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Improving my audio configuration

Discussion in 'Headphones (full-size)' started by tyua, Feb 20, 2013.
  1. Tyua
    I mostly listen electronic music and currently have a HD668b on a D-Zero, plugged on my laptop and using Spotify at max quality, I know this is quite low in quality compared to the headphones and systems you are generally talking about on this forum, but would like to know how I may improve my audio system. The DAC is not too bad and the headphones are what can be improved I guess, so what headphones would you recommend me for a price between 100 and 150$ ? HD668b is nice to hear but bass are not precise enough to me, for non bassy music they are great tho. I like warm sound, not neutral, precise and balanced.
  2. wes008
    The D-Zero is fine for a Dac/Amp. If you want better bass in that price tier I would go for closed-back cans. The Creative Aurvana Live can be had for ~$70, and that's pretty nice. A small step up would be the V-Moda Crossfade LPs at ~$100-120. Either of those two paired with the D-Zero will get you the bass your desire for your electronic music [​IMG]
    EDIT: Oh, and Spotify will suit you in terms of quality until you get to the "Mid-fi" tier. So no worries brah. 
  3. Tyua
    Thank you, from what I read the Aurvana is a way too much oriented on bass, the V-Moda may be a good move.
    Another point is that I have my headphones around at least 10h a day on the head, and I am looking for some more confortable headphones, where the HD668b get my ear very warm rapidly and spring is on the way here.
    A long time ago I had some Sennheiser headphones which were not closed and I can't tell you their reference, but I can't see any non-closed headphones now. I don't want isolated headphones in fact, I want to be able to hear my young daughters when they start to battle or argue :wink:
    Do you have any opinion about Audio Technica ATH-AD500 ?
    Also, AKG K701 seems to be brilliant but its price a bit too high, maybe I should wait for a good plan to buy a some new headphones otherwise I may not find enough difference compared to my current one. Maybe AKG K240 Mk II, half the price of K701...
  4. ShiftySound
    the k701's and 240's are both not really bassy, I for one, like bass in electronic music. 
    You could look at the beyer dt770 pro's.
  5. Jmstrmbn
    I'm not sure what your budget is but the Sennheiser over-ears are extremely comfortable.  I would look at the 500 series, assuming they fit your budget.
  6. wes008
    All of the headphones you're asking about or getting recommended are not good fits (in my opinion) for dance/electronic music. They all have a more light presentation and lack the punchy bass usually sought after for electronic music. The AKGs go so far as to almost being cold. So do you not really want bass-heavy cans? Shifty's suggestion of a DT770 is good, although those might be out of your price range. If you are looking into the Crossfade LPs, you can change the earpads to something more comfortable if the stock ones don't please you.
  7. Tyua
    Thank you all for your posts.
    Now I realize that this is impossible to choose my next headphones on readings since I want a gap in my listening experience and it appears that headphones selection is very dependent on personal taste and ears.
    So I will try to test all the headphones you suggest me, to get a better idea of what sort of headphones I want.
    Also I am not certain to look after some bass-centered headphones, I rather want some more balanced headphones compared to the ones I currently have and which lack of definition in the bass frequencies, but I would for sure be happy with these if they were more balanced. Comfort is also important and I need to try several ones, my head is a bit large and my headphones press too much on my head atm.
    I will post again after some testings :)
  8. MalVeauX
    The #1 way to improve audio quality comes in a 2-for-one-slam: better headphones and high quality music.
    You will get the most improvement, honestly, from simply having much better music recordings. Streaming services have gotten better. They can produce some decent audio. But getting a high resolving headphone and  using streaming service to me is just not worth it. I've tried a few and it was fairly obvious to my ears that I was listening to compressed streamed material. But that's just my experience. You can however start buying used CD's from Amazon or Half.com and looking at albums on HDtracks.com and building a lossless or very well compressed and high bit rate library of music. You'll get the single biggest improvement in overall audio experience by simply having good recordings. A lot of stuff produced is actually low quality, even on a CD. Some albums are just a bunch of hiss from junk microphone setups and poor mastering and just cookie-cutter mass output that sound like balls on a pair of headphones, but sound ok from speakers that are a little more forgiving (assuming entry level speakers of course). If you are selective with what music you buy/listen to, it will make a monstrous difference in the overall quality of sound that you enjoy.
