out there🙂

I mostly listen to soul/funk classic rock.
PRINCE is the housegod.

I hope I have come to the right place with my search for information and help.

Thank you.

/ Fabbe
 
Apr 25, 2021 at 9:22 AM Post #2 of 66

bland125

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The 800s is quite a jump up for sure but its a 300ohms headphones, you will need much more than an AQ Cobalt to drive them properly. They are also open back design so everyone in the same room as you hear what you hear. Lastly, the sound signature is quite the departure from the Momentum2, not a bad thing but it is not just the a better version of the same sound.

Most high-end heaphones will require some more elaborate power amplification so make room in your budget for at least an amplifier or a DAC/amp combo. Something like the well regarded iFi micro iDSD Signature comes to mind to match with your phone as a source. Tons of options.

So still up for a closed back high-end with a better amping solution? :)

IEMs are another option and could easily be driven from your current phone + AQ Cobalt. Your choices, we can help with suggestions for sure.
 
Apr 25, 2021 at 9:39 AM Post #3 of 66

539465

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You can usually find some of the higher end $300-500 iFi portable amps for around $200 on ebay and I highly recommend iFi as it has bass boost (truebass and Xbass have only used Xbass) and 3D to add soundstage... it sounds like you want a closed back set of headphones so that is probably the first distinction that needs to be made or more than likely a bunch of things may be thrown your way as suggestions which you may prefer..... Personally all my wired sets except Audeze mobius are open back and they are all quite noisey except my DT990 or maybe 1990 to a more extent... the DT1990 is just about the most detail/resolution you could ever want and with pad swaps a lot can be done (correctly and incorrectly as the delta between similar pads sound quality is huge with some being horrible and some being amazing) I would recommend one of the best under $100 bluetooth sets but yours probably sounds better and as far as the Audeze it is great wired in hi-res mode (not even sure if the app is available on phones) but I doubt it matches the HD800S and has a lot of features you don't need but it can be bought second hand for probably around $200 if you are patient.... That being said if you are looking for amazing quality and closed back I assume most people are going to recommend ZMF, Audeze LCD-XC or something like the Sony Z1R... other options not completely open or closed are something like the Argon MK3 which will also have a wide soundstage and generally is worth the pricetag.

I have critiqued your asking parameters a bit but I would request you list what a few of your priorities are in terms of importance for example

1.sound quality
2.does/doesn't need amp
3.open/closed back
4.sound signature warm/bright
5.sound stage intimate/medium/large
6.priority resolution/imaging/detail

I think that either way you will find something you like but if you add some specificity you can get closer to what you want
 
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Apr 25, 2021 at 9:56 AM Post #5 of 66

539465

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So what you're saying is that with my current setup with the dragonfly an upgrade of the headphones isn't necessary?

What is the best headphones recommended for the dragonfly?
I think something like a DT1990 would be a fairly significant upgrade as would many wired sets around $500+but you will need an amp which will also factor into the sound quality greatly for portable options at reasonable prices so I suggest buying a used iFi one.... things just get a bit more complicated if you want a closed back and I am not sure I am the best to help you
 
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Apr 25, 2021 at 10:05 AM Post #6 of 66

Strayngs

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I do not recommend the HD800s based on what your stated music preference and existing equipment. Look into the Kennerton Gjallarhorn or the Gjallarhorn JM edition. It is easy to drive, has a great soundstage for A closed back, it has doesnt have a thin sound like the HD800s which will be better for your music taste. It is very easy To drive And it will be in your price range. I doubt you will find a better looking headphone either!
 
Apr 25, 2021 at 10:05 AM Post #7 of 66

bland125

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Can’t define « best » in such ways. There are the headphones or IEMs that will be a good match based on hardware/specifications qualities and within those, a ton of different sounding ones. Based on your criterias and current setup, HD800s is not a good hardware/specifications match.

