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Audiophilia: Headphones, Amps, DAPs, and Empty Wallets

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Posts

  • Cilla BlackCilla Black Priscilla!!! Registered User regular
    Antihippy wrote:
    Doesn't the recording have to be recorded in 5.1 to have 5.1?

    I dunno, a good test would be watching a movie with 5.1 surround and disabling various speakers to see if it makes a difference. If it can be done.

    Yeah I did a bunch of testing a research over the last day or so. It turns out that I haven't been getting surround at all. When my HTIB source is set to multi channel, sound from the front speakers is mirrored on the back. I can only get proper surround by switching that to something else.

    On my 360, I can only get real surround by switching the source to manual and going to Dolby Pro Logic II (both movie and music selections work). There is an indie game that allows you to test each speaker on the 360, and it's the only setting that makes the rear speakers work properly. The other settings work, but they just have mirrored sound.

    My PC is a trickier issue. I got a 5.1 music file that is designed to test your setup, but it doesn't work properly on any setting through HDMI, even if I play it in VLC with 5.1 forced. It does sort of work if I run audio through the optical port on my mobo, but it's buggy. The left front speaker doesn't work consistently and the rear speakers still say "front left" or "front right" when the audio file does.

    Now, they do make a louder sound when the file says "rear left" or "rear right" than when it's saying front, so that might just be how the file is recorded. But I've read a lot of reports that say Win7 is not very SPDIF friendly (I have no option to do anything but 2 channel even when the optical port is connected directly to the HTIB source) compared to vista. But I've also read my onboard sound (made by VIA) doesn't work well.

    Likely all this needs its own thread, but rather than wrestling with any more headache, I think I'll just stick to the multi channel setting on my HTIB source until I can afford a decent stand alone 5.1 sound card. It still sounds pretty good to me now, even if not actual surround. My blu-ray still works as does my 360. That will tide me over. Thanks for listening to me ramble, audiophile thread.

  • AntihippyAntihippy Registered User regular
    Problem with a computer sound cars is they're not very portable...

    Oh, alright, totally misread it as you wanting something for your desktop setup. The E5 should probably power the headphones better than your phone.

    Though if you want to get a very good mp3 player for cheap you can try the clip+ or the newer clip zip.

    http://www.amazon.com/SanDisk-SDMX22-004G-A57K-Sansa-Clip-Black/dp/B005FVNGRS

    10454_nujabes2.pngPSN: Antiwhippy
  • Donovan PuppyfuckerDonovan Puppyfucker A dagger in the dark is worth a thousand swords in the morningRegistered User regular
    It's a good thing I'm broke at the moment, or I'm pretty sure there would be a pair of AH-D2000s winging their way to me from England right now for $263...

  • AntihippyAntihippy Registered User regular
    edited September 2011
    That's the trap, right there.

    Now I'm stuck saving up for a $500 DAC, $270 amp and a $400 headphone for a good mid fi setup, OR save longer and get a $500 DAC, $800 amp and a $1200 headphones for my ultimate setup.

    And then good computer monitor speakers!

    Happy with my setup now though so I can wait awhile.

    Antihippy on
    10454_nujabes2.pngPSN: Antiwhippy
  • Donovan PuppyfuckerDonovan Puppyfucker A dagger in the dark is worth a thousand swords in the morningRegistered User regular
    I keep eyeing off that Matrix Cube. Hmm, only $289.

    And the SPL Phonitor! But to even quantify owning an amp like that, I'd need to get something like D7000s! Shit shit shit...

  • TehSlothTehSloth Hit Or Miss I Guess They Never Miss, HuhRegistered User regular
    I've got a home theater question to chip-in as well.

    I had a cheap old 5.1 HTiB set up but the receiver died about a year and half ago and I'd finally like to get some decent sound since I think the tvs built in speakers are getting even worse then they used to sound.

    Anyways, I was originally just thinking about picking up a nice 5.1 receiver like this Onkyo one

    But then after looking a bit more, they have a 7.1 HTiB set up that's $100 more with speakers, which are probably at least as good if not better than the ones I've already got. The receiver itself seems to not have quite as many features as the 5.1 receiver does, although I think it's just the networking which I could do without anyway.

    Anyways, does anyone have an opinion on whether it would be better to blow the extra $120ish on the 7.1 system or just go with the 5.1 and maybe put the difference towards some nicer speakers or a better TV down the road.

