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Discussion Starter #1
I'm going audiophile (yay), and I thought why not get a killer setup right from the start, instead of inevitably ending up spending more money going from mid-range headphones and soundcard to high-end? Sounds like a plan to me.

Anyway, I've pretty much fallen in love with the Sennheiser HD 650, and I was wondering how much I'd need to spend minimum on extra stuff (sound card, DAC(?)) to fully utilize the HD 650's?

I have been looking at the Newegg reviews and someone suggested the HT OMEGA Claro Halo Sound Card w/ a built-in AMP for around 200$. Would this be a respectable choice? Other recommendations? Would I need anything else or something completely different than a sound card?

At the moment I'm stuck with a crappy Steelseries headset. Fortunately it came with a clip-on mic, which means I won't have to spend money on a that.

I really don't know anything 'bout audio, and I'm not even sure if these headhphones are the right choice for me. I'm open to suggestions, but I'd like sound quality on par or a bit worse than with the HD 650.

I am looking for a set-up that:

- is great for gaming and listening to music.
(40% gaming, 60% music. Mostly electronic music, but also all kinds of rock and occasionally mainstream rap/pop)

- has a powerful bass.
(HD 650's are open headphones, does this mean that the bass isn't of significant quality? I don't care about leakage, as long as the sound quality isn't affected)

- is comfortable for long sessions of gaming.

Any help will be greatly appreciated.

UPDATE 05/02/2011:
I´ve had the HD 650 with the Fiio E7+E9 combo for a while now, and I just wanted to say that it was worth every single penny.
biggrin.gif
Plenty of bass with the "Gain" button enabled on the E9 and the sound quality in general is just incredible with .FLAC files and foobar2k. I might get a more expensive amp down the road, but for now this is more than enough for me.

Cheers.
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I think you're better off with an amp first, then sound card/DAC.

HD650 without an amp sounds okay. Less soundstage, bass is much more bloated.

Right now I'm using FiiO E9 and Xonar DX. I think that's the absolute minimum for this baby
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Discussion Starter #3
Wouldn't a sound card with a built-in AMP be superior than a standalone AMP? And doesn't your Xonar DX have an AMP already? If so, why would you need an AMP on your sound card + your E9? Please, enlighten me.
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No, a standalone amp is better than a soundcard amp usually.
Yes, the Xonar DX has an amp, but like I described, the sound is just so much better when I plug it with the FiiO E9.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Quote:
Originally Posted by canoners;13006802
No, a standalone amp is better than a soundcard amp usually.
Yes, the Xonar DX has an amp, but like I described, the sound is just so much better when I plug it with the FiiO E9.
So, if I understand this correctly, you're not even using the AMP on your sound card?
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Incorrect, the Xonar DX does not have an amp. The Asus Essence ST/X is the card with the amplifier. While an amplifier is very important for the HD650s, the DAC is just as important otherwise you're not using the headphones anywhere near their full potential and you would thus be better off buying a cheaper pair of headphones and a better DAC/Amp.

While the Asus Essence ST would drive your headphones, it is strongly recommended that you look into buying an external DAC/Amp.

However, there's a sale going on for refurbished ST/X's for 120-130. This is a very cheap solution, one that you can sell off when you want to upgrade and probably make a few bucks on as well or at least get all your money back.

Here's the link for the refurbed Essence: http://www.overclock.net/online-deals/982636-geeks-com-xonar-essence-stx-st.html

Also, if you're looking to straight up jump at the DAC/Amp etc, be prepared to spend some money. What's your budget/limit?
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Goaky;13006892
So, if I understand this correctly, you're not even using the AMP on your sound card?
confused.gif
The Xonar DX is not powerful enough to drive the HD 650 to its full potential. I think he meant he plug his E9 to his Xonar DX, and then his HD 650 to his E9.
 

