Head phone amp advice for a newbie

Discussion in 'Audio Sources' started by jog3004, Nov 25, 2011.

  1. jog3004

    jog3004 New Member

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    Hi, firstly I confess that I am basically new to the headphone world, mainly due to new neighbours who are less accommodating to my love of playing loud heavy metal music, & secondly (& i must say more importantly, as she's sat next to me) my wife being sick of listening to loud heavy metal music. I have bought B&W P5 & C5 for use with my iPhone et al, but now due to needing to listen via hi fi (Arcam AVP700 & Cyrus CD8SE with PSXR) to a set of cans, currently my P5s. I had decided to buy some dedicated hi fi cans such as Sennheiser hd650 or Grado SR325is that were recommended by the hifi shop I have used for the last 20 years, however, when Joe (sales assistant at said hifi centre) who has known me for these 20 years, rang me, stating that his colleague had given me wrong advice, he has possibly changed my thinking. He recommended that I buy a dedicated Headphone amp as he felt that the P5s were good enough to enjoy as a hifi headphone set, & that the headphone amp would bring their performance to a different level. He suggested the Pro-ject amp, which is currently not in stock, but by memory thinks it is £200 mark. When checking on internet I can only find the Headbox mk2 (£95) or the SE version (£195) with 2 headphone outputs. I will only use one set of headphones at any one time, so assume that the SE is more due to the extra output, so will only need the mk2. Considering my equipment ( I will use outputs from my CD player straight into the headphone amp) will this amp suffice or will I be better spending more & can go upto £250, & if so any suggestions? Joe has stated that he will loan me the Pro-ject when back in stock, which I will obviously do before buying, but they only stock the Pro-ject. Any advice will be greatly received & accepted. Cheers
     
  2. dalethorn

    dalethorn Active Member

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    B&w p5

    Getting a new amp or better amp to make the P5 sound better is a dubious notion. I own the P5, and if I were looking to upgrade the sound, I would get a better headphone first, then worry about the amp later. An amp can tighten up the flabby bass some, and extend the soft highs a little, but that's a fraction of the amount of improvement you can get with a better headphone. In the 300 USD range, the Shure SRH 940 would give you far better and flatter bass, and much more extended highs, not to mention a big increase in detail.
     
  3. jog3004

    jog3004 New Member

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    HI cheers Dale thorn, I must admit my thoughts were that the P5 had been predominantly designed for "i" things & do sound superb with these & even better since I bought a Fiio E11 to use in conjunction with the iPhone, iPod etc, but thought a dedicated hifi pair of cans would surpass the P5, even if they were only marginally more expensive. If I go for a pair of headphones first, I'll probably spend up to about £350. Although, a second hifi shop has suggested that the amp may be the best first buy, but stated that I need at least a Graham Slee Solo to see any benefit, then buy the cans & recommended HD650 as they say the Grado sr325is or too laid back for metal music. This confused me as from what I've read, it's the HD650 that are the laid back pair, I'll definitely research the pair you have suggested though. Any one with further advice, please add your opinion. Cheers
     
  4. dalethorn

    dalethorn Active Member

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    Amp

    Interestingly, the Shure 940 looks and feels (in the earpieces that go onto your ears) exactly like a Sennheiser 650. But the 940 sound is an order of magnitude better than the Senn 650. I don't know why that is, but there are many reviews and postings about the 940 that explain. My reviews of the 940 at Amazon, at Headfonics, at SGHeadphones, at Innerfidelity (to name a few sites) have gotten more commentary by far than any other headphone or any product I've ever reviewed. Basically I claimed that the 940 sounds about the same as the Senn HD-800 which costs 1500 USD, and despite the opposition I've gotten to that claim, the majority of opinion seems to concur. As a general rule, shopping by price has validity, but in the headphone world there are exceptions.
     
  5. dalethorn

    dalethorn Active Member

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    Headphone and amp

    I'd like to update this thread to note that where I found the Shure 940 to be very good with i-devices, I don't think it improved with my current headphone amp since the sound, already marginal for bass, dried up a little with the amp. For that type of headphone a tube or similar type of amp might be better. This would not apply to the Shure 840 from what I've heard, which has stronger bass.

    If I were playing mostly metal, and I have some serious metal tracks, I'd look at something with good solid bass like the German Maestro 8.35 or Shure 840 in the low to medium price range. A Grado 325 for example is going to accentuate the brightness in metal music, and if your hearing is acute, I think it would get tiresome.
     
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