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dcha12
439
May 19, 2020
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I'd also recommend the Sennheiser HD 6XX. It's a terrific baseline to start with (remember that this headphone was TOTL in 2003), and honestly you can't beat it in resolve until you start getting into some really expensive stuff (and even those headphones all have tradeoffs in direct comparison, although total system synergy + personal preference matters more). If you're really interested in planars, I'd recommend the Hifiman HE-4XX. It's a good entry-level planar, and frankly is quite a steal for its performance (no idea if the build quality has gotten any better over the years though). Either headphone is fine to start with and from there, you can pinpoint specific areas you'd like to improve should you decide to plunge deeper into the hobby. On that note though, I do not recommend the HD 660S; it's essentially the same thing as the HD 58X sold here on Drop, and is in my opinion an overall worse headphone than the HD 6XX. With the remainder of the budget, I recommend getting a Schiit Modi 3 and an Magni 3+, and using the remainder to buy yourself some groceries. The Schiit stuff will blow away the Fiio for home use.
May 19, 2020
Jayce9
2
May 19, 2020
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I think my research pointed me to the Senn HD 6XX as well, but then I discovered it also requires a better DAC/Amp than my FiiO E17, which means spending more more for the separate Schitt DAC and Amp (with the crappy exchange rate, probably going to be around $300 CAD for both the Modi 3 and Magni 3+ or Heresy?), plus the cost of the HD 6XX and the almost certainty of outrageous import fees/duties usually dumped onto us. I had also looked at the Beyerdynamic DT 177X GO here on Drop as a nice Closed style option, which is easy to drive from what I gather, but I'm still unsure which route to go at this point because the Senn HD 6XX appears to be a top contender (especially for the price), and a couple of the Planar phones like the Hifiman HE-4XX or higher models look really nice too. Having no experience with over-ear headphones aside from the old Denon D2000s, my listening experience is limited sadly. To be honest, I want something that's going to last me years like my Denon D2000s did because I'm not really looking to get into the super hardcore, owning 10+ pairs of phones/amps/dacs and in the thousands of dollars territory or anything like that.
(Edited)
May 19, 2020
dcha12
439
May 19, 2020
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You actually don't need to spend more on a setup in that case. The HD 6XX is actually not terrible out of a phone. If you're talking about reaching its potential, then you'll need to bust out the big boy tube amps and multi-thousand dollar DACs (where you'll find something like the Utopia or Verite outresolves the HD 6XX). But you don't need to go play the Old Rich Fart Audiophile Society game of matching x amp with y DAC to make the HD 6XX sound good. There's also nothing wrong with buying piecd by piece if you want to. Once upon a time I thought my HD 599 and Magni 3 (old version) was fantastic.
May 19, 2020
Jayce9
2
May 19, 2020
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That's good to know. I wasn't about to get into the thousands of dollars range for audio gear, just something better than good to serve me well with typical listening activities. What is your opinion on the DT 177X GO? While I still may grab the HD 6XX, I really do want a Closed cup version as well for the isolation and some decent bass. Also, do you have any experience or thoughts on the Schmitt Gaming Amp/DAC combo? Judging by the specs, it's clearly not as powerful as the Modi 3 and Magni 3+, but I'm just curious how it compares to those (as well as compared to my FiiO). Thanks a lot!
May 19, 2020
dcha12
439
May 19, 2020
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I haven't heard the DT 177X, and I'll be honest; I don't like Beyerdynamic in general (I haven't heard a Beyerdynamic that I liked). So I can't comment on that. I will say that open/closed doesn't really have that much bearing on bass performance. Some planars have the best bass I've heard, and all of them were open. In terms of dynamics, the Focals have terrific bass performance (even if they aren't voiced to be bassy headphones). The Verite has my favorite bass for dynamics despite its relatively higher distortion levels found there (distortion is harder to hear in bass anyhow). For the isolation though, yes closed is the way to go. I have a Fulla 2 and honestly, it's absolutely fine for games and nowadays it gets some use that way (I bought it for office use). From what I understand, the Hel is a decent step up but if you don't need the extra power (which I don't really think the HD 6XX needs), the Fulla 3 will be just fine.
May 19, 2020
Jayce9
2
May 20, 2020
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Yeah I have no experience with Beyer, so I can't comment one way or another. Drop's version of the DT 1770s apparently fixed all the issues a lot of people didn't like with the way they sound, so that's why I am seriously considering it. I actually found Drop products sold on Amazon (not sure how that works as I thought Drop sold exclusively through their own website), but I could get the DT 177X for right at the top of my budget. I'd be missing out on the Schitt Amp and DAC for a while though, having to stick with the FiiO until I got the budget for it. Still seriously considering the HD 6XX even though it's Open back style, that way I could grab whatever entry level Schitt combo to drive them. My friend has an the DT 990 Pro, so I'll see if I can try it out sometime this week and see if Open back is to my taste. My only complaint with the HD 6XX is the full plastic build, whereas the Beyer is all metal, which I feel would be a lot more durable over the long term, but I could be wrong.
(Edited)
May 20, 2020
dcha12
439
May 20, 2020
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If worried about build quality on the Sennheisers, don't. Despite plastic, HD 650 and 600 have been known to last an extremely long time (plus the parts are very readily and cheaply available). My biggest question is the consistency and QC of the DT 177X. I've heard multiple T1 cans, two of the earlier models and two of the newer revisions. All of them sounded pretty drastically different, with three of them being so bad I'd have returned them even if I liked the direction that they were going for with the sound (which I don't). The last pair was better, but still not something I'd listen to. If I were to recommend a Beyerdynamic, it would actually be the DT 880 (either 250 or 600 ohm). Not bad and has its merits despite me preferring the HD 6XX. Then again, the DT 880 isn't closed so.....not 100% comparable to DT 177X.