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how much are you willing to spend? this is something i find most people tend not to mention when making this type of thread, there are a couple ways you can go:
1. get a sound card like the Asus Essence ST/X
2. get an external dac/amp hybrid
3. get a dedicated external dac + dedicated amp
4. get a receiver (you get the option of upgrading speakers here if you want)
5. in case of external you have some options in DIY.

in case of external you'll also want to decide between solid state or tube (personally i love tube sound) anyways there are some affordable dac's/amp's and some not so much, end the end how much are you willing to spend?
if $200 is the budget the Maverick TubeMagic D1 is a good choice from the specs its able to handle up to 600 ohm headphones so it should be able to drive the hd650 and from what i seen the TubeMagic D1 gets some good feedback.

you also might want to head over to head-fi to see what other people are using with their HD650.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Quote:
Originally Posted by Simca;13007126
Incorrect, the Xonar DX does not have an amp. The Asus Essence ST/X is the card with the amplifier. While an amplifier is very important for the HD650s, the DAC is just as important otherwise you're not using the headphones anywhere near their full potential and you would thus be better off buying a cheaper pair of headphones and a better DAC/Amp.

While the Asus Essence ST would drive your headphones, it is strongly recommended that you look into buying an external DAC/Amp.

However, there's a sale going on for refurbished ST/X's for 120-130. This is a very cheap solution, one that you can sell off when you want to upgrade and probably make a few bucks on as well or at least get all your money back.

Here's the link for the refurbed Essence: http://www.overclock.net/online-deals/982636-geeks-com-xonar-essence-stx-st.html

Also, if you're looking to straight up jump at the DAC/Amp etc, be prepared to spend some money. What's your budget/limit?
Alright. I'll likely spend around the 500$ for the headphones alone, unless I can find them cheaper somewhere.
I'd like you to suggest the additional parts (DAC/amp/sound card/whatever I need) that'll provide me with the best possible sound quality for the following price. Budget excluding headphones: 300$ +-, I don't care about an additional 50-100 dollar price difference, if it means significantly better sound quality.

The refurbished card isn't really an option since, as far as I know, the site doesn't ship outside the US.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by RallyMaster;13007798
Honestly I think you should start with less expensive equipment and work your way up. You get much more experience that way and you'll know what you want when you actually can spend a ton of money on audio.

Sent from my Samsung Epic 4G
I think this is a great comment. I don't think I would appreciate the audio equipment I have now any where near as much if I hadn't owned several speakers/headphones/amps before them.

You might be spending way more money than is necessary, plenty of people are happy with a soundcard and a <$100 pair of headphones.
 

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My HD600 compared to PC350 sound wrong with just only e7 and a X-Fi Fatality card. You want archief 300 omps to get the HD650 to full potential.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Quote:
Originally Posted by tUDJ;13007830
I think this is a great comment. I don't think I would appreciate the audio equipment I have now any where near as much if I hadn't owned several speakers/headphones/amps before them.

You might be spending way more money than is necessary, plenty of people are happy with a soundcard and a <$100 pair of headphones.
As a student I always think things through before I buy stuff, seeing as I can only spend this kind of money like once a year. I know for sure that if I bought a pair for 100$, I'd soon be wanting more and drooling over the HD 650 and eventually end up spending a whole lot more.
I bet I'll appreciate it A LOT after being stuck with a Steelseries Sibera and 2$ ear-buds from Hong Kong.
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Here is what I see, if you love rock music and gaming you probably better off with the Beyer Dynamics DT880/990 headphone as for how they sounds visited this page.

I see you want to fully utilize the HD650 that is the wrong statement, people using 2000 dollars amp and DAC to run the HD650 the better you feed it the better it received it.

As for budget consensus I highly recommended the Fiio E7/E9 combo to drive the headphone is 200 dollars right as the price line of HT Omega Halo and Asus Xonar STX, I own the HT Omega Claro Plus pair it up with my HD650 is decent but not enough to make it shine. On the other hand the Fiio E7/E9 can bring the better side of the HD650 for a reasonable price.

Check Ebay cause you don't have to pay 500 dollars for the headphone I got it for $330 off authorized dealer such as Razor Dog, Unique Square. If you are in the US you can call J&R for price match as well.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Quote:
Originally Posted by prtuc2;13008236
Here is what I see, if you love rock music and gaming you probably better off with the Beyer Dynamics DT880/990 headphone as for how they sounds visited this page.

