Home Theater Headphone - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
Forum Jump: 
 1Likes
Reply
 
Thread Tools
post #1 of 39 Old 02-05-2020, 01:52 PM - Thread Starter
Senior Member
 
TheSynergy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 461
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 313 Post(s)
Liked: 181
Home Theater Headphone

I've started my heaphone research and also realize virtual surround isn't necessary with 2 drivers. I have a nice home theater system that quite frankly, I can't use all the time, especially at night when I want to watch something like Saving Private Ryan lol. So I'm looking at what my options are, like do I just use the headphone out on my Denon, and if so, do I need cable attachments depending on the heaphone I choose, since many seem to come with 3.5mm? Are there wireless options that will integrate with my Denon or LG OLED that won't have lip sync issues etc...? Any help to get me started would be greatly appreciated, as well as any headphone suggestions. Shooting to stay under $1k for the headphones, ideally $400-600 would be nice if there are solid options. Mainly will be used for movies.
TheSynergy is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #2 of 39 Old 02-05-2020, 07:10 PM
Advanced Member
 
bdht's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2016
Posts: 982
Mentioned: 21 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 484 Post(s)
Liked: 199
Do you have any previous experience with headphones or specific preference?

Do you want to block out external sound completely. Open back headphones sound more spacious but youll hear anything like not wearing headphones.

Would you prefer wireless? If the tv(tv and avr models will help) doesn't have low latency bluetooth there are other wireless options. Just plugging into the headphone jack of the AVR could be fine and the Denon probably has a "virtual" option for headphones, which will add some crossfeed/reverb to push the headphone image forward a bit. What kind of speakers do you have, i.e. what kind of audio quality are you expecting? $200 buys very good headphones.

Do you want to try for surround sound? or just use headphones. Virtual surround is done with 2 drivers, but can get real complicated real quick and it takes some serious equipment to get fidelity. But at that point the experience is jaw dropping, completely externalized 7.1 surround, anchored to the display, speaker/room like imaging, and drastically improved by the use of bass shakers.
bdht is offline  
post #3 of 39 Old 02-05-2020, 09:09 PM - Thread Starter
Senior Member
 
TheSynergy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 461
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 313 Post(s)
Liked: 181
Quote:
Originally Posted by bdht View Post
Do you have any previous experience with headphones or specific preference?

Do you want to block out external sound completely. Open back headphones sound more spacious but youll hear anything like not wearing headphones.

Would you prefer wireless? If the tv(tv and avr models will help) doesn't have low latency bluetooth there are other wireless options. Just plugging into the headphone jack of the AVR could be fine and the Denon probably has a "virtual" option for headphones, which will add some crossfeed/reverb to push the headphone image forward a bit. What kind of speakers do you have, i.e. what kind of audio quality are you expecting? $200 buys very good headphones.

Do you want to try for surround sound? or just use headphones. Virtual surround is done with 2 drivers, but can get real complicated real quick and it takes some serious equipment to get fidelity. But at that point the experience is jaw dropping, completely externalized 7.1 surround, anchored to the display, speaker/room like imaging, and drastically improved by the use of bass shakers.
I have more knowledge than experience as I've always preferred speakers. Most of my headphone experience is with gaming headsets that I don't even use the virtual surround, but for movie watching downstairs, in a great virtual surround setup, does sound great. Right now I am using a gaming headset, the SteelSeries Arctis Pro Wireless. I do enjoy the balanced sound but would like some more bass from it. I'm OK without the noise cancellation and no preference, open back or closed.

I probably would prefer wireless if possible, but not sure that will work with my setup or not, as most of the nice headphones seem to not be like the gaming headsets where there is a base station, and my Denon X3500H (2018 Denon) doesn't seem to have the Bluetooth Transmitter option, though it does have a headphone jack, though I sit 12 feet away. TV is an LG C9. Hoping to get something nice but that I can appreciate. I have been reading alot about the new Drop THX Pando wireless, but seems to be a ways out from retail (June).
TheSynergy is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #4 of 39 Old 02-05-2020, 10:06 PM
Advanced Member
 
bdht's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2016
Posts: 982
Mentioned: 21 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 484 Post(s)
Liked: 199
The Arctis have a base? how do you have it connected to the av system?

If you really want to have fun, the best place to start is get the audio to a spdif toslink(optical) splitter, from there send one cable to your headphones(just keep using the Arctis and its virtual surround) and the second to a bass shaker system. Youll typically need a cheap optical dac, and either an amplifier with a builtin crossover(https://www.parts-express.com/lepai-...utput--310-308, or an active crossover and an amplifier.

Way more immersive then an expensive pair of headphones.

Alot of the claims for the Panda are strange as the Audeze Mobius has been out for some time, uses planar magnetic transducers, has LDAC bluetooth, and incorporates waves nx binaural rendering with head tracking.

