My Beginners Setup??
post-7656955
Thread Starter
Post #1 of 21

sir2545

New Head-Fier
Joined
Aug 5, 2011
Messages
10
Reaction score
0
Joined
Aug 5, 2011
Posts
10
Likes
0
First of all, I'll say that I started off with a set of Bose QC15's, but after I saw how bad everyone slammed them, I quietly returned them.  Since then, I have jumped head first into the overwhelming world of portable Hi-Fi.
 
I recently purchased a set of DT-770 80Ohm from Guitar Center, and I thought the 80 Ohm would be a little too high for a cell phone (HTC Thunderbolt), but the clerk told me I'd be fine.  Needless to say, he was wrong and I was pissed because I couldnt listen to my new headphones. 
 
I have been doing research about portable amps and I think I have decided on the FiiO E11 because the reviews seem to be pretty good.  I dont need a DAC( I dont really even know what it is, but I know its for listening through a laptop, and I dont do much of that). I want good SQ and if I have to spend more I dont mind, but Im looking for bang for buck. I certainly could go out and get a Lisa III or whatever that rediculously priced thing is called, but half the fun is upgrading your kit, right.  So if you guys can make any recommendations, I'll take 'em.
 
I know that I will have to get a dedicated source since Im getting into this seriously, so recommendations there would be good also.  I do have an iPhone 3G no longer in service, that I thought might work for now, since I read that cell phone's and portable amps dont get along.  I dont want any hissing or noise.  I think that's all I have for now, and thanks in advance for the advice.  I know there are probably hundreds of threads like this, but I did do a lot of reading and research before I posted.  It gets very overwhelming, fast.
 
BTW, I listen to various genre's of music....Teisto, SHM, and the like, but also have some Johnny Cash, Norah Jones, Emmylou Harris. 
 
PS, is there a good article to explain some of these acronyms?  LOD, DAC, OPAmp, I have hardly an idea what any of these mean.
 
     Share This Post       
post-7657516
Post #2 of 21

sir2545

New Head-Fier
Joined
Aug 5, 2011
Messages
10
Reaction score
0
Joined
Aug 5, 2011
Posts
10
Likes
0
Nothing guys? This is discouraging.......
 
     Share This Post       
post-7657553
Post #3 of 21

zeroryu

Head-Fier
Joined
Jul 6, 2009
Messages
55
Reaction score
10
Joined
Jul 6, 2009
Posts
55
Likes
10
I'd say, try out the PA2V2 by electric avenues. that fits my bill for an entry level.
 
     Share This Post       
post-7657629
Post #4 of 21

sir2545

New Head-Fier
Joined
Aug 5, 2011
Messages
10
Reaction score
0
Joined
Aug 5, 2011
Posts
10
Likes
0
With what source....is the iPhone OK or should I buy a dedicated MP3 player. Read that the Creative Zen is the best for sound quality according to Cnet. A lot of people seem to like the Sansas though.
 
     Share This Post       
post-7658871
Post #5 of 21

zowki

500+ Head-Fier
Joined
Jan 15, 2011
Messages
518
Reaction score
39
Joined
Jan 15, 2011
Posts
518
Likes
39
Sansa and Cowon devices are a favorite here at head-fi.org. I recommend pairing a Fiio E11 with a Sansa Clip+ or Sansa Fuze. Get a Cowon J3 instead of Sansa if you are willing to spend more and want better sound quality and user interface.
 
     Share This Post       
post-7660151
Post #6 of 21

PXSS

100+ Head-Fier
Joined
Mar 13, 2011
Messages
388
Reaction score
22
Joined
Mar 13, 2011
Posts
388
Likes
22
I'd recommend you look into fred_fred2004's CMoy amps. Great for entry level and in my opinion have better value than the E7 or E11.
He is a great guy to deal with and will help you sort out any problems you might have.
Greatly improves the sound quality from the iPhone.
 
If you can also buy yourself an LOD (Line-out dock) from Fiio or elsewhere (I've got an L9)
With a setup like this one your iPhone will sound a lot (and I mean A LOT) better.
 
My current setup is iPhone-> Fiio L9 LOD-> CMoy Dual chip LM6171 & LM4562 Amp-> MarkL Modded D2000
 
E: If you'd like a more detailed comparison between using the LOD and amp VS just having the D2000 Plugged into the iPhone let me know and I'll do my best to compare and describe the sonic differences
 
     Share This Post       
post-7661459
Post #7 of 21

sir2545

New Head-Fier
Joined
Aug 5, 2011
Messages
10
Reaction score
0
Joined
Aug 5, 2011
Posts
10
Likes
0


Quote:
Sansa and Cowon devices are a favorite here at head-fi.org. I recommend pairing a Fiio E11 with a Sansa Clip+ or Sansa Fuze. Get a Cowon J3 instead of Sansa if you are willing to spend more and want better sound quality and user interface.
Quote:
I'd recommend you look into fred_fred2004's CMoy amps. Great for entry level and in my opinion have better value than the E7 or E11.
He is a great guy to deal with and will help you sort out any problems you might have.
Greatly improves the sound quality from the iPhone.
 
