Beginner's looking for advice
Oct 28, 2009 at 8:57 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 14

hishammatar

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Hello everybody,

I am new here, have been follwing your forum with great interest for weeks now. Hope I am posting this in the right place.

I have a question for you real experts. Let's say I'd like to put one foot into the first level of audiophilia. This is my situation, I work in a design office (actually my design office) and I have occasionally some time when I can listen to some good music and work at the same time. This would happen exclusively through headphones.

I have already made a choice regarding the cans and I have purchased the Grado SR80i, as I thought (and read) it would be a good choice for a beginner. The problem is that I am totally in the dark regarding the source (CD player) and the headphone amp. Is the dedicated amp necessary. I am inclined towards the yes but, again, I am a rookie here so I am looking for your help/advice.

As you can see the bottom line is confusional. Just to write down the keypoints:

- I listen to jazz, rock-fusion, great rock classics
- I have my music on CD and HD MiniDisc (linear pcm)
- I will listen exclusively from Headphones, in this case Grado SR80i
- I would like to live a great listening experience :wink:))

Thanks for your precious advices

Robin
 
Oct 28, 2009 at 1:55 PM Post #2 of 14

Sennshead

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In getting "started" a really important issue to address is portability. Do you need to be able to pack it around? It sounds like you don't, and if so, good (you'll pay more for portability).

If you have or choose to buy a good CD player, you'll not need to worry about an external DAC as a good player has an internal one. Very rarely though, will you find a good headphone amp in a CD player, and the "need" for an amp really depends on the phones you're using. Your choice for the Grados (32ohm phones) should easily be powered by a variety of amps (you can pay whatever you want for an amp...from 50 to 5000).

The ultimate test for everything is, of course, your personal preference. Do you like it? If so, go with it. I'd recommend starting simple, then as you perceive shortcomings from what YOU consider "ideal", make adjustments.
 
Oct 28, 2009 at 2:55 PM Post #3 of 14

hishammatar

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Thanks Sennshead for your advice

Big problem is that its not easy to find a store where you can try out 2 or 3 different options or combos with CDP's. So I end up relying on reviews (head-fi has plenty) and than make the decision.

portablity it's not an issue. My daily walk home-office is very short so I don't relly need to invest in that sense.

Thanks
Robin
 
Oct 29, 2009 at 12:45 AM Post #4 of 14

madelvice

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Quote:

Originally Posted by hishammatar /img/forum/go_quote.gif
Big problem is that its not easy to find a store where you can try out 2 or 3 different options or combos with CDP's. So I end up relying on reviews (head-fi has plenty) and than make the decision.


There are some storefronts that will let you test equipment, though they are not always easy to come by. Better bet is to find a meet and sample some stuff or ask around for people in your area who have equipment that you're looking at.

Also consider sound isolation. Do you need to be isolated from external sound? do others need to isolated from your sound? There's the choice between open and closed back, and among closed back, there are different levels of isolation.

Best of luck.
 
Oct 29, 2009 at 1:02 AM Post #5 of 14

AmanGeorge

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Budget is an issue here too. Grados are notorious for being very easy to drive in the sense that they don't need an amplifier to sound good. If you wanted to pinch pennies, you could spend $0 more and still get great sound. The improvement with a scaled-up source and amp is going to be marginal, and a proper desktop source and amp, even low-end ones, will probably cost much more than the headphones themselves.

If you do want a CD player and amp, many DVD players are supposed to be excellent CD players for someone on a budget. Then there are a number of very inexpensive yet reasonably highly-regarded amplifiers - the Little Dot MKIII comes to mind, or a Head-Direct EF2.
 
Oct 29, 2009 at 1:03 AM Post #6 of 14

WalkGood

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Quote:

Originally Posted by madelvice /img/forum/go_quote.gif
... Also consider sound isolation. Do you need to be isolated from external sound? do others need to isolated from your sound? There's the choice between open and closed back, and among closed back, there are different levels of isolation.

Best of luck.



