Headphones for listening to music on the pc

Discussion in 'Ask The Experts' started by Nev, Nov 16, 2011.

  1. Nev

    Nev New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2011
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    I'm looking to upgrade the sound quality while working and listening on my PC (Windows XP).
    I'm currently listening with Sennheiser PX100.

    Most of my music is in my itunes library of quality mp3 or AAC , 128 -320 kB/s, 44100 KHz.
    I mostly listen to Rock and Pop.

    I was thinking of either installing one of the following internal audio sound cards:
    - Asus Xonar Essence STX
    - AuzenTech X-Fi Forte 7.1
    or is it better to reduce any electrical noise from the PC components and use an external one like:
    - Musical Fidelity V-Link USB / SPDIF Wandler
    - Musical Fidelity - V-DAC - Digital Analog Wandler

    Which headphones would suit best?
    - Grado SR125i
    - Audio Technica ATH M50
    - GMP 435S
    - GMP 400
    - Sennheiser HD 650
    - AKG 272
    - Beyerdynamic DT-990 Pro
    - Beyerdynamic DT-860 Pro
    ...
    or won't the music quality give this any justice and should I save my money and go for cheaper sound card
    Asus Xonar D1 or DG
    and cheaper headphones?
    Sennheiser HD238 or Bose AE
     
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2011
  2. dalethorn

    dalethorn Active Member

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    Location:
    Charleston South Carolina
    Advice

    I would recommend upgrading the sound card. I would also recomment a good USB DAC with decent headphone amp. Get the best headphone you can afford.
     
  3. Nev

    Nev New Member

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    Nov 16, 2011
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    If I use a DAC connected via USB then I don't need to upgrade the sound card - correct?
    Which heaphones are particularly good for mp3 in my quality? I've read that some are too good because they amplify the "bad quality" of "low-fidelity" mp3s?
     
  4. dalethorn

    dalethorn Active Member

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    Which headphone?

    You either reproduce (not amplify) the bad MP3's faithfully, and also reproduce the good MP3's faithfully as well (resulting in wonderful sound), or -- you suppress the bad MP3's and also suppress the good MP3's, which defeats the purpose of high fidelity.

    I personally have hundreds of really good MP3's, and also hundreds of bad MP3's. If my bad MP3's bother me I can either reduce treble slightly, or I can switch to a lesser headphone. But I rarely do that at the desk at home. When I want to play a bunch of bad MP3's, I generally do so outdoors with a portable headphone and portable music player. It's much more enjoyable like that.

    Correct about the sound card. However, there are many instances in my listening when I want my secondary equipment to offer a second opinion on my primary equipment. I often put on a lesser headphone to double-check whether the better headphone is really playing a particular piece better than the lesser headphone. It's not a perfect world, and the better headphone does not always beat the lesser one on everything. Same goes for USB -vs- soundcard -vs- portable music player. Electronics are very complex and sometimes things don't always sound like you expect. So if I have to have a sound card in the computer, upgrading that card is always the safest thing to do in case I make such comparisons, which I eventually always do.
     
  5. RobinHiFi

    RobinHiFi Super Moderator

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    Messages:
    1,325
    Hi Nev

    I would like to add that it is always worth going for the best equipment in your budget. By uopgrading a bit at a time you will eventually have an excellent set-up. If you stick to the quality of the worst of your gear (or worst quality digital files) you will end up buying all the good stuff at once at some point in the future. I'm sure you are already replacing low bit rate files where you can so it is worth starting to think of nicer equipment now.

    Audio Technica M50 are an excellent choice as they are really versatile - for portable use but great at home too. They respond well to an amp but don't need one in most circumstances. German Maestro GMP435s work really well for your kind of use but are obviously less fitted to any portable use - If you will only use them with your PC at home I think you would love these.:D
     
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