Trust Your Ears...
May 2, 2010 at 6:27 AM Post #151 of 165

jjinh

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Aug 6, 2009
Posts
3,090
Likes
60
Quote:

Originally Posted by Crazy*Carl /img/forum/go_quote.gif
Absolutely. I have taken lots of useful information already.
darthsmile.gif



If you are trying to hear something that makes a difference, I know you've tried this, but keep on trying to find a shop that lets you demo higher end gear. Bring with you headphones with which you are familiar. Else go to a meet or book yourself a flight to go to canjam!

Personally I do hear a significant difference between amps and dacs.
 
May 2, 2010 at 6:50 AM Post #152 of 165

Maxvla

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Dec 26, 2002
Posts
8,565
Likes
635
Quote:

Originally Posted by Crazy*Carl /img/forum/go_quote.gif
It gets my HD580's LOUD. More than I (or I hope anyone) would ever listen.

You hear all this stuff on head-fi that makes you think when you plug in 300 ohm sennheisers into an ipod that its going sound horrendous and you need a $600 dollar amp to justify the headphone. However, I think it sounds amazing. This is a common misconception veterans give to newcomers (myself originally).



It isn't a misconception. Using my HD600 on my Zune player which has 20 volume levels, using the stock buds it came with comfortable listening level was 6/20. Using my Koss PortaPros comfortable listening level is around 8-10. With the HD600 it's around 15-18 depending on the type of music. This is only in reference to volume, not quality.

Even still listening to HD600s with a portable player sounds like someone trying to shoot a camera with the lens cap on. Moving the HD600 to my rather high power amp is like taking the cap off and focusing it to perfection.

At a recent headphone meet I had the chance to listen to several multi thousand dollar headphone rigs. Some of these rigs reaching $5k and possibly higher. My own system cost me around $1800, but at the end of the day I still vastly preferred my setup. I could appreciate some of the differences the other setups had, but I couldn't justify their expense. It's not always about laying out a huge amount of money, but most will agree that most people who enjoy the listening experience are using bare minimum medium-fi gear, which is a system including source, cables, amplifier, processing (if applicable) and cans totaling in the range of $1000-2500. Beyond this price range you start coming into high end and 'investment' type gear where diminishing returns sets in very steeply.

I make and repair violins for a living and the same is true in that world also. A beginner violin that's around $300-500 will do a good job for a beginner, but the sound is weak and boxy. Stepping up to an instrument in the $1000-2000 range will buy you an instrument that a non-professional would be perfectly happy with for life. Stepping up to even 10,000 violins is noticeable, but not nearly as much as going from that 500 instrument to 2,000.

Right now you have your beginner cans and beginner amp/dac. I would suggest trying to find a meet in your area and taking your headphones and trying them on any and every amp you see there to really prove your point. I too was a nonbeliever at first. I bought my first amplifier plugged it in and wondered if it was even on. I heard zero difference. I was so turned off that I stopped coming to this site for years until I decided to try it again with a different amp design. I bought the most recommended tube amplifier I thought was reasonable pricewise ($200) and could finally hear and appreciate the difference. It wasn't large, but there was no denying it. I've since upgraded to a much more powerful amplifier and that change was black and white. Absolutely huge difference, however as I mentioned above I've listened to those other rigs that were much more expensive that I didn't find enough of an improvement to justify. I found a good spot to enjoy my music at a price I could stand. Now it's your turn.

I hope you don't live life with those HD580s unamped. It makes me cringe, but I did the same thing you are doing right now and eventually learned the truth so I can completely sympathize with your situation. I even started with the same HD580s! My recommendation would be a tube amp. Stay far far away from solid state unless it is very powerful.

Good luck!
 
May 2, 2010 at 7:02 AM Post #153 of 165

Shike

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Feb 1, 2005
Posts
1,888
Likes
71
Maxvla,

The HD580s and HD600s are completely different headphones. The HD600s are substantially harder to drive in multiple ways.

Even a decent portable solid state amp such as the Mini^3 can meet the highest impedance of the HD580s (as actually measured by Stereophile).
 
May 2, 2010 at 7:09 AM Post #154 of 165

Crazy*Carl

500+ Head-Fier
Joined
Aug 8, 2009
Posts
852
Likes
28
Quote:

Originally Posted by Shike /img/forum/go_quote.gif
Maxvla,

The HD580s and HD600s are completely different headphones. The HD600s are substantially harder to drive in multiple ways.

