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Recommendation: Putting together a new desktop audio system

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#21
You actually don't name the reason why they cannot be EQ'd. The only real reason for this is a high level of distortions in sub-bass region. But as I can see this is not the case of Grado SR60e. For me it's seems like they can be effectively EQ'ed in this region (10 dB on 30 Hz should be enough).
That's like saying any speaker can have whatever bass extension you want just by EQ'ing it up. Have you tried this yourself? I do not trust RTing's distortion measurements, seems way too low in the bass compared to these:

https://diyaudioheaven.files.wordpress.com/2017/10/dist-gs2000-l.png?w=768

https://diyaudioheaven.files.wordpress.com/2017/10/dist-gs2000-l-percent.png?w=768

I know that's the GS2000 but same principle. It should similar or worse for the SR60, if anything.

Oratory1990's EQ profiles do not boost sub-bass in these headphones (see also Superlux 668B or SHP9500) because of distortion and because it would require too much pre-amp gain.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/o6l73ut2b02f4lc/Grado SR60e.pdf?dl=0
 

bobbooo

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#22
You actually don't name the reason why they cannot be EQ'd. The only real reason for this is a high level of distortions in sub-bass region. But as I can see this is not the case of Grado SR60e. For me it's seems like they can be effectively EQ'ed in this region (10 dB on 30 Hz should be enough). Worth the try at least.
Rtings' distortion graphs are weighted to higher frequencies, meaning bass distortion is not its actual value. Here's the raw distortion of the SR60 as measured by Innerfidelity:

Screenshot_20200923-164140_Acrobat for Samsung.png


So they're already pushing 10% distortion in the sub-bass without EQ. With an EQ boosting the sub-bass the distortion could definitely be audible.
 
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DeruDog

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Thread Starter #23
I mean the HE-4XX from drop.com. The Sundaras are better in some ways, but for 160$ the 4XX are pretty good headphones without a doubt.
The respective stacks are absolutely sufficient for all common headphones. To put that into perspective: For my AKG K702 and Beyerdynamic T90 I use 100% Windows volume, -6dB on Topping E30 and about 1/3 to 1/2 in low gain on my Atom. That‘s plenty.
With low sensitivity headphones like the Sundara the challenge is current delivery. On a source with high output impedance or just weak power supply that severely limits the current output that might not go so well and make the headphones sound flat, bright or coarse/distorted (if the amp is clipping). All the amps on your list go way beyond fulfilling your needs.
Just some exotics might need more power for very loud playback (like AKG K1000).
For some reason I just couldn't find the 4xx, though I looked at the 6xx yesterday. Duh. I see where you are going, though, since they score so well on the GitHub preference ratings.

Sounds about how I expected on the DAC and Amp, so I will probably proceed as planned on those.
 

3125b

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#24
I see where you are going, though, since they score so well on the GitHub preference ratings.
I wasn't.
I just know the Sundara (in fact, just tested them yesterday) and the 400i as well as a whole bunch of other headphones in those price classes too. I don`t know the Grado SR60e you have, but some of their other models.
You might also enjoy some of the older Beyerdynamic Tesla models (like T90 and T1 1st and 2nd gen), maybe with EQ applied, but you would have to get those used and they are not as common in the US I'd guess.

That channel difference is something to behold.
 
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#25
That channel difference is something to behold.
Ah, Grado. The company who takes pride in not measuring anything because it "doesn't want some machine telling us what good sound is".

Regardless, they sell every headphone they make, so they are doing pretty well for themselves.
 

3125b

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#26
I guess so.
I heard the RS1e just yesterday. I put them on and thought something like "not great, not terrible, bass extension is not great and the highs are a little sharp but whatever" - and then I saw the price. For 850€ that's a bad joke. You can easily geht better headphones for 150€. Though I will admit that the Grados are unique in their way of construction and ... head feel. Pretty flimsy but very light, the cable is heavier than the headphones themselves.
 
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DeruDog

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Thread Starter #27
I wasn't.
I just know the Sundara (in fact, just tested them yesterday) and the 400i as well as a whole bunch of other headphones in those price classes too. I don`t know the Grado SR60e you have, but some of their other models.
I am leaning towards the Sundaras, if people think they are better than the 4xx. They are on sale and seem to test and review well. Sadly I have not place to go an try them out, at least not nearby.

