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Tech is Key

Best Headphones You've used

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Sony MDR-XB700 50mm XB Diaphragm Driver Extra Bass Headphones

 

bought for £60 3 years ago, now worth a hell of a lot more.

 

 

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The only pair of headphones I can think of right now that I think looks better than HD800s IMO are the LCD 2/3s. I like the holes in the wood are made and the slanted earcups which I think looks good. Just by being wood alone is not enough to excite me (there are other wood headphones, all of which I don't really like the look of.) I seem to have a less-popular opinion on headphone aesthetics though. I thought the 600/650s look bad.

 

STAX are nice but boy, some of them look like utter crap.

 

Yep. The Lambdas are some of the ugliest headphones ever made, but man do they sound good.

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In their defence - I attended a presentation by Axel Grell, their designer, and he did address comments about using plastic. Sennheiser had placed no restrictions on his team in terms of materials used - the brief was to make the best dynamic headphones they possibly could. They chose a specially developed ultra rigid plastic as it damped sound to the highest ability in their tests. It's not just normal plastic.

 

The level of detail in every part of the headphone is bewildering. There is even damping material in the headband.

 

Aesthetically speaking though, you can't beat the old school class of wood and leather that the LCDs go with. High end headphones that really look hight end.

 

 

Yeah, that's one thing that doesn't get my "seal of approval" about some expensive cans.   Grado for instance, I played around with about 4 different grados at the store I tried the hd800,lcd series etc.

 

I picked them up and was like "really... that's it?" I couldn't believe something that can cost so much can be SOO cheap feeling and flimsy.


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Party of feeling strong and well-built is weight though. And if I'm gaming for for hours on end I don't want to realize I"m wearing headphones. I'm used to the convenience of speakers so any small discomfort from headphones, I pick up on. W/e, if they had to go plastic for HD800s out of necessity, then you gotta do what you gotta do. 


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Haswell Overclocking Guide | Skylake Overclocking GuideCan my amp power my headphones?
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My ATH-M50s,because I've never tried out anything better.

pretty much what everyone would say if they only have M50.....


When 2 things meet each other, Quantum stuff happens.

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Sennheiser HD 598. Amazing. Can wear these until I die if I have to, and great sound quality.


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Only headphones I've really ever put through any use are the Turtle Beach x12s and I'm not about to say they sound stunningly great...


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From a purely value perspective:  The Superlux HD668Bs.  Got them for $30 shipped via Massdrop.  For $30, can't beat the price to performance.


"I genuinely dislike the promulgation of false information, especially to people who are asking for help selecting new parts."

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Sennheiser HD 598 so far It's pretty comfortable and sounds good in my ears and to the songs I listen to.

I go out with them sometimes and let people hear the music.


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ATH-M50s only pair i've got, but I like them.

would you say they're worth the money? I'm thinking about replacing my Corsair Vengeance 1500's

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Just bought some HD650's... splooge!!! I need an Amp just waiting on Tyler to get back to me before a place an order for odac+amp combo.

 

Even just connected to onboard these sound amazing.


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Just bought some HD650's... splooge!!! I need an Amp just waiting on Tyler to get back to me before a place an order for odac+amp combo.

Even just connected to onboard these sound amazing.

I believe those are actually pretty easy to drive. The 300 ohms is misleading. An amp won't make too much of a difference but if you really want one then go right ahead. I would recommend spending the extra for a metal volume knob. It's worth it if you are already spending that much on the amp.

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def needs an amp... i'm at 100% and the volume isn't where i'd usually listen to music at. Maybe on Newer boards with dedicated op-amps they'd be ok.


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I believe those are actually pretty easy to drive. The 300 ohms is misleading. An amp won't make too much of a difference but if you really want one then go right ahead. I would recommend spending the extra for a metal volume know. It's worth it if you are already spending that much on the amp.

 

The HD650 will absolutely benefit from quality electronics. Whether or not the motherboard will deliver sufficient power for volume will be case-by-case, although the 650s are not insanely power hungry they are not super easy to drive either and a smart phone will not do them justice, some motherboards will probably deliver enough power, some might not.

 

BUT – power is not all that people are paying for when they buy a dedicated headphone amp. This seems to be one of the biggest misconceptions I see on this forum. Quality electronics matter, it’s not just a question of whether or not the amp will deliver enough power to achieve a certain volume.

 

Linearity of the frequency response, cross talk, noise and distortion levels, noise by output power and of course output impedance – that is what determine how good your headphones or speakers will sound with a given amp.

 

I keep reading people say X headphone doesn’t need a dedicated amp, but ANY headphones will not sound their best without a good amp, regardless of how efficient and easy to drive they are.

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The HD650 will absolutely benefit from quality electronics. Whether or not the motherboard will deliver sufficient power for volume will be case-by-case, although the 650s are not insanely power hungry they are not super easy to drive either and a smart phone will not do them justice, some motherboards will probably deliver enough power, some might not.

 

BUT – power is not all that people are paying for when they buy a dedicated headphone amp. This seems to be one of the biggest misconceptions I see on this forum. Quality electronics matter, it’s not just a question of whether or not the amp will deliver enough power to achieve a certain volume.

 

Linearity of the frequency response, cross talk, noise and distortion levels, noise by output power and of course output impedance – that is what determine how good your headphones or speakers will sound with a given amp.

 

I keep reading people say X headphone doesn’t need a dedicated amp, but ANY headphones will not sound their best without a good amp, regardless of how efficient and easy to drive they are.

You know the Tom's Hardware audio article from a few months ago, right?

The odd part there is I don't think they said that they used a seperate amp when they were testing onboard. So... they were plugging HD800s to onboard dac and amp and the people could not differentiate it from anything else?


