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The Audiophile Thread

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Dealux
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#1

Posted 08 September 2017 - 10:36 AM Edited by ΣΓ, 08 September 2017 - 10:48 AM.

I thought about creating this topic for a while now. This is a place to share your hi-fi, HD, reference\studio audio equipment (speakers, headphones, DACs, and so on). It doesn't have to be anything expensive.

I started investing in better audio equipment in the last few years and the nice thing about this stuff is that you can get an exponential (or 2-3 times) increase in sound quality without breaking the bank. There are budget speakers and headphones out there that sound great. I recently started watching this Z Reviews guy on YouTube and his reviews are quite informative (I bought a pair of IEMs today because of him).

My audio equipment so far is pretty basic. I own a Fiio E10K that I use as a phone DAC & amp (and temporary PC interface as well) and a couple of pairs of headphones. I briefly owned a pair of AKGs (the K-612 Pros) that I sadly had to return because they were hard to drive and had poor bass response. After returning those I decided to upgrade from my $50 Sony in-ears to a pair of Meze 12 Classics based on this review. For the $30 dollar price difference (actual price was 84 euros, but they are cheaper in the US) I got a pair that actually sounded HD and comes quite close to the AKGs that I owned in terms of detail. I bought these because after testing the AKGs for a while my Sonys began to sound muddy to me and I really wanted to have that detailed sound with me all the time. The Mezes don't disappoint in that regard but perhaps the bass is a bit lacking (much like the K-612 Pros). However, that is something that can be easily fixed with the bass boost knob on my Fiio (I definitely do not recommend using these without a portable DAC\amp).

I thought about buying a new pair of in-ears every 6-12 months, increasing my budget by 50% every time (or doubling it) but I will probably have to upgrade to a better portable DAC as well at some point. I'm also considering getting a pair of AKG K-712s at some point for studio use as well as studio monitors (most likely Yamaha HS8s). I think I'll get this desktop DAC & amp to pair with the AKGs since this has a $100+ converter unlike more expensive sound interfaces (which have converters as cheap as $10 *cough Focusrite*).

What is your audio set-up like? What would you like to buy next?
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Shaytan
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#2

Posted 14 September 2017 - 10:38 AM

Cool thread idea, a shame it didn't got much attention.

I don't have really that much physical format audio neither "enthusiast-grade" equipment, because even though I love to listen to music I got used to the practicality of music streaming. I do have a turntable from my father (one of fancier ones with a sapphire point, whole speaker system and such) but never even seen it working because I don't have space for it (plus it must be damaged by now, too, at least the rubber belt gotta be). To complement it I also have quite a collection of LPs, also from my father. My personal CD collection is rather small consider I really only buy them when it'd an album I really like.

I'm considering getting a set of quality headphones, not only to listen to music with better quality but also for gaming and for practicing guitar; I've been looking for the model Marshall released a couple years ago but to be honest it's more because I like the design more than anything, although I'd prefer a model with replaceable wire for durability reasons (well, if someone has any sub $100 suggestions, they're welcome).

HaRdSTyLe_83
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#3

Posted 14 September 2017 - 04:18 PM

mine is a very old Pioneer DCS323  600w home theater that i now just use to listen music or play games from the computer. i cant say if its good or bad compared to newer things out there but its been good enough for me for more then 8 years.

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sivispacem
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#4

Posted 14 September 2017 - 06:49 PM

I'd totally missed this thread. I grew up with a father who was a serious audiophile (a tonne of Cyrus and AVI kit and an original Linn Sondek LP12 comprise his hi-fi setup). It's something I've neglected a bit in the last couple of places I've lived, but I aim to remedy that fairly soon when we finish renovating the dining room.

The extent of my high end gear, headphones excluded, at the moment is a range of AudioEngine desktop bits attached to my PC. Pair of A2 active speakers plus a D1 DAC and headphone amplifier fed via Toslink optical straight from my PC. I've been looking at swapping those for carbonised bamboo passive P4s driven from an N22 desktop amplifier for my PC system, but buying a silly monitor took priority.

For the dining room, my current thinking is a second-hand Rega Elex-R driving AVI DM5s or something similar, plus something to enable streaming.
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Andreaz1
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#5

Posted 14 September 2017 - 08:49 PM Edited by Andreaz1, 14 September 2017 - 08:52 PM.