Sorry about the mixed message above. I was referring to a rating chart that was provided by a previous reply: https://github.com/jaakkopasanen/AutoEq/blob/master/results/RANKING.md

Have you tested/tried the Sennheiser 6xx. It is also well priced, at $220, and seems like a good choice. I have not found charts on it, yet. Your thoughts are welcome.
 
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#28
Here's the raw distortion of the SR60 as measured by Innerfidelity
According to this measurements it can be a problem, agree.

That's like saying any speaker can have whatever bass extension you want just by EQ'ing it up. Have you tried this yourself?
If speaker don't produce audible amount of distortions in this region, in well treated room, you can do it. But high distortions in sub-bass region is common for most speakers especially small ones.

Oratory1990's EQ profiles do not boost sub-bass in these headphones (see also Superlux 668B or SHP9500) because of distortion and because it would require too much pre-amp gain.
He never take into account frequencies below 50 Hz for alignment for any headphones. Because for quality evaluation harman considers deviations only between 50 Hz to 10kHz.
 
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Tks

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#29
Rtings' distortion graphs are weighted to higher frequencies, meaning bass distortion is not its actual value. Here's the raw distortion of the SR60 as measured by Innerfidelity:

View attachment 84454

So they're already pushing 10% distortion in the sub-bass without EQ. With an EQ boosting the sub-bass the distortion could definitely be audible.
Yeah they converted all their distortion metrics to this weighted system or something. The HD600 line had far worse distortion than it does now. I thought I was going insane when I revisited their site to show someone what they measured only to find they changed basically all their THD graphs.
 

3125b

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#30
Sorry about the mixed message above. I was referring to a rating chart that was provided by a previous reply: https://github.com/jaakkopasanen/AutoEq/blob/master/results/RANKING.md
That chart is rating headphones on the average deviation from the Harman Target Curve.
Unless you know you absolutely want that curve and noting else and don't want to EQ, then it might be useful. Otherwise, it is more misleading than anything else.
For me, tonality would be one of the lower ranking things to look at for desktop use. It's true that it is the most important factor in listening enjoyment if you will, but it's also the most easily changed metric (within certain physical limitations). You can't influence distortion (exept for the changes that come with tonality changes), inpulse response, comfort (very limited and not easily anyway) and most other things.
What I would recommend:
Get a headphone that is comfortable for you to wear, that measures reasonably well and that you like listening to reasonably well without EQ. And then customize it to your taste, wich you can then do because there is nothing terribly wrong with the drivers or the construction.
 
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DeruDog

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Thread Starter #32
Rtings' distortion graphs are weighted to higher frequencies, meaning bass distortion is not its actual value. Here's the raw distortion of the SR60 as measured by Innerfidelity:

So they're already pushing 10% distortion in the sub-bass without EQ. With an EQ boosting the sub-bass the distortion could definitely be audible.
I am also tracking on Rtings preference ratings. They love the Sundara, but I am with 3125b above, in that many things can be corrected with equailization, at least as far as the curve goes. Therefore I will try to narrow down by THD and and impulse response. Thanks for all the advice
 

bobbooo

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#33
I am also tracking on Rtings preference ratings. They love the Sundara, but I am with 3125b above, in that many things can be corrected with equailization, at least as far as the curve goes. Therefore I will try to narrow down by THD and and impulse response. Thanks for all the advice
The HE4XX and Sundara both use planar magnetic drivers, which generally have lower distortion than dynamic drivers (especially in the bass), so either would be a good choice if you want to EQ up the bass while keeping THD low.
 

raistlin65

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#34
Hi. I am going back to school so spending a lot of time in my office studying. So now I am interested in getting some headphones and a DAC and Amp to replace my Grado SR60s I got back in 2000. SO basically I want to spend about $500 or $600 on a whole setup.
Grados are easy to drive. A Tempotec Sonata HD Pro dongle for $40 will more than do the job
https://www.amazon.com/TempoTec-Sonata-HD-PRO-Android/dp/B084YX4MZD/

It is the same as the HIDISZ S8 (different enclosure/different branding). It measures as well as the best $200 desktop amp/DAC stacks. It just doesn't have as much power, which you don't need with Grados:

https://www.audiosciencereview.com/...dizs-s8-usb-c-headphone-adapter-review.10823/

I find the sound indistinguishable between the Sonata HD Pro and my Atom amp/Topping D50S stack when using headphones that are not difficult to drive.

