New rig, new gear - need advice for immersion - anything up to 400ish EURO

Hello there,

TL;DR;
[spoiler]
First of, coming here from Z Reviews, which is basically the only audio reviewer I trust. Awesome content. That said, I only really check out the channel when I am looking for new headphones, soooo like one every few years ? Meaning there are A LOT of options and old videos.

Which is now :). I’m upgrading my ancient Rig and I ended up going with a 3090 and a Samsung G9 as screen, so time to check what all this “immersion” is all about. I have been avoiding widescreens until now.

Which brings me to this post. I am currently running with Bose QuietComfort 35 and a creative E5 as dac/amp and I’ve been ok with them, though I they could have a bit more punchy Bass and they get a bit uncomfortable after a few hours, still ok, but could be better. Less happy with the E5, the included mic is nice but even at max volume it’s kinda weak.

Before that I had JVC HA-SZ2000s and Beyerdynamics dt…8800s? I don’t remember the exact model, something close to 200 euros. I enjoyed both, while the JVC were a bit lacking in clarity perhaps, but the bass was neat.

However, pretty much every headphone I’ve ever had, broke. Either the cable snapped (beyer dynamics, Sennheiser) or the actual headphone snapped off, like JVC, or Medusa somethings (aeons ago)
[/spoiler]

TL;DR;

I recently saw the Audeze Mobius and that got me curious. I hear good things about planar magnetics and it has that 3d gimmick. I seriously doubt it adds anything, I don’t move my head while playing…I think, but hey, why not. Zeos seemed to like them somewhat but I don’t see them in the hifi guide? It does list the Sundara though and those seem to get good reviews.

I’m not interested at all in a competitive edge, I will be playing 1440 p ultra RTX-On HDR. Mostly RPGs and if hell freezes over and Star Citizen releases, that. (and Cyberpunk because duh). I DO care about good sound though, just not if it costs more than my rig, I’m NOT an audiophile. That said, every time I spent a little more on the headphones, I have noticed a better experience.

Soooo, what are my options at sub 400 EURO (I can go up if it’s is warranted, but let’s say max 600) for JUST the headphones? Doesn’t need to be Planar magnetic, I just hear it’s pretty good stuff. I am ok with paying a little extra to change the earpads.
I am also open to suggestions for dac/amps in europe. Shiit for example is kind of hard to get here last I checked. I dunno, 200ish budget for either? Really not sure what a sensible price range looks like here.

What matters to me most, is, by experience, build quality. A detachable cable is a plus here. The sundara for example look pretty flimsy.
I like my bass, but clarity is a big plus too. After those two, surround ( because immersion ), I hear you can just pay for a DTS software solution or something along those lines to help with that? I’d be playing games only, no music (that would go over regular speakers), but obvioulsy games come with a lot of music. I don’t give a flying fertilizer about RGB or wireless, although wireless would remove one point of failure, so maybe.

And sorry for the long post, got much longer than I had intended.

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Hey there, welcome to hifiguides!

I would just advise caution on following the reviewers. Z gets some heat here and there, he’s a good reviewer but he does like pretty much everything lol. As anything in this hobby… anything a reviewer or one of us says is completely based on our opinion which is fully subjective.

got the 3080 but same monitor as you… do make sure to check your g9 we have some issues on screen flickers, bad dimming, among other things just giving a fellow gamer a headsup on this. If no issues, your golden and the monitor is amazing.Granted I could’ve just stayed with CRG9 for half the cost but half the refresh rate lol

how in the world did you snap a beyer cable? Those things are built like tanks… and sennheiser is no slouch either. lol

it’s because quite honestly they are quite bad. Bad latency issues, very bad RMA issues, dead battery, random setting bugs, among a world of other issues. It’s to the point Audeze actually remade the headset now named the “Penrose” and removed the 3d feature from it but making it low latency lol. Penrose is the better option in that regard though I wouldn’t call it better than something such as a Sundara despite being in the same pricepoint not by a long shot except build quality maybe

well this makes sense but of course something like soundstage and imaging can also add immersion… so those characteristics can sometimes be a bit more desirable… after all why would you not want sounds to come from where they are located and the sound to be encompassed in a large 3d circle around your head.

