Got Senn 58X's... Some basic questions about headphones, DACs, sources - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 10 Old 05-21-2020, 09:51 PM - Thread Starter
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Questions about using 3.5mm, RCA etc with amps

Some basic questions about headphones and sound quality:

1. Is there any inherent sound quality difference between using 3.5mm vs RCA connectors?

2. Do adapters affect signal quality? i.e. 3.5mm splitter into RCA, or 3.5mm into XLR?

3. On a forum, someone said their Atom amp on high-gain setting clearly had better instrument separation in high-gain vs low-gain. (Volumes were level matched). Is something like that possible, technically speaking?

4. If I ran an optical cable from Xbox One X console to an external DAC & AMP to my headphones, should I expect to notice a improvement vs using XB1X controller to 3.5mm AUX to amp & headphones?

May 2020 update: home is sold, 9.1.4 HT is in storage! Surviving lockdown with Sennheiser HD 58X & Sony WH1000-XM3 & JDS Labs Atom headphones/amp
HT gear: Denon X4400H; Klipsch RP; SVS PC-4000; Buttkicker Advance.
Future upgrades: dual subs; room treatments; Monolith 7x amp; DIY BOSS riser; MiniDSP; speaker upgrades (SVS?)

Last edited by RobZL1; 05-24-2020 at 04:40 PM. Reason: Made post much shorter
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post #2 of 10 Old 06-07-2020, 04:19 PM
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I'm a bit confused about your questions because 3.5mm are outputs and RCAs are inputs. The RCA outputs on an amp go to powered monitors. What type of amp do you have or what are you thinking about purchasing? Also, is this for your Xbox?
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post #3 of 10 Old 06-07-2020, 06:48 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by robe619 View Post
I'm a bit confused about your questions because 3.5mm are outputs and RCAs are inputs. The RCA outputs on an amp go to powered monitors. What type of amp do you have or what are you thinking about purchasing? Also, is this for your Xbox?
Regarding 3.5mm inputs: At the time of making this post, I was thinking of the JDS Atom headphone amp, which actually does accept 3.5mm as an input, as well as RCA inputs. I was also seeing 3.5mm inputs on Schiit Fula, Schiit Hel, and some gaming headphone amps. I've since bought the Atom.

I'd still appreciate any info about my questions about converters, and sound quality based on connector type, etc.

May 2020 update: home is sold, 9.1.4 HT is in storage! Surviving lockdown with Sennheiser HD 58X & Sony WH1000-XM3 & JDS Labs Atom headphones/amp
HT gear: Denon X4400H; Klipsch RP; SVS PC-4000; Buttkicker Advance.
Future upgrades: dual subs; room treatments; Monolith 7x amp; DIY BOSS riser; MiniDSP; speaker upgrades (SVS?)
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post #4 of 10 Old 06-07-2020, 07:04 PM
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3.5mm in theory could have alot more noise than rca.

Power: Marantz sr7008, NAD C 275Bee x 2, Video: Oppo 103, Samsung 75un6300 LG oled c9 77
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post #5 of 10 Old 06-07-2020, 07:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RobZL1 View Post
Regarding 3.5mm inputs: At the time of making this post, I was thinking of the JDS Atom headphone amp, which actually does accept 3.5mm as an input, as well as RCA inputs. I was also seeing 3.5mm inputs on Schiit Fula, Schiit Hel, and some gaming headphone amps. I've since bought the Atom.

I'd still appreciate any info about my questions about converters, and sound quality based on connector type, etc.
Gotcha. Well, thankfully 3.5mm cables and 3.5 to RCA cables are inexpensive. Buy one of each and try it out. The Atom is a stellar amp and you have very good cans to go with it.

I don't know anything about your DAC and if you're ever thinking about getting an external DAC there are plenty of good ones from Geshelli, Schiit, JDS, Topping, etc....

Here's the ASR review of your amp BTW in case you have not seen it. It has lots of good info.

https://www.audiosciencereview.com/f...hone-amp.5262/
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post #6 of 10 Old 06-07-2020, 08:49 PM - Thread Starter
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@robe619 thanks for sharing the info.
I've been on a learning (and buying) spree since the OP. I've got a Dragonfly Red DAC and Schiit Modi DAC. I have a slight preference for DF-Red at the moment.
I've also got a Schiit Vali 2 and Lyr 3 amps on order. I'll have one stack for the office and the other rig at home.
I'm also already outgrowing the 58X headphones. The 58X were a great "gateway can" if you know what I mean. In the same way after I heard good clean SVS home theater bass, I could never unhear it.
I'm now evaluating $500 to $1000 options from Audeze, Hifiman, and others.

May 2020 update: home is sold, 9.1.4 HT is in storage! Surviving lockdown with Sennheiser HD 58X & Sony WH1000-XM3 & JDS Labs Atom headphones/amp
HT gear: Denon X4400H; Klipsch RP; SVS PC-4000; Buttkicker Advance.
Future upgrades: dual subs; room treatments; Monolith 7x amp; DIY BOSS riser; MiniDSP; speaker upgrades (SVS?)
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post #7 of 10 Old 06-07-2020, 10:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RobZL1 View Post
@robe619 thanks for sharing the info.
I've been on a learning (and buying) spree since the OP. I've got a Dragonfly Red DAC and Schiit Modi DAC. I have a slight preference for DF-Red at the moment.
I've also got a Schiit Vali 2 and Lyr 3 amps on order. I'll have one stack for the office and the other rig at home.
I'm also already outgrowing the 58X headphones. The 58X were a great "gateway can" if you know what I mean. In the same way after I heard good clean SVS home theater bass, I could never unhear it.
I'm now evaluating $500 to $1000 options from Audeze, Hifiman, and others.
https://drop.com/buy/massdrop-x-focal-elex-headphones
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post #8 of 10 Old 06-08-2020, 04:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RobZL1 View Post
I'm also already outgrowing the 58X headphones. The 58X were a great "gateway can" if you know what I mean. In the same way after I heard good clean SVS home theater bass, I could never unhear it.
I'm now evaluating $500 to $1000 options from Audeze, Hifiman, and others.

