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The One Demon

Recommendations for a pair of headphones, DAC, AMP or DAC/AMP combo and mic. (Around $1,000)

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Does anyone have any recommendations fora pair of headphones and a headphone DAC and AMP (or combo DAC/AMP) for around $1,000? (Can be more or less) Bonus if that price includes a decent mic too. Thanks!

Usage is generally PC gaming/YouTube basically, with occasional music. Have a HTS in a different room with good equipment for movies and music etc, plus console gaming.

Edited by The One Demon
Made it clearer I was looking for around $1,000 (or more or less for right ones) for a pair of headphones plus the DAC/AMP or combo DAC/AMP xD.

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Beyerdynamic MMX300 Gen 2. Dekoni Choice pads.

JDS Labs Element 2.

 

And a few cases of beer.

 

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I heard that one is good as well QUESTYLE CMA400I

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My personal setup is a Topping D50s and JDS Labs Atom. I purchased these based of the objective analysis over at ASR. Amazing for the money, I really cant fault it. For reference, I am pairing them with Drop 6XX's and used Ghent Audio short RCA interconnects

 

https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/review-and-measurements-of-new-topping-d50s-dac.7914/

 

https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/review-and-measurements-of-new-jds-labs-atom-headphone-amp.5262/

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ASR is a contentious site though :P

 

The HD6xx is a nice headphone.

 

The MMX300 Gen 2 (tweaked DT770) suits gaming and YouTube well. Has really good positional, closed back to not piss of you wife, nicer bottom end slam, and a mic to boot! The cable inline remote is a bit crap, only drawback.

Edited by Bengineer

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Hmm, you guys have given me some very good options. Someone has also suggested the Audeze Mobius to me too, any feedback that you could give on those? (No AMP or DAC needed for that one, can get for about $500). 

 

Not really bothered about sound leakage, as I'm in the other end of the house when on my PC compared to where others are (Probably will only be for desktop PC usage honestly), and I have my movies turned up when watching them and explosions shake the house hahaha (Love my Velodyne SPL-1000 Ultra!). I do like the bass to be punchy and fast etc though.


Also, does nowhere in Australia stock JDS Labs products? Can't seem to find anything, and definitely not the new Element II DAC/AMP.

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JDS directly mate. He is awesome to deal with. Exchange rate sucks a bit but is what it is.

 

Haven't heard Mobius sorry.

 

I use the MMX300 for FPS games, positional is good. Better than what everyone else seems to be using.

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5 hours ago, Bengineer said:

JDS directly mate. He is awesome to deal with. Exchange rate sucks a bit but is what it is.

 

Haven't heard Mobius sorry.

 

I use the MMX300 for FPS games, positional is good. Better than what everyone else seems to be using.

Ok thanks! Now I'm tossing up between the MMX300 and the HD6XX (Or HD58X??) with a desktop mic (or mod mic) and the Element II DAC/AMP Combo. Any thoughts on which one would be the better choice? 

Edited by The One Demon
HD58X?

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Also are there any other DACs or AMPs (or combo type) that you'd recommend? Seems a bit strange spending almost double on that then the headset?

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Haha, does it? Grab a second hand Element 1. $250-300 or so. One up recently, might still be for sale.

 

HD6xx is smooth, bit dark, musically nice. 

 

MMX hits harder, bit more high end, bit V shaped.

 

Both suitable. 

 

I'm yet to try the Dekoni Choice pads on my set, but will buy some soon for sure. The stock ones are normal velour. And I tried the dragon leather ones from the higher end Beyers but changed the sound too much.

 

I use mine for gaming mostly, and some YouTube.

 

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3 hours ago, deafenears said:

Sabaj D5? SMSL M500? Topping DX7 Pro? JDS Element II?

Thanks for the suggestions! Will have a look through them. Any of them you'd recommend over the other for any reasons?

2 hours ago, Bengineer said:

Haha, does it? Grab a second hand Element 1. $250-300 or so. One up recently, might still be for sale.

 

HD6xx is smooth, bit dark, musically nice. 

 

MMX hits harder, bit more high end, bit V shaped.

