Need advice on what setup to go for

I am in a little bit of a dilemma I currently own a pair of MH751. While I have been lurking here and reddit most people recommend them for under $100 budget. Is it worth buying/upgrading a different pair of headphones when my budget would be under $100? Is it a good choice to invest in a mayflower arc mk2 if I only use the MH751s? or would it be more beneficial to buy a cheaper amp/dac and put more budget into headphones? Total budget is about $350 for amp+dac+headphones (assuming it is beneficial to upgrade) hoping to spend a little less and buy some high quality lossless audio from my favorite artists to listen to through my new setup. I have seen people mention Ksc 75x, kph30i, and the superlux 668 as the best ultra budget option but i don’t know how they might compare to the status cb-1 or other similarly priced headphones in the $60-100 range.

One of the best gaming headsets for “competitive” viewed by most.

In my opinion? No, unless you wanted a little more flexibility in which I would say just look into 752 or the alternative model 630 and it’s other two variations as I found them a bit more comfortable plus with the other models you get a free equalizer which is always nice.

No, and for the same price you’d pay on that mayflower you stand to gain better sound from dedicated units unless you absolutely 100% needed that 3.5mm mic port which generally isn’t needed once you upgrade to a modmic or external microphone later.

Start out small, for an amp/dac you can go combo unit to cut some costs so something like Soundblasters G6 would be nice as it has a pretty good dac in it, it’s just not very strong others would be like schiit fulla, or ifi zen dac. Otherwise you can buy an amp and get some 3.5mm - aux connectors to just use your pc as a dac temporarily less on console which complicates things further. However, try to set a goal of right around $200 maximum for your amp and dac this will get you a plenty powerful enough amp and a good clean dac that you really don’t need to worry about potential upgrades later unless your purely focused on better audio in the hobby.

That budget is fine depending on the headphone and sound preference your looking for, however highly recommend you use the used markets to your advantage and you can save potentially hundreds in cash.

Your better off with the mh751 at that point. You only need maybe $200 max for the amp/dac which leaves you $150 for the headphone. You can definitely get a good headphone around the margin and if you push it to $200 for the headphone your options drastically increase as that’s a good sweet spot. However, the other issure with switching to a headphone is the microphone which is costly. Adds another around $60 to the cost for a modmic. You can get away with a G6 or Ifi zen dac for around $120 plus the modmic around $60 though leaving you enough budget.

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As you can tell I am on the very budget side of audio equipment (broke college student) so I definitely want to make the right choice for the money because it will likely stay with me until I’m forced to upgrade/replace. I have heard lots of praise towards the acr mk2 from reviewers. Without accounting for the benefit of separate dacs and amps what makes the something like the schitt stack better than the arc mk2? Would it be more benficial to buy a schiit stack and a separate desk mic and save up for better headphones in the future? For reference I do play “competitive” titles but in a casual manner. Most of the upgrade would be for listening to music, movies, and the inordinate amount of youtube videos I watch.

It has good reviews like a lot of equipment. You stand to gain about 5 times power, better sound qualities, cleaner, and in other cases just other traits i.e. liquid spark is a warm amp, schiit can be more colored and spacious, jds are extremely neutral and clean with a bit of a bright edge to them, etc.

Understandable, just something to understand is that the entry into the better audio has a bit of a cost to it. Going from gaming headsets to higher audio fidelity comes with a good size entry cost.

It would be more beneficial to go with one of the dedicated $100 units of amp and dac(so $200 maximum) and just stay with them for the time being unless you absolutely needed the mic port of which Soundblaster G6 would potentially be one of the best bets outside of the mayflower. Schiit Stacks are nice Magni+3 / Heresy and Modi are good and you can definitely find them stacked at a pretty cheap price point if you search around. However, I would never directly point to a specific amp without knowing a persons sound preferences as something to keep in mind is that an amp and dac offer sound characteristics in other words they change the way a headphone can sound… sometimes a bit bassier other times brighter sometimes the mids are more forward and among other traits. So yes, it would be much more beneficial to get the amp and dac first so you have them alongside a dedicated mic whether that be a usb desk microphone or a modmic that attaches to the headphone that’s up to you both work fine just keep in mind that a dedicated mic like the usb or xlr styles will have a lot better clarity and quality when you speak. If you were still wanting to spend $300 on your amp and dac, I would sooner immediately point you towards an asgard 3 + modius or E30 as the dac and amp setup as I find them by a very large degree better.