If you can also buy yourself an LOD (Line-out dock) from Fiio or elsewhere (I've got an L9)
With a setup like this one your iPhone will sound a lot (and I mean A LOT) better.
 
My current setup is iPhone-> Fiio L9 LOD-> CMoy Dual chip LM6171 & LM4562 Amp-> MarkL Modded D2000
 
E: If you'd like a more detailed comparison between using the LOD and amp VS just having the D2000 Plugged into the iPhone let me know and I'll do my best to compare and describe the sonic differences

Thanks for the advice guys, Pxss thanks for your willingness to help.  Are these a good match for the DT770?  I read that some amps dont play well with some headphones and that the 770-80's are a little bass heavy.  I have been reading a lot of threads about good amps for the Dt770 and I kinda like the D4 Mamba also.  I want something with enough power to drive them if I really wanna jam, but also something that will increase SQ. 
 
I will be buying a LOD, probably the L9 from Amazon, because from what I understand it bypasses the iPhones output stage?  Not really sure what that means?
 
 
 
     Share This Post       
post-7662492
Post #8 of 21

JSLAPPA

Head-Fier
Joined
Apr 24, 2011
Messages
76
Reaction score
11
Joined
Apr 24, 2011
Posts
76
Likes
11
Quote:

Thanks for the advice guys, Pxss thanks for your willingness to help.  Are these a good match for the DT770?  I read that some amps dont play well with some headphones and that the 770-80's are a little bass heavy.  I have been reading a lot of threads about good amps for the Dt770 and I kinda like the D4 Mamba also.  I want something with enough power to drive them if I really wanna jam, but also something that will increase SQ. 
 
I will be buying a LOD, probably the L9 from Amazon, because from what I understand it bypasses the iPhones output stage?  Not really sure what that means?
 
 

If I could give you any advice to help you find the best SQ out of your first rig, I would beg you to start with your music files. You see, sound quality is a very personal thing, right? What sounds great to you may sound horrible to me. But in order to effectively find the best SQ in general, you MUST start with a perfect copy of the original music file. If you are listening to MP3's, STOP IT! Gather up all your CD's and set iTunes up to convert them into Apple Lossless (ALAC). The reason you can fit 150+ MP3s onto one CD is because they squash the file and remove a TON of data. ALAC is nearly perfect copies of your music. You've heard of "garbage in-----garbage out"? Same concept. My $3,000 portable rig still sounds like crap with MP3's. It's heaven with the same song, only converted to ALAC.

Your 3G, your 770's, coupled with ALAC rips direct from CDs will be a great start. You just need an amp that will push your 'phones with little effort. If you have to max out the amp, you are just adding distortion to your setup. You will need that LOD, and the one you want will work just fine. Oh, by the way, the LOD basically pulls the music from the iPhone and skips the amp section. It sends the data through the external amp, then off to the headphones.

Good luck and have fun!
 
     Share This Post       
post-7662505
Post #9 of 21

NA Blur

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Feb 8, 2011
Messages
4,411
Reaction score
632
Joined
Feb 8, 2011
Posts
4,411
Likes
632
I think a LOD is a start.  At 80 Ohms this impedance really should not be a problem for a smart phone.  I think at 96 dB for sensitivity is where the problem lies.  The same occurs with the LCD-2.  Even though some headphones are low impedance, they really have low sensitivities as well.  You are going to have to drive them hard with more gain to get a nice solid even frequency response.  The improved line out should help, but you may need a simple head amp.  Let us know which one you decide on and how you like it.  I use a Total Airhead from headroom and really do not have much experience with portables.
 
When I auditioned a version of the LOD I did not hear the difference with my iPod through a set of Grado SR-80's.
 
A very simple solution may be to trade your 80 Ohm version for a 32 Ohm version.  No need to purchase anything and the ability to drive 32 Ohms out of a smart phone goes way up.
 
Hope that helps.
 
     Share This Post       
post-7663708
Post #10 of 21

PXSS

100+ Head-Fier
Joined
Mar 13, 2011
Messages
388
Reaction score
22
Joined
Mar 13, 2011
Posts
388
Likes
22


Quote:
Thanks for the advice guys, Pxss thanks for your willingness to help.  Are these a good match for the DT770?  I read that some amps dont play well with some headphones and that the 770-80's are a little bass heavy.  I have been reading a lot of threads about good amps for the Dt770 and I kinda like the D4 Mamba also.  I want something with enough power to drive them if I really wanna jam, but also something that will increase SQ. 
 
