Making the jump to HiFi

Hi there,

Thanks for taking the time for reading this, I’m sure you get asked this a million times so I appreciate you helping me out.

I’ve pretty much had Astro a50s for the last 7 years and a40s before that. I wanted to upgrade because they are slowly falling apart as my current pair is from 2015. I tried the Arctis pro wireless and absolutely hated them. Didn’t sound great at all, had a buzzing noise that was driving me insane, and overall was just a bad experience so I RMA them and thought I could either get a new paid of a50s or be a man and finally jump into the world of HiFi.

So that’s where I’m at, I’m looking for a recommendation for new headphones and I’m ready to switch to a DAC and mod mic for a better sound experience and ditch the whole “gaming headset” culture. I play a variety of games but definitely a lot of FPS like Counterstrike, but I am big into music as well (listening and creation/mixing).

As for a budget I would like to keep the set up (headphones and DAC) under $600 but I can stretch a little bit if its worth it. I have a decent mic already so that helps the budget.

These are just what I was looking at and am not sold on anything, really just getting into the audiophile world and these are what caught me eye so far:

As for a DAC, I was looking at Sennheiser GSX 1000 or the 1200 PROs, I think those would probably do justice for me and not really sure not what other options I have lol.

For headphones, I was looking at the ATH-AD1000X, Beyerdynamic DT 880 Premium 600Ohm or DT990, or the Sennheiser HD 660S or 600s

There’s probably a bit of room in my budget to get a better DAC or headphone then the ones I said, but probably not both. On a side note, I do have a pair of KRK RP5 Rokit 5’s that are currently hooked up to a tv, idk if possible but if I could somehow hook up those to the DAC as well that would be awesome but not a requirement at all.

Thank you so much for reading this and helping me out, it is truly and greatly appreciated, this is going to be a big investment for me so I just wanna do it right and get some advice from people more knowledgable than myself. Please let me know what you think, thank you again!

I don’t think you really need to spend that much to get a quality setup imo, I think you would be in the 300-400 range for a nice headphone, amp and dac

So personally here I would instead go with something like a topping e30 and a schiit magni 3+ imo, as that will give you more flexibility in the future, higher quality components, and generally better sound quality. The gsx are very mediocre from my experience from a sound quality perspective, and are also rather gimmicky with their features, you don’t really need dsp or virtual surround if you have a good pair of cans imo

Just to check, what music do you listen to? If you are doing music creation, I’m already personally leaning towards the dt880 600 ohm as that would fulfil your needs well, great for gaming, enjoyable for music listening, and a very nice pick for content creation

The ad1000x is nice for gaming, but isn’t the best all rounder for most music, and also not something suited to music production due to its sound signature and other aspects imo

The hd600 is a classic and would actually be pretty solid for music production, and good for casual listening but it depends on the genre imo. For games it’s nice but not great from my experience. Also amp dependant as well

The 660s would improve the gaming and more casual listening experience from the 600s, but imo be a bit too colored for studio use imo

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Thank you so much for the response!

I will definitely check out the DACs you recommended, that advice was exactly what I needed and makes 100% sense, im just getting started upping my audio game, would be smart to leave room for further expansion down the line.

As for the music creation its more of a side thing, my primary focus would definitely be gaming, but I have edited my friends videos/podcasts for them before as well as created music like lo-fi and electronic stuff so thats the space I was thinking about lol definitely nothing professional haha

for the music is listen to, its a lot of everything which I know doesnt help lol but I like everything from classical to alt rock to rap and hip hop and all that fun electronic stuff lol with an emphasis on the more ladder.

From what you’ve said I think ive narrowed it down to either the dt880s or the 660s, idk if youd be able to speak on one over the other for a mainly gaming focus with an almost equal enjoyment in music listening and a small need for editing/creation, but any advice would for sure help. and I know one headset wont be the best for everything, just wanna make sure my bases are covered lol

Thank you again so much for the response!!! I cannot thank you enough and explain how much your help is appreciated.

Also sorry, I know its probably a very noob question, but what is the difference between a DAC and an AMP, are they usually the same unit?

A DAC is a digital to analog converter. It converts a digital signal source into an analog signal that can then be fed into an amp or a pre amp.

An AMP is short for amplifier it amplifies a low level signal into a higher level signal that can feed speaker or headphones.

