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Headphones to work with my Computer - Advice

Discussion in 'Headphones (full-size)' started by jiggerjuice, Jul 30, 2014.
  1. Jiggerjuice
    I'm looking at getting one of the following, from Mad Lust Envy's reviews: 
    AKG K712 Pro - 350 bucks
    AKG K702 - 220 bucks
    AKG K702 Annie Edition - 419 bucks?? 
    AKG Q701 - 194
    I'm going to be using these on my computer to play games, first person shooters included but I play errythang, so not limited to fps. And pretty much everything... movies, music, etc. 
    First question: The Annie looks like an outlier in terms of price. Is this worth getting over the Q701 and the K712 Pro? Not sure why this is priced like this, maybe limited production driving artificial supply limits to drive the price up? 
    Second question: Would the K712 Pro be better at 350 than the K702 at 220? K702 is almost 130 dollar difference, but if the K712 is 130 dollars worth of additional awesome, perhaps I would get it. I am leaning that way anyway, but waiting for someone to push me over the edge. 
    Third question: What would I need to run any/all of this on my computer? I'm assuming I wouldn't want to use my real-tek motherboard audio out. I have an Onkyo 6.1 receiver with speakers currently plugged into my motherboard's optical out. This is really the biggest question, as I'm new to headfi, and not sure how to arrange the gear properly. Headphones into the receiver, receiver into a sound card? Or headphones into the sound card, in which case would I need an amp or some sort at that point? I see a bunch of technical terms like DAC and the like being thrown about. I'm confused as to what does what, and what I actually need to achieve great sound at home after the kids are asleep, since I can't blast my speakers at all nowadays... Soundcard for receiver, and then headphones separately, or headphones through the receiver? 
    Thanks for any help anyone can provide, my apologies for not being "all the way there" in terms of knowledge. Just looking to get some sick sounds to replace my Logitech G930 as after 4 years it has been turning off and on randomly. Won't make the wireless headphone mistake again, as the battery dies now after less than an hour if it isn't plugged in, negating the whole wireless point of having them. And they drop at random even when they ARE plugged in. Worst. 
  2. viralcow
    I hope you understand that all of the above headphones are virtually identical. I cringe at people buying the K712 for almost three times as much as what you can get the Q701 at (open-box clearance Q701s have sold at ~$115 recently), and claiming that they sound like completely different cans. I disagree. The drivers may be tuned slightly different, but the biggest factor in sound is the angled/flat pads.
    If price is at all an issue, go for the Q701. The Anniversaries are limited edition so clearly they aren't worth it, unless you're enamored by the blue color scheme. FWIR the Annies are identical to the K712 other than the orange color and a slightly different texture on the earpads. If you want to emulate the K712 with the Q701, you can go ahead and purchase the K712 earpads separately, which would still be cheaper.
    At the same time, if you know you'll be happier with the K712, and you're willing to fork out the extra cash, then why not. It's better than to have buyer's remorse afterwards.
    Finally, the amp question. I'm actually not very experienced in terms of amplifiers (only dabbled in budget SS amps, maybe because I actually can't hear too much of a difference *shh*). But chances are that your Onkyo receiver will drive them just fine. There's also a lot of good information already (just search K701 amp, or Q701 amp) so you should be able to figure things out.
    Hope this helps!
  3. PurpleAngel Contributor
    As the Onkyo is driving a 6.1 setup, I'm assuming the Onkyo receiver is several years old, what is it's model #?
    The Onkyo receiver might do a decent job of driving AKG 7XX series headphones, as chance are the Onkyo uses the same amplifier to drive both the speaker and the headphone output (not at the same time), so should be a decent amount of power there.
    So you can use the Onkyo for now and take your time deciding on getting a sound card or external DAC/Amp.
    One option is to get an Asus Xonar DX or D1 sound card (used, $60) and run an analog cables from the DX/D1's output to the RCA inputs on the Onkyo.
    This way you take advantage of the DX/D1's CS4398 DAC chip :) and can use the card's Dolby Headphone surround sound feature, while using the Onkyo to drive the headphones
    The Creative Labs Sound Blaster Z sound card ($84) comes with the same CS4398 DAC chip :) and Creative SBX headphone surround sound and built in headphone amplifier.
    The Asus Xonar Essence STX sound card (used $140) comes with a better DAC chip (PCM1792A) and a better headphone amplifier (TI 6120A2) and Dolby Headphone.
    For an external DAC/amp, there is the Schiit Modi DAC and Schiit Magni (or Vali) headphone amplifier, $200-$220 for the DAC/Amp combo.
    Get the Modi with optical input and you can still use the motherboard's on-board audio (Realtek) audio features.
  4. Jiggerjuice
    I have the HT-R510 - ancient history, pretty much, same speakers/receiver I had from college. Left the country for a number of years and left it behind, came back and didn't see a point to upgrading... 
    All I get out of the HT-R510 is stereo mode. So any sound card plugged into the receiver will give me digital to analog 3d sound? The receiver simply pushes the signal it gets from the sound card into the headphones then? 
  5. PurpleAngel Contributor
    If by 3D you mean Headphone surround sound, then yes, what you say will work.

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