Looking for a portable headphone + amp combo for audioproduction
Oct 11, 2016 at 2:20 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 12

barrelz

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Hey guys,
 
uni just started again and i made the decision to get a decent headphone + amp setup, so i can spend the time between lectures producing.
My budget is ~400€  & i don't really care if i buy used or not.
 
Had a few headphones in mind:
Sennheiser HD650
Sennheiser HD600
German Maestro GMP400
AKG K-701
 
I have literally no clue about headphone amps tho, im just looking for something portable here that can drive higher impendance headphones.
 
Another thing im not really sure about is open back vs. closed back, i would prefer open back due to better sound stage, but im concerned about sound leaking too much.
Since i would also totally use the headphones as reference monitor in my home studio, i still lean towards open back at the moment.
 
Seriously tho, im thankful for any input on this topic
 
cheers
 
Oct 11, 2016 at 7:34 PM Post #2 of 12

Aaron Morris

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  Hey guys,
 
uni just started again and i made the decision to get a decent headphone + amp setup, so i can spend the time between lectures producing.
My budget is ~400€  & i don't really care if i buy used or not.
 
Had a few headphones in mind:
Sennheiser HD650
Sennheiser HD600
German Maestro GMP400
AKG K-701
 
I have literally no clue about headphone amps tho, im just looking for something portable here that can drive higher impendance headphones.
 
Another thing im not really sure about is open back vs. closed back, i would prefer open back due to better sound stage, but im concerned about sound leaking too much.
Since i would also totally use the headphones as reference monitor in my home studio, i still lean towards open back at the moment.
 
Seriously tho, im thankful for any input on this topic
 
cheers

 
 
If you decide to go Sennheiser, pick up a used pair of HD600's. 650's will be a bit more bass heavy, but usually come at a hefty premium. 600's are one of the best headphones out there for the money. $250-300.
 
If you go AKG, go with the K7XX (massdrop edition) or the K702 65th anniversary edition. My buddy has the K701, and they're a bit on the bright side. Unless you REALLY like that signature AKG sound, they will get fatiguing after long listening sessions. Too much high end overall. But the K7XX and the K702's have an appropriately rounded off high end, and a bass bump to cater to more casual listening as well. Both are great as reference / studio headphones and can be had for around $200. 
 
 
As far as an amp goes, what's your main goal for the amp? Do you already have a dedicated DAC, or will you be using the sound card in your computer? Do you just need an amp so you can drive higher powered headphones? Will you be mixing audio? Recording audio? Maybe a dedicated audio interface that has a decent amp/dac would suit you better than an amp alone? Need more info to recommend anything. 
 
Oct 12, 2016 at 4:25 AM Post #3 of 12

barrelz

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If you decide to go Sennheiser, pick up a used pair of HD600's. 650's will be a bit more bass heavy, but usually come at a hefty premium. 600's are one of the best headphones out there for the money. $250-300.
 
If you go AKG, go with the K7XX (massdrop edition) or the K702 65th anniversary edition. My buddy has the K701, and they're a bit on the bright side. Unless you REALLY like that signature AKG sound, they will get fatiguing after long listening sessions. Too much high end overall. But the K7XX and the K702's have an appropriately rounded off high end, and a bass bump to cater to more casual listening as well. Both are great as reference / studio headphones and can be had for around $200. 
 
 
As far as an amp goes, what's your main goal for the amp? Do you already have a dedicated DAC, or will you be using the sound card in your computer? Do you just need an amp so you can drive higher powered headphones? Will you be mixing audio? Recording audio? Maybe a dedicated audio interface that has a decent amp/dac would suit you better than an amp alone? Need more info to recommend anything. 

 
Thanks for the answer aaron!
Well, the setup would be amp/dac + headphones + notebook. Im looking to do some sound design/composing & light mixing while im commuting & in the free time between lectures. Since i dont really trust the soundcard of my notebook (dell xps 13) i'd certainly prefer having a dac/amp combo like FiiO Q1/E17K/E18.
Regarding recording, i already have a spl crimson in my studio, so literally the only thing the combo needs to be able to do is drive the headphones & output acceptable audio quality.
 
Also i could probably get the hd650 used for <200€, but i'll certainly have a look at the akg cans!
 
cheers
 
Oct 12, 2016 at 6:15 AM Post #4 of 12

mien

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If you decide to go Sennheiser, pick up a used pair of HD600's. 650's will be a bit more bass heavy, but usually come at a hefty premium. 600's are one of the best headphones out there for the money. $250-300.

