Where would you place more money ? in the headphones or in the amp ?
May 8, 2013 at 1:38 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 6

ginetto61

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Hi !
 
having a budget of let's say 400 $ to buy an headphone and a amp where do you put more money ?
I think I would try to get the best amp i can because i have the feeling that some cheap HPs with a great amp can sound really good
But not the viceversa
Comments and advice are welcome
and i would say expecially on the amp side
I am currently using a Aune x1dac
 

 
I am wondering how would a sensible upgrade cost to me
Again suggestions are very welcome
Thanks and regards,
gino
 
May 8, 2013 at 3:12 PM Post #2 of 6

NA Blur

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Here is a quote from HeadRoom which I fully agree with:
 
"
As mentioned above, the source is generally (keep reading!) the most important aspect of an audio system. We build a variety of digital to analog converters (DACs) to further improve your audio source. HeadRoom amps with internal DACs, and our stand-alone DACs, both contain high quality DAC chips in our designs; and, these contemporary high-end digital recievers and DACs are extremely good at reducing or virtually eliminating jitter from the digital bit-stream. Now, here's the exception to our rule about sources being so critical: when constructing a front-end for your stereo system, it is much less important where the digital signal is coming from when a very high-quality DAC is used. We've even found, in fact, that sometimes very expensive CD transports sound only slightly better than the digital output of inexpensive CD players or USB audio outputs from computers when using a good DAC. So, keep that in mind when putting together your rig!
 
"
http://www.headphone.com/selection-guide/top-picks/top-headroom-amps-and-dacs.php
 
For many of us starting with a headphone that matches your needs both in sound and design quality is preferred because it has the most dramatic difference in sound.  An amp and DAC should basically just keep the original signal in tact unless you want an amp to add color to the sound which is more easily done with the headphones.
 
What headphones / speakers do you currently own / listen to?
 
Here are some great headphones to start off with:
 
1.)  Philips Cityscape Downtown ( bassy, comfortable, great sounding, cost less than $100 new )
2.)  Creative Aurvana Live! ( neutral, comfortable, a little flimsy, cost less than $100 new )
3.)  Audio Technica ATH-M50 ( neutral with some good bass extension, closed, can clamp the head too much if not stretched, cost less than $150 new )  These were my first real upgrade headphone.
4.)  Sennheiser HD-650 ( neutral, soft sounding, easy to listen to, can be a tad distant sounding at low volumes )
5.)  Denon AH-D2000 ( a great headphone, very neutral, sealed, not good for portable use )
6.)  HE-500 ( great neutral sound especially from a neutral amp, comfortable, excellent performance for the price )
 
As for amps take a look here to start:
http://www.head-fi.org/t/620775/the-sub-200-portable-amps-shootout-11-10-amps-compared/120
 
I used the Total Bithead for years and loved it, but it tends to be susceptible to EMI noise from say your phone or iPod.
 
The O2+ODAC combo is an excellent performer for the price.  It sounds identical to my Grace Design m903 which costs 5 times more.
 
Let us know what you settle on and I hope you find something fun and exciting!
 
May 8, 2013 at 3:27 PM Post #3 of 6

deadlylover

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Find some headphones that you like first, then upgrade the other components to bring the best out of them.
 
In my personal experience, sources and amps make little difference in the grand scheme of things, I like to think of them as tweaks, not major components. You will find many people who feel differently though!
 
May 8, 2013 at 3:33 PM Post #4 of 6

ginetto61

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Hello !  thank you very much indeed for your kind and helpful reply
I have already some HPs at hand with the Beyerdynamic dt990 250 ohm being maybe the best, but i am not sure of this really
I admit i have been astonished by some rumors mentioning that some expensive HPs are build around extremely cheap drivers
Of course i am not talking about the very best ones where the drivers are clearly state of art
But being optimistic i have the feeling that it is easier to find a giant killer HP than a giant killer amp
In conclusion the amp is critical
A very good amp can give spectacular sound even with chep but good HPs
I have my eyes on the Schiit Asgard 2 at present
I do not like the fact that it gets hot but if the sound is good
That could be my last amp
Speaking of HPs i am wating to receive these ones
 
http://www.malaaudio.no/shop/product/takstar-hi2050?tm=hodetelefonutstyr

 
I hope they will be good sounding as someone as said here
Thanks again
kind regards,
 
gino
gs1000.gif

 
May 8, 2013 at 3:46 PM Post #5 of 6

Headzone

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Quote:
Hi !
 
having a budget of let's say 400 $ to buy an headphone and a amp where do you put more money ?
I think I would try to get the best amp i can because i have the feeling that some cheap HPs with a great amp can sound really good
But not the viceversa
Comments and advice are welcome
and i would say expecially on the amp side
I am currently using a Aune x1dac
 
 
 
 
I am wondering how would a sensible upgrade cost to me
Again suggestions are very welcome
Thanks and regards,
gino

Considering he already has a very very decent DAC/AMP combo, I would spend the whole budget on a nice pair of headphones. HE-400, for example. 
 
May 10, 2013 at 1:08 PM Post #6 of 6

ginetto61

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Quote:
Considering he already has a very very decent DAC/AMP combo, I would spend the whole budget on a nice pair of headphones. HE-400, for example. 


Hello
bigsmile_face.gif

sorry for the late reply
But thank you very much for your advice, So this Aune amp is not so bad. Good to know !
Still I have been impressed by the reviews about the Asgard 2 after revision
I am a solid state guy and this could be my next target, It should be a substantial step up in sound quality compared to the Aune
I would like to resolve the amp issue before comparing different HPs
By the way the HE400 look fantastic . Maybe a little hard to find here in Europe ?
Thank you very much again
kind regards
gino
 

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