Depends, what would you say explicitly is the sound your looking for? You mention more bass to the bose but that’s about it which doesn’t say that much in all honesty. It does sound like you love bass though so that does narrow some things down… whats your opinion on mids(vocals) or highs(treble cymbals and bright sounds)? You tried the 880 which is more of a mids and highs focused headphone what was your thoughts?

I would just recommend getting a dedicated dac and dedicated less you absolutely need a mic port… If you really feel the need to get the mic port just switch that e5 to the G6 and call it a day or keep the E5 as the only other with a mic port that comes to mind that can drive that high of impedance is mayflower arc but thats much more expensive. If you don’t need a mic input I would say just get one of the many entry stacks and call it a day, they will cost like $200 usually. Monoprice liquid Spark stack, JDS Atom stack, Schiit Stack, Topping Stack(has two… a30 + d30 and L30 + e30 which is better but slightly more expensive).

hifiman build quality is a bit of a joke… they sound fantastic but are cheaply built

for the most part yeah… dolby atmos, hesuvi, etc cover that ground on most cases when it comes to 7.1 is it’s benefits.

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Wow, I did not expect a reply this soon, thanks :slight_smile:
Ok so, for the G9, they released new drivers very recently which fix the flickering and address issues with the 30 series, so I’m not to concerned about bugs…yet, but I did order from a local shop just in case.

As for how I break stuff…god only knows lol. Added a screen for the JVC, that’s like the third pair of headphones that broke in that same spot, all different brands. I haven’t used a headphone stand yet, so that might explain some of it, in which case that would be number one on my list :stuck_out_tongue: .

As for the soundstage and imaging, I totally agree, I just thought that would be a given. I suppose I would rank that above bass/mids/high then. Figured those would be base criteria for any decent headphones, so yes, those should absolutely be up there.
Bass is something I enjoy indeed, but certainly not to the exclusion of clarity. There is a lot of opportunity for earthshaking sounds in games and I just find it …perhaps not immersion breaking if the bass is lacking but it does add a lot. The JVC were nice there but sometimes it was too much and distracting and it started washing out other sounds in scenes, but big guns/engines were very satisfying lol. That might have had more to do with equalizing though, I pushed the bass, but the treble kind of went out the window in the process. Also, I hated the faux leather, not for the looks, but with time it gets everywhere and sticks to everything.

The quietcomfort 35 have what I could consider the minimum I’m comfortable with in terms of bass.
And I think I can say that if I had to choose between mids/high or bass, I would prefer the mids/highs. The bose are much more …clean sounding I guess, compared to the JVC and I appreciate it more than I miss the rumbling. They still have a fair amount of bass.

From memory, the beyer dynamics sounded almost too good if that makes any sense? Games sounded more like recordings than being in whatever environment the game put you in. Not saying that’s a bad thing but that would definitely suffice in terms of quality for me. Hard to say since it’s been a while, but I believe it was better than the Bose ones. It wasn’t so much that the cable broke, but it kept coiling and putting tension on the headphones until the contacts inside broke. I managed to solder them back on but it didnt’ last long and they didn’t sound quite as good anymore. Eventually the cable just completely came out.

I guess, in short, I’m looking for something that lets me have my cake and eat it too. Knowing that the headsets I listed all are pretty much good enough for me for individual aspects, but none had it all.
Which is also where I imagine that a better dac/amp might help. The E5 was definitely struggling with the JVC and on higher volume also with the Bose, although I don’t usually listen that high so it’s fine.

Is that any help?

For DAC/AMP I’m currently looking on amazon and these seem like decent option:
DAC:
https://www.amazon.com/iFi-Zen-DAC-Converter-Unbalanced/dp/B07YZK5MDS/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=schiit+heresy&qid=1607296044&s=electronics&sr=1-1

AMP:
https://www.amazon.com/iFi-Balanced-Desktop-Headphone-Outputs/dp/B08DL99B5V/ref=sr_1_8?dchild=1&keywords=ifi+zen+amp&qid=1607296244&sr=8-8

Haven’t bothered checking it out yet, my copy is fine thankfully no issues but I thought it was worth bringing up just incase.