Whats a planar ribbon? A planar magnetic is usually some kind of plastic and a ribbon some kind of metal xD
bdht is offline  
post #5 of 39 Old 02-06-2020, 12:51 PM - Thread Starter
Senior Member
 
TheSynergy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 461
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 313 Post(s)
Liked: 181
Yeah the wireless version has a base that you connect to your PC via USB. It's also Bluetooth 4.1. Technically it's not HiFi due to the base and bluetooth spec, unlike its wired DAC brother, though the drivers still are, would need to get my own amp. I should just try hooking it up to my AVR downstairs to test. Since no bluetooth transmitter on this version of Denon, I think i'd just hook it up via toslink out from AVR to toslink in on the base station and switch to that audio input.

I'll check out that Audeze Mobius! Seen that brand name thrown around in alot of my searching. Otherwise, any thoughts on a headphone that would be an upgrade to the Arctic? I know its pretty solid for a gaming headset, but I'm chasing even more clarity and resolved details while maintaining deep bass, which I do realize probably means stepping up in price a bit.
TheSynergy is offline  
post #6 of 39 Old 02-06-2020, 08:40 PM
Advanced Member
 
bdht's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2016
Posts: 982
Mentioned: 21 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 484 Post(s)
Liked: 199
I think you may have to use some kind of hdmi audio extractor as the receiver doesnt have a digital output

Audeze makes excellent planar magnetic transducers and the Mobius and EL-8 are the only headphones I currently use. The el8 all day at a work desktop for music and when i can't use the av system for movies/tv, using Out of Your Head for virtual surround. the mobius for portable for music.

The Mobius can only do 7.1 surround with usb and a pc, but can do a virtual 2.0 with bluetooth, I use this for music as well.

Do you like watching movies/tv with the Arctis' surround off? i.e. normal headphone stereo? I never enjoyed cramming 7.1 mixes into headphone stereo, and LFE only on your head is the opposite of immersive, hence the crazy setup.

As far as just plugging a pair of headphones with good clarity and more bass into your AVR though...

akg k7xx or k550
audeze el8 or lcd2
audioquest nightowl/hawk
hifiman sundara/560
mr speakers aeon

though there is some concern over impedance so maybe higher impedance headphones like beyerdynamic 300 or 600ohm dt770/880/990

With more revealing headphones though comes the need for better circuits, it takes power for deep bass, it takes clean power for clean treble, that kinda thing, you can only expect so much from a speaker amplifier with a resistor(with the avr). Which is why Id suggest working in tactile transducers(bass shakers) and using the virtual surround sound before spending hundreds on headphones. Movie/tv audio fidelity isnt so great anyway, since dialogue isnt generally recorded in a treated studio but an open reflective set. Music and sfx can often sound good though.
bdht is offline  
post #7 of 39 Old 02-06-2020, 08:40 PM
Member
 
LeeK0Resolution's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2020
Posts: 25
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 15 Post(s)
Liked: 1
Wireless will normally increase the cost by a large amount or reduced audio quality. DROP + THX PANDA might provide a good middle ground but do not have a pair yet. Portable DAC might be another option to consider as an extra item down the track. E.g. Ifi Audio IDSD-BL

Do you mind if the headphones are a little bit heavier?
What type of base response are you after?
Are you after a large sound stage? (due to your history of speaker use)

Some example headphones
Argon Mk3 – little bit less clarity but great fun headphones at a low cost.
Aeon 2 – Great clarity but a little bit low in the base
Beyerdynamic DT 1990 Pro – Overall good audio if EQ
LeeK0Resolution is offline  
post #8 of 39 Old 02-06-2020, 09:13 PM
Member
 
LeeK0Resolution's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2020
Posts: 25
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 15 Post(s)
Liked: 1
Also, maybe listen to headphone demos like Z Reviews on Youtube. Might give you a better understanding of the headphone audio profile that you are after.
LeeK0Resolution is offline  
post #9 of 39 Old 02-07-2020, 07:06 AM - Thread Starter
Senior Member
 
TheSynergy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 461
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 313 Post(s)
Liked: 181
Thanks a ton guys. I went a little nuts the past 24 hours with research of various headphones, the tech behind them, how they are quantified woth data and how to interpret that data, so I can underatand the conversation mich better now. Also watched alot of youtube from DMS, Z, and Joshua Valor, oh and Badseed Tech. Lots of great info from those guys.

I'm also realizing that since I work from home, I mainly use headphones for music throughout the day, and only really watch late night movies on the weekend when everyone is asleep. So to not waste these Artcis headphones, I am going to do a teat run tonight on the Denon, and will likely be purchasing a headphone, DAC, and amp for music listening in my office.

