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Audio Newbie Needs Headphone Advice

Hi all!

 

So I am just dipping my toes into the higher quality audio world, however the more I learn about it the more Im struggling to make up my mind when choosing a headset and potentially dac/amp.

 

I want something amazing for music (mostly metal), but also great for gaming (shooters and rpgs mostly). Ive been using A40s for nearly 8 years now and I just want that big next step

 

I would prefer closed back as I like the isolation when playing games but I understand the advantages of open back and I am open to both.

 

Budget is probably in the range of 800 AUD (600ish usd) but I am flexible for the right headphone combo.

 

Suggestions of headphones, dacs, and amps would be greatly appreciated

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;-;
why do u need $800 headphones?
a pair of hyper x cloud 2s does just fine

Sorry for any grammatical/spelling errors, I am writing on kindle.
Also, sorry I didn't quote or mention you, it is impossible on kindle.
Damn, this RGB is straight bussin'.
Can I be the first kindle moderator?

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Personally I have been using Beyerdynamic  DT990 Pros (250 ohm) with a Loxjie P20 tube amp that I swapped the tubes out of for higher quality ones plus got a better Power supply. I haven't been able to afford a proper dac, but I plan to get one eventuially.

They are certainly not over extreme premium, but they are the best sounding headphones I have ever had. I am also an Avid Metal listener. Also heavy gamer. 

Beyerdynamic has a range of Headphones. The DT 990 and 770 use the same drivers, one is closed back and one is open. I highly recommend using the open back ones. I used to be closed back only and now after having these I can never go back from open back.

 

You could also look at the DT 1990 pro a lot more money, but also very good.  

And finally their Amiron series Headphones are a more in the middle, but seriously great sounding.

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11 minutes ago, Mr-G-Man said:

;-;
why do u need $800 headphones?
a pair of hyper x cloud 2s does just fine

Because good sounding headphones are very important to some people.

 

Listening to my favorite song through a high quality set up was like listening to it for the first time. I actually cried.

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11 minutes ago, Mr-G-Man said:

;-;
why do u need $800 headphones?
a pair of hyper x cloud 2s does just fine

I recently got a pair of expensive wireless headphones for commuting, and the sound quality is something that I want more of. Ive used cloud 2s before at a mates and they didnt come close to my astros for my use case

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4 minutes ago, mr fobs said:

Beyerdynamic has a range of Headphones. The DT 990 and 770 use the same drivers, one is closed back and one is open. I highly recomend using the open back ones. I used to be closed back only and now after having these I can never go back.

I have been looking at all the Beyer options. Im not sure if the 1990 is a huge upgrade of the 990s etc

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2 minutes ago, Aus_Daniel said:

I have been looking at all the Beyer options. Im not sure if the 1990 is a huge upgrade of the 990s etc

Yea to me it would be worth it to get the 990s, and either a dummy thicc dac or a preamp (like the Loxjie P20) and a good dac.

 

The biggest downside to the 990s is the cable being soldered on. It is doable to change this, but requires patients. The Amirons I believe are detachable.

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I would like to add that Beyers have a very V shapes music profile. 

 

For example by 990s are like listening through a slightly mid scooped eq. It is not extreme and for the music I listen to its perfect. This also makes them good for gaming.

The open back makes for a very wide sounds stage make you feel more encompassed by your music. My friend has the dt 770s and I just don''t like their sounds as much.

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2 minutes ago, mr fobs said:

The biggest downside to the 990s is the cable being soldered on. It is doable to change this, but requires patients. The Amirons I believe are detachable.

The cable doesnt bother me an awful lot, just a nice feature.

 

Im yet to look at the amirons. Im also planning on looking at the Sundaras

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I haven't used HiFiman for gaming, but I do know they have excellent music sound. I haven't personally listened through them, but I have friends that use them for only music listening. 

 

Another thing to consider in your purchase is balanced and unbalanced headphones/dacs. That brings in a whole nother ball game.

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2 minutes ago, mr fobs said:

Another thing to consider in your purchase is balanced and unbalanced headphones/dacs. That brings in a whole nother ball game.

Yeah Ive been jumping down that rabbit hole and realised I might be in trouble hahah

 

At the moment I was thinking something like a Schiit Stack with a magnus and modi, and 990 pros.

 

However Im not sure if that dac/amp stack will give me what I want in games

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Sennheiser 6xx or 650 with your magnus/modi combo. Very similar to my setup and they are very comfortable and sound excellent. Just my 2 cents, haven't ever been able to try the 990 yet.

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9 minutes ago, Aus_Daniel said:

Yeah Ive been jumping down that rabbit hole and realised I might be in trouble hahah

 

At the moment I was thinking something like a Schiit Stack with a magnus and modi, and 990 pros.

 

However Im not sure if that dac/amp stack will give me what I want in games

Those would definitely give you enough power for dt 990s. Personally I prefer the sound of tubed amps, but it could be because I am weird. I am sure the Schiit stack would give you what you are looking for. Plus if you wanted to upgrade your headphones in the future you could still use the same dac and amp.

