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Open-back headphones (or maybe closed?), DAC/Amp recommendation

razorree

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Hello !
Currently I'm using my PC for music (Spotify mainly). In the office I use Sennheiser PXC 550-II, at home too
or small Edifier R1800TIII 2.0 Studio Speaker + SoundKey DAC
I have Sennheiser HD 400s at home also, I can hear much better sound and nice deep bass than PXC 550-II,
but they are less comfortable, i think they are a bit too small, and it's not comfortable to use them for more than 10 mins :/ and with PXC 550 I can spend almost all day.

Recently I read that this DAC has quite bad performance (It was considered quite good, for the price, 6y ago when I bought it).

I thought I can upgrade my stuff at home, most of the time I work alone, so I thought I could use Open-back headphones (I understand that they give way better quality than close-back ? or is it only about spacious sound with a bit less bass?)
So I'm looking for DAC (with Amp for headphones) and with line-out/RCA to connect my speakers (maybe upgrade in a future).

My question is, what kind of price range should I consider? and which models? I think up to 200 eur/$ for DAC and another 200-300 for headphones is max (dimishing returns etc, does it make sense to buy more expensive now? and with this setup?)
music comes mainly from Spotify - every kind of electronic music (instrumental too), starting from electronica from 70-80-90ies, thru ambient, up to d'n'b, techno, progressive house.
music: I think I like a bit V shaped EQ (but not too much), I like tight fast bass, not boomy.


There is a lot of devices from Topping, Fiio, SMSL, Fiio ... a lot...
does it make sense to have DAC/Amp with extra Bass/Treble adjustments (would be nice, not mandatory) ?

one recommended a lot is Topping DX3 Pro+ (however no bass/treble tune), Fiio E10k (half the price)
(also I could be used one, for roughly half the price)

And headphones...
Senheiser HD559, HD560, HD599 .... ?
Philips Fidelio X2HR ? dunno

or maybe closed-back would be better ?
 
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MacCali

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Hello !
Currently I'm using my PC for music (Spotify mainly). In the office I use Sennheiser PXC 550-II, at home too
or small Edifier R1800TIII 2.0 Studio Speaker + SoundKey DAC
I have Sennheiser HD 400s at home also, I can hear much better sound and nice deep bass than PXC 550-II,
but they are less comfortable, i think they are a bit too small, and it's not comfortable to use them for more than 10 mins :/ and with PXC 550 I can spend almost all day.

Recently I read that this DAC has quite bad performance (It was considered quite good, for the price, 6y ago when I bought it).

I thought I can upgrade my stuff at home, most of the time I work alone, so I thought I could use Open-back headphones (I understand that they give way better quality than close-back ? or is it only about spacious sound with a bit less bass?)
So I'm looking for DAC (with Amp for headphones) and with line-out/RCA to connect my speakers (maybe upgrade in a future).

My question is, what kind of price range should I consider? and which models? I think up to 200 eur/$ for DAC and another 200-300 for headphones is max (dimishing returns etc, does it make sense to buy more expensive now? and with this setup?)
music comes mainly from Spotify - every kind of electronic music (instrumental too), starting from electronica from 70-80-90ies, thru ambient, up to d'n'b, techno, progressive house.
music: I think I like a bit V shaped EQ (but not too much), I like tight fast bass, not boomy.


There is a lot of devices from Topping, Fiio, SMSL, Fiio ... a lot...
does it make sense to have DAC/Amp with extra Bass/Treble adjustments (would be nice, not mandatory) ?

one recommended a lot is Topping DX3 Pro+ (however no bass/treble tune), Fiio E10k (half the price)
(also I could be used one, for roughly half the price)

And headphones...
Senheiser HD559, HD560, HD599 .... ?
Philips Fidelio X2HR ? dunno

or maybe closed-back would be better ?
All that really matters is where you will use it. Closed back headphones are for on the go and a lot of noise leaking in from the outside which will hinder the sound.

Besides that I am not sure what you are seeking, headphones with a lot of bass? That’s more of a main stream type of sound.

If you are looking that get the fidelo but I wouldn’t get the ones you are looking for there’s the two cheaper models which will provide you excess bass.

If you want bass and all that you can use room eq wizard it’s free software and you can choose whatever dac you want. So it’s really pointless to choose a dac with tone controls

You can check the review index and see what headphones have crazy foolish bass too if you seek that.
 
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razorree

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as I mentioned, I don't need excess of bass (especially boomy), however I think i'll miss lack of bass, if headphones don't have it at all.
and I want to upgrade my stuff at home.
(I think you overly focused on a sentence mentioning 'bass', and you missed that It's for home/WFH listening, and that I have PXC550 for office/outside :) )
 

MacCali

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as I mentioned, I don't need excess of bass (especially boomy), however I think i'll miss lack of bass, if headphones don't have it at all.
and I want to upgrade my stuff at home.
(I think you overly focused on a sentence mentioning 'bass', and you missed that It's for home/WFH listening, and that I have PXC550 for office/outside :) )
I agree on that, actually my reasoning was behind the use of the PXC. Don’t recall which version I heard but did not like it. My assumption came from if it was comfortable to wear for hours you would be using that consistently. Probably got that wrong too lol

Bass is definitely a good thing and I am glad we are on the same page.

