Q & A -

Headfonia Q & A

Feel free to post any questions you may have below at the comment section and I will try my best to answer them promptly. I try to answer all the questions, but I may miss one or two at times. Do repost your question if it’s left unanswered for a few days.

Please also go over the Buyer’s Guide articles before you post your questions, they may help to answer your questions.

 

Here is a link to the older Q & A pages:

 

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  • Jinx

    Hi guys!

    I love music, all sorts of genres but especially EDM. I’m currently using DT770 Pro 250 Ohm along with a Xonar DGX
    card on my computer, and I only recently found out that you can get a
    better listening experience while using AMP and DAC. Don’t ask me why I
    haven’t discovered this before haha. Anyways I’m looking to upgrade all
    my gear and I wanna do a big step rather than many small steps – not
    that it has to be perfect right away.

    I’m
    currently listening to music on youtube as they have many EDM channels I
    really like and besides that I use Spotify. I know the quality isn’t
    the best so when I get new gear I’m gonna upgrade to Premium in order to
    reach the 320 kbps that I have read is good. I don’t plan on using FLAC
    just yet, maybe later. Before making this thread I’ve spending
    countless hours doing alot of research in this area and read tons of
    reviews to many different products in order to get a little bit hang of
    it before aksing for help. Before I go into detail I want to ask if it’s worth to invest alot of money into gear that I’m gonna play on 320 kbps or less?

    (Sorry for my poor writing, but I simply dont know enough about all the terms to use them – hope it’s okay!)

    Anyways
    as I said I really love EDM and I like bass, but I need to point out
    that while I like bass I’m not a complete basshead (If I have understood
    the term correctly). I dont want the bass to ruin the song so that vocals can’t be hard simply put.
    I’m currently using closed cans but every pair of headphones I’ve been
    led toward is open so I dont really know how much of a difference it is,
    however I have read people say it is better overall than closed. I also
    can’t go out and try any because of depression and heavy anxiety, so my
    buy is gonna be based on reviews and your help! :-) Regarding priority I guess I can list it like this: 1. Sound quality 2. Bass 3. Comfort 4. Rest.

    So as I said I have done alot of research and I’m currently heading towards T90 or the T1 along with the A20 AMP.
    I’ve alot of good things about the T90 aswell as T1 however some people
    complaint about lacking bass, brightness and treble (dont really know
    what the last 2 terms). So I went for a search to find AMP and DAC that
    could fix this problem – note that they may be fine for me, but just in
    case since I cant test them before buying. I stumpled upon this review
    which pretty much sold me the A20 AMP: headfonia.com/beyers-a20-amp-small-size-big-sound/

    This
    same guy posted later in comments that the telsa combo with the a20
    didn’t really need a DAC, but could use Fiio E10 as an example. I later
    found the Fiio E10k since the other one isnt being sold anymore. Also
    found Fiio E7k and some others but I honestly have no clue. Do I need a
    DAC at all?

    Since I like EDM I’ve read people
    talking good about LCD-2, HE-400, HE-500 but people say they are too
    heavy to use for a long period of time which is my 3. Comfort = skipped.

    I then found the HE-560 but I dont know.

    Maybe I need someting entirely different than what I’ve posted so far? I dont really know – help! :-) My pricerange is probably 1600$ at most. Note that I live in Denmark (EU) so I’m gonna buy from uk amazon or in Denmark.

    • http://dalethorn.com dalethorn

      The T1 and T90 will be a bit light on bass and heavy on treble for EDM and your tastes. Don’t expect any amps to help with that. But the HE560 may be perfect.

      • Jinx

        Can you compare them to the DT770? That way I know for sure it they have too little or not. Also in this review: http://www.headfonia.com/beyers-a20-amp-small-size-big-sound/ He says that the a20 will give extra bass. Also if I use a DAC like Fiio 10k or something similar they have bass boost aswell. Correct me if I’m wrong, I’m new to this but that’s what I’ve read on some reviews.

        Also what about the t5p?

