• WANTED: Happy members who like to discuss audio and other topics related to our interest. Desire to learn and share knowledge of science required as is 20 years of participation in forums (not all true). There are daily reviews of audio hardware and expert members to help answer your questions. Click here to have your audio equipment measured for free!

Beyerdynamic T1 Headphones with ifi Zen Can Amp - Should I Upgrade to Beyerdynamic A1?

sane4sure

Member
Joined
Nov 14, 2020
Messages
12
Likes
15
Location
Darlington, UK
OK, I'm after some advice on a possible upgrade.

I'm currently using an ifi Zen Stream, Zen DAC and Zen Can. Headphones are Beyerdynamic T1.

Overall, I am happy with the sound but can't help wandering if the overall presentation is a bit 'polite'.

I keep getting drawn to the lure of the old Beyerdynamic A1 headphone amp which is supposed to a brilliant match for the T1's.

I did own a Beyerdynamic A20 amp years ago that I enjoyed but that was before my ifi / T1 set up.

I stream Tidal Hi-Fi and mainly listen to rock.
 

someguyontheinternet

Active Member
Joined
Apr 16, 2021
Messages
144
Likes
210
Location
Germany
Screenshot 2021-12-27 at 14.56.18.png

No amp can fix that tonality. EQ is your best bet.
 

fredstuhl

Member
Joined
Feb 15, 2021
Messages
67
Likes
106
Ah someguyontheinternet has beaten me to it. I‘ve got a first generation T1 and heavy eqing helped to make it much more enjoyable - so I‘d suggest investing into a setup that gives you options for thorough and convenient adjustment.
 
OP
sane4sure

sane4sure

Member
Joined
Nov 14, 2020
Messages
12
Likes
15
Location
Darlington, UK

3125b

Addicted to Fun and Learning
Joined
May 18, 2020
Messages
987
Likes
1,554
Location
Northern Germany
Good decision, it's a great device.
 

LaL

Active Member
Joined
Aug 13, 2020
Messages
125
Likes
82
Overall, I am happy with the sound but can't help wandering if the overall presentation is a bit 'polite'.

I think the 'polite' presentation is actually from the original Zen-Dac which has rolled off highs, this is usually a positive with the bright, sharp treble of headphones like the DT880/990. I recently got the Signature-Zen-Dac and it has more of an emphasis on the mid treble 2-6Khz which is fantastic on the Sundara for bringing the vocals more forward, but maybe makes the HD600/650 a bit more shouty on some songs.
The other Dac I've been using lately is the Fiio Q3 and it's highs seem to be on a flatter curve and the are just perfect with the HD600. From what I've read, many of the other Fiio Dacs are more sibilant and fatiguing compared to the Q3. On it's own the Balanced out of Q3 is really good, but unfortunately it's THX-AAA is a bit cold and digital sounding. But when you feed it Balanced into the Zen-Can it gives it a more meaty natural sound that is really great.
https://Amazon.de/dp/B08RZBF4C9
https://Amazon.de/dp/B08K8GXCJJ
 
Last edited:

Firefly00

Active Member
Joined
Aug 30, 2021
Messages
136
Likes
91
Location
New Zealand
I think the 'polite' presentation is actually from the original Zen-Dac which has rolled off highs, this is usually a positive with the bright, sharp treble of headphones like the DT880/990. I recently got the Signature-Zen-Dac and it has more of an emphasis on the mid treble 2-6Khz which is fantastic on the Sundara for bringing the vocals more forward, but maybe makes the HD600/650 a bit more shouty on some songs.
The other Dac I've been using lately is the Fiio Q3 and it's highs seem to be on a flatter curve and the are just perfect with the HD600. From what I've read, many of the other Fiio Dacs are more sibilant and fatiguing compared to the Q3. On it's own the Balanced out of Q3 is really good, but unfortunately it's THX-AAA is a bit cold and digital sounding. But when you feed it Balanced into the Zen-Can it gives it a more meaty natural sound that is really great.
https://Amazon.de/dp/B08RZBF4C9
https://Amazon.de/dp/B08K8GXCJJ
hmmm…measurements for the Zen DAC that show rolled off highs?
 

LaL

Active Member
Joined
Aug 13, 2020
Messages
125
Likes
82
hmmm…measurements for the Zen DAC that show rolled off highs?
Knock yourself out, I'd like to see them too.
But do you doubt that the regular Zen-Dac is a dark sounding Dac ?
 