I will be buying a LOD, probably the L9 from Amazon, because from what I understand it bypasses the iPhones output stage?  Not really sure what that means?
 
 

Do you already own the DT770? If so why are you reading if they're bass heavy online? Go and listen to them and form your own ideas and opinions about the headphones to start.
Some people might think they're bass heavy but then another guy might think they're just fine. You can't rely on forum opinions all the time and I think it's time for you to do some listening of your own to form your opinions and ideas of where the headphones could improve. If your iPhone can't drive the headphones well enough for you to get a good listen then use a laptop or a desktop to listen to them.
 
At this point you should focus on the following checkpoints in the following order:
1. MP3 have to go! As JSLAPPA said, the first step towards sound quality is getting rid of MP3 and replacing it with a lossless audio format.
2. Form your impressions. Listen to your headphones and get an idea of what they sound like.
3. Get a headphone amplifier. If you don't need a DAC, try to find a dedicated amp and not an amp/dac combo. Amp/DAC combos will always be more expensive.
4. Almost a must when listening through an iPhone or iPod is an LOD. By using an LOD you bypass the iPhone amp which in my opinion is crap and produces a lot of hiss and sibilance. You won't be able to control the volume from your phone but then again that is why you have a dedicated amp.
 
Hope this helps you out.
 
     Share This Post       
post-7669761
Post #11 of 21

sir2545

New Head-Fier
Joined
Aug 5, 2011
Messages
10
Reaction score
0
Joined
Aug 5, 2011
Posts
10
Likes
0
Quote:
If I could give you any advice to help you find the best SQ out of your first rig, I would beg you to start with your music files. You see, sound quality is a very personal thing, right? What sounds great to you may sound horrible to me. But in order to effectively find the best SQ in general, you MUST start with a perfect copy of the original music file. If you are listening to MP3's, STOP IT! Gather up all your CD's and set iTunes up to convert them into Apple Lossless (ALAC). The reason you can fit 150+ MP3s onto one CD is because they squash the file and remove a TON of data. ALAC is nearly perfect copies of your music. You've heard of "garbage in
garbage out"? Same concept. My $3,000 portable rig still sounds like crap with MP3's. It's heaven with the same song, only converted to ALAC.

Your 3G, your 770's, coupled with ALAC rips direct from CDs will be a great start. You just need an amp that will push your 'phones with little effort. If you have to max out the amp, you are just adding distortion to your setup. You will need that LOD, and the one you want will work just fine. Oh, by the way, the LOD basically pulls the music from the iPhone and skips the amp section. It sends the data through the external amp, then off to the headphones.

Good luck and have fun!


Thanks for the advice bro, I had no idea thats how lossless audio was acquired, I thought you purchased the songs like mp3's from somewhere other than iTunes, lol.  Problem is I dont have any CD's, so I guess from now on, I'll be buying them.
 


Quote:
I think a LOD is a start.  At 80 Ohms this impedance really should not be a problem for a smart phone.  I think at 96 dB for sensitivity is where the problem lies.  The same occurs with the LCD-2.  Even though some headphones are low impedance, they really have low sensitivities as well.  You are going to have to drive them hard with more gain to get a nice solid even frequency response.  The improved line out should help, but you may need a simple head amp.  Let us know which one you decide on and how you like it.  I use a Total Airhead from headroom and really do not have much experience with portables.
 
When I auditioned a version of the LOD I did not hear the difference with my iPod through a set of Grado SR-80's.
 
A very simple solution may be to trade your 80 Ohm version for a 32 Ohm version.  No need to purchase anything and the ability to drive 32 Ohms out of a smart phone goes way up.
 
Hope that helps.
Quote:
Do you already own the DT770? If so why are you reading if they're bass heavy online? Go and listen to them and form your own ideas and opinions about the headphones to start.
Some people might think they're bass heavy but then another guy might think they're just fine. You can't rely on forum opinions all the time and I think it's time for you to do some listening of your own to form your opinions and ideas of where the headphones could improve. If your iPhone can't drive the headphones well enough for you to get a good listen then use a laptop or a desktop to listen to them.
 
