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PostPosted: Wed Feb 14, 2018 2:22 pm 
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Joined: Sun Jan 05, 2014 5:18 pm
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Location: etobicoke, ON, CA
I have a computer-based setup in my office with Focal Aria 905 bookshelves, a Cambridge x300 sub, a Krell HTS which I use as a DAC/Pre and two Bridged (mono) modded Adcom GFA-555 amps.

It's a great-sounding system when I move my chair back, but my computer monitors are wall mounted, which for practical reasons means I can't be further than 4-5 feet from the speakers. From this range, the sound isn't very natural. The mid-bass is too pronounced and it's very forward sounding. On top of that, when I move more than a few inches or turn my head, I lose imaging.

I was hoping headphones might be a good solution, but I'm something of a novice. I have a set of PSB M4U2 and Senn 598HD and with my DragonFly 1.2. I'm satistfied with them for walking around, but not for critical listening.

I would love some advice. Specifically:

-Apart from feeling vibrations from bass and comfort, are headphones capable of keeping up with (or besting) good speakers for sound quality?

-Would getting a better amp (like a Bottlehead Crack) significantly improve the sound from my existing headphones (Senn 598HD and PSB M4U2) to the point where it might compare with my Focals? If not, which level of headphone would you think I might need to look into to achieve a similar level of refinement? Would you recommend looking into the Senn 650 HD/HE560 level of can, or would I need to move up to the Senn 800/LCD level or beyond?

-I'm under the impression that the best practice is to start with finding a headphone and then finding an appropriate amp. Is this correct?

Any advice would be appreciated.


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 14, 2018 2:41 pm 
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Joined: Tue Dec 19, 2006 11:44 pm
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Location: Toronto, ON, CA
I would and did begin by choosing a headphone amp and discovered the SPL Phonitor 2 (there is currently a SPL Phonitor 2730B on CAM)...this is a very unique headphone amp as you can read here:

https://positive-feedback.com/reviews/h ... honitor-2/

Ordered the AKG K712 Pro's given that I am familiar with that line and these have 3dB more Bass...

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 14, 2018 3:52 pm 
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Joined: Mon Oct 17, 2011 6:55 pm
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Location: Toronto, ON, CA
Headphones are always going to give you a different sound over speakers. The key on obtaining quality sound out of any headphone, even low impedance ones, is proper amplification. A good rule of thumb is to ensure the output impedance of your amplifier is 1/8 or less the nominal impedance of your headphone.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Headphone ... _impedance
http://nwavguy.blogspot.ca/2011/02/head ... ained.html
http://nwavguy.blogspot.ca/2011/02/head ... dance.html

The Phonitor is unique in that it provides crossfeed which mimics how we hear sound from speakers thus reducing that only left/right sound that is usually associated with headphones.

The Bottlehead is one of those love or hate amplifiers. Given its very high output impedance ~120ohms it’s only really suited for 600ohm headphones. But some like the amplifier with headphones of lower impedances.

Given fit with headphones is just as important as SQ, I’d suggest demo as many as you can before making a decision. Lots of places in the GTA to demo heaphones – headphoneshop, Bay Bloor, Planet Of Sound etc. Once you have selected a HP, you can then work on an amplifier.


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 14, 2018 4:07 pm 
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Joined: Mon Sep 25, 2017 5:39 pm
Posts: 11
Location: Vancouver, BC, CA
nwavguy, lmao... I don't really want to get into it regarding that select individual.

This is the only thread you need, padboy1 - https://www.head-fi.org/threads/battle- ... ed.634201/

The amount of valuable information in that thread is priceless.


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 14, 2018 4:13 pm 
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Joined: Mon Oct 17, 2011 6:55 pm
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Location: Toronto, ON, CA
SLSAMG wrote:
nwavguy, lmao... I don't really want to get into it regarding that select individual.

This is the only thread you need, padboy1 - https://www.head-fi.org/threads/battle- ... ed.634201/

The amount of valuable information in that thread is priceless.


Care to explain why? The 1/8 rule is not something made up by him. It’s fact with lots of objective data on the web to back it up. I linked nwavguy blog because he explains in detail as to the reasons why. Look at all the top quality amplifiers, all display an output impedance of ~<4ohms.


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 14, 2018 8:29 pm 
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Joined: Sun May 04, 2014 4:46 pm
Posts: 68
Location: Calgary, AB, CA
Take your music to the store and try different models. Comfort is very important too. I can wear my HD 595 all day when I work listening to background music, but the closed PXC 450 are only good for the airplane.
My reference set is HD 430 from 1979. I had an opportunity to try them against Focal Elear and the overall satisfaction level was similar even though the they sound quite different. Focus Utopia were absolutely perfect, with the price tag to match.
I have not tried HD600 or up. I suspect HD 800 would make me happy, but it is not in the budget.
For me the main difference between speakers and headphones is that with speakers you feel the music, with headphones you only hear it.

HTH, Michael


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