You are going to have to stick to low impedance, relatively high sensitivity and dynamic driver headphones. No planars or anything. I had a lot of those in the past like many of us here but I have been out of this game for a long time. I have a beat up pair of ATH-M50 (non X) to give you an idea. Those are what 15 years old? I also went like you from 2 channel listening to an increasing number of kids and the COVID situation making it much more complicated to settle down to my main rig. After 10 months of intensive and expensive researching, I settled on what is in my signature now.

Someone recommended the DT1990. Those would NOT be my go to headphones for someone who calls himself a beginner. Please check reviews first. Something maybe like the Sony MDR-Z7m2 but even those arent for everyone.
 
Apr 25, 2021 at 10:26 AM Post #8 of 66

539465

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Can’t define « best » in such ways. There are the headphones or IEMs that will be a good match based on hardware/specifications qualities and within those, a ton of different sounding ones. Based on your criterias and current setup, HD800s is not a good hardware/specifications match.

You are going to have to stick to low impedance, relatively high sensitivity and dynamic driver headphones. No planars or anything. I had a lot of those in the past like many of us here but I have been out of this game for a long time. I have a beat up pair of ATH-M50 (non X) to give you an idea. Those are what 15 years old? I also went like you from 2 channel listening to an increasing number of kids and the COVID situation making it much more complicated to settle down to my main rig. After 10 months of intensive and expensive researching, I settled on what is in my signature now.

Someone recommended the DT1990. Those would NOT be my go to headphones for someone who calls himself a beginner. Please check reviews first. Something maybe like the Sony MDR-Z7m2 but even those arent for everyone.
Completely understand the sentiment as they are intense but in my defense the DT1990 will absolutely spoil him in terms of detail, resolution, soundstage, and imaging and with that the pad mods are plentiful to tone down the pure insanity of too much which is why it is my raw recommendation for a solid "upgrade" in sound quality.
 
Apr 25, 2021 at 11:04 AM Post #9 of 66

PurpleFury

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You can usually find some of the higher end $300-500 iFi portable amps for around $200 on ebay and I highly recommend iFi as it has bass boost (truebass and Xbass have only used Xbass) and 3D to add soundstage... it sounds like you want a closed back set of headphones so that is probably the first distinction that needs to be made or more than likely a bunch of things may be thrown your way as suggestions which you may prefer..... Personally all my wired sets except Audeze mobius are open back and they are all quite noisey except my DT990 or maybe 1990 to a more extent... the DT1990 is just about the most detail/resolution you could ever want and with pad swaps a lot can be done (correctly and incorrectly as the delta between similar pads sound quality is huge with some being horrible and some being amazing) I would recommend one of the best under $100 bluetooth sets but yours probably sounds better and as far as the Audeze it is great wired in hi-res mode (not even sure if the app is available on phones) but I doubt it matches the HD800S and has a lot of features you don't need but it can be bought second hand for probably around $200 if you are patient.... That being said if you are looking for amazing quality and closed back I assume most people are going to recommend ZMF, Audeze LCD-XC or something like the Sony Z1R... other options not completely open or closed are something like the Argon MK3 which will also have a wide soundstage and generally is worth the pricetag.

I have critiqued your asking parameters a bit but I would request you list what a few of your priorities are in terms of importance for example

1.sound quality
2.does/doesn't need amp
3.open/closed back
4.sound signature warm/bright
5.sound stage intimate/medium/large
6.priority resolution/imaging/detail

I think that either way you will find something you like but if you add some specificity you can get closer to what you want
Sound quality is the most important aspect i try to play bit perfect from usb audio player PRO.

I just bought the cobalt second hand so I'm not that invested in buying anything else at this moment.
Let's say I go for the hd800s anyway, with a plan to buy a different AMP/Dac in the future.
Will I be able to experience really good sound with my current setup or is it just to weak?

I think I'm a fan of warm detailed sound.
I used to put in the artificial tube amplifier in my Samsung.
 
Apr 25, 2021 at 11:21 AM Post #10 of 66

539465

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Sound quality is the most important aspect i try to play bit perfect from usb audio player PRO.