I tend to put mine away in their respective case instead of on a stand as my headphones tend to have velour or suede which just loves to grab any hair, dirt, dust, etc.

I can’t stand leather pads and the like… so were in the same boat there.

curious, did you use a straight cable on those beyers or did it have a coiled cable? Wonder if perhaps the cable wasn’t straightened and let to relax a bit so it don’t recoil. Beyers cables are quite good quality but this can break if you yank on it like any other headphone.

so big soundstage and good imaging got it. Nope those actually aren’t base criteria… well… imaging is sort of but not soundstage… you will see something like sennheisers 600 series is a beloved headphone but it has very small narrow soundstage just as an example.

If you wanted a bassy beyer with mids and highs in the forefront… that would be the DT 880(pad swap this to suedes for a hell of a lot more bass… sounds best at 600 ohms). As for warm signature(bass emphasized but balanced out) that would be Tygr 300r. Later on if you want even more bass… that would be the T1.2 especially if you put something like suede pads on it as it becomes practically like a cannon however in this price bracket you would also have Fostex which is the bass lovers headphone brand. though both T1 and fostex will be above your price bracket so we can ignore that for the time being.

As for others… AKG K712 may work for you or k702 if you bass mod it these have a deceptive price range though so be warned… best to look around as for some reason akg prices their products stupidly high, i.e. I can buy one for $150 but at some locations its $500 for some stupid reason.

Sennheiser 58x jubilee is on the slightly warmer side for the brand despite their tuning being as neutral as possible… it responds well to some bass equalization

Nighthawk Carbon may work but it’s dark instead of bright… it does have good mids and a very warm bass though

Not sure if you can get your hands on one but the Argons would potentially be in there as well they are a mod of Fostex T50RP and have splendid lows with a good tonality in the mids and highs.

Personally I would say start with either beyer or AKG over there save yourself some money… as argon and nighthawk are a bit hard to obtain(one’s a special order the others a discontinued item)

oh those, zen can and zen dac are good options for those who like bass as it actually has the xbass button and xcan added the xspace which really is just more in the treble(space meaning air = air meaning treble). It fits with a great many headphones(except the tygr which just gets overly fussy about any form of equalizing). For your tastes, this may be the best bet… this or monoprice spark stack but these don’t have those added buttons. The only issue with zen dac and can is that you want a 4.4mm pentacon balanced cable to hook them together… and power and best sound comes from their balanced port not the single ended port… therefore using something such as a DT 880 for example won’t be the best idea unless you modify the dt 880 to be a duel sided balanced cable(you can have this done as people offer this service all over the place for around $70 not sure about euro prices though)

Of the ones you mentioned I can get the beyer dynamic around 160 ish, the AKG 712 around 220 and the 702 for 130. The rest are a no-show or cost as much to import from beyond the pond as the headphones themselves.

I’m seeing conflicting reviews for each, some say balancing the 8800 helps but it’s not enough, and others that the 660 ohm is too much to drive for the zens, apparently they’re only rated for up to 300m other say it works fine. Eiher way, the cable mod seems interesting, but I’m not sure I have trust myself with that, never mind not knowing what to get specifically in terms of cables/connectors. I can’t seem to find any shop that would do such mods either.

Seeing similar statements about the 712 regarding base and it seems they aren’t balanced either?

I’ll see if I can’t find some way to mod. For now I’d say it’s not an option but I’m keeping in the back of my mind nonetheless. Doesn’t seem too bad to do the mod and if I do end breaking them, it’s not the end of world.

yeah, its a large issue to my understanding depending on country… rather unfortunate… k702 are quite bass recessed compared to k712 which is the warmer more balanced sound but to be at $220 thats kind of nuts in my opinion.

zen can should be able to drive them without balanced port… zen dac can power them… but it has to be fully cranked though it loses some of the bass so its slightly too weak… Yes balancing them helps and is rather common. I would recommend asking one of the more tech savvy people on here about that… potentially on zen cans respective thread such as here 🔷 iFi Zen CAN Signature 6XX which is just the drop version of the amp or make another thread asking about it just to be fully sure… you can also head to the dt 880 600 ohm forum on here and ask. 🔶 Beyerdynamic DT880 600Ω

I would ask around some of the forum members here find someone from your area… for me I use Etsy though I am not sure if people from your country offer this service… you can also outright buy an 880 already modded on the used markets if you prefer… just takes some digging or placing up some ads for one.

you don’t need balanced for all headphones… it won’t make them sound spectacular it just makes fully utilization of the amp. K712 aren’t very needy on power to begin with at 62 ohms meanwhile the 880s can be 600 ohm… you also don’t even need 600 ohm 880s they just sound the best overall… you can be just fine with the 250 ohm version as well.