At this point you should focus on the following checkpoints in the following order:
1. MP3 have to go! As JSLAPPA said, the first step towards sound quality is getting rid of MP3 and replacing it with a lossless audio format.
2. Form your impressions. Listen to your headphones and get an idea of what they sound like.
3. Get a headphone amplifier. If you don't need a DAC, try to find a dedicated amp and not an amp/dac combo. Amp/DAC combos will always be more expensive.
4. Almost a must when listening through an iPhone or iPod is an LOD. By using an LOD you bypass the iPhone amp which in my opinion is crap and produces a lot of hiss and sibilance. You won't be able to control the volume from your phone but then again that is why you have a dedicated amp.
 
Hope this helps you out.

I've been listening to these headphones for about a week now with just the iPhone and I love the way they sound so I'm not concerned about the bass heavy-ness.  I do think its a bit flabby sometimes with just the iPhone and after doing a lot of reading I think its because the Output impedance of the iPhone isnt low enough to tighten the bass to a sutiable level for me so yesterday I ordered a Fii0 E7 amp and L9 LOD.  The iPhone is almost loud enough for me, but I want just a little more gain and to tighten up the bass a little more.  Hopefully that'll take care of it and I can start working on those music files.
 
 
Thanks for the input guys, I'll let you know what I think.
 
 
     Share This Post       
post-7672481
Post #12 of 21

sir2545

New Head-Fier
Joined
Aug 5, 2011
Messages
10
Reaction score
0
Joined
Aug 5, 2011
Posts
10
Likes
0
After listening to my music for a little while with the amp, I think it sounds good for the most part.  Im hearing some things that Im not sure what the cause is though.  Most of the songs sound fine and the bass is tight and punchy, but some hip/hop songs dont really sound that great.  For example the song "Bounce" by Timbaland, I'm not sure if its just the recording or if I just dont like the sound of that bass. If anyone has heard that song, chime in. Also, "Lil Freak", by Usher, when the bass hits, I can kinda hear it rumble through his voice and it doesnt sound right.  Is this an issue with the amp or just a poor recording (most all of my music is 320kbps mps format)?  Other than that, all the other music sounds great but you dont get much gain out of the E7 with an iPod/Phone.  May end up returning it and try a PA2V2 since someone recently confirmed that it has a low output impedance.  What do you guys think?
 
     Share This Post       
post-7672590
Post #13 of 21

JGOelfke

100+ Head-Fier
Joined
Jan 9, 2011
Messages
156
Reaction score
12
Joined
Jan 9, 2011
Posts
156
Likes
12
As you noticed I believe, I have the DT770 - 32 ohm and use it with my iPod and the E7. I can relate to the sort of sloppy, grumbly bass you're hearing running directly out of the iPhone without an amp. I heard the same thing running straight out of my iPod. That is most likely the result of insufficient power, especially at 80 ohms. I'm not entirely sure about iPhones, but iPods are optimized to power headphones up to 30 ohms (which is why I bought an amp as well, even for just the added 2 ohms); of course, sensitivity plays a large role in that rating as well. So if you're trying to drive 80 ohm headphones with just the iPhone, they're definitely being underpowered.
 
As far as still having that "loose" bass issue with the E7, the biggest thing I've noticed with my E7 is that while the DAC in it is great, the amp sucks. Plugging even my 32 ohm cans into the E9 makes a world of difference. If you didn't like hte E7, I'd definitely try the PA2V2. That was the other amp I debated before deciding on the E7.
 
The biggest difference I noticed unamped vs. amped in my 770s was the bass. When they are properly powered, the bass is much crisper, more refined, and not at all "grumbly" or "fuzzy," if that makes sense. The soundstage also increased and overall, the cans just had a more "full" sound.
 
I would definitely consider the LOD cable, for the sole reason that it does bypass the internal amp of the iPhone. Getting the 'phones powered properly should make that bass tighten up and sound a lot better. Hope that helped somewhat!
 
     Share This Post       
post-7672646
Post #14 of 21

sir2545

New Head-Fier
Joined
Aug 5, 2011
Messages
10
Reaction score
0
Joined
Aug 5, 2011
Posts
10
Likes
0
I have the LOD and I like the way most of the music sounds, the bass is tight and punchy, but some songs like I listed above dont sound that great.  I dont think I know how certain types of bass should sound, if that makes sense?
 
     Share This Post       
post-7672927
Post #15 of 21

JGOelfke

100+ Head-Fier
Joined
Jan 9, 2011
Messages
156
Reaction score
12
Joined
Jan 9, 2011
Posts
156
Likes
12
If it's those specific songs it could very well be the format the songs are in, their bit rate, etc. If possible, doing an A/B comparison with that file and the same song in lossless quality may give some more insight. The songs may be compressed too much and as a result, have that unpreferable rumble. Personally, I've never been a fan of Timbaland's bass. To me, it's a little too synthesized
 
     Share This Post       

Users Who Are Viewing This Thread (Users: 0, Guests: 1)

Top