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Headphone Upgrade

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
I am looking to upgrade my cans, currently have A700's, to something new. I listen to a lot of music, ranging from classical, to rock, to electronica, to blues/jazz. I don't listen to rap or anything like it. At this point I am looking at the Denon AD2000's. Should I be looking at anything else?

Another question I have, at what point do I need an amp? I currently have an Asus Xonar STX for my sound card. The card is driving both my A700's and my BX5a's.

Let me know what you guys think I am open to suggestions and spending in the neighborhood of $300 total
post #2 of 13
I, myself, have the AKG K 242 HD's Headphones. They're open-eared, so you get much better sound input over closed-ear headphones. The bass is just perfect for me when it comes to listening to Dubstep, or anything with BAAASSS. Hah. New, they cost around $280, so yeah they're quite pricey, but you get what ya pay for. You won't be disappointed either.

Your Sound Card and Amp set-up is perfect. I currently don't have either, which sucks hah, but I'm just not flowing in the cash to throw that kind of money around..

http://www.akg.com/personal/K%20242%...l:K%20242%20HD

If your interested on a buy, PM me. I've been thinking on selling these off to bump up my Graphics Card.
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post #3 of 13
The Denon AH series is known for their bass. SOme say its too exaggerated, but thats all about personal preference. If you read some reviews you'll get a general idea of what to expect and whether or not that appeals to you.

For $200 I'd recommend the Shure SRH 840's. You can read my review in my sig.

I'd like to know your budget though. The STX is dece for mid-fi headphones. You could probably find a pair of Sennheiser HD 650's used for around $320, and those are great but a good amp really brings out the best in them.
Once we figure out your budget we can discuss which headphones would be best and whether or not an external amp even makes sense.
    
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post #4 of 13
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ckaz View Post
The Denon AH series is known for their bass. SOme say its too exaggerated, but thats all about personal preference. If you read some reviews you'll get a general idea of what to expect and whether or not that appeals to you.

For $200 I'd recommend the Shure SRH 840's. You can read my review in my sig.

I'd like to know your budget though. The STX is dece for mid-fi headphones. You could probably find a pair of Sennheiser HD 650's used for around $320, and those are great but a good amp really brings out the best in them.
Once we figure out your budget we can discuss which headphones would be best and whether or not an external amp even makes sense.
When you say amp, what should I be looking for?
post #5 of 13
Hope this helps a bit:

You may have heard of a headphone's "impedance." Impedance is the combined resistance and reactivity the headphones present to the amplifier as an electrical load. High impedance cans will usually need more voltage to get up to a solid listening level, so they will often benefit from an amp, especially with portable players that have limited voltage available from their internal batteries. But low impedance cans may require more current, and will lower the damping factor between the amp and headphones. So while low impedance headphones may be driven loud enough from a portable player, the quality of sound may be dramatically improved with an amp.

*In a nutshell: If ya got some nice Audiophile headphones, and feel that your not getting it's full potential by pluggin em straight into speakers, buy an AMP!

I'm also new when it come's to learning about Amps/DAC's. So if I'm mixin up some info, please pardon it, lol. I'm learnin while i'm trying to help ya learn. So, I've browsed various forums, and reviewers are saying how HeadRoom makes some pretty nice quality Amps. Might wanna look up that brand and get some feedback on em.
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post #6 of 13
A headphone amplifier helps give you more juice then your regular amplifier can put out. So an ipod, or the STX essenc; those both have their own headphone amps. The one in an ipod is generally considered to be pretty awful, and the one in the STX is decent, but it has a limitation as to how many Ohms it can drive. All headphones have an Ohm measurement. The higher the amount, the harder they are to drive.
So for instance, the Shure SRH 840's have a fairly low resistance. An iPod can drive them extremely loud. A pair of Sennehiser HD 650's on the other hand won't be able to go very loud with an ipod because their resistance is higher.

Headphone amplifiers can range from $50 to $1200. The components vary. Some will sound better, some will sound worse (to put it simply). The headphone amplifier in the STX Essence is, again, alright.

Now, if you decide you want the Sennehsier HD 650's, the Essence will be able to drive them to a loud volume, but the 650's have the potential to sound much much better with a better amp.
The 840's won't benefit as much from a better amp, mainly due to their low resistance (among other things).

There are however different kinds of amplifiers. Solid state (which you would find in your STX essence, and just about every other amp that doesn't mention otherwise), and Tube amps. Tube amps add colouration to your headphones, while providing more power. The signature tube sound is warm and rich. If you like that kind of sound, the 650's with a $200 tube amp would sound quite nice.
Take a look at the Little Dot MK III. Its regarded as the best budget tube amp around.
The 840's will benefit from a nice tube amp as well. The added colouration would be noticeable, whereas a solid state might not change the sound all that much with that specific pair.

There are also hybrid amps, but those are fairly expensive.
    
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post #7 of 13
Thread Starter 
Well, the Little Dot MKIII looks promising. So, lets say I get that amp. Any recommendations on cans?
post #8 of 13
How much would you be willing to spend, considering that you are buying the tube amp?

The Sennehiser HD 650's are great, as are the Beyerdynamic DT 880's. Those two have a warmer inclination, though not so much with the Beyers. If you like an analytical headphone that excels in detail and precision, you'll want to look at a pair of Grado's and a solid state amp instead.
It is very important that you do research and decide for yourself. Everyone hears differently, and what might be good to some won't be to others. By giving you recommendations I can get you started and push you in the right direction, but it will ultimately be you who has to make the choice.
    
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post #9 of 13
Thread Starter 
The primary music that Listen to is classical, blues/jazz, and rock. For headphones, my price range in roughly in the $300 range. I have my A700's for gaming so these will be purely for music and listening experiences.
post #10 of 13
Im a fan of the Denons personally and they compete well with higher cost cans. Your STX will power headphones up to about 300 ohms (generally speaking of course there is more to it than that). Realistically there is the 250 ohm line of the DT880s and DT990s which are excellent buys as well; they are however known to be difficult to drive.

I personally dont care for the AKGs, Shures, or the Senns as I feel their sound signature is flat and lacking any real appeal. This of course is more opinion than fact.
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