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JoshCarlos

$2000 setup (RME Babyface + Bottlehead Crack + Sennheiser HD6XX) no better than $300 Focusrite 1/4" Jack

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Hi guys,

Just wondering if any of you can help out on an issue I am having....

I am getting towards the tail end of my 3 year search for the best value listening setup one man, or woman can buy 

My budget was $2k (including headphones) so thus far my setup is the following:

RME Babyface > Bottlehead Crack with Speedball > Sennheiser HD6xx

 

While I certainly now have a great listening device (and loving every second of it), I can't help but notice how similar the sound is to my Focusrite headphone jack.

I was expecting to be blown away by the difference, but wow was I not impressed.

I can certainly hear more 'room' in the music, and instruments are separated, but the difference is not that much. Pop and electronic music is all pretty much the same in clarity, sound stage, and top/bottom end.

 

The Sennheisers aren't the exact HD650s, and my amp has only just been built, but perhaps there is something I can do to squeeze more juice out of this setup....

Or is it the case that my ears are to new to know the difference? 🙄

Any help is much appreciated.... 😃

 

Regards,

 

Josh

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Focusrite produce decent gear eg. studio-in-a-box preamps The Scarlett Range. Even the sub $200 units are kick-ass.

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RME babyface is a great little unit for recording and mixing - I still own one. However, as a dac only it is easily bested by a cheap Topping dac.

The babyface is a strange choice for a headphone listening rig.

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Professional gear offers far higher performance at any given price point that Hi Fi domestic gear. 

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11 hours ago, AudioGeek said:

RME babyface is a great little unit for recording and mixing - I still own one. However, as a dac only it is easily bested by a cheap Topping dac.

The babyface is a strange choice for a headphone listening rig.

I have heard the opposite. That the Babyface is an excellent DAC, the best in it's price range....

I did chose it because I would like to record also.

 

7 hours ago, DJGopal said:

Professional gear offers far higher performance at any given price point that Hi Fi domestic gear. 

Are you saying that the Babyface is Domestic? That is a strange thing to say.

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12 hours ago, JoshCarlos said:

Are you saying that the Babyface is Domestic? That is a strange thing to say.

I have no idea how you got that from what I said...

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On 06/08/2019 at 9:22 PM, JoshCarlos said:

Hi guys,

Just wondering if any of you can help out on an issue I am having....

I am getting towards the tail end of my 3 year search for the best value listening setup one man, or woman can buy 

My budget was $2k (including headphones) so thus far my setup is the following:

RME Babyface > Bottlehead Crack with Speedball > Sennheiser HD6xx

 

While I certainly now have a great listening device (and loving every second of it), I can't help but notice how similar the sound is to my Focusrite headphone jack.

I was expecting to be blown away by the difference, but wow was I not impressed.

I can certainly hear more 'room' in the music, and instruments are separated, but the difference is not that much. Pop and electronic music is all pretty much the same in clarity, sound stage, and top/bottom end.

 

The Sennheisers aren't the exact HD650s, and my amp has only just been built, but perhaps there is something I can do to squeeze more juice out of this setup....

Or is it the case that my ears are to new to know the difference? 🙄

Any help is much appreciated.... 😃

 

Regards,

 

Josh

Hi Josh

I own the babyface and use it in my study desktop system. I think it is a fine unit but haven't compared it to focusrite. There is always going to be the law of diminishing returns but maybe the focusrite is punching above its weight? I presume the senheisers are resolving enough to manifest any differences between the components?

Al tough I am reluctant to use DSP in my main system, the babyface does come with a DSP program so maybe a play with that might be helpful in finding something your prefer.

Cheers

David

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Babyface pro is a great system for both Pro and HiFi use. Get a pair of studio monitors and hook them up, apply some software DSP EQ and you can have any HiFi system you want out of that.

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8 hours ago, DJGopal said:

I have no idea how you got that from what I said...

Sorry I miss under stood, can you tell me what you meant in regards to Hi-fi gear?

5 hours ago, Audiophile Neuroscience said:

I presume the senheisers are resolving enough to manifest any differences between the components?

Yeah well that's what i thought. I bought the babyface because of the DAC.

 

 

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1 hour ago, JoshCarlos said:

I bought the babyface because of the DAC.

me too and it does well over B&W speakers in office and not bad into Gryphon electronics into Vivid G2's.

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Yeah I have heard that it is a great unit.

It has to be if it's meant for semi-professional recording AND reference (i.e. through monitors).

Perhaps some Hi-Fi setups would benefit more from a more 'çolourful' DAC (home theater perhaps)?

But as a listening device, I don't see why a device with high quality AD/DA doesn't compete with the more priced DACs.

I posted this in a reddit forum and a lot of people are saying that a $300 DAC is just as good. 

The only thing I can think of is that some dedicated DACs dont have all the rest of the converters, so your spending all your money on the DAC.

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3 hours ago, JoshCarlos said:

Yeah I have heard that it is a great unit.

It has to be if it's meant for semi-professional recording AND reference (i.e. through monitors).

Perhaps some Hi-Fi setups would benefit more from a more 'çolourful' DAC (home theater perhaps)?

But as a listening device, I don't see why a device with high quality AD/DA doesn't compete with the more priced DACs.

I posted this in a reddit forum and a lot of people are saying that a $300 DAC is just as good. 

The only thing I can think of is that some dedicated DACs dont have all the rest of the converters, so your spending all your money on the DAC.

It depends on what you want from a DAC (or other gear) but for me its neutrality, to the extent that is both possible and knowable. What I seek is a sense that it gets out of the road, leaving no signature.

 

While controversial, that costs money IME. Some will say DACs sound all the same ,they must because xyz. Its not my experience and good design and implementation is important not just in the choice of DAC module but in all aspects including analogue output, galvanic isolation, noise rejection, jitter and clocking etc.

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3 hours ago, Audiophile Neuroscience said:

It depends on what you want from a DAC (or other gear) but for me its neutrality,

Yeah I am the same, I think.

Will wait and see.

I am also eyeing of an old Marantz 1030 amp that are meant to be good value.

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It isn't that hard to believe that a cheap standalone DAC is better than integrated DACs on audio pro interfaces.

 

But the DACs on the pro interfaces are no doubt more useful if there is a superfast and efficient ASIO interface behind them. If I am running lots of projects in a DAW environment I want a fast interface that won't choke at the first sign of things starting to get intense (eg. lots of virtual instruments, mix plugins etc).

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Having owned, and played with SO many headphone setups, and selling them, (including a WA22 amp) the damn thing is a giant rabbit hole, lol. 

 

If if you can’t hear much of a difference, go with the cheaper setup and bank the rest of the money, and don’t read anymore opinions. Your wallet will thank me😂😂😂

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What are you using as the bit-stream source, output bit-rate?

What is the music file format, sample rate, bit depth?

What is the source of the files, what process was used to obtain them?

How much burn in time have you given the newest part of your system?

Edited by kenwstr

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@JoshCarlos, your experience doesn’t surprise me, as it mirrors mine. I have HD600’s, a McChanson tube amp and a Topping D30 via a MacBook Pro, and I struggle to hear a difference, to having the headphones plugged directly into the MacBook Pro. I also have a JDS Atom amp as my ‘reference’ and I think, maybe, it doesn’t sound as good as either. Even then, I’d fail a blind test I reckon. When I trialed the Sonarworks EQ app, I thought it brought a bigger perceived improvement than an amp or DAC change. The biggest difference I’ve perceived of course, is trying different headphones. This is all done volume matching by ear, so it’s flawed from the start.

How old are you? The newer your ears are, the better!

 

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