He already stated that he purchased the Grado SR80i, which are open phones ...

hishammatar, congrats on the new phones and welcome to head-fi, hide your wallet
biggrin.gif
Since the SR80i's are 32 ohms you might not need a dedicated headphone amp to start out, what cd source will you be using? If it's from your computer, you might want to consider a amp/DAC combo.
 
Oct 29, 2009 at 2:21 AM Post #7 of 14

madelvice

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Quote:

Originally Posted by WalkGood /img/forum/go_quote.gif
He already stated that he purchased the Grado SR80i, which are open phones ...


My mistake, I thought he said he was considering them, not that he'd already purchased them.
 
Oct 29, 2009 at 3:26 AM Post #8 of 14

kboe

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An iPod or other mp3 player will do you nicely to start, but if I were starting all over again in your shoes, an entry level cd player, (NAD, Cambridge Audio, Tascam) would be my next investment. This gives you a source, the cd player itself, and something to build off of, and for now, just plug your Grados right in and get that head shaken.
 
Oct 29, 2009 at 7:07 AM Post #9 of 14

Armaegis

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Nothing much I can add that hasn't already been said. My vote goes towards getting a nice cd player.
 
Nov 3, 2009 at 12:16 AM Post #11 of 14

hishammatar

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Guys,

thanks a lot for replying to my thread.
@madelvice: yes I purchased the grado's and I am very happy with them.
@walkgood: thanks for your welcome, appreciated.

In general I am still looking for the source. I have dug out 2 vintage sony PCDP (discman d-50, beautiful design I love it and the d-25) they are both pre-90's but I do still enjoy the way they sound and the richness of detail (to my rookie ears) that they can bring out.

@Amangeorge: I do fancy the MK III but I fear the 'is that all?' reaction. I'd LOVE to need that because its beautiful and the review I found here at head-fi was stunning.
@kaboe: I own a couple if Ipods and minidisc and a tech gadget freak but for some reasons in this specific period I am very fond of my cd collection...

For instance I have another window open on the Little Dot ebay shop...

Thank you all for your replys

Cheers
Robin
 
Nov 3, 2009 at 12:24 AM Post #12 of 14

jazznap

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I recently picked up an older Marantz CD63LE dirt cheap on craigslist. They sometimes pop up on agon also. It has a preamp that feeds a built-in headphone output. I haven't used the headphone output, but the player sounds pretty good feeding my HR-2. Going with something like this would give you a decent sounding cdp and allow you to hold off on getting an amp to start.
 
Nov 3, 2009 at 1:10 AM Post #13 of 14

fatcat28037

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Quote:

Originally Posted by hishammatar /img/forum/go_quote.gif
Guys,

thanks a lot for replying to my thread.
@madelvice: yes I purchased the grado's and I am very happy with them.
@walkgood: thanks for your welcome, appreciated.

In general I am still looking for the source. I have dug out 2 vintage Sony PCDP (discman d-50, beautiful design I love it and the d-25) they are both pre-90's but I do still enjoy the way they sound and the richness of detail (to my rookie ears) that they can bring out.

@Amangeorge: I do fancy the MK III but I fear the 'is that all?' reaction. I'd LOVE to need that because its beautiful and the review I found here at head-fi was stunning.
@kaboe: I own a couple if Ipods and minidisc and a tech gadget freak but for some reasons in this specific period I am very fond of my cd collection...

For instance I have another window open on the Little Dot ebay shop...

Thank you all for your replys

Cheers
Robin



The Grado SR-80 with a Sony PCDP is where I started. Some Sony's are better than others, but few are bad. Yours are fine. My guess is they both have "line-out" in which case, should you decide to buy an amp you can still use the PCDP. (lineout>amp>headphones). Enjoy the 80's but if this hobby/obsession gets to you, try to attend a meet, Local or National. This will give you a great opportunity to hear A LOT OF GREAT GEAR that will help you decide where to go next. If you can't do that Head-Fi is the next best option. Remember........your ears are the ultimate judge, not someone else's ears or opinion. Good Luck.
 

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