GSX 1000, amp pairing

Yet another not so unique gaming-type question… More or less looking for people subjective bias in a couple of setup options, as I am not a technical listener by any stretch.

I am looking to amp-up the GSX 1000. I am aware that it’s not well regarded as far as DACs go, but the features it provides are valuable to me (on the fly EQ, real time mic monitoring, chat mix control on different chip, etc.). If it wasn’t for those features in such an easy to use and simple device, I would ditch it. But that convenience, comfort, and feature set make it difficult to walk away.

I do enjoy Sennheiser quality and sound. Had a pair of PC150s what, probably 15 years ago…? Competitive old school CS player back in the day. The Sennheiser name stayed with me for better or worse. 5 or so years ago, grabbed a pair of HD558. Was running those for a long while, thoroughly enjoy the Sennheiser “sound”.

Went a little wider, somewhat less warm. Grabbed the Philips SHP9500, love them for what they are. Just felt a little too “air-y” too me, although that’s part of the soundstage and imaging. Great all-purpose headphones, though. I can see why they’re recommended so often, especially in gaming.

Wanted to try something a little more “fun”. Went the Philips X2HR route, was not disappointed. Kept most of the soundstage present on the SHP9500 to me, but fuller mid presence and bass/sub-bass response in my eyes (ears?). Much warmer, more comfortable, more intimate, almost a semi-open/semi-closed feel? Favorite pair of headphones to date, but I haven’t put on the HD558 in a while.

Rabble rabble rabble

OK, the point. Amping the GSX 1000 (not double-amping, using line level out). Considering 2 amps at this point, unless someone has a better recommendation…

Monoprice Liquid Spark — from what I gather, smooth (as the name liquid might imply), might add a touch of warmth. Aesthetically OK (this matters too, unfortunately), build quality seems top notch in this price range as well.
-versus-
Schiit Magni Heresy — measures better, probably super revealing for my tastes? Maybe a little cold or lean in comparison to the Liquid Spark? Aesthetically more appealing to the Liquid Spark in my opinion.

Honestly. Are these subjectives accurate? Or is this splitting hairs? Would untrained ears like mine even be able to tell the difference? Anything else anyone would add from their experience with either? Opinions on other amps that might pair well (I am aware of the JDS Atom, that is a no-go for me aesthetically speaking)?

Future headphone additions look like the Beyerdynamic DT 770 (80 ohm), AKG 7XX, and Sennheiser HD 58X.
Main use case is try hard casual gaming (way past my prime, but been on a serious Valorant kick… bringing me back to the old CS days) and music. If you can’t tell, I like to lean towards the more “fun” side of listening.

Thanks for reading my long winded post. I work nights, I’m delirious. :rofl:

Looks like this one got a bit buried. Maybe I can help a little.

It’s just a bad unit in general is why it’s not regarded well. It’s extremely over priced for what it is and extremely weak. On the fly EQ is nice and all but you can get this out of something like a schiit loki unit or peace apo(which is free software) among others that allow you to easily switch between settings. At the same time mic monitoring, I assume your meaning sidetone, and chat mix can be found on units such as G6 and X3 from soundblaster both of which are not only generally over $100 cheaper but are much more powerful and have much better dac chips in them all the while also working on consoles. The big thing about the GSX 1000 is that it offers a superb 7.1 surround sound setting however, this same setting can be found if on pc through Dolby Atmos(small one time fee to keep forever) or free programs such as Hesuvi. The soundblaster units also have this setting and in some cases recon mode that helps with footsteps. It’s just all around an awful amp that has no business being priced where it is. Not to say you can’t keep using it but it is what it is.

a lot of people enjoy Sennheisers house sound due to their tuning to try to keep the sound as neutral as possible. A lot of their headphones will use the term Reference grade as well. Then again some people can deem them quite boring depending on a persons preference in sound. Nothing really stands out with sennheiser headphones due to that neutral tuning. While, yes, you can get some sennheisers that are slightly leaning towards bass or treble or sometimes mids it’s always very close to neutral so nothing too overwhelming.

Well, they are a great for gaming for a great many ways. The air-y sound can be alterred if you modify the headphone and change the pads out to certain degrees. Fantastic headphone for a budget though.

Depends on your sound preference. Schiit is going to be the more neutral and clean sounding amp while the spark is warm with the treble rolled off. I wouldn’t really worry about the measurements so much in that regard as heresy vs magni 3+ is practically negligible and most can’t even tell a difference outside color of the unit. I wouldn’t say the Heresy leans cold though in my opinion.

eh a little accurate. Though I wouldn’t say to let aesthetic’s make your decision.

Depends on the person really, but in most cases yes you will notice a difference. GSX 1000 also being such a weak amp you would notice some definite differences and have a lot of headroom for the sound as well. Most of the $100 amps though to my ear don’t have a huge difference in sound profile. Really not until you really get up there in price point do you notice some rather large differences.

