• Introducing Image Options for ResetEra 2.0! Check the left side navigation bar to show or hide images, avatars, covers, and embedded media. More details at the link.

Headphones Era lOTl Even Through The Distortion We Remain Lossless

Oct 25, 2017
1,133
#1




Understanding Impedance - Of course what I'm about say doesn't apply to every pair of headphones or earphones, but here it goes: One important thing to note when picking a set of cans or IEMs is whether they are high impedance or low impedance. Low impedance head-gear usually requires little to no amplification in order to reach it's full potential, while high impedance head gear requires more amplification or voltage in order to sound how it should. Low impedance head-gear usually ranges from about 10 - 80OHM; High Impedance head gear 250 - 600OHM. High impedance head-gear usually suffers from less sound distortion and static noise.

What's a DAC - A Digital to Audio Converter converts a digital bitstream to an analog signal. Can be a separate "box" that connects between a CD Transport or CD Player and a pre-amplifier. Damping (Damping factor, etc.): Refers to the ability of an audio component to "stop" after the signal ends. For example, if a drum is struck with a mallet, the sound will reach a peak level and then decay in a certain amount of time to no sound. An audio component that allows the decay to drag on too long has poor damping, and less definition than it should. An audio component that is overdamped does not allow the initial energy to reach the full peak and cuts the decay short. "Boomy" or "muddy" sound is often the result of underdamped systems. "Dry" or "lifeless" sound may be the result of an overdamped system. If you have a poor sound-card and need a DAC or a better one you will probably experience a bit of distortion, which may be audible even without anything playing.

What's an Amp - A device which increases signal level. Many types of amplifiers are used in audio systems. Amplifiers typically increase voltage, current or both.

Description of Soundstage - A listening term that refers to the placement of a stereo image in a fashion that replicates the original performance. A realistic soundstage has proportional width, depth and height.



Closed Vs. Open Headphones - Usually this refers to headphones exclusively. Closed headphones leak sound less and generally provide better isolation from external noises. Open headphones may go loud enough to cover up external noises but generally leak sound to anyone present in the room and generally do a poor job with sound isolation. Open headphones are generally lighter and are more "lively" sounding with better soundstage. Closed headphones usually sport a greater bass impact, but obviously these generalities about sound vary greatly.


Portability - Usually this is a discussion involving headphones. Portable headphones are generally lighter, have lower impedance, and some of them fold up. Generally all IEMs (earphones) are portable given their small size, although some may benefit from amplification.


Supra-Aural (On-Ear Headphones) Vs. Circumaural (Over-Ear Headphones) - Circumaural headphones have ear pads that fit all the over the ear rather than resting on the ear. The results generally lead to added comfort and isolation, though there are some notable exceptions, and lately on-ear headphones have made large strides in both departments. Circumaural headphones also tend to sport wider soundstages and increased bass impact. Supra-Aural headphones are generally lighter, foldable, easier to drive, and thus more portable.


Earbuds Vs. IEMs - Earbuds sit very shallow in the ear (these are what come with iPods) whereas IEMs actually are meant to be inserted all the way into the ear. IEMs provide better isolation, generally better sound, and generally better comfort as well. They are mostly what are going to be recommended, although the Yuin PK3s are a notable exception.



Encoding in lossless - Lossless files such as APE/WAV/FLAC/ALAC offer the best archival quality. They are known as lossless files because they don't suffer from any loss of quality or artifacts when encoding from an audio source such as a CD or LP. Therefore utilizing them to encode to lossy files presents by far the most optimal choice. A well encoded lossy file which starts from a lossless source can sound quite good, nearly
identical.

Lossy Files - Despite what some sites seem to perpetuate, I don't believe utilizing lossy files is the end of the world. They present the most efficient use of space, and as long as they are well encoded most people would be hard pressed to identify them when compared to Lossless ones even with relatively high end gear. Lame is probably the best MP3 encoder, V0 is a very popular variable bitrate choice, as it seems to offer a
nice combination of quality and relatively small file size. For lower bitrates I really prefer AAC/Ogg, which seem to be more efficient and present a greater spectral range at bitrates of 128kpbs and lower. However, keep in mind that they're not compatible with as many players and music programs.


