Advice needed

Discussion in 'Full Size Headphones' started by BlueScreenWater, Nov 4, 2013.

  1. BlueScreenWater

    BlueScreenWater New Member

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    Hello all,

    I'm looking for some advice regarding how to get the best sound quality when listening via an Ipad and sometimes a laptop.

    I have a budget between £150 - £200. Any advice on what file type to use, whether a DAC is required and obviously what headphones. Priorities are soundstage and timing.

    Thanks in advance!
     
  2. dalethorn

    dalethorn Active Member

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    The FiiO E07k is the best solution for iPad (using a FiiO LOD cable from iPad to 'Aux' port, and if the iPad has the Lightning connector you also need the adapter to 30-pin, unless FiiO updates the LOD cable). The E07k is also good for the laptop using a USB cable from laptop to the E07k USB port.

    FiiO E07K Andes Portable Headphone Amplifier & USB DAC

    A great headphone to add would be the Sennheiser Momentum On-Ear.

    Sennheiser Momentum On-Ear Closed Back Headphones Blue

    I would personally resist the temptation to improve my sound with a DAC/amp such as this, and then get a cheaper headphone, which would be throwing that money away.
     
  3. BlueScreenWater

    BlueScreenWater New Member

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    Thanks for the reply.

    So would you say a DAC is essential, or would I be better off spending more on a pair of headphones?
     
  4. dalethorn

    dalethorn Active Member

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    Neither a DAC nor a separate headphone amp are essential for iPad as long as your headphone is efficient enough, like the one I mentioned. Since your laptop is unknown I can't say, but most good brands use very good amp chips.

    Definitely put as much as you can into the headphone (which is where 99 percent of the gain in quality comes from), and then buy a DAC/amp later on.
     
  5. BlueScreenWater

    BlueScreenWater New Member

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    Ah, thanks for that.

    Will definitely put my budget towards the headphones then.
     
  6. BlueScreenWater

    BlueScreenWater New Member

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    So I've opted for the Bowers and Wilkins P7.

    How long should I expect for burn in?
     
  7. dalethorn

    dalethorn Active Member

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    Physically only a few hours - 10 at most. But there's also a mental adjustment because each headphone has its own signature and your adaptation to that is an automatic subconscious process. The P7 is a great choice because it's so smooth and detailed that you'll enjoy it from the first time you listen.
     
  8. BlueScreenWater

    BlueScreenWater New Member

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    My first listen out the box was awful for the first hour! Shrill top end, abrasive middle and a weak and indistinct low end. Admittedly my reference point comes from my old Hi-Fi set up (about £3500 worth of kit) and the first few albums played were Janes Addiction's first two studio efforts - in my experience very testing albums for any system, and these headphones really disappointed.

    So out of the IPad and into the laptop, with my trusty Allsopp burn in cd ready to play. Stuck the pink noise and polarity tracks on repeat and completed some chores for an hour and came back for another listen...

    What a difference! Put on some Goldfrapp (Felt Mountain) and gone were the shrill top notes, the middle smooth with the soundstage wider and higher. On went Tool to test the lows and this time the bass was for more punchy and distinct, with the sound as a whole sounding much more cohesive without loss of detail. Finally put on some NIN (Hesitation Marks) and the enjoyment factor ramped up again. The timing, rhythm and balance between vocals and music enjoyable in a similar way to how Rega do it.

    Can't wait to listen some more tonight!
     
  9. dalethorn

    dalethorn Active Member

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    That's a great report - confirms a lot of experience from people I know. Some of those are more dramatic that others, but once I settled in to my P7, it was all good.
     
  10. BlueScreenWater

    BlueScreenWater New Member

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    Another question! Is the FiiO Eo7 Andes powerful enough to drive the P 7's?
     
  11. dalethorn

    dalethorn Active Member

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    I did a quick test of 50 tracks I have where the track volume ranges from low to medium, and at volume setting 60 on the E07k they were way too loud on the P7.
     
  12. BlueScreenWater

    BlueScreenWater New Member

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    It's arrived and yes, more than enough power.

    Cracking piece of kit the E07 - really impressed.

    Unfortunately the P7's have been returned. Just couldn't get on with them. I can appreciate their qualities but they're definitely not to my tastes. Part of the problem is their presentation of the music is very different to what I was used to with my old system (non headphone). Credit to the P7's - they dug out details that my old £3,500 kit couldn't.

    May have a look at Sennheiser. I have a pair of 201's and tried those with the E07 and found their character more enjoyable.

    Any recommendations?
     
  13. dalethorn

    dalethorn Active Member

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    B&O H6. Same price, more neutral - my favorite.
     
  14. BlueScreenWater

    BlueScreenWater New Member

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    Tried out the AKG K550's and was blown away. Absolutely stunning results from these and they're yet to burn in (and judging the size of their drivers that may take a while!). Wonderful soundstage, neutral presentation and timing. Very, very close to a separate's sound - the music really breathes and doesn't have that hurried feel the P7's had.

    Tried the H6's and thought they were an improvement on the P7's in every way but the K550's blew me away (especially for £120). Delighted!

    Thanks for the advice Dale (especially the E07 - great little DAC), much appreciated.
     
  15. john-hifi

    john-hifi Super Moderator Staff Member

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    The P7s are very easy to drive as they are designed to be used with mobile phones and portable devices. The E07 will give it that extra bit of oomph!
     
  16. BlueScreenWater

    BlueScreenWater New Member

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    And the K550's have been returned!

    Was waiting for the burn in to reveal the bass in these headphones - unfortunately it never appeared. I have been using the Soundmagic HP100's and have finally found a pair of phones I'm happy with! These ones are keepers.

    Currently using an e07 - would I benefit from a better amp, and if so, any recommendations on what would give a decent return?

    Thanks in advance
     
  17. john-hifi

    john-hifi Super Moderator Staff Member

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    I think the FiiO E11 is amazing for the price. It has plenty of power and the EQ settings are very good.
     
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