So the DT1990 Pro and DT177x are standing out to me right now (funny you suggested too!) I am leaning towards the 177x simply due to the bass, and im qorried the DT1990 Pro being open backed and its sound profile im hearing, may not have the level of deep bass i enjoy in my metal/rock/EDM. BUT if a good amp can help make the Dt1990 Pro a better option, then Id go that route. I only just started looking into amp/dacs. It heard alot of amps can affect dynamics/compression and or color the audio. I really just want a transparent 1:1 style amp, just boost the power. Would a Drop THX AAA style amp do that? Which I velieve is in the 789? How about a DAC? I assume USB connextion to my PC is all that is needed regardless of i do a stack or just an amp?
LeeK0Resolution likes this.
TheSynergy is offline  
post #10 of 39 Old 02-07-2020, 08:17 AM - Thread Starter
Senior Member
 
TheSynergy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 461
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 313 Post(s)
Liked: 181
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheSynergy View Post
Thanks a ton guys. I went a little nuts the past 24 hours with research of various headphones, the tech behind them, how they are quantified woth data and how to interpret that data, so I can underatand the conversation mich better now. Also watched alot of youtube from DMS, Z, and Joshua Valor, oh and Badseed Tech. Lots of great info from those guys.

I'm also realizing that since I work from home, I mainly use headphones for music throughout the day, and only really watch late night movies on the weekend when everyone is asleep. So to not waste these Artcis headphones, I am going to do a teat run tonight on the Denon, and will likely be purchasing a headphone, DAC, and amp for music listening in my office.

So the DT1990 Pro and DT177x are standing out to me right now (funny you suggested too!) I am leaning towards the 177x simply due to the bass, and im qorried the DT1990 Pro being open backed and its sound profile im hearing, may not have the level of deep bass i enjoy in my metal/rock/EDM. BUT if a good amp can help make the Dt1990 Pro a better option, then Id go that route. I only just started looking into amp/dacs. It heard alot of amps can affect dynamics/compression and or color the audio. I really just want a transparent 1:1 style amp, just boost the power. Would a Drop THX AAA style amp do that? Which I velieve is in the 789? How about a DAC? I assume USB connextion to my PC is all that is needed regardless of i do a stack or just an amp?
Also, how big of an upgrade would something like a DT177x and DT1990 Pro (with/without DAC/Amp) be to something like my Artics Pro Wireless? The price seems very similar, but the builds are for different thing, and of course the Arctis is wireless, but still, just wondering what kind of difference to expect coming from a pretty solid gaming headphone. I would assume something like the BD's would be quite a bit better.
TheSynergy is offline  
post #11 of 39 Old 02-07-2020, 10:59 AM
Advanced Member
 
bdht's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2016
Posts: 982
Mentioned: 21 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 484 Post(s)
Liked: 199
Your source for watching movies is a pc? The Mobius is a good option then.

Or try this
https://www.waves.com/nx/apps

That THX AAA amp... those distortion numbers, its like display manufacturers contrast numbers. Feedback loops distort transients, not a great technology for binaural rendering, better to find a cheap used Audio-GD combo and use an optical connection. And like i mentioned split the signal and use a bass shaker system, its a significantly better experience then switching to a different pair of dynamic headphones that you might not even notice a diffetence in sound.

And if using a pc, and using binaural rendering, better to use planars. They render the mixes better and eq better than dynamics as well. Slap a pair of dekoni lcd velours on a used hifiman he400i and bump up the bass in eqapo. Whole system for cheaper than a pair of dt1770s and youll have externalized 7.1 sound, a center channel anchored to the display, full body tactile bass.
bdht is offline  
post #12 of 39 Old 02-07-2020, 12:20 PM - Thread Starter
Senior Member
 
TheSynergy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 461
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 313 Post(s)
Liked: 181
Quote:
Originally Posted by bdht View Post
Your source for watching movies is a pc? The Mobius is a good option then.

Or try this
https://www.waves.com/nx/apps

That THX AAA amp... those distortion numbers, its like display manufacturers contrast numbers. Feedback loops distort transients, not a great technology for binaural rendering, better to find a cheap used Audio-GD combo and use an optical connection. And like i mentioned split the signal and use a bass shaker system, its a significantly better experience then switching to a different pair of dynamic headphones that you might not even notice a diffetence in sound.

And if using a pc, and using binaural rendering, better to use planars. They render the mixes better and eq better than dynamics as well. Slap a pair of dekoni lcd velours on a used hifiman he400i and bump up the bass in eqapo. Whole system for cheaper than a pair of dt1770s and youll have externalized 7.1 sound, a center channel anchored to the display, full body tactile bass.
So what I'm saying is I think what I want to do is get headphone for music, with source being a PC, and just use my Arctis with the AVR/TV downstairs since the need for headphones down there would be less than how often i use headphones for music during the day. So now I'm thinking of headphones strictly for music. The Arctis are better than I realized especially for wireless. Using the headphone comparison on rtings, they seem to have the most accurate bass, and great mids compared to any comparison I throw at it BUT the biggest gains with competitors that are wired (no surprise) is the weighted total harmonic distortion seems far better and the frequency response much less chaotic. Plus the sounds of the drivers on human ears should be an upgrade just spending the extra few hundred more I have to assume.