        • http://dalethorn.com dalethorn

          Compare them? Which them – the HE560 or the T1/T90? I would expect most desktop systems to thin out the DT770 bass, unless the desktop amp has a lot of power at the headphone impedance (i.e. 500-1000 mw at 250 ohms). But I wouldn’t boost the DT770 bass with a bass boost curve, since that would muddy the bass. I’d use an equalizer such as Foobar or iTunes has, and start by boosting the lowest bass the most, and increase the boost only when the low bass is still detailed and clear. The T5p is my dream headphone – I should have bought it instead of the T1, since the T1 is very bright.

          • Jinx

            Well the DT770 Pro’s are the only headphones I have so if you couldt compare them to the T1/T5p/T90 and maybe also the HE-560 that would give me an idea of what I want. Note that I dont have dac or amp but only Xonar DGX on my desktop and that the DT770 Pro arent the AE. I only just found out that there has been made a new DT770, the AE versoin, and I have read that some pople compare it to the T1 but with more base. I’m gonna read the reviw about it on this site now.

            Btw, will the a20 amp work with any beyer headphone or only the tesla ones? Because I’ve looked on the DT 880 and 990 aswell but idk. Really confused about all this.

            • http://dalethorn.com dalethorn

              I can’t do a fully detailed compare here, but in summary, the DT770 is very detailed with an enhanced bass that’s not boomy or muddy – i.e. very good. The T1’s excellence is compromised by excess brightness and a slightly skewed tonality, which responds well to EQ. Same with the T90, but lower fidelity than the T1, even though the tonality is better out of the box. I don’t have the T5p, but my sense is it’s like a DT770 but much higher in fidelity – not bright like the T1/T90, and the mids and bass will greatly improve over the DT770. The DT770ae may sound slightly different, but not enough to make a difference like other headphones. I’m sure the A20 amp with work well with all Beyer full-size headphones. I would highly recommend the T5p first thing, then the A20 later, because the amp won’t be a night-and-day difference like the headphone. Unless your current amp is running out of power.

              • Jinx

                Allright thank you. I’ve done some more research and found these so far:

                T5P
                TH600
                HE-560
                Philips Fidelio X2

                Philips is alot cheaper than the others so I dont know if it’s fair to compare them but I thought I’d list it anyways. Really confused if HE-560 is good for EMD since people say it cant be compared to HE-400/500.

                What do you think of this list?

                • http://dalethorn.com dalethorn

                  I would take the T5p for sure. The HE560 bass, or possibly the TH600 bass, might have a more “full” sound being planars, but the high end is where the harmonics and detail are, and the T5p is going to win that. But, if all I could afford was the X2, I could adapt to it easily and enjoy it a lot. It’s a very good quality headphone, and if I needed to balance the lows and highs differently, it wouldn’t be a problem because the sound has been made high quality to begin with. For example, take a typical $50 headphone and try to make it sound like a X2 – you can get close in some respects, but in the end the quality difference will still be obviously in favor of the X2. Going the other direction and comparing the X2 to the planars, I see a difference but not much. The T5p is a bigger difference, especially on the high end. You have to understand whether you want the big Tesla headphone or a planar. Research will help, but I can’t say any more. Amps won’t make a X2 sound like a HE560 or T5p, because those headphones can also use the same amps, most likely.

                  • Jinx

                    Okay thank you so much :-) Really appreciated, one last question.

                    How is the mid bass on the DT770 compared to t5p? That’s basicly the only thing I’m worried about.

                    • http://dalethorn.com dalethorn

                      The T5p is a Tesla and the bass detail will be much, much better than the DT770. But I can’t even guess about the bass quantity or strength, since I can’t compare them directly. My T1 was a little bit bass-light, but the T5p is darker than the T1, so that and other factors will determine your perceptions. If I had the T5p here I could do something I’ve done many times before – obtain some tunes that you have and play them on that T5p to see how they sound. But, I probably have enough info and headphone tunings at hand now, that I could make a good guess if you have a couple music track examples that are available for purchase on iTunes. I wouldn’t judge upper treble or ultimate clarity on iTunes’ 256k tracks, but bass is no issue unless I were to pick the wrong mix.

