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-   -   Straight upgrade from AD700s? (https://www.avsforum.com/forum/378-headphones/3085770-straight-upgrade-ad700s.html)

Katsuargi 08-20-2019 04:20 PM

Straight upgrade from AD700s?
My AD700s were my first love headphones. I've had them for...longer than I can really say off the top of my head.

They're getting a little long in the tooth. Broken win, flat pads, wire messed up so it drops sound on one side if my head isn't tilted right.

I was debating getting them fixed up (and still might, if to give them to a younger sibling to start them on the audio path) but figured if I'm at this point I might as well upgrade.

I know there's a lot of good options out there, but I'm looking for someone with a wide range of experience to recommend a direct upgrade that carries the advantages (sound stage size) and sound flavor / profile, just, you know, more from jumping to a mid range set.

Current set up is pretty basic. Xonar DX (which is also ancient at this point. Lol.) No dac or anything, and the 700s.

Budget between 300-500 or so.

(If there's a pair that's exactly what I'm looking for but outside my budget mention it also and I'll keep an eye out on Craigslist and auctions before buying the set in my price range).

Thanks for the help guys, hope this hasn't been asked a million times! (I saw similar questions, but not exactly what I was looking for.)

bdht 08-21-2019 12:44 PM

43 Attachment(s)
used Sennheiser HD800

glangford 08-22-2019 02:25 AM

I'd go Sennheiser HD 800S. A little warmer than the 800. But I doubt you'd find a pair used for the budget.

Katsuargi 08-22-2019 05:55 AM

Hm. A bit of googling aroud shows even used they're still a decent jump out of my budget generally.

Is that really the first upgrade that has all the positive traits and sound profile of my entry level cans? O.o

bdht 08-22-2019 10:01 AM

hmm akg k702?

bdht 08-22-2019 10:03 AM

hifiman sundaras

I like the Sennheiser hd650s

glangford 08-23-2019 03:22 AM


Originally Posted by bdht (Post 58458060)
hifiman sundaras

I like the Sennheiser hd650s

In addition to the 800S I also have the 650. I like the 650 a lot.

Katsuargi 08-23-2019 07:38 AM

Hm. I'm running a xonar dx. Is that enough DAC for these mid range cans or do I need a separate dac?

Looks like my budget would currently lean towards one of these 300-350 cans and 150-200 in an Amp?

bdht 08-23-2019 09:41 AM


Originally Posted by Katsuargi (Post 58461800)
Hm. I'm running a xonar dx. Is that enough DAC for these mid range cans or do I need a separate dac?

Yes, and no. ;]

For amplification I like to go crazy. Class a discrete dc coupled non feedback current signal amplifiers, isolation from the pc, and ac line noise suppression.

I like Audio-GD products, you can find theyre cheaper units used for around $200. Audio-GD R2R11 / NFB11.

Use a USB to optical converter with a decent linear supply, put a usb hub chip in front of it.

And put the dac/amp on a Topaz ultra isolator line noise suppressor. Can get these used for under a $100 easy and sometimes find em real cheap for under $50. Nothing knocks line noise better.

One of my setups uses an Uptone USB Regen(used for $75) with a jameco linear supply($10). The linear supply plugs into a lt3042 regulator($20), and then a star quad cable to the regen. The regen goes into a Breeze DU-U8(used $70), a digital to digital converter with an xmos u8 board with upgraded tcxos and a linear power supply. Then an optical connection to an Audio-GD NFB-11 on a Topaz 91092-12. Really perfect clean detailed sound.

You'll see some cant tell the difference between the builtin headphone jack on a motherboard and a Benchmark dac/amp. Why? a non isolated usb connection, plugged right into the wall, with a switching supply. Doesnt matter how much feedback you cram into an opamp or what regulators are used, all that noise is still there. Digital signals benefit greatly from reduced noise, and usb benefits greatly from optimal signal integrity.

-The topaz knocks common/traverse mode ac line noise
-The usb regen provides optimal signal integrity, reducing phy noise generated by error correction.
-Avoid the leakage and poor output impedance of switching supplies entirely.
-The star quad dc cable reduces noise generated by the varied current draw of digital devices, which causes a noise generating voltage to develop across the inductance of the cable which passes through device regulators. Attenuated by using low inductance quadrapole/star quad cables.
-The isolation of optical breaks noise generating leakage loops which form between electrically connected devices.
-The upgraded tcxos have reduced phase noise.
-The Audio-GD products have discrete multi stage regulation as well.

Dont believe me? Then stick to the Xonar. Theres a trend currently with things that measure well like the thx aaa and octo, they measure well because of feedback loops, and feedback loops distort transients, something they dont measure... so theres little audible difference between the Xonar and these more expensive items.

A little careful planning and watching of used markets and you can build a really amazing sounding system. Id just caution against these flavor of the month reddit/headfi/ASR recommendations...

And hey if you really want to have fun, look into Out of Your Head. This program, with some manual equalization, a system similar to what I described above, planar magnetic headphones, and a bass shaker system will transform your stereo headphones into a 7.1 surround system, a pair of studio monitors, a pair of hifi loudspeakers in treated/untreated rooms, or large movie theaters.

Headphone soundstage is unmatched and surround virtualization fidelity rivaled only by the Smyth Realiser used to measure the rooms.


Katsuargi 08-26-2019 05:36 PM

Took probably the lazy way out.

Ordered a Magni and a pair of 650s. Going to test it with the Xonar Dx. If I notice any issues with the sound quality I'll upgrade to a stand alone DAC (probably the modi).

If I don't notice any sound issues I might upgrade to a better amp + dac after I do another round of upgrading the rest of my computer set up.

Oliviageorge098 09-02-2019 04:15 AM

Buy Sennheiser HD800

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