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Noob trying to get good sound

Discussion in 'Headphones (full-size)' started by indeepcolor, Nov 16, 2012.
  1. InDeepColor
    Hi there. I stumbled upon this site last week when I was searching for high end headphones. My first and current impression is that these people really know their stuff, and care about sound.
    The last couple of months, I've given more and more interest in high end sound quality. I have always loved music and listen to music all day everyday, but I never gave much thought to the quality of the music and never spent much money on equipment. But now I want to invent in high end headphones. The reason I want headphones is mainly because I enjoy listening to headphones more then speakers , but also beacuse I have people around me I need to take in consideration, both neighbours and family.
    I have no experience with with HIFI and what kind of equipment or technology is best or needed to get good sound. I know that you need a amplifier, but that's it.
    I looked at the ranking board for over -ear headphones and saw Audeze LCD2 at first place and fell in love after reading about them and watching reviews. When I first decide to invest in new equiptment and gear. I can only settle with the very best(that I can afford ofcourse, lol)
    So what I'm wondering is, if any of you could give me some advice if I should buy these or not and what kind of other eqipment is needed to optimal the quality with these headphones. Preferably cheaper then the price on the headset:S 
    Some information that might be useful:
    I have a very wide specter of music taste and like almost every genre of music.
    My experience with music listening is mainly just mp3 files and spotify, but ofcourse I know I need to step it up abit if I want to get full use of  headphones like LCD2.
    I'm also wondering if it's possible to use use a computer as a media center for headphones like LCD-2, if I get a good amplifer, sound-card and use FLAC-files for for example.
    I apologize in advance if I wrote this in the wrong section.
    I also apologize for the structure of this post, obvious I have no idea what I'm talking about, I just know what I want:)
    Thanks in advance for any responses:)
  2. MalVeauX
    What's your maximum budget for everything?
    And yes, your computer can be your media center hub, it will output ideally via USB, or spdiff, to an external DAC connected to an AMP and then to your headphones. Most people here are using computers with digital media for listening.
    Very best,
  3. InDeepColor
    Hey, thanks for the reply!
    I haven't really set a budget yet. What I have to spend on right now would be around 2000 dollars I think. and that's included the headphones.
  4. nailbunny7
    I am currently running lcd2s on my Little Dot DAC and Little Dot IV SE amp (with upgraded driver tubes). The sound is quite good, and so is the overall level of detail. I would recommend this as a start and upgrade from there as your budget increases.
  5. InDeepColor
    Thanks! I'm gonna look them up:)
  6. MalVeauX
    $2k gives you a very comfortable array of options. The LCD2 can be had for $700~850 used, if you want to go that route, which leaves source equipment wide option. There are many options for the LCD2 because it's relatively efficient (meaning it doesn't need a power plant to run, but it does heavily benefit high current outputs from powerful amplifiers), and because it's an ortho (planar magnetic), it can be run from a headphone amp or even a speaker amp, depending on what you think you would like best. Whatever direction you go, just keep in mind, you want a lot of current/output at low impedance, not all amps do this (especially many tube amps), mostly solid state amps and hybrid tube amps have big output at low impedance. You'll want to relatively match peak output to the LCD2's resistance for best performance--which you should care about since you're going "all in" with a $2k setup right off the bat; which actually is a good thing, you'll spend less money now going to summit right away rather than slowly spending to get there over years and end up spending three times the amount in "ladder steps" as you trade up equipment all the time. Make one good, solid, decisive, buy in and you're set forever essentially.
    There's a couple of staple setups that I'll throw out there to get you started source equipment wise that have output sufficient for an ortho (the LCD2) and simply match well already that I have and can first-hand recommend:
    Schiit Bifrost (DAC)
    Schiit Lyr (AMP)
    Speaker Tap Adapter/Cable
    Maverick TubeMagic D2 (DAC)
    Emotiva mini-X A-100 (AMP)
    (Information here & here)
    I wouldn't recommend the LD II, III or IV at all for an ortho. Sure, it sounds nice for you and it has enough volume, but that's only because the LCD2 is efficient enough to work on even a portable amplifier relatively well. It however scales nicely with much more output. As it is, the LD MIV SE outputs only 100mW to 32ohms, 300mW into 120ohms, the LCD2 is 50ohms with 91db/mw sensitivity. I would put more like a few watts, not milliwatts into that ortho to make it really, really sing properly. These Little Dot amps are made for high impedance headphones in the 300/600ohm range, their peak power (half a watt) is only at those impedance levels, they are much less powerful at lower impedance. The Little Dot I+ is actually more appropriate for an ortho, it's a hybrid tube and has much higher output at lower impedance (800mW at 32ohms, instead of the 100mW that the II, II and IV output at that rating). As it is, the II, III and IV are only putting something like 150~175 mW into the 50ohms of the LCD2. Pretty low.
    To put it into perspective, the Fiio E9 which can be had for like $65~95, outputs 900mw into 32ohms. And the $65 Fiio E10 DAC/AMP outputs 150mW into 32ohms.
    I'm not saying that what you're listening to is wrong, or not enjoyable. If you like it, that's fantastic. What I am saying however, is that when recommending someone drop a few thousand dollars on an ortho setup, I would not start with an amplifier that is really not ideal for a planar magnetic. But on that note, if you ever tire of the LD, I would recommend a simple speaker amp for your LCD2, hearing your ortho with 4~8 watts behind it is a completely different experience. Orthos love, love, love high current. I highly recommend it if you want every drop out of your LCD2 (plus a good speaker amp can be had for $200).
    Very best,
  7. InDeepColor
    Thank you so much for all the info. You have been really helpful!
    I feel I now have a better view on what I need.
    I'm heading down to a hifi store to try different equipment and to see if I can find any of these brads there.
    Do you recommend buying them used? I looked the LCD-2 up on an online store in my country and they sold for $1470 :S
    Thanks again:)
  8. MalVeauX
    I don't consider the LCD2 a $1500 headphone.
    You can get it used for basically half that cost.
    But it's your money, so go with what you can.
    Very best,

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