Bult my first system dilemma.
May 31, 2015 at 10:07 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 40

Maxpain

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  Hello everyone I am very happy that I have dound a place to adress my questions and thaoughts about my on going project! I am new to the hifi situation and I would like to spend some money to built my first system dedicated to music listening.Due to the lack of budget I have decided to go for the best solution I could find within my money range.My source would by my pc.I allready have a pci sound card (auzentech X-meridian 2g) hooked up in my computer.I know that this card does not have a headphone amplifier.Its a good soundcard overall but not dedicated for headphone use.I also happen to have some old headphones the sony MDR-XD300 wich they are average quality headphones from what I understand.From now I am just using those pluged in to the stereo output of my soundcard.
  My budget for now is only 200-300 euros,so I could need some help to decide if its in my best interest to buy better headphones and plug them in to my soundcard directly or buy a dedicated headphone amplifier,maby with a buil in dac (or still use the dac of my soundcard wich is preety good by the way) and use it along with my sony headphones untill I can buy a new pair of headphones too.
  I listen mostly too jazz,rock,funk stuff and I have plenty of flacs in my collection along with some old mp3s.Thank you in advanced for your oppinions and help!
 
May 31, 2015 at 10:40 PM Post #2 of 40

Maxpain

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Oh and one more question,I would certainly like the sound of a tube amplifier (if I am going to spend money on an amp),do you have any budget tube amplifier in mind that is good for headphones use? I have done a little research and found that not many options are there in my country when it comes to tube amps.I have found the Taga Harmony HTA-25..it has a headphone output.
 
May 31, 2015 at 11:26 PM Post #3 of 40

cel4145

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  My budget for now is only 200-300 euros,so I could need some help to decide if its in my best interest to buy better headphones and plug them in to my soundcard directly or buy a dedicated headphone amplifier,maby with a buil in dac (or still use the dac of my soundcard wich is preety good by the way) and use it along with my sony headphones untill I can buy a new pair of headphones too.


I would go for new headphones first.

Are you looking for a more neutral sounding headphone? One with bass and treble emphasis? A warm sound?

Also, must the headphones be closed or open? Open tend to have a bigger/better soundstage, but leak sound in and out.
 
Jun 1, 2015 at 6:27 AM Post #4 of 40

Maxpain

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I have never owned a headphone set before dedicated for long music listening sessions but if I judge from speakers I would say that I prefer a warmer sound.I think that it would be nice to to have a good soundstage,my environment is a room that is rather quiet.So I would think that open back headphones are a better choice? What do you think? Is there any loss in quality due to leak of sound? I think that my sony headphones are closed type and its really nice how the music is isolated in your head and all but do you think that open back headphones would have so much of a leak in a quet room?I really havent tried any of there so I am sorry if I am asking so many questions.There is one more issue,because of the lack of amplifier I let jriver to control the volume of the music wich at never can to set close 100% its somehwere between -20% and -7%.Is this a problem for sound quality that I am getting? Thank you for your help!
 
Jun 1, 2015 at 6:46 AM Post #5 of 40

inthere

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Monster 24k
 
Jun 1, 2015 at 9:13 AM Post #6 of 40

Tail

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  I have never owned a headphone set before dedicated for long music listening sessions but if I judge from speakers I would say that I prefer a warmer sound.I think that it would be nice to to have a good soundstage,my environment is a room that is rather quiet.So I would think that open back headphones are a better choice? What do you think? Is there any loss in quality due to leak of sound? I think that my sony headphones are closed type and its really nice how the music is isolated in your head and all but do you think that open back headphones would have so much of a leak in a quet room?I really havent tried any of there so I am sorry if I am asking so many questions.There is one more issue,because of the lack of amplifier I let jriver to control the volume of the music wich at never can to set close 100% its somehwere between -20% and -7%.Is this a problem for sound quality that I am getting? Thank you for your help!

Open back headphones will have leak, of course depending on how much you crank the volume up, but it can be like a small speaker if you play music loud. Also that sound leak won't make ANY loss in quality, quite opposite it will make 'soundstage' quite a lot bigger, so you should feel closer to listening to speakers and not the headphones. Of course it is still just a headphone, but sense of space grows if they are open.
Closed ones are suited more for studio and portable use, since they isolate better and does not leak as much, also if you don't want any leak to annoy someone in the same room, you'd go for closed as well.
 
