Originally Posted by rdrdrdrd
Hey im looking to buy a really nice headphone setup at the end of the summer, and Ive been researching some good cans, so far i like the SR325i headphones, but I am totally lost as to what I should get as a DAC and headphone amp, and what I need to operate them (power supplies, cords, etc.).
My budget is $700 for the whole setup, and would prefer to order from amazon if possible.
Also, would using USB 3.0 make any difference?
Thanks in advance for helping an audio n00b get into the world of Hi-Fi
First of all, if you've never had a DAC or a specific sound card dedicated to headphones, or if you've never had high end or even mid-level, or frankly, good entry level hifi headphones, then I would suggest you don't blow your $700 budget on the best you can get right now. Your taste in music and the connections and portability of it all plays a huge role. If you spend all $700 right now, you may love it. But you may also find problems and you've already spent your whole budget, so you have no real way to fix that.
My suggestion to you is to start with entry/mid and keep it simple. You don't need a huge fancy DAC, especially by Creative or someone. Look into simple DAC's that focus on just good sound quality and simple manufacturing. Pay attention to input/output. A lot of them cost a lot more because they have optical/coaxial/usb inputs, or even HDMI, etc. If none of that is needed, you can save some money by keeping it more simple. For example, if you're just using this with a computer, always, then one with just USB will do the job. If you plan on using it with another device, like a stereo, or mobile music player of some kind, then you'll need different options of course.
Here's a simple suggestion:
- It's USB, pure, good quality audio, powerful enough for decent cans, and powered by USB. Seems like it wouldn't be powerful enough since it doesn't have a dedicated power unit and fancy controls, but at the end of the day, it's the sound that comes out. And apparently this little guy puts out big sound for it's price tag. If you need more inputs, check out the
with coaxial input.
. Good entry level DAC that works via USB and also has a lithium battery that is rechargable so that you can take this with you on the go. That's a huge feature, mobility. Good price for the ability to take great sound on the go.
As for headphones, I would really suggest you look at used hifi headphones. You can get much higher end stuff for less money that is in good shape. Your first hifi headphones will not be your last likely. You can put more of your budget towards a really nice pair of cans this way. Or, you can even sample two! A set of $200~ used cans, two pair, and a DAC in your $700 budget would be nice. Or you could even look at it like one pair of good used cans, and then a decent home DAC and a mobile
DAC perhaps. I for one love to listen to good audio on the go just as much as at the house.
My first pair of headphones were a pair of Sennheiser HD580's. I still use them to this day because they just sound amazing. You can still find them. I recommend them to anyone looking at headphones. Note, they are open air, so not good if you're in public listening to loud music. But if you're just at home, they're an amazing set of cans for the price. You can get the new equivalents, or find some used. Look into the HD600, HD650, and of course, other brands.
Again, for $700, you can get quite a lot. Getting a ridiculously high end DAC with an entry level set of cans isn't really sensible. I against suggest you keep it simple until you're very comfortable with everything. You may like closed cans, you may like open air cans, and you may want mobility. Or you may just like it simply at home.
Edit: Your last post with the DH600's and the E7/E9 is an excellent way to enter HiFi. Just remember, open cans are very different when you're out and about, because you'll hear everything and everyone can hear you too. It can be a problem for example if it's noisy where you are (traffic, train, just have the windows down, etc). Keep that in mind. I like closed/noise cancel for when I'm out and about. I keep my open air cans for home (my HD580's). Good luck!
Very best, Edited by MalVeauX - 4/27/11 at 2:50pm