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Advice for second pair of good open headphones

  1. Don'sound
    Hey everyone! Thanks for taking the time to read this.

    Atm I own the Audio-technica ATH-M40x, which I've been happy with since I got them. And I have 1More triple driver IEMS for outside. However I've been thinking about buying some open headphones, that would also be at least a level above the ones I have now. I've been looking around and the ones that pop out the most to me are the Philips Fidelio X2s and the AKG K712pros.

    Now the thing that makes it hard for me to choose between these two is that I would have to buy an amp for the AKGs, because from what I've read they really need the power if you wanna get the most out of them. The recommended amps that I've been seeing are also quite expensive. And there's a bit less choice for me as well seeing as I live in EU. So it would be easier and cheaper for me to get the X2s, but I'm still doubtful as I don't want to get the X2s and end up thinking, hmm, maybe I could still use an upgrade of these. Maybe it just makes sense to spend more and get a decent amp and the AKGs instead of stay below the level where you don't need an amp.

    So I wonder if there are any amp recommendations I can get that I haven't seen elsewhere, or if I should maybe just stick to the easier route. My max budget atm for an amp(/dac) would be around 100eu. (and I don't have any experience with them, besides the research that I've done)

    Before I forget, I will mostly be using these headphones for music ((progressive) metal, DnB). And a bit for gaming as well, but that has less priority to me than music. If I've missed any info or if there's any other questions, please let me know. Thanks!
  2. serman005
    At your budget level. I would think you are looking at something like a Magni 3. It will drive the K712 Pro nicely and it is a well-made amp (www.schiit-europe.com). The Meier amps are excellent but they are more expensive generally speaking.
  3. Monsterzero
    I wouldnt recommend either for prog metal. Similarly for DnB the X2 will be good,K712 not so much.

    In that price range w/o an amp for prog metal and rock in general I'd suggest looking at Grados or Alessandros. Comfort isnt the best but they sound damn good for most all rock type music. That will still leave you a bit wanting for drum and bass though as the both the Grados and Alessandros have very little in the way of sub-bass,but have good mid bass slam.
    trellus likes this.
  4. Don'sound
    I had seen the Magni 3 before but it's 125eu, but besides that it's also out of stock :/

    Monsterzero I tried looking for the headphones you suggested but couldn't find any specific ones. I do have to say comfort is important to me in headphones as I have them on for hours every day.
  5. Monsterzero
    Comfort is subjective,especially when it comes to Grados/Alessandros. Many have no issue with how they feel,whereas I do not enjoy the "on-ear" design of them vs. the "over-ear" of most other full sized headphones. If on-ear doesnt bother you then you most likely wont have any problems with either Grados or Alessandros,which are both made by Grado Labs. Alessandros seem to be more readily available outside of the USA,while Grados are more popular here. They both have essentially the same sound signature though.

    You can check my video review of the Grado 80e for more info and then decide for yourself if theyre for you.

  6. Don'sound
    Oh sorry I probably should have mentioned that I want over-ear headphones :frowning2: But I appreciate the effort, thanks anyway!
  7. Me x3
    Fidelio X2 and AKG K712 are very different headphones. First of all the Fidelios are luxurious in terms of built while the AKGs are made to be light and funtional.
    The Fidelios have a consumer oriented bassy signature that brings kind of a cinema style of sound. Not refined from a pure audiophile perspective.
    AKG K712 is a slightly warm reference headphone, so it's much more technical than the Fidelio and more likely to sound bad with less than very good recordings.
    It's also true that the AKG K712 is harder to drive. I've used my former K712 mostly with my FiiO A5 which does a very good job driving them - with extra room.
    I've used to own a Schiit Asgard 2 which worked very well too, but it's more expensive.
    With regards to your genres, it's hard to tell. The AKG K712 will expose recordings more than the Fidelio. You might prefer the extra insight or not.
    The Fidelio won't fail to provide a big, fun and powerful sound, but it's clearly not the most neutral, transparent or detailed headphone.
    trellus likes this.
  8. Don'sound
    Yeah from what I've seen the X2 is the more "fun" out of the two. As a newbie I'm not sure what I prefer yet the most. But I think I'm starting to lean more towards the more detailed sound from the AKGs... At first I was leaning the other way but I feel like that was more out of laziness to find an amp and to spend less money.. but I think going the amp route might end up being more fun.