I like good audio but I'm not too fancy. On my laptop I use Sony MDR-1A's as I like their bass. I have them plugged in to a Dragonfly Black v1.5 which makes everything a lot more vibrant and just... nicer.
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Dealux
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#6

Posted 14 September 2017 - 10:26 PM Edited by ΣΓ, 14 September 2017 - 10:28 PM.

I'm considering getting a set of quality headphones, not only to listen to music with better quality but also for gaming and for practicing guitar; I've been looking for the model Marshall released a couple years ago but to be honest it's more because I like the design more than anything, although I'd prefer a model with replaceable wire for durability reasons (well, if someone has any sub $100 suggestions, they're welcome).

I'm taking a lot of suggestions from Z Reviews on YouTube. There's a Philips pair that he likes quite a bit for about $60. He has other recommendations in this guide: https://www.reddit.c...r37&sh=cf457d4e

Closed headphones are recommended for a start since you get a decent bass response which people generally prefer. Open headphones have better stereo image\sound stage (which is actually useful for gaming as well) but sometimes lack in bass (or just sound neutral).

I'd totally missed this thread. I grew up with a father who was a serious audiophile (a tonne of Cyrus and AVI kit and an original Linn Sondek LP12 comprise his hi-fi setup). It's something I've neglected a bit in the last couple of places I've lived, but I aim to remedy that fairly soon when we finish renovating the dining room.

I didn't think this would turn into a vinyl thread. I kinda laugh at audiophiles that spend too much time obsessing about vinyl. It's not even better in any measurable way than digital (signal amplitude is limited and it's a degrading sound "storage" solution). I'm more about signal purity and flatness (though absolute flatness would probably sounds boring to most people).

I actually bit the bullet and ordered a pair of AKG K-712 Pros from Thomann.de today. Got them for ≈$275 (including shipping), which I think is much lower than what it typically sells for in the US, but I got a B-stock version which was slightly cheaper (fingers crossed that I don't get a pair that's f*cked in some way; it was obviously returned by someone for some reason). I'm not expecting it to perform too well on my Fiio E10K but hopefully it won't be too bad until I decide to buy either another portable DAC\amp (I'm looking enviously at an OPPO HA-2, high end DAC\amp) or my dream desktop DAC, from Audio.gd (which is also a high end DAC\amp).

I've been listening to my Meze 12 Classics for a few days now and the amount of detail in well produced songs is astounding (you can literally separate and focus on individual sounds). Hi-hats are no longer torturing my ear-drums. In fact they are very soothing to listen to (on well mixed songs). They remind me a lot of the AKG K-612 Pros that I returned. They have a similarly sized soundstage but lack some of the detail of the AKGs. I'm sure the K-712 Pros will be even more amazing. I'm a big fan of being able to hear individual sounds clearly and have a clear sense of where they are coming from.

I like good audio but I'm not too fancy. On my laptop I use Sony MDR-1A's as I like their bass. I have them plugged in to a Dragonfly Black v1.5 which makes everything a lot more vibrant and just... nicer.

Those seem nice but I was briefly considering a pair of Shures in that price range (in fact cheaper) but the AKGs will be the last headphones for me (at least for 4 years or so) unless I really want a closed reference pair as well. Now I'm more interested in investing in IEMs for portable use. I don't use headphones at home much (if at all) unless I start mixing\mastering stuff.
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Shaytan
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#7

Posted 14 September 2017 - 11:30 PM

I'm considering getting a set of quality headphones, not only to listen to music with better quality but also for gaming and for practicing guitar; I've been looking for the model Marshall released a couple years ago but to be honest it's more because I like the design more than anything, although I'd prefer a model with replaceable wire for durability reasons (well, if someone has any sub $100 suggestions, they're welcome).

I'm taking a lot of suggestions from Z Reviews on YouTube. There's a Philips pair that he likes quite a bit for about $60. He has other recommendations in this guide: https://www.reddit.c...r37&sh=cf457d4e

Closed headphones are recommended for a start since you get a decent bass response which people generally prefer. Open headphones have better stereo image\sound stage (which is actually useful for gaming as well) but sometimes lack in bass (or just sound neutral).


