Showing 1 of 7402 conversations about:
View Full Discussion
I need help, I want to buy one final headset, I love music, but I mainly play video games, I've got a Vali 2 and Modi 2 already. I was considering HD 700 (love or like?), Oppo PM-3, Massdrops red AKGs and AMPS/DACS Magni 3 and Modi 2, Fulla 2, Massdrop O2, Massdrop O2 AMP + DAC, Pairing Massdrop's O2 AMP with the Modi 2??
I'm like 5 seconds away from getting these and pairing them with the Vali 2 and Modi 2. Thoughts??
Honestly, I wouldn't buy these if they would be used for gaming any more than 33% of the time. They're awesome for music though. For gaming I'd recommend the Monolith M1060s with a Modi 2 Uber + Magni 3. You've already got 2/3 covered with the Vali 2 and Modi 2 though. Those are fine.
Would those be better or worse than the AKG K7XX? I want this to be my final headset, I can't afford a grand for just the headset which is why HD 800s are out of the question.
The Monolith M1060s are a fantastic step up from budget cans into the entry-level of true audiophile sound. They're extremely comfortable and are amazing for gaming with the bass they have.
I haven't personally listened to the AKG K7XXs, so I can't form an opinion on them. Based on what you've said though, you might want to look elsewhere than the M1060s. They're amazing, and you're 100% guaranteed to get your $300 of value out of them, but for a "final end game" pair of headphones, they probably won't work out.
It has nothing to do with the sound signature or actual build quality, it's the earpads. They're glued on and not easily replaceable. It can be done, but it's a hassle. I can vouch for the value in them, but I don't see them lasting 10-15 years.
My Audio-Technica M50s (gen 1) may sound like shit now that I've been exposed to true sound quality, but those things are built for the long haul. Mine are 11 years old now, and the headband is only just now starting to hint that the leather will start cracking in 2-3 more years.
I could not in good conscience tell someone that the M1060s will last as long as these cans did.
Games = Audeze Mobius. No amp required.
(Only recommending them as i jumped on the pre sale at indie gogo for my frequent long flights abroad)
If the 6xx are not good for gaming what do you recommend for $200 range that is good for gaming. I’m buying some strictly for gaming.
The best gaming and music headphone that I have tried are the m1060 or m1060c. Do not bother with the m1060, better off with the m1060c. You can even mod the m1060c open. The headband is not comfortable on both so I have ordered some cushions on ebay and hope one of those fix the issue.
I game with my 6XX, 4XX, and Elex all the time and think they all do exemplary. The 6XX is the smoothest but probably has the biggest sound stage int he group with good width, height, and depth. The 4XX is by far the brightest and for some games that extra 'zing' really adds something. They're also pretty punchy and dynamic and can convey LFE better than the 6XX. The Elex on the other hand is like have a loudspeaker strapped to your head. It's big, punchy, and dynamic as hell with really good detail retrieval. I personally like them the best of the group but the 6XX would be my 2nd choice. The 4XX is nice but I tend to prefer them more for movies. I also have some HD579s that are good for gaming as well albeit not the most exciting. They have more in common with the HD598/599 so that should give you an idea of their capability. If you can pick them up for $99 I'd say their a very safe, cheap bet. I'm running mine out of a Yamaha receiver via HDMI typically with DSP disabled in Pure Direct mode just for context.
Having owned dozens of headphones over the years, I consider myself a headphone enthusiast. I took a risk on the Sivga SV003 headphones ($90 on Amazon). To improve the sound and comfort, I exchanged the stock pads with Brainwavz (standard protein leather) pads. The sound is lean and detailed. Imaging, sound-stage, and frequency response... really, nothing is lacking. Ok, they could use more air, but they're closed-back - with excellent sound isolation and bass solidity, so that's a fair trade-off. On a ~$100 budget, you can't go wrong with this combo.
As for a DAC/amp, I recommend the portable (and plug-and-play with iOS devices) FiiO Q1 mkII ($100). All in, I don't think you can do better for less than $200.
I'd say the best budget amp/DAC is the iFi iDSD Nano BL. Really, nothing can touch it for under $200. Comes built in with a USB purifier, iEMatch (under 1 ohm) output for very sensitive earphones, technically is balanced for 3.5mm TRRS, supports MQA files and pretty much any other exotic format, and puts out almost 300mw at 32 ohms. I bought mine specifically for my sensitive IEMs and having them power my cans like the 6XX and Elex with gusto was just icing on the cake. It also works very well when using as a standalone DAC with my desktop units. Easily the best $200 I have spent on any piece of gear, hands down.
Indeed, the iFi iDSD Nano BL is a superb piece of gear - and sounds a bit better than the FiiO Q1 mkII. Though, it's in a tier above entry-level (<$100) portable DAC/amps. Its advantages over the FiiO (as you specified) will likely not be worth an extra $100 to listeners that just want an upgrade in sound from the headphone jack of their computer or phone.
The FiiO has features that the iFi doesn't have... and that most users will appreciate: analog line in, bass boost switch, gain switch, and it's about half the size. And while the iFi might be plug-and-play with iOS devices, FiiO includes the required cable.
If you are looking for something more portable than transportable, then sure, you are correct. However, $100 more for the iFi gets you something that can run 300 ohm cans and very sensitive IEMs without needing balanced cables and provides a halthy dose of power. The Fiio is really geared for IEMs and possibly low/mid-teir headphones as it only goes up to 150 ohms for monitor impedance and has lower output power (in which you must be using balanced for the higher power rating making it much less versatile). I think unbalanced it only supports monitors up to 100 ohms and offers far less power than balanced. I guess for $100 bucks you could do a lot worse but by spending a bit more you have something much more versatile, future-proof, and a piece of equipment you can use with desktop amps. The Fiio would pretty much just relegated to a mobile piece of equipment but the iFi would scale with all your gear much better. The fact that they can push my 6XX, 4XX, and Elex while being hiss-free on my Shure 846's is a blessing.