I see you want to fully utilize the HD650 that is the wrong statement, people using 2000 dollars amp and DAC to run the HD650 the better you feed it the better it received it.

As for budget consensus I highly recommended the Fiio E7/E9 combo to drive the headphone is 200 dollars right as the price line of HT Omega Halo and Asus Xonar STX, I own the HT Omega Claro Plus pair it up with my HD650 is decent but not enough to make it shine. On the other hand the Fiio E7/E9 can bring the better side of the HD650 for a reasonable price.

Check Ebay cause you don't have to pay 500 dollars for the headphone I got it for $330 off authorized dealer such as Razor Dog, Unique Square. If you are in the US you can call J&R for price match as well.
I don't "love" rock music, I mostly listen to electronic. If I went with the E7/E9 combo, wouldn't I also need a sound card, optimally? Can you recommend any?

I'm not in the US.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Goaky;13008312
I don't "love" rock music, I mostly listen to electronic. If I went with the E7/E9 combo, wouldn't I also need a sound card, optimally? Can you recommend any?

I'm not in the US.
no the E7 is a sound card or DAC youll be connecting it through usb so no sound card is need inside your system, the E9 is an amp
 

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Have you listened to the 650 yet? Although some might say it's better to go lower end first I wouldn't discourage you from jumping to the 650 as long as you've personally heard it. It's a real winner for people who prefer a relaxed sound. As far as amping goes, the 650 will definitely need plenty of power. I would definitely look into a DAC/amp, it is useless getting the 650s without either. The E7/E9 combo listed above is a good choice, although I probably would go in some other directions personally. You will NOT need an internal soundcard with the DAC/amp, it does all the processing itself (you will need a USB or optical connection from the computer).
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Iceman23;13008426
Have you listened to the 650 yet? Although some might say it's better to go lower end first I wouldn't discourage you from jumping to the 650 as long as you've personally heard it. It's a real winner for people who prefer a relaxed sound. As far as amping goes, the 650 will definitely need plenty of power. I would definitely look into a DAC/amp, it is useless getting the 650s without either. The E7/E9 combo listed above is a good choice, although I probably would go in some other directions personally. You will NOT need an internal soundcard with the DAC/amp, it does all the processing itself (you will need a USB or optical connection from the computer).
I agree. Before you shell out $400 for a new headphone, you really should listen to it first or you might suffer serious buyer's remorse. Of course, most of the headphones made by Sennheiser would be better than the Siberia you have now. It's your call after all but the HD650 is a serious headphone and will most likely end up costing you far more than just $400 for the headphone.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by RallyMaster;13007798
Honestly I think you should start with less expensive equipment and work your way up. You get much more experience that way and you'll know what you want when you actually can spend a ton of money on audio.

Sent from my Samsung Epic 4G
I can't say I agree. I think most would spend less in the long run over comparing equipment that gives the user more appreciation of what's better. If I'm getting car tires I'm not buying cheap ones to earn experience and learn what I want after.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Goaky;13007504
Alright. I'll likely spend around the 500$ for the headphones alone, unless I can find them cheaper somewhere.
I'd like you to suggest the additional parts (DAC/amp/sound card/whatever I need) that'll provide me with the best possible sound quality for the following price. Budget excluding headphones: 300$ +-, I don't care about an additional 50-100 dollar price difference, if it means significantly better sound quality.

The refurbished card isn't really an option since, as far as I know, the site doesn't ship outside the US.
Best case would be what the previous suggested, No.4, a vintage pioneer or advent receiver, price would vary. If you have 800-1.5k to spend then there's more wiggle room for a solid external dac/amp combo.
Quote:
Originally Posted by prtuc2;13008236
Here is what I see, if you love rock music and gaming you probably better off with the Beyer Dynamics DT880/990 headphone as for how they sounds visited this page.
Having owned a few of these headphones I don't really agree with somes' assessment on which is better for rock vs other genres. But then it's all subjective anyways. Overall the HD650 is a good starting place for many, so are the DT880s.
 
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