 

Both suitable. 

 

I'm yet to try the Dekoni Choice pads on my set, but will buy some soon for sure. The stock ones are normal velour. And I tried the dragon leather ones from the higher end Beyers but changed the sound too much.

 

I use mine for gaming mostly, and some YouTube.

 

Good point with the used Element 1, Element II not noticeable improvement I think and I certainly wouldn't notice it I think. Also noticed you had one for sale, I'm guessing that's sold as the ad is a month old?

Sounds like I'd probably prefer the MMX honestly. Thanks for that!

 

I've also seen that some headphones sound much better with better AMPs, is that the go with the MMX300, so it'd be worth grabbing a better quality AMP/DAC?

 

With the Dekoni Choice pads which ones are the way to go? (As in material as I see there are different materials for them that they offer) Also which ones fit the MMX300? Do the ones for the DT990's fit?

Edited by The One Demon
Element for sale? #2 for MMX300 scaling with DAC/AMP?

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Yeah, all gone bud. Someone else still had one for sale last I checked.

 

All the highly rated ones in this price brackets, realistically fairly similar. Just find a bargain, or one that has a specific inout/output you need etc.

 

Would also think point of diminishing returns Re: higher end amp for the headset. They aren't expensive headphones, can only scale too much before you stop hearing much change. I felt they sounded better from my NFB 11.28 than the Element 1, but who knows why.

 

They are the Dekoni Choice pads. A2A have them, find the product page for choice pads, then it's a drop down box. Most Beyers use the same pads. I am yet to try though, so I can't comment on how they sound.

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17 hours ago, The One Demon said:

Also are there any other DACs or AMPs (or combo type) that you'd recommend? Seems a bit strange spending almost double on that then the headset?

I think it probably matters whether or not you'll consider upgrading in the future. If you are, it might be worth buying a nicer amp, otherwise its probably not worth the extra money.

Another option for an amp/dac to use is a schiit stack (modi and magni), i saw one selling for $150 on ebay. That's what i use, and i think they work really well for me (i use them with my 6xxs)

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2 hours ago, Bengineer said:

Yeah, all gone bud. Someone else still had one for sale last I checked.

 

All the highly rated ones in this price brackets, realistically fairly similar. Just find a bargain, or one that has a specific inout/output you need etc.

 

Would also think point of diminishing returns Re: higher end amp for the headset. They aren't expensive headphones, can only scale too much before you stop hearing much change. I felt they sounded better from my NFB 11.28 than the Element 1, but who knows why.

 

They are the Dekoni Choice pads. A2A have them, find the product page for choice pads, then it's a drop down box. Most Beyers use the same pads. I am yet to try though, so I can't comment on how they sound.

Thanks I think I found them! I thinking of going for the SMSL M500 because I can get it from Amazon AU, and it's price is lower than all of them with very, very similar performance except for the AMP being a little weak compared DX7 Pro . It's also $100 and $200 cheaper compared to the Sabaj and Topping. Compared to the Element it's about $200 cheaper, plus I don't have to get it from overseas and I can have price protection (If it goes to a lower price in any store or online store in Australia you can get the difference refunded to your CC!) and use my CC for 6 months interest free ahahah.

 

1 hour ago, Sirpdidy said:

I think it probably matters whether or not you'll consider upgrading in the future. If you are, it might be worth buying a nicer amp, otherwise its probably not worth the extra money.

Another option for an amp/dac to use is a schiit stack (modi and magni), i saw one selling for $150 on ebay. That's what i use, and i think they work really well for me (i use them with my 6xxs)

Thanks, I'll probably upgrade in the future eventually but not for years ahaha. I saw the Schiit stack you're talking about, but I think I'll want the ability to have the stereo out for active desktop speakers I'm very likely getting. (Strongly considering the Audioengine 5+ (not wireless version).

