Help me choose new headphones / audio setup

Paulw

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Jan 19, 2013
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I currently use a Steelseries Siberia v2 headset. I listen a lot of music and also play games and looking to upgrade.

I like the idea of open-back headphones like the new Massdrop 6xx's but i'm not really sure if they are overkill for my needs. Also do I need an AMP and a good soundcard? I currently have this motherboard with the on-board audio: Z77 Extreme4

Are there any decent headphones with nice audio quality that I can use without an amp? What is the quality difference between a £150 setup and a £250 setup?
 
the massdrop 6xx (basically a hd650) for half the retail price does look enticing - IF - you like how the sennheisers sound. generally sennheisers are a little laid back (read: either easy listening for hours or a bit slow sounding depending on taste). good bass response without being heavy and good comfort. all around a good pair of headphones.

YES - you will want an amplifier for those. something like a schiit magni would be perfect but you may be able to make due with a fiio a3 / e10k

overkill? depends on your taste. the $100-200 range is generally the sweet spot with the $400 range (hd650 prices) as another small sweet spot. if you can get a $400 headphone for $200 then i consider that a good deal.

yes, there are products out there which do not need heavy amplification but generally most hifi headphones need something at minimum.

the biggest improvement would be from a headset or cheap headphone setup to something in the $100-200 range. this is where people get the biggest wow factor. from $200-400 the difference is much smaller but still noticeable. of course much of how much you recognize the differences depends on your ears and how sensitive they are.

other alternatives? the dt990 is the opposite of the hd650. instead of being laid back it is bright and full of energy. some may call this great resolution/detail while others may call it fatiguing. depends on preferences. both the dt990 and hd650 are great products although given the price differences not often compared apples to apples.

the hd518/558/598 (baby brothers to the hd600/hd650) can normally be used without an amp on most systems although there are of course poor quality onboard audio out there which might need one.

please note the $100-200 and $400 tiers above are for headphones alone not counting amp prices. good amps normally start at around $100
 
the massdrop 6xx (basically a hd650) for half the retail price does look enticing - IF - you like how the sennheisers sound. generally sennheisers are a little laid back (read: either easy listening for hours or a bit slow sounding depending on taste). good bass response without being heavy and good comfort. all around a good pair of headphones.

YES - you will want an amplifier for those. something like a schiit magni would be perfect but you may be able to make due with a fiio a3 / e10k

overkill? depends on your taste. the $100-200 range is generally the sweet spot with the $400 range (hd650 prices) as another small sweet spot. if you can get a $400 headphone for $200 then i consider that a good deal.

yes, there are products out there which do not need heavy amplification but generally most hifi headphones need something at minimum.

the biggest improvement would be from a headset or cheap headphone setup to something in the $100-200 range. this is where people get the biggest wow factor. from $200-400 the difference is much smaller but still noticeable. of course much of how much you recognize the differences depends on your ears and how sensitive they are.

other alternatives? the dt990 is the opposite of the hd650. instead of being laid back it is bright and full of energy. some may call this great resolution/detail while others may call it fatiguing. depends on preferences. both the dt990 and hd650 are great products although given the price differences not often compared apples to apples.

the hd518/558/598 (baby brothers to the hd600/hd650) can normally be used without an amp on most systems although there are of course poor quality onboard audio out there which might need one.

please note the $100-200 and $400 tiers above are for headphones alone not counting amp prices. good amps normally start at around $100
 

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