I just bought the cobalt second hand so I'm not that invested in buying anything else at this moment.
Let's say I go for the hd800s anyway, with a plan to buy a different AMP/Dac in the future.
Will I be able to experience really good sound with my current setup or is it just to weak?

I think I'm a fan of warm detailed sound.
I used to put in the artificial tube amplifier in my Samsung.
The two issues you will more than likely need to confront as priority regardless of your personal preference is AMPING.... a MSRP ~$200 desktop amp can sound quite good and power almost anything... a ~$200 MSRP(something like a Fiio E12/A5 or Cayin C5 can be bought under $100 on ebay used easily) portable amp that can power everything is a very large delta in sound quality from the desktop one... if you invest in something like the HD800s you will essentially be paying extra for capabilities you are not getting unless you invest in a quality portable amp which is why I steer you toward a ~$200 used iFi with a high MSRP as they are essentially desktop amps that have build in battery packs and are super worth the money for your use case.... You may be able to get away without using an amp but that will severely limit your choices... The reason I ask for a list is because the DT1990 fits what you just said.... but so does the 6XX... however they are completely different one is extremely intimate and smooth with rolled off sub-bass the other will show every flaw in a track including sibilance and has a very wide soundstage and strong sub-bass and punch... I know you are gravitating toward the HD800s as a newbie it seems like that is the standard for high end but it is not the truth for most people, like saying a Ferrari 458 in it's heyday was the standard when it was neither ever the fastest or the best deal for the money but instead just hype/lust in truth.... Something like the Harmonicdyne Zues is going to give you a lot for $350 and while neither the DT1990 or the Zues will give you what the HD800s offers but dollars to doughnuts likely one of those two or a handful of other big soundstage/detail headphones will give you a .better experience for less money as the HD800S is not at all a warm headphone so I would remove it from your thoughts. I will refrain from posting ideas not to be rude but without knowing where stuff like sound leakage fits I feel this thread is lacking in a well defined and understandable direction seeing as we are X number of comments in and you are still talking about the HD800S not to blame you at all as coming in as a newbie I have great respect for you trying to as I see it invest and delve yourself into the hobby... But to put a fine point on it again more than likely you will be recommended a great headphone by the people here that is worth that money and that you will like but if you want the best experience possible for the dollars you will spend you have to work on the information being communicated with this request....

Best of luck and I will be lurking around to try to help where I can as long as I feel I am able and welcomed.
 
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Apr 25, 2021 at 11:36 AM Post #11 of 66

gimmeheadroom

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We don't say 800/800S and "warm detailed sound" in the same sentence.

800/800S is detailed, clinical, analytical. But they are cold.

I also listen to soul, funk, and classic rock. For those genres you want good bass, good speed, and good slam. I can recommend the Audeze LCD-2C for that. They're a little slow relatively, but plenty fast enough for those genres.. but they are warm and have slam. If you want warm and detailed at the same time you're gonna have to spend some money. What's your budget? I would recommend the TH900s. There's detailed and there's detailed... there are limits to everything.
 
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Apr 25, 2021 at 11:48 AM Post #12 of 66