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I would recommend seperate amp and DAC. You don't get much difference between decent DACs. The difference would be amp and headphones. If you go combo the smsl is mean to be decent but I'd probably recommend the smsl sp200 as a amp and and decent DAC like the smsl su8 or a topping D50. Overall better power and for future, most would be happy with them as endgame. Another option is like the fiio m11, portable amp DAC combo with Bluetooth, would be decent for most headphones as well. With either combo you have about $300 left for headphones and could get some Sennheiser or Beyerdynamic headphones and be around or under $1000 total.

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Hi mate, it sounds like your set up needs are very similar to mine.

I used to have a full head-fi setup at my desk but found I wasn't using it a huge amount for the casual stuff I was doing at my PC, and it was a bit overkill for PC gaming, so sold if off. I then realised I missed decent sound, and picked up an Audeze Mobius when I found one at a decent price ($500ish from Mightyape if I recall). It's been pretty great so far, no complaints at all aside from bluetooth lag when using it wirelessly. For anything that requires sound sync (movies/games) I have to use it wired. Slight inconvenience but otherwise fantastic for purpose as it removes the need for separates and has a convenient microphone, as opposed to having to attach a modmic to a set of headphones.

I've also been using a set of active monitors more and more lately, which I've been driving through a Dragonfly Black connected to my phone, using the phone as a Roon endpoint. I got stung by Black Friday and ordered a Topping DX7 Pro on a whim to replace that set up, as it seemed like the best value all in one box I could get, and it measured well on ASR. Have had Topping products in the past and haven't had any issues. Headphone amp is a bit redundant as the Mobius doesn't really need it (but does have an analogue input, so can always see if it improves with a decent outboard amp/dac). It's also always there if I get tempted by another set of full size cans (likely).

If you were to go for a similar set up, you could pick up something like an SMSL M500 and a the Mobius for under $1k without a hassle. Could use the M500 for the active monitors, and the Mobius for basic PC stuff and gaming. The M500 DAC/AMP section seems like it would be suitable if you do fall down the rabbit-hole and go for a decent set of headphones, with the exception of any stupidly hard to drive cans. Could always splash a bit more for a DX7S/DX7 Pro if you were concerned about the power output.


 

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28 minutes ago, Snrub said:

Hi mate, it sounds like your set up needs are very similar to mine.

I used to have a full head-fi setup at my desk but found I wasn't using it a huge amount for the casual stuff I was doing at my PC, and it was a bit overkill for PC gaming, so sold if off. I then realised I missed decent sound, and picked up an Audeze Mobius when I found one at a decent price ($500ish from Mightyape if I recall). It's been pretty great so far, no complaints at all aside from bluetooth lag when using it wirelessly. For anything that requires sound sync (movies/games) I have to use it wired. Slight inconvenience but otherwise fantastic for purpose as it removes the need for separates and has a convenient microphone, as opposed to having to attach a modmic to a set of headphones.

I've also been using a set of active monitors more and more lately, which I've been driving through a Dragonfly Black connected to my phone, using the phone as a Roon endpoint. I got stung by Black Friday and ordered a Topping DX7 Pro on a whim to replace that set up, as it seemed like the best value all in one box I could get, and it measured well on ASR. Have had Topping products in the past and haven't had any issues. Headphone amp is a bit redundant as the Mobius doesn't really need it (but does have an analogue input, so can always see if it improves with a decent outboard amp/dac). It's also always there if I get tempted by another set of full size cans (likely).

If you were to go for a similar set up, you could pick up something like an SMSL M500 and a the Mobius for under $1k without a hassle. Could use the M500 for the active monitors, and the Mobius for basic PC stuff and gaming. The M500 DAC/AMP section seems like it would be suitable if you do fall down the rabbit-hole and go for a decent set of headphones, with the exception of any stupidly hard to drive cans. Could always splash a bit more for a DX7S/DX7 Pro if you were concerned about the power output.


 

  Thanks mate, you make me think the DX7 Pro may very well be the best option for me lol. Out of curiosity what speakers are you using on your desk for PC use? Cheers. Where'd you buy the DX7 Pro from? Just that Amazon AU says 3-5 dispatch time so wondering if there's another Aussie place I can get one from?

