Tom's Guide Headphone and Home Audio Thread

anort3

Distinguished
Moderator
In this thread: Show off your stuff and or ask for recommendations.

Let's keep it civil and realize not everyone has the same budget. Entry level setups are welcome! Everyone has to start somewhere.

Please do not: Ask how to connect equipment. Start a new thread for that.


I'm not an audiophile in the sense that I don't have any musical training. I've just always loved music and anything that makes music sound better. I have the feeling I'm not the only one on Tom's so lets have a place to talk about it. :)

My home stereo:

Yamaha R-S700BL

https://usa.yamaha.com/products/audio_visual/hifi_components/r-s700/index.html

Yamaha CD-600

https://usa.yamaha.com/products/audio_visual/hifi_components/cd-c600/index.html

Grace Digital Tuner

https://gracedigital.com/shop/tuner

Klipsch RF 82 IIs

http://www.klipsch.com/products/rf-82-ii-floorstanding-speaker

BIC/Acoustech Platinum Series PL-200

http://bicamerica.com/showpage.php?brand=1&type=8&spkrID=86














I've had this system as is for about 7 years. I've been very pleased with it. Klipsch can sound 'bright' to some people but I like the sound. I've certainly found everything that rattles in my house with it. :lol:


Computer audio and headphones.

Logitech Z-2300s

http://support.logitech.com/en_us/product/z2300-21-speaker-system

Asus Xonar Essence STX

https://www.asus.com/us/Essence-Hi-Fi-Audio/Xonar_Essence_STX/

Sennheiser HD 598

https://en-us.sennheiser.com/audio-headphones-high-end-surround-sound-hd-598

Sennheiser HD 600

https://en-us.sennheiser.com/best-audio-headphones-high-end-stereo-hifi-hd-600

Sennheiser HD 650

https://en-us.sennheiser.com/high-quality-headphones-around-ear-audio-surround-hd-650

Massdrop x Fostex TH-X00 Mahogany

https://www.massdrop.com/buy/fostex-x-massdrop-th-x00

Massdrop x Fostex TH-X00 Ebony

https://www.massdrop.com/buy/massdrop-x-fostex-th-x00-ebony-headphones







The STX has a very powerful, very clean headphone amp but it has a 10 ohm output impedance making it unsuitable for lower impedance headphones or IEMs. Under 80 ohms is what I've read. Since the TH-X00s are only 25 ohm I'm about to order a Mayflower Desktop O2/ODAC Rev. B.

https://mayflowerelectronics.com/desktop-objective2-with-odac-rev-b/

I'll likely order it this week and update the pictures accordingly. <Edited with the O2 / ODAC>.

The O2/ODAC is very neutral and has slightly more separation and soundstage vs the STX. The STX is slightly bright in comparison.




HD 598s - My gateway to higher end audio. Great soundstage and resolving enough for both music and gaming.

HD 600s - I LOVE these cans. But not with everything. If your source isn't great these will let you know quickly. I couldn't decide between these and the 650s so I kept both.

HD 650s - My all around headphones. They sound great with just about any music. Similar to the HD 600s but with a warmer, more laid back sound signature and more bass. I can listen to these at higher volume for hours with no discomfort. The HD 600s and 650s are both like having cloud pillows on your ears. The 600s may be slightly more comfortable due to the headband design. YMMV

Fostex TH-X00s - FUN. BASS. FUN! Did I mention FUN! These are a rave for your ears. Newer pop, EDM, rap/hip hop or anything with good bass and these are the cans you want. Many reviewers call these the best bass headphone you can buy for less than $1000.

I very rarely use my Z-2300s. I almost always use headphones with the PC.

Mobile stuff.



FIIO Q1 AMP/DAC

http://www.fiio.net/en/products/44

FIIO M3

http://www.fiio.net/en/products/47

Klipsch S4i Reference

http://www.klipsch.com/products/reference-s4i-headphones

Klipsch X11i

http://www.klipsch.com/products/x11i-headphones

1More Quad Driver

https://usa.1more.com/products/1more-quad-driver-in-ear-headphones




 

randomizer

Distinguished
Moderator
Jul 24, 2006
880
0
19,260
62
Soundcard: ASUS Xonar Essence STX. I'm considering onboard again though because this thing has tried to blow my eardrums more than once.
Headphones: AKG K 242 HD for my PC, Audio Technica ATH-M50x for the office/backpack (but rarely used), Xiaomi Piston 3 for... er, well I've never used them.
 

superninja12

Estimable
Herald
May 18, 2015
419
0
5,210
76
1) logitech z906
2) bose quiet comfort 35 for work
3) kingston hyperx cloud 2 for gaming

I really dont recommand those kingston headphones , 1st one broke mic broke and 2nd one was defective on arrival... ohh well.
also had some razer headphones but they were really unconfortable...
 

