Weak Link In Setup
Feb 14, 2008 at 12:29 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 8


500+ Head-Fier
Dec 13, 2007
Apologies if this is the wrong forum but it covers HP, source and amps!

My current setup is:

Yamaha CDX-E400 -> Meier Arietta -> Beyer DT931.

Now, I've played around with different (cheaper) components in each position and, while I can notice differences, I was hoping and expecting that this would easily best any of my other combinations.

I'm ruling out the Arietta unless told otherwise, as it's had very good reviews here. So that would suggest that either the source or headphones are either letting down the system or just not as superior to my other components as I thought.

I would expect the Yamaha to be better than a Sony PCDP, even though the latter has line out. I would expect to have heard a larger difference with the 250Ohm Beyers through an amp than with any of my cheaper 32Ohm HP.

I can't adequately explain why I think it should be better other than each component still feels as though it's got more to give. So, together, they should give it! I'm also struggling to define better, except that I can say that I return to some setups more frequently than others.

Am I expecting too much from this system or is there just bad synergy? I appreciate that it's difficult to advise with specific combinations but if anyone has an insight I'd like to hear.
Feb 14, 2008 at 8:43 PM Post #2 of 8
I usually think of upgrade options in this order:

Maybe think of getting a new headphone?
Since you have arietta, why not consider DT880?
Meier-Beyer has great synergy
Feb 15, 2008 at 11:25 AM Post #3 of 8
Headphone before sources? I suppose they're roughly equal in terms of dominance, and HP are cheaper, so fair enough.

But I'm hoping to get advice on finding the culprit rather than just throwing money at different components.

Beyers are a lot more expensive than the Senn HD600 here, is the synergy good with Meier?
Feb 15, 2008 at 11:47 AM Post #4 of 8
You have pretty good headphones. While the DT880's are more refined, the 931's might be prefered to the DT990's or DT990 Pro's by some because of fuller midrange and somewhat alluring sound. I don't know the rest of your equipment but would blame the amp. Even the Corda Aria isn't all you can squeeze from the top-end Beyers while giving great results. Keep this rare and enjoyable headphones until you're sure they're the bottleneck in your system.
Feb 15, 2008 at 12:09 PM Post #5 of 8
System synergy plays a big part but, always upgrade the source first. No component can pass on a better signal than it gets, let alone improve on it. It's (like) hi-fi 101 - not even worth debating.
Feb 15, 2008 at 1:24 PM Post #6 of 8

Originally Posted by majkel /img/forum/go_quote.gif
Even the Corda Aria isn't all you can squeeze from the top-end Beyers while giving great results. Keep this rare and enjoyable headphones until you're sure they're the bottleneck in your system.

Awhile back I owned the HeadFive (precursor to the Arietta) and the Beyer DT880/2003. My experience, too, was that the Meier HF, as fine an amp as it was in its own right, simply couldnt drive the DT880 adequately. Even at high volume settings w/the HeadFive, the DT880 still sounded restrained. So I'm with majkel on this one.

IMHE, and at about the same price, the Darkvoice 336i (all tube) and G&W T2.6F (tube/ss hybrid) got a LOT more out of the DT880/2003 than the HeadFive ever could. I recall some very memorable listening sessions pairing the DT880/2003 with the 336i, in particular. Plenty of drive, and a "wide open" musical experience.
Feb 16, 2008 at 1:15 PM Post #7 of 8
Wow, I didn't expect the amp to be the problem, maybe it is. But I also thought that the amp made the least difference of these three components?

Is the HeadFive mains powered?

As far as replacing the amp goes, ATM I have no intention of going down the tube route due to the whole issue of selecting and replacing them. I'd be tempted to buy another SS amp but not without hearing lots on different systems first. After all, I thought I'd already bought one that would do justice to the 'phones...
Feb 16, 2008 at 4:09 PM Post #8 of 8
In the long run, I think you're better off venturing down the "tube route" w/the K701. There are lots of resources for tube-rollling to guide you in that respect, plus, I think the K701 are better suited with tubes somewhere upstream. With tubes, you have more control as far as "tailoring" the sound more to your liking. (Yes, I am a dyed-in-the-wool tube fanboy!) With either the DV336i or the Bada PH-12, you're in fine shape for properly amping your K701. : )

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