$1000 dreams, what would you do?

Hi yall,

I’m looking into investing in a desktop headphone setup and as always the rabbit hole is deeeep. Looking for any advice here that might let me see the light. I know there are already a lot of posts asking similar questions, but depending on dates I don’t know how relevant the answers may be at this point. I’m used to pc release intervals and not sure if audio moves as quickly.

Here is some info on what I’m looking for:

Budget: $1000 max total (heaphones + dac/amp, maybe eq)
Where: US (guessing shipping could contribute to above)

  1. Music - Versatile, rap and r&b, indie/classic rock, radiohead, columbian music (spanish music in general). Not really listening to much classical or Jazz
  2. Movies/Anime
  3. Non-competitive gaming (mainly rpg, adventure, platformers, etc… single player experiences)
  4. Minimal sound editing (1-5%)
  5. At home desktop + stationary

What I’m looking for (most-least): Sound quality, Build, Comfort, and aesthetic (I know it shouldn’t matter), X factor (is that a thing?)
I don’t have a sound preference here since I’m pretty noob

What I have looked at: 1990 pro, sundara, rs2 (I know, not very comparable). Schiit lineup and the thx dac/amp dual
I’m not big on owning a bunch of headphones. I just want something that I can grow into + enjoy from the get-go

I wish I could test these, no audio stores open and with shipping being messed with covid I don’t play around with delivery/returns.

if you had $1000 for 5-10 year setup, what would you choose?

$1k is a good sum of money…
Koss95x HP enerizer combo, Shiit BF2 and Shiit LOKI equalizer. This is a nice complete combo that would cover most basic use scenarios (I think) and if you look for used pieces will come in under budget. The Koss electrostatics take well to EQ and are a fine general purpose HP IMO based on my own experiences. HP are very specific based on need, this one takes well to EQ and would suffice under normal circumstances for general purpose listening and use. A few dollars on some Amazon basics wires and you have a full set-up.

My next favorite general purpose listening HP is the Sennheiser HD6xx or HD600 pared with a warm class A like the Rebel or RNHP amp and an inexpensive DAC like an SMSL SU8v2.
Good luck on whatever You decide, look for used pieces, plenty for sale here on the forums from good folks.

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I’m not sure the Koss is a good idea. Given that the OP listens to Rap and R&B, the Koss may not have enough bass.

@wall_o_flow do you have a regular stereo system? If you do, that can give people an idea of the sound you prefer.

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Thanks for the replies!!

I didn’t realize electrostatics were within that price range (wow, that’s cool though)… but good note on bass

Nope, I have a tv sony soundbar, but not a real setup. Does the job, but wouldn’t say much else about it. I mainly use garbage HP currently. Had some grado 60 back in the day and they were great (but that was like a decade ago)

$1000 is a lot to blow in one go. IMO best to figure out what sound signature you like/need and them build from there.

If you start somewhere “neutral” you at least have a reference point for whether you want more bass, more treble, a mid-centric tone, etc.

Try something like a Sennheiser 600 series or AKG/Shure closed-back monitor + ~$200 dac/amp combo or stack maybe. idk

I’m basically at the $1000 point in all the stuff I have after 5 years, and it took me 3 quite different headphones to figure what I want from audio.


The Koss combo offers a much higher quality overall System than anything else i could think of in his price range. The Koss do take well to EQ and at moderate volume sound full and complete. They Are absolutely not ideal for Rap but will give you nice well defined sound across the curve. Along w/the BF2 you warm them up a bit and the EQ can bump up the lower frequencies for a bit of thump as long as the volume levels stay reasonable. This was my thinking process on this recommendation. :hugs:


completely fair, I threw $1000 as a max and not as a must spend take my money hahah It was just in case there was a combination that was a must-have

I hear the ES HPs are a different hearing experience, wish there was a store to test! hahah

Bit off topic now, but I actually ordered the 95x for myself a couple days ago. Exciting. I really don’t care for bass impact, and I’m more interested in the midcentric, even shouty, presentation + technical ability.

Porta Pro is really as low as I’ll go for bassy/warm signatures.

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I can think of plenty of headphones to recommend but then we blow most of the budget there and you don’t really get the benefits of the better HP’s. Thats was why i also made my second recommendation. I’ll shut up now and let other folks come up with their ideas too. Happy listening👍

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Btw, are you looking for specifically closed or open back headphones?

open, since they will be used at home and I’m not worried about noise leakage. based on what I’ve been able to find out, they also present sound in a way that I think might be more to my liking (open, more surrounded by it???)

** not opposed to closed though :slight_smile:

Open will give you better sound quality. I suggest you do the following: buy just an amp for now. There are multiple decent $100 amps. Run it off the headphone jack on your PC/laptop/whatever. Then buy 2 or 3 decent starter headphones - HD6XX ($200), HE400i ($170) and…,something else that someone else may suggest. The cans will make the biggest by far difference so they’re the starting point. With a few different pairs, you can get an idea of what type of sound you prefer. Once you know that, it’s easier to give you suggestions. You may not even feel the need to spend more money - the HD6XX is good enough that probably 80% of people own one.

fair enough approach
how do most people partition their spending, 60/40 HP/support?

Mine is about 50% cans, 50% everything else.

In your situation, I would actually spend the least amount on headphones. As others have mentioned, at this stage it’s going to be hard to pin down what sound signature works best for you (hell, we can’t even say for certain if closed or open backs are better for you at this point… I personally like closed for hiphop/rnb btw, more of that “in the car” feeling).

Furthermore, even if you like your first HPs, you want to leave the door open for yourself to try other things if you decide to do so, just in case.


You’re always going to need quality amplification and conversion.

Give yourself the right foundation to judge your headphone purchase(s) instead of trying to appease a headphone you couldn’t properly judge in the first place.

I would roughly spend in the neighborhoods of 35/45/20 dac/amp/hp. I know it might sound silly, but $200 headphones can actually be good. You have lots of options for HPs here. Buy and return as needed.

Edit: Let me make my post more actionable. I think the best question for now is: What’s the best amp/dac combo for under $800? I know you’ll get good answers to that.

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yeah it would be a great idea to try out multiple headphones to see what you would want… thinking about what kind of sound you prefer

I’m a fan of this, any suggestions on a good foundation?

Right back to my option #2 :stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes: lol…just messing…but yeah…

I wonder if AKG 7-series would be a good one here. The Sennheiser 6-series models are very good all-arounders. Underrated for hip-hop because they convey lyrical fluency so-so well. If you aren’t a bass-monster and don’t mind super-intimacy. I would pair that (6xx I guess for value - I enjoy my HD600 more) with a Schiit Modius/Magnius and a periapt balanced cable. You’d still have hundreds of dollars left for when you unexpectedly catch the bug and tweak everything. Solid dac/amp that should last a long time and handle anything. Catch the tube bug? You’ll already have good cans for it.

I wish they made a “Lokius” with XLR…

I haven’t heard every dac/amp out there like some have but my choices for starting/mid tier combos would be either the Asgard 3/Modius stack or the JDS Labs Element 2. Asgard/modius will be more powerful with a warmer tilt to the sound and Element 2 is going to still have great power, more compact, more neutral sound, and looks wise is one of the best imo. Both come out to $400 USD.

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