Sennheiser HD650 & Massdrop HD6XX Impressions Thread
Jan 27, 2014 at 5:09 AM Post #15,511 of 46,499
  Hi All,
 
I've been struggling to decide on an upgrade to my current setup of PC -> Asus Xonar Essence STX -> HD 650.
 
I've got a couple of questions that I hope you folks will be able to help me with:
 
1. How decent is the DAC on the STX. Would it be feasible to just use the STX and purchase a more expensive amp (i.e. a Schiit Valhala) and connect via the line out of the card?
 
2. Should I rather get a discrete stack such as a Modi+Vali (I'm leaning towards Vali over Magni as I believe they should be a better fit with the 650's). I would then perhaps look to upgrade the amp at a later stage if I feel the need.
 
Your insights would be greatly appreciated :).

Maybe get just the Vali? Schiit stack is sexier though. 
wink.gif

 
Jan 27, 2014 at 5:22 AM Post #15,512 of 46,499
  1. How decent is the DAC on the STX. Would it be feasible to just use the STX and purchase a more expensive amp (i.e. a Schiit Valhala) and connect via the line out of the card?
 

The PCM 1792 (as in STX) is to be used in the upcoming Fiio X5, I believe; some think upgrading the STX output ICs to LM4562 makes a noticeable improvement, I've bought some but to date too lazy to upgrade  :$
 
STX tends to be undervalued as it's "only a soundcard", read the Stereophile reviews if you haven't.
 
Try external amps by all means, you need to work out the "signature" that you think you will like.
 
Jan 27, 2014 at 6:01 AM Post #15,513 of 46,499
Guys, not a lot of talks here about the new portable amp/DAC "Geek Out" from Light Harmonics (the same guys of the da Vinci DAC).
I'm on the market for a portable headphone amp/DAC to connect to my Macbook Pro and HD650, so this could be an option.
 
I'm wondering if anybody had the possibility to hear one of the prototypes and compare it with other similar stuff (Audioengine D1, Meridian Explorer).
 
Jan 27, 2014 at 6:49 AM Post #15,515 of 46,499
  It is pretty sexy indeed :).
 
However if I don't really need to get myself a new DAC, I assume it would be best to spend that saved cash on the Vali's bigger brother, the Valhalla.

I suppose. Maybe someone with experience on Valhalla could enlighten you. But then again, similarly priced Bottlehead Crack with Speedball upgrade should be 'The Amp' for the 650's.
 
Jan 27, 2014 at 7:19 AM Post #15,516 of 46,499
  I suppose. Maybe someone with experience on Valhalla could enlighten you. But then again, similarly priced Bottlehead Crack with Speedball upgrade should be 'The Amp' for the 650's.

I would be pretty keen on trying some Crack, however I'm not too comfortable with the idea of having to assemble the product myself (especially the Speedball upgrade).
 
So I'll probably pass on that, unless anyone can advise where one can purchase pre-assembled Cracks :).
 
Jan 27, 2014 at 7:20 AM Post #15,517 of 46,499
  OK, isn't the Vali warmer than the Lyr for the HD650?

 
No it isn't. 
Where are you getting these impressions from that the Vali is overly warm? There are pages upon pages in the Vali thread debunking this. If you're going to add to the noise at least provide more elaborate posts - otherwise you are just helping to drown out helpful information and distorting the truth.

And no, the Vali is NOT warmer than the Lyr. The benefit of going the Lyr over the Vali is in driving more demanding loads - ie orthos - and the option to tweak the sound via tube rolling. The Vali beats the Lyr in depth of soundstage, extension and smoothness of upper registers, and ability to resolve fine details.

 
I'm in agreement. 
 
Jan 27, 2014 at 12:21 PM Post #15,518 of 46,499
Hi guys!

Little background:
I currently own the following IEMs: MEElec M6, Brainwavz B2 (aka Fischer Audio DBA-02) and V-Sonic GR07 MK2. The B2's (or, more correctly, my first pair were DBA-02's) were my first 'real' audiophile-grade IEMs and I loved them for their clean, analytic sound, speed, and tight bass. I hated them for their build quality though, I've gone through four (!) pairs of them and am now a little bit afraid of using them because they're so fragile.
When looking for an upgrade/change of sonical perspective, after reading a lot I decided to go for the GR07 MKII's, as these were supposed to be the 'opposite' of B2/DBA-02's: lush, warm, great sub-bass, smooth sound. Needless to say, I never looked back. I love these IEMs, they sound great with all the different sounds of music, have awesome build quality and simply has me enjoying music much more than I did with the (in comparison) shrill, harsh B2/DBA-02's. I am tapping and moving with music much more than I did with my previous IEM's. So: I fell in love with a lush, smooth, warm, laidback sound with good bass/sub-bass.

My collection further expands to the Alessandro MS1i, which I like very much for it's 'fun' sound (great for rock music), while still being crisp, clear, and analytical.
I am amping my IEMs/headphones with the following DAC (connected to my PC): NuForce uDAC-2, and for portable / bed listening I use an iPod Classic with Fiio E11 amp.
Genres I'm mostly listening to include: indie/alternative pop/rock (mainly), new wave, electronic (ambient, IDM, dub, breaks, techno, house, disco, et cetera).

Now, I want to get a new headphone, that will complement my current collection while focusing on improving my enjoyment of mostly electronic music-listening (lying in bed, tripping, et cetera
biggrin.gif
). Therefore I'd like headphones that have a reasonably large soundstage. I have been looking at a lot of headphones, and Sennheiser's HD-650 seems to be my match, while also aiming at the rest of my musical preferences (guitars).

My question is: will this headphone make me happy in the way that I want it to make me happy? Will it synergize well with my current set-up (no plan in upgrading my sources ATM) and give me that 'listening to all my music-over-again, wow-factor'-experience that my previous purchases (especially GR07 MKII, since I fell in love with that warm, lush, smooth, laidback sound) offered?

Thanks!
 

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