In Placebo We Trust - Resident Obnoxious Objective Fanboy (R.O.O.F) - Your Eyes Cannot Hear
Haswell Overclocking Guide | Skylake Overclocking GuideCan my amp power my headphones?
Stop worrying about your audio gear and start jammin' to your favorite tunes already!

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The HD650 will absolutely benefit from quality electronics. Whether or not the motherboard will deliver sufficient power for volume will be case-by-case, although the 650s are not insanely power hungry they are not super easy to drive either and a smart phone will not do them justice, some motherboards will probably deliver enough power, some might not.

 

BUT – power is not all that people are paying for when they buy a dedicated headphone amp. This seems to be one of the biggest misconceptions I see on this forum. Quality electronics matter, it’s not just a question of whether or not the amp will deliver enough power to achieve a certain volume. Linearity of the frequency response, cross talk, noise and distortion levels, noise by output power and of course output impedance – that is what determine how good your headphones or speakers will sound with a given amp. I keep reading people say X headphone doesn’t need a dedicated amp, but ANY headphones will not sound their best without a good amp, regardless of how efficient and easy to drive they are.

 

Most of the audio-centered members here don't buy into the "quality electronics" speech. Pyromanic might need an amp for volume, and that's ok, but my 650's sound perfectly fine on my HTC One. 

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Most of the audio-centered members here don't buy into the "quality electronics" speech. Pyromanic might need an amp for volume, and that's ok, but my 650's sound perfectly fine on my HTC One. 

 

It depends on your budget and whether you think the cost justifies the benefit, but whether or not there is a benefit is not in question in my opinion.

 

It's one thing to say "I am happy to accept the audio from my smart phone, even though I know there will be an improvement with quality electronics as I do not see the cost/benefit ratio justifying it for me" and to tell people in absolute terms that there is no improvement.

 

One is expressing an opinion, the other is spreading disinformation.

 

It's not being rational, it's the other side of the same extremist "audiophile" coin that believes price=quality and you absolutely need to spend hundreds of pounds on cables and power conditioners. Going the other way and saying there is no benefit to finding a decent quality amp at a reasonable price when you can use your motherboard or smartphone is just as extreme. One says everything makes a difference when not everything does, the other says nothing makes a difference when some things do. 

 

If the person asking the question has no budgetary constraints and simply wants the best, you are misleading them to suggest that cross talk, distortion and noise is not both measurable and audible, or that output impedance is not a serious deal, especially with dynamic cans that have wavering impedance.

 

I'm not a snob personally, I don't believe you need to spend huge sums to get good components, I can't be bothered with the fuss of a portable amp and am happy to listen straight from a smart phone, and when I go on a business trip I don't haul a huge rig with me. But sat at home, aiming to enjoy my music to the greatest extent, I do use good components.

 

But I find people who tell people asking for advice that there is no need to use good quality gear just as hard to bear as those who tell people looking for advice to spend money on pointless things which do nothing. What's wrong with a little moderation?

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You know the Tom's Hardware audio article from a few months ago, right?

The odd part there is I don't think they said that they used a seperate amp when they were testing onboard. So... they were plugging HD800s to onboard dac and amp and the people could not differentiate it from anything else?

 

It depends on the onboard dac and amp really. As I've said several times - there is absolutely no reason that a well designed audio section of a motherboard should not be good quality. Any time someone asks if they need an external set I always say "it depends on the quality of your board".

 

I do think it is stupid people buying questionable FiiO external components when their motherboard audio is quite likely to be just as good. 

 

That does not mean that every motherboard has a good enough audio section, or that it will be powerful enough to drive every set of cans.

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I'm not a snob personally, I don't believe you need to spend huge sums to get good components, I can't be bothered with the fuss of a portable amp and am happy to listen straight from a smart phone, and when I go on a business trip I don't haul a huge rig with me. But sat at home, aiming to enjoy my music to the greatest extent, I do use good components. But I find people who tell people asking for advice that there is no need to use good quality gear just as hard to bear as those who tell people looking for advice to spend money on pointless things which do nothing. What's wrong with a little moderation?

 

I just get a little irked when people start talking about "Quality Amplifiers" like they're magic. Having been pulled into the expensive amplifier setup myself, I hate to see others make the same mistake. If you like your gear - great! The 12 year olds on LTT don't need to spend mommy and daddy's money on schiit that woo's their friends, however. 

 

That's the only real point I wanted to make because I'm up past my bed time and like puns.

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I just get a little irked when people start talking about "Quality Amplifiers" like they're magic. Having been pulled into the expensive amplifier setup myself, I hate to see others make the same mistake. If you like your gear - great! The 12 year olds on LTT don't need to spend mommy and daddy's money on schiit that woo's their friends, however. 

 

That's the only real point I wanted to make because I'm up past my bed time and like puns.

 

 

I said "quality" not expensive. 

 

The O2 is a quality amp and costs around £100. There is a guy in the UK called Neco Soundlabs who makes excellent quality amps for under a hundred quid.

 

On the other side of it, you get items like the ludicrously expensive Hifiman HM801 - that performs and measures worse than a £20 Sansa Clip.

 

I'm not trying to reinforce the audiophile belief in a linearity of cost=performance.

 

I am saying that the motherboard of the person asking advice might have shit audio. It might have good audio. I don't know. It doesn't matter what the headphones are - they will sound their best out of good quality components.

 

Saying "those headphones don't need..." is ridiculous as the headphones do not determine the need (unless we are talking about power to reach a certain volume) - it doesn't matter what the headphones are - if his mobo has a poorly implemented audio section they will sound better out of a good quality set of components. 

 

P.S. Good pun ;-)

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