    FC: 1993-7778-8872 PSN: TehSloth Xbox: SlothTeh
    twitch.tv/tehsloth
  • symbolsorsymbolsor Registered User regular
    edited September 2011
    I jumped the gun a bit and bought an ASUS Xonar Essence ST soundcard. Found a pretty good deal on Newegg, about $115, although open box. I'll admit that I don't think they will make toooo much of a difference with my phones but for the price I'll bite the bullet.

    Now, I didn't reeeally buy this card for movies and games but it would be nice to have some positional sounds for them. Is my understanding correct that with the ST in order to get surround sound you have to get an expansion card for the...card?

    @TehSloth, personally I'd rather get the 5.1 setup and put the rest toward new speakers. The 7.1 setup seems really nice too though, especially for a HTiB. From what I've heard (from other people, not in my own experience), 7.1 is really only worth it when you have a huge space to fill.

    symbolsor on
  • AntihippyAntihippy Registered User regular
    Now, I didn't reeeally buy this card for movies and games but it would be nice to have some positional sounds for them. Is my understanding correct that with the ST in order to get surround sound you have to get an expansion card for the...card?

    Only if you want to get a 7.1 setup in the future.

    If you're headphone only you already have dolby headphones.

    10454_nujabes2.pngPSN: Antiwhippy
  • symbolsorsymbolsor Registered User regular
    Sweet, it looks like I'm set then. Thanks!

  • AntihippyAntihippy Registered User regular
    What phones are you using btw?

    10454_nujabes2.pngPSN: Antiwhippy
  • symbolsorsymbolsor Registered User regular
    Sennheiser 558s, I might look into that mod for them sometime today.

  • RobobanditRobobandit Registered User
    Hey guys.. I'm thinking about getting into the world of headphones and amps.. it looks like it might be dangerous and expensive territory to get lost in, so i thought I'd see if some kind folks could guide me in an affordable direction.

    Last week I bought a good pair of IEMs (Klipsch Image X5).. and I have realized over the course of this week that my plantronics gaming headset is just not cutting it in terms of sound quality (no real surprise, there, honestly.), so I've decided that I should probably get a good pair of cans for the PC, upon reading that many of the better ones only sound their best when paired with an amplifier and realizing that I've only got on-board audio (un-shielded.. usb devices and my hdds cause interference), I've come to the conclusion that I will probably need/want a DAC/Amp, too.

    So at this point I'm looking for a good DAC/Amp combination.. I've read a lot of opinions on the Fiio E7 and E9 combination.. for use if the E7 alone isn't enough to power the head phones.. and I've been looking at the Sennheiser 59X headphones, as a lot of people seem to love them.

    I'd rather not spend more than $250 for a DAC/Amp.. one reason the E7 and E9 combination is attractive to me is that the E7 is portable, so I could take it with me when I went out and about (using it with my IEMs) and I could leave the E9 at home and couple them together for use with the headphones at home.

    On the headphone side of things, I'd like to stay under $300.. but I may be willing to spend more if a more expensive set is a particularly good deal for the comfort/sound quality.

    Any suggestions you guys have would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks!

  • AntihippyAntihippy Registered User regular
    edited September 2011
    I would not call the E7 portable. Or at least I wouldn't want to lug that thing around with me everywhere. Also those klipsch headphones do not need an E7, though that would depend on what your MP3 player is.

    What do you want out of a headphone is a more important question. Are you a bass head? Do you want it to be neutral? Do you want it bright (as in, headphones with exaggerated highs)? Do you want good soundstage for good instrument positioning and for gaming? Do you want it portable? Do you want it closed or open? Closed isolates better and usually gives better bass response. Open usually gives better soundstage, less bass impact and leaks quite a bit of sound.

    It would be best if there's a place near you that allows you to test a variety of headphones.

    Antihippy on
    10454_nujabes2.pngPSN: Antiwhippy
  • minor incidentminor incident Helen Keller to the bullshit Registered User regular
    Are you looking for a setup for gaming specifically, or music+gaming, or solely music?

    Steam: minor incident || PSN: inter-punct
    You may not find all that you're after. In the end I hope it doesn't matter.
  • RobobanditRobobandit Registered User
    edited September 2011
    My primary use would be mixed.. between music and games.

    As for sound, I tend to like neutral and accurate.. I like to hear things how they were intended to sound. Definitely not a bass head.. I'd be happier with a brighter sound over bass overload, given a choice between the two.

    I don't really have a preference to open or closed.. I typically close the door to my room.. and these would be only for use at home. If open provides a better soundstage, that is probably the direction I'd want to lean in.