                    • Jinx

                      Not sure if all are on iTunes but here’s some:

                      Bon Iver – Babys (Urban Contact’s Summer Soul Remix)
                      Armin van Buuren presents Gaia – J’ai Envie De Toi
                      Kozoro & Evence – Lost At Heart (SNR Free)

                      Giuseppe Ottaviani feat. Amba Shepherd – Lost For Words (On Air mix)

                      Above & Beyond feat. Zoë Johnston – We’re All We Need
                      James Hersey – Coming Over (Filous Remix)

                      Seinabo Sey – Younger (Kygo Remix)

                      Alex Adair – Make Me Feel Better

                      Sam Smith – Stay With Me (Throttle Remix)
                      Bon Iver – Babys (Urban Contact’s Summer Soul Remix)

                    • http://dalethorn.com dalethorn

                      Looks like a great list – I’ll get back on this later.

                    • Jinx

                      Great! :-)

                    • http://dalethorn.com dalethorn

                      I spent some time on iTunes today just trying to find the first two tracks, and could not find them. If you can locate them and tell me that they are really there (no link needed), I’ll download them and do the tests.

                    • Jinx

                      Shame not all are on iTunes :-( Ok I will list the ones I found :

                      J’ai Envie De Toi – Armin van Buuren presents Gaia (Original Mix)

                      Search for: Giuseppe Ottaviani feat. Amba Shepherd – Lost For Words

                      and then find the (On Air Mix)

                      Search for: Seinabo Sey – Younger …. then find Kygo remix.

                      Above & Beyond feat. Zoë Johnston – We’re All We Need

                      If you need more let me know.

                    • http://dalethorn.com dalethorn

                      Prefacing this, I’m guessing the T5p bass will be greater than the T90 or T1, but since the closest I have to those is the T90, I used the T90 with a 6 db *boost* at 55 hz and 3 db at 77 hz. The T90 treble I reduce some, so it should match the T5p pretty well. With We’re All We Need, the bass has real impact, but sounds a bit thin to me. I played it with the v-moda LP and M100 – both of those with the bass *reduced* quite a bit to eliminate bloat and boom etc., and yet with those the bass was quite solid and yummy. With J’ai Envie, the T90 bass improved a little (same bass boost and treble cut), but not what I’d call good EDM bass. With the v-modas (same bass cut and treble boost) the bass was strong but very good. With Lost for Words, the T90 did about as well as the previous track, and the v-modas had a strong bass. With Younger, the T90 bass was just not good, while the v-modas were OK but not great. So what I’m thinking is, the T5p would be great to have as a high end-headphone, but unless you like a bass that’s not real solid for EDM, then you should expect to use a boost of maybe 6 db with the T5p for this music. In a less high-end headphone that has a better chance of success with the bass, but also has a hi-fi mids and treble, the Sennheiser HD650 may be a good choice. Below that, the X2 might work for you, since I think the bass will be good. What this test proved to me more than anything is how very far apart the sounds of the Beyer Teslas are from “club mix” headphones like the v-modas. I don’t remember if open-back headphones are something you can use or not. But today, in the under-$1000 range, there aren’t many open headphones any more. The HD650 is one, the Grado PS500 or 325 etc., the AKG’s (but they have even less deep bass than the Grados).

                    • Jinx

                      Thank you so much for doing this. This is really good information. How do you boost the bass? With dac like E10k? And he T90 with a 6 db *boost* is the same as t5p – so when you say the t5p will need maybe 6db boost it will have even more bass than what u tested with right?
                      Is it really possible to just buy the t5p and if i find the bass quantity too little I can simply boost to my prefered level? Or will the bass get weird at some point?

                      Also if I dont buy the t5p it’s probably gonna be the TH600 – it should be better than the x2 right? I think it’s the best headphones for my needs in that pricerange – correct me if I’m wrong.

                    • http://dalethorn.com dalethorn

                      The T90 with a boost isn’t the same as a T5p, but it should be closer. The exact difference is something you listen for, since there are many factors. As far as boosting a T5p, my experience with the T1, T90, T51p, DT1350 etc. (all Teslas) is they do take a boost very well with no appreciable distortion. You’re most likely to get distortion in the amp, but worry about that when the time comes (if it happens). The Teslas play many decibels louder than your ear can tolerate, so that extra dynamic range allows some boosting with no issues, unless of course your amp is underpowered.

