Newbie FAQ & recommendations
post-824295
Thread Starter
Post #1 of 13

m12345

New Head-Fier
Joined
May 30, 2004
Messages
8
Reaction score
0
Joined
May 30, 2004
Posts
8
Likes
0
Hello,

I'm very new to this and the last days I have spent ~5 hours reading in this forum. And I am very confused. Extremely confused. I don't have the time to spend hours and hours forming my own opinion. I wonder whether the forum people here could agree (agree :) ) on a couple of recommendations for certain budgets and certain requirements (please :) ). Also I've been searching for a FAQ on this site, to no avail. So far I've decided to buy a HD600, and, since it needs an amp, to also buy the ha-1 mkII. But I was very confused as to which other components I should buy, given that I have a $700 budget for these, and that I listen to music through headphones _exclusively_. (I read about better cables so I opted for those oehlbach cables.)

I see there are threads on questions like "portables + x + y + ... + headphones, vs stationary players". (I felt this was a slightly different issue so I opened a new thread other than the portable vs. stationary thread at http://www5.head-fi.org/forums/showthread.php?t=67899, but note the similarities) I get confused about "line-out", "digital-analog-converters" (yes I am new and I didn't find a faq :p , blame me if I overlooked one), and all sorts of things to keep in mind, and additional devices, and insiders arguing about questions that are in fact of relevance for my buying decision. So newbies do need answers that at least _a handful_ of reputated forum members can more or less agree upon.

I was thinking of buying a creative NJBR3 which would play wav files, but I could burm them to cd of course if needed. I'm only interested in good sound quality, all else doesn't really matter, I just found the portability attractive, but I don't want to sacrifice sound quality, _at least not in the context of being a normal mortal, not a die-hard audiophile (sorry, no offense :) )_. I'm just very unsure what to buy: a pcdp, a stationary device, a different hard-disk player (also perhaps combined with an additional docking station)...

Help! This forum is total info overkill for somebody who doesn't want to make this his only spare time activity, and I feel lost... :) I want to be able to say, "look, that's what the head-fi experts recommended." :->
 
     Share This Post       
post-824375
Post #2 of 13

stryker

500+ Head-Fier
Joined
Apr 26, 2003
Messages
880
Reaction score
10
Joined
Apr 26, 2003
Posts
880
Likes
10
As soon as (if?) the search function is restored, you can get a lot of information. It may be more than you need, but this is to be expected if you're going to search about headphones at a site dedicated to headphone listening. Yes, it's overkill. There area number of full-featured reviews that should help you along with links located at some of the vendor/sponsors' websites. However, having the ability to search is indispensible and until it is restored, it makes things a bit tougher around here.

Some of your questions are specific to audio in general and not just headphones (line out, DACs, etc.). For those questions, you might be well served by just doing a Google search. You can also get good info on cd players, sound cards, portables at other audio sites as well.

Regardless of what you end up doing, you'll still need a few hours to form an opinion, even if it's an opinion of other people's opinions. In the end, you still have to make a decision, and you can't do that without some idea of what it is you want. You've begun that process in your post. Good luck in your inquiry.
 
     Share This Post       
post-824590
Post #3 of 13

eyeteeth

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Sep 22, 2003
Messages
4,617
Reaction score
12
Joined
Sep 22, 2003
Posts
4,617
Likes
12
Quote:

Originally Posted by m12345
and insiders arguing about questions that are in fact of relevance for my buying decision.


Yes that can happen quite easily, but no one would be offended if you stepped in again and asked a question relevant to your situation, bringing the discussion back to your original questions.

Quote:

Originally Posted by m12345
I'm only interested in good sound quality, all else doesn't really matter, I just found the portability attractive, but I don't want to sacrifice sound quality, _at least not in the context of being a normal mortal, not a die-hard audiophile (sorry, no offense :) )_. I'm just very unsure what to buy: a pcdp, a stationary device, a different hard-disk player (also perhaps combined with an additional docking station)...


