um... help for a budding audio enthusiast... be careful, this is a long message...
Aug 8, 2002 at 10:36 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 56

taipeileviathan

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hello,

i was wondering if i can get some advice... i'm a fledgling audiophile (if i may call myself that), still in college, but have grown up with a very musical family and polk audio SDA towers in the living room...
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anyway, i'm looking to invest all of this summer's earnings to purchase a portable rig hopefully around $700. however, car-less college kid that i am, it's really hard for me to get access to equipment, especially to make side-by-side comparisons.

i'll be listening to my rig mostly on the road (subway and airplane... ugh, 17 hour flights to and from asia) and in my dorm room gaming or watching dvds late at nite. isolation, fatigue, and price are big issues, but man, if the sound is good enough, i might even end up selling my klipsch promedia 5.1's to finance this!
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my choices for headphones i've whittled down to the Etymotic ER4S, the Senn HD580 or 600, and the Senn EH2270. the Etys are perfect for my needs, but just seem a little expensive. the Senn EH2270 i heard aren't that great but provide good isolation and can be bought dirt cheap on ebay now. as for the HD series, well, isolation is pretty important since i'll be on the road a lot, which is why these are not on the top of my list. however, if any of u guys have tried listening to them on a plane and find that ambient noise issues aren't that bad, then i will prolly go with the Senn HDs (final choice based on price).

for the amp, i'm probably gonna go with the Headroom Total Airheads (portability is a big plus). i have heard tho, that different amp/headphone combinations get vastly different results. is there truth to this, and if there is, then what should i get for the TA's?

the portable source is something i need feedback on too. i want an mp3 player cuz i've heard that with proper ripping techniques, mp3's are just as good as cd's. that said, i've heard the PJB-100's have good sound, but i love the jukebox3 for its firewire connectivity and the 98 line-out SNR. or should i get an iPod? or something else?

and finally, is there anything else i should know of? i've been self-educating myself over the web for the past few weeks, but there might be things that i haven't gotten to. for example, would i need cables with this rig? what are cables, anyway?...
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anyway, sorry for the length guys, but any feedback would be MUCH appreciated...
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Aug 8, 2002 at 10:55 AM Post #2 of 56

LTUCCI1924

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HI: the ety er-6 are not that exspensive and have some isolation and the airhead should power them.
 
Aug 8, 2002 at 12:16 PM Post #3 of 56

Guyferd

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what???
you have the klipsch promedia 5.1 ??
you must be very rich to own that man!! even I can only afforf their promedia 2.1
my suggestion is not to sell them.. because like me.. I prefer to have speakers and headphone so when I got bored with either of em I switch and so on.
I have the eh2270 too and have sold it to my friend due to the inferior sound as compared to my present beyerdynamic dt250-80
 
Aug 8, 2002 at 12:53 PM Post #4 of 56

elnero

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Hi taipeileviathan,

I'll try my best to give some advice but I'm new to this myself. I would say take a look at the Sennheiser HD280 Pro's, They are a great closed headphone that have great isolation for a relatively good price $76-$100 and in my opinion are well worth it. I just ordered a set myself and wrote a brief review here on my experiences demoing them. They're not quite in the league of the 580/600's but from my understanding quite a bit better than EH2270's. Also you could look at some of the Beyerdynamic or Audio Technica closed headphones. Check out www.headphone.com (headroom) they have reviews of the Senns and Beyers among other things. Check out www.audiocubes.com for the Audio Technica line, the A9X or the 100ti would probably be a step up from the 280's.

There is truth to the amp/headphone combination. Alot of it is synergy between the components and some of it is personal preferences. For example I'm trying to find an amp to warm up the HD280's cause I find them just a tad on the cold side. I can't tell you what good combinations are as I have little experience with them, but reading through the forums I haven't really heard much bad about the Airheads. They may not be the best match but may be the safest overall choice, this is just speculation though.

Now as for your portable source. Whoever told you that a properly ripped mp3 has the same quality as CD is dead wrong. Alot of people want to believe there isn't a difference and most people probably can't hear much of a difference between properly ripped CD's but the fact is mp3 is a lossy compression format and in the end some information has to be lost. I won't get into a debate on this but I think most audiophiles will agree with me. I'm not saying mp3 is bad, I have quite a few and get quite a bit of enjoyment out of them, I just feel you should understand that there is a difference and if your a "fledgling audiophile" you may want to be aware of this.

So on that note, for a source I would personally would recommend something like the iRiver SlimX that plays both CD's and mp3's that way you get the best of both worlds. The SlimX seems to have recieved pretty good reviews, it may not be the be the best for sound quality but has some nice features and a decent price.

Yes you will need cables to connect your source to the amp. Probably check Headroom for those as well.

So a TAH for $199 and Senn HD280's $99 from Headroom and I believe you can get a SlimX (or the RioVolt equivelant) for around 160 or less. Approx $50 for cables. All in all that would be about $510.00 before shipping and taxes. Not too bad, or you could upgrade one of the components to blow the whole $700.

Well that's just my two cents worth, hope it helps.

Phil
 
Aug 8, 2002 at 1:02 PM Post #5 of 56

acs236

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I believe that I can answer two of your questions.

If isolation is important to you, and it sounds like it is, you should cross the 580s and 600s off your list. However they sound -- and they do sound good -- they are just not practical in noisy environments. I just had the pleasure of flying for the first since I got my Ety 4s's. I can't stress enough how wonderful they are in noisy situation like a plane. I use them on the subway a lot, and walking the noisy streets of NYC and find them fantastic.

As you said, they're expensive, but I think they found be great on those 17 hours flights.
 