Or you need to compensate HD58x flaws with EQ.



IMHO, there are no perfect headphones, pretty much all of them have to be EQ-ed. That was one of the reasons I've got myself a capable DAC+Amp, the RME ADI-2 DAC fs. It has built-in 5-band EQ. When I got my HD6xx, I pulled down measurements for HD650
https://www.dropbox.com/sh/654wxtmhl...psl-JW7mOnu_9a
and used them to setup EQ to adjust them. Now the sound they produce is much better.



There are no measurement for HD6xx, so I used what said to be the closest ones, HD650. But there are measurements for HD58x in that link.
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post #9 of 10 Old 06-08-2020, 08:07 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hoary View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by RobZL1 View Post
I'm also already outgrowing the 58X headphones. The 58X were a great "gateway can" if you know what I mean. In the same way after I heard good clean SVS home theater bass, I could never unhear it.
I'm now evaluating $500 to $1000 options from Audeze, Hifiman, and others.

Or you need to compensate HD58x flaws with EQ.



IMHO, there are no perfect headphones, pretty much all of them have to be EQ-ed. That was one of the reasons I've got myself a capable DAC+Amp, the RME ADI-2 DAC fs. It has built-in 5-band EQ. When I got my HD6xx, I pulled down measurements for HD650
https://www.dropbox.com/sh/654wxtmhl...psl-JW7mOnu_9a
and used them to setup EQ to adjust them. Now the sound they produce is much better.
...
Thanks for the EQ link. I'm all about options. I also got a Schiit Loki eq to stack with the Modi and Vali 2 for my office, but that EQ is a crude instrument compared to what you are describing. I didn't know DACs like this existed. A few basic questions:

1. The RME ADI2 DAC fs - I'm seeing a volume knob and headphone jacks... So is it an amp too? I don't see any power output (wattage) specs? I'm seeing references to "Extreme power headphone jacks" - are they being obtuse about the output or did I miss it?

2. All of this EQ ability reminds me of what I understand the MiniDSP HD to be capable of. I'm sure it's naive to ask but could a MiniDSP + external amp accomplish a similar outcome as the ADI2 if the owner/operator was inclined? I ask because I plan to get a MiniDSP for HT / bassEQ in the future.

3. As for EQ'ing headphones - I am open to this concept. With that said, I have to assume there is more to the way a headphone sounds and performs than frequency response alone? Driver type, quality, speed/capability, excursion limits, the space and standoff of the pads/drivers from the ears, etc. Which is all to say - I'm guessing EQ scales...? If an ok HP can eq to sound good, it stands to reason a good HP can eq to sound even better as well?

Thanks for sharing. I love this hobby.

May 2020 update: home is sold, 9.1.4 HT is in storage! Surviving lockdown with Sennheiser HD 58X & Sony WH1000-XM3 & JDS Labs Atom headphones/amp
HT gear: Denon X4400H; Klipsch RP; SVS PC-4000; Buttkicker Advance.
Future upgrades: dual subs; room treatments; Monolith 7x amp; DIY BOSS riser; MiniDSP; speaker upgrades (SVS?)
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post #10 of 10 Old 06-08-2020, 08:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RobZL1 View Post
Thanks for the EQ link. I'm all about options. I also got a Schiit Loki eq to stack with the Modi and Vali 2 for my office, but that EQ is a crude instrument compared to what you are describing. I didn't know DACs like this existed. A few basic questions:

1. The RME ADI2 DAC fs - I'm seeing a volume knob and headphone jacks... So is it an amp too? I don't see any power output (wattage) specs? I'm seeing references to "Extreme power headphone jacks" - are they being obtuse about the output or did I miss it?
Yes, it is DAC+headphone amp+some other capabilities
https://www.rme-audio.de/adi-2-dac.html

It was discussed here:
https://www.avsforum.com/forum/173-2...-big-boys.html

The latest version was measured here:
https://www.audiosciencereview.com/f...-review.13379/

And there are more discussions of ADI-2 DAC on ASR forum


Quote:
Originally Posted by RobZL1 View Post
2. All of this EQ ability reminds me of what I understand the MiniDSP HD to be capable of. I'm sure it's naive to ask but could a MiniDSP + external amp accomplish a similar outcome as the ADI2 if the owner/operator was inclined? I ask because I plan to get a MiniDSP for HT / bassEQ in the future.

I cannot answer this, I'm not familiar with MiniDSP offerings.


Quote:
Originally Posted by RobZL1 View Post
3. As for EQ'ing headphones - I am open to this concept. With that said, I have to assume there is more to the way a headphone sounds and performs than frequency response alone? Driver type, quality, speed/capability, excursion limits, the space and standoff of the pads/drivers from the ears, etc. Which is all to say - I'm guessing EQ scales...? If an ok HP can eq to sound good, it stands to reason a good HP can eq to sound even better as well?

I agree, it all play role no doubt, and I will add that a lot depends on how a specific record has been produced. Nevertheless, HD58x are very capable and I'm not sure you've got the best out of it yet. But it's your money...
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