Portable audio is something I know very little about unfortunately. I seem to recall someone complaining about the non-existence of high quality portable CD players and I often encounter much praise (including from audiophile magazines) for the quality of portable hard disc players. So I assume the hard disc player is the better choice in many ways.

As for being overwelmed by audio jargon don't worry about that. Just ask what that phrase or word means and you'll get an answer. Besides you want to remain "normal" right.


Not too long ago I was a total audio moron who didn't know anything. Now I'm merely a mild ignoramus who knows a little.
 
     Share This Post       
post-826114
Post #4 of 13

m12345

New Head-Fier
Joined
May 30, 2004
Messages
8
Reaction score
0
Joined
May 30, 2004
Posts
8
Likes
0
Thanks for your help. I'm more informed now, sorry for havin stolen your time. But still, please help a newbie... :)

My question would be, is there a clear winner in terms of sound quality:

*.wav -> sharp 10" subnotebook -> usb soundcard (which?) with digital out -> benchmark dac-1 (or which else...?) -> hd600

or

*.wav -> creative jukebox 3 -> ha-1 mkII -> hd600

Thank you!!
 
     Share This Post       
post-826133
Post #5 of 13

go_vtec

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Feb 24, 2004
Messages
1,631
Reaction score
18
Location
US
Joined
Feb 24, 2004
Location
US
Posts
1,631
Likes
18
I think labtop->USB soundcard (optical out->DAC) -> AMP -> HD600 should be a good choice. Here DAC, inside of (), are optional. Although I use dedicated CD/SACD players most of time, I like my Yamaha DP-U50 as a USB soundcard/DAC/preamp combo. It does sound a bit more analytical sometime, but I'm quite happy with it.
 
     Share This Post       
post-826221
Post #6 of 13

stryker

500+ Head-Fier
Joined
Apr 26, 2003
Messages
880
Reaction score
10
Joined
Apr 26, 2003
Posts
880
Likes
10
Quote:

Originally Posted by m12345
Thanks for your help. I'm more informed now, sorry for havin stolen your time. But still, please help a newbie... :)

My question would be, is there a clear winner in terms of sound quality:

*.wav -> sharp 10" subnotebook -> usb soundcard (which?) with digital out -> benchmark dac-1 (or which else...?) -> hd600

or

*.wav -> creative jukebox 3 -> ha-1 mkII -> hd600

Thank you!!



Anything from Creative is subpar comapred to what else is out there. That's almost indisputable fact.

The DAC1's headphone amp is pretty good for the money. I think you will get better sound from it than a cheaper sound card coupled with the HA-1 MKII. The HA-1 will only amplify the mediocre sound from the Jukebox and not really imporve it that much. However, in terms of pure performance, the HA-1 is probably a superior headphone amp.

With the notebook and DAC, you're not looking at portability, right? This setup is not portable and will take AC power.

Is your whole collection on hard drive or are you going to rip cds and then put it on your hard drive?
 
     Share This Post       
post-826299
Post #7 of 13

m12345

New Head-Fier
Joined
May 30, 2004
Messages
8
Reaction score
0
Joined
May 30, 2004
Posts
8
Likes
0
Thanks for the answers so far.

Let me explain the idea behind the setup. I already own
that very small (<1kg) laptop, and don't have any
audio equipment at all, nor a normal PC. I figure having the
entire music collection in one place on harddisk is very
handy (plus backup). Hence I thought, why not use the
(fan-less super-quiet) laptop as core part of the home audio
system. The laptop only has a headphone jack (no line
out), let alone the soundcard. It has pcmcia and usb.

The (slightly modified) question is *in terms of sound quality*, should I further investigate

A) existing laptop's usb out + [any <$1100 solution] + hd600 (hence music coming from the laptop's hd)

or

B) [any <$1100 solution without laptop] + hd600 (music coming from no matter where :) )

__

Portability is not the issue. The music source (CD/HD) is
not deciding. (But I do think a HD is way more handy.)