There have been many good suggestions. I suppose you live in Europe. Price/performance is almost the best here with the German companies Sennheiser or Beyer. There are always very good offers on their websites.

Maybe look for a good HD 660 Deal just slightly below 400€.
The sound is rather focused in the mids and the Soundstage is pretty small and intimate.

You can’t do much wrong with the 880 250ohm.
If you like the Beyer sound, but want more midrange, slightly smoother highs, better comfort and a wider soundstage I can recommend the beyerdynamic Amiron Home. They are 250 ohm but a lot mor efficient than 880s.There have been deals around 400€ in the past.

In my experience the712 one kling of work with small power. But with about 1000mw behind it the low frequencies wake up and they get fun. In any case, they benefit greatly from a good front end.
I have heard the AKGs are popular with gamers.
Edit: Thomann has AKG712 permanently on sale for 219 €

The new Soekris DAC 1101 is very good. It’s a Danish company for R2R Dacs and they are world class. Maybe save some money and go for it at about 400€.

Nooo no no goodness even I hate that one. It’s a budget t1.2 with strange sibilance tendencies. Definitely recommend a used t1.2 at $400 over these by a mile.

I’d say 880s are fine for a good intro to beyer and there house sound… splendidly balanced yet bright with great mids… though agreed the 600 series sennheiser are really nice.

Oh most definitely. I do really like the k712 it’s quite comfortable on listening with the mids and highs still being rather forward.

Is that a combo unit or just the dac haven’t checked. I would not recommend someone throw so much money at their gear when they are just starting out. Keep it simple start out small see if you want to take it further down the rabbit hole

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Not a fan, but I remember them as decent Beyer.
I personally like the 660 a lot. The spatial representation is small but in any case extremely precise. I’m not a gamer (exept AC lol) but I think a bigger soundstage would be better for games.

I never found the 712 even remotely interesting but many beginners like it. Somehow the treble was too rough and aggressive for me. I remember the precision of the Sounstage as rather mediocre.

My bad… I had the dac1101 in Mind. It’s a Combo.
The Lake People DAC C416 H is cool too.
Just wanted to complement some EU Companys with good value.
If he already had 880 he will probably be able to decide for himself if it is worth his money.

Man, I’m going down a rabbit hole here lol, this is worse than deciding on parts for a PC build. Coming here I had no idea cable modding even was a thing. Also thanks, etsy has NEVER been on my mind, but it appears there is indeed a guy that does cable mods there in europe.

Right now I am still looking at beyers, because I can get them pretty cheap. I see they currently have dt990 pro for a mere 100 euros, that seems like a really good deal that’s probably going to be very hard to beat. That said I am not afraid to spend a bit more if I believe it’s going to be worth it.

Looking at the Zen CAN &DAC, from what I understand they would be totally fine driving 600 ohm 880s. The tech sheet lists for the CAN Power Output Balanced:
756mW (15.1V) @ 300 Ohm, <1% THD (per channel)
385mW (15.2V) @ 600 Ohm, <1% THD (per channel)

http://www.digizoid.com/headphones-power.html lists even stupid high volumes at 292 mW, so to the uniniated like myself, I don’t see any issues there.

I had DT880 pros, it’s coming back now. I did enjoy them but I remember them lacking a bit in bass. It was there, just not punchy. That said, I am all but certain I wasn’t driving them fully and I wasn’t aware of changing pads at the time. So now, I’m thinking that balanced 880s 600 with an actual AMP/DAC might actually get me what I want.

