Jan 13, 201953 views

How to improve my listening experience?

Hello everybody, I can easily say, when it comes to Hi-Fi audio, that I am a big noob. I wanted to move my first steps into this world and I wanted to ask for some advice. I currently own a pair of Audio Technica ATH-M50x and I listen to music with a MacBook Pro via Spotify (with the highest quality settings possible: 32 kbit/s MP3). So I was wondering: how can I improve my experience? I believe my headphones are quite nice and everywhere on the web I see only positive reviews, or are they? Should I buy a DAC/AMP to listen to music or it would not make any difference at all? Should I start listening to uncompressed files? Note: I am on a budget! I am sure that if I bought an expensive DAC/AMP I would hear the difference, but I wanted to know wether it is worth to buy a ~100$ DAC/AMP, such as the Shiit Fulla or the Fiio E10 Olympus, or what is the minimum amount of money I should pay in order to get a worthy machine. Thanks to everybody who will answer me!
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There are two schools of thought with getting into "HiFi", which is a constantly moving bar that some people gate with the amount of money spend. One is to get a quality combined DAC/Amp and upgrade down the road if you need to, or to go straight for end game equipment. The Grace SDAC/O2 amp combo on massdrop is a great starter unit at $150, and you can use it as a DAC down the road if you need more power. Depending on your source you may hear a slight improvement in audio with the combo, but the M50's don't need an amp. You don't need a 32 bit dac, and neither of the units you listed support it anyway. The 02 will happily power the T60RP, and 600 Ohm Beyerdynamics.
You made a good choice in your headphones, the M50s are a classic and well into realm of high quality audio. Unless you are experiencing some type of issue, like noise or not enough volume, you aren't going to get much bang for your buck out of a dac or amp. My recommendation for someone just getting into the audio world is to spend your time and money understanding your taste in sound profiles. Your budget is better spent buying a headphone with a different sound signature, or maybe experimenting with an IEM to see whether you like one or the other. Just learn about impedance (you want low) and sensitivity (you want high) and you'll be able to get headphones that can be easily driven by your computer or phone.