So I think both would be solid for your use case. For gaming, I think the dt880 600 is more immersive as it has a larger stage with imo more accurate imaging and placement, which is pretty enjoyable. It’s neutral bright ish, so that would help in a competitive aspect. The 660s would still have pretty solid imaging, but a more narrow and intimate stage, it would still preform well but not as well as the 880 600 for competitive, but it’s signature is more neutral warm with a bit smoother and less aggressive sound with a bit more of a bass hump, which might be a bit more fun for casual. I think the 880 600 is my pick for gaming

For music, the 880 600 is neutral and accurate, pretty nice, but can get a tad harsh on very poorly recorded music, but it shouldn’t be that big of an issue imo. The 660s is going to be a bit more close and personal, with extra warmth and smoothness, tbh they both seem like something that would be up your alley. I think the 660s might be a bit more pleasing for music

Regarding editing, I would straight up prefer the 880 600 here because of it’s more neutral signature and also imo better presentation for content creation

A dac is a digital to analog converter, and a separate unit will take a digital input like usb, spdif, toslink, and others to convert it to an analog signal that the amplifier can use. A separate unit has line level outs that go to the amp (typically rca), you cannot run a headphone or power speakers off of this.

An amp will take the input it’s given from a dac or another source and then amplify the signal so you can properly power your headphones (if it’s a headphone amp that is)

Sometimes you see combo units that combine both of these into one, and we call these dac/amp combos

So in theory a dac and headphone amp should all do the same thing and there wouldn’t be any sonic differences, but of course in practice that is not the case lol. A good dac can provide a more refined sound with a stronger level to feed the amp, more detail and information, less unwanted background noise, and generally a more coherent sound. A good amp can deliver the power to the headphone that it needs to give it nice punch, smooth out it’s signature, give a natural presentation, and overall give it more of what it needs

I think im sold. Im going to do the dt880s with a schiit magni 3+.

The only thing I’m questioning is either the topping e30 or the modi?

also i dont know if it matters but is there a difference between the schiit magni 3+ and the heresy?

Thank you again so much for your wonderful and colorful advise it was honestly exactly what I needed and extremely professional. I seriously appreciate it.


So schiit recently redid some of their lineup, I wasn’t a fan of the older magni 3, but they did a great job with the 3+ and heresy. They haven’t gotten to the modi yet, and in current state I don’t think it’s a good choice anymore imo, it’s a bit too unrefined and peaky, I much prefer something like the topping e30

So the magni heresy is pretty sweet, but from my experience not the best match with the 880 600 because it can get too bright and aggressive for most, whereas the 3+ still maintains good balance but is a bit smoother. If you wanted to tilt the 880 600 ohm warmer and smoother, you could consider the monolith liquid spark imo, which would make it a bit more fun sounding but might be a tad less accurate for music production

Welcome to the forum!

If you decide on the Liquid Spark, there’s a 20$ off code for it on Monoprice currently for 79.99 so really good deal for Memorial Day. Could pick up all your needed interconnect cables from PC > USB B (Topping comes with one on the E30) > DAC > RCA > Amp for the savings.

perfect, thats what ill do!

so all in all im looking at the dt880s, Magni 3+ and then the e30

also again sorry for a noob question, what cables and stuff do I need lol

So all you would need would be some shorter rca cables like this

The cables for everything else should be included

personally 1.5 feet for a magni to DAC combination leaves a lot of extra room you need…

it leads to a lot of space issues if you want something close to a wall… because you have more wire than you need…

that or i have a 3 foot wire connected from the my amp to my preamp and got things wrong

obligatory go with the grey pads warning. Black pads are stiffer and more sibilant, grey model is much better for comfort. personally love the 880s for gaming

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Schiit sells 6” cables, they’re worlds better than the amazon ones which are stiff and have inconsistent clamp force

Hi sorry to be hitting these forums up again, but everything has come in, I am just having issues setting up the DAC/amp.

I believe I have everything set up correctly and installed the drivers from the website.
When I turn on the topping e30, it says 44.1 db for a second then changes to -00.0 and I am not getting any signal.

Any thoughts?

Do you have your default device set as the dac, and can you verify the dac is plugged into the magni 3+ correctly? Also after you installed the driver did you restart?

Yes, the default device is set to Speakers (3- TOPPING USB DAC), I believe the Dac is plugged into the magni 3 correct, I just have an RCA cable going from the dac to the input on the magni, I did restart after installing the driver

hmmm strange, so your volume in the os and software is also maxed and not muted?

It seems like its a problem with the DAC, potentially the drivers. I tried uninstalling and reinstalling the drivers but no avail. The db on the dac seems to jump up to 44.1 when I try to play a song on my computer but within a second itll go right back to -00.0

So 44.1 is the sample rate, -00.0 is the preamp volume. In your windows settings set it to 24/96 and see if that corrects the issue. Have a feeling that it’s at 32 bit and that can cause issues