Christmas Upgrade (Will HD650 run okay with Total Bithead?)
Dec 12, 2007 at 8:50 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 33

CAMiasm

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I've read a ton of threads and feel that that's useless. Almost every thread contradicts the one I read prior, so I'm going to make my own thread and get responses tailored to me!

I own AKG K501 and HeadRoom Total Bithead. My K501s are old and are beginning to fall apart (pads loose, cable coming out of headphone, etc), so I want to upgrade.

I have $300 ($350 MAX) to spend and want some new "cans". I'm leaning towards Sennheiser HD650 over AKG K701 largely because of the reviews on HeadRoom and my horrifying experiences with AKG customer service. I want to know if the Total Bithead can "drive" such high-end headphones. Can it?

I don't know if this matters, but I will be listening to a wide variety of music (I want the best overall headphone for any genre) and movies. I'll be using these with my computer. My plan is computer -> total bithead -> headphones.

Is buying such a high-end headphone to be used with a low-end amplifier a waste?

Thanks

Also: HD650s are $400+ on HeadRoom/Amazon, but can be found for $320 on eBay. Do you think it's okay to buy them on eBay? Both vendors have extremely good records.

Thanks again!
 
Dec 13, 2007 at 4:27 AM Post #4 of 33

CAMiasm

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Quote:

Originally Posted by facelvega /img/forum/go_quote.gif
will the bithead do a good job driving the HD650? I know one thread you haven't read. Paging Boomana...


I've read a bajillion threads. I've probably read that one, but don't remember its title. Like I said earlier, everyone contradicts each other here.

I can provide some more information: I have the "revised" 2007 Bithead.
 
Dec 13, 2007 at 5:00 AM Post #5 of 33

facelvega

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I meant this thread, which provoked a storm of strong opinions on both sides. The gist of the original post is that it's simply not honest to tell people that high-end headphones will sound good on portable sources, that they can get most of the potential out of them without also buying a home amp.
 
Dec 13, 2007 at 5:08 AM Post #6 of 33

Vandal

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FYI the HD650 is discounted on Head-Fi. So its not 400$ but more like 350.
Why don't you try bhphotovideo? I think they have it at 330$

Reagrds your other query on Headroom there is a bundle offer consisting of the total bithead/airhead + HD650 + bag. Would they really offer such a bundle if it wouldn't drive the cans properly?

I noticed the K701 was bundled with a desktop amp - testimony that they're harder to drive despite the lower impedance.

One of my colleagues has a total bithead, and I'm getting myself the Senn, so I should find out in just over a month...
 
Dec 13, 2007 at 6:07 AM Post #7 of 33

knik

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I have been using my HD650s and K701s out of the new Total Bithead and I feel that the Bithead can drive them fairly well, at least volume wise. I have the HD595and the HD650 easily sound better to me even when driven through the bithead. So I don't think buying the 650 would be a waste. Of course im sure that you would not hear the phones to their full potential but for casual listening the combination should more than suffice.
 
Dec 13, 2007 at 6:38 AM Post #8 of 33

boomana

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I owned the Bithead and still own 650s. With those specific headphones, the Bithead is better than no amp/dac at all, but that's about it. The 650s require both better amplification and source. You will not be able to hear the sound the 650s are praised for with that combination. Anyone telling you differently, including HeadRoom, is either deaf, lying or doesn't yet have the experience to tell you the truth. If someone tells you that's a good combination, ask them what else they've owned or heard. As to HeadRoom bundling the 650s with the Bithead, I have nothing but respect for Tyll, but they're way off on this one. I'm not saying the 650s will sound bad, but why buy headphones if you're not going to give them what they need to sound good? The Bithead is more suited to driving many headphones other than the 650s. It doesn't drive them well at all (and I'm not talking about just volume).
 
Dec 13, 2007 at 6:58 AM Post #9 of 33

CAMiasm

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Quote:

Originally Posted by boomana /img/forum/go_quote.gif
I owned the Bithead and still own 650s. With those specific headphones, the Bithead is better than no amp/dac at all, but that's about it. The 650s require both better amplification and source. You will not be able to hear the sound the 650s are praised for with that combination. Anyone telling you differently, including HeadRoom, is either deaf, lying or doesn't yet have the experience to tell you the truth. If someone tells you that's a good combination, ask them what else they've owned or heard. As to HeadRoom bundling the 650s with the Bithead, I have nothing but respect for Tyll, but they're way off on this one. I'm not saying the 650s will sound bad, but why buy headphones if you're not going to give them what they need to sound good? The Bithead is more suited to driving many headphones other than the 650s. It doesn't drive them well at all (and I'm not talking about just volume).





I have $350 that I want to spend right now on headphone junk. What should I spend my money on to get the "best" sound quality? I own an AKG K 501 (they're falling apart and need a new wire), a Total Bithead, and a Pocket Amp 2 v2 (haven't used it since getting Bithead). All this stuff is going into my laptop that has ****ty onboard sound, so I need a DAC (ruling out PA2v2). What should I spend my money on to get the "best" sound quality? I cannot spend $350 on the headphones then $500 on an amp that (in your eyes) will drive them properly. Should I just wait until I can spend that much money and get the HD650/amp together? What sounds better coming out of a Total Bithead, K501 or HD650?

