should i buy an amp?
Nov 30, 2008 at 9:48 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 3

Chone

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i spend a lot of time listening to music, often hours a day. i have sennheiser hd555's and i love them. i also want to buy hd650's. i have no idea exactly how much an amp impacts the quality because i've never had one, not sure how i should spend my money, i definitely wouldn't feel comfortable spending enough money for both. for better or for worse i'm leaning towards an amp.

if i want to get the best bang for my buck should i get a portable amp? i assume theres a few ways to go, just get one of the cheapest amps out there to simply get some kind of benefit for having an amp, or to get an amp that is good, but reasonably priced. i remember a few months back i did some research and all i can remember is i was close to buying a leckerton amp. something about DAC?? also if i buy an amp, when i'm running it from my computer do i need batteries. and if i do purchase one will it likely come with the wire to go from the amp to my pc?

so just in general, if you have any advice i'd be glad to hear it.
 
Nov 30, 2008 at 11:13 AM Post #2 of 3

Deiz

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Chone /img/forum/go_quote.gif
i spend a lot of time listening to music, often hours a day. i have sennheiser hd555's and i love them. i also want to buy hd650's. i have no idea exactly how much an amp impacts the quality because i've never had one, not sure how i should spend my money, i definitely wouldn't feel comfortable spending enough money for both. for better or for worse i'm leaning towards an amp.

if i want to get the best bang for my buck should i get a portable amp? i assume theres a few ways to go, just get one of the cheapest amps out there to simply get some kind of benefit for having an amp, or to get an amp that is good, but reasonably priced. i remember a few months back i did some research and all i can remember is i was close to buying a leckerton amp. something about DAC?? also if i buy an amp, when i'm running it from my computer do i need batteries. and if i do purchase one will it likely come with the wire to go from the amp to my pc?

so just in general, if you have any advice i'd be glad to hear it.



When sourcing output from a run-of-the-mill sound card, by amplifying it well you're just polishing a turd. My opinion? HD650s scale like you wouldn't believe. They sound exactly as good as the rest of your signal chain. That said, your music sounds as good as the weakest link. A $2,000 set up will still sound terrible if you feed it 96 kbit MP3s.

I don't know much about Sennheiser's mid-range headphones. However, the HD650s are my favourite dynamic headphones. They do everything well.

When I got into this hobby, I first got the HD650s, then the GS-X, and then the DA220. I would not recommend that path.

HD650s out of the on-board sound card were muffled and sounded dead. The GS-X livened them up, but it just made it clear how terrible the sound card's DAC was. Only when I got the DA220 did I begin to truly appreciate how good they can sound.

The law of diminishing returns is very much in effect with portable gear. The price point on entry-level portable amplifiers tends to be lower than equivalent-sounding full-size components, as you're paying for a much smaller case, and less components. However, get into the high-end of portable gear and you can find better-sounding regular components for a lower price.

I started out with HD212s before moving the HD650s - It's a huge jump. The jump will be smaller for you, but noticeable nonetheless. If I were you, I'd pick up a pair of HD650s, and a $100-$150 DAC/Amp combo.

The way I see it, it's easy to justify audio expenditures. You get to listen to and enjoy it every day. It also doesn't burn gas like a car - Just a few dollars a year to power it.

Caveat: As I became accustomed to my rig, I grew complacent. While I still love the way I sounds, it no longer floors me. However, your average consumer's iPod dock now sounds worse than ever, to my ears.
 
Nov 30, 2008 at 6:12 PM Post #3 of 3

billybob_jcv

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Tons of info on different amps here - search is your friend...
smily_headphones1.gif


There are both portable amps and desktop amps - and also amps that can do both. There are also dac/amp combinations that can replace your PC's sound card and also provide a decent amp for your 'phones. Some of the portable dac/amps can be charged/powered from the USB port when connected, or run by batteries when not. There are amps that have internal charging circuits and Li-On or NiMh batteries.

Spend some time on this site - and I'm sorry for your wallet!
 

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