Intro + Make My Wallet Lighter
Oct 13, 2013 at 4:01 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 8

Maloch

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Hey all! I'm Maloch. I'm an entry level audiophile, but I've been lurking on the forums for awhile and want to get more in depth. Right now my set up is a pair of Beats Studios (yeah...) and a pair of Audio-Technia ATH-M50s. That's it - no amps, no better quality cans, nothing.

So, that's why I'm here. I've been looking to get into the upper tier (not summit-fi by any means), and I'd like to know what you guys think. Right now, I have about $600 to spend (if there's something really worth it, I can stretch that a bit). I was considering getting some Sennheiser HD 650s, but I wouldn't have enough for a (good quality) amp if I went that route (unless someone can point me in the right direction).
 
But other than all that, I'm really excited to actually be a member of a really cool community. Looking forward to spending lots of money with everyone!
 
Maloch
 
Oct 13, 2013 at 6:45 PM Post #3 of 8

Maloch

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I have been looking at some of the FiiO amps/DACs (the E9/E17) plus the dock (E07 I think). They're a pretty reasonable price, and I think I could squeeze out enough to get that too. But, is that enough to power the HD 650s (probably just the E17, no dock yet), or should I lower the quality of headphones to ensure I have enough for a powerful enough amp/DAC?
 
Oct 13, 2013 at 11:54 PM Post #4 of 8

manbear

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I would look at the Hifiman HE-400 plus a Schiit Modi/ Magni combo. Almost exactly $600, though not portable at all. Based on your Beats and M50s, I imagine that you like more of a bassy sound. The HE-400 have killer bass, not exaggerated, just deep and powerful when the music calls for it. So much slam. The HD650 probably have better mids, but the HE-400 come from the same general sound family -- dark and rich. They are roughly peers in terms of overall sound quality, with individual preference making up most of the difference. 
 
Oct 14, 2013 at 2:51 AM Post #5 of 8

KG Jag

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I would pick both the HD 600 and HD 650 over the HE 400 because I find the mids of the 400 to be slightly off and a bit unnatural.  However all are good cans.
 
You can read an excellent analysis about all three of them (and many more cans too) here:
 
http://www.head-fi.org/t/634201/battle-of-the-flagships-58-headphones-compared-update-audeze-lcd-2-revision-2-6-4-13
 
I agree that the Schiit stack is a good starter amp & dac.  It should work well with all three cans--although I prefer tubes or hybrid amps (usually more expensive) with the HD 650.
 
Oct 14, 2013 at 3:11 AM Post #6 of 8

PurpleAngel

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  Hey all! I'm Maloch. I'm an entry level audiophile, but I've been lurking on the forums for awhile and want to get more in depth. Right now my set up is a pair of Beats Studios (yeah...) and a pair of Audio-Technia ATH-M50s. That's it - no amps, no better quality cans, nothing.

So, that's why I'm here. I've been looking to get into the upper tier (not summit-fi by any means), and I'd like to know what you guys think. Right now, I have about $600 to spend (if there's something really worth it, I can stretch that a bit). I was considering getting some Sennheiser HD 650s, but I wouldn't have enough for a (good quality) amp if I went that route (unless someone can point me in the right direction).

Something under your budget.
 
Philip X1/28 Fidelio headphones, $295
Hifimediy Sabre U2 USB DAC, $55
Schiit Magni headphone amplifier, $99.
So, $450, + maybe another $50 in shipping and tax.
 
Oct 14, 2013 at 3:35 AM Post #7 of 8

JeWorms

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I will say if you have a chance listen to difference headphones in a local store that will be the best. All depends on what you like (music style, sound preferences). Someone might prefer HE 400, while others will think HD650 is the best. It's very personal.
 
The Useful Links In this help/recommendations sections will have a lot useful informations. You should check them out first.
 
http://www.head-fi.org/a/headphone-buying-guide
http://www.head-fi.org/a/a-hopefully-helpful-headphone-buying-guide-for-newbies-by-boomana
 
Oct 16, 2013 at 4:41 AM Post #8 of 8

fateicon

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Try doing searches on the O2 amp. 0 Ohm output impedance, transparent, and very powerful. Can be built or bought. Built it's like around $140. Can also be used portably. Impedance explained in articles below:
 
https://www.google.com/search?client=opera&q=headphone+output+impedance&sourceid=opera&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8
 
I think this hobby is ultimately more about your preferences than it is about more expensive stuff being better. Always listen to stuff when you can. Most sources and amps do not have verified performance and measurements. People largely determine how good they are by how much they like the components' sound with their own gear as opposed to data that shows high performance in objectively measurable areas. A headphone will sound way different from source/amp to source/amp. It's very difficult to figure out what sources and amps to buy if you're looking to use them as an EQ substitute. You could spend $600 on an amp that may cut off harsh highs of certain phones but has bad measurements in distortion. Or worse. There's been instances where amps were downright dangerous to use because of screwups in the design. Phones are different because some aspects are not measurable unlike say frequency response. Look up reviews of headphones that cost thousands of dollars. None of those phones appears to be anywhere near perfect. I think $100-$200 is probably the last price range before you hit diminishing returns. If sources and amps were measured and people had a chance to hear stuff first, I think this would be a very different hobby. There's a lot of great stuff that's very affordable, so I still buy phones here and there. I think I'm about done with sources and amps as using the more neutral stuff I have now works for me.
 
For $600, you could get a lot. 
 
O2 amp
Odac
2 or 3 of my fav phones. SR-60 with flat pads(at toddthevinyljunkie), K701, K240, Yamaha Pro 400, K550, Amperior
 
Sennheiser hd280 sounded good to me on best buy's demo wall. Some Samson phones are good too, like the 850. 
 

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