Headphone lovers, what do you love, what do you have, Head-Fi fans 2019-20 edition.

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by RJL2424, Aug 19, 2019.

  1. shug4476

    shug4476 Forum Resident

    Should add the dream headphones are the Audeze LCD-4.
    Ham Sandwich likes this.
  2. John Buchanan

    John Buchanan I'm just a headphone kinda guy.

    Loving the Mysphere 3.2 headphones - nice non-sibilant sound that follows dynamics extremely well. Beautiful to behold construction too. Expensive, but well worth it.
    alarickc and Ham Sandwich like this.
  3. ssmith3046

    ssmith3046 Forum Resident

    I bet they are worth it. I bought a new VW in 1969 and for what those cost I could have bought two beetles. You get what you pay for and those are beautiful headphones and I bet they sound great.
    John Buchanan likes this.
  4. Ham Sandwich

    Ham Sandwich Forum Resident

    Sherwood, OR, USA
    The headphone output on laptops, CD players, and similar audio components, and even the NuForce uDAC, are all generally in the same class of sound quality. There can be audible differences comparing the headphone output in gear like that. But generally minor differences. All will sound middling. Nothing that is going to give you a hint as to what a proper and good headphone amp would sound like. All of those types of gear are using basic headphone amps inside. Just the basic minimum to get sound out to the headphones. There are some $99 amps from brands like Schiit and others that have more power and cleaner sound and can have more of a difference in sound quality. But still not great. Better, but not great. Headphone amps get better in around the $250 and up category. In that category you'll notice more of a difference between your laptop headphone jack and the headphone amp.

    If you want to experiment with dedicated headphone amps you can connect one to your integrated amp. Often an integrated will have a set of tape out or record out jacks. You can connect a headphone amp to those jacks. Or some will have a zone output. You can connect a headphone amp to the zone output jacks. Best if the zone output jacks can be set to a fixed volume rather than a variable volume.

    The Sony headphones you're looking at are efficient and easy to drive. They will work fine and get plenty of volume from your laptops, CD player, and NuForce. You don't need to get a dedicated headphone amp just to get them to work. You're fine for now. You can decide to chase better headphone amps later. Don't need to jump into it now.
    Mbe, all24bits, ti-triodes and 2 others like this.
  5. radioalien

    radioalien Well-Known Member

    I always come back to the Sennheiser HD280s, most uncolored sound i've ever heard

    If anyone needs their ear cups replaced on those let me know, I did mine recently
  6. marcfeld69

    marcfeld69 Forum Resident

    Thanks very much. That's nice and clear. Please feel free to recommend any of those $250 amps! Do you know why those outputs are called 'Tape', by Amy chance? I'm pretty sure I have tape out or record out jacks.
  7. John Buchanan

    John Buchanan I'm just a headphone kinda guy.

    Amplifiers used to cater for recording and playback of tape decks/recorders. "Tape out" on the amplifier is an output from the amplifier, which would be the one used to supply a line level output from the amplifier to your headphone amplifier/tape recorder. "Tape in" is an input terminal on the amplifier used to input a signal from the tape recorder to the amplifier.
    marcfeld69 likes this.
  8. Gasman1003

    Gasman1003 Keeping the thin side down, still clinging on....

    Liverpool, England
    Listening via headphones more and more of late as I live in an apartment.

    So I treated myself to a pair of Quad ERA-1 headphones and a Quad PA One + headphone amplifier.

    First half decent headphone system I have owned and an absolute joy.
    silverhead and Ham Sandwich like this.
  9. Alexlotl

    Alexlotl Forum Resident

    York, UK
    I've been using Sennheiser HD380 Pros for years, use them every day at work. I'm a software developer, where working in open plan offices is the norm, but the ability to concentrate is vital, so a good pair of headphones was a great career investment. Closed back was a must as not to annoy any colleagues who aren't plugged in.

    I listen from my iPhone (256kbps AAC) using Fiio DAC/Amp devices - nothing too fancy, just the entry level all-in-one jobs, which I find help firm up the bass/lower mids (and latterly solve the problem of the disappearing headphone port).