That’s fine, just like I said, it depends on your sound preference, music preference, that sort of thing. I can’t particularly recommend any setup without knowing that.

If your looking for something that’s just extremely well rounded for both casual, competitive, and just everyday use you’d probably be looking at Beyers Tygr 300R or Sennheiser over there what with the HD 598, 58x Jubilee(better than 598 outside the cheaper option of using a mic), and the new HD 560S which may be better than both of these I just previously mentioned and it can also use a plugin 2.5mm boom mic but it literally just came out so not much I can say on that. Sennheisers tend to be as neutral as possible without particularly standing out in any way. Tygr 300r is a warm headphone with a slight peak in treble. Warm meaning it has bass while it’s also built like a tank with great comfort and one of the best you can get potentially at $200. The only other that comes to mind is the gaming headset that just came out getting fantastic reviews which is pc38x but this is rather debatable and I can’t on, a good conscious, recommend that one till mind comes in to be certain.

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You have been extremely helpful with questions my last question so I can dive into amps and dacs that might suit me is. How might I find my audio preference? I listen to a WIDE variety of music with extremely different acoustic properties from Foreigner to Danish prog rock to american indie/folk music to edm to barbershop and even music that doesn’t have a genre. I would say if my music has any commonalities it would be an emphasis on harmonies so possibly a warmer sound with good midrange but that is just me guessing. I would proably be looking to spend no more than $275 on amp and dac combined just to leave enough budget for a decent desk mic

That’s a tough one when you have so many genres you prefer. Lows are bass or warm headphones. Mids are things such as vocals and how the sound tends to present itself and highs are where the detail in the sound comes from, making bad recordings and the like very apparent if raised, at the same time emphasizing all the brighter sounds such as cymbals for example. You have headphones for bass such as Warm headphones, Headphones for both bass and treble which are V, Mid centric which are more along the lines of Sennheiser’s headphones and a couple others, and just bright(treble) headphones which tends to be Beyerdynamic and like one or two other brands. It mainly boils down to literally sitting down with the sound signatures and trying them for yourself to find your ideal sound and apart of the journey with this hobby but it does take a while. If at all possible, find an audio store or a way to audition some equipment to find what your preference is. Generally if you just don’t know and don’t want to take any risks. Run a Sennheiser and forget about it until you have an income to support further investments. Only potential issue on a Sennheiser is ear pad fit(only if you have massive ears like me).

hmm, Fidelio X2HR may suit you it’s a pretty cheap open back headphone in that and one a few start with. Very warm but the mids are present… it’s just that the bass is a bit muddy and bleeds into the mids a little. You can normally get them for around $90. Granted I would never recommend one for use in Competitive gameplay due to just how warm sounding that headphone is. Otherwise Warm headphone thats capable of everything? Tygr 300R.

Then leave it at $200 for both amp and dac. The thing is amps and dacs tend to go in brackets per performance not price per performance. $100 are your general strong yet full entry level. $200 units are the maximum of entry level and a spot a lot will stick with… in order to get better than that point though your looking at the price jumping into the $500+. So, best to just stick with what you know is good and stay within certain price points. If your wanting a Warmer signature go with a Liquid Spark as your amp with either the Liquid Spark Dac to make it a stack or go with a Topping D10(note: you will need some real short RCA cables to connect the two units, these are really cheap only a couple bucks)

