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Best Beginner Audiophile Setup for Under $500?

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I have never considered myself an audiophile, but watching videos from Josh Valour, DMS, etc. plus the fact that I love listening to music probably more than anything in life makes me want to become an audiophile. However I do not make a lot of money as of right now, so I want to create the perfect setup for under $500. As of right now, I am leaning towards the 6xx and the Schitt Stack from everything that I have heard online, but I want to know if there is something that I'm missing that might be a better value or if there is something that is slightly more expensive that creates a sound quality far superior than what I listed. For context, I love all kinds of music, but my favorite types are choral, bluegrass, folk, classic rock, and 90's punk rock. For additional context, I have the SteelSeries Arctis Pro Wireless for gaming and I love it, but I also have the AirPods Pro and I prefer that sound signature for music.
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Xpfreaky
68
Aug 13, 2021
This is from Wikipedia; Although many audiophile techniques are based on objective criteria that can be verified using techniques like ABX testing, perceived sound quality is necessarily subjective, leading to some more controversial audiophile techniques being based on pseudoscientificmagical or paranormal principles... IMO, save your money and go with what sounds "best" to you. Audiophile, is a "feeling" or an opinion, as the saying goes, opinions are like assh*les, everyone has one. There's also a lot of flim flam regarding what's audiophile out there as well. Remember, due diligence goes a long way in saving you time money and frustration. Go with what you feel will get you the best "bang" for your $$ & what feels/ listens right for you. Remember, buyer beware. The latest is NOT the greatest either, there's a lot of bullsh*t/ (ters) out there that will try to fleece you. Do your research in what you would find of interest to you, and go with what you are comfortable spending your hard earned $$'s on. Remember there is no FOMO with audio equipment. As for your starting setup, good choice (I do have the Drop Sennheiser 6XX headphones, not one of my favorites unfortunately) see opinion 😁 Personally prefer the Beyerdynamic line of headphones. Reason for this is, from what I understand, all Beyerdynamic headphones are still made in Germany. Drop Sennies are made in Ireland (Not China) and the only other Sennheiser headphones made in Germany is their 800 series all the others in their lineup are made in China (Nothing against Chinese made, however you do get what you pay for in this case). If of interest, currently listening to everything through Beyerdynamic DT770 (250 Ohm version) headphones with a tube amp. One of the reasons for me is that the DT770 headphones definitely have waaay less clamping force on the noggin than the Drop HD6XX phones, and they sound more refined. (Opinion). The DT770 earpads are fantastically cozy & not fatiguing during extended listening sessions. To me the soundstage is more open than that of the HD6XX headphones. I think if you take the time to read reviews from users and different web posts about your choice and interests on various equipment, be it analog or digital. You should be able to come to your own conclusions as to what would suit you best for your personal setup. https://www.soundguys.com/best-headphones-under-200-5489/

nottheseapples
9
Aug 13, 2021
Linsoul XDUOO MT-602 6J1 6xx wait for a dac 4xx - with a classic Class A speaker amp (your dad has one) or used like 40 bucks is SUPER value. then add on a decent dac 4xx takes EQ like a champ, and with a powerful amp the bass gets crazy.
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Cliff_21
86
Aug 10, 2021
HiFiman Sundara and Topping L30. Add a dac later.
ryjarr
1
Aug 10, 2021
My personal setup, I run a Magni Heresy/Modi stack and drive Philips Fidelio X2HR. Altogether about 400. Paired with a pair of JBL 305p mkii monitors for when I want the room to thump. Incredible sound for a pretty low price overall. The Fidelio cans are a bit sibilant, but the overall clarity is impressive for the price, especially when driven right.