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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've decided to upgrade my headphones. My current setup is a HD 598 with Fiio E09K + E17 using optical @ 192k 24bit. I will be making the decision to buy an HD 800 later this week. Is my DAC/AMP sufficient enough to run the HD 800 at great quality or do I need something better?
 

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If you're spending that much on headphones I would strongly recommend demoing headphone amps and DACs before making any purchases. Buying blind at that level is insanity IMO
tongue.gif
 

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to clarify the Fiio E09K will drive them but it's probably not the amplifier you want. Sennheiser HD800 is a picky headphone. Violectric is a popular choice. I think the Sennheiser HD800 were connected to the Violectric V200 when I listened to them. some people like to warm up the Sennheiser HD800 with a tube amplifier so Woo Audio is another option.

http://www.violectric.de/Pages/en/products/index.php

maybe the V100 with optional USB or Coaxial 24/96 DAC.

http://wooaudio.com/products/
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Quote:
Originally Posted by TUDJ View Post

If you're spending that much on headphones I would strongly recommend demoing headphone amps and DACs before making any purchases. Buying blind at that level is insanity IMO
tongue.gif
I was told that a good pair of headphones makes up 85% of the quality while 10% is in the DAC and 5% in the AMP. Maybe I shouldn't be buying the HD 800 and just stick with the HD 598?
 

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the Sennheiser HD800 is a world class headphone and it's picky. the Fiio E09K is probably going to make it sound too thin and tizzy. you won't feel good about not getting the best out of your $1500 headphones. the relationship between the headphone and amplifier is more important than the DA converter and headphone.

the HiFiMAN HE-500 is what I would consider the cheapest world class headphone and more budget friendly with pairings.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by problemgaming View Post

I was told that a good pair of headphones makes up 85% of the quality while 10% is in the DAC and 5% in the AMP.
That's misleading really. If any single component in the signal path is low quality then the final output will be low quality too.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by TUDJ View Post

That's misleading really. If any single component in the signal path is low quality then the final output will be low quality too.
Yep. Every component on the chain are equally important.

If you have a limited budget you can look into the Soloist SL, and you can buy a dac (HRT streamer for example)
 

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I disagree with all this. The HD800 isn't that hard to drive and your equipment will do just fine. Just make sure you use good quality mp3 encodes at the minimum, as they will be sensitive to low bitrate or poor mastering.
 

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While the HD800 isn't hard to "drive" in that you can listen to them at fine levels, it won't perform as well as it should until it's paired with a nice headphone amp that can do the job. I'm not saying you need a 2000 dollar headphone amp, but finding the right amp for it should be a priority and an E09K is not the headphone amp that should be used.

The HD800 will also sound like death with MP3s. Don't freakin' buy an HD800 if you're listening to MP3s. It's already harsh on poorly mastered FLAC recordings. Don't give it a reason to destroy music further with Mp3s.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
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Originally Posted by Simca View Post

While the HD800 isn't hard to "drive" in that you can listen to them at fine levels, it won't perform as well as it should until it's paired with a nice headphone amp that can do the job. I'm not saying you need a 2000 dollar headphone amp, but finding the right amp for it should be a priority and an E09K is not the headphone amp that should be used.

The HD800 will also sound like death with MP3s. Don't freakin' buy an HD800 if you're listening to MP3s. It's already harsh on poorly mastered FLAC recordings. Don't give it a reason to destroy music further with Mp3s.
Alright, I've decided to upgrade out of the E09K + E17. What do you recommend for a DAC/AMP combo? I really don't want to spend more than $1,000 total for a DAC/AMP since the HD 800 was $1,500. Is the Burson HA-160DS any good? My concerns is that it doesn't have toslink/optical and doesn't support 24bit 192khz.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by problemgaming View Post

Alright, I've decided to upgrade out of the E09K + E17. What do you recommend for a DAC/AMP combo? I really don't want to spend more than $1,000 total for a DAC/AMP since the HD 800 was $1,500. Is the Burson HA-160DS any good? My concerns is that it doesn't have toslink/optical and doesn't support 24bit 192khz.
The 160Ds is a pretty good unit, i have one in my bedroom rig.
smile.gif


It is capable 24/96 via usb, and 24/192 via optical.

A fellow oc'er made some impressions (gaming mainly)
http://www.overclock.net/t/1346641/gaming-with-sennheiser-hd800-burson-ha-160ds
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
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Originally Posted by musicPC View Post

The Burson soloist is an upgrade in amp section over the 160Ds, better circuitry, more features (gain settings) more power and the sound is improved in every aspect.

If space is an issue and you dont need the preamp function, then go for the 160ds.
Considering I need a DAC as well, I am thinking about saving up for the burson conductor. Any good?
 
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