All around setup for $500 wielding newbie

A friend of mine wants to discover amazing audio and is willing to spend $500 for a complete all around setup. She wants everything new (not used), has a RazerBlade Laptop (as the source), and no good headphones.
I have a certain idea of a setup in my head but wanted to see other people’s opinions.
She said she wouldn’t mind a dac/amp stack, has enough room as possible, and would rather have one good pair than decent multiple pairs of headphones (these are questions I asked).
She mainly listens to hard rock, metal, and alternative rock.

Well, I would say a fiio k5 pro for the amp for sure, but what type of sound would they enjoy and what aspects would you want?

Fiio K5 pro would be the best bang for your buck amp solution and then you would have a ton of choices in the 350 and lower range for headphones.

Yeah, I agree

I guess some good options would be:

the sundara if they were looking for a light, detailed sound
the audioquest nighthawk if they want a darker unique sound
the lcd1 for a very agreeable response
the ATH-R70x for a studio like sound

HD6xx are excellent for rock/metal, and many other things.

But agree with @M0N, ask what she likes about the sounds she has heard.

I personally think the 6xx is pretty great but for someone starting out I typically don’t recommend it because the amp scaling and how it doesn’t really play well with modern music as much as something like the 58x

what she keeps saying is “the best sound” basically she’s a noob…

What type of music does she listen to? What about sound impresses her? How much does comfort matter? How much do looks matter? What does she use to listen to music? What is typically her listening environment?

Edit: also thats kinda a high budget for someone who doesn’t quite know what they want an like yet (and not as dedicated)

1 Like

rock, metal, alternative. i think a “clean” detailed sound would impress. comfort and style doesn’t matter. Uses CDs listening in her room no roommates.

Hmmmm, what do you mean by clean? Neutral? Brighter with detail emphasis? W shaped?

I also a wider sound or more intimate?

is the k5 really better than something like gesheli or schiit stack or jds labs?

Price to performance wise I would say yes, but if you actually want to go for best sound, the jds labs atom and a d10 might have the edge up besides power (which shouldn’t really make a difference too much for the aforementioned options). I just prioritized the headphones for budget as imo that will give you a bigger difference

is schiit sort of out of the budget game now adays? I think so

Tbh yeah for the traditional shiit stack. I think they are kinda lacking vs the jds labs atom and the liquid spark. But they have regained ground with the asgard 3 imo, as its very powerful and clean for the price, and doesn’t really have the schiit compression anymore. But I really wouldn’t rec the magni and modi stack anymore

sad. rip. thanks for input everyone!

I listen to alot of similar genre’s as what she does. I can only comment about 1 headphone, the HD58X. I love listening to music on these headphones. I think they might be the best for the price point (IMHO). I plan to get another type headphone after I get my desktop speaker setup done. But I love the sound of my HD58X’s…

1 Like