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I just recieved my 58x today. They sound amazing despite not having an amp/dac yet. I have tested them on by my iPhone and my Desktop PC with an onboard Realtek card. The only thing lacking for my taste is bass. The bass sounds perfectly fine for most music but certain songs I tested that are known for heavy bass are having it completely muted. Is this something I can improve by using an amp with it or is this just the nature of this set of headphones?
The problem is not the headphone, it’s the Realtek sound card of your PC. The HD58x produces very good extended and tight bass, and doesn’t need an external headphone amp. But it needs decent DAC and amplification nevertheless and the Realtek sound card is mediocre (I’m being polite here). The realtek card may be able to handle with relative mediocrity low impedance headphones in the 18-32 ohms range, but I suspect it cannot reach even mediocre level quality with higher impedance headphones such as your 150 ohms HD58x. Any low price decent external DAC/amp that may handle 150 ohms will considerably increase the sound, and mostly the bass response and dynamics. Just my 2cents...
Yeah this is what I was figuring...my iphone doesnt really drive the bass for these either. How much of a difference would something like these make? http://www.schiit.com/products/magni-1 or https://fiio.com/a3. The Fiio A3 looks appealing to me due to it's portability but I want to make sure it will actually be enough to make using these headphones with an iphone Louder and thumpier bass.
Normally, the higher the impedance, the easier the load on what drives the phones.
Higher impedance needs more voltage swing though.
It depends. There are good Realtek implementations too and ALC1220 is quite decent DAC and could be superior to low price external DACs and amps. If it's something like ALC892 though... That is crap.
I must say that in my opinion the iPhone with its Cirrus Logic DAC and its 1v output op amp has the necessary sound qualities and power to properly drive the HD58x. May I then respectually suggest other possible causes to your perception that the HD58x has weak bass:
- you listen to your music at extreme high level (db), and the headphones cannot produce the sound you expect with the iPhone or your Realtek sound card. You may need a more powerful amp to suit your volume level preference. But knowing the output and sensibility capability of the HD58x under 1v of power, which is what your iPhone is capable, I would sincerely suggest that if its the case, you should take care of your ears or else you will suffer from hearing problems eventually...
- your HD58x are defective
It's only on songs with extremely heavy bass...it completely mutes it. All mid bass is perfectly fine. I have some real crappy headphones (razer gaming headset for instance) that can play the same songs I mentioned earlier and they thump. Other then that the 58x is perfect everywhere else for me. I'll give a specific example of the type of bass I am speaking of as a perfect example. Flux Pavilion's track "I Can't Stop". Bass sounds great up until 56 second mark of this track, it's supposed to be some hard hitting bass at this point of the track but with this headset it's actually flatter then the rest of the song's mid bass. This is the type of bass that I'd normally have to lower the volume on with some other low ohm headsets to avoid getting a headache. Now my intentions are not to go deaf or anything but something tells me I am lacking the power to drive these only for these extremely low bass drops. Overall I'm extremely happy with these, just trying to see what amp to get to push it just a little more power without selling my self short. Another thing I'd like to add, Volume levels are fine on both my phone and my PC, I actually have it around 80-90% tops, 100% is too loud. It's just the low bass that needs a boost.
ALC889 while not as bad as the ALC892 it's still not good. Motherboard makers probably didn't put much thought into sound section when they used that chip (it's also 10 years old by now). But in any case power shouldn't really be an issue. It might be that you like boosted bass.
From what you just said, you listen to bass heavy songs and at relatively high volume. You simply need a higher voltage amp to drive your HD58x at the volume level you require to reproduce the sub bass level you prefer with all the power required. Check out amps like the Massdrop O2 or the Schiit Magni 3 (the later draws more power), both are powerful enough with the required voltage under 150 ohms and are relativeley cheap to buy, around 100$ or 150-200$ with the matching external DAC (the O2 is also available as a combo O2-SDAC in the same enclosure, and as separate external units, while the Magni 3 has a matching DAC, the Modi 3, available with a choice of multibit or delta sigma 1 bit design depending on your preference). Also check out the Massdrop SMSL M3 and M6, which are nice inexpensive DAC/amp combos. JDS labs has higher end products also that complement their O2. Check out Ifi also. Many other higher priced external DAC and amps available if you prefer better solid state or tube designs, check out the Cavalli designs or higher end Schiit designs. Enjoy!
Enjoying music is personal to each own taste. Please restain from such trolling comment.
like suggested below you need a amp/dac
o2 is on massdrop, its one of the best amps/dacs combo below 500 bucks.
Thanks I appreciate the suggestions, will look into picking one of these out for my desktop. Have any portable suggestions?