The balanced thing would also fix the reason my cable snapped in the first place. It was twisting more and more until the contact broke off in the cup. The actual cable mantle that went into the cup was fine. If I mod that to have removable cables, it wouldn’t happen. And, if I do in such a way that there is a connector per cup, I also would be able to replace the headband, because this happened too. snap

So modding the dt880 or whatever would fix both issues and they’re cheap enough that I might as well give it a shot, or pay for the mod. So, assuming the zen DAC/CAN combo, I would be at roughly 500€, so considering I was willing to go that far for just the the headphones, that’s enough to throw in some decent cables and some other pads that might help make the bass a bit punchier and bring it up to where I need it.

My total max would be roughly 1000€ for everything. Which I’d rather not reach, 500 is feeling way better, but I’d be willing to the extra mile for stuff so long as it fits into that. I’m seeing people say that a tube amp would also help push the 880s that extra bit, which I’m also seeing for 100 ish so still ok. And would also help a little with the bass. Keeping in mind that the 880s were the closest I’ve gotten so far to what I want. The Bose quiet comfort 95 are good but I think I preferred the 880s overall. ( could be a case of retro-goggles mind you, I just remember being really bummed out when they died)

So, recap:
DT 880s or DT990s
ZEN DAC
ZEN CAN ( totally up for chaining either, but I gotta say they look dope)
Modding stuff, ie caps, cables (I already have a soldering station, dremel, hotglue. So I should be good on gear for this)

optional, tube amp?
seems like more bass, warmer tone, less harsh for about 100 more?
Is that just audiophiles drooling over 1 % improvement or is it a really worth it?

If you want good immersion for a decent price I highly recommend a set of AKG k7xx which has been a long standing series of headphones that provide ridiculously good soundstage which tend to make these incredibly immersive in the sound happening all around you, also making them an incredibly good candidate for a gaming headphone as a result. That, and a BTR5 amp/dac for around 100$ is typically good enough (although not the best) to power them especially since the DAC included is actually quite decent for the money and you can use it via usb to your computer. A typical pair of AKG’s don’t have the most ample bass response though, though its been apparently corrected in the K7xx compared to past variants, a good set of Dekoni pads may level them out nicely. This is all coming from an owner of the older Q701 variant without the 3db bass boost the 7xx has. All in all the entire setup will end up costing less than 400$ even if you invest in better pads. In my opinion the soundstage of these absolutely destroys the Beyer 880s for gaming, of which I happen to own a set of those as well, I should note as well that the bass response of these AKGs still manages to be more present and more impactful than the 880s which are decidedly lean sounding in comparison. Oh and AKGs have detachable cables while most Beyerdynamics typically don’t including my 880

I’d say just preference I think large stages sound better on games but small stages are nice for like fighting games racers music etc

Not a fan of the treble scoop it has or the imaging inaccuracies for sure

Larger yes but quite inaccurate and a very different tuning overall.

That’s one loooong post, I’m at work so wont have time to cover it. I’ll check back on it tomorrow.

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you will get that… not necessary to jump head first though.

yep, hart audio and periapt cable are two of the very well known ones here that make great cables…

ah, awesome there you go.

Unless you are somebody with next to no treble issues I will tell you hard skip that immediately. That is not by any means a “casual” use headphone… it is extremely sharp and bright V signature…

yes, they can drive the 600 ohm variants… not sure if the unbalanced port can but I know for sure the balanced one can

880s depends on the ohm… 600 ohm to my ear has the best most noticeable bass, mid increase, and brightness increase… it’s just more present across the board… it’s still a bass light headphone though but the bass is most definitely a little above neutral. can be equalized or pad swapped for much more on the bass as well as less treble.

to be fair, you don’t need to have them balanced… you can get a single ended cable detachable mod done to them as well and choose a seperate amp and still get the same results… its just the zen stack has what’s practically just an equalizer preset built into it with a press of a button.

it’s worth modding them if you truly are sure that it’s the headphone for you… it’s definitely not for everyone but it does play very beautifully.

