Recommendations Over-Ear-Headphones (with DAP) for audiophile vocal-focused songs?
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Nightdiver

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Hi, guys. First of all, a quick word about me: My name ist Etienne and i'm from Germany. So please excuse my poor English :confused:

I've been reading this forum for quite a while now. It's just hughe and here are so many good posts and very competent people. That's why I decided to post a thread with my request today.

I am looking for an upgrade for my Sennheiser HD660S, which I use with the iBasso DX120. I would also like to replace the DAP with a higher quality one. This should then also be able to handle streaming.

I listen to a lot of relaxing Vocal Jazz or Vocal Indie Sound. London Grammar, Diana Krall, Norah Jones, Dominique Fils-Aimé, etc. Sometimes, but not often, also relaxed electric music like Moby or sometimes soundtracks. But that doesn't happen very often. 90% are audiohpile vocal tracks. It is important to me that I have beautiful, full voices. Slightly warm, but not dull or dark. A bit more bass than the 660S. Just a nice, detailed and overall stunning sound. I want to enjoy relaxfull hours of listening with a lot of goose bumps effect, you know. A kind of diving in into the music. So it is not analytical listening but enjoyment. I don't like hard "S" sounds either. I am a bit sensitive of highs like snares and claps.

I ordered the Meze 99 some time ago. The sound is nice. Voices sounds fuller than on my 660S but the bass is almost a bit too strong for me. Depending on the bass guitar in the track it sounds a bitt dull to me. E.g the track "Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word" by Diana Krall. Here I have a kind of "booming" in the background. Something I don't like, it feels too dull. It can be stressful to listen to music with very low frequencies (or voices) for a longer time. Maybe it's the iBasso. Or the cable. Or maybe I should burn in the headphones a little more.

I have already ordered the ballanced cable for the Meze 99. Unfortunately there is apparently no silver version in Europe. Only a silver plated one. The cable will arrive next week. I am curious if there will be any changes in the sound.

This one is available in Germany: Click
But it seems to be that this one is much better, but not available in my country: Click

Nevertheless I would like to look further for a suitable headphone and a new DAP.

My budget for DAP (or DAP + AMP if necessary) and headphones is 2k.

So far on the shortlist:

DAP: Fiio M11 + Chord Mojo, Hiby R6 pro + Chord Mojo.

Do you guys think I need to combine the DAP with an AMP? Or is a good DAP enough to drive a high quality headphone these days? I really want the maximum sound quality as mentioned before.

Headphones on the shortlist so far:

Quad Era 1
Audeze LCD2
Sennheiser HD650
AKG K812 (could be to brite)
SandyAudio Aiva
Hifiman Ananda
Audioquest Nighthawk (-Owl)

Since I come from a small town, I can't find a shop anywhere nearby that has all these headphones for testing. I can only order online, which is a bit circuitous (and expensive) with this still very large selection. I hope to be able to make a good pre-selection here with you. Maybe you have some other suggestions.

Thank you very much :)

Etienne
 
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Mhog55

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There is no pure silver Meze cable that I'm aware of. As to your specific criteria, you may want to look into the Shanling M6 or M6 Pro. The tuning fits your needs. For headphones, personally I'd look into the Audio Technica line. Do you want open or closed, dynamic or planar? As for combining the dap with an amp, this depends on what headphones you wind up with. What is your budget?
 
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Nightdiver

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There are obviously two different cables for the MEZE headphones. In my posting above I have linked both. In Germany only the brownish one is available.

As I wrote in my post, my budget is 2000 Euro for DAP and headphones. Of course I'd like to pay less if possible.

Closed or open is not very important to me, because I only want to listen alone at home. It is only important to me that I get the best possible sound with my DAP and headphone combination (or DAP w DAC/AMP and headphone combination).

High resolution, full pleasant voices, a little bit warm. Moderate bass.

The most difficult decision for me is the question about the player. I could buy a powerful DAP for over 1000 Euro. Or I could buy a cheap DAP and connect it to a DAC/AMP like the Chord Mojo. This one has so much power that it will surely drive other headphones I might buy. Here in Germany I can get the Mojo for 400 Euro. A cheap player for 300, so I get less than 1000 Euro and have more power than any player for the same money.
 
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Deolum

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I own(ed) some of the headphones on your list so i can help you a bit with these maybe.

Nightowl gives you your relaxing, non fatiguing hours of listening but it's exactly what you don't want, dull and dark. Also it's closed and if you have the chance between open and closed headphones i'd always go for open. Nightowl is one of the best closed headphones i know but still one of the worst headphones i know because almost any open will sound better.

Hifiman Ananda is actually one of my favourite headphones. It's close to perfect imo but it doesn't have it's strength in audiophile vocal tracks neither in soundtracks. It's more the opposite imo it works very well with non audiophile tracks, pop, edm etc.

AKG 812 is absolutely not for you. Has nothing to do with relaxed hearing. Can be a bit harsh and is a studio monitoring headphone with a strange compressed sound. I really wonder how many people actually use this in a studio.

Sennheiser HD600 has a natural timbre. I'd say this is an option but since you say you want a little more bass the HD600 isn't for you because of it's rolled off subbass.

I'd say try a Sennheiser HD540. I live in Germany too and those go used around 50 € all over ebay. There are many different models (300 ohm/600 ohm, standard/gold, ref 1/ref 2). You can find more information on the thread here.

I can only speak for the Gold Edition 600 ohm but don't think the others are too far apart. It has bit magic timbre and fits the best to want you want. Non fatiguing, warm but still detailed, not harsh and what comes closest to turning the volume up and dive in the music. Bass is quite punchy in comparison to a HD600.

For some it's even a endgame headphone.
Downsides for me are a small soundstage and a tuning that's not as well balanced as an Ananda or HD600.

You can buy it for 50 € and sell it everytime for 50 €. Would try that before i go for a more expensive one.

One thing to notice: I run all those headphones on a powerful tube amp (with the ability to switch for low impedance phones like Ananda). This is said to benefit especially the Sennheisers so maybe on a DAP they'll sound a bit different. However like i said, trying out the HD 540 line costs you nothing.
 
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Chris Kaoss

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For great voice reproduction i'd recommend the Era-1 over all.

I like such sounds as London Grammar, Cosby, Diana Krall, Kery Noble, Agnes Obel etc.
With the Quad it's a pleasure to listen to.
The whole sound signature is built around the voices with better tonality compared to the HD6x line up.
There's no better choice in the price range up to 1.5k, imo.
 
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Raketen

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Focal Clear, maybe? Does it for me at least.
 
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