What about a JDL Labs Atom for an amp? I just want power so I dont have to worry about buying an amp for awhile. Only reason I wanted the 789 was that it sounds like it is just power, no color added or anything. Just purely power, simple, but if you dont think it'd be good, maybe I should look at something else, or like you said, and cheaper. The DT1990 Pro's seem to be treble boosted, so not sure how that'd play with a stack, and the 1770's dont seem far off from the arctis on the technicals, which I know there is more than just technicals, like the feel/sound of the drivers. I guess I don't know enough to make an educated decision on what would be a nice improvement from the Arctis, I guess I got a solid headset, even though gaming oriented lol, I just feel like the bass doesn't have that depth like a sub, and this thing has to be at like 80-90% in RF mode with the base to get enough volume, which seems to start to muddy things a little, and while the arctis is balanced overall, its not very detailed, which is something I want to explore. Maybe I have too high of expectations or need to move up in price.

I want punchy but tight deep bass when its needed thats easily separated from other instruments and vocals, but want it to also be detailed and clear. I don't know if that's realistic, but what do you think?
TheSynergy is offline  
post #13 of 39 Old 02-07-2020, 02:04 PM
Advanced Member
 
bdht's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2016
Posts: 982
Mentioned: 21 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 484 Post(s)
Liked: 199
Ah I see

So for just music punchy, tight, deep bass, good imaging, and transparent... ZMF and tubes. That'll give you some bass slam and a pleasant sound, not tizzy like a beyer & solid state/delta sigma combo.

Frequency responses are useful for identifying your sound signature, but they show very little else in the transducers performance(well kind of but not so easily identifiable). They're not going to show ringing, resonance, distortion, transient response, imaging, staging, etc. And these items contribute significantly to the headphones overall sound. The beyers for instance typically have a very strong transient response, but also very strong ringing. That transient response is beneficial for imaging and staging, but the ringing isnt. Ringing/Resonances/Distortion can also have a smoothing/softening effect, sounding more pleasant and less artificial. All these different headphones with different enclosures, different pads, sit at different distances from the ears, are angled, or flat, have more or less rigid transducers, or completely different transducers, and less try for perfect accurate performance and more for a sound signature. If you're really curious about how different headphones sound, it's best to buy a couple different models used off of usaudiomart/ebay/audiogon, that you can compare to innerfidelity and other websites measurements, so you can get an idea of what you like. I can share experiences with getting virtual surround to sound incredible, but telling you what pair of headphones or speakers you like for music is an entirely different situation.

So for distortion, there's 2 things... Typical dynamic drivers distort in high and low frequencies. For dynamics this is usually solved by more rigid materials, think beryllium, or ring radiators, where the diaphragm is attached at the center as well as the edges. Planar magnetics, ribbons, electrostats don't have these issues.

With circuits, feedback loops are added to drive down distortion and flatten the frequency response, or with nonfeedback the signal is kept in the current domain which keeps distortion lower. I like the second approach due to feedback by nature distorts the initial transient response with... feedback! I use an Audio-GD NFB7 and NFB1-AMP on a Topaz line noise suppressor, and isolated from the PC. That's pure clean power.

Distortions not necessarily a bad thing though, tube amplifiers impart distortions, etc.

Now all that being said, I did find the JDS odac/o2 combo to sound better via usb than the built-in sound card in the motherboard. But I didn't find it to sound much different than a very budget optical dac and a cheap amplifier powered by cheap linear supplies. The more expensive stuff like their element, or the thx aaa, is usually just more complex feedback loops and a little more discrete regulation, which is where I suggest finding a cheap audio-gd combo for under 200, nfb11/15/r2r11, etc, and using an optical connection to break the electrical connection from your pc. Much better sound for half or a third the price. Non-feedback current signal circuits, with discrete sometimes dual stage regulation, and low noise linear power supplies, with upgraded oscillators which offsets the increased jitter of the toslink signal.

If you just want a simple upgrade with more bass, good clarity, than try the atom/o2 or another budget $30 amplifier, with an optical dac, jensen linear supplies(as long as the voltage lines up) and an akg k7xx, or hifiman he4xx

https://drop.com/buy/akg-k7xx-massdr...ion-headphones
https://www.innerfidelity.com/images/AKGK7XX.pdf
https://drop.com/buy/massdrop-x-hifi...tic-headphones
https://www.innerfidelity.com/images...NHE4002014.pdf


The koss esp95x is a wild combo as well, same thing just need an optical dac.
https://drop.com/buy/massdrop-x-koss...ostatic-system
https://www.innerfidelity.com/images...950Sample2.pdf

Since you're using a pc you can easily boost the bass by 5db. Electrostats by far have the most defined and articulate bass. Not slamming like the ZMFs, but shockingly detailed even in the most buried mixes. I have a pair of stax sr207s that perform very similarly and they're just incredible sounding.
bdht is offline  
post #14 of 39 Old 02-07-2020, 03:04 PM
Advanced Member
 
bdht's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2016
Posts: 982
Mentioned: 21 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 484 Post(s)
Liked: 199
Just to clarify on distortion/snr and what it means for you.

For headphones, extension in both directions, and for bass, the ability to eq as you like.