                      My feeling is the T5p bass will be a little too lean for the music you suggested, and a bass boost will make it good enough for many people like myself. But be aware that many EDM fans use headphones like the v-modas, which are bass monsters, so their perceptions of bass are way different from mine. I like the Beyers because they provide detail in the bass, not just impact.

                      The TH600 sounds like a good choice. Maybe even the best choice.

                    • Jinx

                      What will happen if I get distortion in my amp? And how do I fix that?
                      The amp I would use, if I go with t5p or any other beyer, is the a20 amp.
                      I’m pretty sure it doenst have a “bass boost” fucntion, so how will i boost bass then? Maybe with the E10k?

                      You say I may not like the bass, but since I like my DT770 I’m pretty sure I will like t5p – if I can boost the bass whatever I feel like. (Will it ruin quality of the bass?)

                      TH600 sounds like a good choice indeed. However I really like the idea that I could buy the a20 amp and use with my current headphone and also upgrade with other headphones in the beyer series to whatever I feel like and still using the same amp and dac for all of them. Instead of buying new amps for new headphones in the future.

                      I can’t try the t5p sadly, but there is a shop that has all the others, so I will try to see if I can demo them in the near future, espcially the t1 since that’s the closest I can get to t5p I guess.

                    • http://dalethorn.com dalethorn

                      The A20 should be perfect. If you do want to do a bass boost, there are many ways. Just make sure your final setup has some option to do that, since it’s rare to have a perfect synergy with all of your components and all of your music tracks. And don’t worry about hearing distortion – with a good Beyer headphone and amp, whatever bad you hear will either be in the Beyer gear (Beyer’s problem, not yours) or the music tracks or your source player (your problem, not theirs). Not to worry though – I’d love to have the T5p and the A20, and someday soon I will have that T5p.

                    • Jinx

                      Reading reviews the A20 sounds amazing for beyers yeah. My final setup would be t5p + a20 + fiio e10k? Or is there something better. I’ve read that it has bass boost option.

                      Source player?

                    • http://www.headfonia.com/ Headfonia_L.

                      Replace the E10K with a Resonessence Labs Herus (see the review) and you’ll have a great setup

                    • Jinx

                      “I would describe the general sound as linear, there is no focus on bass or treble.” :-( It also doesnt have bass boost like the fiio e10k. And I really want that with the t5p since it lacks a litte in bass quantity I’ve been told. Unless there is another way to boost the bass without the dac?

                    • http://dalethorn.com dalethorn

                      L’s suggestion is important. You don’t want a FiiO E10k in there with premium components. And you can boost bass probably several ways with your music player.

                    • Jinx

                      Why? Do I need a certain musicplayer or can any work? Also how can I then boost bass if I play music on youtube or Spotify?

                    • http://dalethorn.com dalethorn

                      This conversation has gone on for a long time and I don’t remember what you have now or what gear you have in the works to order. Music players need hardware to run on, and I don’t know what hardware you have. If you have a PC you can use Foobar2000, which is free and very good. You can activate the 30-band equalizer and precisely tune your bass, as long as you keep it reasonable. If you have a Mac you can find something as good – Amarra or something similar. If you have to have the same EQ (i.e. bass boost) on Spotify, I have no doubt that you can do it, but at this point the advice you need is called professional consulting, and it gets expensive unless someone is willing to spend all the necessary time with you for free. So – time for you to research what hardware you want to use and what player you want to use and how to boost your bass “system wide” so it will work on Spotify etc. The answers are there on Google. When you get the basics down and need to know what specific thing is going to sound better, then maybe this place would be the best place to ask.

                    • http://www.headfonia.com/ Headfonia_L.

                      Dale is right. If you “need” bass boost cause your headphone doesn’t deliver the bass you need, you should really choose another headphone. Good luck

                    • Jinx

                      Allright, thank you so much for your help guys – I really appreciate it sine I can’t go and try out the headphones. I think you are both right that I need to look at some other headphones than Beyer since it doesnt provide enought bass for my liking. I’ve actually read alot good reviews about TH600 and TH900, and people say they are also good for other genres as well. What are your thoughts on this matter? I love the idea to buy a good pair of headphones that will last forever so the price for the TH900 is allright looking from that perspective I guess.