I do get tired of listening from time to time, and I am not sure if that is due to inconsistency in the treble ... or something else.
In that case, I would skip the 325e and go for the 225e in that price range. The 325e are known for having a brighter treble than the lower models. I would suspect this is due to the reflective quality of the metal cups.
 

raistlin65

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#35
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DeruDog

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Thread Starter #36
Grados are easy to drive. A Tempotec Sonata HD Pro dongle for $40 will more than do the job
https://www.amazon.com/TempoTec-Sonata-HD-PRO-Android/dp/B084YX4MZD/

It is the same as the HIDISZ S8 (different enclosure/different branding). It measures as well as the best $200 desktop amp/DAC stacks. It just doesn't have as much power, which you don't need with Grados:

https://www.audiosciencereview.com/...dizs-s8-usb-c-headphone-adapter-review.10823/

I find the sound indistinguishable between the Sonata HD Pro and my Atom amp/Topping D50S stack when using headphones that are not difficult to drive.



In that case, I would skip the 325e and go for the 225e in that price range. The 325e are known for having a brighter treble than the lower models. I would suspect this is due to the reflective quality of the metal cups.
any thoughts on the Sennheiser 6xx and the HiFiMan Sundara? THose appear to be the top contenders (today).
 
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#37
This is false. If the headphones don't have high distortion in the sub-bass and have a decent seal, Oratory does EQ them up towards the Harman target there.
For example he didn't EQ Stax SR-404 below 50 Hz but according to this distortions measurements he can do it. Why? Maybe I missed something.
 
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solderdude

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#38
Yeah they converted all their distortion metrics to this weighted system or something. The HD600 line had far worse distortion than it does now. I thought I was going insane when I revisited their site to show someone what they measured only to find they changed basically all their THD graphs.
I have had quite some discussions with Sam regarding the numbers that were generated when Sam started the headphone part in Rtings.
Because human hearing is far less sensitive for distortion in lower frequencies (of course clipping is audible) this, IMO, skewed the generated number of distortion (IMO). Humans are particularly sensitive to distortion between roughly 300Hz and 8kHz (not counting IMD).
The rather high numbers that headphones produced were first solved by lowering the distortion weighting in the rating number generation.
This presented the problem that headphones with higher distortion where it matters wasn't visible in the rating as much.

next is conjecture (my guess) I figure they solved it by applying A-weighting or something similar to the distortion plot so, where distortion matters, most it is more visible and has a bit more impact where it matters.

They could have shown the plot as it was and merely adjusted the generated number but figure they got too much question for the discrepancy between numbers and plot values.

I assume (not know so again conjecture) that's why they also adjusted the plots so they would have a higher relation to the generated number.
That last bit is what Rtings goal is. Generating a number. That number is weighed in a certain percentage depending on the usecase with other 'numbers' and the final rating (per usecase) and should objectively reflect 'quality'.
They do not incorporate subjective evaluations in the rating number and wanted it to be purely based on measurements.
As far as I know they are still refining the ratings and have gotten other insights over time.

I think Sam is doing a good job here.
 

bobbooo

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#39
For example he didn't EQ Stax SR-404 below 50 Hz but according to this distortions measurements he can do it. Why? Maybe I missed something.
You can ask him on reddit, but I suspect because they don't seal well, so EQing up the bass wouldn't have much effect. He actually produced another set of measurements and EQ for when you get a perfect seal with those headphones here, in which he did EQ up the bass towards the Harman target.
 

raistlin65

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#40
any thoughts on the Sennheiser 6xx and the HiFiMan Sundara? THose appear to be the top contenders (today).
HD6XX are sort of the other extreme from the Grado SR60. Dark sounding with some midbass emphasis.

I suspect you might be happier with the Sundara.
 
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