For amplifiers at this point its damn near irrelevant as feedback loops have been perfected for years and nonfeedback current signal is out of the realm of Krell thanks to Audio-GD. Youll damage your hearing before you hear any ill effects.

The one beneficial thing about the circuits in those drop pandas is the low low signal to noise in active headphones should mean theyre nice and quiet, no electrical noise in quiet passages. Same with the Mobius, very quiet active headphone.

I dont hear the signal to noise on my 1amp(rated 125db and 0.002thd) until the volumes at about 90-95, which is something like 7watts per channel lol! I am running the most convoluted audio signals(prir vss[ooyh, realiser, Impulcifer] with death/black metal, distorted lo-fi crap audio xD) through this system and it renders it with absolute precision, anything less headphones amp conditioning wise quickly becomes unlistenable.

Ive also used amplification up to 4-5w balanced between the virtualization, equalization, and a bass boost for a pair of MrSpeakers Alpha Primes for 7.1 movies. Loud... Clean as a whistle, perfect imaging, scary externalization with closed headphones(take off the headphones to make sure youre not waking up the neighbors level), incredible. Balanced nfb drive for planars is a great thing.
bdht is offline  
post #15 of 39 Old 02-07-2020, 11:30 PM - Thread Starter
Senior Member
 
TheSynergy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 461
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 313 Post(s)
Liked: 181
Awesome info. What are your thoughts on the Focal Elex? Can I get away with an amp to start, as long as it takes a digital input via toslink? Then add a DAC later if needed?
TheSynergy is offline  
post #16 of 39 Old 02-08-2020, 01:05 AM
Advanced Member
 
bdht's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2016
Posts: 982
Mentioned: 21 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 484 Post(s)
Liked: 199
The Elexs are very nice. Good bass for how open they are, very smooth detailed treble, comfortable, great imaging, like a really nice hd650 with more bass and better staging.

Have to have a dac(digital to analog converter) before an amplifier ;] A dac is what would have the toslink input(digital interface, including usb, coaxial, i2s, aes/ebu). And they connect to the amplifier via line level interconnects like rca or xlr.

so say youre using your pc, and you only have usb, you would use a dac with a usb input, or use a usb to toslink converter and then a dac with an optical input.

usb dac or usb to optical
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00FEDHHKE..._JBNpEbHA0FQD0

optical dac
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00KNNSKV0..._aENpEb7JWX9SD

and a power supply for the dac
https://www.jameco.com/z/DDU050100M2...o_1953612.html

and then connect the dac to the amplifier with 2 rca cables
bdht is offline  
post #17 of 39 Old 02-08-2020, 02:16 AM
AVS Forum Special Member
 
glangford's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Posts: 3,407
Mentioned: 9 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 804 Post(s)
Liked: 701
Don't use wireless. Lip sync is hit or miss at my house. Sometimes I use my Bose QC 35s watching TV as my LG OLED has bluetooth transmission. No lip sync with TV from the cable box or from DVD/Blu rays. But using the TV's netflix app I get some lip sync sometimes.

For the most part I prefer to use my Sennheisers (650 HD or 800S). I use a Grado headphone extension cord (15 ft), it works very well and doesn't degrade the sound any at all.

Supercharged Song Towers, Oppo BDP-203, Anthem MRX-520, LG B6 OLED
Headphone Rig: Oppo BDP-95, Burson Audio Soloist MKII Headphone amp/ Sennheiser HD800S, Sennheiser HD650
glangford is offline  
post #18 of 39 Old 02-08-2020, 11:13 AM - Thread Starter
Senior Member
 
TheSynergy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 461
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 313 Post(s)
Liked: 181
My mobo has a built in DAC, not sure how good but seems solid. I was planning on optic out to a 789 then XLR to the Elex and order some periapt cables for extension so I can test them on the home theater, but likely just use for music in my office.

https://www.asus.com/us/Motherboards/ROG-STRIX-Z270-I-GAMING/

I did test the arctis wireless by using the digital out on the LG to the base, and even though using the faster RF for the wireless piece, still some lip sync issues but subtler than expected, which is why I want to test this 789/Elex combo down there. Thing is, should I just use the TV digital out to the amp, or try to use RCA from my AVR? Toslink probably better since I could maintain the balance in the chain?

I really do appreciate all the info and read every word, some multiple times. I really loved the circuitry info, and the comment about getting off of the PCs electric circuitry. I even researched the Audio-GD stuff as well as the Atom, but I could not get over all the positive reviews of the 789 like from Z, DMS, Joshua Valor, and even in various forums, it sounds exactly what I want transparency wise and plenty of power. In fact, I almost bought the 788 because of the combo of including a DAC, but it was $125 more since I got $25 off when i bought the Elex last night.

I will definitely be revisiting your surround suggestions with software, and I am sure this is just the beginning of my headphone journey.
TheSynergy is offline  
post #19 of 39 Old 02-08-2020, 08:42 PM
Advanced Member
 
bdht's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2016
Posts: 982
Mentioned: 21 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 484 Post(s)
Liked: 199
Optical(toslink spdif) is digital transmission, so you would need a dac if you use the optical out on your motherboard.

