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Denon D2000 with and without Amp Comparison

Discussion in 'Headphones (full-size)' started by saintly, Oct 9, 2011.
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  1. Saintly
    Hi guys,
    I recently became interested in appreciating music as opposed to listening to my Ipod out of the default Apple earbuds.  I've done some reading but still have lots to learn, so please bear with me and pardon my silly questions.
    I started out with the AT M-50s after reading rave reviews and was indeed blown away by them connected straight to my laptop (Alienware M15x, not sure of the sound card).  After hearing those, I was hooked and became curious about the other choices out there and thus came the slipper slope... [​IMG]
    After reading up on the Denon D2ks and seeing them regarded as one of the mid-range headphones which would sound acceptable without an amp, I decided to go for it since I had not intended on getting an amp.  The D2Ks arrived 2 days ago and I've had them on non-stop to do break them in as fast as possible.  They feel to be a step up from the M-50s in just about every way except for the recessed midrange.  I had read that they had a U-shaped frequency curve but had not expected this much of a dip in the midrange.  For example, in songs by Adele she sounds as if she's at the very back of the stage with the piano accompaniment actually positioned much closer to the mic.  Since I listen to a lot of pop and stuff with vocals, the recessed midrange is seeming like a big issue.  
    I have the FiiO E7s on the way and am wondering how big of a difference they will make in terms of improving the D2Ks?  Since I had to get an amp for these, I started looking into the Beyerdynamics that I had initially been avoiding.  Since the DT 880 Premiums seem to be relatively neutral with a more prominent midrange than the D2Ks, I have the 250 ohm version on their way.  The general consensus seems to be that the FiiO E7s cannot adequately power the DT 880s and that a tube amp is recommended.  Without getting a tube amp, how will the DT 880s sound relative to the D2Ks with just the Fiio E7?  How about the E7/E9 combo? 
    Thanks for everyone who took the time to read the huge wall of text.  For those who couldn't be bothered, here are the clifs:
    -Disappointed with the recessed midrange of the Denon D2000s (vocalists sound too far away from the mic and seem to be overpowered by instrumental accompaniments)
    -Have FiiO E7 as well as Beyerdynamic DT 880/250 ohm on the way.  How much of an improvement will I see in the D2Ks with the E7?
    -How will DT 880/250 sound with just the E7 relative to the D2K?  What about with the E7/E9 combo?  *No tube amp
    Thanks again. 
  2. Head Injury
    You won't see much of an improvement with the D2000 from the E7. It will probably perform better than the iPod in most ways, but not in very audible ways.
    The E7 will be barely powerful enough to drive the DT880/250 to what's considered "more than enough", a safe place to be. It should be loud enough for regular listening volume. "More than enough" is very loud on anything but quiet recordings. You might want to try the E9 later, but I wouldn't bother at first. Had you bought the 600 ohm version of the headphones, I'd say go for it.
  3. Saintly
    Thanks for the quick reply.  
    I had initially not intended on getting an amp at all, thus the D2Ks.  Then I realized that I wasn't going to get away without an amp and decided on a basic E7.  With that in mind, I ordered the DT 880/250s today but just now got some Amazon credit so I'll probably be getting the E9s as well.  If I had known earlier, I would've gotten the DT 880/600, but such is life...  In any case, some say there isn't really a huge difference in the sound of the different impedance models while others claim it's night and day.
    Do you have any idea how the D2Ks will compare to the DT 880/250s with only the E7?  How about with the E7/E9 combo?
  4. TMRaven
    You'd have to get an amp/dac that significantly colors the headphones to bring out the midrange and subdue the treble aggressiveness.  Something like a tube amp with the right tubes will do that, and a select few solid states.  I think the E7/E9 are both very linear in their response-- that's what their graphs suggest anyways.
    I personally didn't find the mids of the D2000 that much more recessed than the M50's.  In my comparison of the two I had the D2000's mids at about 90% of the strength as the M50's, but way more resolved.
  5. Head Injury
    Don't sweat the impedance differences. You don't need to make your headphones harder to drive, the DT880 is already pretty tough anyway.
    I haven't heard either headphone.
    I wouldn't use the D2000s with the E9, though. It doesn't measure much better than the E7 to begin with besides power, and the D2000 doesn't need the power. There's also some issues the E9 might have with low impedance high sensitivity headphones like the D2000, such as noise and coloration due to output impedance.
  6. Saintly


    That's interesting you found their midranges so similar in terms of recession. I am a noob to all this, so could it be the greater soundstage of the D2Ks that makes me feel like the vocalists are so far away?  I do miss the immediacy and liveliness of the M-50s although the resolution of the D2Ks more than compensates for that.
    Do you have any idea how the D2K and DT 880/250s will compare with the E7 alone and the E7/E9 combo?  A tube amp really isn't within my budget atm, I'm afraid.