If you go AKG, go with the K7XX (massdrop edition) or the K702 65th anniversary edition. My buddy has the K701, and they're a bit on the bright side. Unless you REALLY like that signature AKG sound, they will get fatiguing after long listening sessions. Too much high end overall. But the K7XX and the K702's have an appropriately rounded off high end, and a bass bump to cater to more casual listening as well. Both are great as reference / studio headphones and can be had for around $200. 


As far as an amp goes, what's your main goal for the amp? Do you already have a dedicated DAC, or will you be using the sound card in your computer? Do you just need an amp so you can drive higher powered headphones? Will you be mixing audio? Recording audio? Maybe a dedicated audio interface that has a decent amp/dac would suit you better than an amp alone? Need more info to recommend anything. 


Brah, akg 701s are not worth it if you are field recording dont sell him bs.

What you want is not classy headphones,

First off, get the omnipotent mid tier headphone like the m40s and then get a second hand reference iem like etymotic er4 reference series to replace 250-300 dollar worth of unneeded costing headphones.

For portable amp i reccomend aune b1, HRT Microstreamer, as they are currently up for low prices. One HRT is currently for bidding at exceptionally low prices.

You dont really need a hd6hundred since the etymotic reference earphones and m40 puts you in a highly analytical state.

Here
http://m.ebay.com/itm/ETYMOT-C-ER4-VERY-GOOD-CONDITION-/282139785420?nav=SEARCH
http://m.ebay.com/itm/Audio-Technica-Ath-M40x-Closed-Back-Professional-Studio-Monitor-Headphones-Black-/302101896985?nav=SEARCH

Done.

As for m4x just get on ebai and put the owest prices.

As for portable amp, get anything you feel like. I reccomend the aune b1 its going at 180$ so thats $100 bellow retail.

Wait what audio productioon are you doing tell us please
 
Oct 12, 2016 at 7:05 AM Post #6 of 12

barrelz

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Brah, akg 701s are not worth it if you are field recording dont sell him bs.

What you want is not classy headphones,

First off, get the omnipotent mid tier headphone like the m40s and then get a second hand reference iem like etymotic er4 reference series to replace 250-300 dollar worth of unneeded costing headphones.

For portable amp i reccomend aune b1, HRT Microstreamer, as they are currently up for low prices. One HRT is currently for bidding at exceptionally low prices.

You dont really need a hd6hundred since the etymotic reference earphones and m40 puts you in a highly analytical state.

Here
http://m.ebay.com/itm/ETYMOT-C-ER4-VERY-GOOD-CONDITION-/282139785420?nav=SEARCH
http://m.ebay.com/itm/Audio-Technica-Ath-M40x-Closed-Back-Professional-Studio-Monitor-Headphones-Black-/302101896985?nav=SEARCH

Done.

As for m4x just get on ebai and put the owest prices.

As for portable amp, get anything you feel like. I reccomend the aune b1 its going at 180$ so thats $100 bellow retail.

Wait what audio productioon are you doing tell us please

 
I mainly produce 'edm' & orchestral stuff, only doing field recordings for the occasional foley's.
The aune b1 is amp only tho, i'll look into the hrt microstreamer.
 
Regarding the cans, i don't really like iem's...even closed back cans are kinda meh, just don't like how the sound feels + the soundstage is limited.
So im still kind of uncertain what headphone to pick.
 
thanks for the input so far
cheers
 
Oct 12, 2016 at 10:43 AM Post #9 of 12

stellarelephant

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If you go AKG, go with the K7XX (massdrop edition) or the K702 65th anniversary edition. My buddy has the K701, and they're a bit on the bright side. Unless you REALLY like that signature AKG sound, they will get fatiguing after long listening sessions. Too much high end overall. But the K7XX and the K702's have an appropriately rounded off high end, and a bass bump to cater to more casual listening as well. Both are great as reference / studio headphones and can be had for around $200. 

 
Aaron, that is useful info about AKG's 702 vs. the 701.  From your experience, can the 702s be driven without a dedicated amp?  My current portable player is the XDuoo X3 (which I love), and it has a decently powered, very clean headphone level output.   So much so that I hesitate to put anything else in the signal chain.  Its louder than an iPod for sure, and easily powers my cheapo AKG K-55, and Grado SR80e.  According to the XDuoo website, the X3 provides 250 mW at 32 Ohms.  Looking closely, I see they claim that the X3's output is suitable for up to 150 Ohm cans.  The AKG 702 is rated at 62 Ohms.  It sounds like an OK match, but I realize that the real world is not always the same as the specs.  Can anybody else chime in on how power hungry the 701/702 headphones are?
 