You can use the digital out from the tv, though sometimes it's encoded, ac3/dolby digital, either stereo or 5.1, and would need a separate decoder before the dac/amp. Looking at the manual, it looks like you can output 2.0 pcm through the tv's digital optical out.

Looking at the back of the AVR, I think you would have to use zone2? That's a preout so you could plug right into the amp.

Digital audio chains go like this:
Source(PC, BDP, settop, etc.) digital output(usb, optical, etc) > DAC > Pre-amplifier(controls volume) > Power amplifier > Transducer.

For headphones the pre-amplifier provides enough amplification though.

Look forward to hearing how you like the amp and headphones.
bdht is offline  
post #20 of 39 Old 02-09-2020, 12:26 AM - Thread Starter
Senior Member
 
TheSynergy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 461
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 313 Post(s)
Liked: 181
Quote:
Originally Posted by bdht View Post
Optical(toslink spdif) is digital transmission, so you would need a dac if you use the optical out on your motherboard.

You can use the digital out from the tv, though sometimes it's encoded, ac3/dolby digital, either stereo or 5.1, and would need a separate decoder before the dac/amp. Looking at the manual, it looks like you can output 2.0 pcm through the tv's digital optical out.

Looking at the back of the AVR, I think you would have to use zone2? That's a preout so you could plug right into the amp.

Digital audio chains go like this:
Source(PC, BDP, settop, etc.) digital output(usb, optical, etc) > DAC > Pre-amplifier(controls volume) > Power amplifier > Transducer.

For headphones the pre-amplifier provides enough amplification though.

Look forward to hearing how you like the amp and headphones.
It's funny you mentioned that, I had caught that today when I was thinking of logistics, I realized the 789 being an amp won't have a digital in, so I have to get a DAC. I was wondering, should I get an external USB DAC to avoid using the onboard DAC, or is there no avoiding it even though going over USB? My sources right now are just Tidal and Amazon Music HD, so I would think with a USB DAC, the driver would be picking up the playback rather than the onboard, but wasn't sure how that worked. THat leads me to my next question, if I can't get a USB DAC that is also balanced, do I get something like the Geshelli ENOG-2, which would mean using my onboard DAC to digital out via toslink over to the Geshelli since it's not USB. Would there be timing/jitter potential issues like you were talking about earlier?

My goal is to listen to source material like music as it was recorded, hence the "wire with gain" transparent amp. Basically whatever DAC I end up with, I don't want it to influence the sound, just to recreate what the original artist intent was, so transparent like the amp if at all possible. So trying to think through the cleanest chain to do that from Windows through to the headphones. So far I think I have a great build, but have to figure out this last piece with the DAC, and perhaps even the interconnects and cables in general, as I was seeing some of the science behind that recently, and how small errors in the chain of even cabling can influence sound. That's also why I am hoping to be able to keep it balanced as much as possible through the chain, since the 789 and the Elex have balanced in/outs. What do you think bdht?
TheSynergy is offline  
post #21 of 39 Old 02-09-2020, 11:09 AM
Advanced Member
 
bdht's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2016
Posts: 982
Mentioned: 21 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 484 Post(s)
Liked: 199
The optical out on your motherboard to the enog2 is fine if you want to keep that connection balanced, I dont know that youll hear an audible difference between the $10 dac, so you could start cheap with the $10 dac and upgrade it later, and then have a point of reference for comparisons between technology and components. Truly balanced looks like this:


Jitter is typically worsened by signal transmission, and more so by optical, but corrected with upgraded crystal oscillators(tcxo, ocxo, crystek) and low output impedance low leakage low noise power supplies. Audiogd has a new design for the power supply for the dac chip that provides great results for delta sigma dac chips.

"3,Another two groups are the OPA + discrete transistor serve regulators, its output ripple far lower than 1uV, they powered supply for the Left and Right channels of ES9028 PRO built in DACs separately . Compared to the ultra speed regulator, the serve regulator can improve the sound quality much better on detail and dynamic . The L and R separate power supply boost the sound stage much wider and deeper . The very pure power supply let the unit has very good performance on jitter reject !(test with TCXO built in unit)"


or just use r2r/multibit (・。・) Im suprised I havent gotten yelled at yet lol maybe im on ignore ;[

I have a second system thats not currently in use now but it used a pc, usb to an uptone usb regen powered by a jameco lps, into a breeze duu8(lps with a tcxo), optical to an audiogd nfb11(lps with discrete regulation and tcxo) with a vh audio flavor2 or 4 power cable(the wire geometry reduces noise generated by the varied current draw of digital signals) on a small topaz line noise suppressor(completely knocks common/traverse mode noise and provides surge suppression). Very very good clean sound, I bought everything used for about $300 and it outperformed some very expensive equipment and was bested only by the balanced audio gd setup with upgraded usb transport.