    I carry my macbook pro with me to work every day, so I was thinking of throwing an E7 in the bag with the notebook and using it as a DAC (as I figured it would sound better than the computer's headphone port) with my Klipsch and docking it into an E9 at home.. and using whatever cans I end up buying when I'm at home.


    Does this make sense to do or is there a better idea in here somewhere that I'm missing? :)

    I should note that there doesn't appear to be anything in the way of a place around here where I can go try out various headphones.. we've got a best buy and a guitar center.. and that seems to be about it..



    Thanks guys!


    Robobandit on
  • AntihippyAntihippy Registered User regular
    Well, I'll just rattle off some recommendations then. Though I'm more familiar with mid fi portable stuff than home setups. :P

    Senn HD598: Really popular on head fi. Great mids with good highs apparently, but little bass impact. Great soundstage. Some say just get the HD558 but I'm have not heard either model so eh.

    Alessandro MS-1: really energetic and somewhat bright. Average soundstage. Great for rock and metal apparently.

    Shure SRH840: Neutral and detailed, closed so you can use it outside, though the size is not really portable. Had a price drop recently which makes it pretty great value for money.

    Audio Technica AD700: Really great soundstage, and pretty bright. Pretty popular headphone for gaming.

    KRK KNS6400: Seems like it's getting somewhat portable, and I want to get it one day just to try it out. Balanced with a fairly good soundstage for a closed model, and it isolates so you can bring it out too. Right now the price for it on Amazon seems reeeeally good.

    Fischer Audio FA003: Well known to be a pretty neutral headphone.

    Out of all those it seems that only the HD598 would require the E9 as an amp.

    Also keep in mind I have very little experience with some of these and no experience with quite a number of them, so take them with a grain of salt. :lol: Just a general recommendation of popular headphones that you can look into.

    Also try to get it from a store with good return policies if you can.

    There are definitely more expensive headphones that are better but I think these would suit your needs pretty well.

    Also be sure to check your source, like the quality of your MP3 and other audio files, because better headphones means garbage in=garbage out.

    10454_nujabes2.pngPSN: Antiwhippy
  • acidlacedpenguinacidlacedpenguin Registered User regular
    got my astro mixamp in the mail the other day.

    AD700 + Zalman clip-on mic + mixamp = pinnacle of less expensive gaming sound.

    on the current topic if your gaming set-ups have optical outs then I imagine it'd be difficult to beat the above combo price/performance wise.
    pricing on Amazon today the AD700s are $80, Zalman is $8, mixamp is $150. . .

    key thing to note with the mixamp (if you're not sitting right next to your gaming platform of choice) though is to either buy the wireless one or buy a long optical cable. . .

    GT: Acidboogie PSNid: AcidLacedPenguiN
  • minor incidentminor incident Helen Keller to the bullshit Registered User regular
    Good to hear you've been converted to the Mixamp cult. That sounds like a great setup.

    Steam: minor incident || PSN: inter-punct
    You may not find all that you're after. In the end I hope it doesn't matter.
  • TehSlothTehSloth Hit Or Miss I Guess They Never Miss, HuhRegistered User regular
    got my astro mixamp in the mail the other day.

    AD700 + Zalman clip-on mic + mixamp = pinnacle of less expensive gaming sound.

    on the current topic if your gaming set-ups have optical outs then I imagine it'd be difficult to beat the above combo price/performance wise.
    pricing on Amazon today the AD700s are $80, Zalman is $8, mixamp is $150. . .

    key thing to note with the mixamp (if you're not sitting right next to your gaming platform of choice) though is to either buy the wireless one or buy a long optical cable. . .

    Love my AD700s, they're pretty beat up though :(

    Never really thought about getting any kind of amp for them though, they're quite loud as is, although having a dial to manage the relative volume of a voice channel seems like it'd be a nice thing to have, although it's fairly easy to do through the windows mixer.

    FC: 1993-7778-8872 PSN: TehSloth Xbox: SlothTeh
    twitch.tv/tehsloth
  • minor incidentminor incident Helen Keller to the bullshit Registered User regular
    The volume boosting isn't the selling point of the Mixamp; it's the Dolby Headphone surround sound. A good set of stereo headphones plugged into a Mixamp quickly become the best surround sound headphones you've ever heard. Fantastic for gaming and movies.

    Steam: minor incident || PSN: inter-punct
    You may not find all that you're after. In the end I hope it doesn't matter.
  • RobobanditRobobandit Registered User
    I'll probably do my shopping from amazon since they have a great return policy.

    I've just recently purged my music collection of anything less than 320kbps mp3.. most of it is currently in apple lossless (ALAC).. converted from FLAC.