                      Edit/ I want to say I have read the review on this site but I also would like your opinion on this :-) Is the DT770 considered neutral? And what about the TH’s?

                    • http://dalethorn.com dalethorn

                      There’s nothing wrong with the T5p. The DT770 is not neutral. What you need before purchase, besides research, is experience. If you can’t get the experience like most of us, by buying low and working your way up, then personal consulting is the substitute for that experience.

  • Kalocsai

    Hi Guys

    I have an AKG
    K701 and after a long search I have found a proper DAC and Amp to drive
    it. I would like to use it with my Imac and TV but I was told that DAC
    doesn’t work with TV because ” TVs don’t have USB output”. What does
    that mean ? As I am a layman I am pretty confused now. I have a smart TV
    and I do see signs on the back part of my TV like ” digital audio out (
    optical ), USB 1, USB 2.” Does the quality of the sound really go down
    if I use only the Amp?
    Thanks

    • http://dalethorn.com dalethorn

      If your DAC has optical input then you’re good to go. If you have USB input only, then just try it and see.

      • Kalocsai

        Hi

        This is what I see on the back side of the DAC

      • Kalocsai

        ” optical input”

        • http://dalethorn.com dalethorn

          Then connect the TV optical out to the DAC optical in?

  • lorem3k

    Hi,

    I just got a pair of Inear StageDiver SD2 and now I’m looking for a new DAP to use them with as I’ve found that my iPhone doesn’t really deliver the level of detail that impressed me when I tried them out with the Matrix Mini-i I use at home (which I know is not exactly the most detailed source either). I think I’ve narrowed my options down to the DX90 and the RWAK100. I’m leaning towards the RWAK for its superior storage and battery life but I haven’t been able to find any sound comparisons between the two. Any advice?

    • http://www.headfonia.com/ Headfonia_L.

      Have you checked the RWAK review? Or just ask Nathan there

  • Worth Talley

    Thoughts on the Jdslabs C5 as an amp for the Alpha Dog?

    • http://www.headfonia.com/ Headfonia_L.

      not too bad but I would choose one with a litte more power

      • Worth Talley

        What would you portable amp would you recommend under $200 ($300 if necessary)?

        • http://dalethorn.com dalethorn

          An amp (no DAC) under $200 with good power might be the FiiO E12 or one of the newer versions, but probably not the one made for IEMs.

  • jason theo

    I’m considering buying the fiio e10k to upgrade from my hifiman hm-101. worth it?
    also considering the grado sr60e to pair with it. appreciate any comments thanks!

    • jason theo

      or any other headphone recommendations raound 100$. i listens to many genres (except edm and other electronic styled music) mostly rock and acoustics

      • http://dalethorn.com dalethorn

        The Grado tilts toward a forward or even bright sound – good for acoustic music. Alternatives for a little darker might be the Shure SRH-440, Sennheiser HD-280, or Sennheiser Momentum On-ear (on sale now for $100 at some sites).

        • Dave Ulrich

          I can vouch that the SR80e is very good for acoustic, as stated in my review.

          • jason theo

            ok thanks, and can you tell me if the sr80e is worth the extra dollars to the sr60e. thanks!

  • Kevin Setiadi

    Hi guys, I’m currently looking for a ~$100 IEM to be used anywhere outside my house. I’ve done some research and currently looking at Audio Technica IM70 and Shure SE215 (not SPE). They are priced very similarly in my country. My daily driver at home is ATH M50x so I would like something that has similar sound signature. Comfort and isolation are also important factors for me.

    Which one of these do you think I should buy?

    • http://www.headfonia.com/ Headfonia_L.

      The Shure SE215

  • Andrea Braga

    Hi guys, I need your help :-)
    I have an iMac, a Pure Music software, a Dragonfly 1.2 (dac and phone ampl.) and a B&W P7.
    I would like improve the dac/ampl. quality, and to have the possibility to drive my A/V amplifier on my dayroom also…
    I don’t need something portable, any idea please? the budget? about 1000€.
    thank you so much!