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I suppose I should add a few things here. If you go with a sennheiser, your best best is either pc38x(Gaming headset) or for musicality(according to reviews) you’d be better off with the HD560S which is the newcomer. The HD560S can use a cheap like $30 microphone that attaches to the headphone through it’s 2.5mm jack and work just fine. https://www.amazon.com/Cable-Boom-Microphone-Playstation-Controller/dp/B07W1G95PH/ref=sr_1_3?dchild=1&keywords=hd598+mic&qid=1602721110&s=electronics&sr=1-3 using this as an example mic. there are quite a few others. If you cannot afford HD560S but want musicality and the mic. go with HD598. otherwise 58x jubilee is fine

For Warm headphones, x2hr is nice and can be found real cheap sometimes even at $70 but it used to be like $150, it’s gone down due to the newcomers coming out still a great headphone though. As for the tygrs this one is a bit confusing to find, it’s only obtainable by itself through a 3rd party source or directly from beyerdynamic. Otherwise your spending a fortune on the bundle which that mic in that bundle is garbage take that one from the guy who has that microphone

As for amps and dacs. Shop smart, buy them used. Sparks can be bought for $70 in a great many cases. Spark dac on the other hand is brand new but the D10 can be found around $70 range as well so you will save money in the long run by shopping smart.

I highly encourage trying to find a way to test sound signatures out incase you find one you absolutely love. I didn’t know my preference was towards the V signature style headphones till I tried one and had stuck to god awful gaming headsets for many years. The difference in audio quality going from a headset to a headphone is massive especially once you get good imaging so everything is placing itself in different locations in your ears and sometimes sound distant or not depending on your soundstage.

Yeah I think there are 3 options that I have thought through today:

  1. Buy an amp and dac and live with my mh751 until I save up for sennheisers or whatever ends up being my upgrade.
  2. Buy an amp and dac and desk mic then save up for my headphone upgrade. (currently my most likely option)
  3. Buy a good set of headphones and a portable amp/dac combo so I get a decent boost in audio on both fronts then upgrade to a desktop amp and dac when ready. (currently least likely option)
    Also where would you recommend I purchase used amps and dacs?

hmm, if you shop smart you can snag a spark and d10 together for around… I want to say $150, 58x jubilee is normally priced at $150, and a modmic(probably usb which is the better one) at $50(or you can actually get a blue yeti at $60 if you luck out) putting it right at your $350 budget.

As for where? 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.

I should add, going to third party sellers… always use Paypal with an invoice 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

The MH751 is hard to beat for anything less than a 58x. I’d suggest get a 6xx and $100-130 amp (topping L30), then upgrade your dac as you’re able.

Also ifi Zen dac might be a good amp/dac option…

I definitely do not agree with this. I personally found the SHP9500 to wipe the floor with the MH751 however modifications can drag that cost up. X2HR is a very fun headphone and is around the same price but with a hell of a lot better soundstage and bass for a casual user. 58x is just balanced with everything around average as an open back, it just has no drawbacks to it outside of potential preference on comfort/fit and pad thickness/fabric style.

I definitely, do not recommend this for any gamer if you even remotely play a competitive FPS due to such narrow soundstage, your better off with the 58x Jubilee and potentially the new 560S.
Not that the 6xx is bad, just not very good for gaming in my opinion there’s better options.

L30 is another option but more expensive than the $100 units. imo He’s fine with any of the other $100 units such as spark, atom, A30, Magni 3+, Heresy, etc.

I just think nothing’s a huge upgrade from the MH751 until you get into the $150+ range for overall balance and detail. 6xx would be a clear upgrade and also somewhat different, though admittedly not great for gaming.

yeah, I can agree with that, less modifying the shp9500 but that still comes up to around $120-$130 anyway.

well, I think both 58x or 6xx would be clear upgrades and different since mh751 is a bright gaming headset without very good detail or clarity to begin with. It’s just 58x has a similar tuning but the bigger staging to my ear it just feels better during things like rpgs and the like because the world feels more lively things sound more spaced out instead of in your face like on the 6xx. Granted I would take the tygr any day over the 58x for casual gaming that’s a $200 headphone. I think at $200 for a gamer is like a sweet spot as 58x and tygr both don’t need an amp.