 

1 hour ago, sly_bastard said:

I would recommend seperate amp and DAC. You don't get much difference between decent DACs. The difference would be amp and headphones. If you go combo the smsl is mean to be decent but I'd probably recommend the smsl sp200 as a amp and and decent DAC like the smsl su8 or a topping D50. Overall better power and for future, most would be happy with them as endgame. Another option is like the fiio m11, portable amp DAC combo with Bluetooth, would be decent for most headphones as well. With either combo you have about $300 left for headphones and could get some Sennheiser or Beyerdynamic headphones and be around or under $1000 total.

Schiit, now you have me thinking of another combo. 🤣 However first comment on second page got me comparing the specs and tests of the DAC and AMP vs the DX7 Pro ahahah. Now I'm thinking for the same price I might be better off getting the DX7 Pro as I think(?) that would be fine even for higher draw headphones.

Edited by The One Demon
Where to buy DX7 Pro from Aussie store?

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27 minutes ago, The One Demon said:

  Thanks mate, you make me think the DX7 Pro may very well be the best option for me lol. Out of curiosity what speakers are you using on your desk for PC use? Cheers.

 


At the moment I'm using some Presonus R65 monitors, mostly because I saw them at a decent price here on SNA, and I wanted something with a ribbon tweeter cause I thought they were cool. I don't use them for mixing at all, just listening, which I find very enjoyable. That said, I've been recently eyeing off a pair of iLoud MTM monitors, because my desk positioning isn't the greatest, and the inbuilt DSP is meant to be fantastic. Probably completely unnecessary, but I want them anyway.

Edit: I picked mine up from Amazon, with an estimated arrival from 16 Dec/3 Jan. Seems shipping times are a bit longer now. No other way to pick one up as far as I know.

Edited by Snrub
DX7 Pro Purchase

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Alrighty, so it seems I'm going with the DX7 Pro, MMX 300, Dekoni Choice Pads, and I've decided to grab the Edifier S350DB 2.1 set lol. Will be good to have something that doesn't clip when I don't want headphones on watching YouTube or something like my monitors speakers 🤣.

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If you're not using Tidal MQA, I would recommend Schiit Audio products. The Modi/Magni combo is excellent and can drive a lot of headphones well. HP wise, well to fit under your 1K, I'd go Sennheiser HD650s or Meze 99s or Beyerdynamics. All of the aforementioned freely available second hand on this forum and Fleabay. You'll get a good start to see what SQ you like for well under 1K.

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41 minutes ago, BlueOceanBoy said:

If you're not using Tidal MQA, I would recommend Schiit Audio products. The Modi/Magni combo is excellent and can drive a lot of headphones well. HP wise, well to fit under your 1K, I'd go Sennheiser HD650s or Meze 99s or Beyerdynamics. All of the aforementioned freely available second hand on this forum and Fleabay. You'll get a good start to see what SQ you like for well under 1K.

Thanks for the suggestion, I think I might just pay the extra $200 for the DX7 Pro to sort of future proof in case I decide to get more demanding/higher ohm headphones. I'm one to try to future proof and have as much last as long as possible unless there is a good reason to upgrade in the future. I haven't regretted spending extra on other stuff in the past, or spending A LOT extra than planned on my HTS/Music setup so far 😂 😂.

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I think the actual best option is a set of DT1990, used DAC/AMP already mentioned (any of them) and a ModMic.

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And having said that. MrSpeakers Aeons are going for like $600 at the moment. Ooof, killer cans for that price.

 

Also DT1770 and DT177x may be worth a look.

 

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1 hour ago, Bengineer said:

And having said that. MrSpeakers Aeons are going for like $600 at the moment. Ooof, killer cans for that price.

 

Also DT1770 and DT177x may be worth a look.

 

This is also brilliant advice. 

 

The headphones themselves will always be the biggest factor in the sound you're hearing. 

 

But I would advocate that if you have a good source and amplification to start with, if you decide you want more later on, new headphones are all you need, rather than having to worry about upgrading other equipment to suit.

 

However, I will admit there are those whose experience is that any basic DAC/amp is all you need, and after that you're facing incremental gains for large outlay. 

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