May 20, 2020
Jayce9
2
May 20, 2020
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Well, it seems I have my work cut out for me in regards to making a decision. A local retailer who owns a very popular, high end audio store suggested that I would be better off with Closed backs for noise isolation and being able to use them in public places. He claims that most of the people that come in to buy something like the Senn HD 650s end up returning them and buying a closed back instead, so I really don't know what to do at this point. I thought of trying the HD 6XX with the Modi + Magni, but I'm really not sure now because I'd kick myself if I ended up ordering from here, paying the shipping plus almost certainly high import fees to Canada, only to conclude id be better off with a Closed phone.
May 20, 2020
dcha12
439
May 20, 2020
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The open/closed debate is really up to your use case and personal preferences. I will say that those who are just getting into the hobby (coming from mainstream) are usually both used to and indoctrinated to think that outside noise cancellation is always desirable and a good thing. If you do plan on having one pair of headphones that you'll use inside and outside, I'd also recommend a closed pair. This is also to protect your own hearing, as the common thing people do is to turn up their music to dangerous levels to "drown out" outside noise; something which can become deleterious to hearing when using open backs outside very quickly. I'd try living with just the HD 6XX for now. If you like it, then you can order Modi 3 + Magni 3+ (don't get the Heresy, trust me on this). If you don't like the HD 6XX or find it doesn't suit your use case, you can sell it secondhand for minimal loss; you'll find lots of people willing to buy it off you. Also, don't let my overall dislike of the Beyerdynamic dissuade you if that's what you really want. I'm just one guy with my own tastes; you may find that you really like it.
(Edited)
May 20, 2020
Jayce9
2
May 21, 2020
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I think I'll just stick with your recommendation and go with either the 58X or 6XX or even the Hifiman HE-4XX (the Hifiman 4XX wasn't even on my radar until just now - more options are always welcome) and upgrade from my FiiO E17 Amp/DAC. I've been reading about both above headphones, and a lot of people seem to actually prefer the 58X over the 6XX. What's the actual reasoning behind that? The 58X is even cheaper cost wise than the 6XX and the 58X is easy to drive without a DAC/Amp (ie: smartphone), whereas the 6XX seems to require both. Also, aside from Schiit, are there any good affordable options, like the AudioQuest Dragonfly Red, for example? Just curious to see what else is out there because I just checked shipping charges, and Schiit wants $35 USD for uninsured ground using USPS and I don't think I'm willing to pay that much for shipping. I gave the DT 177X GO some more thought, and dropping over $600 CAD (much closer to $700 actually) doesn't sit too well with me. I'll definitely miss the noise isolation and the bass though coming from my previous closed backs. Your suggestions have been very helpful, and I appreciate it. P.S - There's no returns on Drop products? Just saw this and I'm a little confused: https://helpdesk.drop.com/hc/en-us/articles/360019107874
(Edited)
May 21, 2020
dcha12
439
May 21, 2020
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The HD 58X sounds slightly clearer and has better bass than the HD 6XX (bass clarity more in line with the HD 600, but better extension). However, it's actually less resolving than the HD 6XX (more apparent the better gear you get), has more treble grain, and is even more laid-back in the upper mids than HD 6XX (so to me it sounds even warmer in overall tone; not something I find necessarily desirable over HD 6XX). I personally find it inferior, but for the cost it's quite good and some might like its sound better. It's not actually that much more efficient. Really, it's just the voice coil is 150 ohms versus the 300 ohms. I can easily get listenable volume out of a Galaxy S10+ with HD 6XX (although the phone doesn't have the oomph nor quality to really drive those). In terms of affordable options, you can also check out the Monoprice Liquid Spark for amps (warmer, more laid back than the Magni 3+). In terms of DACs, the Drop x Grace SDAC is actually pretty decent, but really needs a clean USB source to shine (decrapifier like the now discontinued Schiit Wyrd). Honestly, in DACs the $100 Schiit Modi 3 is the best one I've heard by far. I say it gives you $500 sound. I wouldn't bother with the DragonFly stuff unless you need a portable solution; they're all underwhelming. iFi's new Zen DAC looks quite interesting as well, but I've never heard it. I did hear and like the Pro iDSD (an expensive thing) and the iDSD Black Label (a portable solution). The Texas Instruments Burr Brown chips ain't bad.
May 21, 2020
Jayce9
2
May 21, 2020
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Thanks I'll take a look at the Monoprice amp and the iFi Zen DAC to see how those are. I emailed Schiit to see why their shipping fees are wildly absurd and judging by the response, they couldn't care less. I have no doubt some of their products are great, but the company's name definitely suits their attitude/customer service. As for the headphones, I took the plunge and went with the Hifiman HE-4XX (mostly because I was able to get it here within Canada). It was a toss up between that and the Senn HD 6XX, but after reading a bunch of reviews/user opinions, it steered me more toward the 4XX. Hopefully it was the right decision. I can also always grab a decent Closed back pair down the road if I ever need to. If you have any other suggestions for quality and affordable Amps / DACs comparable too the Modi and Magni, let me know. Cheers!
(Edited)
May 21, 2020
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