Not quite sure why your so worried about aesthetics. These units are quite small as it is and JDS is a fantastic amp for sure. Extremely neutral and extremely clean with just a slight edge to it that makes some headphones a touch brighter. Granted build quality could be better, it’s plastic after all.

This is relatively confusing. Fun typically means the low end is emphasized aka bass of which the 58x Jubilee and K7xx are bass lite outside of k7xx’s pad swap and bass mod or if you were to equalize them however you would run into issues without appropriate amplifications. In that regard if you were wanting fun it would be the 770 but why you would take 80 ohms is confusing as you would most definitely want the 250 ohm for the better, more refined sound it provides as the new amp will definitely power them and then some. There are plenty of other headphones you can get with a more “fun” preference. If you want a more casual use headphone from beyer though that strikes both casual and competitive and still sounds “fun” go look at Tygr 300R as it’s an open back without that glaring brightness you may get from a 770. As for the Sennheiser? Due to the existence of the new 560S at essentially the same price point it’s hard for me to recommend the 58x without further looking into the new headphone as it’s signature is close to the 58x except supposedly much better on the soundstage and imaging.

Thanks for the detailed reply @Falenkor!!

Yeah — to your first point about the GSX, if I didn’t already have it, I would go with a more ‘traditional’ stack. But since I’ve been using it for well over a year and have become accustomed to the features, I would have a hard time letting them go… In which case, I imagine that I could offset some of the “bad” with a decent amp option.

In terms of the headphone choices — I was leaning into the 770s due to their closed-back design, and the 80 ohm option for occasional office and phone use… but I may just reconsider and go with the 250 ohm version, especially if I can take advantage with actual amp’erage.
I have heard the Tygr 300R as pretty widely regarded gaming cans, but haven’t looked into them much. Kind of interested in visiting a ‘proper’ closed-back set for the isolation when needed (home use when kiddos sleeping, office use, etc.) without giving up TOO much on the benefits of open-backed cans, which is what lead me to look into the 770s.
I have seen some reviews of the 560S - I will definitely keep and eye on these as well, valid point here!!

As for the amp — I think I have decided to give the Liquid Spark a try. I will update the post again with my thoughts after all is said and done! Thanks again for your input :slight_smile:

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You most definitely would be able to with any of the $100 units that are typically recommended.

Oh, most definitely. They are quite incredible cans and don’t need much driving power. Warm signature so on the bassy side with still a touch of brightness and some slight recession in the mids and lower treble.

You would be fine with the 770s then. They isolate quite well and if needing a bit more sound isolation you can pick up some leathers for them and be alright. That’s a sort of U signature or a minor V style signature so the vocals will be recessed but still quite nice. I really enjoy them at least. Granted I switched mine out for a better headphone imo just more expensive.

Hard for me to recommend something I haven’t tried considering it’s literally brand new but there is quite a few reviews out for it if you want to check it out and find out more info on it. Quite interesting.

Don’t mention it, if you have any other questions feel free to swing by. I may chime in or maybe one of the others will. Some words of advice though, everyone likes saving money so I suggest trying to find it through a more third party outlet instead of brand new. Sparks can be bought for $70 with shipping and fees included. DT 770s at 250 ohms can be bought at $99 or in that range(I would know I literally just bought my current copy at $99 as an early christmas gift for someone).

Sites to use Head-fi, Amazon, Ebay, Buy/Sell and Looking for Thread here on the site, https://www.reddit.com/r/AVexchange/ here on reddit, USA Audio Mart, and lastly https://www.hifishark.com/ can scour multiple sites for a deal by typing in the item name in the search bar.

going to third party sellers… always use Paypal with an invoice(unless the site or something offers buyers protection) so your protected financially and make sure they have photos showing the condition of the item and a little card showing the date and their username which proves ownership. Gives you security during sales

So — I received my Liquid Spark and had the chance to use it last week. LOVE IT.

Much more power, even driving the X2HRs… compared to the GSX. Man that thing is a truly weak amp, considering the impedance of the X2s…
Bass/subbass feels extended, but not sloppy. Soundstage somehow feels wider? Not sure the sharpness of some of the treble peaks, gotta swap in the SHP 9500 and give those a run. I’ve just been enjoying the X2s so much that I haven’t wanted to trade off. Would agree the amp is “intimate” and somewhat “warm”, at least compared to the GSX on it’s own (extremely limited sample size, but would definitely be interested in trying something a bit more analytical for comparison’s sake…). Hard to put into words, but definitely impressed.

Now I want to try new cans… uh oh. @Falenkor I’ve noticed on some threads you’ve spoke highly of the DT 990 (600 ohm). I would think you would recommend this pairing, ya?

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hmm, large hit or miss on that. It’s a very sharp V signature so not really good for everyone, and not the best on being a daily driver. Depends on you as a person and how you handle large amounts of treble. Worth a shot as it’s a great headphone. Other than that DT 880 or Tygr 300R are nice too