    • http://www.headfonia.com/ Headfonia_L.

      Meridian Prime? I’m not a fan of most AMp/Dac combos

  • Hussain Merchant

    Hi, few days ago i got my Sennheiser Momentum over-ear headphones for my PC which have Realtek ALC1150 but the volume is very low I have to increase the volume to 70 to 90% to get a decent listening. please suggest me how to improve the volume and sound quality of my headphones. should i get sound blaster Z or Fiio E07K or what? my budget is $80. thanks

    • http://www.headfonia.com/ Headfonia_L.

      I would recommend the E10K, see our review

      • Hussain Merchant

        thanks for reply, i was leaning toward E07K because of its features like bass and treble etc and the display screen. how much of a difference between them in case of my query of volume issue? thanks.

        • http://www.headfonia.com/ Headfonia_L.

          I would wait for the E17K then, I have it with me right now

          • Hussain Merchant

            how much do you think it’s gonna cost? if it’s over $100 then i go for E10K. actually i don’t live in the US and my cousin is coming from Canada in early January so he’ll bring it. thanks

            • http://www.headfonia.com/ Headfonia_L.

              it will be more than $150 for sure

  • http://www.headfonia.com/ L.

    Did you just really post a link to head-fi and asked for our help?
    The minimum would be to repeat your question here mate ;)

  • g.

    Okay, apologies, it’s a long post explaining my situation so I thought a link would be more convenient. I’ll copy paste here:

    My current heaphones are knock offs of Sony MDR V6, so I was looking into something decent. My budget is limited, and my choices are as well, because I live in Argentina, so many good cans might not be available, and buying outside the country is a nightmare (products stolen, having to pay huge fees to get it in,
    etc).

    So all I can do is browse local sites and compare prices there (in pesos). The main site is this: http://www.mercadolibre.com.ar/

    Since I don’t have much to go on in terms of experience, I browsed a post with recommendations in Head-Fi and searched for all those cans in the site I just mentioned. These were the ones I found:

    $185 http://articulo.mercadolibre.com.ar/MLA-485383585-koss-auriculares-ur55-studio-_JM
    $395 http://articulo.mercadolibre.com.ar/MLA-491354019-auriculares-koss-portapro-_JM
    $425 http://articulo.mercadolibre.com.ar/MLA-484864058-auriculares-phillips-oneil-the-stretch-red-sho956010-_JM Do these actually sound good? They seem gimmicky
    $477 http://articulo.mercadolibre.com.ar/MLA-487091477-auricular-cerrado-para-moviles-beyerdynamic-dt-235-_JM
    $477 http://articulo.mercadolibre.com.ar/MLA-484996413-auricular-beyerdynamic-dtx-300-_JM
    $888 http://articulo.mercadolibre.com.ar/MLA-485386840-koss-pro-dj-100-auriculares-estereo-profesional-dj-_JM

    Those are the ones I could find that fit within my budget (around
    $900 tops). Just for reference, the Sennheiser HD25-1 II cost over
    AR$2000 and the HD202 are around $300-400.

    I mostly listen to classical music, prog rock, and jazz (and Dawn of Midi, which I can’t put into a genre).

  • dalethorn

    Your selections include the very poorly made and easily broken Beyer DTX300 and the very well-made Philips Stretch. But to cover all the issues and the sound qualities would take a year. But only a year if all the reviews were in one place and condensed without any extra chat. On headfi you would have to read through all the many pages of commentary, so figure 2 years for that. Or — you could go to Amazon and click on the reviews, then sort by most recent first, and then you would be reading the reader/user reviews first and skipping the manufacturer house reviews which are nearly always posted first. That’s where you should start, and get your list down to your 2 or 3 best choices.

  • g.

    Thank you for the reply. There aren’t a lot of places where you can test a variety of headphones around where I live. I’ll go to a store next week but it’s safe to assume I won’t find all these options. I’ve also checked the headphones recommended here and most are either not available or way too expensive, with the exception of the HD202 and the Koss Portapro. I will check the amazon reviews as well.

  • dalethorn

    I think the 202 and Porta-Pro are both good for sound, but in my experience the Koss will need occasional repair.

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