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Thread: Headphones and Amps and DACs... Oh My!

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    Headphones and Amps and DACs... Oh My!

    Thought perhaps we could use a thread for discussion of headphones, amplifiers, DACs, and all other audiophile thingamajigs. Please be respectful; no one is better than anyone else!

    I have quite a selection, but I usually use my "Quick & Easy" setup:

    Lenovo ThinkPad >
    foobar2000 (lossless) >
    AudioQuest Cinnamon USB cable (Mini to Standard) >
    iBasso D7 Sidewinder DAC/Amp >
    Sennheiser HD600 (w/ thicker cable upgrade)

    So how about you guys? Headphones or speakers? Open or closed headphones? Preamps? Portable or Desktop setup? Tube or solid state amps? Do you like Little Dot, Schiit, something else?

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    I'm also taking recommendations for desktop DACs around the $500 mark...

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    Win 8 -> Zune Desktop Software -> Firewire Cable -> M-Audio ProjectMix IO -> Sennheiser 595s or Yamaha MSP7s.

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    Here's my setup:

    MacBook Pro >> iTunes (Lossless) >> Apogee Duet 2 >> Schiit Valhalla >> Sennheiser HD650

    I've been happy with my setup and how it sounds, though I'm thinking of getting new headphones with a bit clearer sound than the HD650's.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ax Mr. L View Post
    Here's my setup:

    MacBook Pro >> iTunes (Lossless) >> Apogee Duet 2 >> Schiit Valhalla >> Sennheiser HD650

    I've been happy with my setup and how it sounds, though I'm thinking of getting new headphones with a bit clearer sound than the HD650's.
    Very nice! I was looking at the Valhalla but couldn't justify buying since I already own a Little Dot MKIII. I'm sure the Valhalla is better, just would rather spend my money elsewhere for now. No idea how I ended up with 4 stand-alone amps and 0 stand-alone DACs... I'll likely end up buying either a V-DACII or a Bifrost (w/ USB upgrade).

    The headphones are a whole different story. I have yet to find anything over or under the price of the Sennheiser HD600's that my ears agree with. I think I personally prefer the 595's over the 650's.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jon View Post
    Very nice! I was looking at the Valhalla but couldn't justify buying since I already own a Little Dot MKIII. I'm sure the Valhalla is better, just would rather spend my money elsewhere for now. No idea how I ended up with 4 stand-alone amps and 0 stand-alone DACs... I'll likely end up buying either a V-DACII or a Bifrost (w/ USB upgrade).

    The headphones are a whole different story. I have yet to find anything over or under the price of the Sennheiser HD600's that my ears agree with. I think I personally prefer the 595's over the 650's.
    Valhalla is a great amp for its price, the quality-price ratio is great, though I'm sure Little Dot MKIII is great too. I've heard good things of it and it was my other choice for headphone amp when I bought the valhalla. As for the DAC:s I've heard good things about the Bifrost.

    Haven't heard the HD600's, but they are more brighter than HD650 I presume? HD595 are nice headphones too (I upgraded from 595 to 650), but I prefer the sound of the 650.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ax Mr. L View Post
    Valhalla is a great amp for its price, the quality-price ratio is great, though I'm sure Little Dot MKIII is great too. I've heard good things of it and it was my other choice for headphone amp when I bought the valhalla. As for the DAC:s I've heard good things about the Bifrost.

    Haven't heard the HD600's, but they are more brighter than HD650 I presume? HD595 are nice headphones too (I upgraded from 595 to 650), but I prefer the sound of the 650.
    I've always heard the 600's referred to as more "neutral" than the 650's. I can't personally hear too much difference between the two, with the exception of the 600's having a higher top-end. The major complaint of the 600's is that they are not bassy enough. For me, it's about perfect. I listen to a huge amount of jazz, and the snare stands out perfectly without any bassy bloating on the 600's. I'm able to hear every nuance and difference in the way the drums are hit.

    One of the songs I use when testing out headphones/amps/dacs is "My Favorite Things" by John Coltrane. There is so much going on "in the background" with the snare and piano. This gives me a good idea of the capabilities for the equipment I'm testing.

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    Studio beats by dre. better sounding than everyone of your setups. i know because i am a dj

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    Totally kidding, I have a pretty easy setup i usually use. Imac-->itunes-->m-audio usb interface---> and either sennheiser 120 ii, sennheiser 595's or my m-audio av 40 monitors. Can anyone give me a recommendation for a decent headphone amp under $200?

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    I've seen some great discussions on headphones around here, but does anyone have views on what they'd recommend in terms of headsets? You know, with an attached mic.

    The choice out there, as with headphones, is a bit bewildering, and I'm having a hard time choosing mine. If anyone could help me I'd be very grateful.
    Main criteria: under 100, great sound quality for music, 5.1 surround or greater, super comfortable (and ideally doesn't squeeze glasses into your cranium). I'd go for the Sony MDR7506 I've seen discussed on ETS lately, but I do really need that attached mic for gaming.

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    Getting some headphones and I am thinking about getting these


    http://www.amazon.com/Sennheiser-Hea...rds=sennheiser


    Also I am really ignorant on what kind of AMP to get. I want to be able to hook it up to a mac book air if that's possible .Any suggestions would be awesome

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rdm View Post
    Getting some headphones and I am thinking about getting these


    http://www.amazon.com/Sennheiser-Hea...rds=sennheiser


    Also I am really ignorant on what kind of AMP to get. I want to be able to hook it up to a mac book air if that's possible .Any suggestions would be awesome
    I have these headphones and they are great. I don't have an amp but they are good enough without for now.

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    Next payday I'm getting an Audioengine D1 DAC/amp and either Sennheiser 598 or AKG Q701. I really like the 598s but I've heard awesome things about the Q701s so I'm going to audition them this weekend and see how they go. Might try a few other DAC/amp combos but the D1 sounds awesome and for $140 I don't think I'll find anything better. Plus the AKG Q701s look SUPER sexy

    Last edited by ibanez33; 02-20-2014 at 04:59 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jon View Post
    Thought perhaps we could use a thread for discussion of headphones, amplifiers, DACs, and all other audiophile thingamajigs. Please be respectful; no one is better than anyone else!

    I have quite a selection, but I usually use my "Quick & Easy" setup:

    Lenovo ThinkPad >
    foobar2000 (lossless) >
    AudioQuest Cinnamon USB cable (Mini to Standard) >
    iBasso D7 Sidewinder DAC/Amp >
    Sennheiser HD600 (w/ thicker cable upgrade)
    I'm interested to know how important this USB cable step is?

    Not trolling - am genuinely interested if people think it makes a difference.

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    The Dac in Sandisk Sansa PMPs is great. Only 16/44 but above average in the non-apple pmp market. The Sansa fuze was an awesome player. The fuze+ sucks. I'm upset by how expensive the original fuzes go for now.

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