Setup suggestions for Sennheiser HD650 (amp/dac, computer program, etc.)?
May 14, 2015 at 4:07 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 1

coastal1

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New to good headphones, starting with Sennheiser HD650.
 
I like them a lot so far, though find certain songs/sources can be anywhere from mindblowing to just okay, so realizing I have a lot to learn, in a fun way.
 
Currently I've been experimenting with the following:
 
Semi-Portable Use:
 
(1) Spotify (320kps eq turned off) on Iphone ->FiiO 12 amp.  Good value and sounds great on some songs, but surprising variability in sound quality since it's all coming from the same source. Some songs sound great, some just okay (e.g., some hiss in quiet parts of songs (though not all), some muddy bass on certain songs (though not all).  
 
(2) Spotify (320kps eq turned off) on Iphone -> iFi iCAN.  I really like the features on the iCAN and adjusting the Xbass and 3D settings makes the same song sound drastically different on the iPhone.  Almost all songs benefited from having these features on at least the lowest setting while using the iPhone.  Again though, surprising variability in sound quality
 
Based on a rec from this forum, I'm going to try the upcoming CEntrance HifiSkyn for iphone "portable" use (I don't plan on using them in public, just want to listen around the house) https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/hifi-skyn-iphone-case-made-for-music.
 
Computer:
 
I have a recreational Toshiba laptop and a nicer Lenovo ThinkPad for work.  Stock soundcards.  Just using VLC media player right now.  I have a couple TBs of FLAC on external hard drives.  The iCAN worked well with the laptops, Xbass and 3D settings made much less of difference compared to using them on iPhone, and having them turned off sounded best in some instances.  More consistency using laptop, but still FLAC sources sounded much better than others, even with same bitrate and studio recordings.
 
So, I need recs for the following:
 
DAC + AMP or DAC/AMP
 
- In the HD650 threads, I've seen a lot of recs for the Crack amp and may buy one that's already assembled, if so, what's a good DAC to complement it?
- I have some concerns about durability of the crack w/ 2 young kids in the house, so also thinking about something more durable like Modi/Vali combo or an integrated DAC/AMP like the O2+ODAC.  Any other suggestions?
 
Computer/Software/Soundcard
 
- What are some good software programs to use that will play FLAC that are better than VLC?
- Any point in upgrading from stock soundcard if I'm getting a DAC + Amp?
- Much benefit to using the Lenovo vs the cheaper Toshiba laptop?
 
Thanks in advance
 

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