Thank you all. I hope I'm asking reasonable questions, I've been
searching this site via the google site:url feature.

M.
 
     Share This Post       
post-826449
Post #8 of 13

jjcha

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Jan 31, 2004
Messages
3,590
Reaction score
39
Joined
Jan 31, 2004
Posts
3,590
Likes
39
I was a complete newbie half a year ago and went through this exact same process. Believe me when I say sorry about your wallet.

You do have a bunch of general questions that might be better answered through the FAQs linked on www.audioasylum.com or through picking up The Complete Guide to High-End Audio by Robert Harley.

Or better yet, just pick up that toshiba dvd player that so many people are gaga over, a good headphone amp and go running and don't look back!

Good luck,

-Jason
 
     Share This Post       
post-826458
Post #9 of 13

stryker

500+ Head-Fier
Joined
Apr 26, 2003
Messages
880
Reaction score
10
Joined
Apr 26, 2003
Posts
880
Likes
10
I think you should consider posting to the "computers as source" forum as well. I don't know enough about soundcards to be of any help.

To be sure, if you can find a used DAC1 for around $700, it's quite a value. You can then get something that gives you a decent digital out via usb or pcmcia. There's a reasonable website called www.sonicsense.com that has a decent pcmcia digital out card that does 24 bit. If you can get both for under $1000, you've got a great system, imho.

Otherwise, you could budget $600 for a nice used cd player like a Rotel, higher-end Sony, Arcam, AH! Tjoeb, Musical Fidelity, and the like, and buy a decent used amp around here for under $400 like the Corda amps, Singlepower amp or Ray Samuels, etc. You need a good amp to wake those 600s up.

You'll be happy with either option I'm sure.
 
     Share This Post       
post-826673
Post #10 of 13

go_vtec

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Feb 24, 2004
Messages
1,631
Reaction score
18
Location
US
Joined
Feb 24, 2004
Location
US
Posts
1,631
Likes
18
If I were you and had $1100 to fill the gap (that's a serious chuck of change BTW
), I would go for a niced used Sony CDP-X3000 or SCD-C555ES or Pioneer DV-45A + Corda HA-2 amp. IMHO, CDP-X3000 provides sound similar to its more expensive cousins (SCD-1, SCD-777es, ...) and performance is slightly better than SCD-C555ES while playing redbook CDs. Of course for a super compatibility (CDs, SACDs, DVD-As), Pioneer DV-45A is hard to beat. It uses three sets=total 6 high speed burr-brown DACs and sounds a bit warmer (more musical, less analytical) than unmodded sony 555es for SACD playback. Its redbook playback capability is descent for an universal player (but not as good as a dedicated redbook player such as X3000). I guess you have to decide what your source medias going to be (redbook only, SACDs or DVD-As).

Corda HA-2 should provide near equal performance to Prehead for significantly less $.
 
     Share This Post       
post-828159
Post #12 of 13

John Reeves

100+ Head-Fier
Joined
Apr 4, 2004
Messages
453
Reaction score
10
Joined
Apr 4, 2004
Posts
453
Likes
10
Hi Stryker,

I hope you meant creative products excluding their portable audio devices. In general the jukebox range have a sound quality that is the equal of, or better than, most other portable DAPs. They also give the most "bang for the buck".

Cheers
 
     Share This Post       
post-828464
Post #13 of 13

stryker

500+ Head-Fier
Joined
Apr 26, 2003
Messages
880
Reaction score
10
Joined
Apr 26, 2003
Posts
880
Likes
10
Quote:

Originally Posted by John Reeves
Hi Stryker,

I hope you meant creative products excluding their portable audio devices. In general the jukebox range have a sound quality that is the equal of, or better than, most other portable DAPs. They also give the most "bang for the buck".

Cheers



In the context of the other-mentioned products in consideration, like the Benchmark DAC1, Creative stuff is subpar. In the broader context of value, etc. perhaps that is not so.
 
     Share This Post       

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

Top