I do not wish to judge what you enjoy, I just want you to have a good time whatever it is you seek. Whether it’s boomy or not for example

There’s a lot of good things to buy that don’t need EQ. I only use EQ when someone has made it for me because it’s much more difficult to deal with on your own unless you understand.

Balance controls on a unit only target specific bands and that might not even be where your issue is. You are using a PC so you’re set, I got R.E.W. on my pc and it helped.

So hopefully this takes the frustration out of choosing a dac

But back to the good times in music listening I would strongly suggest not overthinking it because there are too many variables in audio. Source, Pre Amp, DAC and Amp.

Personally I would say my suggestion is buy whichever dac you think is legit. We got lists of dacs where you won’t get ripped off and overpay or dac/amps. Next thing I would do is get a DDC, don’t waste time researching that the SMSL PO100 or PO100 pro are perfect and budget friendly and a decent pair of headphones.

I can’t suggest which because headphones differ. Sennheiser(wired) is a great example, I only like 2 of their products. And they have like 10+ headphones lol

Also if possible I would strongly suggest demoing headphones if available near you, like an audio shop or go to an audio show it will save you loads of money.
 
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razorree

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I use PXC 550-II because they are comfy, they cover whole ears, meanwhile HD 400s are pressing my auriculas - that's why I can use them for 10-20 mins max.

Do you have that list of DACs? Do you mean this? https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?pages/Reviews/
Also my question is about price ranges, I can imagine there is no point of buying DAC for 300eur If I want to pair it with 100eur headphones?
and what about opposite direction? Is 100eur DAC sufficient for 200-300 eur cans?
 
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ZolaIII

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What do you want exactly?
How loud do you listen to music/game/party mood?
Open cans are vented and less hot (°C/F) however they leak and cannot really do sub bass. Closed one's pretty much go opposite way around and can do 20~30 Hz range even boosted but you will sweat.
I understand you don't want bass canon's but they are actually most adoptable regarding PEQ/low self and now days there are a good selection of those.
Tight bass would be a nice rolloff @ 30 Hz. If you are rather sure and confident that's what you want and pair of cans which will just sound fine out of the box consider Sennheiser 600 series (as open suggestions) and older ones you can probably find cheaper. You might try to find Denon AX-D5200 for a good price (if possible at the moment [probably is ats it's a deed season time of the year regarding market]) as a closed back example/suggestion.
Remember that actual fit and paddings will make/brake and influence your individual use and experience so I strongly recommend you to try them if possible or buy from the place where you can return them back with minimal cost for you if you are not satisfied.
As I actually suggested a higher tier hedaphones than those you considered initially which would eat up most of your budget you might consider an good old peace of junk like Sound BlasterX G6 which al do have it's quirks can do most (to the extent) of (at least I think) you need.
 
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razorree

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I checked stores in my city and I think I can test some AKG, AudioTechnica and maybe few Sennheiser, BT cans, not too many.
 
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razorree

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I tested Meze 99c and Neo, Sivga Robin SV021 (I think this, not Oriole) and Sennheiser HD 560S
Meze Audio 99 Classic na Neo sounded like too much upper bass for me
Sivga had really nice low bass, but a bit too strong for my liking
and Sennheiser HD560 was really nice in overall, but then, there was almost no bass (which is fine for some music, but for a lot of my electronica or electronic, IDM etc. not enough).
Should I then look for something similar to Sivga but with a bit less of bass ? From reviews I can see that maybe AKG K371 could we interesting, a bit less bass and more neutral, but small soundstage. (everyone comments that Sivga Robin has very big soundstage (for that price and for closed-back).

Question is, this smaller things, like, too much bass (at least at this moment)
or not enough bass with Senn 560s
IS it normal to change it (sometimes a lot?) by equalizer ? (how much quality are we losing here?)
 

MacCali

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I tested Meze 99c and Neo, Sivga Robin SV021 (I think this, not Oriole) and Sennheiser HD 560S
Meze Audio 99 Classic na Neo sounded like too much upper bass for me
Sivga had really nice low bass, but a bit too strong for my liking
and Sennheiser HD560 was really nice in overall, but then, there was almost no bass (which is fine for some music, but for a lot of my electronica or electronic, IDM etc. not enough).
Should I then look for something similar to Sivga but with a bit less of bass ? From reviews I can see that maybe AKG K371 could we interesting, a bit less bass and more neutral, but small soundstage. (everyone comments that Sivga Robin has very big soundstage (for that price and for closed-back).

Question is, this smaller things, like, too much bass (at least at this moment)
or not enough bass with Senn 560s
IS it normal to change it (sometimes a lot?) by equalizer ? (how much quality are we losing here?)
Honestly I prefer the hd650, it sounds really nice.

I own the k371 and it’s basically been sitting idle. I prefer my focal elegia over the 371. The 371 follows the harman curve well but isn’t that pleasant with multiple devices. Different dac and amps where as the elegia is pleasant with all of those units.

Also have heard the elegia with and without EQ. EQ to make it more like the clears og but both sound better. That’s my take.

I can sell you my 371 for cheap if you really want it. Think I’ve used it less than 6 times it’s basically still brand new

Edit: to make it clear I’m not saying it’s bad, but to my subjective point of view if I had to choose from the two I would use elegia and that’s what I do
 
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razorree

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I see that Elegia is 3x more expensive... so maybe difficult to compare? :) I don't have too many options to test, few shops I have here, have only more expensive cans for testing (Stax, Focal, etc.)
 
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