Q & A - Headfonia Headphone Reviews

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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4,284 Comments

  • Reply May 25, 2016

    Mat Stanley

    Hey guys! I see someone has brought up an old favourite the CLAS! Just out of curiosity, how does the -db fare against a newer DAC like the one in the Mojo, resolution/sound wise? Cheers!

    • Reply May 25, 2016

      Headfonia_L.

      I’m not a big fan of the Mojo, I think it’s overhyped. The -dB actually still scores very well although it isn’t the most dynamic

      • Reply May 25, 2016

        Mat Stanley

        Hmmm interesting… yeah could be worth getting a old -db instead and saving some ££! After all most people probably won’t need anything past 24/192. Unless DSD capabilities are required. Hope to try out the Mojo sometime though!

  • Reply May 26, 2016

    Dennis

    Hi, Mr. L and dale. I’m a really new guy here. after many days’ reading here in headfonia, i really find your articles fruitful. many thanks! Now i want a headphone to start my hifi enjoyment. would you please give me some advice?
    music favor: pop vocal & classic; pure music like viola flute koto ; Yanni’s electric music,; music with more rhythm like Every Breath You Take
    Source: Now I want to use PC and mobile as source before i update the source in the future.
    Budget: $250 for headphone, $150 for DAC&Amp
    Considering: value for money ones like ATH-m50x, Sony MDR-1A, Sony z1000, DT770 PRO 32, SenHD 598se ,welcome others if more suitable.
    excuse me for my poor English and thanks in advance~

    Sincerely
    Dennis Wang

    • Reply May 26, 2016

      dalethorn

      I would spend the $400 on a headphone, IF (!) you can drive it OK from your laptop and phone, and then buy a better DAC/amp in a couple of months. But if you go ahead anyway, then you need to decide if the DAC/amp needs to work from the phone, or just the computer.

      • Reply May 26, 2016

        Dennis

        Thanks for your advice Dale~
        Is it possible to drive a $400 headphone with the laptop directly?would you please suggest any? I’m afraid my mobile is not capable of this.
        Actually i don’t want to sink too deep in the equipments, I just want to get some delightful moment over the music. if i get a $400 headphone, maybe another $800 should be spent to get most of the headphone right?

        • Reply May 26, 2016

          Headfonia_L.

          yes; Or even more. Check my reply

          • Reply May 26, 2016

            Dennis

            that’s too much for me~~~ i really don’t want to spend to much on equipment.
            I find that Sen HD 600 is around $250 here in China,is that a better choice? with Fiio E10k? or others? up till now, there’s no review on the Sony MDR-1A, do you have any impressions on that headphone?

            • Reply May 26, 2016

              dalethorn

              A HD600 and FiiO E10k or E17k would be a very good starter. Normally I avoid Sony due to quality issues, but if you do get a Sony, check where it is serviced first.

              • Reply May 26, 2016

                Headfonia_L.

                I wouldn’t combine the HD600 with the E10K unless it’s temporary

                • Reply May 26, 2016

                  dalethorn

                  Very temporary, unless I misread the previous posts. But you know, trying to have a temporary system with high-quality sound – it’s not a good mix. I would have agreed with the DT770-32, until the OP suggested the HD600.

                  • Reply May 26, 2016

                    Dennis

                    haha~thanks~i suggested HD600 only for the price. Sony MRD-1A ATH-50X and Sen HD 600, HD 650 are headphones that often offer discounts here, sometimes there’s also Denon AH-D600.
                    besides dragonfly red, is there any other amps for DT770 32 ?

                    • May 26, 2016

                      dalethorn

                      Any DragonFly is OK for DT770-32, but not so much for HD650/600 because of impedance. Usually a USB-powered amp is the lowest power amp, and a DAC/amp that has its own battery power is better.

                    • May 27, 2016

                      Dennis

                      unfortunately, all DragonFly products are not easy to get in mainland China, any others please?
                      by the way, i did some further research on DT770, some fans say the 80 ohm version is better than the 32 ohm version, and also cheaper, what do you think? should i stick to 32 ohm one?

                    • May 27, 2016

                      dalethorn

                      The 32 ohm is the most popular headphone ever reviewed here. But feel free to take your chances…

                    • May 27, 2016

                      Dennis

                      thanks dale~ it’s really puzzling. why should Byer issue 3 versions for the same headphone? no difference between them if properly amped? I see a post in Head-Fi today and there seems to be huge controversies over the DT 770 pro, especially over the bass and treble part. how do you feel?
                      link to the post in Head-Fi: http://www.head-fi.org/t/513393/guide-sonic-differences-between-dt770-dt990-models-more/1695

                    • May 27, 2016

                      dalethorn

                      Firstly, it’s a professional headphone. We consumers expect a soft sound from most premium headphones around $350 – $500, but the Beyers are usually razor sharp in detail. To keep this conversation small enough that I can type out some explanation, it’s basically this: You want a consumer sound, get a Senn Momentum-2, or a NAD HP50, etc. But if you want professional, Beyer and some of the top Senns and AKGs might do the trick. I can’t keep up a tutorial here, so you’ll have to do more research. Pro headphones will cost you more time to research.

                    • May 28, 2016

                      Dennis

                      thanks very much~ keeping researching now~~~

                • Reply May 26, 2016

                  Dennis

                  thanks L, in this way HD 600 may not be a good choice for me. how about Sen HD598SE ? It’s only $100 many times

                  • Reply May 26, 2016

                    dalethorn

                    Ask about the HD598 impedance, and not just at 1000 hz – check the full impedance curve.

                    • May 27, 2016

                      Dennis

                      that means another amp is needed to meet my requirements?

                    • May 27, 2016

                      dalethorn

                      It means check the impedance curve.

                    • May 27, 2016

                      Dennis

                      wow, it’s a bit too technical for me to understand the impedance curve even after i did some research today~ thanks all the same.

                    • May 27, 2016

                      dalethorn

                      No, it’s very simple. If they tell you the impedance is 300 ohms (for example), then you look at the curve and see it’s 300 ohms at 1000 hz but it’s 500 ohms at 100 hz, then when you look at the amp specifications that says it outputs 100 mw at 300 ohms, you know you’re going to get a LOT less than 100 mw where the impedance is 500 ohms. Now go to google and look up “nominal impedance”. It’s very simple.

                    • May 28, 2016

                      Dennis

                      thanks dale~ very helpful explanation. I understand that a little now. but it’s the relationship with sound pressure and other parameters that still makes me confused. i think i will do more readings by myself.
                      one last question. I read the review on DT770 AE twice these days and one comment leads me to Philips fidelio L2. It seems Mike, L and you spoke high of L2. I found that the PHILIPS L2OB is selling at less than $150 now in my country. it’s really an attractive price compared with DT 770 32 here. Does L2 fit me? maybe i can use the savings from amp to update the source~@@headfonia_lieven:disqus

                    • May 28, 2016

                      dalethorn

                      The L2 is good – I just gave away my X2, and prior to that I had several other Philips. The L2 will not have the clarity of the DT770 unfortunately, but if you have an equalizer app you should be able to improve any weak areas.

                    • May 28, 2016

                      Dennis

                      that’s great~~~ thanks~ i want to buy a fiip x1 to start, i believe it has the equalizer app~~ thanks~~~you are really helpful and prompt!

              • Reply May 26, 2016

                Dennis

                thanks dale~ under my impression, sony products are ok. but as you mentioned, i will take DT770 PRO 32 as the the first choice.

    • Reply May 26, 2016

      Headfonia_L.

      Tough one.I’d go for the DT770 32 (even before I saw you listed that one) I’m listening to it now on the WA8 (out of your budget) but the headphone is awesome (check my review)

      I would buy something like a Dragonfly Red which will allow you to use your phone and your pc. That’s a pretty good setup for the money

      • Reply May 26, 2016

        Dennis

        thanks L, Dragonfly Red is really satisfying. however it’s not easy to get one in China, any other suggestions? Personally i prefer to enjoy HiFi home with PC and amps or outside just with my mobile, because it would still be inconvenient even with a portable amp outside. but anyway, amps like Dragonfly Red is good.

  • Reply May 29, 2016

    Michał

    Hi 🙂 I’m a happy owner of Lime Ears Aether and Sony ZX1. Wondering if you could advise in matter of amps. Do you think amping LEA on such setup make sense? Was thinking of Fiio E12A or Aune B1. If this is like totally obsolate and wont make any big changes please let me know.

  • Reply May 29, 2016

    I-Zac

    Hi guys,

    Been following your site for about a year now, I bought the HE400i recently and have been very happy with what it sounds like. However, i do want a change and cannot decide on what to get. Perhaps you could help me? I love the warm sound of the HE400i and i find my ATH-M70x a little too bright now after a while. Ive got a Aune X1s to drive everything, possibly looking for an amp as well.

    Shortlist (not very short):
    Grado SR325i
    DT1770 Pro
    Fostex TH-X00
    HD650
    MH40

    • Reply May 29, 2016

      dalethorn

      I don’t know the Fostex, but the others:
      MH40: ‘Lifestyle’ sound – weak treble, some bass emphasis.
      HD650: Warm, smooth classic sound.
      DT1770 pro: Dark, detailed, slightly uneven, hard to describe even though I own it.
      SR325e: Typical Grado 2 khz peak, also strong around 7 khz, lower bass a bit weak.

      • Reply May 30, 2016

        I-Zac

        Thanks dale, i think ill go and audition the DT1770 and the SR325e

  • Reply June 1, 2016

    solid

    Hi.. I want to build a CIEM… Which model you recommend?? Genres: Jazz, Classical. sometime pop music… Budget: USD 499.. Or should I buy hybrid?? Any thought?

  • Reply June 4, 2016

    gerbi67

    Hi. Congratulation on a great website. I would like to steal 2 minutes of your time and ask for your opinion. I’m trying to find an alternative to the Sennheiser IE800. I love the sound but the comfort levels are low for me so I’d like something as close as possible sound wise (I especially love the trebles) but more comfortable. Thank you in advance. Cheers.

    • Reply June 4, 2016

      dalethorn

      Nathan and Lieven are the IEM experts, but since I owned the IE800, what I would do is try out the Grados.

      • Reply June 4, 2016

        gerbi67

        Thank you. Any model in particular?

        • Reply June 5, 2016

          dalethorn

          GR10e hopefully.

          • Reply June 5, 2016

            gerbi67

            Thank you. Any particular reason why you say hopefully? Sorry about the silly question!

            • Reply June 5, 2016

              dalethorn

              It costs more – not cheap, but cheaper than the IE800 anyway.

              • Reply June 6, 2016

                gerbi67

                Thank you. Any other models?

                • Reply June 6, 2016

                  dalethorn

                  I like the warmer IEMs, woodies especially. But if you’re really into getting the best, CIEM is probably the way to go. I never did, and so every new IEM I try is a struggle to get a good fit. And the bass is never going to be proper and consistent until you get a perfect fit.

                  • Reply June 10, 2016

                    Barun C

                    I just got a pair of DT 48A s today. They’ll arrive in a couple of weeks. Any suggestion with regard to substitute ear pads, which can work and how do you rate them as a headphone today

                    • June 10, 2016

                      dalethorn

                      The new oval earpads made for the DT48 series is the only pad that has a sound that’s more or less hi-fi. The sound with those earpads is peaky in the treble, with a big recess in the upper mids. There is very significant output above 12-15 khz. The character of the sound is much like a big horn loudspeaker. I didn’t have a decent equalizer when I had my DT48e and DT48a, but someday I’d like to try EQ’ing one of those to smooth out some of the extremes that Innerfidelity charted (they tested my headphone). The negatives that Tyll reported, like the negatives for the AKG K812, are primarily frequency response issues related to the newer DT48 earpad design. The older earpads, and even moreso the A’s round pads, make those headphones extremely thin and tinny.

  • Reply June 10, 2016

    dalethorn

    Got the DragonFly Black today. Used only with iPhone 6. Makes a spectacular difference – much better than Oppo HA-2.

    • Reply June 13, 2016

      Benoit

      Hi guys,

      I also got my DragonFly Black last week, which I’ll use with a MacBook Pro and iPhone 6 to drive my Senns IE800.

      I got a budget of 200-300€ for a DAC.
      Is it the best buy or I can get something much better for the money?

      Thanks in advance! Cheers!

      • Reply June 14, 2016

        Lieven

        Hi Benoit, the black is nice even though the Red is even nicer. Aren’t you happy with it that you’re looking for something else?

        you could look at the Herus or the GRACE DESIGN X MASSDROP M9XX, or some matrix gear. LECKERTON AUDIO UHA-6S.MKII is an option, and there there is the Fiio E17K

        • Reply June 14, 2016

          dale thorn

          I think the DF Black is far far better than the E17k. But if I wanted a better iPhone DAC I sure would consider the Massdrop Grace.

        • Reply June 14, 2016

          Benoit

          Hi Lieven, great to hear from you! Basically the DF aren’t bad, I’m just being skeptical the potential of this tiny dongle in comparison with bigger units. I like the style of the MASSDROP M9XX… even though I feel tempted in going deeper into my pocket to get the Chord Mojo. Would that be a tremendous upgrade in your opinion?

          • Reply June 14, 2016

            dalethorn

            I want the Mojo, so it’s just a matter of getting funds. Go for it if you can.

  • Reply June 10, 2016

    Barun C

    @ Dale . I just got a pair of DT 48A s today. They’ll arrive in a couple of weeks. Any suggestion with regard to substitute ear pads, which can work and how do you rate them as a headphone today.

    Thanks

    • Reply June 10, 2016

      dalethorn

      The new oval black earpads made for the DT48 series is the only earpad that has a sound remotely hi-fi. The sound with these earpads is peaky in the treble, with a big recess in the upper mids. There is very significant output above 12-15 khz. The character of the sound is much like a big horn loudspeaker. I didn’t have a good equalizer when I had my DT48e and DT48a, but someday I’d like to try EQ’ing one of those to smooth out some of the extremes that Innerfidelity charted (they tested my headphone). The negatives that Tyll reported, like the negatives for the AKG K812, are primarily frequency response issues related to the newer DT48 earpad design. The older earpads, and even moreso the A’s round pads, make those headphones extremely thin and tinny.

      • Reply June 10, 2016

        Barun C

        So is it better to continue with the default ones then?

        • Reply June 10, 2016

          dalethorn

          The default ‘A’ earpads are round and on-ear, and will produce the most tinny sound you have ever heard.

          • Reply June 10, 2016

            Barun C

            Okay, so will these work ?

            • Reply June 10, 2016

              dalethorn

              That’s the right pads. Check that they have the adhesive tape underneath, and make sure the earcup surfaces where the sticky surfaces go are clean before you put them on.

            • Reply June 10, 2016

              dalethorn

              That’s the best earpad for all DT48’s.

      • Reply June 10, 2016

        Barun C

        I can’t find my last post. My question was, is it better to continue with the default DT 48A ear pads?

        • Reply June 10, 2016

          dalethorn

          The default ‘A’ earpads are round and on-ear, and will produce the most tinny sound you have ever heard. Bar none.

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