I’ve been looking for a good, all round,heaphone for Media recently. (Movies, music and some gaming). I’m coming from stuff like the Sony 1000XM3s and Vmoda Crossfade(gen 1).
After venturing down the ‘headphone rabbit hole’ and doing some research, I have come to realise that while I like clarity, I don’t mind if the sound leans more towards the fun end of the spectrum than analytical ( I listen to all different types of music) and it needs to have good soundstage and imaging.
Having considered and dismissed the Audeze Mobius and Hifiman Sundara(the qc probs had me hesitant) i’ve narrowed my choices down to 2 …
Modhouse Argon MK3. Although I’m still not entirely sure the difference between the mk3 and the tr60 Argons(is it just the stock looks?)
Verum mk2( Everything i’ve read/seen sounds promising, regarding the sound quality punching above their price point)
Whatever pair I end up getting, I plan to pair them with a Creative Soundblaster G6 for that surround goodness! IGNORE THIS. I DON’T already have a G6 i was going to get one after. It was an idea from my foolish audio noob mind that I could pair a G6 with anything so I could have SXB with my content.
Budget is $600-750.
Any help or advice is appreciated!
EDITS 1: Cleared up the fact I have no idea about dacs/amps. ALSO added budget.
2: Actually realised there’s a thing called conversion rates. Factored that in when changing from £ to $.
If I’m being completely honest, I wouldnt recommend either of them due to the Soundblaster G6. The G6 will not supply enough power or current for either of those headphones. You will want to find something with low impedance, preferably dynamic driver as planars require a lot of electrical current to sound the way they should. Something like Beyerdynamic DT 770 32 or 80 Ohm variant for closed back. Also did you have a preference for open or closed back?
If you really want one of those headphones, then I recommend buying an amp that can power them at a minimum (Asgard 3, JDS Labs El Amp, Magni Heresy or Magni +, etc.). I personally liked the Argon more than the Verum One, especially for gaming.
Of course a proper DAC will help too, but if money is tight you could always run the amp off of your motherboard sound or you could use the G6 as a DAC to the amp. It’s a serviceable DAC, but there are better DACs out there at affordable prices (Topping e30).
Thanks for the advice and suggestions. I’m a total noob still when it comes to amps/dacs( still don’t really understand them). Completely open to ideas on this front.
Ahh my bad I don’t own the G6, that was just the idea for after getting the headphones( I’ll edit to reflect this). I’d like to have the option of using VSS if I ever wanted too, thats why I mentioned the G6 purely because i knew it had that.
I don’t mind whether its open or closed back( actually I’ve never owned an open back before.) My only preference would be to have a planar over a dynamic really. Probably talking a budget of $600ish, with room to stretch up to $750.
I would like to throw in a recommendation for the k712 for an all rounder for music,movies, and gaming. They are comfy,detailed, decent bass and very wide soundstage. Great for gaming and movies. Not too crazy to power but can benefit from a good amp. I’ve used the atom and asgard3 and the k712 sounded great on them. Just my two cents from what i have experienced and been happy with. Something comfy,decent all rounder, and you can find under $300. I sold mine recently and already miss it! Welcome to the forum!
I’ve not heard the Verum’s. The mk1 was something I considered a year or so ago, but he appeared to have QC issues and you should carefully read his return/repair policy before you commit, it was enough to put me off.
Ok, so then with a $500 budget, it will be difficult to get everything proper for a planar. You could do it, but it may not be optimal. I would recommend an Asgard 3 amp and maybe a topping e30 dac.
Also, the Argon is currently out of stock as there is a shortage of Fostex T50RP headphones.
You could always look into the Hifiman HE4xx from massdrop, or the Hifiman Sundara, but those go for $349 new on Amazon. Both the He4xx and Sundara also are more neutral, so if you want large quantities of bass, these aren’t for you.
Another consideration is the Audeze Mobius. It has it’s own amp built into the headphone as it is wireless, but it is more gamer oriented an not the most practical solution. Below are some of the gear I mentioned and their prices.
Schiit Asgard 3 - $199
Schiit Magni 3+ - $99
Topping e30 - $129
Hifiman He4xx - $160
Hifiman Sundara - $349
Modhouse Audio Argon mk3 - $295 single ended with ZMF Protein Leather Pads
Audeze Mobius - $399
There is no wrong way to do this…just easier and painless ways.
I normally recommend buying headphones first, then amp then dac. I recommend that order because you won’t really know what you need out of your amp until you get your headphones. But in your case, if you absolutely want planars, you can’t really go wrong with a Schiit Asgard 3 and Topping e30. The Asgard 3 will have enough power to drive almost any headphone.
You can defer a DAC purchase, motherboard DAC’s generally aren’t terrible.
You could also save $100 and pick one of the well regarded $100 amps to start (Atom/LiquidSpark/Heressy/Magni 3+ etc.)
That increases your headphone choices a fair amount and IMO that’s where you want the bulk of the Money.
Then later pick up a $100-$200 DAC. Then probably buy more headphones before worrying about upgrading the Amp.
You have a great list going and I’d like to add one that seems odd but you wrote about having a fun headphone for just about everything. Grab a pair of Koss KPH30i’s ($30 on amazon), I was so sceptical about them but wow it could’ve saved me a few bucks with buying lower end gear like the 4xx or 58x.
Instead of Argons, you could just start with T50RPs + 20$ Shure 840 pads.
Then, if you feel you need to, send em to be changed into Argons (or have fun and mess with the foam and mod these yourself!).
Don’t do motherboard -> JDS Atom -> T50RPs though. Trust me it will sound really artificial, mechanical, unnatural. I’d say, get an Asgard 3 (Class A) headphone amp for it for more “naturalness”. The 100$ AKM module might be a good idea too.
(Looks like people here forget the Asgard 3 is modular and can be ordered with a DAC built-in, lol – obviously for 100$ it’s not the best DAC, but… better than a motherboard DAC for sure).
From one relative noob to another: if you get the Sundaras on Amazon or anywhere with a failsafe return policy you have nothing to worry about. And it’s worth trying. I’ve had them now for a month or so and they are fantastic. I’ve been listening to them alongside a Beyerdynamic DT880 600ohms versión for the last couple of days and they really do bass better than the dt880’s, at least at high volumes. At their current new price they really seem worth it to me. The dac and amp suggestions that’s seem solid to me - Topping E30 and Asgaard 3. But I’d you’re in the UK they both could be difficult to get hold of. Asgaard because it’s from the US and E30 because until a couple of days ago at least you had to wait until end of August at least for shipping from China.
So another suggestion for a UK based noob:
Ifi zen dac/amp (If you add ifi Power X for £99 both the output volume and clarity increase, I’ve tried it myself with the Sundaras).
Stick with this setup and get a specialized amplifier later on when you have more of a budget.
On Amazon there’s a third party seller right now selling Sundaras for £340.
Although a better bet is to get them from amazon France, Italia, or Deutschland for €349, since in Amazon UK the Amazon price is £457 or something like that.