Sure, if one needs more power (for >100 ohm headphones) the iFi would be a better choice. But the FiiO is balanced-capable; its output has significantly more power on tap than the SE-out.
I don't agree that the nano BL is "more versatile" and "future-proof". And I'm not sure by what you meant that it's "a piece of equipment you can use with desktop amps". You can only use it with compatible devices that have a USB connection.
While I do agree that the iFi would scale better with gear (headphone) upgrades much better than the FiiO, the FiiO "relegated to a mobile piece of equipment"? I'd say it would suit >95% of listening needs at home, as well: video watching, music listening, and gaming... likely better than on-board sound. Only those with high impedance headphones would need more power (or a 2.5mm balanced cable for their headphones). No doubt, those requiring to do critical listening/editing/mixing would benefit from the iFi sound clarity... and a blacker background with super-sensitive IEMs. But that comes at a price: $100 more.
Most people with most headphones will not notice the relatively subtle sound advantages of the iFi over the FiiO. But they will notice the FiiO's analog line in, bass boost switch, gain switch, and its smaller size and round edges.
All this being said, I have my eye on Monoprice's upcoming THX AAA DAC/amps, which include Dirac Sensaround sound manipulation built-in. They keep delaying their release, so I hope this mean they're taking their time to get them right.
I guess you're not aware but the iFi unit is also balanced: 3.5mm TRRS. It's circuit is also "S-balanced" so if you use a standard 3.5mm TRS terminated monitor, you will still get some benefits of reduced crosstalk. Power output is the same for both TRS and TRRS. Again, a much better option as you will not need a seperate 2.5mm TRRS balanced cable for every monitor to get all the benefits from the Fiio unit. Even more so if you have something that doesn't have replaceable cables your power output is severely gimped by the Fiio's poor SE output.
The iFi is more future proof as it supports a much larger bevvy of hi-res file formats that again, the Fiio does not: DSD 256/128/64/12.4/11.2/6.2/5.6/3.1/2.8, DXD 384/352.8 kHz, PCM 384/352.8/192/176.4/96/88.2/48/44.1 kHz, and MQA 88.2/96/176.4/192 kH. This makes it more future proof as it will grow and scale with you as your collection of hi-res files grow and more are becoming on offer from many digital distributors as well as Tidal streaming.
In regards to desktop amps, the DAC chip in the iFi is close, if not identical, to its desktop counterparts the Micro BL and iDAC2. So, in a small $200 package it has an equivalent DAC that pairs well with desktop amps. And while it's "USB only," it has a purifier built in to clean the signal and remove any noise. Since most devices like a phone, PC/laptop, or DAP have USB output I think this is a moot point.
The iFi also doesn't need a gain switch as each of its output ports does this. That's why they have a "low-gain" iEMatch port for super sensitive IEMs and the direct "high-gain" port for everything else. And while it doesn't have a "bass switch" (which adds something ridiculous like +6 db) the iFi does have 2 different filters: one for a more musical presentation (listen) and the other analytical (measure).
Personally, for any budding music lover in this hobby it just makes more sense to get the more versatile iFi unit that will do more for their growing collection. It can support cans up to 600 ohm impedance, plays pretty much every hi-res format and bitrate, supports incredibly low impedance earphones, reduced crosstalk even not using its optional 3.5mm TTRS circuit, and has a USB purifier built in and a 10-hr battery for under $200 is a steal.
If you're on a budget the Fiio would be a good option but by the time you purchase balanced cables I don't think that price difference is so small. Throw in the fact that the Fiio really doesn't have the SE power for anything but earphones and it becomes a unit that's more highly focused than versatile. If someone JUST has earphones and a tight budget then the Fiio is a great product. But for anyone else that has other equipment then it doesn't make sense as they would need a seperate amp for their Beyer DT770 (for example). For $200, the iFi will go further for the dollar and while no-means a desktop replacement it punches well above its asking price. The Fiio is just too underpowered and requisite for a very particular person who only owns/uses earphones. Just my opinion, mind you.
While you make some good points, I don't agree with all of them.
I'm aware that the iFi is also balanced-capable. But one would still need a (hard-to-come-by) balanced 3.5mm cable (compatible with one's particular headphones) to fully take advantage of it. Apart from MQA, the FiiO matches the iFi's format compatibility list. The FiiO has enough power get most headphones (<80 Ohm) fairly loud. Its line-in and diminutive size makes it extremely versatile. The iFi's separate headphone output ports are fine, but having USB-in only is not "a moot point".
In summary, these are the differences between the two portable DAC/amps:
iFi Nano iDSD BL:
Marginally better sound (less crosstalk, more transparent, blacker background)
Separate out for sensitive headphones/IEM
More powerful SE- and -balanced out (to adequately drive headphones >80-ohm... such as the HD 6XX)
Filters (listen, measure)
FiiO Q1 mkII:
Analog line in
Bass boost switch
Dedicated 2.5mm balanced-out (w/ additional power)
Small (roughly half the size of the iFi)
Rounded sides make it easier to pocket/hold
For those with better/harder-to-drive headphones (and/or more-discerning listen abilities/desires), the iFi Nano iDSD BL would preferable over the FiiO. It's likely the best-sounding USB DAC/amp in the world under $200.
For everyone else, the FiiO Q1 mkII has more features (and smaller size) that most people will appreciate in a portable DAC/amp. The iFi does sound better, but the FiiO still provides better sound than practically every computer and phone... for half the price of the iFi . In my opinion, this makes it the better value.