    I'll probably look at the shure 'phones and the Senn HD598 and possibly the Denon A-HD2000.

    Still looking for more suggestions, so let em fly if you've got em.

  • AntihippyAntihippy Registered User regular
    If you want to get the most out of a hd650 though you'll need to spend $500 on dacs and amps.

    10454_nujabes2.pngPSN: Antiwhippy
  • Donovan PuppyfuckerDonovan Puppyfucker A dagger in the dark is worth a thousand swords in the morningRegistered User regular
    I vastly prefer closed cans, though.

  • RobobanditRobobandit Registered User
    edited September 2011
    Do you think a Fiio E7/E9 combo would be enough to power the HD650s?

    edit -

    Looks like other people have less than stellar results with that combo and the HD650s..

    Robobandit on
  • minor incidentminor incident Helen Keller to the bullshit Registered User regular
    Robobandit wrote:
    Do you think a Fiio E7/E9 combo would be enough to power the HD650s?

    edit -

    Looks like other people have less than stellar results with that combo and the HD650s..

    Yes. Honestly, an e5 or an e7 alone is plenty to drive them and get great sound. Of course, the higher you go, the better it can sound, but you won't be missing too much by just using a cheap amp.

    Steam: minor incident || PSN: inter-punct
    You may not find all that you're after. In the end I hope it doesn't matter.
  • AntihippyAntihippy Registered User regular
    Nah, not great, maybe good. They are known to be fairly hard to drive.

    Definitely not with an e5.

    Thing is, why get a hard to drive expensive headphone and only get good sound out of your setup when you can get a headphone that can run pretty well from your setup and give great sound, for probably cheaper? Unless you plan to upgrade in the future, but don't buy on that potential until you know for sure.

    10454_nujabes2.pngPSN: Antiwhippy
  • Shazkar ShadowstormShazkar Shadowstorm Registered User regular
    oh hey i asked a question in h/a that might also be appropriate here, re: commuter headphones http://forums.penny-arcade.com/discussion/148457/commuter-headphones#Item_1
    if anyone has suggestions

    poo
  • RobobanditRobobandit Registered User
    Antihippy wrote:
    Nah, not great, maybe good. They are known to be fairly hard to drive.

    Definitely not with an e5.

    Thing is, why get a hard to drive expensive headphone and only get good sound out of your setup when you can get a headphone that can run pretty well from your setup and give great sound, for probably cheaper? Unless you plan to upgrade in the future, but don't buy on that potential until you know for sure.

    Yeah, I decided against the HD650.. specifically because I don't want to spend a lot of money on an amp to get the full potential of the headphones. I don't want to spend more than $200 or so for an amp at this point.. I may upgrade it later, but I want to stay entry level amp wise for now.

    Any opinions of the Shure SRH940?


  • Shazkar ShadowstormShazkar Shadowstorm Registered User regular
    also, prolly gonna buy some MS-1s

    oh, should i spend the extra 10 bucks for the MS-1i's? probably

    poo
  • AntihippyAntihippy Registered User regular
    MS1s are not really portable.

    Though I see a guy who wears them on the train so maybe?

    What's your budget though? Do you need isolation?
    Any opinions of the Shure SRH940?

    A really good improvement from the 840 from all reports. Neutral and detailed.

    Not hard to drive.

    10454_nujabes2.pngPSN: Antiwhippy
  • Shazkar ShadowstormShazkar Shadowstorm Registered User regular
    no no, that was an aside

    MS1(i)'s for home

    for my commute i just want something, well, pocketable, either relatively durable or cheap, and sound isolating

    poo
  • minor incidentminor incident Helen Keller to the bullshit Registered User regular
    Antihippy wrote:
    Nah, not great, maybe good. They are known to be fairly hard to drive.

    Definitely not with an e5.

    They sounded pretty great when I tried them with my e5. Interestingly, they sounded just about as good to me out of my e7 as my Grace m902. Don't totally discount cheap amp hardware. It can surprise you.

    That said, yes, you should invest in the best hardware you can afford to get the best out of your headphones. I'm just offering that as a stopgap until one could afford a truly great amp. I don't want to be that guy telling everyone they shouldn't consider less than a $500 amp with such-and-such headphones or it'll be like raping their ears. You and I can hear a difference between a hundred dollar amp and a $700 amp, but a lot of people can't, and you'll still get good mileage out of a great-headphone-mediocre-amp setup until you're ready to take a step up.