    Sufficiently happy with them that I bought a second pair for use at home/backup for when the first pair dies. I've had to replace the ear cups on my first pair (now about 10 years old), and one of the L/R plastic caps has snapped off one one side, but they still sound great, after what must be many, many hundreds of hours of use.
    marcfeld69 likes this.
  10. anorak2

    anorak2 Forum Resident

    Berlin, Germany
    Analogue era amplifiers were wired such that a recording device could record whatever the amplifier was currently playing. Its output is unaffected by volume or tone controls. The only recordable consumer devices known to man at the time were tape machines, hence the output was labelle "tape" (or sometimes REC OUT). Of course you can also hookup one of those newfangled MiniDisk machines to one of those outputs, or these days the sound card of a PC because it acts like a tape machine in all relevant aspects. But you can also "misuse" that output for looping in an equalizer, or even to hook up a headphone amp.
    Swann36 and marcfeld69 like this.
  11. marcfeld69

    marcfeld69 Forum Resident

    Cool. So they still have it out of tradition...
  12. Jvalvano

    Jvalvano Forum Resident

    I've been listening to a new pair of Grado Hemp special edition. They are one of the best pair of headphones I've heard. I don't consider myself a headphone aficionado but I prefer these to my 650s and Hifiman 400. Driving them with a woo audio Wa6 makes for very nice late night listening.
  13. Daddy-O4

    Daddy-O4 Senior Member

    Texas, US
    Nice set up! I have two of these amps - one is the "Professional" iteration. They sound very nice.

    I assume you had to modify the original plug on your Koss' as the stock pin configuration won't mate with the Stax input, correct? How did you go about this?
  14. all24bits

    all24bits Mature Adult

    Thank you! That was already done before I purchased it. I can provide a picture if you'd like.
    Daddy-O4 likes this.
  15. Ham Sandwich

    Ham Sandwich Forum Resident

    Sherwood, OR, USA
    There are adapter cables available to allow you to connect the Koss electrostatic headphones to a Stax Pro Bias amp. The bias voltage for the Koss and the Stax Pro Bias is not the same, but is close enough for the Koss headphones to work well and not damage the headphone or the amp.

    Wiring diagram to make an adapter cable is here: Koss ESP-950 to Stax 5-pin Adapter Wiring Diagram
    You can buy the adapter cable here: Koss ESP-950 to Stax 5-pin Adapter Cable - Hardware
    Also versions available on eBay and other places: KOSS ESP 950 and ESP 95X to Stax Pro-Bias Electrostatic Headphone Adapter Cable | eBay
    ti-triodes, Daddy-O4 and all24bits like this.
  16. John Buchanan

    John Buchanan I'm just a headphone kinda guy.

    Tried out some of the optional "earpads" for the Mysphere 3.2 headset (I've put that in inverted commas, because the earpads don't actually touch the ears). The B version earpads nicely correct the only fault I can find in the Myspheres - an early roll-off of the bass. Superb! Sounding wonderful through the Burson Conductor 3X Reference.
    Ham Sandwich likes this.
  17. starbuck

    starbuck Forum Resident

    Cloudy, UK
    I've been enjoying some Beyerdynamic DT 1990 Pro which I got discounted recently from Amazon Warehouse. Comfortable to wear, nicely built and great sounding with a good synergy to the A20 amp I've been listening through (as you'd expect coming from the same manufacturer). Source has been an Arcam CD37 CD/SACD player.
    Daddy-O4 and Gasman1003 like this.
  18. John Buchanan

    John Buchanan I'm just a headphone kinda guy.

    Have a listen to the Beyerdynamic T1 Gen. 2 as well - great headphone and about to be supeceded by the T1 Gen. 3, so you may be able to pick up some cheap. They should match nicely with the A20 amplifier.
    starbuck likes this.
  19. Boomy

    Boomy Forum Resident

    Did you ever get these?
  20. slovell

    slovell Retired Mudshark

    Chesnee, SC, USA
    Denon AH-D2000, Lawton Modded Denon AH-D5000, Denon AH-D7200. Burson Soloist and Little Dot MKIV amps. Several custom cables.
  21. Fishoutofwater

    Fishoutofwater Forum Resident

    I agree with all you say, but the headphone amp in my Cyrus amp sounds great, i have no need to purchase a separate headphone amp. It really is that good. imo
  22. oktapod

    oktapod Well-Known Member

    Mjolnir Audio KGSSHV Mini and Stax SR-007 mk1. End game for me.
  23. formbypc

    formbypc Forum Resident

    I have a pair of Sennheisers that I bought in the late 1970s, and a pair of Beyer Dynamic that my dad bought in the 1980s, plus a few Sennheiser earbuds for use with portables.

    The Sennheisers, generally speaking, are balanced more toward Jazz, Classical and Folk. The Beyers have a punchier bass end, and are the "rock" headphones.
    ogdens_sliced likes this.
  24. tumpux

    tumpux Well-Known Member

    No, not until you get the T2..
  25. oktapod

    oktapod Well-Known Member

    No chance. Unobtainium and unreliablium.... might crack if a BHSE popped up at the right price, but probably not - I suspect that last 1% of sound quality isn’t worth the asking price, since - as any fule kno - when you get up to this level, the limitation is further upstream - particularly the mixing and mastering, which no amount of turd polishing efforts can truly whip up a mirror shine....
    alarickc likes this.

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