Even a decent portable solid state amp such as the Mini^3 can meet the highest impedance of the HD580s (as actually measured by Stereophile).



I was of the idea that they had the same drivers...?
 
May 2, 2010 at 7:12 AM Post #155 of 165

Maxvla

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Dec 26, 2002
Posts
8,565
Likes
635
Perhaps I should clarify my exact path:

Start: HD580 from computer sound card

Bought: Gilmore Lite, heard nothing. Sold. Stopped coming to Headfi thinking they had no idea what they were talking about.

Years later...

Bought: Little Dot MKIII, still using HD580. Heard a good difference, but not large. Decided to really shoot the moon and find out what was really out there.

Bought: Little Dot MKVI, Cambridge Audio DACMagic. HD600. My first listen to this setup was at my first ever meet and I was astonished at how much of a difference there was. I still owned the HD580 and MKIII and tried both phones and amps interchangeably noting the MKVI clearly the superior amp with both phones and finding little difference between HD580 and HD600 on either amp.

Sold: MKIII, HD580. I tried to justify keeping it as a lower-fi rig for another part of the house, but I simply never used them and sold both.

Since purchasing this current system I have compared it against systems costing 3x or more and I keep coming back to it as my preferred sound for the money.
 
May 2, 2010 at 7:20 AM Post #156 of 165

Crazy*Carl

500+ Head-Fier
Joined
Aug 8, 2009
Posts
852
Likes
28
Quote:

Originally Posted by Maxvla /img/forum/go_quote.gif
Perhaps I should clarify my exact path:

Start: HD580 from computer sound card

Bought: Gilmore Lite, heard nothing. Sold. Stopped coming to Headfi thinking they had no idea what they were talking about.

Years later...

Bought: Little Dot MKIII, still using HD580. Heard a good difference, but not large. Decided to really shoot the moon and find out what was really out there.

Bought: Little Dot MKVI, Cambridge Audio DACMagic. HD600. My first listen to this setup was at my first ever meet and I was astonished at how much of a difference there was. I still owned the HD580 and MKIII and tried both phones and amps interchangeably noting the MKVI clearly the superior amp with both phones and finding little difference between HD580 and HD600 on either amp.

Sold: MKIII, HD580. I tried to justify keeping it as a lower-fi rig for another part of the house, but I simply never used them and sold both.

Since purchasing this current system I have compared it against systems costing 3x or more and I keep coming back to it as my preferred sound for the money.



This first part sounds exactly what I have experienced and the second part is what I hope to experience. Thanks for this insight!
 
May 2, 2010 at 7:23 AM Post #157 of 165

SanJoseCanJunkie

100+ Head-Fier
Joined
Jan 25, 2007
Posts
355
Likes
16
I don't know anything about the HD580, but on some headphones, the amps just don't seem to make much, or even any, difference.

The difference between my PA2V2 and Headroom Micro Amp just wasn't noticeable on my old HD590, nor is it on my DT250-80, but on the K702 is quite apparent, and it's also obvious on my RS1i and 271 MKII.

I have good hearing - tiny noises leap out at me that no one else around seems to notice or care about, so I can totally accept that there is certain percentage of people with even better hearing than I that gets something out of all kinds of audio changes that I don't hear (for example, I can't tell a lick of difference between FLAC and High-Rate VBR at all). That doesn't mean that some claims aren't a bit exaggerated.

I think Carl is just frustrated because he expected larger differences from amp changes based on commentary on Head-fi, and I can see where he's coming from. I think his important point is that headphones make a much bigger difference than amps, and except for extreme situations (like a He5 on a PA2V2 or something similar) I think he's right on.

The difference between a 702 on a mid-fi solid state amp (like the Micro Amp) v. unamped is way more minute than between a 702 and an RS1, and I struggle to see how anyone would dispute that.

With that said, I would still recommend a basic portable amp, like the PA2V2, to anyone starting out with headphones as it allows a lot of headphones that have trouble being driven by portables or soundcards to be enjoyed for a tiny amount of money. But if Carl can't tell a difference between the soundcard and an EF2 on a 580, then I don't think he needs to get anything else (except maybe higher end headphones if he is unhappy with something), and that's great.
 
May 2, 2010 at 7:41 AM Post #158 of 165

Shike

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Feb 1, 2005
Posts
1,888
Likes
71
I just suggest buying an amp that meets the power requirements of your headphones while measuring well in other respective areas. This is of course assuming you've found your headphones of choice . . . if not plan for case 32 - 600ohms or so for the most of them.

