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First 500$ HiFi setup (Headphone + DAC) recommandations please

MaximusFr

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Hi ASR community,

I'm an audiophile newbie, using Tidal HiFi Plus with a Bose QC35 and my MacBook Pro (also my iPhone with an Ugreen DAC).


I'm looking for a 500$ setup (headphone + DAC).

The goal is just to be able to enjoy more the music quality from my Tidal Hifi Plus plan.

I plan to buy : Grado SR325X and DX3 Pro+



What do you think about this setup please?


I said to myself with this budget, it's better to focus on one things, enjoying good music at home.

When I will work from outside (I'm online entrepreneur), I will using my Bose QC35, make sense because with the Grado I will enjoy nothing otherwise. :)


I found the DAC iFi Go Plus interesting for his portability, but for the same price the DX3 Pro+ completely beat it (this is not for the same usage too).


Thank you for your support.
 

staticV3

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First of all, don't pay a premium for Tidal if you're after sound quality. Tidal is objectively, provably worse than Apple Music, Amazon Music, Qobuz, or Deezer in that respect.
If you like Tidal's UI, algorithm, monetization etc, then that's a valid reason of course. But not sound quality.

As for the headphone, I'd look at an HD600/650/6XX, Hifiman Sundara/Edition XS, Dan Clark Aeon RT Closed/Aeon Closed X, ATH-R70x, that sort of stuff.

Grados aren't usually where you'll find good value for your money.
 

twsecrest

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I'm an audiophile newbie, using Tidal HiFi Plus with a Bose QC35 and my MacBook Pro (also my iPhone with an Ugreen DAC).
I'm looking for a 500$ setup (headphone + DAC).
The goal is just to be able to enjoy more the music quality from my Tidal Hifi Plus plan.
I plan to buy : Grado SR325X and DX3 Pro+

What do you think about this setup please?
I said to myself with this budget, it's better to focus on one things, enjoying good music at home.
When I will work from outside (I'm online entrepreneur), I will using my Bose QC35, make sense because with the Grado I will enjoy nothing otherwise. :)
I found the DAC iFi Go Plus interesting for his portability, but for the same price the DX3 Pro+ completely beat it (this is not for the same usage too).
Takstar HF 580 planar headphones, with Sendyaudio AVIA ear pads.
About $200 for the combo.
 

Steven Holt

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The DX3 pro plus is a good choice, but I suggest that you also look at the JDS Labs Element lll. It will push your budget, but by all accounts it's an excellent dac/hp amp.
 
OP
MaximusFr

MaximusFr

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First of all, don't pay a premium for Tidal if you're after sound quality. Tidal is objectively, provably worse than Apple Music, Amazon Music, Qobuz, or Deezer in that respect.
If you like Tidal's UI, algorithm, monetization etc, then that's a valid reason of course. But not sound quality.

As for the headphone, I'd look at an HD600/650/6XX, Hifiman Sundara/Edition XS, Dan Clark Aeon RT Closed/Aeon Closed X, ATH-R70x, that sort of stuff.

Grados aren't usually where you'll find good value for your money.

Thank you for these informations.

Ok good to know for Tidal, I will consider more others platform, I'm using shared account 2$ / month.

Perfect, the Hifiman Sundara looks really good and fit my budget.

Ok noted for Grados, thanks.

Have a good Sunday
 

garbulky

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I would get the Anker Soundcore Liberty 3 Pro and set the eq to "deep". You'd have better sound at $100 imo
 
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MaximusFr

MaximusFr

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Thank you for this information.

Takstar HF 580 looks very good for the price, do you used it?

Takstar HF 580 looks like the Hifiman Sundara, with 100g more weight.
 
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MaximusFr

MaximusFr

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The DX3 pro plus is a good choice, but I suggest that you also look at the JDS Labs Element lll. It will push your budget, but by all accounts it's an excellent dac/hp amp.

Thank you for this information.

The JDS Labs build quality looks very good !
 
OP
MaximusFr

MaximusFr

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I would get the Anker Soundcore Liberty 3 Pro and set the eq to "deep". You'd have better sound at $100 imo

Thank you for this information.

Oh really ? This is a bluetooth earbuds, I used bluetooth sometimes but not daily.

Even if the bluetooth power is way less than Wifi, I'm not a fan to have something wireless near my brain for long time.
 

garbulky

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Thank you for this information.

Oh really ? This is a bluetooth earbuds, I used bluetooth sometimes but not daily.

Even if the bluetooth power is way less than Wifi, I'm not a fan to have something wireless near my brain for long time.
Don't worry about it. if you're after some good sound at a cheap price, that's what you want. I have the Sennheiser HD800S and I think the liberty 3 pro (with the deep eq setting) are on similar footing. If you have amazon prime you can try it and if you don't like it - free returns.
 

Garrincha

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Don't worry about it. if you're after some good sound at a cheap price, that's what you want. I have the Sennheiser HD800S and I think the liberty 3 pro (with the deep eq setting) are on similar footing. If you have amazon prime you can try it and if you don't like it - free returns.
With all due respect, first of all I think the OP asked for headphones, not TWSs, and the Anker Liberty 3 Pro might sound good and offer favorable value for the price, but being on par with the soundstage king HD 800? No way. I would also recommend the Sundara, the Dx3Pro+ is fine. This combo is amazing for the price.
 

Garrincha

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garbulky

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With all due respect, first of all I think the OP asked for headphones, not TWSs, and the Anker Liberty 3 Pro might sound good and offer favorable value for the price, but being on par with the soundstage king HD 800? No way. I would also recommend the Sundara, the Dx3Pro+ is fine. This combo is amazing for the price.
Try it. Both have good qualities. (Warning: subjective impressions follow:) The HD800 unequalized loses with a harsh treble spike and a low amount of bass. Equalized the HD800 is a lot closer and it takes the edge in maximum volume capabilities and a "bigger" soundstage outside your head. It depends on what you prefer. But it loses out in a seamless soundstage vs the liberty 3 which was more seamless and better at precise placement. Where the liberty 3 pro edged out (in the deep eq setting) was the bass which was substantially more impressive and had lower extension.
 
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Garrincha

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Try it. Both have good qualities. (Warning: subjective impressions follow:) The HD800 unequalized loses with a harsh treble spike and a low amount of bass. Equalized the HD800 is a lot closer and it takes the edge in maximum volume capabilities and a "bigger" soundstage outside your head. It depends on what you prefer. But it loses out in a seamless soundstage vs the liberty 3 which was more seamless and better at precise placement. Where the liberty 3 pro edged out (in the deep eq setting) was the bass which was substantially more impressive and had lower extension.
Come on, there is simply no comparison in soundstage to any IEM or TWS whatsoever. Try it. With EQ the HD800 is hard to beat IMO.
 
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