Purchased the MS-1s as a recommendation, I now want to upgrade to Beyer dt880s/AKG K702s
May 28, 2013 at 4:36 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 11

eschi223

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I plan to save up money this summer from a job and purchase a new pair of cans and an amplifier to go with them, with a budget of ~$500. I have been looking at the Beyer dt880/600s and the AKG k702s as candidates, however I am unsure about the amplifier. The ALO-audio Pan Am looks incredible and seems to fit all of my needs except for price. Size is also a concern with the amp because I go to a boarding school and I will need to transport it. I am willing to go to $600 if it is really a necessary upgrade, but it would be stretching my budget for sure. 
 
I started looking into Schiit products and I immediately came away impressed. The build and design both look very good, and I was looking at a Modi for the DAC and an Asgard 2 or a Valhalla for the amp. These really seem to be the best options in my price range. I have also heard that the Matrix M-stage is a good option. For these specific headphones, I was wondering which combination you think has the best sound for the price.
 
Thanks in advance for your time, this research can really be overwhelming. I got a largely positive response last time and forums like this make me love the internet. 
 
May 28, 2013 at 8:11 PM Post #2 of 11

chunkfnk

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Do you already have a DAC? If not, you'll need one.
 
As for amps, maybe the Schiit Valhalla. You're not really going to find many quality tube amps within your budget to be honest though. Why do you specifically want a tube amp?
 
May 28, 2013 at 8:14 PM Post #3 of 11

eschi223

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I've heard that tube amps sound the best with the headphones I want to purchase. That might be irrelevant considering my price range. What I really want is an amp that provides the best sound in my price range for the headphones that I want to purchase.
 
Thanks for you help, sorry for the opacity! I'll edit my post further.
 
May 28, 2013 at 8:36 PM Post #4 of 11

chunkfnk

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The Schiit amps are tested with the Beyerdynamic 600ohm headphones and they have been reported to sound pretty good out of them. The Asgard 2 would be more futureproof for you since it has a gain switch so you can use a wider variety than the Valhalla which is an OTL amp so it would only work with high impedance headphones.
 
The M-stage would be great for the AKGs and if you get the one with a built in DAC it would fit nicely in your budget of 500.
 
It comes down which headphones you'd be better off with, what kind of sound do you like? 
 
May 28, 2013 at 9:03 PM Post #5 of 11

Lorspeaker

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i would DEFINITELY go for a tube amp with these headfones...:p
just gotten a darkvoice 336se on the resale myself, delicious.
 
May 28, 2013 at 10:52 PM Post #6 of 11

eschi223

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I have a relatively untrained ear. I tend to like a neutral sound, but I think the thing I focus most on is soundstage, I really like a sense of clarity of each element of the song, however I don't like my sound to sound like there isn't a sum of all of these parts. I really am unsure and I have not ever heard properly driven high-end headphones so I am not sure what to expect. I do prefer the look of the AKGs and the price is better than the Beyers, however I am not sure which would be better for me. 
 
I really can't thank you guys enough, the research process for audio is made so much easier with this site.
 
May 28, 2013 at 11:43 PM Post #7 of 11
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Hi eschi223
 
As an owner of both the DT880 and K701 - can I suggest a third (and IMO) better option.  If you keep an eye on the FS section - see if you can pick up a used HD600.  Most people here "baby" their gear - so the second hand gear is generally in excellent condition.
 
The HD600 is easier to drive than both DT880 and K701 (despite it's 300 ohm impedance), and although it has a smaller sound stage than the 701/702, the sound stage is realistic and the HD600 IMO images better than both of the others.  The HD600 has enough sparkle to give you detail, and beautiful tonal balance to suit almost any genre.  It's a bit slower paced than the 701 and DT880 - but unless you're listening to really fast paced music - that won't be a negative.
 
For an amp/dac with a measure of portability (still requires a wall wart - has to be plugged into power), consider the Audio-gd NFB-15.32.  I have the NFB-12, and this is the successor.  It has a good DAC and quite a powerful amp.  Drives the HD600 well, and will cope no problem with a 600ohm DT880 or K701/702 if you decide to expand later.  You can also add a stand alone tube amp later and still use the DAC section of the NFB-15 if you want to experiment with a tube set-up down the track.
 
If you can pick up the HD600 second hand at $250-300, you should come in total budget around $550-600.
 
If you prefer to go brand new on the HD600 - use this link http://www.razordogaudio.com/collections/sennheiser/products/sennheiser-hd-600-audiophile-headphones-hd600 and apply code RAZORDOG100 at checkout -> will give you a price at $300.
 
For the NFB15-32 - link is here : http://www.audio-gd.com/Pro/Headphoneamp/NFB15.32/NFB15.32EN.htm priced at USD 235 + shipping.
 
May 29, 2013 at 3:35 AM Post #9 of 11
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May 29, 2013 at 3:52 PM Post #11 of 11
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Quote:
Thank you so much! I will purchase these items once I have the cash, they both seem to fit my needs perfectly.

 
If you get the chance - get to a Head-fi meet in your area.  There will be a very good chance that someone will have an HD600 and a DT880 and either a K701/702 or Q701.  That way you know you're making the right decision. Saying that though - I don't think you can go wrong with the HD600 - it is a fantastic headphone (for some an 'end-game' one, and an obvious choice for the price).
 

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