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1 minute ago, mr fobs said:

Those would definitely give you enough power for dt 990s. Personally I prefer the sound of tubed amps, but it could be because I am weird. I am sure the Schiit stack would give you what you are looking for. Plus if you wanted to upgrade your headphones in the future you could still use the same dac and amp.

Thats always been my mentality. Give myself options to upgrade in the future with the dac/amp. All this has been super insightful

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3 hours ago, Aus_Daniel said:

Im not sure if the 1990 is a huge upgrade of the 990s etc

Better build quality. Easier to drive. Just as bright and sharp tho I think.

 

Also I will very much recommend the Hifiman HE400i 2020 edition from Hifiman's store. They are pretty much only available in the EU. There are some "opened box" variants that may just have been on display that are in the US. They are very open, much more open than the 990's apparently. Their imaging is very good for their price and being planar magnetic. The 990 pros are dynamic which most headphones are but planar can sound much better since the driver tech is much more cabable of playing bass whilst not receeding much in between. They have fast decay.

 

The 990 pros are pretty hard to recommend to everyone. Myself included. They were my first pair of "audiophile" headphones t**hat got me into better audio. I was amazed at first but after a while I got tired of them.

 

What kind of music do you listen to?

 

4 hours ago, Aus_Daniel said:

At the moment I was thinking something like a Schiit Stack with a magnus and modi, and 990 pros.

 

However Im not sure if that dac/amp stack will give me what I want in games

There is the Sound Blaster G6 which has software if that is important. There isn't really a DAC/amp that is worse for games.

 

PM or DM me if you have any questions about audio or about your PC.

My PC specs & audio gear

CPU > Intel core i7 9700k, GPU > RTX 2070 8gb, RAM > Corsair Vengance 2x8gb 3000mhz, Motherboard > Z390 Gigabyte Aorus Pro Wifi, Storage > 1TB HDD & 2pcs of 500gb M2 SSDs, Cooling > H100I Corsair Platinum, PSU > Corsair RM750X V2

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Why spend thousands on peripherals and your PC and forget one of the most important things... Audio.

Read this post if you want a "gaming" headset ;)

 

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What issues do you have with the A40 that you are looking to fix by buying new headphones?

descriptors2

Image from solderdude

 

Do any of the adjectives in the chart above apply to how you feel about the A40? Are you unhappy with the positional audio? Comfort? How important is noise isolation? How large are your head and ears? Are there any high-end headphones you've listened to, and do you have opinions on them?

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Is the new DT 990 open back or closed back? My old DT 990 Edition is basically an open back can. OP did mention a preference for closed back for isolation, so I guess a DT 770 would be more appropriate. Beyerdynamic cans can be a little sparkly though, certainly on the DT 770 I had, and the DT 990 I have. When it comes to closed-back cans, there're not many to chose from in the high end range, but good entry level cans like the ATH-A900X, DT 770, even a Fostex T50RP Mk 3 (I have the original T50RP and swapped out the earpads to a pair of MrSpeakers Alpha Pads and that made a world of difference.

 

Below is a pic of both my modded T50RP (with Alpha Pads) and my Audio Technica ATH-A900X LTD Edition (I'd just replaced the original earpads, which was flaking terribly, with a pair of sheepskin earpads that I'd gotten online - though truth be told, I'm not 100% sure it's sheepskin).

spacer.png

 

One caveat though, I don't listen to metal, preferring rock and pop, and these sound great with either of these cans. I would, however, suggest OP try his best to audition the cans he's looking at to get an idea of the sound....another factor to consider is what the OP's sound preference is.

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I am never convinced that 1 tool that do-it-all works especially for something subjective like audio.

 

You can for example, get cheap headset like cloud 2 for gaming.

 

For music you get separate cans/iems for music (perhaps multiple $100-ish ones) see what you like more. These days even $50 iems (Blon 03/05s, Tripowin Mele, CCA C12, HZsound Heart Mirror, Moondrop Aria 2) can sound decent.

 

After you know distinct sound signature you like, you can upgrade to the upgraded version of iems you like. Let's say you like Moondrop Aria so much that now you consider getting Moondrop Blessing 2 Dusk or Seeaudio Yume or straight to end-game MEST.

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On 9/14/2021 at 8:42 AM, Aus_Daniel said:

I recently got a pair of expensive wireless headphones for commuting, and the sound quality is something that I want more of. Ive used cloud 2s before at a mates and they didnt come close to my astros for my use case

I used astro A40's for a long time. Ended up getting a pair of phillips sph9500 open back headphones and gave the astros to my son.

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On 9/14/2021 at 5:29 AM, Mr-G-Man said:

;-;
why do u need $800 headphones?
a pair of hyper x cloud 2s does just fine

people like things that sound good

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