Advice on Headroom bithead, mid range 'phones
Nov 21, 2008 at 12:11 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 7

simplethings

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I've spent the last week or so trawling this delightful place along with any other information that I can Google and I think I've finally decided on my first step into the world of headphone-amps. I think.

I've had my Senn HD-497's for a good few years now and they've served me pretty well for casual listening on my 3rd gen iPod and more recently my X-Fi Extreme Audio. I do find them to be lacking depth and sound rather 'smooth' (flat?) for want of a better word. I wonder if that's partly due to the sources I'm driving them from.

So, I'm considering buying a Bithead. The USB DAC would be useful for work from my laptop (I'm guessing the DAC in the Bithead is more accurate than the iPod DAC) and the analogue input for the iPod when I'm on the move.

My questions are these:

- Would the HD-497's benefit from a Bithead, or should I be consider better 'phones first?

- I've been considering the Grado SR80 which seem to fit my music taste (electronic, rock, industrial, acoustic) better than Sennheisers. Would that be a step up generally speaking from the HD-497s? Or should I consider something else?

- Would the Bithead via the USB DAC provide a higher quality sound that the iPod line out+Amp?

Thanks for your time.
 
Nov 21, 2008 at 1:03 AM Post #2 of 7

calaf

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welcome simplething and sorry etc etc wallet

I have never heard the HD-497 so I can't address some of your questions but let me offer my opinion nonetheless: get a better pair of phones first, better that the SR80 if at all possible.
Save the amp money for now and use it to get a pair of second-hand SR225 or Alessandro MS-1 or MS-2. I can't hear much of a difference between the iPod Nano headphone out and the Total Bithead one when using easy to drive phones (in my case Shure IEM) , certainly not when I am on the move. Also consider that the TBH is about 4 times the size of a Nano, and cumbersome to carry along on a trip unless it is strapped to your laptop.
The TBH is a decent USB soundcard, certainly adequate to listen to internet radio, but, for the money, you can do better if you are willing to give up the TBH portability and the excellent Headroom customer service.
 
Nov 23, 2008 at 7:39 PM Post #3 of 7

simplethings

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Thanks for the advice calaf. I've gone ahead and order a set of Alessandro MS-1s. They are nicely with in my budget and from what I've seen get a fair amount of praise. If I like the sound from them I'll see about an upgrade to the MS-2s or the SR-225s in the future.

I was giving some thought to IEMs or closed headphones so as not to annoy my co-workers too much, but after consideration it looks like it would cost many more $$$ for a set of closed backs or IEMs of comparable quality to an open back set. Half decent quality on a budget is my game
smily_headphones1.gif


The main reason for me considering the bithead was as a DAC/amp for my laptop. The sound on it is ok from my HD-497's but nothing to write home about. Headroom seem to have a good rep. and it seems dBasso D2's come more highly rated getting hold of one might be somewhat tricky. Anyway, it'd feel wrong to me spending more an an DAC/amp than the speakers they are driving.

Anyway, I'm rabbiting on. Thanks for the advice. I look forward to trying out the MS-1s when the arrive.
 
Nov 24, 2008 at 9:33 PM Post #4 of 7

calaf

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simplethings, you are welcome. Hope you'll enjoy your MS1!
As long as you don't drive them to crazy levels open phones may even be a better choice for the office: you don't want to start fumbling with IEMs when your boss walks into your office and taps on your back while you are grooving...
 
Nov 25, 2008 at 3:12 AM Post #5 of 7

idpadan

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Probably not a popular opinion around here (since they are a sponsor and all) but I tried a Total Bithead about a year ago with my iPod and Grado SR80's (which I love by the way) and couldn't hear any difference. The only positive was the company had a good return policy. Am now using the same ipod/Grado's with a headamp pico and really like it a lot. Apple lossless files and a LOD helped too.
 
Dec 8, 2008 at 2:08 PM Post #6 of 7

simplethings

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I received my MS-1's today and having listened to them for a short time so far I have to say I'm suitably impressed. With the HD-497's I was using X-Fi crystaliser and bass boost to get a sound that was more what I wanted. With the MS-1's the plain output is just great. In the short time I've been using them the music I've tried sounds that much more detailed.

Thanks for the pointers. I'm a happy bunny
smily_headphones1.gif
 
Dec 14, 2008 at 4:51 PM Post #7 of 7

PowderLegend

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you won't really hear much of a difference with the SR80s and a bithead. If your budget allows, look for something a little more to the high end side, like a pico or predator.
 

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