[Sound Descriptors]
[Glossary of Audio Terminology]









When Asking For Recommendations - keep in mind what has been presented in this section. Be specific, the more specific you are the better suited the recommendation will be for you.

Good recommendation example:
Hello headphone peeps I'm looking for a closed portable headphone to be used mainly for hip hop and rock. I have about two hundred dollars. I live in Europe btw. (You could also insert a nice sound descriptor from the link in there to do illuminate what type of signature you desire).




(Closed)




(Open)































 
Last edited:
Oct 27, 2017
1,115
#4
Haven't had much time with my headphones lately, but I'm rocking Sennheiser HD598s and Denon D600s, and the Xiaomi Hybrid Pros on the go. I prefer the Denons because the 598s make my ear itch. I'm putting on an album and listen to my cans tonight!
 
Oct 25, 2017
2,212
#5
Great to see this. I was about to track you down and pester you till this was up HiResDes but I am afraid my laziness and your work ethic stopped that from happening.

Rules to live by when dealing with headphones and audio gear....

1. law of diminishing returns
2. once you find that headphone/stack combination for a good listening setup stop there. Do not chase that audio quality dragon past where you are satisfied it is not worth it.
3. feed your money towards music after finding that perfect setup. Once you have your stack you just need to feed it to stay happy.
 
Oct 27, 2017
3,241
#6
Awesome thread! I need to get one of those headphone stands to complete my desktop.

Currently using Sennheiser HD598Cs for my headphones which are amazing, and I have a pair of Shure SE215 but they don't work well since being like 5-6 years old.
Recently also got MEE M6P for sports but the isolation is pretty bad and I have to keep rearranging them while running - does anyone have a recommendation for good pair of earphones for running I'll switch to? (Not pricey please!)
 
Oct 27, 2017
77
#11
Yeesss, I've been waiting for this thread to pop up!

I currently have some HD650s that I really love the sound of, but I'm actually considering selling them since I only have a schiit fulla amp (the first one) which is starting to die. To be honest, I don't like using an external dac/amp. I have a laptop which I move between the bed, desk and couch, so it's a pain in the ass to have that little dongle on the side, especially since it's started to lose connection unless you hold it just so. It also sucks that the 650s don't sound too good out of my phone. It just makes me want something simpler. I don't have the money or desk-space for a fully sized amp, so I might just see if I can sell my 650s for a pair of 599s which sound about just as good when compared unamped.

Has anyone here ever downgraded their headphones and been satisfied? I'm worried I can never go back below the 650s again...
 
Oct 26, 2017
4,017
#15
Ah cool, was hoping this thread had popped back up. Asked this right before the other site died I think, but my HD6XX just got shipped so I'm not in a hurry to buy an amp. I really only want to spend $100 and was looking at the Fulla 2. If I'm reading right, this is a DAC/AMP but could also function as just an amp right? Will it be enough for my HD6XX or should I suck it up and spend more?
 
OP
OP
HiResDes
Oct 25, 2017
1,133
#17
Ah cool, was hoping this thread had popped back up. Asked this right before the other site died I think, but my HD6XX just got shipped so I'm not in a hurry to buy an amp. I really only want to spend $100 and was looking at the Fulla 2. If I'm reading right, this is a DAC/AMP but could also function as just an amp right? Will it be enough for my HD6XX or should I suck it up and spend more?
If you absolutely need a portable amp then yeah that's probably your best bet otherwise I'd probably suggest grabbing one of the cheap tubes in the OP. You can find cheap options on eBay too - https://rover.ebay.com/rover/0/0/0?mpre=https://www.ebay.com/ulk/itm/263043035703
 
Oct 26, 2017
4,017
#18
If you absolutely need a portable amp then yeah that's probably your best bet otherwise I'd probably suggest grabbing one of the cheap tubes in the OP. You can find cheap options on eBay too - https://rover.ebay.com/rover/0/0/0?mpre=https://www.ebay.com/ulk/itm/263043035703
Do you think the HD6XX need an amp? I would only need it for when I listen on my bed at night after smoking, which is when I usually want to melt into the music haha. I have an old Fiio E11 that doesn't work right but I could probably fix..though I doubt that works well enough. I think I would prefer versatility, and the option to take the amp around though it's not a necessity.