For a portable DAC / amp I always recommend the Dragonfly Red from Audioquest, with uses usb power without need for any external supply and which generates 2.1V of output voltage. I love my DFR and wouldn’t trade it for anything else, but its 200$. Other portable amps such as the NX4s offered on Massdrop are good values and cheaper 135$, but are a bit bulkier and may provide more output power as well. The NX1s offered from time to time on Massdrop is powerful enough and costs only 35$, but has no DAC, just a headphone amp with rechargeable power supply, good if you use a source with a good enough DAC, such as most Apple products, from Macs to iPads to iPhones. In the PC and Android world your mileage may vary... The NX4s has also its own power supply which is rechargeable, and has a good DAC. Fiio has a few units also, so does Creative Labs and many others. For portable use there are many choices available.
it's difficult to know what would give these a significant bass thump, but thinking fast, in my experience, a darkvoice 336se is what i know gives the most bass output, with high impedance cans like these.
It 's a bit pricey, especially with good tubes it requires to sound good, but if you can find one used (so you can resell if needed), it may be worth considering, for a home setup of course.
maybe it's worth going to an electronic store with good setups, to see if it's possible to have the bass you want, first.
Also, buying a used, popular amp or/and dac can be a low risk investment.
after verifying, the realtek alc889 is what i am using right now at home (from pc setup ga-p35-ds3 motherboard). If the implementation is the same as with other motherboards, then i also find the bass missing a bit compared to most other sources i tried......ut for the rest i think it is not too shabby.
He was asking for a portable solution... the darkvoice is rather a heavy non-portable solution, no matter how exceptional it is supposed to be with the Senns.
if the hd58x ressembles the hd6xx, which i just had, then maybe they are just not the right headphone for bassheads, if you are any.....and portable they are not really, in the first place if you ask me...... maybe something like an ath m50x would be more appropriate for travel and bass?
Also, if your iphone is anything like my brother's iphone, quality is not exceptionnal (including bass), and a cheap amplifier might make them sound worse, actually, especially with higher impedance cans....
the dragonfly suggested above maybe worthwhile for a device with usb output.
Otherwise, if you want a portable media player for high quality cans like hd58x, i would look into something like fiio, cowon or phillips devices, or something like that.....i have not try any portable media players recently, so , again it would maybe be worthwhile to go to an electronic store where you can try them out.
I forgot to mention....an ipod nano could also be ok price wise.
I had one a decade ago maybe and it sounded susrprisingly good. It seems, as i read, they are not all equal though, from generation to generation....
Overall I am happy with them, it's only a few songs I ran into that I was like "ok this doesn't hit like my other headphones" but I probably should have expected that with open-back headphones. 90% of the time it's not an issue because I don't really listen to hip-hop or EDM anymore. These are amazing listening to Bob Dylan, Grateful Dead, Pink Floyd. Feels like I am hearing the music live.
It's hard to find a headphone that does everything well....Low bass is less critical usually, because there is less musical informal there...only a «thump», like you said. If they are like my hd6xx abit, you will hear the bass lines much better than with most headphones, which is somewhat important with rock music. I was listening to iron maiden, for example the other day, and it was much better than with my hd595, which are good all around (main headphones).
Regarding a portable setup, the dragonfly has a 125$ model which looks interesting and should be an upgrade to the iphone at the very least. it has a very good DAC chip and is small.
Otherwise the «topping d10» for around the same price has a bit better components, but you must have a usb source and is a bit bigger. Looks like an unbeatable price to performance ratio.
i have not listen or owned both so i can only assume.
edit: you need an amp for topping d10, but not d50!
The Dragonfly model around 125$ you are taking about is the Dragonfly Black, a 1.2V output capable unit. It’s not that much more powerful than a 1V output of an iPhone. Moreover, the iPhone has a very capable Cirrus Logic DAC and has a very competent 1v op amp output. Therefore I wouldn’t recommend the Dragonfly Black as an upgrade for iPhone or iPad usage, maybe for computer usage if your sound card is mediocre, but otherwise I would strongly recommend the Dragonfly Red instead. You pay more for a 2.1v output by a digital amp and volume (the op amp is included on the DAC and the volume control controls the actual DAC output). It makes more sense for high impedance headphones such as the HD58x or 6xx. The black is a good unit, but it’s not really an upgrade to the iPhone’s headphone jack output (the same applies to the Lightning/headphone jack dongle, which carries an equivalent DAC and amp for iPhone 7 or + on the dongle with the same quality 1v output as the headphone jacks found on iPhone 6s and Predecessor).
Listen to autechre's NTS sessions with these.
Portable suggestion: Audioquest Dragonfly Red. That’s all. Other portable solutions may exist, but this is my sole suggestion