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Looking to get a proper set of headphones for the first time, thinking of the A500X/A700X/A900X

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 
First post in this forum section, hello! smile.gif

I've been using a sennheiser gaming marketed headset for a while now (and cheap ~20 dollar headsets before that) which I find nice, but based on all the stories I've heard of good audiophile headphones making music and even gaming that much nicer I decided it's time to actually invest in proper headphones for once. Found this forum section when snooping around the web for information and I've learned a lot already. smile.gif

I'll only be using it at home at my computer, with a rough even split between playing video games and listening to music. When it comes to music I have a wide taste but I generally don't enjoy heavy bass, especially if the headset/headphones start vibrating my skull. I have loud neighbors that I prefer to block out with a closed design, and I'm going to assume that the increase in audio quality isn't good enough to warrant hearing my neighbors all the time.

I've heard good stories of the A700X for video games in the past and in this forum section so it seems like a safe buy, which is what I'd prefer - I'd rather go for something that's an established product over the latest and greatest simply because I don't know much about audio hardware. My upper limit that I'd rather not go over is 300 Euros, which is the price tag of the ATH-A900X over here in europe. For whatever reason, the A700X costs only 20 Euros less so it's more preference over price tag when it comes to deciding between these two.

From the tiny bits of information out there that I could find the three models (A500X, A700X, A900X) the soundscape and bass does sound somewhat different, so what I'm mostly wondering is what the exact differences are. Among the gaming headsets I've tried most of them had waaaay too much bass that drowned out everything else and made my ears hurt after a while. This Sennheiser PC 333D G4ME that I have right now is one of the few out there that I could find that didn't have ridiculous bass, and I've been happily using it for a while now in combination with an AT2020USB+ microphone. However the padding is falling apart and it sometimes gives me some crackles, on top of there being a very loud crackle when I load up some of my favorite games since I installed Windows 10. So this seems like a good time to look at new headphones.

Is there a great deal of difference between the A900X and the A700X when it comes to bass? Is one less severe over the other? The A500X is ~180 euros which is significantly cheaper however does it produce cheaper quality sound as well? Or perhaps the bass is actually less severe?
Are there any other headphones you would recommend to me? Maybe a comparable Sennheiser model?

Then comes the question of the soundcard.
My current Sennheiser actually comes with a separate USB soundcard into which I plug in the 3.5mm jacks of the headset. It had 2 modes, one of which sounds (to me anyway) like a very overdone fake soundstage, so I turned that feature off. I don't tend to turn up the volume much so even if it can't power audiophile headphones I wouldn't mind too too much unless it impacts the quality of the sound as well. BUT, assuming it's best to get a new soundcard, I'd prefer a USB one just to not have something in my case. (I mess with my rig a lot...) And even if my motherboard just so happens to have a half decent build-in soundcard I'd still prefer an independent unit just to keep my audio consistent when I inevitably upgrade my motherboard in the future.

The ASUS Xonar line seems to be pretty popular, but which one? I'm looking at the Xonar U7, but there's also an "Echelon" version which to me seems more fluff than actual function. Better to go with the regular U7?

Thank you for reading my post. smile.gif
Edited by Z0eff - 9/27/15 at 10:58am
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post #2 of 22
Obligatory links:
OCN's Most Recommended Audio Products
Mad Lust Envy's Headphone Gaming Guide

Generally the best place to buy audio equipment in Europe is Thomann.de. Of course you can find better "50% off" deals from local shops if you are lucky.
So I recommend to check these cans:

Open:
- Beyerdynamic DT990 Pro limited edition - 159€
- AKG K612 Pro @ 149€
- AD700X @ 155€
- AD900X @ 248€

Closed:
- AKG K550 @ 139€
- AKG K545 @ 139€
- DT770 Pro 32ohm @ 144€
- DT770 Pro 80ohm @ 138€

Free shipping to Netherlands if total price is over 49€.
EDIT: Noticed the closed-back requirement, adding moar cans.
Edited by Tiihokatti - 9/27/15 at 10:16am
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post #3 of 22
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tiihokatti View Post

Obligatory links:
OCN's Most Recommended Audio Products
Mad Lust Envy's Headphone Gaming Guide

Generally the best place to buy audio equipment in Europe is Thomann.de. Of course you can find better "50% off" deals from local shops if you are lucky.
So I recommend to check these cans:

Open:
- Beyerdynamic DT990 Pro limited edition - 159€
- AKG K612 Pro @ 149€
- AD700X @ 155€
- AD900X @ 248€

Closed:
- AKG K550 @ 139€
- AKG K545 @ 139€
- DT770 Pro 32ohm @ 144€
- DT770 Pro 80ohm @ 138€

Free shipping to Netherlands if total price is over 49€.
EDIT: Noticed the closed-back requirement, adding moar cans.