Wolfshadw

Splendid
Moderator
I live in a tiny apartment so anything too crazy is way too loud for living here.

For the PC
Creative X-FI XtremeMusic
Logitech X-530 Surround Sound Speakers
Logitech USB Headset H390

For the Home Theater
HTPC AMD Radeon HD4670 HDMI out
Onkyo HT-S3200

-Wolf sends
 

anort3

Distinguished
Moderator


You know both your headphones are really low impedance. I'm wondering if that's why you've had issues with the STX? From what I understand it's unsuitable for anything under 80 ohms and yours are 55 ohms and 38 ohms respectively. But then I ran the HD 598s on mine for years with no problems and they're only 50. As I understand it there should only be a slight sound coloration with the 598s. Like 1 or 2db.
 

randomizer

Distinguished
Moderator
Jul 24, 2006
880
0
19,260
62
I don't run the M50x off that sound card, just the K 242. I don't think it's the cause though. The problem is too random and extreme, and affects too many people (though apparently not ASUS engineers), to have such a simple cause. Some people think HPET might have something to do with it.

Anyway, I don't imagine you intended this thread to be about troubleshooting. :)
 

-HH-

Estimable
Oct 20, 2014
17
0
4,560
0
So pretty much all my audio runs through my PC, except when I'm out and about. my full audio stuffs:
Headphones:
Audio Technica M50's (not the X) - Not a fan of them
Monoprice M560's - Uncomfy but in open config sound amazing.
Fostex T50RP MK 3 - Efficiency.

So I have a focusrite S2i2 which is then wired into an emotiva A-100 (I got it today). All I can say is page 11 ;);)

As a mic I use an MXL770 - I use this and monitor myself since playing guitar and singing and stuff it's nice to monitor yourself luckily with the S2i2 you can turn monitoring on and off.

I use Shure SE215's as IEMS after experimenting with loads of others the SE215's just work - The cable is super naff though,

I have got an ASUS Essence one and a Berhinger X802 lying about which used to power the M560's.

strive into my dm's if you want the essence one on the cheap. - Shipped from UK.

The 802 is now coming a mixer for when I perform music with friends. - I plug in my Korg Minilogue and a shure SM58 as well as my squier stratocaster. - Gonna upgrade guitar tho.
 

anort3

Distinguished
Moderator
I'd love to hear the Monoprice 560s and 1060s. Both supposedly sound much better than their price would imply. The 560s are very well built from what I've seen and the 1060s....aren't. I believe a rusty French car is what the build quality is compared to in a review I like. :lol:

I'll probably get some planars next. The HiFiMan HE 560s were recently on sale for $350 ( they were introduced at $899 and sell for $500 usually ) but like the 1060s they seem to be legendary for their terrible build quality. Sound quality is excellent, probably better than the HD600/650 but I have a hard time buying something that has an even chance of arriving broken, no matter how good a value it might be.

OPPO PM3s are an option and they rate really well with tech sites but more audio specific reviewers don't seem to like them as much. The Mayflower T50 Mods look pretty good and actually aren't that expensive.

https://mayflowerelectronics.com/headphones-overview/

I also really REALLY like the sound signature of the Foster/Fostex driver in my TH-X00s. I'll probably end up with a more neutral version of those at some point like the TH-X00 Ebony or the E-MU Teak. Or I might go with the Fostex TH 610s or even the TH 900s if I finally decide to go true HiFi. They sure are expensive though.
 

Iridar51

Estimable
Apr 14, 2014
14
0
4,560
0
I really need some recommendations for a 2.0 or a 2.1 audio system for a gaming and media PC. My budget is under $100. I realize that's barely enough for an entry-level system, but I'm not really an audiophile.

Basically, I'd like to get an audio system with absolutely no background noise and best sound quality this amount of money can buy. Keep in mind I live in Russia, so I may have trouble getting access to some specific models, and all prices are about 30% higher for me.

I recently bought SVEN SPS-635, since they had glowing reviews, but I had to return them to shop because of the unbearable buzzing they emitted even when not connected to anything besides the power socket.

I live in a relatively small 5 x 3m room, so I don't need the audio system to be powerful. 40 watts should be enough.

My sound card is Realtek® ALC1220 built in MSI Z270 Gaming M3 motherboard.