But really the odds of you hearing increased jitter from optical vs the noise that comes with using usb is much less. We dont hear jitter or distortion or noise generated by leakage as audible noise, we hear less detailed, less natural audio and the leakage and noise from the pc and the poor signal quality of usb makes for worse sound quality compared to optical.

Like I said though, alot of that equipment isnt wire with gain, its multiple iv conversions and feedback loops to drive down distortion, snr, and flatten the frequency response. I know it probably doesnt looks like anything but these diagrams show what wire with gain looks like:
audiogd acss path:

audiogd:

thx aaa 789:


All those parts in the audio gd dac up top is power supplies and discrete regulation, the actual signal path is very short. If you want a dac with no influence its r2r/multibit again, non oversampling fpga controlled discrete r2r or pcm1704uk would be the goal there. That being said single chip ess90x8 dacs sound good and so do modern feedback amplifiers, just like vinyl and tube amps sound good, you really cant go wrong with modern audio equipment, but you can tailor your sound and upgraded equipment provides draw dropping transparency/imaging/staging. The best description is that delta sigma dacs and feedback amplifiers are more froward sounding, they can sound a bit faster and perhaps more detailed, whereas multibit and nfb does micro detail or natural reflections in the recording are more accurately rendered that contributes to staging and imaging better and the audio takes on more depth and space, things like solo recordings of an acoustic piano or cello take on an eeriely realistic quality.

For external effects on cabling rca is the worst, very susceptible to emi/rfi. XLR being balanced is better, quadrapole xlr even better still due to the nature of the wire geometry. Current signal like Krells cast or Audio-GDs acss is immune and sounded much better than a good xlr connection. Confirmed audibly between the audiogd components, which also have improved rca/xlr outputs. Ive never heard much difference in cables to the headphones/speakers, just use quadrapole and gauge relates to length, i.e canare 4s6 for a short run or 4s12 for a long run.

Balanced is beneficial for cabling between components, for the actual headphones though balanced either provides additional power, which is very useful for planar magnetics, or it removes any crosstalk, which is more useful for binaural rendering that depend on accurate stereo imaging. So not necessarily something you have to be concerned with either. Single ended to the headphones will sound just fine, Meier is a testament to that, http://www.meier-audio.homepage.t-online.de/
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	N11Pjitter.jpeg
Views:	190
Size:	176.9 KB
ID:	2682802  
bdht is offline  
post #22 of 39 Old 02-09-2020, 03:40 PM - Thread Starter
Senior Member
 
TheSynergy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 461
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 313 Post(s)
Liked: 181
Thanks again brother. You have a wealth of knowledge. So I ended up with an S.M.S.L. SU-8 balanced USB DAC. Looks legit man, otherwise if it turns out bad, Ill get the Geshel.
TheSynergy is offline  
post #23 of 39 Old 02-09-2020, 04:01 PM
Advanced Member
 
bdht's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2016
Posts: 982
Mentioned: 21 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 484 Post(s)
Liked: 199
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheSynergy View Post
Thanks again brother. You have a wealth of knowledge. So I ended up with an S.M.S.L. SU-8 balanced USB DAC. Looks legit man, otherwise if it turns out bad, Ill get the Geshel.
You got it. Smsl/topping make good affordable components. Its a fun and exciting hobby, listen and enjoy :] Any questions or if you want my weird opinion on anything else feel free to ask
bdht is offline  
post #24 of 39 Old 02-09-2020, 06:47 PM - Thread Starter
Senior Member
 
TheSynergy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 461
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 313 Post(s)
Liked: 181
Going back to the home theater piece. If I wanted to occassionaly use the Focal Elex for movies downstairs, I would have to toslink from the OLED to the denon, then plug the 789 into zone2 then to headphones or skip the amp downstairs and plug straight into heafphone jack on front of Denon? I know it wont be the best, but I figure the Denon should be able to downsample the Atmos stream coming from the built in apps on the OLED to a stereo mix. I dont think the SU-8 can decode Atmos or anything like that, but the Denon does of course, its just trying to get that output to the Elex?
TheSynergy is offline  
post #25 of 39 Old 02-09-2020, 06:48 PM - Thread Starter
Senior Member
 
TheSynergy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 461
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 313 Post(s)
Liked: 181
Actually just remembered im using eARC from OLED to Denon, so in theory, wouldnt I just need to hook up to 1 of the abalog outputs?
TheSynergy is offline  
post #26 of 39 Old 02-09-2020, 06:59 PM - Thread Starter
Senior Member
 
TheSynergy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 461
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 313 Post(s)
Liked: 181
You know what, I think I'd just connect the RCA pre-outs to the 789 then hook into the 789! This is assuming the denon is still decoding Atmos to stereo within its DAC to those preputs right? I know I may need to tinker in the settings to make sure its actually going into stereo so that im not losing parts of the mix.
TheSynergy is offline  
post #27 of 39 Old 02-09-2020, 09:28 PM
Advanced Member
 
bdht's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2016
Posts: 982
Mentioned: 21 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 484 Post(s)
Liked: 199
Rather than moving the amplifier and messing with all that cabling, I would try just plugging into the denon

Yes the denon will decode the audio track and downmix it to stereo. And it should have a "Virtual" sound mode for headphones that uses crossfeed and reverb to push the stereo image forward, which you might like.