PurpleFury

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The two issues you will more than likely need to confront as priority regardless of your personal preference is AMPING.... a MSRP ~$200 desktop amp can sound quite good and power almost anything... a ~$200 MSRP(something like a Fiio E12/A5 or Cayin C5 can be bought under $100 on ebay used easily) portable amp that can power everything is a very large delta in sound quality from the desktop one... if you invest in something like the HD800s you will essentially be paying extra for capabilities you are not getting unless you invest in a quality portable amp which is why I steer you toward a ~$200 used iFi with a high MSRP as they are essentially desktop amps that have build in battery packs and are super worth the money for your use case.... You may be able to get away without using an amp but that will severely limit your choices... The reason I ask for a list is because the DT1990 fits what you just said.... but so does the 6XX... however they are completely different one is extremely intimate and smooth with rolled off sub-bass the other will show every flaw in a track including sibilance and has a very wide soundstage and strong sub-bass and punch... I know you are gravitating toward the HD800s as a newbie it seems like that is the standard for high end but it is not the truth for most people, like saying a Ferrari 458 in it's heyday was the standard when it was neither ever the fastest or the best deal for the money but instead just hype/lust in truth.... Something like the Harmonicdyne Zues is going to give you a lot for $350 and while neither the DT1990 or the Zues will give you what the HD800s offers but dollars to doughnuts likely one of those two or a handful of other big soundstage/detail headphones will give you a .better experience for less money as the HD800S is not at all a warm headphone so I would remove it from your thoughts. I will refrain from posting ideas not to be rude but without knowing where stuff like sound leakage fits I feel this thread is lacking in a well defined and understandable direction seeing as we are X number of comments in and you are still talking about the HD800S not to blame you at all as coming in as a newbie I have great respect for you trying to as I see it invest and delve yourself into the hobby... But to put a fine point on it again more than likely you will be recommended a great headphone by the people here that is worth that money and that you will like but if you want the best experience possible for the dollars you will spend you have to work on the information being communicated with this request....

Best of luck and I will be lurking around to try to help where I can as long as I feel I am able and welcomed.
This is exactly the input I'm looking for. I own a couple of sennheiser and am satisfied so I look what they have in the high end as a start.

I really appreciate the help.
 
Apr 25, 2021 at 11:51 AM Post #13 of 66

PurpleFury

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We don't say 800/800S and "warm detailed sound" in the same sentence.

800/800S is detailed, clinical, analytical. But they are cold.

I also listen to soul, funk, and classic rock. For those genres you want good bass, good speed, and good slam. I can recommend the Audeze LCD-2C for that. They're a little slow relatively, but plenty fast enough for those genres.. but they are warm and have slam. If you want warm and detailed at the same time you're gonna have to spend some money. What's your budget? I would recommend the TH900s. There's detailed and there's detailed... there are limits to everything.
Interesting, thank you. I look into them.
 
Apr 25, 2021 at 12:12 PM Post #14 of 66

gimmeheadroom

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This is exactly the input I'm looking for. I own a couple of sennheiser and am satisfied so I look what they have in the high end as a start.
That is a very good sign :)

Sennheiser is a little unusual in that the higher numbers don't necessarily indicate better headphones. The 800/S is king for big room music like orchestras and big bands. But they're not more enjoyable than HD 600s for most kinds of music.
 
Apr 25, 2021 at 12:17 PM Post #15 of 66

Monsterzero

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Let's say I go for the hd800s anyway, with a plan to buy a different AMP/Dac in the future.
Will I be able to experience really good sound with my current setup or is it just to weak?

I think I'm a fan of warm detailed sound

as the HD800S is not at all a warm headphone so I would remove it from your thoughts.

We don't say 800/800S and "warm detailed sound" in the same sentence.
What everyone is saying is 100% accurate. The HD800 is many things, warm however it most certainly is not.
Additionally, the HD800 is an audio scalpel and will remind you constantly where the weak links are in your chain. Further they sound their best out of a very heavy( non-portable) desk top tube/valve amp that has been rolled with warm, robust sounding tubes such as Mullard and RCA. NOS (new old stock) tubes can often cost more than the amp and/or the headphones themselves.

Since you mentioned listening next to your wife at night in bed you can cross all open-backed headphones off of your list. They leak sound and will certainly disturb your wife. Which leaves you with closed back headphones and IEMs. I know nothing about IEMs so I cant comment on those, though they do make the most sense with your Dragonfly and intended use.

As far as warm closed backs go the obvious choice would be ZMF Atticus, Eikon or Verite closed. All are quite expensive and like the HD800 sound their best via a valve/tube amp.

Perhaps the Meze 99 Classics would work. They have a warm-ish thumpy, fun sound and are relatively inexpensive. Theyre also easy to drive so your Dragonfly would have no problem driving them. The only thing you would need to research is its isolation factor. Some closed backs leak more sound than others and I do not recall how much the 99s leak.
 

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