Dec 18, 2017660 views

Which headphones + MP3/DAC/Amp. would you buy with $500?

I need advice, guys. I love music, but I literally have no idea in terms of what to buy. I want to listen to music at home but with mobility (while I cook, read or just lay down in bed to listen to some album).
For now, I am listening music through my mobile phone (Xiaomi Mi5s with VLC player) and a pair of basic, but decent headphones. So I want something similar in terms of portability (something I can take with me around the house), but I do not know what I need. I guess that listening to music through the mobile phone is not advisable, so you will probably advise me to buy a decent music player (FiiO or Shanling, maybe?).
Should I get just a pair of good headphones (Fostex for $499) or would I be better off getting some sort of medium range headphones (AKG K7XX, Sennheiser HD6XX) and then a DAC (I don't even know what is the purpose of this device) or an MP3 and an amplifier...
So back to my question: Could you advice me what would be the best option/combo if you only had $500 to spend?

or you could get an audeze sine planars with lighning or qc35s
Personally I would go for the Sennheiser HD600 + Schiit stack
You asked for the best deal today on a $500 budget for a "something I can take with me around the house" solution; is $548 close enough? FYI I'm an on-ear solution, not a stick in the ear person. Otherwise you could get some balanced IEM's to go with a player like this and match up to your budget.
If there was a go fund me to create a virus that would frag every MP3, I would be in; an evil music-debilitating scourge created by marketing weenies.
DSD 2.8-5.6 & PCM 192 kHz/32 capable, wired or wireless player with 24-bit/48kHz wireless capable cans, or you can plug them in for Bluetooth direct bypass. To come close to budget you need to look at refurb cans though, but still perfect for what you are asking. Intriguing tech in the cans... a step closer to:
Used - Very Good; “Used briefly for evaluation. Al original packing materials and accessories.”
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Try DSD 5.6
I don't have gear that can play native dsd. Recommendations. I could understand that you may be able to hear the difference through maybe something high end like a 3000$ rig but otherwise it's not fit for me.
You can't go wrong with the following: Headphones - HD 6XX ($199) DAC - Modi 2 from Schiit ($99) Amp - Magni 3 fro Schiit ($99) Including tax and shipping you'll still be under $500.
What is wrong with the dragonfly red and spending the rest on headphones? So the OP can have a desktop and mobile setup?
Ha! I just came to recomend the DF Red, I have one and it is pretty amazing. Has had no problem powering anything I throw at it And I can run it direct from my iPhone. When I am on the go it is my go-to DAC
The DFR DAC/amp is very good by itself, but benefits uite a bit from being paired with the right amp. There is a very noticeable difference in running the DFR by itself versus in line-out mode with a Gustard H10 amp... detail, extension, BASS, dynamics that simply are noticeably better while maintaining the same extremely clean sound the DFR does so well. The sound of my TH-X00PH between just the DFR, and the DFR+modded H10 really is noticeably different.
The price and power are the only issue here...$200 basically means it can be your only DAC/amp solution for a $500 budget... you are not going to want to pair it with a cheap, neutral amp because they will be no better than the amp already in the DFR. Pairs very well with high current, Class A, warm leaning amp... and those are way out of budget (also pairs well with my NAD C275BEE Home theater stereo amp.) It only outputs ~135 mW at a 32ohms and does not pair the best with high impedance cans (like HD6XX); in comparison a Gustard H10 put out 2W @ 32ohm, and 570mW @ 600ohm.
I guess it would be a good starter DAC/amp for low impedance cans though, giving very decent sound with absolutely the best portability you can have from a DAC/amp. Could always add a high current, class A warm leaning amp to the DFR down the line to really increase the experience, the DAC section is most excellent in the DFR, its just the amp section that needs some help. Even with 25ohm TH-X00PH, the difference in sound is substantial when you pair the DFR with a good amp.
i would get an fostex ha4 bl and the new hd58x, or hd 6xx, thats about 500$ together
i would get an fostex ha4 bl and the new hd58x, or hd 6xx, thats about 500$ together
If I have $500 and no gear. I will buy a used HD580 with a used Mojo. Easy to use and good entry level sound.
dac audio-gd R2R11 for 300 plus. It's an excellent Dac that doesn't cost you an arm or a leg. It will have no problem matching with the $1000 DAC. For can HD6XX or AKG7XX will do nicely.
On another note, IMO audio-gd's sabre DAC's do not pair well with AKG 7XX. I have an NFB 11, which pairs well with all my headphones other than AKG7XX.
Hi Victor. I am sorry to hear that your AKG7xx doesn't pair well with your nfb11. I can't say much about the NFB 11 because mine is the R2R11. It's very silky smooth so I can't really complain. But please understand that AKG7XX is really a relax and open listening. Don't expect it to give you an extra warm or bass like other can. It's just a good clean listening. As I recall, one of the Youtube reviewer of AKG7XX said, "It suck! It's not as warm or as bassy." Oh well. If you can't enjoy the music as it is than "YES!" It does suck. But I enjoy it with my R2R11. The dac make the music silky smooth and I can listen to the music that way without the extra bass or warm. Anyway, you got plenty of other can that will work well with your dac. So what if one can doesn't work out. Right? Thanks Bye
Well, what kind of sound profile or music do you like to listen to would be helpful information. I will say, I was pretty impressed with the Sennheiser HD6XX I had the chance to listen to for a couple of days (coworker let me borrow his). It was demoed with my modded Gustard H10 amp and X20U DAC though, which is not within the budget. The HD6XX are very nice all around cans and would be a very safe bet to start off with, and the better DAC/amp setup you have the more you get out of them. They pair very well with a warm leaning, high power amp with a lot of detail and clarity and as good a DAC as you can afford. $200 for the HD6XX and $300 for the best DAC/amp combo would be money very well spent.
And which DAC/amp combo would you recomend? I listen to many different genres, but mainly electronic, hip hop, rock, classical and chill out.
Actually, since Massdrop just announced the HD58X and looking at advanced reviews of it versus the HD6XX, I would revise my suggestion and say Sennheiser HD58X ($150) + JDS Labs The Element DAC/amp ($350). Not going to get any high current, warm leaning Class A amp in a $500 budget that also includes DAC and hedaphones. The JDS Labs The Element is nice in performance and form factor for $350 though and has okay/decent power at 150ohms.
Oh and the HD6XX is not a medium range headphone, it a full on awesome excellent headphone, on par with my modded TH-X00PH in the mids, slightly better in the highs for detail, and while not having the sub-bass impact or bass presence of the Fostex (few headphones can compare with the Fostex biodyna drivers for bass presence), still just as extending and detailed in the bass. I thoroughly enjoyed it with zero bass EQ needed.
For similar purposes at home I like HE4XX from right here on Massdrop paired with the NwAvGuy's venerable O2 amp. O2 can run on internal rechargeable batteries which makes it nice and portable when the need arises. I typically just drive the O2 with my phone (then stuff each into a different pocket which might be hard depending on your size) when I'm doing dishes, or connect it to a desktop DAC when I can sit down and just listen. That pairing will set you back less than $300 which leaves plenty in your budget to get a decent portable DAC to throw into the chain rather than driving it with your phone, or a desktop DAC, or possibly even both depending on what you get.
I would get the HD 6XX with an Audio-GD NFB-11.28.
Noted. When I decide what I will buy I will post it here. Thanks for the help. It means a lot.
AKG7xx with a portable Amp/DAC. Better yet if you can afford it a sound purchase would be JDS labs Element
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Happy to help :)
Maybe to take on trips and or in the office so you can stash it in a drawer? I use my DF Red all the time in hotels, super portable since it is basically a USB stick.