To be clear though, the Fulla 2 is "good enough" to power the HD6XX?
 
Oct 27, 2017
77
#19
Can you get your hands on Sony MDRMA900?
Unfortunately no, seems to not be stocked anywhere around here anymore. Probably gonna audition the 599s and see what I think. The 595s were my very first proper headphones so I have a fondness for the line. Appreciate the tips!
 
OP
OP
HiResDes
Oct 25, 2017
1,133
#20
Unfortunately no, seems to not be stocked anywhere around here anymore. Probably gonna audition the 599s and see what I think. The 595s were my very first proper headphones so I have a fondness for the line. Appreciate the tips!
Yeah those might be your best bet, probably pretty efficient. Master and Dynamic MH40 is another headphone with that signature but it's quite a bit overpriced at this point.
 
OP
OP
HiResDes
Oct 25, 2017
1,133
#21
Do you think the HD6XX need an amp? I would only need it for when I listen on my bed at night after smoking, which is when I usually want to melt into the music haha. I have an old Fiio E11 that doesn't work right but I could probably fix..though I doubt that works well enough. I think I would prefer versatility, and the option to take the amp around though it's not a necessity.

To be clear though, the Fulla 2 is "good enough" to power the HD6XX?
I guess. I mean it's a safe bet because you can always just use the Fulla as DAC later.
 
Oct 27, 2017
77
#22
Yeah those might be your best bet, probably pretty efficient. Master and Dynamic MH40 is another headphone with that signature but it's quite a bit overpriced at this point.
Yeah at that point I might as well pony up for the HD 660s lol.

Do you think the HD6XX need an amp? I would only need it for when I listen on my bed at night after smoking, which is when I usually want to melt into the music haha. I have an old Fiio E11 that doesn't work right but I could probably fix..though I doubt that works well enough. I think I would prefer versatility, and the option to take the amp around though it's not a necessity.

To be clear though, the Fulla 2 is "good enough" to power the HD6XX?
I have the fulla 1 and a pair of 650s and it does sound really good, but it's a little bit annoying knowing that they could sound a lot better with a bigger, better amp. But as Des points out, you can just use the fulla 2 as a dac later if you feel you need to upgrade, so you might as well try it.
 
Oct 26, 2017
4,017
#23
I guess. I mean it's a safe bet because you can always just use the Fulla as DAC later.
That's a good point. I would always need a DAC, and I could just upgrade with a better amp in the future.

Yeah at that point I might as well pony up for the HD 660s lol.


I have the fulla 1 and a pair of 650s and it does sound really good, but it's a little bit annoying knowing that they could sound a lot better with a bigger, better amp. But as Des points out, you can just use the fulla 2 as a dac later if you feel you need to upgrade, so you might as well try it.
I'm assuming a better, fuller amp would cost like 150-200$ on it's own right? This strategy sounds like a good idea. I do want the best possible sound out of the 6XX but it's probably not feasible at this point. I'll save the amp upgrade for when I'm feeling content with the 6XX and am itching to spend money on even better headphones lol. Thanks!
 
OP
OP
HiResDes
Oct 25, 2017
1,133
#24
When you get that itch spend more on the amp as you're not really gonna do much better than the HD650 without spending 1k.
 
