Hello and thank you! Looking for: Versatility and Quality
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CybrSlydr

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Hi folks, long time no post. lol

Anyway, I was hoping you folks could help me in narrowing down choices for audio equipment.

I've recently taken to rucking and doing exercises in the morning and am tired of jacking my phone volume to the max and carrying it in my pocket. So today I borrowed my brother's bluetooth Skullkandy Ink'd Wireless headphones.

They were ok. Worked well enough for my purposes, but I want something more. I'm a percussionist and music aficionado and am looking at getting into higher-quality music than what I can stream over Pandora (which isn't bad, but I think better exists).

I realize that with audio that price goes up exponentially while discernable quality in music is a game of diminishing returns.

At first I was just looking for some sweatproof wireless headphones I could use with a focus on sound quality over all others. Reviews I read showed that those kind of headphones (I'm just going to use this term to call anything you put in or over your ears in this thread for simplicity's sake) skewed towards lightweight and exercise functionality. Awsesome! But I want great sound over anything.

So I looked at IEMs like Shure and Ultimate Ears. After a lot of looking around and reading, I liked what I read about the Shure SE535 wireless (https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07C7JB115/ref=twister_B07CSL59NM?_encoding=UTF8&th=1). Are they that much better sounding than the 315s?

Then I saw an article about PMPs and the Astell & Kern Kann. Holy balls. That is an impressive piece of kit! So I started looking at PMPs and the eye-watering variety available at some frankly astonishing price-points.

Apparently my cell phone isn't the best environment for excellent sound quality, so I should look into a PMP or get a Firefly DAC to plug into my phone or maybe an Astell & Kern XB10 since it's wireless?

I guess what I'm trying to say is I've done my homework but come away with more questions than answers and I hope you folks can help me pare things down. So, here we go!

I listen to a wide variety of music ranging from Two Steps from Hell:


and Bear McCreary's amazing work on the Battlestar Galactica soundtracks:



and Above and Beyond's acoustic set:


To total headbangers like Rammstein:


and Tool:


as well as EDM/Trance.

As to the type of sound I'm looking for is something that can give me the delicacy of the strings in Bear and Above and Beyond's music to the punchy, quick bass thump of Rammstein and Trance with a decently wide soundstage. I noticed with the Skullkandy's that the soundstage was quite narrow and felt almost on top of my ears - something with a bit more breathing room would be great.

Wireless would be great because I could then get a bluetooth adapter for my PC and use them on that as well.

Finally - does a PMP exist that still utilizes the Google Play store? I use MapMyWalk and MyFitnessPal to track my workouts and calorie intake - so, is there something like a cellphone without the cellphone capability? lol I hope that makes sense.

In summation, I'm looking for some headphones I can use while exercising or not, that deliver excellent sound (as described above) with a wireless option preferred over non (I carry a rucksack with me when I workout, so portability isn't a huge concern of mine, it'll just be put in my rucksack).

I hope I haven't overwhelmed you folks and thank you for your assistance! :)
 
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serman005

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It has been my experience that if one is attempting to maximize sound quality, one should definitely go the wired route. I just think there is a meaningful difference between the two, Now, if going wireless is the over-arching priority, then that's that. But if you are looking at a Kann and if the best possible sound quality is the priority, wired is definitely the way to go. FWIW. Just my take and YMMV, of course.
 
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CybrSlydr

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It has been my experience that if one is attempting to maximize sound quality, one should definitely go the wired route. I just think there is a meaningful difference between the two, Now, if going wireless is the over-arching priority, then that's that. But if you are looking at a Kann and if the best possible sound quality is the priority, wired is definitely the way to go. FWIW. Just my take and YMMV, of course.
I had a feeling that wired would be preferred. That's fine. Like I said, I can carry it in my ruck, no issue.

I'm not looking at a Kann - it was just one of the first I read about. I MIGHT be able to splurge on something like their SR15 if I saved up long enough - but would still need the headphones.

Are there better choices for what I'm looking for in headphones than the SE535s in that price range?

What do you think of the Firefly DAC as an intermediate solution for my phone (Galaxy S7 Edge)?
 
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megabigeye

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I'm assuming you mean the Dragonfly DAC? I don't know of a Firefly.
I use the Dragonfly Red with the S9 and it sounds amazing. I don't know for certain, but I assume that it'd work with your S7. My main concern would be that your phone doesn't support audio over USB, but I'll bet it does. There's a free app called something like USB Audio Checker that will tell you for certain.
If you go that route, you should check out USB Audio Player Pro, which is great for locally stored music, has support for Google Music (though last time I checked, the interface was kind of a kludge, but that was a long time ago; they do lots of software updates), an EQ, and good volume controls. I think it's $7 or $8.
 
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CybrSlydr

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Indeed, I meant the DragonFly. As to the Audio over USB, I'll check into that, thanks!
 
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