I realize that the Bithead is not the best thing in the world for an HD650, but think that an HD650 will sound better than a K501 through the Bithead. I will probably buy a better desktop amp/dac down the road if I get an HD650, but right now for $350, keeping in mind what I already own, what should I do to get the best sound quality? I'm under the impression that it's buying an HD650 and running it through the Bithead I already own.

This is poorly written and I apologize for making you read it 3 times to figure out what I'm saying!
 
Dec 13, 2007 at 7:32 AM Post #11 of 33

Ezer

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I think headroom offers the HD650s for a lot lower than $400. If you buy from there they have an excellent return policy and customer service, so should you find them lacking with your current setup it is possible to just return them.

With that said, if you are truly curious about the HD650 sound then I suggest just buying them and giving it a good listen. Everyone always insists that you need x level of equipment to drive them properly, but the truth is that the gear turnover never stops. If you're always worrying if you've got the proper level of gear for your headphones you'll never, ever be satisfied. Buy the HD650s, listen to them with your set up; if you enjoy the sound then worry about amplification/source later, if you don't then you can either return them or keep them around until you get a more expensive set up.
 
Dec 13, 2007 at 7:53 AM Post #12 of 33

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Quote:

Originally Posted by CAMiasm /img/forum/go_quote.gif
You guys must be so sick of newbies like me coming in here and bringing up the same topic time and time again. Poor guys.


I'm a newbie too. My 2 bits - You won't really realise or fully comprehend what the fuss is about with the Senn HD650 on the bithead. Such cans scale up in performance with a better source, amp, DAC and cabling.

But I don't think it'll be totally useless. I recall reading the K501 being extremely hard to drive as well. So the HD650 should be driven easier.

And you can always save up and buy a better amp later right
wink.gif
You would have brilliant cans to use it with
smily_headphones1.gif
 
Dec 13, 2007 at 8:26 AM Post #13 of 33

CAMiasm

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I bought the Bithead with no intention of it ever moving it. I bought it hastily because it was an amp and a DAC. I had recently switched computers and my laptop's onboard sound was poopy.

Are there other amps/DACs that can beat the Bithead for around the same price ($150)? If so, can you list some of them?
 
Dec 13, 2007 at 8:38 AM Post #14 of 33

fkclo

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Quote:

Originally Posted by boomana /img/forum/go_quote.gif
I owned the Bithead and still own 650s. With those specific headphones, the Bithead is better than no amp/dac at all, but that's about it. The 650s require both better amplification and source. You will not be able to hear the sound the 650s are praised for with that combination. Anyone telling you differently, including HeadRoom, is either deaf, lying or doesn't yet have the experience to tell you the truth. If someone tells you that's a good combination, ask them what else they've owned or heard. As to HeadRoom bundling the 650s with the Bithead, I have nothing but respect for Tyll, but they're way off on this one. I'm not saying the 650s will sound bad, but why buy headphones if you're not going to give them what they need to sound good? The Bithead is more suited to driving many headphones other than the 650s. It doesn't drive them well at all (and I'm not talking about just volume).



Can't agree more. I once have a Total Bit Head (which is actually my first portable amp when I started my head-fi journey in 2004). Shortly afterwards, I bought my first HD650. It sounds o.k. until later one I heard my HD650 through through my LD II. It was totally different. Later on, I tried different amps - and until I plug my HD650 (single end) into my E.A.R. HP-4 I did not realise what the HD650 is capable of. Likewise, I was astoned by how a balanced HD650 can sound out of my RPX-100.

To cut it short, the TBH is NOT the amp for HD650, regardless of how well it scales. Get a pair of ER6i or ER4P or PX100, that would work better.

Just my humble opinion.

F. Lo
 
Dec 13, 2007 at 8:53 AM Post #15 of 33

Ogresmash

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Quote:

Originally Posted by CAMiasm /img/forum/go_quote.gif
I bought the Bithead with no intention of it ever moving it. I bought it hastily because it was an amp and a DAC. I had recently switched computers and my laptop's onboard sound was poopy.

Are there other amps/DACs that can beat the Bithead for around the same price ($150)? If so, can you list some of them?



Are you including the cash you could get from selling the PA2v2/Total Bithead into your budget? You're probably looking at an additional $150 if not, and there are tons of good setups you could get for $500.

Considering getting some used HD580s or HD600s instead of the HD650s and that would cut off $100, leaving around $300 for your source and amp. At that price range, maybe pick up a Little Dot amplifier (about $150-$200 depending on the model), they sound really really nice with the HD580/600/650s. As for the DAC, I don't know what's good around $100-$150, but I'm sure you could get something that's much better than your onboard audio and probably better than the Total Bithead.
 

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