My PC desk is in the middle of the room, so both frontal and rear phase inverters should work, though with all else being equal I'd like frontal ones, just in case.

 

anort3

Distinguished
Moderator
You can do pretty good at $100 here in the US. That's about what my Logitech Z-2300s were back in 2004 or 2005 and they still sound great.

I don't have a clue what's available to you but if you were here I'd recommend Klipsch Pro media 2.1s or Logitech Z623s at around that price if you want a 2.1 system with a subwoofer. For just 2 good speakers the Edifier R1280T or the Mackie CR3 and the Micca PB42X are all around $100.

Maybe someone in Europe can help you find something more specific.
 

Iridar51

Estimable
Apr 14, 2014
14
0
4,560
0


Logitech Z623 go for $225 USD here, so that's out of the question. Klipsch seem to be selling only high-end and car audio systems. Mackie and Micca are not present at all.

Edifier R1280T are available for a slightly-out-of-budget price. It's more or less acceptable, but I'm turned off by some negative reviews about sound quality, and they seem to have some background noise. Ideally I'd want absolutely none, because it's driving me crazy.
 

Iridar51

Estimable
Apr 14, 2014
14
0
4,560
0

Yeah they're rated 4.5 / 5.0 on our national e-commerce network as well. But the few pieces of negative feedback say that glowing positives are due to full-throttle marketing by Edifier, and the speakers actually sound incredibly bad. One of the full reviews also clearly mentions there is some background noise, which is a dealbreaker for me.

I need my speakers to be dead silent during downtime. I'm willing to tolerate worse sound quality to get that, or to go outside of budget within reasonable bounds, if that means also getting a noticeably better sound quality.

My previous system was a Sony audio center: https://www.amazon.com/Sony-MHC-EC55-Component-Discontinued-Manufacturer/dp/B000MXLCM0

I was absolutely satisfied with it, but now it was getting like 12-14 years old, and one of the speakers started to give in. Or the amplifier, I'm not sure. Either way, it's time for change.

I'm willing to buy a stand-alone sound amplifier, if that's necessary to be free from the background noise.
 

Turb0Yoda

Honorable
Herald
Jul 12, 2013
66
0
10,610
6
Y'all are missing out on the amazing Monoprice cans I got got 22 dollars.


------
Actual Audio Equipment:
Mee M6 Pros(grey ones)(IEMs)
Monoprice budget Cans
 

anort3

Distinguished
Moderator
I bet those Monoprice cans are actually better than the price implies. I sure wish they'd do a revision 3 of the M1060s with a little better build quality. Even if they have to increase the price a little.


Klipsch finally made a high end headphone. I can't say they go on my 'must own one day' list but they sure do look great.

https://www.digitaltrends.com/headphone-reviews/klipsch-heritage-hp-3-headphones-review/


Ordered the O2/ODAC Rev B from Mayflower a couple of days ago. It should be here Monday.


https://mayflowerelectronics.com/desktop-objective2-with-odac-rev-b/




 

-HH-

Estimable
Oct 20, 2014
17
0
4,560
0


Are they the retro ones? - I think zeos did a review on them. I reckon they sound a bit like the old superlux's.
 

-HH-

Estimable
Oct 20, 2014
17
0
4,560
0


The M560's from monoprice sound good, quite bright in closed mode and then a bit darker in open along with a bit more sound stage but the comfort was the issue for me, especially with glasses.

The Fostex t50's are amazing just took effort to drive. If you're going for a t50 mod, I think argon are supposed to be some of the best about - I recommend running with either hybrid pads or the shure ones that Z raves about. I don't think I need to modify my ones though, I don't know if the modifications make them easier to drive though which is the main issue with the t50's (luckily I've solved that now though).

I think the PM3's look like an all round easy option and they look easy to drive, I may get a pair in a couple of months but at the moment I'm saving for a new motorbike - and investing in some more bookshelf speakers.
 

-HH-

Estimable
Oct 20, 2014
17
0
4,560
0


Take a poke at these:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Mackie-CR3-inch-Monitor-Speakers/dp/B00NTVS72U/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1517820773&sr=8-1&keywords=Mackie+663961044768
 

Iridar51

Estimable
Apr 14, 2014
14
0
4,560
0

About 50% more expensive here than what I can afford, unfortunately. After some great pondering and with some recommendations, I'm purchasing Edifier R1100. Hopefully, they'll turn out well.
 

-HH-

Estimable
Oct 20, 2014
17
0
4,560
0


They should work just fine!:)
 

ASK THE COMMUNITY