I am pretty positive the zen dac should be able to run the 600 ohm dt 880 when its running balanced… the damn thing can run the argons and those require a ridiculous amount of power. I would look into that first and foremost in the event you may be able to save yourself some money… unless you are really set on the full stack of which by all means if that’s what you want to do as the stack compliments the headphone just fine.

start out slow, it’s not a race and theres no reason to go throwing a ton of money at this right out the gate. Custom cable would be nice as well as the mod if your sure you want to keep the 880… as for tube amps? no, definitely don’t go this right as an entry… go with solid state(regular amp) as tube amps are more picky with what is plugged into them and they tend to be much much more expensive especially when you start getting into tube rolling. They get plenty of bass just from a simple swap of the pads… if you want to really cause them to crank out bass… get either dekoni hybrids or Dekoni suedes… hybrids will keep the brightness and jack up the bass to a very large degree… suedes will deplete that brightness and make it sound more warm with a large increase in the bass.

skip the 990s, take this from a guy who knows better as that was his first audiophile headphone. That one, without extensive changes and modifications is no good for casual ended use.

zen dac and can are good, again only if you really want those buttons otherwise theres cheaper options without the need for balanced honestly…

Modding it is rather easy… theres plenty of vids on how to do it as well as forums on this site explaining it.

completely unnecessary but if you really want to tend with that idea… look into Dark Voice

is it worth it? I mean, to be fair… the 600 ohm version of the dt 880 scale to an absolute stupid degree… I own $600+ hardware and they are still scaling higher and sounding better as they go. Granted, at my price range you have to consider 880 or T1.2 but yeah…

may recommend though to take a breather and a step back there man, don’t plunge headfirst…

also since the k7xx just got brought up…

image

this is the k7xx… it’s the k712 with more low end and a fixed upper mid section. It has all the flaws of the k7 series including the bad imaging and pads requiring plastic adapters for changes. It’s still a great headphone but this will depend entirely what your looking for. AKG k7 series is a mids and highs kind of headphone… while the bass is more present on k712 and k7xx the mids and highs are still pushed forward and are notably more apparent than the lows as it’s like this with essentially everything in that series from AKG

this is the DT 880 250 ohm vs 600 ohm. the one in read is the 600 ohm… as you can see, noticeably big difference there…

then you have the weird one which is dt 880 250 ohm special limited edition black compared to dt 880 250 ohm

dt 880 special edition black there in red only the 250 ohm variant of this headphone had that tuning… not sure why… the 600 ohm black is entirely aesthetic

600 ohm dt 880 is easily the best one of the 880s based on tonality and quality… as for the black edition over there… its some weird hybrid of an 880 and 990 which is what makes me believe spurred the creation of the T1.2 and Amiron Home… really don’t recommend black edition… it’s not that great honestly

for 880s do not buy pro… buy edition or premium however htey have it labeled… premium version has a carrying case and the straight cable… pro has no case and a coiled cable designed for studios

For the most part I agree with your take on AKG k series, although In my experience, at least with the 250ohm standard version of the dt880s, both my q701’s and my 880’s have the mids and highs pushed forward over the bass. Both sets can also benefit greatly from a change in pads while Dekoni specifically sells pads that will work for the 880s and even sells sets for the AKGs. Personally I believe its a bit of a toss up between the two. The only thing I disagree over is the soundstage of which to my ears is very accurate in many respects although there are most certainly some dead spots in the soundstage as there are with many headphones. The 880s are very accurate as well, the only big difference being that they are slightly more narrow sounding to my ears. Also should note that my 880s are less picky to drive on a given amp than my AKGs

well yeah, the 880 should be like that… it’s just like the akg in that regard… it’s not like the 990 where the bass is emphasized they tuned the 880 to be one of the only mid centric yet bright beyers. Granted I will say akg is a great alternative if you just don’t want it that bright.

the soundstage is incredibly big on the k7’s series but they do have imaging issues, this is just a common knowledge thing not me making some stupid claim mind you lol. It’s not that big of a deal but it is worth mentioning… and the dead air spots on the soundstage are rather noticeable which can be distracting and be a bit annoying in my opinion.

well it depends… for starters 880 is a semi open back… its stage is definitely smaller than the akg k7 but thats a rather unfair comparison considering k7 there has one of the biggest soundstages at it’s price bracket rivaled by 990 and tygr 300r and maybe a few others. As for picky to drive… it depends on the sensitivity… 600 ohm beyers are rather hard to drive honestly but they aren’t impossible, regardless if a certain someone claims you need a damn modded speaker amp to drive them. I had bigger issues with the 600 ohm 880 than I did with any of the AKG k series headphones I have tried… but it also has to do with that things scaling… because you can’t just throw anything at it… yea you can power it off the spark yeah you can power it off a cheap combo unit… but it more than likely will sound bad unless you give it a higher grade piece of equipment… thing is fussy as hell about that in order to sound its best

Again, thanks everybody, the help is much appreciated.
I’m leaning heavily on the 880s 600ohm because I already had a 250ohm version and I’m all but certain I enjoyed them. The 600s cost basically the same and are, as far as I can tell, universally considered better sounding, but not worth the hassle of driving for a casual like myself.