My advice for long listening sessions with your budget and description of what you like is without doubt NAD Viso HP50, it's closed type headphone, so no leakage like with open ones and it sounds great, not too much bass and not too sharp treble so they are not fatiguing and you can listen them for REALLY long sessions without need of break. They are ~300$ which is ~260 euros and they are very easy to drive (32 ohm impedance) so you don't need any extra amp.
 
As cel4145 said I'd go for headphones first. Amp is needed when you have some hard to drive headphones, with higher impedance like some of those high end ones that have like 300-600 ohm impedance, then you NEED amp to get the most out of them, but with the likes of NAD Viso HP50 you are good to go straight from anything, including smartphones and small portable players, PC or whatever. 
 
Jun 1, 2015 at 12:02 PM Post #7 of 40

Maxpain

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Unfortunately it was impossible for me to find the  NAD Viso HP50 headphones anywhere online I dont know if I can find them in my country.I live in Greece and we have very limited hifi choices here,I could bue them online from ebay but I would prefer to listen to them before spending any money.Could you recomend some other headphones in the price range of 200-300 euros? I have seen that akg,Sennheiser,focal,sony,pioneer...they are all around the market especially Sennheiser.Could you remomend something out of those brands? It would be easyer for me to audiotion the headphones before making a buy.As allways thank you for your time and effort.
 
Jun 2, 2015 at 6:31 AM Post #8 of 40

Maxpain

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I have looked up on the internet information about my sound card.I was able to find this ''Impedance: Front Panel Headphone load impedance 16 ohms ~ 300 ohms, Line output impedance 150 ohms, Line/Aux input impedance 10K ohms''. Does this mean that my front panel adapter outputs 300ohms and it should be able to drive headphones that are listed in to that range and that the back port of my sound card (the right-left channel) output is 150 ohms so it is some kind weaker? 
 
Jun 8, 2015 at 12:25 PM Post #9 of 40

Maxpain

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After some unexpected extension in my bugdet and lots of searching and auditioning,I have been able to downsize a list of some headphones that they seem to be good for my prize range.Although I dont have the oportunity to live audition any of them so I am here again to ask you your feedback on the sound that I could be expecting.Those headphones are:
Sony MDR-1A
Grado Prestige SR125i,Prestige SR225i (those are the closest to my money)
Sennheiser HD 598 (wich I have read so many good reviews and I also like their looks)
AKG K550,AKG K701
Shure SRH940
 
They are all in about the same price range 200-300 euros.Maby I could add an amplifier like Fiio E09K.I want a headphone that will be optimal for long listening sessions but I am ok compromising comfortable for sound quality.I search for a headphone that is warm and exciting and musical.I listen a lot to clasic and alternative rock,jazz,funk,soul,folk and sometimes I like to rock on with some ACDC,Metallica etc,or I like to calm down and listen to clasical and soft playlists.Most of the time I want an engaging and fun headphone that will make me feel the music.I would apreciate some help choosing the right one for me.
 

S

 
Jun 9, 2015 at 10:46 AM Post #12 of 40

Maxpain

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Since you want a headphone that is "warm," I'd suggest the HD598 out of that group.

Thank you for your response, do you think that it wiuld be a good match with the fiio 09?
Also i am a litle confused because I have read revews describing them as boring and others describing them as the better choice in that money. Have you had the chance to audition them? What do you think?
 
Jun 9, 2015 at 5:00 PM Post #13 of 40

cel4145

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For the cost of the FiiO E09K, I would see if there is an Objective 2 amp available to you. For instance, here's a seller in the UK: http://epiphany-acoustics.co.uk/products-page/headphone-amplifiers/ehp-o2-portable-headphone-amplifier/

But first, I would try the HD598 with your computer. Could be it will drive it fine to the volumes you listened to and you would be satisfied with the sound. If not, you could also consider the FiiO E10K, which is a combined dac/amp.
 
Jun 10, 2015 at 5:43 AM Post #14 of 40

Maxpain

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I can find fiio e09 in the price of 130 euros.The EHP-O2 as I can see is actually a litle cheaper so that is a good thing.The only problem is that I live in Greece and I the choices here are very limited so I will have to make an online order for it if they are up to shipping it to Greece.I could go only with the headphones first but I had an extension in the budget and I would like to have an amp so that I can upgrade headphones in the feature.I am really in to tube's sound and I wish I could find a tube amp close to that money but I havent been able to find anything.Are you aware of something in the price range of 100-130 euros? Dac I wouldnt need I spent a good amount of money to get my soundcard and it is a very decent dac so I wouldn't want to make it useless yet.
 

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