Oct 26, 2017
4,017
#25
When you get that itch spend more on the amp as you're not really gonna do much better than the HD650 without spending 1k.
Good to know, thanks! I think I might want to try and get the X2 since I remember you recommending that as an open for open headphones for my basshead self, but hopefully the 6XX scratches that itch as well

I don't suppose anyone has a free shipping coupon or something for Schiit? lol
 
Oct 26, 2017
1,793
London, UK
#28
Aa yeah, nice to see you move this community over HiResDes. To celebrate the launch of Headphone Era, I’ll post the first ever picture of my listening station. DAC is fed by an Autonomic Mirage feed over coax, playing Tidal Masters.

 
Oct 26, 2017
4,017
#29
Anyone know how much of an effect the lightning port has on audio quality out of newer iPhones? Plugged in my m50 with new Fulla 2 and was not impressed. Not sure if it’s the phone or the amp
 
OP
OP
HiResDes
Oct 25, 2017
1,133
#30
Anyone know how much of an effect the lightning port has on audio quality out of newer iPhones? Plugged in my m50 with new Fulla 2 and was not impressed. Not sure if it’s the phone or the amp
I don't think the phone has enough power for it like you'd need to connect it to a dedicated powered hub or different source.
 
Oct 25, 2017
116
#33
I opted in the massdrop hd6xx drop so I'm waiting on those. Don't have alot of money available right now due to entrepreneurship but I just got in the mail today my Schiit Magni 3 to go with the cans.

Hope it all sounds amazing!
 
Oct 25, 2017
3,381
#34
Hey so I need a pair of bluetooth earbuds and decided on the Sennheiser HD1 Free. I'm wondering if there are any other pairs I should be considering? Those seem like the best as the regular HD1s are near the top in terms of sound quality for bluetooth earbuds.
 
OP
OP
HiResDes
Oct 25, 2017
1,133
#35
Hey so I need a pair of bluetooth earbuds and decided on the Sennheiser HD1 Free. I'm wondering if there are any other pairs I should be considering? Those seem like the best as the regular HD1s are near the top in terms of sound quality for bluetooth earbuds.
Maybe the Meelectronics X8 only because they seem to be a consistent brand i don't use any wireless stuff so I could be completely off base.
 
Oct 27, 2017
66
CA
#36
I have a setup for fixed and portable situations. I prefer a flat, neutral sound without overbearing bass; something that can get you as close to the source material as the sound recording engineer intended, all at a great value. I carry my personal collection of music in 320kbps or its VBR equivalent (some FLAC of my favorites, just 16bit/44.1kHz Fs); I am in the minority now that I do not stream my music. I also believe in digital audio since I view this as getting closer to the exact source material, and you can do whatever you want on top of it.

Aside from the link below describing the type of headphone, TheHeadphoneList, Headfonia and Headphone.com are some other good resources from people who understand audio without getting into super levels of crazy.


Desktop setup
Music Player: iTunes - I know Foobar and some other players would be better options but are not straightforward at all
Sound Card: Asus Xonar Essence STX II with Burson Audio V5i's for the I/V and buffer (Uni Xonar drivers with Xonar Switch)
2x (Active) Bookshelf Speakers: Yamaha HS8 - Flat response, there is a reason why these are famous
Speaker Stands: IsoAcoustics ISO-L8R200
Power Conditioner - Furman AC215A (for the speakers, not for the computer PSU itself)
Open Cans - Focal Clear Professional (Dynamic)
Upgraded from HiFiMan HE-560 (Planar magnetic)​
Upgraded from AKG Q701​


On-The-Go setup
iPhone (Kaisertone player) --> Lightning to USB Cable --> AudioQuest Jitterbug -->
Audio DAC - Chord Mojo (a bit misleading though as it is really an audio FPGA)
Can also be used in my desktop setup to drive big speakers if wanted
[Update] My battery went bad 1.5yrs in, way faster than I expected it to (takes ages to charge and lasts max of 3hrs only now), switched to the...​