Actually I listen to pretty much just Rock and Heavy Metal (I'll spoiler 3 example songs of the kind of music I use to listen to for you to get a better idea, down bellow) so I believe bass isn't a thing for me? I really don't listen to techno, dance, dubstep or even those much heavier metal bands so I think the open headphones would be preferred for me but as you might've noticed I'm a complete noob on the matter (I do know moderate bass on digital EQs work the best for me, and my guitar experience tells me my music preference is richer in mids). About your Phillips suggestion, they seem really cool and I know prioritizing looks over sound quality is the wrong way around, but the thing I love about the Marshall Major II (that's the model I was referring to) is it's vintage looks and I'd really like having something like that over a more modern design.



Thanks btw!

Dealux
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#8

Posted 14 September 2017 - 11:56 PM

Those Marshall ones look a little small. Z recommends another pair of Philips for open headphones under $100: https://www.amazon.c...52cda0fbcba8f59

Oh, and those have removable cable. Be aware that open headphones don't isolate outside sounds, so they're not really meant for listening in public (unless you don't mind people looking at you weirdly).
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DrRumpleSweatyForeSkin
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#9

Posted 27 September 2017 - 07:21 PM

My Samson SR850's are nearing the end as I didn't even know my headphone jack was bent. Replace with new pair or any new suggestions?


Dealux
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#10

Posted 27 September 2017 - 10:35 PM

Do you want to raise your budget? Do they have to be open or semi-open?

HaRdSTyLe_83
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#11

Posted 06 October 2017 - 01:31 PM

so i have been looking to get a tactile transducer, more to improve the racing sim, and the butckicker seem to be good, but its been out of stock for so long that i might just give up on that idea.

an alternative would be the subpack  but it costs alot more and i dont know if it would work great with gaming , anyone knows of a good alternative ?

 

SUBPAC+S2-6.JPG


Dealux
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#12

Posted 06 October 2017 - 09:14 PM

That's the weirdest invention I've seen so far that is related to audio gear. Is it out of stock though? It appears that I can order that right now.

HaRdSTyLe_83
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#13

Posted 06 October 2017 - 11:14 PM Edited by HaRdSTyLe_83, 06 October 2017 - 11:22 PM.

bass shakers do the same as a subwoofer and can transfer the beat to the body or chair etc, used alot in home cinema to give that extra punch vibrating the couch, without needing to set the volume high you can still feel the explosions etc

the buttkicker is sold out in the retailer from my country, ordering from the web is something i didnt want to do :/ the subpack is in stock but is almost 500$


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#14

Posted 11 October 2017 - 06:37 PM



I'm beginning to think that AKG is a hit-or-miss company. They clearly invested a lot in engineering this thing but it's actually worse that the K712 that I bought (which thankfully seems to be the best AKG). A lot of headphones in this price range are nothing but disappointments which makes we wonder: why the hell don't more companies invest in developing electrostats? I mean it is the best technology out there in terms of sound reproduction. Price for stuff like that would likely go down if more companies researched and developed more.
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mr quick
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#15

Posted 4 weeks ago

Did you ever end up getting a pair of HS8's? I love the HS series, although personally I might've gone with HS7's and a HS sub instead. I live in a complex now so I can't really use speakers. I use my studio headset(Beyer DT 770) for listening to music, which works brilliantly. 


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#16

Posted 4 weeks ago

No, but I'm still thinking about it. I bought another pair of AKGs, the K712s and another portable DAC\amp a few days ago, the OPPO HA-2. Holy f*ck was I oblivious to the difference a DAC can make to the sound quality coming out of speakers and headphones. I was initially worried that the OPPO wasn't going to be significantly better than my old Fiio E10K (for $300+; the E10K was $100) but I was quite wrong. The Sabre32 chip is so good that it made it harder for me to distinguish between my cheap $100 speakers and the reference AKGs. It pushes a lot of detail, every instrument has an impact that it didn't have before due to the vastly improved transparency (instruments no longer sound as if they are all trying to occupy a crammed space; they all exist somewhere in the space in front of me). Stereo image width and accuracy is improved as well, even on my cheap speakers which previously didn't really show any stereo image. I noticed that the moment I plugged them into the OPPO they started to exhibit a strange room presence and I could almost feel where the voice of the singer is coming from for instance.

