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Should I get higher end headphones with no amp, or lower end headphones with one?

Discussion in 'Headphones (full-size)' started by intrinsion, Feb 21, 2013.
  1. Intrinsion
    Hello, I'm looking for an entrance into the world of the audiophile and was wondering what would be best for me:
    1. Budget of around £250 ($380).
    2. I will mainly be listening to music and playing games, but will occasionally watch films.
    3. Genres I like include Rock, Electronic, Classical, Folk etc.
    4. I think I would prefer more neutral headphones with no emphasis on any particular frequency (so they are suitable for a wide variety of music genres and are closest to the true sound).
    5. The source will be lossless files on my PC.
    I have looked at the Sennheiser HD600s and think they would be a good match, but they would consume the entire budget. My question is, should I get these headphones and run them from my motherboard for the time being until I can get an amp, or get cheaper headphones like the Audio-Technica ATH-M50s and combine them with an amp?
    I know that in order to get the most out of the HD600s, an amp is necessary, but will it be sufficient for the short term to run them from my motherboard? Also, it may be cheaper in the long term as I will be less inclined to upgrade to a new set of headphones.
    Thanks for the help!
    Edit: Whoops, I just saw the thread about recommendations, sorry for starting a new one.
  2. MalVeauX
    You get more from the headphone than a beater with an amp that it doesn't even need. Headphones do not automatically need amps. Only some do. You can get an inexpensive headphone that doesn't need an amp. You can also get a more expensive mid-fi headphone that doesn't need an amp too. The HD600's are best with an amp. The M50 doesn't an amp at all, you'd be wasting money for nothing except extra weight. Buying a lesser headphone now will just end up resulting in you spending more later to get something you should have gotten in the first place. Skip the entry level stuff and go straight to mid-fi. Amplification can be done very inexpensively (less than $100). Lots of $200 mid-fi headphones are excellent and can be paired with a $50~75 source. Under budget. And way better, like... way way better, than something like a DJ beater M50 with a weighty amp that does nothing but make it louder.
    I would say go for:
    DT880 (250ohm)
    And grab a Fiio E10 (strictly home use) or e07k (portable and home use).
    Very best,
  3. Intrinsion
    Thanks for the help; I think I'll probably get the HD600s. However, since I will be gaming, do you think I would benefit from a sound card which can provide surround sound such as the Asus Xonar Essence STX? In which case, I might leave getting the amp until later.
    Thanks again.
  4. MalVeauX
    If you're using them exclusively at the computer, then sure, get a Sound Blaster Zx.
    Very best,
  5. garetz
    If you are gaming, get a ad700, best bang for your buck.
  6. thoughtcriminal

    Read that before you buy.
  7. MalVeauX
    Very much disagree.
    The Superlux HD668B & Samson SR850 have equivalent sound stages and are more than half the cost.
    The AD700 is way over-recommended for gaming. Not everyone wants a bassless headphone for foot step listening.
    Very best,
  8. Intrinsion
    The headphones aren't exclusively for gaming, in fact I will probably be listening to music more often than I am gaming, so I think the HD600s will suit me better.
    The computer will likely be the only place that I use these headphones. Does the Sound Blaster Zx perform as well with music as it does with games?
    Thanks for the help everyone. [​IMG]
  9. MalVeauX
    Yeap. Good DAC. Good onboard opamp. Great software bundle for both music and gaming. The "X" version of the Z comes with a neat little external station that can sit on your desk so you can control volume with a knob, plug in your headphone there, and the mic, and not have to fool with the back of your case.
    Very best,
  10. Intrinsion
    Thanks. Last thing, what are the best places to buy used audio equipment (other than the Head-fi trading Forum)?
  11. MalVeauX
    I like the warehouse deals section of Amazon. Free shipping, 30 day return policy with no question asked, and they pay for the shipping back.
    Look here.
    Very best,

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