Can you clarify though. There are analog outputs on the tv? And the RCA pre-outs you're talking about are zone 2 on the denon?
bdht is offline  
post #28 of 39 Old 02-10-2020, 02:53 PM - Thread Starter
Senior Member
 
TheSynergy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 461
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 313 Post(s)
Liked: 181
Quote:
Originally Posted by bdht View Post
Rather than moving the amplifier and messing with all that cabling, I would try just plugging into the denon

Yes the denon will decode the audio track and downmix it to stereo. And it should have a "Virtual" sound mode for headphones that uses crossfeed and reverb to push the stereo image forward, which you might like.

Can you clarify though. There are analog outputs on the tv? And the RCA pre-outs you're talking about are zone 2 on the denon?
No RCA outputs on the TV. Since it's hooked up via eARC, I'd assume for streaming in TV, I should be good since it passes Atmos through eARC, and for my 4k player, it's connected to the Denon via HDMI, so I think in theory I shouldn't have to do anything than I'm already doing, I just need to simply capture the analog out via my headphones, maybe through the headphone jack? Otherwise the pre-amp outs (different than zone 2 from what I'm seeing), to an amp, then headphones? I'm with you though, moving the amp around doesn't seem to be ideal but depending how it sounds, may be an option in the future to just keep it there. My worry is that capturing Left and Right out of RCA, will only give me left and right, no bass or any other channels in the mix right? Like how would the Denon know to pass the mix in stereo rather than by channel? Wait, I may be overthinking this. I think I can get the output as stereo if I hit the sound mix button or w/e its called on the remote where you can set pro logic or whatever you want, I'd simply pick stereo right? Think it'll sound OK, or will bass be lackluster etc...? I should know tomorrow for sure when it all comes ha!
TheSynergy is offline  
post #29 of 39 Old 02-10-2020, 03:54 PM
Advanced Member
 
bdht's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2016
Posts: 982
Mentioned: 21 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 484 Post(s)
Liked: 199
Im not sure how it would work using say the front l/r preout while still having speakers connected.

Say you only have 2 speakers connected to the amplifier, and you play an atmos track. As long as the setup for the avr is set for 2.0 it should automatically downmix to stereo. but if the receiver is set to 11.1 and you use those preouts then its only sending front l/tr of a multichannel track The headphone jack will work fine and give you the "virtual" sound mode option. I dont know that you should double amp though, unless whatever amp you plug it into( you would need a 1/4" trs to rca stereo cable) has a very high input impedence, it will probably just sound the same or worse than the headphone jack. At 80ohms the avrs headphone jack should work fine. In any case you're using the avr for both digital and analog output, so I wouldnt bother with any thing else.

Zone 2 is only stereo though and you can set the receiver to only use zone2, so it should downmix there as well.

No to the "stereo" sound mode, as youd need it set to dts or dolby there to decode. at least i think. Ive never tried it, only use stereo when i want to send 2.0 pcm to just the front l/r
bdht is offline  
post #30 of 39 Old 02-11-2020, 10:13 AM - Thread Starter
Senior Member
 
TheSynergy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 461
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 313 Post(s)
Liked: 181
Quote:
Originally Posted by bdht View Post
Im not sure how it would work using say the front l/r preout while still having speakers connected.

Say you only have 2 speakers connected to the amplifier, and you play an atmos track. As long as the setup for the avr is set for 2.0 it should automatically downmix to stereo. but if the receiver is set to 11.1 and you use those preouts then its only sending front l/tr of a multichannel track The headphone jack will work fine and give you the "virtual" sound mode option. I dont know that you should double amp though, unless whatever amp you plug it into( you would need a 1/4" trs to rca stereo cable) has a very high input impedence, it will probably just sound the same or worse than the headphone jack. At 80ohms the avrs headphone jack should work fine. In any case you're using the avr for both digital and analog output, so I wouldnt bother with any thing else.

Zone 2 is only stereo though and you can set the receiver to only use zone2, so it should downmix there as well.

No to the "stereo" sound mode, as youd need it set to dts or dolby there to decode. at least i think. Ive never tried it, only use stereo when i want to send 2.0 pcm to just the front l/r
We nailed it with the setup brother. USB balanced DAC of the SU-8 + THX AAA 789 balanced output + FOCAL Elex. Amazing! The level of clarity and detail is exactly what I was looking for, and I'm happy with the bass as I can boost it if I want, but its so snappy and tight, accurate, just wow man. Huge upgrade from the Arctis. Now to find an easier way to EQ rather than the DAC since its clumsy to use for that. What do people usually use from the PC side? Is that what that Foobar is I keep hearing about?
TheSynergy is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
Reply Headphones

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page


Forum Jump: 

Posting Rules  
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off