    The E7/E9 wouldn't do anything for the D2K over the E7 alone even though in the combo set-up, the E7 can dedicate itself solely to being the DAC?  The signal quality wouldn't be any better?
    Hopefully the E9/E7 combo would be a step up over the E7 for the DT 880s. :/
  7. Ham Sandwich
    The D2000 does have a recessed midrange.  Can make singers and some instruments sound like they are at the back of the stage.  Can also make some instruments like acoustic guitar or violin sound dull.  
    If you use a computer as source and a media player like Foobar or J River Media Center that allow you to add a plug-in parametric EQ then you can fix the recessed midrange using EQ.  A basic graphic EQ won't cut it.  You need a parametric EQ.  I use a freeware VST plug-in EQ called EasyQ by RS Met.  Be careful when EQing that you don't boost anything in the 4K region.  The D2000 gets ringy and peaky around the 4K region and EQing there will do strange things.  That's one reason why a graphic EQ (especially something like a 6 band graphic EQ) won't do the job.
    Here's an example of an EQ setting I use with the D2000:
    Denon EQ1
    {Equalizer PatchFormat="1" GlobalGain="-6.4"}   {Band Frequency="2550.0" Gain="4.4" Bandwidth="0.4"
      {Band Frequency="1860.0" Gain="3.2" Bandwidth="1.0"
    Denon EQ2
    {Equalizer PatchFormat="1" GlobalGain="-6.4"}
      {Band Frequency="2550.0" Gain="3.4" Bandwidth="0.4"
      {Band Frequency="1860.0" Gain="2.2" Bandwidth="1.0"
    Denon EQ3
    {Equalizer PatchFormat="1" GlobalGain="-6.4"}
      {Band Frequency="2550.0" Gain="2.4" Bandwidth="0.4"
      {Band Frequency="1860.0" Gain="1.2" Bandwidth="1.0"
    Denon EQ Flat
    {Equalizer PatchFormat="1" GlobalGain="-6.4"}

    For amping the Denons an inexpensive portable generally won't do so well.  If you play bass heavy music you'll easily get the amp to clip.  You need a desktop amp designed for low impedance headphones and one that can deliver enough current so it doesn't clip.  I've never tried an E7 or E9.  But based on specs I doubt either of them will do the needful for the Denon.  Amping is also more than just being able to drive the headphones without clipping.  Amping is also about allowing the headphones to have their proper soundstage without restricting them, frequency control, bass control, and other things.  Inexpensive portable amps aren't going to do any of that other good stuff either even if they manage to not clip with heavy bass.
  8. Croozer

    I use the FiiO E7/E9 combo and it worked great with my Denon D2K's, even with just the E7 alone I noticed a improvement in sound.
  9. Saintly


    What you described is exactly what I'm experiencing with the D2000 in terms of midrange recession.  Thanks a lot for the detailed recommendation as well as spoon-feeding me your EQ settings haha; I'll definitely check it out!
    As for the amping of the D2000, that is... not good to hear.  Do you have any experience with the DT 880/250?


    Now this sounds promising.  What difference do you notice between the E7 alone and the E7/E9 combo?
  10. Croozer

    The difference in volume and power.

    Seeing that the E7 bypasses my laptop computers internal soundcard it made a distinct improvement in overall sound.
  11. Hifianddrumming
    TBH, before the 300 dollar range, you won't see an amp or DAC making a very significant change in sound. 300 is the average bar when you'll hear the greatest increase in sound, so I say go big or go home :)
  12. Head Injury

    Why did you need more volume than the E7 can provide?

    Arguably, you won't ever see an amp or DAC making a significant change in sound unless it's a purposely colored component. I'd recommend newbies avoid those, and just use a software equalizer if they want coloration.
    I personally wouldn't want to pay $300 for a colored amp or DAC when there are so many neutral ones out there.

  13. drummerman


    An audiophool quote if I ever heard one and a sweeping statement with no reference whatsoever.
    Your average DAC costs £3 and a world class amplifier with leading edge technical performance can be made for around a hundred quid (sale price). Fiio and a selected few others have proven that they can achieve soundquality the equal of some high end stuff with some of their products. Even an ipod will technically surpass some amplifiers/DAC's costing silly money.
  14. brokenthumb


    Agree 100%.  Without the combo, my D2k has too much bass going on.  Having heard them with the E7/E9 the bass is tighter and under control.   I wouldn't won't them without the amp.  Doesn't help the recessed mids though.
  15. Hifianddrumming


     IDK, I tried the Schiit asgard and Bifrost combo with a pair of Grados. And compared to my Fiio E9 & E7, I noticed a massive difference. Just in openness, imaging, resolution. Just my observations. I definitely can't say it's true or not, but most of the amp/DAC components I've tried in the mid-area of about 300-600 dollars have been noticeably better than my Fiio Amp.
     I do agree, it was a large statement to make and maybe I should have been more specific. It came across a little too matter-of-fact. Just observations.
     Sorry for any over-exaggerating :)
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