After that put a good amount of money in your source and be happy.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Crazy*Carl
I was of the idea that they had the same drivers...?


I wouldn't think so . . . the impedance measurements done by stereophile showed a much lower max impedance than compared to Headroom's HD600 measurements.
 
May 2, 2010 at 7:51 AM Post #159 of 165

Maxvla

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Dec 26, 2002
Posts
8,565
Likes
635
The drivers for the HD580 and HD600 were nearly identical, in fact sharing almost every part, however tweaks were done on some of those same parts in the HD600 giving it slightly different characteristics.

This was done again with the HD650, though more extensive changes were made.
 
May 2, 2010 at 8:10 AM Post #160 of 165

SanJoseCanJunkie

100+ Head-Fier
Joined
Jan 25, 2007
Posts
355
Likes
16
Impedance just doesn't make sense to me - the K 702 has half the ohm rating as my old HD590s, but they are WAY harder to drive (judged by whether or not I could hear the damn things from a Sansa, and how much volume I needed to listen to them).

Another example is the He5 - it has only a 25 ohm rating, and the Micro Amp (which easily drives all my other headphones), was inadequate even on high gain.
 
May 2, 2010 at 8:15 AM Post #161 of 165

Maxvla

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Dec 26, 2002
Posts
8,565
Likes
635
The HE5 is certainly a more demanding headphone. On my LD MKVI my HD600 comfortable listening level is about 20% of the dial where the HE5 I had to push to 30-35% to achieve the same perceived volume.
 
May 2, 2010 at 8:17 AM Post #162 of 165

transient orca

100+ Head-Fier
Joined
Jan 19, 2010
Posts
203
Likes
0
Quote:

Originally Posted by SanJoseCanJunkie /img/forum/go_quote.gif
Impedance just doesn't make sense to me - the K 702 has half the ohm rating as my old HD590s, but they are WAY harder to drive (judged by whether or not I could hear the damn things from a Sansa, and how much volume I needed to listen to them).

Another example is the He5 - it has only a 25 ohm rating, and the Micro Amp (which easily drives all my other headphones), was inadequate even on high gain.



As far as I understand, high impedance headphones need big voltage swings; inefficient low impedance headphones need high current output from the amp.
 
May 2, 2010 at 9:04 AM Post #163 of 165

Shike

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Feb 1, 2005
Posts
1,888
Likes
71
Quote:

Originally Posted by SanJoseCanJunkie /img/forum/go_quote.gif
Impedance just doesn't make sense to me - the K 702 has half the ohm rating as my old HD590s, but they are WAY harder to drive (judged by whether or not I could hear the damn things from a Sansa, and how much volume I needed to listen to them).

Another example is the He5 - it has only a 25 ohm rating, and the Micro Amp (which easily drives all my other headphones), was inadequate even on high gain.



First, some headphones have higher changes in impedance. The K701/K702 is dang near a resistive load while the HD590s (going by what Sennheiser traditionally designs) is more inductive. Depending on the amp in the Sansa it may not have been able to provide enough current to power them (K702).

You also have to consider efficiency, which unfortunately AKG seems to measure differently from Sennheiser too.
 
May 2, 2010 at 9:10 AM Post #164 of 165

VALIENTE

1000+ Head-Fier
Joined
Dec 1, 2008
Posts
1,005
Likes
26
Location
Albay, Philippines
Quote:

Originally Posted by Maxvla /img/forum/go_quote.gif
Bought: Little Dot MKVI, Cambridge Audio DACMagic. HD600. My first listen to this setup was at my first ever meet and I was astonished at how much of a difference there was.


This really means that a proper setup will produce the best results for audiophile nirvana!
biggrin.gif


Crazy Carl, you may opt for this setup, too. Be guaranteed that you will hear the same sound, trust your ears!
 
May 2, 2010 at 3:44 PM Post #165 of 165

Crazy*Carl

500+ Head-Fier
Joined
Aug 8, 2009
Posts
852
Likes
28
Quote:

Originally Posted by VALIENTE /img/forum/go_quote.gif
This really means that a proper setup will produce the best results for audiophile nirvana!
biggrin.gif


Crazy Carl, you may opt for this setup, too. Be guaranteed that you will hear the same sound, trust your ears!



Ya, I am a graduating college student, this kind of spending money is quite a ways away
frown.gif
 

Users who are viewing this thread

Top