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Advice on powering beyerdynamic DT 880

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
Hey guys I was hoping to get some advice on a setup I've been trying to research. questionmark.gif

I thought I'd start with some details of what I'd like to do:

I spent most of my time listening to music, probably 70% with maybe gaming and movies/tv equal at about 15%. I don't want to forego decent gaming experience, I'd like to be able to have some decent 3D positioning for games like Battlefield 3.

In terms of what I listen to, I'd say probably 70% hiphop/vocal trance with 70's/80's rock and 90's alternative filling in the rest. I wouldn't consider myself a bass head (only rocking a 10' harman/kardon in the home and 10' Alpine Type R in my car) but I do like a solid beat and can't go without any bass.

I work from home in a dedicated/private office. I think I'd like to have a bigger soundstage in my headphones to support gaming (I don't know what I'm doing wheee.gif) and would like to hear the outside world (you know...when the wife is yelling at me kookoo.gif) so open cans seem appealing to me. I also want something that I can wear 3+ hours without overheating my ears.

My research so far have led me to the beyerdynamic DT 880 headphone.gif. If I'm off base with what I'd like please let me know.

From there I get into 32/250/600 ohm.

I think all the comments I've read here or on head-fi say the 600ohm is well worth it. I'm not considering the 32 ohm version right now.

I haven't set a budget really... I guess I started with an idea of 100 bucks in my mind lol! That has moved a bit closer to 400 and I can push it. I'm more concerned with balancing cost to value for my money. I don't want to buy a great pair of cans and bottle neck them at the sound card, or buy a great amp and not realize any benefit in the phones.

This is kinda where I think I am stuck. headscratch.gif

If I go with the 250 ohm I was thinking I'd get something like the FiiO E10 with Asus Xonar DX, or just the Asus Xonar Essence STX ($200).

FiiO E10 $80 +shipping but back ordered
Xonar DX $65 w/rebate
[ame="http://www.amazon.com/beyerdynamic-DT-880-Premium-Headphones/dp/B000F2BLTM"]beyerdynamic DT 880 Premium[/ame] $225 (250ohm)

With the 600 ohm I'm feeling even more lost. It looks like I could go with the FiiO E9/E7 combo I suppose and keep the Xonar DX? In this setup it doesn't seem like the best value with the amp because the E7 is also required with the E9 according to the site.

Some nice to have's for an amp I'd like but not required:
- relatively slim so I can mount it under my desk to keep the desk surface free.
- Easy switching from at least two inputs (mobile device/computer)

Anyway I think this is longer than I intended, but let me know if you've got any suggestions, thanks!
    
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post #2 of 16
By all accounts you have made an excellent choice in headphones.

I read the below article last night which I believe would be of great help to you:

http://www.head-fi.org/t/483802/quest-for-holy-grail-of-gaming-sound

Basically to summarise, your DT880's coupled with a Asus Xonar STX card send to be a very good combo. As the STX card has a good headphone amp you will not need to purchase the Fiio amp. However read through the article as the OP tried many different combo's, through a great expense.

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Edited by djglenn - 11/8/11 at 12:19am
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post #3 of 16
DT990s have more bass and a larger soundstage(more treble too). 880s have very nice, detailed bass but are not bassy cans. You could go STX which has its own headphone amp that owners say can drive the 990s. I don't have experience with the STX, but I do have experience with an E9 and it does a nice job with the beyers. You don't need an E7 to use the E9.
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post #4 of 16
The DT880s have a more textured bass. It's very much present. If you consider the 990s bassy then you're just a freakin' bass head. Those things have too much bass. I also don't like the way the sound is shaped. It's too messed up to take seriously. It's a very fun headphone, don't get me wrong, but I'd rather have a DT880.

Also, I think you can buy DT880s 600 ohm in the for sale section. 240 or so. I think Draygonn is selling them actually. Maybe it was someone else.

The STX will give the DT880s enough power to use them, but I wouldn't say they'd drive them and make them shine. I don't think the STX amp is anything more than a sound/signal amplifier. Just makes the audio heard, rather than empowered.

880 is def the headphone you want though.

880 -240
Titanium HD - 130
Maybe a Fiio E11? -65

Fits around the 400 dollar mark. It's aimed at gaming mostly. The Fiio e11 should power your headphones, but I'm not sure how well they'd drive them. I'm thinking not that well. In fact I think the E9 is better.

Still, I'd probably take that route over an STX because of it's superiority in gaming.
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post #5 of 16
Thread Starter 
Thanks for all the feedback guys!

I think I'm going to pull the trigger on what Simca recommended.

beyerdynamic DT 880 Premium 600 Ohm Headphones
Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi Titanium HD
FiiO E9 Desktop Headphone Amplifier

Its was a tough choice for me between the STX/X-Fi, I still don't know if I am fully decided. The X-Fi comes in a bit cheaper, and all reviews seem to say better gaming support, but I can't ignore that most of my time is spent on music. I think I am putting a weight on the gaming because bad positioning is useless in a game, and slightly better music playback wouldn't be something I'd know I'm missing.

I appreciate all the feedback!!
    
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post #6 of 16
I have the dt 990 250 ohm powered by a STX in my rig which is gaming focused and my wifes rig have xfi xtrememusic to little dot micro to dt 770 and I find that the stx dobly positioning is just as good as the xfi.
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post #7 of 16
You're comparing the lowest model xfi to flagship xonar not really fair.

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post #8 of 16
Thread Starter 
I was doing some reading and noticed that the STX and E9 both use the same TI TPA6120A2 headphone amp. Would this not mean the STX is just as capable of powering my headphones as the E9? Are there other factors to consider?
    
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post #9 of 16
I've got 250 ohm DT 990s, they sound the same out of my ALC889 as they did out of my FiiO E7 and my Titanium HD. Although you lose something like 1/3 or 2/3 of the volume with the ALC889, it's still loud enough for everything.

None of those amps are really super, so I don't know if I am getting the best sound out of my DT990s, but regardless, they sound great out of my ALC889.
Quote:
I think all the comments I've read here or on head-fi say the 600ohm is well worth it. I'm not considering the 32 ohm version right now.

Fairly obvious that your line of thinking is: higher ohm = better. That's very sad, but typical of Head-Fi.
Edited by cuad - 11/8/11 at 11:46am
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post #10 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by cuad;15620137 
Fairly obvious that your line of thinking is: higher ohm = better. That's very sad, but typical of Head-Fi.

IIRC Damping factor should be at least 5 to give good control of the diaphragm. The STX's output impedance is 10.7 Ohm and the E9 has 10 Ohm output impedance which would not work well for the 32 Ohm version DT880. However, it would run fine from an E6 which has a very low output impedance.
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