Oct 12, 2016 at 1:11 PM Post #10 of 12

Aaron Morris

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Brah, akg 701s are not worth it if you are field recording dont sell him bs.

What you want is not classy headphones,

First off, get the omnipotent mid tier headphone like the m40s and then get a second hand reference iem like etymotic er4 reference series to replace 250-300 dollar worth of unneeded costing headphones.

 
What are you talking about? I specifically said "DONT" buy the K701's. Please read my post before you comment nonsense. 
 
Also - the OP never said he was field recording. He's doing mixing / composing while commuting, and also wants to use the headphones for studio mixing at home. Sure the M40X's are great headphones, I personally own a pair and recommend them highly. But suggesting an IEM for mixing is a terrible idea. Please stop spreading useless misleading information.  
 
 
 
   
Aaron, that is useful info about AKG's 702 vs. the 701.  From your experience, can the 702s be driven without a dedicated amp?  My current portable player is the XDuoo X3 (which I love), and it has a decently powered, very clean headphone level output.   So much so that I hesitate to put anything else in the signal chain.  Its louder than an iPod for sure, and easily powers my cheapo AKG K-55, and Grado SR80e.  According to the XDuoo website, the X3 provides 250 mW at 32 Ohms.  Looking closely, I see they claim that the X3's output is suitable for up to 150 Ohm cans.  The AKG 702 is rated at 62 Ohms.  It sounds like an OK match, but I realize that the real world is not always the same as the specs.  Can anybody else chime in on how power hungry the 701/702 headphones are?
 

 
 
Back on topic. I own a pair of K7XX (basically K702's) and they're pretty hard to drive. Even though they are only "65ohm's", they're slightly harder to drive than my buddy's HD650's that are 320ohm's. You also need to look at the "power needed" to drive.
 
K7XX (65ohm): Power needed for 90db spl = 0.64mW
HD650 (320ohm): Power needed for 90db spl = 0.13mW
 
As you can see the K7XX take 5 times as much power to drive even though they're far less resistance. Probably due to the driver and the weight of the magnet, etc. I feel like the X3 would provide enough power, but you'll have to crank the gain a bit more to get the same volume level from other headphones. It's not a bad thing, just something to note. You could probably drive the K7XX with a phone or something too, but you'll definitely need an amp to be able to get full volume and sound quality from the drivers. 
 
Oct 12, 2016 at 5:26 PM Post #11 of 12

inthere

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ATH-M50 is the official headphone of Metalliance and has been a favorite of George Massenburg, who built and made popular parametric EQ, for years and since its inception:
 
http://www.metalliance.com/news/certifications/metalliance-certifies-audio-technica-ath-m50-headphones/
 
 
You don't get better than that for the price:
 
https://www.amazon.com/Audio-Technica-ATH-M50x-Professional-Monitor-Headphones/dp/B00HVLUR86/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1476307399&sr=8-1&keywords=ath+m50
 
On the pro engineering forums a few years ago two headphones were made popular with a bass listening test. Only two headphones were able to reveal bass information in a test track, the M50 and the Audeze LCD 2. Both became popular because of this but the M50 became industry standard because of the price.
 
Oct 12, 2016 at 6:55 PM Post #12 of 12

Aaron Morris

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  ATH-M50 is the official headphone of Metalliance and has been a favorite of George Massenburg, who built and made popular parametric EQ, for years and since its inception:
 
http://www.metalliance.com/news/certifications/metalliance-certifies-audio-technica-ath-m50-headphones/
 
 
You don't get better than that for the price:
 
https://www.amazon.com/Audio-Technica-ATH-M50x-Professional-Monitor-Headphones/dp/B00HVLUR86/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8 &qid=1476307399&sr=8-1&keywords=ath+m50
 
On the pro engineering forums a few years ago two headphones were made popular with a bass listening test. Only two headphones were able to reveal bass information in a test track, the M50 and the Audeze LCD 2. Both became popular because of this but the M50 became industry standard because of the price.


Just don't confuse the M50 with the M50s or the M50x. They're three different headphones (the latter being the only one that is not discontinued). The M50x gets mixed reviews. Check out both the M40x and M50x and compare before you pull the trigger on either. 
 

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