ArthuRScarlet

Member
Joined
Nov 17, 2021
Messages
13
Likes
6
Location
Germany / China
T1 I. T1 II, T1 III are totally different headphones, without clearifying which one u own, its hard to say which amp is better. T1 I are not bad with A1 or other amp with high internal impendance. T1 II is worse and T1 III is baiscly basshead.
 
OP
sane4sure

sane4sure

Member
Joined
Nov 14, 2020
Messages
12
Likes
15
Location
Darlington, UK
T1 I. T1 II, T1 III are totally different headphones, without clearifying which one u own, its hard to say which amp is better. T1 I are not bad with A1 or other amp with high internal impendance. T1 II is worse and T1 III is baiscly basshead.
I have the T1 Mk 1
 

Boerd

Active Member
Forum Donor
Joined
Dec 3, 2018
Messages
272
Likes
324
Location
California
OK, RME ordered and should be here tomorrow!
I wish I saw this earlier. I'd recommend Motu 8A for headphone EQ. If I am not mistaken RME allows at most 6 parametric band eq.
With Motu 8A I EQd and stored 10 band param EQ for all my headphones in the Motu 8A.
The only problem with Motu is that you have to chain 4 band param eq 3 times to get a 12 band one.
Motu 8A has also a built in headphone amplifier - a decent one.
 
Last edited:

3125b

Addicted to Fun and Learning
Joined
May 18, 2020
Messages
987
Likes
1,554
Location
Northern Germany
... although nowhere near as powerful als the RME, the headphone output is rated at only 80mW.
Probably fine in practice for the high impedance T1, but not for many inefficient headphones like high end planars.
 

Boerd

Active Member
Forum Donor
Joined
Dec 3, 2018
Messages
272
Likes
324
Location
California
... although nowhere near as powerful als the RME, the headphone output is rated at only 80mW.
Probably fine in practice for the high impedance T1, but not for many inefficient headphones like high end planars.
You are correct.
However Motu 8A or any Motu, for around 800$ will give you unparalleled DSP through a slick web interface (or an phone app).
For the price difference you can then buy a dedicate amp.
And it works with Linux too. The attached picture is from Ubuntu.
 

Attachments

  • ksnip_20211230-114212.png
    ksnip_20211230-114212.png
    662.8 KB · Views: 37
Last edited:
OP
sane4sure

sane4sure

Member
Joined
Nov 14, 2020
Messages
12
Likes
15
Location
Darlington, UK
I wish I saw this earlier. I'd recommend Motu 8A for headphone EQ. If I am not mistaken RME allows at most 6 parametric band eq.
With Motu 8A I EQd and store 10 band param EQ for all my headphones in the Motu 8A.
The only problem with Motu is that you have to chain 4 band param eq 3 times to get a 12 band one.
Motu 8A has also a built in headphone amplifier - a decent one.
The Moto gear looks interesting and I'll do some research on it when I get a few minutes.

My RME arrived today and I have updated it to the latest firmware, connected up to my Zen Stream and have started to read the 'monster manual'.

I'll hopefully get some listening done this weekend and update this thread with my initial thoughts.
 

Trell

Major Contributor
Joined
May 13, 2021
Messages
1,471
Likes
1,566
RME released a new firmware a week ago so you should update. Edit: just saw that you did so.

A very nice feature is Dynamic Loudness, that is configurable. Tone controls are nice as well.
 

Trell

Major Contributor
Joined
May 13, 2021
Messages
1,471
Likes
1,566
The printed manual of the RME is out of date so better read the online one which is updated frequently.
 
OP
sane4sure

sane4sure

Member
Joined
Nov 14, 2020
Messages
12
Likes
15
Location
Darlington, UK
The printed manual of the RME is out of date so better read the online one which is updated frequently.
Yes, I have just realised the numerous changes that the latest firmware has included so I've downloaded and printed the latest version of the manual.
 

Trell

Major Contributor
Joined
May 13, 2021
Messages
1,471
Likes
1,566
Yes, I have just realised the numerous changes that the latest firmware has included so I've downloaded and printed the latest version of the manual.

Early next year there will be firmware released with changes RME did not have time to implement before Christmas, with new changes to the manual. :)

They say that most likely will be the last one as there no more available space left in the devices.
 

3125b

Addicted to Fun and Learning
Joined
May 18, 2020
Messages
987
Likes
1,554
Location
Northern Germany
I wish they'd include a compressor, that would be great for gaming and movies since TotalMix FX does not work with the ADI-Series.
 
Top Bottom