Well my life has been crazy the last few months, so I haven’t been around much. I came into this knowing very little and I learned a hell of a lot. Long story short, I was really enjoying spending time relaxing and listening to music, so I wanted to up my headphone game. I discovered this site thouigh DMS’s youtube (and being totally honest, DMS through his collab with LTT).
I wasn’t looking to break the bank, my absolute limit coming in was 500$ or less. From my research, youtube videos (DMS and Z were especiallly useful to me) and this forum (#blameMon ) I ended up with the Sennheiser HD 58x, a JDS Labs Atom amp, and an SMS m100 DAC. I tried out a set of hifiman 4xx’s but I didnt like the ‘dull’ tone they seemed to give? I returned them mostly because I couldn’t justify 2 sets of headphones at this time in my life (still true today) and I loved the 58x waaay more.
To this day I couldn’t recommend the 58x more to a newcomer who doesnt want to spend a fortune to get into this. I absolutley love this setup and it has served me exceptionally well. The only thing really missing is a microphone, but I rarely need that (that might change soon-ish - any recommendations on a decent bidget setup?).
Anyway, my next step will likely be some kind of wireless setup to work with my phone (no headphone jack ) I’m thinking fiio btr5 and a decent set of IEMs. Also vaguely interested in the THX Pandas based on some review content I’ve seen but I don’t really need another set of over ears right now (maybe later ).
I would like some suggestions on my upgrade headphone pick. One of the best things about this setup is that I can support a fairly big upgrade in headphones before having to upgrade my stack. I am always open to suggestions so I can focus my future search, but I am for sure not ready to spend right now.
Many thanks to everyone here for their support, Love you all, Be safe, Listen well,
If you would like to add a headphone jack to your phone, I really like the Audioquest Dragonfly series of DACs. I’ve had both the Black v1.5 and the Red. Small, lightweight, and simple - all you need is a USB adapter for your phone (if it’s an iPhone, the Apple camera connector works). The sound quality is hard to beat for the price. I decided to go that route, as there are few options for really good-sounding wireless headphones. Unless I’ve missed some recent developments, all Bluetooth options rely on lossy compression.
How much do you know about the BTR5? All the reviews I’ve seen indicate that it’s amazing. Also my current phone is a Pixel 2 (til it finally dies - first phone ive cared to keep til 2 years and beyond now - next will likely be another in the pixel series but who knows…depends what exisits when im looking for a new one)
I’ve personally never used any Fiio products. They looked interesting at first, but after a bit of research, I settled on the Chord Mojo as what I would want in a portable DAC/amp that’s bigger than the Dragonfly. Chord makes an attachment for the Mojo called Poly that allows you to use it wireless. It creates an ad-hoc WiFi network you can connect your phone to when mobile, and you can stream lossless high-res audio to it that way.
I am currently building my lossless audio catalog. Most of my music is 320 or 250+ VBR…so im not sure how much a difference that will make…
I would say i have about 10% FLAC, 80% relatively decent quality, and the other 10% 160 or less…
You should be able to hear the difference between 320 and FLAC with your 58x. While you’re building up your lossless library, you can always stream lossless via a service like Tidal or Qobuz.
Thats it! I was strugling to describe these and dull tone is it! They have a dullness to them that i didnt like. especially compared to headphones like the 58x which is almost perfect and a great headphone. I think i’d rather recommend the t50rp
I can hear the differences even with lower end audio gear, for the most part. Amazon music HD is my choice atm. good selection for my tastes and great quality as far as I can tell
To be honest I struggled to describe it at first too, even when I returned them. It was only while writing this summary that the word ‘dull’ came to me… and I feel its perfect for the experience as I remember it
edit: I can’t type >.<
Only thing bad in wireless are the battery’s.
They will give up at some point, depending of use and charges = every day use/miss use.
They ain’t a “long?” time solution but for few years it’s ok. (could argue that is same with all electronics) But if you count/pay it out as to say in ~3 (±1) years and look for something else.
Other than Pandas i would go for the Sony WH-1000*.
For overall sound, comfort and adjusting + UI.
Haven’t found a need yet where to use these / buy these.
Plane old weather proof ear buds and phone with 3.5mm has been enough.
My current wireless ‘setup’ is a pair of mid-low tier truely wireless buds from Jlab (got them for 30$ a year and a half ago) The sound quality is middling at best. Battery life is about 4 hours talk time. Worst thing is only the right earbud fuctions as master and as audio/mic for calls. Good enough for calls and pure fucntion, but if I want to listen to music they really are not great. For wireless, portability is important to me, which is why the Pandas are more a passing interest and a decent set of IEMs with a high quality bluetooth DAC/Amp are more interesting to me.
My 2 cents since the thread has been derailed. I have bot the Dragonfly Cobalt and the BTR5. Ever since getting the BTR5 I haven’t touched the Cobalt. The Cobalt is a little warmer in sounds but enjoyable. The BTR5 just sounds clinical, extremely handy, and pairs with the KZ ZS10pro very nicely. On USB, the BTR5 is higher resolving than the Cobalt.
I think the Cobalt is better for output and if you’re trying to use it at as a dac, set to 100% and the output drops to match line voltages expected for interconnecting. As far as sound, I prefer my Schiit Fulla 3 is a DAC/amp but when at home and not moving around Bifrost 2 and Airist R-2R through a Schiit Heresy or RNHP but anything mobile to shame. Only thing the BTR5 has that keeps me using it is bluetooth, microphone, and the built in EQ is nice for some experiences.