    The FiiO A5 looks nice and portable but it is 150eu, so I'm not sure about that...if I'd spend that much I think I'd rather want a desktop one. I've been looking around a bit more, would the FiiO Q1/Q1 II suffice? The other ones I found are the SMSL M3, FiiO K5, SMSL SAP-VI and the FX Audio DAC-X6. Not sure if those will have enough power for the AKGs either though.
    Last edited: May 18, 2018
  9. tricolor

    Grado's might be still an option if you use the "donuts" cushions... they are quite easy to drive... so don't really need an amp, though it might help down the road... yeah, they look "retro", but that might be a cool thing too... :)

    I am currently using a higher end GS1000i... but left my SR225 with my partner... and I have switched over to the "donut" cushions and they feel great... sound and comfort wise! check them out if you have a chance...

  10. Me x3
    I suggested the FiiO A5 because it's the one I can recommend confidently. I can say the same for the Asgard 2 but it's more expensive.
    Don't let the portable design fool you, the A5 is a very powerful amplifier, and since it run from a battery it has some design advantages due to not relying on AC outputs.
    I personally like portable setups, had a nice desktop setup in the past and replaced it with a nice portable one and use it mostly for open back headphones at home.
    The reason is that I can now listen to music at different rooms and even move around if needed. When I had the desktop setup the music was fixed to a single spot and it didn't sound any better.

    FiiO Q1 variants aren't as powerful as the A5. You gain a capable DAC stage, but the amp stage is no match for the A5.
    Same would apply to the trusty FiiO E10K (desktop).

    Many roads can lead to you nice sound at this point. In the long run, you won't regret getting the higher performance device.
    After all, headphones like the AKG K712 deserve it. If you want a desktop setup, Magni 3 should work. On the portable camp, the A5 is a very capable device.
    You can always upgrade the DAC stage later, with a Modi or Bifrost variant (desktop) or FiiO DAC or DAP (Q1MKII/X5 3rd Gen/...)

    Can't go wrong that way.
  11. marcussmj
    I'll second the K712 because it at least has a less messed up mid range than the x2.
  12. ProtegeManiac Contributor
    One other thing to consider between those two apart from amplification: Philips does not sell spare parts, not even earpads. With AKG it's just a matter of sending them an email and telling them what part you want, save for those who live in countries where the AKG distributor sucks (I doubt you'd have this problem). If you plan on keeping the headphones for a long time that you'd replace the pads several times (despite the cost) if not also the elastics if you have them long enough, then the AKG is the way to go.
    Me x3 likes this.
  13. ScareDe2
    +1 for what is suggested so far. I would maybe be tempted to also audition an SRH1840 that sell used for the same price as a brand new FidelioX2. Just an idea.

    And the Audeze El-8 just for the sake of talking.
    Last edited: May 19, 2018
  14. Don'sound
    Thanks to everyone for all the replies! I appreciate it a lot that you're all putting effort into this :)

    Hmm alright well I could still look into it then, thanks for letting me know about that!

    Alright I appreciate the honest info. I will keep the A5 in mind then in case I do want to go the portable route. I also think the Q1 is a bit too weak, and it feels like a more "temporary" solution. I'd rather spend more and be set for a while.

    After doing some research I would be more likely to go with something like the Magni 3, but that one is out of stock atm. (Not that I'm in a huge rush, trying to take my time right now to think everything through) But I have a few other ones in mind that are also more around that price. And yeah I would rather buy a good amp first, and get a good dac later, then get a hybrid which will leave me more likely wanting to upgrade in the future.

    Glad to hear that, I was already going down that route anyway so I'm glad it gets another +1.

    Oh that's a good thing to know! I do plan on having these for a while yeah so that's nice to hear. I don't have all the money in the world so whatever I buy will have to last me a while. And I live in the Netherlands so I'm guessing I should be okay.

    I can consider it, however I'm a bit wary buying secondhand equipment. Especially secondhand headphones make me nervous as I wouldn't know if they had been "abused" in the past. But I don't have any experience when it comes to this so if this is something you can do safely then I could look into it. I'm not completely shy from buying secondhand stuff in general.
  15. Don'sound
    Sorry if this is a bit less of a smart question, but if I get a magni 3 for instance, do I need to get a DAC along with it straight away or can it wait?

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