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MadelynnV
3
Dec 26, 2019
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Hey all. The 58X is going to be my first pair of "legit" headphones. I've had a pair of Astro A50s for the past 3 years (please don't shame me), and I was in desperate need of an upgrade. I do not know a lot about terminology or crap like that, but I'm trying to learn. I've spent a bit of time going through the discussion posts and have come to the conclusion that I'm going to need an amp/DAC. I can't afford anything over $175 but am looking for the best possible sound quality for the price. Any recommendations? This might be a super stupid question, but do these need surround sound for gaming? And is that something, if wanted, that should be on the amp or something I switch on and off on my PC? The Sennheiser GSX 1000 has an option for 7.1 surround sound, which is why I ask. Thanks in advance. Sorry if my questions made you facepalm.
Dec 26, 2019
erickong
7105
Audiophile Moderator
Dec 26, 2019
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I don't know about the surround sound stuff. It might be a gimmick. High-end, open-back headphones are good about putting sounds in the right place. For example, if a song has a drum on the left side of the soundstage or pin pointing footsteps. For an amp and a DAC, I can point you in the right direction. Schiit fulla, schiit magni and modi, mica origen g2, some products by topping and fiiO. All those are within your budget
Dec 26, 2019
Evshrug
2712
grell audio
Dec 31, 2019
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Hey @MadelynnV, Nothing to be ashamed of, it’s great to see someone taking an interest in things we also take an interest in! I love helping guide people fresh to the scene, and their first impressions and excitement is infectious! Ok, so I could give you tons and tons of info, or a short bit. I’ll do my best to start short, and maybe send you a link to longer stuff 😅 An amp is always necessary to drive any headphone, but often we don’t realize when an amp is included. Similar story with a DAC, but I’ll get back to that. For example, the $9 Apple Lightning dongle technically has a DAC and an amp in it... listening to “Dance Monkey” by Tones and I right now with my iPhone + dongle + HD 58X Jubilee right now, and honestly the sound is quite clean, clear, and pretty good volume at one mark above the middle volume level. What does an upgrade get you then? Well, same lyrics and everything, but compared to my expensive HDV 820 desktop DAC/Amp, the modest dongle has less depth and richness than my best setup, basically the mids and bass sound a little anemic, thin, and I think it might be a little tiring to listen to for more than an hour. Apparently, neither will stop a cat from wanting to play with your cables 😆
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So, the HD 58X Jubilee doesn’t require a lot of power to sound loud... but lower distortion from the amp and better filters in a DAC will make things sound more organic. I’ll second @erickong when it comes to recommending Schiit, FiiO, Cavalli (all safe bets), Topping (I’ve heard good and not good ones), and many more. http://www.garage1217.com/ is a good starting place if you’d like an inexpensive but not cheap tube amp. IMO, the Cavalli Liquid Carbon X, on sale for $160 (just an amp, https://drop.com/buy/massdrop-x-alex-cavalli-liquid-carbon-x-amp?utm_source=linkshare&referer=Z2JXCA) is a screaming deal right now and everyone should know about it... I bought the $500 version and it everything else I’d heard at that price. It has the liquid ease of presentation I like with tubes, and a bit of richness and warmth, but it’s also grain free and free from cellphone signal interference. DAC recommendations are a bit trickier... shy of an iFi Nano (which is $199 on Amazon), I find that there’s not much to distinguish between a $30 DAC and a $150 DAC. I would use the Lightning Dongle or a Turtle Beach DSS2 connected to the Liquid Carbon X before I would buy a Schiit Magni and Modi. Some good brands: iFi, Schiit, Chord, Audio-GD. With regards to Virtual Surround and the Sennheiser GSX 1000 specifically... here, I completely disagree with Eric. Some great brands (usually also including a DAC/Amp with the DSP!): Creative Labs, Asus, Turtle Beach, and Sennheiser. You said you’ve been using an Astro A50 for three years, correct? Feeding it Dolby 5.1 over optical or raw 5.1/7.1 over USB? Well, Astro, Asus, and Turtle Beach all use Dolby Headphone, which I think makes the echo/reverb a little obvious and always makes it sound like you’re inside a room with hard walls, but it does a good job of distinguishing directions. Creative has had several generations of their own DSP, and the Super X-Fi and SBX products they have now do the surround with less reverb and a cleaner sound (better for people who also want to use it with music), and the Super X-Fi can be tailored for your head and ears to sound more realistic. As a plug-and-play solution, nothing has sounded as holographic and realistic as the Sennheiser GSX 1000... it does a superb job of making things sound like they come from in front of you, for a very holographic and realistic sense of 2D (circle) of sound around you. It works well with the HD 58X Jubilee too (amp is strong enough, clean enough output to connect to another amp if desired), and has a simple interface and no drivers to install. Nothing beats the Smyth Realizer A16, but that sucker is expensive and like a science project (but SO COOL WITH DEATH STRANDING!)
(Edited)
Dec 31, 2019
Evshrug
2712
grell audio
Dec 31, 2019
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Try out this surround demo with a pair of headphones! https://youtu.be/s-HWq3wiVFQ Unfortunately, I don’t have a recorded sample with the GSX 1000, but it’s very good. I will add, these plug-and-play options are based on an average head (and ear, shoulder) shape. Outside that average, and they don’t work so well. Customizations range from a few presets or strength levels (GSX 1000, Creative SBX), the circumference/width of your head (Audeze Möbius with NX Waves), photos of your head/ears (Creative Super-Fi), all the way up to microphones in your ears and taking an exact response measurement (Smyth Realizer A16). If anyone wants “the long version,” check out my blog on Head-Fi. Not everything is there, but definitely plenty of reading material: https://www.head-fi.org/threads/evshrugs-if-i-knew-then-what-i-know-now-discussion-journal.646786/#post-9067400
(Edited)
Dec 31, 2019
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