The A900X is 100 euros more in that shop. frown.gif

What is the bass like on the 4 closed cans you linked?
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post #4 of 22
If you don't have the proper source and amplification for good headphones, don't buy good headphones. As a bare minimum, if you want decent sound from headphones on a PC, you should get the Schiit Magni/Modi combo. If you want to be able to feed out to speakers as well get the "2 uber" version of the amp.

These are entry level amps and dacs but they will sound infinitely better than integrated or even a Xonar STX.

An alternative for $50 less is an Audioquest Dragonfly 1.2, which will still amplifiy your headphones, and is a dac/amp combo, but overall, the amplification will be much better with the Schiit equipment.

Any headphone, right down to Apple earbuds, sounds better with a proper amp. Spend the money. It's worth it.
post #5 of 22
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mistersprinkles View Post

If you don't have the proper source and amplification for good headphones, don't buy good headphones. As a bare minimum, if you want decent sound from headphones on a PC, you should get the Schiit Magni/Modi combo. If you want to be able to feed out to speakers as well get the "2 uber" version of the amp.

These are entry level amps and dacs but they will sound infinitely better than integrated or even a Xonar STX.

An alternative for $50 less is an Audioquest Dragonfly 1.2, which will still amplifiy your headphones, and is a dac/amp combo, but overall, the amplification will be much better with the Schiit equipment.

Any headphone, right down to Apple earbuds, sounds better with a proper amp. Spend the money. It's worth it.

Correct me if I'm wrong but isn't amplification mostly needed for additional volume? I'm not really looking for a lot of volume. Also, I can't find the Schiit Magni or Modi anywhere. Are those even sold in europe?

The Audioquest Dragonfly 1.2 is readily available but if the Shiit equipment is going to be better...

Also, I ordered the ATH-A900X and it'll arrive today. I'm never going to use speakers. Would that affect what DAC and Amp is best for me?
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post #6 of 22
Good call on the A900X. The Beyerdynamic DT 770 has boosted bass and you probably wouldn't like it.

As for DAC/amp choice, I suppose that rules out a preamp requirement since you won't be using speakers. I wonder if you can get an ODAC in Europe from a decent builder? And a Little Dot 1+ amp, which I was considering getting for my A900X before selling the A900X.
 
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post #7 of 22
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by boredgunner View Post

Good call on the A900X. The Beyerdynamic DT 770 has boosted bass and you probably wouldn't like it.

As for DAC/amp choice, I suppose that rules out a preamp requirement since you won't be using speakers. I wonder if you can get an ODAC in Europe from a decent builder? And a Little Dot 1+ amp, which I was considering getting for my A900X before selling the A900X.

I'm actually slightly worried that the A900X has too much bass, as the Recommend Audio Product topic here on OCN states that the bass is "improved" over the A700X. >_>

ODAC? What is that exactly, a brand name? Little Dot 1+? I can't find that anywhere either. frown.gif
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post #8 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Z0eff View Post

I'm actually slightly worried that the A900X has too much bass, as the Recommend Audio Product topic here on OCN states that the bass is "improved" over the A700X. >_>

ODAC? What is that exactly, a brand name? Little Dot 1+? I can't find that anywhere either. frown.gif

Improved bass doesn't mean more bass. The A900X is quite bass light.

ODAC = Objective DAC I guess. JDS Labs is the most popular builder but I wager they aren't available in Europe. So no Little Dot either? How about Cambridge Audio then?
 
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post #9 of 22
O2 headphone-amplifier information and design. Yes, you can make it yourself.
ODAC DAC information and design. You can't really make it yourself but you can get ready-made boards without casings.

And where to get them in europe?
- Epiphany Acoustics in the UK
- Head 'n' HiFi in Germany/Switzerland (also has DIY kits)

Personally I'm using the O2 *Desktop version*.
Edited by Tiihokatti - 9/29/15 at 9:39am
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post #10 of 22
Amplification does not mean more volume. Although you can play at a louder volume with less distortion with better amplification, it also adds a lot of thickness and muscularity to the sound to have a better amp.
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Overclock.net › Forums › Components › Sound Cards and Computer Audio › Looking to get a proper set of headphones for the first time, thinking of the A500X/A700X/A900X