    Steam: minor incident || PSN: inter-punct
    You may not find all that you're after. In the end I hope it doesn't matter.
  • minor incidentminor incident Helen Keller to the bullshit Registered User regular
    oh hey i asked a question in h/a that might also be appropriate here, re: commuter headphones http://forums.penny-arcade.com/discussion/148457/commuter-headphones#Item_1
    if anyone has suggestions

    What's your budget? The cheapest in-ears I could really recommend would be the Klipsch Image s4 at around $60 - http://www.amazon.com/Klipsch-IMAGE-S4-Noise-Isolating-Headphones/dp/B001V9LPT4/ref=sr_1_1?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1315581904&sr=1-1

    If you have some wiggle room in your budget, the Etymotic Hf3 is a great deal for one of the most balanced, clean, isolating pair of in-ears you can buy (around $110): http://www.amazon.com/Etymotic-ER23-HF3-BLACK-Headsetwith-3-Button-Control/dp/B003YTROIU/ref=sr_1_1?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1315582112&sr=1-1

    Steam: minor incident || PSN: inter-punct
    You may not find all that you're after. In the end I hope it doesn't matter.
  • AntihippyAntihippy Registered User regular
    edited September 2011
    no no, that was an aside

    MS1(i)'s for home

    for my commute i just want something, well, pocketable, either relatively durable or cheap, and sound isolating

    Are canalphones okay? I can recommend the brainwavz m3 as a pretty great sounding and durable (so far!) headphone, plus it comes with a little carry pouch so that you can safely store them without damaging the wires. I actually really like the carry pouch. It's pocketable if you like something bulging from your pants but it's really easy to just throw in a bag.


    You and I can hear a difference between a hundred dollar amp and a $700 amp

    I don't really actually, since my setup doesn't require an amp. Portable with easy to drive yet great sounding headphones so I don't need really need an amp.

    Plan to give some a go when a new audio shop is opening here soon though. Can't believe that I'm anticipating a store opening near my area. :lol: Still saving up for a dacmagic.

    I was mostly going by second hand info that the HD650 needs quite a bit of juice to drive. Your comment comparing the E7 and the grace m902 is interesting though.

    Still think it's best to match according to what you have.

    Antihippy on
    10454_nujabes2.pngPSN: Antiwhippy
  • RobobanditRobobandit Registered User
    I think I'll order the SRH940s.. if they don't sound good to me, I'll return them and get something else.

  • minor incidentminor incident Helen Keller to the bullshit Registered User regular
    Antihippy wrote:
    I was mostly going by second hand info that the HD650 needs quite a bit of juice to drive. Your comment comparing the E7 and the grace m902 is interesting though.

    I was pretty surprised. Now, the m902 sounded BETTER, but only marginally, in certain songs. Of course, with plenty of other headphones it's like the greatest thing I've ever heard compared to my cheap amps, but it's just interesting how some sets of hardware pair up oddly.

    Steam: minor incident || PSN: inter-punct
    You may not find all that you're after. In the end I hope it doesn't matter.
  • AntihippyAntihippy Registered User regular
    Slightly jealous though. Those things are like $2000 where I'm from.

    I think the highest I'll ever go for a DAC is maybe the meier audio stageDAC, mostly because I'm slightly interested in crossfeed. I'll have to settle with just saving up for a dacmagic. Though I guess they don't have internal amps like the grace m902.

    10454_nujabes2.pngPSN: Antiwhippy
  • Custom SpecialCustom Special Registered User regular
    For the people using mixamps, are you referring to the Astro mixamp, or something else that I don't even know about?
    Also, big ears make finding good comfortable headphones difficult.

    XBL: F4ll0ut9114 | STEAM | PSN : CustomSpecial | Bnet: F4ll0ut#1636
  • minor incidentminor incident Helen Keller to the bullshit Registered User regular
    For the people using mixamps, are you referring to the Astro mixamp, or something else that I don't even know about?
    Also, big ears make finding good comfortable headphones difficult.

    Astro Mixamp, yes. Although if you're on a tight budget, the Turtle Beach DSS uses the exact same surround sound processor via optical audio cable as the Mixamp. It's just uglier, and doesn't include the ability to independently mix voice and game audio.

    For your second question, the Sennheiser HD558, HD598, or PC360 are great for people with big ears. Huuuuuge ear cups. I've got a big head and fairly large ears and they're insanely comfortable. They barely touch your ears at all. Very deep recess between the padding and the driver. For gaming (although not so much for music) the Razer Carcharias are a great budget option. Equally huge earcups, and they can be had for closer to $70.

    Steam: minor incident || PSN: inter-punct
    You may not find all that you're after. In the end I hope it doesn't matter.
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