However, I don’t consider myself starting to look into more audiophile gear. I have been slowly stepping up in headphones for over a decade…mind you baby steps as far as actual audiophiles would be considered :slight_smile: I had a 5.1 surround system way back when, and have been using headphones ever since for practical reason. No Headphones have come even close to that experience, but that’s basically impossible and I don’t expect them to. Note I say experience, not sound. Feeling a jet take off, an explosion go off, etc from a subwoofer is a totally different experience to headphones and if I could, I would go with speakers over headphones.

I already had a pair of 880s and a dedicated dac/amp, just not together, so this is more of a sidegrade/comeing back to something more dedicated than “just” a pair of headphones. So I have no issues at all with buying into a dac/amp and the zens seem convenient to get, affordable and look cool. On top of that, they have a feature to improve bass without muddying the rest of the sound profile, thus covering one of the weaknesses of the 880s. They just happen to also be able to drive the 600ohm 880s.

I already liked the 880s and those were 250 ohms, these are supposed to sound even better, and between the improved amp/dac, and a mod for caps I am confident I could get them to a point where the bass is close enough while the rest I already know is good. I would just need to mod them to be balanced to get there. Which, imho, comes with the perks of eliminating two points of failure I had on them, as well as being more convenient, so I see that as a win/win.

This is then also why I was considering a tube. I already had a 880, I had a dac/amp, I’m just getting back in the game so to speak as far as that is concerned. I highly doubt I will regret spending the money for that + mod. This would be enough for me, probably, but if I can get an ever better experience, and this would be the exciting new part, by getting a cheap tube amp, I’d be game to try that out, but it would have to be a notable improvement.

The dark voice is too expensive in that sense, I was looking something more like the little dot to add a little extra spice. This would be entirely a bonus, 250ish €, while still in the budget, is too much of a dedication in that sense. I doubt I would miss it.

You do have some very good points there, and gave a very accurate explanation of the differences between the two. I agree 100% and of course both of them need to be driven properly. One good example being that both my 880 and Q701 are powered better by my Asgard 3 rather than solely off of my Btr5 unit. I personally can’t attest to the 600ohm versions my self but they definitely are two very good sets in their own right.

Actually, I’m seeing tube preamps for as little as 30 euros. Not sure how useful that is, that seems awfully cheap? I guess if all you want is to modify a signature it works? The can would still be the main amp. For that cheap I’d still be under 200 for a modded 880. Struggling to find sound samples for something like this.

incorrect actually, on quite a few headphones that button can destroy the sound completely. It’s just an equalizer preset as I said… though for 880 it doesn’t ruin it since 880s are not very bassy to begin with.

the problem with that is that tube amps in the cheaper variety are just… to put it lightly not worth it, they sound like shit in other words to be completely blunt. Like you can get something like a little dot, little bear, dark voice, etc but in the long run these are more expensive than just picking up a solid state that will run your setup… all those other tube amps like loxijie are quite bad and just don’t sound good like at all speaking completely from experience.

the little dots okay but its still a bit clinical to my ear which is why I mentioned dark voice instead as it really fills out and warms up the 880s. Tube amps are great, but they definitely are different from each other as well as their tubes.

not really no, I had one in house till I upgraded to a better tube preamp and was something I was just getting ready to mention… you can add a tube preamp to your solid state setup to gain some of that tube warmth it won’t be exactly the same for sure… but it is a nice addition

check this https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o0lTGip-qQc&t=93s

I agree with his point of view on the unit though I don’t really agree with maxing out the unit so to speak… you’d need the dac, preamp, and amp respectively but the back of each unit has to be compatible with one another of course