    The second biggest improvement you can get, after the first, is to simply have the best headphone you can afford that you also enjoy the overall sound of.
    The DAC & AMP make the smallest impact, compared to those first two. And I wouldn't bother replacing anything you have until you hammer down the first two.
    I would not waste $150 into a headphone just yet. I would suggest you save up a bit more, and get a serious mid-fi headphone. $150 is still just going to get you entry level stuff. And frankly the HD668B is almost as good as a lot of the entry level stuff in that price range.  So I don't think you're going to get much of a gain by spending $150 in that sector. But spending $250~300 in that sector will open up a world of end-game quality headphones, like the DT880, DT990, HD600, Mad Dogs, A900X, etc. And if you go used/refurb, you can get tons for your money. I know you probably didn't want to hear "spend more money" but frankly, you're losing more money by spending only $150 and eventually realizing that you want something more later, and spending even more later; when you could have skipped all that and just went with something that will easily be end-game for most people on your first go.
    Very best,
  9. Tyua
    Yes I have all these parameters in mind, the reason why I am going to test different headphones of different levels, to see till where my ears notice any difference.
    I spent a lot of time by thinking about the audio source and also spent some time testing different services, encoding on my own some cds, testing the original version with encoded ones, trying different streaming services. I use Spotify with the maximum quality, not streamed but downloaded, and I very hardly notice any difference between cd quality and that way of having sounds, how easily you can listen different musics made me choose that solution and I won't come back to cds, I simply wouldn't have enough time to buy all what I listen. Of course I would notice more difference with a better sound equipment.
    This is a good advice to save my money a bit and to find "cheap" mid to high end headphones, and I think I will stick to that :)
  10. Tyua
    I started to read about the headphones you all pointed, looks like the Mad Dogs are an excellent option in my case... I think I will try to buy these.
    edit : may be difficult to get some here, Audio-Technica ATH-M50 are good enough ? Far from being as good as MD ?? DT990Pro seem to be a good alternative also.
  11. wes008
    The M50s really aren't worth it anymore, you can get just as good cans that cost less, and substantially better cans at just a few more bucks. The DT 990s are wicked awesome if you're cool with the open-back design, and can be had for ~$180 (keep in mind that you'll want to add an amp pretty quickly). I have not heard the Mad Dogs but they are extremely well regarded, although quite far above your original budget (not sure if you've since expanded that).
  12. Tyua
    Many setups are available for the DT990, from what I read 600ohms are the best ones, but generally we can find them as 250ohms.
    I guess the amplifier is then an important factor so since I don't want to change my DAC the D-Zero will be able to feed all versions or do I need to look only at versions under 600ohms ?
  13. wes008
    Whoops, totally forgot you had the D-Zero! If you get the 250 Ohm version, the D-zero will power them sufficiently. But if you want the 600 Ohm version, I would get something more gutsy (keep in mind that the 600 Ohm version is substantially more expensive than the 250 Ohm version).
  14. Tyua

    I won't buy a new DAC and a 600ohms then, it would be too expensive.
    So the last point I miss about these headphones is if 770, 880 or 990 would be the best for me.
    I found a massive article comparing the different beyer headphones, but I don't know really which ones my ears indeed will appreciate the most since I don't have enough experience with headphones world and its own words.
    990 pro is quite cheap for a mid (high?) end headphone, and they have an excellent reputation, 880 seem to me more balanced.
    Back to my testing attempt so :)
  15. wes008
    I highly recommend the Beyerdynamic DT line. The higher impedance (250 and 600 Ohm) DT 770 and 990 have a wonderful V-shaped sound signature that is surprisingly forgiving to almost every genre (although their strong suit is dance and rap). The 990s have slightly less bass than the 770s (although they can still be classified as basshead cans) but they gain the added soundstage from the open-back design. I haven't tried the 880s so I cannot comment on those, but people generally consider them to be the most smooth and neutral of the bunch (that might be your thing). The 250 Ohm versions should be driven fine off of your D-Zero. I would pair those up, and you'll have a great small rig (I had a similar setup for quite a while).

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