I will start saving up for monitors starting December. I'm still considering the HS8s but now I'm kinda leaning more towards the more expensive R80s from PreSonus. I like the ribbon ("AMT") tweeter design on those and the monitors certainly look cool overall. I think they are meant to compete with the HS8s but there are not enough reviews on them. The other more expensive choice would be the PreSonus Sceptre S8s, which are their top of the line monitors. What makes these special is the coaxial design which delivers incredible stereo image width and accuracy. Apparently it's very "3D" like in the sense that sound has a sort of presence in the room that makes it seem like you are listening to live instruments and singers. However, I'm not sure if I want to save $1500+ for a pair. That seems too daunting. I will decide when I start gathering some money. There's certainly no shortage of good studio monitors out there and it's not always the big brands that deliver the best sound and I want something a bit more special.

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#17

Posted 4 weeks ago Edited by HaRdSTyLe_83, 4 weeks ago.

@ΣΓ you seem like a guy who can figure this out to me :)

 

i have some headphones from JBL (around 50$)  that i only used in my old iphone4 to listen to music, but the thing is, when i plug them into my pc or my newest phone (huawei) the sound doesnt get so loud. do i need a DAC in my pc?

 

 

edit: are the Sennheiser momentum 2 any good?


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#18

Posted 4 weeks ago

I don't particularly rate the Momentums. Don't get me wrong, they produce a great sound, bit they're expensive compared to most competitor offerings of similar sound quality and I never found them very comfortable.

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#19

Posted 3 weeks ago Edited by ΣΓ, 3 weeks ago.

Yeah, you can get something a lot better for 300 euros depending on whether you want an open or closed pair. I'm assuming you want a closed pair since you use headphones with your phone. You don't need that much money for a decent pair of closed cans. If I had 300 euros to throw on any pair of headphones the obvious choice for me would be the Monoprice Monolith M1060, which are planar magnetic. Sound is supposed to be superior to most dynamic driver headphones and it's only $300 (built kinda cheap but you're paying for the sound). However, open headphones like that aren't usable in public since they leak most of the sound in the environment and they don't isolate your ears from the outside noise either.

I want to get a closed pair of headphones myself at some point in the near future. I was personally looking at the Shure SRH840 (or the SRH940 for better pads and somewhat improved sound) but also the Status Audio CB-1s, which are way cheaper (about $80) but the sound is supposed to be really good for the money (especially for casual listening). Both the Shures and the CB-1 are easy to drive meaning that you won't really need a DAC\amp to get them to a decent listening volume but you won't squeeze the best sound out of them by using them with the integrated sound card in your PC or your phone. Most PC and phone DACs, even the ones that are labeled "HD", are quite sh*t which makes sense because the mobo or phone manufacturer won't really invest too much in the sound quality that's integrated into the mobo\SOC\whatever since there isn't really a demand for that. Some gaming motherboards have better sound but I wouldn't trust them to be any good for serious music listening.

I tried my K712s, which need an amp because they are hard to drive, on my phone and it actually performs surprisingly good even though I know how sh*tty phone DACs are but there's a lot of detail that's missing from the sound on my phone (heavily recessed mids, and generally less detailed lows and highs). Plus the phone doesn't push out enough volume even for quiet listening. The difference between my phone or PC DAC and the DAC\amp combo in my OPPO HA-2 is f*cking huge. It's world changing. The sound is also very flat, so the DAC doesn't influence the color of the sound. It's all up to the headphones and their natural sound signature.

A DAC\amp makes a difference on most equipment, even cheap stuff, but it's extra money you need to spend. I still have my Fiio E10K which is good enough for a start and I would give it away for free to anyone that benefited from it. I don't have a use for it anymore.

Edit: I think I found my "end game" DAC\amp: http://www.audio-gd..../NFB27.77EN.htm

Dual Sabre32 ES9038PRO for probably the best dynamic range possible in a DAC but it's actually two DACs running in mono.

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#20

Posted 3 weeks ago

Do you want to raise your budget? Do they have to be open or semi-open?

wow sorry for late reply but I dont really want to raise my budget as of now. The open seems to be doing well for me.


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#21

Posted 2 weeks ago Edited by ΣΓ, 2 weeks ago.

Goddamn. I wish I were loaded to afford speakers like these (they look like they are from the future):

web_main_qb1%20xbd%202v2.jpg

They cost about $175,000: https://pmc-speakers.../active/qb1-xbd
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