What to upgrade next?
Jun 23, 2009 at 6:38 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 11


New Head-Fier
May 9, 2008
I'm new to the audiophile world and I'm not sure what I should be looking to upgrade next. I just got a desktop amp (Little Dot MK V) to drive my HD600 and SR225(which I don't think it needs). If I do another upgrade, it probably won't be for another couple months, but who knows. What do you guys think I should do next?
Jun 23, 2009 at 6:54 PM Post #3 of 11
I think you have two very nice headphone choices that complement each other quite well. If you're talking general upgrades, source and/or amp upgrades would benefit your 600s. If you like the 225s, and are looking only at headphone upgrades, the HF2s would be an excellent upgrade if they're still available in a couple month time. It's going to be hard to upgrade from the 600s without jumping into the financial deep end, though you can experiment with different sound signatures by trying other brands, none of which I personally like nearly as well. (btw, I have 600s, 225s, and HF2s).
Jun 23, 2009 at 7:31 PM Post #4 of 11
My source is an X-fi extreme music on my PC. I've never looked into a DAC partly because I don't know what one does and how much it will help. Is that something I should definitely look into?

At first I really, really liked my SR225, but after hearing the HD600 properly amped, I'm not so sure. I haven't really listened SR225 much since I've gotten my amp so I still have to see. The great thing about the SR225 is that it does well as portable a headphone since it really doesn't need to be amped (in my experience anyway). In any case, I wish I could listen to something better from grado to help make a decision.

One more thing, I've been hearing things about a pre-amp. Is that something else I should look into? Better yet, is there a guide somewhere that can get me up to speed on this stuff? Thanks for your help so far guys.
Jun 23, 2009 at 7:49 PM Post #5 of 11
Don't bother with a pre-amp. Not needed, unless you get a turntable and need a preamp with an RIAA equalizer. Other than that, don't worry about it.

The first thing I'd think about (if you REALLY want to move into higher end stuff) is a good dac, preferably one with balanced outputs. This will pay immediate dividends to your current system. I recently built a y1 DAC, which is a high-quality but cheap single-ended DAC designed by member amb, and felt that that was the most dramatic upgrade I had made to date (besides moving into higher-fidelity headphones). This would be great for you, but is kind of a dead-end as far as moving up the chain. Buying something more expensive with balanced outs (The Benchmark DAC1 usually gets pretty good reviews here) would leave tremendous room for upgrading to a balanced amp to drive re-terminated HD600s or 650s. This is a TREMENDOUS system for *cheaper* headphones.

The other end of the spectrum is more expensive headphones... but be prepared to keep on spending if you go that route. HD800s, PS-1000s, Stax Omegas, second hand R10s and Qualias, etc. are great cans, but you'll want a source at least of the DAC1s caliber when you get headphones like that, and you'll end up buying or at least trying multi-thousand dollar headphone amps as well. I'd really invest in a better source at this point; again, you'll see dividends with your current gear, and you'll be more *ready* to move up the headphone chain and get good results if you so choose.
Jun 23, 2009 at 8:38 PM Post #8 of 11
You can look at dac/soundcard options, but you are very near the point of great diminishing returns - you have a nice set up that you seem generally happy with. I'd suggest enjoying it for a few months before worrying about upgrades.
Jun 23, 2009 at 10:20 PM Post #9 of 11

Originally Posted by Nick 214 /img/forum/go_quote.gif
The latter is a great, easy and FREE upgrade. Go to Lossless, and hear what you've been missing!


Yeah, that's what I'm trying next. But it's a pain in the butt that my DAP only plays 320 AAC (sony A729), I really want to avoid having 2 versions of everything.
Jun 23, 2009 at 11:46 PM Post #10 of 11
re-ripping your CDs to lossless is a pain you'll have to take, it will make things a lot easier later. You can keep one library lossless for home use, and just convert it to a lossy folder for portable playback during nighttime so you won't have to wait. (or get a decent losslessplaying DAP
From there on, you are free to re-encode to whatever codec you think you need without losing quality. If you do one/two CDs at a time you will eventually get there.

oh, and don't bother re-encoding mp3/aac stuff, that will only make things worse.
Jun 23, 2009 at 11:59 PM Post #11 of 11
^^ What he said.

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