Aug 8, 2002 at 2:37 PM Post #6 of 56

dhwilkin

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Hi taipeileviathan, welcome to Head-fi... sorry about your wallet. [/standard greeting]

acs236 is correct, do not get the Sennheisers. The 580/600 provide very little isolation, and there are better choices than the 2270. I would go w/ the Etys, they have excellent sound isolation and sound very good. However, I would get the 4P, since it can be driven w/o a headphone amp, and there are inexpensive replacement cables and adaptors that can temporarily or permenantly convert the 4P into a 4S, for when you do use an amp. But some people find Etys uncomfortable for long periods, so you might also want to check out the Beyerdynamic 250-80, which also has a good reputation around here. Try both out from Headroom, and keep the one you like best.
 
Aug 8, 2002 at 3:27 PM Post #7 of 56

rawhit

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taipeileviathan
here is what I would have done given USD 700 for a portable rig.
Buy Ety 4-P (~ $230) and 20 GB IPod (` $400).
and after being amazed by the combo and giving in to lust I would spend another $400 to add 4-P -> S converter cable and a Meta42 + some decent interconnects
biggrin.gif


now that would be a killer rig

RawHit
smily_headphones1.gif
 
Aug 8, 2002 at 3:54 PM Post #8 of 56

Oliver :)

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Quote:

Originally posted by rawhit

Buy Ety 4-P (~ $230) and 20 GB IPod (` $400).
and after being amazed by the combo and giving in to lust I would spend another $400 to add 4-P -> S converter cable and a Meta42 + some decent interconnects
biggrin.gif


now that would be a killer rig


rawhit, that's a nice setup. (on/showoff) I have the 5GB iPod, the Total Airhead 4,5V and Ety's 4S, all in HeadRoom's iPod-Bag. Now *that's* a killer rig
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(off/showoff)
I guess 4Ps + 20GB iPod makes great sense, it gives you maximum storage, great sound, and the upgrade path is free (cable and amp, as you said). Downside: IIRC you cannot get the Etys for $230 anymore, but it will still be around a $700 total.
Another great thing about the 20GB iPod is that it takes at least 30 CDs in AIFF if you want to avoid MP3. I hope Apple comes along with an AAC-update soon...
 
Aug 8, 2002 at 4:51 PM Post #9 of 56

purk

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Taipei,
I would look in buy/sell forum for TA. The 2nd hand should be as good as new for 120 dollar atmost. Or you can ask JMT or Tangent to built you a Cmoy amp w/o a crossfeed that fits nicely in Altoid amp for less than that of the TA. Cmoy is a very nice amp and can power senn hd-580 with a vast improvment.
I admit that the ety 4s/p (250 dollars) sounds great, but man ..the in-the-ear-canal design is just not for me. I never feel comfortable enough...so I sold it. I would suggest the Senn HD-280 (75 dollars), and Sony mdr-v6 (65 dollars).
CD/MP3 is a nice source. Sony DC-J01 can be found in Ebay for around 100 dollars shipped. It has a good phone out, and a delicate line out, which is great when you have an amp. I can't comment on the IPOD...so...I'll end here.
 
Aug 8, 2002 at 5:23 PM Post #10 of 56

Toe

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My ~$700 list:

Audio Technica W100 headphones - $350 new
META42 Amp - $200 (can vary widely by builder and options)
A nice MP3/CD player - under $150. For me at least, HD players don't justify their extra cost, especially since they don't play regular CDs.

The above could be had for much less than that if you bought the headphones used, found a good META42 builder who didn't charge a 400% markup, an MP3 player that's on sale, etc.
 
Aug 8, 2002 at 10:09 PM Post #12 of 56

slindeman

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My dream portable system (and I'm nearly there):

Etymotic ER4P ($270)
META42 Amp in Serpac case ($200 or under)
Straightwire Mini-Mini Interconnect ($20)
Iriver SlimX mp3 cd player ($150)
Headroom Airbag ($50)

Grand Total of $690 or less depending on your META42. This will be my portable rig once I buy the Etymotics. I have the rest of this setup, and use it with HD580 or KSC-35 at the moment. My META42 cost $55, but I did build it myself so I saved the labor costs by giving up a few hours of my free time.

In the airbag I have easily fit the SlimX, the META42, and 10 CDs (using 320VBR encoded mp3s gives me about 75 albums worth of music or 7 gig of space if you're comparing to HD based players). The SlimX's handy backlit remote clips perfectly onto the airbag's carrying strap so that I don't have to open the bag to adjust volume or switch to another song or album. Plus it has a built in FM tuner and plays normal CDs, CD-Rs, CD-RWs, which of course a HD based player can't do. Also, the SlimX doesn't have to be removed from the airbag to recharge the batteries, so basically it can live in the airbag forever, which is quite convenient.

Anyway, thats my suggestion.
 
Aug 9, 2002 at 12:04 AM Post #13 of 56

NotoriousBIG_PJ

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I vote beyer 250-80 or epytomic er6 for headphones.
Ipod or slimx for mp3 player.
headfier built meta 42 for amp.
markertek mini-mini to connect amp to mp3 player.

Biggie.
 
Aug 9, 2002 at 2:51 AM Post #14 of 56

taipeileviathan

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thanks a lot for the feedback guys... i've tallied up everything that u guys have mentioned, and so far i have ER4P for the most mentions by far for HP, iRiver SlimX for source, and META42 for amp.

elnero and toe mentioned some audio technica phones... i've kinda avoided those in my quest because my bro used to have a pair but i found them rather bright and a little fatiguing. i've never tried the w100's tho... any comments on this? side comment: i do appreciate that audio tech phones usually look good tho... which is always a plus on a college campus...
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Aug 9, 2002 at 3:20 AM Post #15 of 56

NotoriousBIG_PJ

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I dont think I would go outside with w100's but I guess some people do..

Biggie.
 

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