USB Audio DAC (AudioQuest Dragonfly Red) --> Custom IEMs (Jerry Harvey JH13v2 Pro)
Upgraded from HiFiMan RE-400​

or Closed Cans - Nuraphone
Using these in BT since in this case I value the convenience of no wires​
(Effectively) the first digital headphone which uses calibration to personalize your EQ, have to say I am very impressed!​
The dedicated IEM and ear driver design is brilliant, but could be more comfortable. Would love to see more of this type of design to keep the high and low frequencies separated​
Newest update adds ANC, external hearing, and BT switching​
While not relevant to iOS users, these cans uses the aptX HD spec for BT audio which is close to wireless lossless​
Given that these generally need to be tied to a cell phone, this makes it hard to interface to traditional computers/laptops/etc​
Cables could be longer, and I wish they were non-proprietary...​
 
Last edited:
Oct 26, 2017
4,017
#40
Yeah, well I don't know what to say lol. Does it sound worse than just listening from the phone directly?
I wouldn't say worse, but they aren't much better with the Fulla. The lack of bass is what's surprising me. Though the sound quality I think is because of that song lol. Guess the Fulla is making me hear things I couldn't beforr

Maybe the Meelectronics X8 only because they seem to be a consistent brand i don't use any wireless stuff so I could be completely off base.
It's only their budget one but I have the M9B and the wireless is garbage. Battery is garbage too. Not sure I could ever recommend MEE for their wireless
 
OP
OP
HiResDes
Oct 25, 2017
1,133
#41
Are you sure your problem is with the Fulla and not the M50?

Also the X8 supposedly lasts at least 7 hours.
 
Oct 25, 2017
1,067
#42
What kinds of brands are likely to get decent discounts for Black Friday? Looking to finally actually replace my held-together-by-duct-tape Panasonic RP-HTF600 with something of a similar form factor.
 
Oct 28, 2017
157
#43
Hey guys. I'm looking for closed headphones that don't need to be portable. I'm going to be using it mostly for gaming (I've got a modmic already) and music. Best thing I've owned was the JVC HARX 700, and I appreciated it's solid bass for the budget price. It's been starting to degrade on me after 7 years. This time I've got about $250 budgeted. Long-term comfort is a plus for gaming marathons (if possible).
 
OP
OP
HiResDes
Oct 25, 2017
1,133
#44
Hey guys. I'm looking for closed headphones that don't need to be portable. I'm going to be using it mostly for gaming (I've got a modmic already) and music. Best thing I've owned was the JVC HARX 700, and I appreciated it's solid bass for the budget price. It's been starting to degrade on me after 7 years. This time I've got about $250 budgeted. Long-term comfort is a plus for gaming marathons (if possible).
I'm guessing you'd also like them to be closed?
 
Oct 27, 2017
77
#45
Got a pair of Sennheiser HD 599s today and I'm very impressed by them. Comparing them to my HD650s I can notice that the 650s are a bit more detailed, but the 599s have a more exciting treble response and a wider soundstage while still being able to pull off bass and mids more or less like the 650s. Keep in mind I only have a Schiit Fulla to power them, though, and I'm far from an expert. To my ears, they both sound fantastic, but I'm gonna go with the 599s since I can use them with my 3DS and phone, too. Sometime far in the future I might consider upgrading to a 650 or 660s together with a proper amp, but for now I'm satisfied with the 599s.
 
Oct 26, 2017
4,017
#49
Are you sure your problem is with the Fulla and not the M50?

Also the X8 supposedly lasts at least 7 hours.
That's a good question. I've realized now that I have never used an amp without an equalizer of some sorts. My first basic amp was a Fiio and I always used the bass boost. When I plug it into my computers soundcard I also equalize it and increase the bass. So when I plugged it into the Fulla I was missing that bass that I was used to. What should I use to play with the EQ on my computer? Do I have to do it in every music playing app or is there a way to change it throughout Windows? Right now I'm using my soundcards program but obviously that won't work anymore..
 
OP
OP
HiResDes
Oct 25, 2017
1,133
#50
I don't know personally. I know you can change it in programs like poweramp, iTunes, musicbee, but not so sure about one program that does it for everything... I really don't ever EQ. If I don't like a way headphone sounds I usually try to find a way to get rid of it.
 
Last edited: