Who Listens Through Headphones

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Holden Fourth
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Who Listens Through Headphones

Post by Holden Fourth » Wed Mar 17, 2021 4:23 am

I do a lot of my listening via my iMac (respecting the neighbours) which means either using a powered speaker set up or headphones. I use both.

To get the best sound out of both systems I use a DAC/Amp set up. In this case it is the Burson Playmate 2. I have four different sets of cans to do my listening and each has it's own specific signature for the music I want to play. My old Senn HD580s are brilliant for classical but don't really cut it for music produced post 1970.

Do you use headphones? Are they connected to your HiFi system or do they attach to your iMac/PC? What cans do you have? Do you use a DAC?

If you have a home HiFi system is a DAC/Amp part of your listening experience if you plug in your cans?

Seán
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Re: Who Listens Through Headphones

Post by Seán » Wed Mar 17, 2021 5:56 am

Hello, I have a pair of Sennheiser HD650 headphones connected to my HiFi system, but I rarely use them now.
I also have a pair of SuperLux HD681, they are marvellous headphones at €20, and are very comfortable to wear for long periods if required. I am inclined to use them more often than the Seinnheiser's. On a warm summer's day (a real rarity in Ireland I Know) I might sit out in the garden with my SuperLux headphones connected to my Sony Walkman CD player and drink in some wonderful classical music, I'm in heaven!
I also use an iMac but I do not bother using headphones with it.
Seán

"To appreciate the greatness of the Masters is to keep faith in the greatness of humanity." - Wilhelm Furtwängler

barney
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Re: Who Listens Through Headphones

Post by barney » Wed Mar 17, 2021 7:08 am

Seán wrote:
Wed Mar 17, 2021 5:56 am
Hello, I have a pair of Sennheiser HD650 headphones connected to my HiFi system, but I rarely use them now.
I also have a pair of SuperLux HD681, they are marvellous headphones at €20, and are very comfortable to wear for long periods if required. I am inclined to use them more often than the Seinnheiser's. On a warm summer's day (a real rarity in Ireland I Know) I might sit out in the garden with my SuperLux headphones connected to my Sony Walkman CD player and drink in some wonderful classical music, I'm in heaven!
I also use an iMac but I do not bother using headphones with it.
I also have Sennheiser HD650s, which I love and find very comfortable. But I haven't used them for a long time. I have a Devialet DAC and a Cambridge transporter (why it's not called a CD player I have no idea) for CDs, and the Devialet is also attached the computer (digital 1 or Line 1) But I nearly always use speakers, as my ears get tired with headphones.

maestrob
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Re: Who Listens Through Headphones

Post by maestrob » Wed Mar 17, 2021 9:39 am

Holden Fourth wrote:
Wed Mar 17, 2021 4:23 am
I do a lot of my listening via my iMac (respecting the neighbours) which means either using a powered speaker set up or headphones. I use both.

To get the best sound out of both systems I use a DAC/Amp set up. In this case it is the Burson Playmate 2. I have four different sets of cans to do my listening and each has it's own specific signature for the music I want to play. My old Senn HD580s are brilliant for classical but don't really cut it for music produced post 1970.

Do you use headphones? Are they connected to your HiFi system or do they attach to your iMac/PC? What cans do you have? Do you use a DAC?

If you have a home HiFi system is a DAC/Amp part of your listening experience if you plug in your cans?
G'day, Holden! :D

Image

I use a rather recent acquisition of the headphones pictured above, Audio-Technica model ATH-M50X I bought from amazon. I get up much earlier than my wife, so they serve me well, plugged into my desktop, both for playing CDs or for streaming in HD from amazon.

After she wakes up, I switch to my stereo, my pride and joy, with a pair of massive Bozak (not Bose!) speakers that I acquired for $600 of my hard-earned wages (I worked my way through Villanova, even though I had a scholarship) back in 1969 and refurbished with new drivers in 1980 before the company went out of business. My Sony CD changer still plays very well, aided by a Chinese-made Sherwood stereo receiver that puts out a healthy 100 watts/channel that is also hooked up to my cable TV.

As I live in a Manhattan apartment, we don't play our loud music through the stereo very often, and have never had a single complaint when we watch an opera or concert DVD at full volume, as our building was built by a bank with solid construction. Most of the big works I play through headphones: Mahler, Bruckner, Shostakovich, Prokofiev and various operas. Mono historical recordings always sound better through my speakers, of course. The speakers pictured below are similar to the pair I own:

Image

mikealdren
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Re: Who Listens Through Headphones

Post by mikealdren » Wed Mar 17, 2021 10:58 am

Yet another vote for Sennheiser HD650s. When my wife is teaching, I feed them from my PC via a moderately priced DAC and amplifier. They sound very good and reveal detail in a way that my high quality living room stereo doesn't.

maestrob
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Re: Who Listens Through Headphones

Post by maestrob » Wed Mar 17, 2021 1:22 pm

mikealdren wrote:
Wed Mar 17, 2021 10:58 am
Yet another vote for Sennheiser HD650s. When my wife is teaching, I feed them from my PC via a moderately priced DAC and amplifier. They sound very good and reveal detail in a way that my high quality living room stereo doesn't.
My sentiments exactly, Mike! :wink:

In fact, I prefer to hear recordings both through my stereo and through headphones, as both provide different and quite rewarding experiences , but not, of course, at the same time. :lol:

Lance
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Re: Who Listens Through Headphones

Post by Lance » Wed Mar 17, 2021 1:40 pm

I used to use headphones, no longer, except for producing radio programs. I have McIntosh amp/preamp and wonderful Polk Audio speakers that have served me well for years. I haven't really heard any I like better. I had a nice compliment from a singer who recorded for RCA with the Boston Symphony. He heard his recording through these speakers and said that was the best he ever heard of his own recording. I can appreciate using headphones especially in an apartment setting so others are not disturbed. Still, for me, nothing like hearing recorded music through really fine speakers.
Lance G. Hill
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maestrob
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Re: Who Listens Through Headphones

Post by maestrob » Wed Mar 17, 2021 1:54 pm

Lance wrote:
Wed Mar 17, 2021 1:40 pm
I used to use headphones, no longer, except for producing radio programs. I have McIntosh amp/preamp and wonderful Polk Audio speakers that have served me well for years. I haven't really heard any I like better. I had a nice compliment from a singer who recorded for RCA with the Boston Symphony. He heard his recording through these speakers and said that was the best he ever heard of his own recording. I can appreciate using headphones especially in an apartment setting so others are not disturbed. Still, for me, nothing like hearing recorded music through really fine speakers.
Hello, Lance! :D

I remember Polk speakers very well. I had bought my Bozaks some years before Polks were first marketed in the 1970's, and I auditioned them in various hi-fi stores and liked their sound a great deal, as I was living in New York in a small apartment and wanted a smaller set of speakers. Although I did ultimately stick with my oversized Bozaks, I'm glad to hear we both like their sound.

slofstra
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Re: Who Listens Through Headphones

Post by slofstra » Wed Mar 17, 2021 2:42 pm

I use Sennheiser HD 650s.

I also have a pair of top of the line Koss. Interesting story on those. I had an ancient pair of Koss headphones, again top of the line, but they were broken. A friend of mine with a small recording studio urged me to send them in to Koss as they have a lifetime warranty. So I did, and sure enough, they sent me their latest and best, gratis.

I most frequently use a pair of Bluetooth Sennheiser noise cancelling phones, mainly for audiobooks and music, on occasion. I use these the most ... whenever I walk, essentially.

I also use a DAC on the computer attached to my home stereo. It's an AudioEngine D1 and I'm very happy with it - definitely a great improvement for all sound coming out of that computer.

Seán
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Re: Who Listens Through Headphones

Post by Seán » Wed Mar 17, 2021 2:57 pm

Gosh Brian, I wouldn't be allowed to get past the front door with those beasts. Many years ago I had a pair of KEP104ABs and my wife hated the sight of them.
Image

The children came along and they and the rest of my HiFi system was damaged and had to be sold.

In 2006 I went shopping for a new HiFi system. At the time I was considering getting a pair of floor standers from B&W, Pro Ac or System Audio. My wife does not like the appearance of the high end B&W speakers but would not make a fuss as they would be in my music room.

Anyway, I just love the System Audio speakers and they have very high WAF so I bought a pair of SA1750's for my listening room and let me tell you I have NO regrets:

Image
Seán

"To appreciate the greatness of the Masters is to keep faith in the greatness of humanity." - Wilhelm Furtwängler

Wallingford
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Re: Who Listens Through Headphones

Post by Wallingford » Wed Mar 17, 2021 4:17 pm

Been doing just fine lo these past twenty years with my second pair of Koss Pro4 AA's.

Might have to fork over for a third set, though, as my cord's got a short in it and I can't solder.
Good music is that which falls upon the ear with ease, and quits the memory with difficulty.
--Sir Thomas Beecham

CharmNewton
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Re: Who Listens Through Headphones

Post by CharmNewton » Wed Mar 17, 2021 11:02 pm

I have used headphones for many years as well as with traditional speakers. I don't use a separate DAC, but listen through my phone, tablets, PCs, 2-channel stereo as well as a 5-channel DSD A?V setup in the basement (both the Onkyo receiver and the Sony Blu-Ray player can handle multi-channel SACD via HDMI which greatly simplifies hookup--how thrilling it is to hear Heifetz's recording of the Sibelius Violin Concerto from Chicago in 3-channel sound as recorded as well as some of the Reiner SACDs).

I like AKG headphones and my favorite pair of several is the K-701, a very airy pair of open-back headphones that can get a bit bright if pushed, but sound good on all types of music, especially piano, chamber and vocals. But being open-back do not block their own or external sounds and can be heard by others. The other AKGs are all pretty close, very well balanced and detailed, especially a pair of closed-back K-545s. I also have a wonderful pair of open-back Philips SHP 9500 headphones which are very comfortable.

I find headphones make listening easier as it is easier to hear details. I've rediscovered many artists by listening this way.

John

Holden Fourth
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Re: Who Listens Through Headphones

Post by Holden Fourth » Thu Mar 18, 2021 2:33 am

Great to read the replies to this thread. As I suspected, many of you have dedicated set ups with speaker systems and the added paraphernalia. My own amp/Speaker set up (CD player excluded) goes back over 20 years and with a library of over 2000 CDs there is plenty for me to play on my new Rotel CD11. (RIP Marantz CD67 SE KI)

However, I enjoy the visceral thrill that a really good pair of headphones can give and the top ones give you an 'out of head' experience. When listening to chamber, I like the pinpoint imaging that a great set of iems like my Flare Golds can give.

maestrob
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Re: Who Listens Through Headphones

Post by maestrob » Thu Mar 18, 2021 8:46 am

Seán wrote:
Wed Mar 17, 2021 2:57 pm
Gosh Brian, I wouldn't be allowed to get past the front door with those beasts. Many years ago I had a pair of KEP104ABs and my wife hated the sight of them.
Image

The children came along and they and the rest of my HiFi system was damaged and had to be sold.

In 2006 I went shopping for a new HiFi system. At the time I was considering getting a pair of floor standers from B&W, Pro Ac or System Audio. My wife does not like the appearance of the high end B&W speakers but would not make a fuss as they would be in my music room.

Anyway, I just love the System Audio speakers and they have very high WAF so I bought a pair of SA1750's for my listening room and let me tell you I have NO regrets:

Image
Well, Sean, both of those sets of speakers look quite awesome. I'm sure they give superb sound.

As for "getting past the front door," well, my Bozaks were here for seven years before I met the love of my life, and being a fellow musician (she had a uniquely lovely lyric-coloratura soprano and studied with a MET singer who taught the same technique I know), Teresa fell in love with the Bozak sound when she first heard them. That opinion, thankfully, has not changed in over 40 years we've been together. 😉

slofstra
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Re: Who Listens Through Headphones

Post by slofstra » Thu Mar 18, 2021 10:23 am

Wallingford wrote:
Wed Mar 17, 2021 4:17 pm
Been doing just fine lo these past twenty years with my second pair of Koss Pro4 AA's.

Might have to fork over for a third set, though, as my cord's got a short in it and I can't solder.
That was the original pair of Koss's I bought years ago. So, just remember that if they ever break, Koss will replace at no charge.

slofstra
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Re: Who Listens Through Headphones

Post by slofstra » Thu Mar 18, 2021 10:29 am

What you really want for headphones is a pair of these, with matching headphone amp, from a company called Raal.

Image

You're looking at a range of $4500 to $8500 depending on options. I would buy these up in a jiff, but I seldom use headphones in my library. For the rest of you, it's the perfect solution.

Seán
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Re: Who Listens Through Headphones

Post by Seán » Thu Mar 18, 2021 10:56 am

maestrob wrote:
Thu Mar 18, 2021 8:46 am

Well, Sean, both of those sets of speakers look quite awesome. I'm sure they give superb sound.
The KEFs are very good but they are no match for the System Audio speakers. The SA1750's are marvellous, I am very happy with them.
maestrob wrote:
Thu Mar 18, 2021 8:46 am
As for "getting past the front door," well, my Bozaks were here for seven years before I met the love of my life, and being a fellow musician (she had a uniquely lovely lyric-coloratura soprano and studied with a MET singer who taught the same technique I know), Teresa fell in love with the Bozak sound when she first heard them. That opinion, thankfully, has not changed in over 40 years we've been together. 😉
Yeah I had the KEFs before I met Veronica, so the Rega, KEFs, Quads amplifiers, the cables and me were the complete package. They are all gone now but I'm still around. :)
Veronica loves my existing setup, but she would never sit in my music room and listen to music, I do that all on my own. Neither of our two adult children have shown any interest in doing so.
Brian, your wife sounds delightful.
We are two lucky men, Veronica and I will be together as a couple 40 years in January 2022.
Seán

"To appreciate the greatness of the Masters is to keep faith in the greatness of humanity." - Wilhelm Furtwängler

Seán
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Re: Who Listens Through Headphones

Post by Seán » Thu Mar 18, 2021 10:59 am

slofstra wrote:
Thu Mar 18, 2021 10:29 am
What you really want for headphones is a pair of these, with matching headphone amp, from a company called Raal.

Image

You're looking at a range of $4500 to $8500 depending on options. I would buy these up in a jiff, but I seldom use headphones in my library. For the rest of you, it's the perfect solution.
Oh if I had that sort of disposable income to indulge myself I would rather upgrade my turntable, CD player or speakers or perhaps even buy more LPs and CDs, but where would I store them? I am running out of space. :(
Seán

"To appreciate the greatness of the Masters is to keep faith in the greatness of humanity." - Wilhelm Furtwängler

maestrob
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Re: Who Listens Through Headphones

Post by maestrob » Thu Mar 18, 2021 12:11 pm

Seán wrote:
Thu Mar 18, 2021 10:56 am
maestrob wrote:
Thu Mar 18, 2021 8:46 am

Well, Sean, both of those sets of speakers look quite awesome. I'm sure they give superb sound.
The KEFs are very good but they are no match for the System Audio speakers. The SA1750's are marvellous, I am very happy with them.
maestrob wrote:
Thu Mar 18, 2021 8:46 am
As for "getting past the front door," well, my Bozaks were here for seven years before I met the love of my life, and being a fellow musician (she had a uniquely lovely lyric-coloratura soprano and studied with a MET singer who taught the same technique I know), Teresa fell in love with the Bozak sound when she first heard them. That opinion, thankfully, has not changed in over 40 years we've been together. 😉
Yeah I had the KEFs before I met Veronica, so the Rega, KEFs, Quads amplifiers, the cables and me were the complete package. They are all gone now but I'm still around. :)
Veronica loves my existing setup, but she would never sit in my music room and listen to music, I do that all on my own. Neither of our two adult children have shown any interest in doing so.
Brian, your wife sounds delightful.
We are two lucky men, Veronica and I will be together as a couple 40 years in January 2022.
Thank you, Sean, for that, and congratulations for your own longevity as a couple as well! :D

Teresa has been an amazing companion all these years. We met just 11 years after she came to NY from the Dominican Republic with her parents, and eagerly became a U. S. citizen five years before we met at a party hosted by her voice teacher. One of her uncles was actually tapped to lead the government there after Trujillo was assassinated, thus ending a more than 30-year reign of terror during which she lost a journalist cousin and saw another uncle hospitalized for some six months after a brutal police beating. Her father, although from Curacao, was CFO for the company that imported B.F. Goodrich tires from America to the entire country. She grew up in an upper-middle class environment there and suffered tremendously during the attempted communist revolution in 1965 (She spent her 15th birthday on the floor of her home, afraid to be seen through a window by American troops who had orders to shoot to kill anything they saw moving!) which was crushed by Lyndon Johnson flooding the Capitol, Santo Domingo, with American troops. She then came here after finishing high school at her aunt's private school there to attend college in America and make a better life.

We are indeed both very lucky to have such a pair of wonderful women as partners in life.

slofstra
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Re: Who Listens Through Headphones

Post by slofstra » Thu Mar 18, 2021 1:01 pm

Seán wrote:
Thu Mar 18, 2021 10:59 am
slofstra wrote:
Thu Mar 18, 2021 10:29 am
What you really want for headphones is a pair of these, with matching headphone amp, from a company called Raal.

Image

You're looking at a range of $4500 to $8500 depending on options. I would buy these up in a jiff, but I seldom use headphones in my library. For the rest of you, it's the perfect solution.
Oh if I had that sort of disposable income to indulge myself I would rather upgrade my turntable, CD player or speakers or perhaps even buy more LPs and CDs, but where would I store them? I am running out of space. :(
Well, that's why you need these headphones. Soak up the cash without soaking up the space.

I am joking off course. For one thing, they're ugly monstrosities, IMO. I have toyed with upgrading my stereo in various ways, but I think I'm at a limit without destroying the balance of the system.
I have thought of upgrading from stereo into a 5.2 amplifier, not to go with surround sound, but to bring in a centre channel for movie and television viewing. I worry about destroying the balance and sound of the stereo system though. I'm quite happy with it as it stands.

jserraglio
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Re: Who Listens Through Headphones

Post by jserraglio » Thu Mar 18, 2021 3:58 pm

When I plunk down greenbacks for cans, amp and a DAC later this spring after school lets out and I have unrestricted time to listen, these will most likely be my choices:

Massdrop x Sennheiser HD 6XX Headphones $220

Schiit Asgard 3 headphone amp with the AK4490 DAC module $299

A reasonably high-end setup, decently priced.

maestrob
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Re: Who Listens Through Headphones

Post by maestrob » Fri Mar 19, 2021 7:57 am

jserraglio wrote:
Thu Mar 18, 2021 3:58 pm
When I plunk down greenbacks for cans, amp and a DAC later this spring after school lets out and I have unrestricted time to listen, these will most likely be my choices:

Massdrop x Sennheiser HD 6XX Headphones $220

Schiit Asgard 3 headphone amp with the AK4490 DAC module $299

A reasonably high-end setup, decently priced.
Interesting choices, Joe.

I wonder, could someone please explain what's the point of having a "headphone amp" when all I need to do is plug my headphones into my computer and get very good sound from it? I get zero "artifacts" from the output, no distortion, no hum or any other kind of background noise, even when there's a break between tracks and, thank God, my ears are still extremely sensitive to such things, as they have been all my life.

Any comments?

jserraglio
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Re: Who Listens Through Headphones

Post by jserraglio » Fri Mar 19, 2021 9:20 am

https://www.headphones.com/pages/do-my- ... dphone-amp

I know diddly squat about audio. My projected setup was suggested to me by an audio pro in Calif. who has worked on audio repro in the LA film and TV industry for years. It is the one he himself uses at home. He set himself a price point of ca. $500, and this is what he wound up with. He listens exclusively thru headphones.

The HD6xx, he pointed out, is essentially the same headphone as the legendary Senn HD650 with a shorter cable (6’ vs. 10’) and a different plug, but weighs in at less than half the price.

Seán
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Re: Who Listens Through Headphones

Post by Seán » Fri Mar 19, 2021 10:45 am

maestrob wrote:
Fri Mar 19, 2021 7:57 am
jserraglio wrote:
Thu Mar 18, 2021 3:58 pm
When I plunk down greenbacks for cans, amp and a DAC later this spring after school lets out and I have unrestricted time to listen, these will most likely be my choices:

Massdrop x Sennheiser HD 6XX Headphones $220

Schiit Asgard 3 headphone amp with the AK4490 DAC module $299

A reasonably high-end setup, decently priced.
Interesting choices, Joe.

I wonder, could someone please explain what's the point of having a "headphone amp" when all I need to do is plug my headphones into my computer and get very good sound from it? I get zero "artifacts" from the output, no distortion, no hum or any other kind of background noise, even when there's a break between tracks and, thank God, my ears are still extremely sensitive to such things, as they have been all my life.

Any comments?
I use a headphone amplifier with my HiFi system and the level of detail is much greater than found on the iMac, we're not really comparing like with like here. That said I am not inclined to spend much time using either of the two to listen to music.
Seán

"To appreciate the greatness of the Masters is to keep faith in the greatness of humanity." - Wilhelm Furtwängler

maestrob
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Re: Who Listens Through Headphones

Post by maestrob » Fri Mar 19, 2021 11:09 am

jserraglio wrote:
Fri Mar 19, 2021 9:20 am
https://www.headphones.com/pages/do-my- ... dphone-amp

I know diddly squat about audio. My projected setup was suggested to me by an audio pro in Calif. who has worked on audio repro in the LA film and TV industry for years. It is the one he himself uses at home. He set himself a price point of ca. $500, and this is what he wound up with. He listens exclusively thru headphones.

The HD6xx, he pointed out, is essentially the same headphone as the legendary Senn HD650 with a shorter cable (6’ vs. 10’) and a different plug, but weighs in at less than half the price.
Image

Holy cow! $500 for these babies? :mrgreen:

Thanks for the link, Joe.

I have excellent ears, very sensitive to nuance, and have had them all my life. Do you remember Barclay-Crocker reel-to-reel tapes? They were manufactured right here in lower Manhattan, and I got to know the two owners during the 1970's when they were in business. They produced Dolby B encoded licensed tapes on high-quality black oxide stock from Ampex and then 3M, using what was then new technology called an "auto-correlator" by Phase Linear to eliminate tape hiss from some older masters from MHS, Vanguard, Phillips, DGG, and other labels. The sound was superior to anything else available at the time, and I bought them by the boxload.

Although I wasn't knowledgeable enough to write reviews then, their engineer, Harold, used to give me pre-release samples to audition on my home stereo to see if I could hear any "pumping" of the auto-correlator noise reduction, which could be audible if it was set too high. His ears were also great, so that rarely happened, and I was extremely grateful for all the free copies, even without the notes and printed boxes. Sadly, when the CD was finally marketed to the public, they tried to market tapes with DBX encoding, but that effort failed, and they quickly closed up shop.

Image

https://www.reddit.com/r/audiophile/com ... udiophile/

https://www.nytimes.com/1981/02/15/arts ... tapes.html



Given all that, I'm quite happy with the headphones I'm using now. I just don't know if I buy all the hype in the article you referenced, but I'm glad to know what's going on. There will always be buyers for gold-plated cables and so on, I guess.

The only thing I miss in my apartment is surround sound from HD CDs, but there's just no way to install that properly.

maestrob
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Re: Who Listens Through Headphones

Post by maestrob » Fri Mar 19, 2021 11:15 am

Seán wrote:
Fri Mar 19, 2021 10:45 am
maestrob wrote:
Fri Mar 19, 2021 7:57 am
jserraglio wrote:
Thu Mar 18, 2021 3:58 pm
When I plunk down greenbacks for cans, amp and a DAC later this spring after school lets out and I have unrestricted time to listen, these will most likely be my choices:

Massdrop x Sennheiser HD 6XX Headphones $220

Schiit Asgard 3 headphone amp with the AK4490 DAC module $299

A reasonably high-end setup, decently priced.
Interesting choices, Joe.

I wonder, could someone please explain what's the point of having a "headphone amp" when all I need to do is plug my headphones into my computer and get very good sound from it? I get zero "artifacts" from the output, no distortion, no hum or any other kind of background noise, even when there's a break between tracks and, thank God, my ears are still extremely sensitive to such things, as they have been all my life.

Any comments?
I use a headphone amplifier with my HiFi system and the level of detail is much greater than found on the iMac, we're not really comparing like with like here. That said I am not inclined to spend much time using either of the two to listen to music.
OK, Sean, thanks for the input.

I spend hours at a time listening through headphones, and I'm concerned with damaging my hearing if I listen too long at a higher volume (especially to Mahler! :wink: ), so I'm careful. That said, I have plenty of reserve when I want to pay close attention to a particular recording and hear every detail, so I'll probably pass on getting a headphone amp for now.

Holden Fourth
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Re: Who Listens Through Headphones

Post by Holden Fourth » Fri Mar 19, 2021 4:34 pm

In a previous post the Schiit Magni headphone amp was recommended and for the price it is a great upgrade for driving many headphones. However, this doesn’t go far enough if you want really good sound from your tablet/phone/PC for a minimal price

All of these devices have their own built in DAC and what you are hearings is an amplified version of what they can produce. Electronics companies don’t go overboard with their DACs so sound is compromised. The solution is to get a DAC/amp. The DAC/amp takes over the audio signal processing, bypassing the devices own DAC thereby eliminating any electronic artefacts that can be heard.

Without going into boring detail, the improvement in sound quality is invariably easy to hear, even with a budget priced DAC/amp. Things such as instrumental separation, width and depth of soundstage, accuracy of tone and timbre plus, a higher level of detail are all evident. This won’t happen with a headphone amp alone.

You can pick up a good budget DAC/amp like the Fiio E10K for less than $US100 and you will definitely hear the difference. The Audioquest Dragonfly base model is slightly more expensive, is the size of a USB thumb drive and is portable.

I got my first DAC/amp nearly 10 years ago. The Nuforce uDac2 was inexpensive but worked so well on my work laptops that it was always attached. I now use a Fiio Q1 and both cost me less than $AUS100.

Finally, a number of you mention the Sennheiser HD6XX as your go to cans. I have a pair of these and can vouch for the big improvements that a DAC/amp will make. I have the Burson Playmate 2 for my home system. It’s not a budget option at $AUS990 but it certainly delivers for both my headphones and the powered speaker system attached to my iMac.

barney
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Re: Who Listens Through Headphones

Post by barney » Fri Mar 19, 2021 8:49 pm

Holden, have you any opinion on the Soundblaster with headphones? Friends praise it to the skies.

barney
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Re: Who Listens Through Headphones

Post by barney » Fri Mar 19, 2021 8:50 pm

I have excellent ears, very sensitive to nuance, and have had them all my life.
Holy cow, Brian, you astound me! You've had your ears all your life? Most of us trade in our ears every few years for upgraded models. :lol:
Sorry, couldn't help myself.

Holden Fourth
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Re: Who Listens Through Headphones

Post by Holden Fourth » Fri Mar 19, 2021 9:10 pm

barney wrote:
Fri Mar 19, 2021 8:49 pm
Holden, have you any opinion on the Soundblaster with headphones? Friends praise it to the skies.
Barney, I am going to assume you are talking about the Creative Soundblaster X3. They also have a couple of other models including the E5 and the Blaster X G6 - both a bit more expensive than the X3.

I have not heard the X3 but have friends who have and their opinion is that it's amazing value for money. There is a version of the X3 that will run a 7.1 surround sound system but I think it's best used for headphones. It certainly has the power and resolution to run most of today's headphones and at the price would be a no brainer.

The bottom line is that Creative have been in the Amp and DAC game longer than most and their designs certainly benefit from this experience. The two products I had in the past worked very well.

Here is a link to a review from a highly respected site.

https://www.headfonia.com/creative-soun ... -review/5/

jserraglio
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Re: Who Listens Through Headphones

Post by jserraglio » Sat Mar 20, 2021 4:39 am

Holden Fourth wrote:
Fri Mar 19, 2021 4:34 pm
In a previous post the Schiit Magni headphone amp was recommended and for the price it is a great upgrade for driving many headphones. However, this doesn’t go far enough if you want really good sound from your tablet/phone/PC for a minimal price

All of these devices have their own built in DAC and what you are hearings is an amplified version of what they can produce. Electronics companies don’t go overboard with their DACs so sound is compromised.
The Schiit Asgard 3 headphone amp is not the same as the Schiit Magni. The Asgard 3 is a modular unit that costs twice as much. You can buy it with one of two DACs built in, or without them so that you can add an external DAC of your choice.

maestrob
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Re: Who Listens Through Headphones

Post by maestrob » Sat Mar 20, 2021 8:54 am

barney wrote:
Fri Mar 19, 2021 8:50 pm
I have excellent ears, very sensitive to nuance, and have had them all my life.
Holy cow, Brian, you astound me! You've had your ears all your life? Most of us trade in our ears every few years for upgraded models. :lol:
Sorry, couldn't help myself.
:lol: :lol:

You're a wonder!

barney
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Location: Melbourne, Australia

Re: Who Listens Through Headphones

Post by barney » Sat Mar 20, 2021 12:31 pm

Holden Fourth wrote:
Fri Mar 19, 2021 9:10 pm
barney wrote:
Fri Mar 19, 2021 8:49 pm
Holden, have you any opinion on the Soundblaster with headphones? Friends praise it to the skies.
Barney, I am going to assume you are talking about the Creative Soundblaster X3. They also have a couple of other models including the E5 and the Blaster X G6 - both a bit more expensive than the X3.

I have not heard the X3 but have friends who have and their opinion is that it's amazing value for money. There is a version of the X3 that will run a 7.1 surround sound system but I think it's best used for headphones. It certainly has the power and resolution to run most of today's headphones and at the price would be a no brainer.

The bottom line is that Creative have been in the Amp and DAC game longer than most and their designs certainly benefit from this experience. The two products I had in the past worked very well.

Here is a link to a review from a highly respected site.

https://www.headfonia.com/creative-soun ... -review/5/
Thanks for the link. I actually bought the X5 but can't get it going on my computer. I'm waiting for my technically competent friend to visit from NZ. I had one that worked for a little while; it suddenly stopped. I changed it but the new one is the same. It's probably my computer, as it also won't recognise my iPhone. But for the short time I had the X5 I loved it. I haven't worried too much as I prefer speakers.

Holden Fourth
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Re: Who Listens Through Headphones

Post by Holden Fourth » Sat Mar 20, 2021 2:20 pm

Do you mean the Soundblaster X AE5?

barney
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Re: Who Listens Through Headphones

Post by barney » Sat Mar 20, 2021 7:10 pm

Holden Fourth wrote:
Sat Mar 20, 2021 2:20 pm
Do you mean the Soundblaster X AE5?
No. Googling that gets something else. Unbelievably, there is no model number on it - I've gone over it with a magnifying glass. I'll ask myfriend who advised me to get it.
Aha - found an old email. It's an E5. Does that mean anything to you? There's a picture on this link:'https://support.creative.com/Products/P ... Blaster+E5

Holden Fourth
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Joined: Fri Mar 25, 2005 5:47 am

Re: Who Listens Through Headphones

Post by Holden Fourth » Sat Mar 20, 2021 8:08 pm

barney wrote:
Sat Mar 20, 2021 7:10 pm
Holden Fourth wrote:
Sat Mar 20, 2021 2:20 pm
Do you mean the Soundblaster X AE5?
No. Googling that gets something else. Unbelievably, there is no model number on it - I've gone over it with a magnifying glass. I'll ask myfriend who advised me to get it.
Aha - found an old email. It's an E5. Does that mean anything to you? There's a picture on this link:'https://support.creative.com/Products/P ... Blaster+E5
Some research suggests that you are not alone with the 'device not recognised' issue and all of the advice given didn't work for a number of people. The one thing that did work for some was to install the SB software for the E5. One other suggestion that I've seen is to not have the E5 connected to a USB hub.

This URL mentions troubleshooting issues and also has the latest software download.

https://support.creative.com/Products/P ... aster%20E5

And this site offered a solution that, while it works, requires you to go into MS Config and make some changes.

https://www.tenforums.com/sound-audio/1 ... pdate.html

To be honest, any DAC Amp worth it's salt should be able to work (and most do) automatically with W10 native drivers. For this reason alone I would not get a Creative SB.

barney
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Re: Who Listens Through Headphones

Post by barney » Sun Mar 21, 2021 5:55 am

Many thanks, Holden. I'm certainly not going into MS config. Catastrophe would result. :D

slofstra
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Re: Who Listens Through Headphones

Post by slofstra » Mon Mar 22, 2021 11:11 pm

My son just alerted me to this site.
https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php
There's also a youtube channel to accompany the information on the site.

Excellent reviews.

maestrob
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Re: Who Listens Through Headphones

Post by maestrob » Tue Mar 23, 2021 9:20 am

slofstra wrote:
Mon Mar 22, 2021 11:11 pm
My son just alerted me to this site.
https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php
There's also a youtube channel to accompany the information on the site.

Excellent reviews.
OMG, Henry! The first listing on the headphones review page is for a pair of $3,000 cans!

Yikes! :shock:

That, my friend, is well above my paygrade. :lol:

slofstra
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Re: Who Listens Through Headphones

Post by slofstra » Tue Mar 23, 2021 10:34 am

maestrob wrote:
Tue Mar 23, 2021 9:20 am
slofstra wrote:
Mon Mar 22, 2021 11:11 pm
My son just alerted me to this site.
https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php
There's also a youtube channel to accompany the information on the site.

Excellent reviews.
OMG, Henry! The first listing on the headphones review page is for a pair of $3,000 cans!

Yikes! :shock:

That, my friend, is well above my paygrade. :lol:
There's lots of reviews of less expensive ones as well. The reason I recommend the site is that they evaluate objectively using top notch test equipment. None of this subjective, "I put on Cole Slaw's "Chopped Cabbage" and noticed that the washtub bass had a dazzling resonance" that you find in many reviews today. Remember the old 'Stereo Review' magazine. It had a great combination of technical high fidelity and music reviews, and I'm forever grateful that they awarded 'Record of the Year' to the McGarrigles' "Dance with Bruised Knees", a Canadian folk classic.

It's probably worth commenting though on what has happened with 'headphones'. They have eclipsed audiophile gear in interest. Part of the reason is that the 30 year olds of today are living in urban condos, rely on streaming boxes and computers for entertainment and music, and don't have space for the kind of stereos popular in the past. In addition, people want good headphones to isolate sound while they v-blog and Zoom online, avoiding feedback and cross talk.
Companies like 'Schiit Audio' are making high end gear that fits that market. A good DAC, headphone amp and set of headphones are almost mandatory with every laptop computer and smartphone these days.
Check out the 'Shiit Audio' site - it's quite interesting to see the kind of equipment that is selling.
Last edited by slofstra on Tue Mar 23, 2021 10:48 am, edited 1 time in total.

maestrob
Posts: 10211
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Re: Who Listens Through Headphones

Post by maestrob » Tue Mar 23, 2021 10:41 am

slofstra wrote:
Tue Mar 23, 2021 10:34 am
maestrob wrote:
Tue Mar 23, 2021 9:20 am
slofstra wrote:
Mon Mar 22, 2021 11:11 pm
My son just alerted me to this site.
https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php
There's also a youtube channel to accompany the information on the site.

Excellent reviews.
OMG, Henry! The first listing on the headphones review page is for a pair of $3,000 cans!

Yikes! :shock:

That, my friend, is well above my paygrade. :lol:
There's lots of reviews of less expensive ones as well. The reason I recommend the site is that they evaluate objectively using top notch test equipment. None of this subjective, "I put on Cole Slaw's "Chopped Cabbage" and noticed that the washtub bass had a dazzling resonance" that you find in many reviews today. Remember the old 'Stereo Review' magazine. It had a great combination of technical high fidelity and music reviews, and I'm forever greatful that they awarded 'Record of the Year' to the McGarrigles' "Dance with Bruised Knees", a Canadian folk classic.

It's probably worth commenting though on what has happened with 'headphones'. They have eclipsed audiophile gear in interest. Part of the reason is that the 30 year olds of today are living in urban condos, rely on streaming boxes and computers for entertainment and music, and don't have space for the kind of stereos popular in the past. In addition, people want good headphones to isolate sound while they v-blog and Zoom online, avoiding feedback and cross talk.
Companies like 'Schiit Audio' are making high end gear that fits that market. A good DAC, headphone amp and set of headphones are almost mandatory with every laptop computer and smartphone these days.
Check out the 'Shiit Audio' site - it's quite interesting to see the kind of equipment that is selling.
Yes, actually I've been to the Shiit website just the other day, and found quite a lot of interesting gear there.

Thanks for the idea, though.

barney
Posts: 5461
Joined: Fri Aug 01, 2008 11:12 pm
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Re: Who Listens Through Headphones

Post by barney » Tue Mar 23, 2021 5:25 pm

slofstra wrote:
Tue Mar 23, 2021 10:34 am
maestrob wrote:
Tue Mar 23, 2021 9:20 am
slofstra wrote:
Mon Mar 22, 2021 11:11 pm
My son just alerted me to this site.
https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php
There's also a youtube channel to accompany the information on the site.

Excellent reviews.
OMG, Henry! The first listing on the headphones review page is for a pair of $3,000 cans!

Yikes! :shock:

That, my friend, is well above my paygrade. :lol:
There's lots of reviews of less expensive ones as well. The reason I recommend the site is that they evaluate objectively using top notch test equipment. None of this subjective, "I put on Cole Slaw's "Chopped Cabbage" and noticed that the washtub bass had a dazzling resonance" that you find in many reviews today. Remember the old 'Stereo Review' magazine. It had a great combination of technical high fidelity and music reviews, and I'm forever grateful that they awarded 'Record of the Year' to the McGarrigles' "Dance with Bruised Knees", a Canadian folk classic.

It's probably worth commenting though on what has happened with 'headphones'. They have eclipsed audiophile gear in interest. Part of the reason is that the 30 year olds of today are living in urban condos, rely on streaming boxes and computers for entertainment and music, and don't have space for the kind of stereos popular in the past. In addition, people want good headphones to isolate sound while they v-blog and Zoom online, avoiding feedback and cross talk.
Companies like 'Schiit Audio' are making high end gear that fits that market. A good DAC, headphone amp and set of headphones are almost mandatory with every laptop computer and smartphone these days.
Check out the 'Shiit Audio' site - it's quite interesting to see the kind of equipment that is selling.
Love the Cole Slaw's Chopped Cabbage. :lol: :lol:

mikealdren
Posts: 349
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Re: Who Listens Through Headphones

Post by mikealdren » Thu Mar 25, 2021 3:11 am

Following links on here, I've just bought and fitted new headband padding for my Sennheiser HD650s. A very quick and easy job and £4 well spent as the original pad was very worn. The availability and cheapness of spares is a big plus.

barney
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Re: Who Listens Through Headphones

Post by barney » Thu Mar 25, 2021 6:59 am

Brilliant idea. I might do that soon. Still plenty of wear but...

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