$600 budget Help

I am new to the audiophile scene. looking for headphone recommendations.
I currently have a M-Audio 192/6 as an audio interface, does this count as a decent DAC?

Looking for an open-back audio experience.

What should I do with my $600 to up my audio game?

What kind of music will these be for? What aspects of sound matter most to you? Bass? Vocals? Treble?

Hey! Thanks for the reply.
I listen to all types of music. I haven’t really tried any audiophile headphones before. The best headphones I have listened to and really enjoyed were the Bose QC 15 and 25s.
I do enjoy bass, but if I had to choose I would go with treble.
Does something like a good all rounder exist?

The sennheiser HD58x comes highly recommended by a lot of people for a beginner, should I go for that?

FWIW, I’m new too and decided to go with HE-4XX w/ JDS Atom amp. With some EQ, I am really enjoying the sound.

However, with shipping issues from Drop (from reading the discussions over there) a safer bet would probably be going with the Sundara’s (can be had for 250ish open-box) and whatever amp you like (IE: Atom or Liquid Spark).

You’re welcome! I’ll try to answer each of your questions…

Yes, your M Audio interface will work fine as a DAC for entry-level audiophile headphones and speakers. It also has a headphone output which will be functional for headphones on the lower-impedance/hi efficiency end of the spectrum but will likely be limiting for many planars or hi-impedance dynamics.

The HD58X is a good starting point. It will likely also be powered sufficiently by your M Audio without an additional amp.

Based on your stated preference for both treble and bass, the Beyerdynamic DT990 600 ohm is a solid option in your price range. It will require an amp, though.

@ericg’s suggestion of HE4XX is also good, but probably also requires an amp.

As for amps, any of the JDS Labs Atom, Monolith Liquid Spark, Schiit Magni 3+ or Schiit Magni Heresy are excellent starter amps. The Atom and Heresy are measurement kings, the Liquid Spark is a warmer and wider sound, the 3+ is in the middle.

If I were to turn back the clock knowing what I know now, I would probably do something like this…

Get a 58X and power it off the M Audio for 1-2 weeks listening closely and taking notes on likes and dislikes. Then, order an amp (probably the Heresy at this point as it’s likely the least colored and tied for most powerful on that list) and listen to the 58X through it for another period of time taking close stock of likes and dislikes. After 1-2 months of those steps, come back to this forum and say “here’s what I like and dislike about this combo and here’s what I’m looking for for $XYZ or less.” The people here will have plenty of helpful suggestions for you.


@WaveTheory Thank you so much for the advice. Think I will go with this strategy.

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Enjoy! And welcome to the rabbit hole…