Please help me figure out my future setup ( headphones )

Hey guys, so I’ve been thinking of what setup to go for, and I’m having troubles making the proper choices, especially on which pair headphone to go for.

First here is what I’ll be using it for: probably 80% music, but of course for podcasts/some gaming/anime/etc. Basically music and general use, but no mixing or professional use.
As for music, I listen to litteraly anything, but mostly classical and instrumentals ( game/anime/movie OST’s ). I can also listen to rock, pop, jazz, edm, just anything as long as it’s well recorded.

The sound I am looking for though is an emphasis on details, clarity and imaging. I like when the sound is clear and I can pick up and situate every part of it, with a dynamic and immersive sound.

As for my current setup, nowadays I’m only using my HD 558, which I really like, I used to have a K702 that I liked even more, and a A900X that I enjoyed, but not as much.
What I’m looking for right now is an affordable open back ( ~200€ ), that I can run properly now and that can scale well later.
My current Dac/Amp is the small Sabaj da3, which runs Iems in balanced and low impedence cans pretty well. The headphones I’m looking for have to be usable by either the low-power unbalanced port, or the better balanced one and then scale well with my next DAC/amp combo. I like Audio-GD so I plan to get their R2R 11 or NFB 11.38.

So far, after lurking a long time over the same kind of headphones, I’ve settled on 3:
DT 880 600 ohms / HD 6XX / K 7XX
I think I would be pleased with any of these, but I tend to lean more toward the DT 880 ( maybe because I’ve never heard beyer sound ). But then I got 2 issues:

First, I guess it will scale pretty well if I get a proper DAC/amp, but can I power them properly with my current one? Wouldn’t the 250 ohms version be better then, and is it worth going for the 880 if it’s not the 600 ohms version ( hence the 6XX or 7XX being a better choice ) ?

Secondly, is the dt 880 600 ohms good enough as a main headphone? should I instead save up and get the dt1990 later that might be more versatile? ( never seen a proper comparison between the two )

It’s a little long, but to sum it up: how would the DT 880 600 or 250 ohms/ HD 6XX/ K 7XX work with my current and future DAC/amp, and thoughts on DT 880 600ohms vs DT 1990 with my current and future setup also ( I believe the 2 Audio-GDs can handle the highs ) ?

I personally believe that the 7xx isn’t in the same league as the 6xx or 880 250/600 ohm.

So, I think that the 880 250 ohm might be the better choice over the 6xx with the variety of music you listen to. The 6xx can kind of lack subbass can can make some music sound boring. The 6xx is slightly more detailed then the 880, but the 880 has much better imaging and soundstage then the 6xx.

Regarding the 1990, that’s a step up from all the options mentioned. That is a very detailed headphone with great imaging and soundstage compared to the other aforementioned headphones. It’s just on a different tier of performance. Vs the 880, I think it’s a much better headphone, but you pay for that. They are also fairly efficient so you might be able to run the 1990 on the sabaj, but to get the best experience, a better dac/amp isn’t a bad idea.

The 880 250 ohm also appreciates more power/better amplification.

So I would say that the 880 probably suits you the best in this situation, and if you want to take the step to a higher tier of performance, the 1990 is a good choice

I’m not a huge audio gd fan, so I won’t comment on that too much, but people seem to like their products, but imo there is better out there ATM for similar prices.

what about the 770 M0N? I’ve read it’s the most neutral / balanced compared to the 880 and 990?

and what happens if we throw in the HD58x for consideration?

I wouldn’t tend to agree with the 770 statement. Having heard and owned the beyer lineups over the years, the 770 tends to lean on the warm and bassier side. I would say it has less emphasized treble then the 880 or 990, but tends to not be as detailed or have as much clarity as the 880 or 990. I think the true neutral in the beyer line is the 880 600 ohm, but the 250 ohm version is a close second.

The 58x is a great choice too, more versatile then the 6xx. Also worth a look. I would suggest the 58x if you like a more intimate sound, and the 880 if you prefer a wider soundstage. Both are excellent for the price, and with the 58x you get removable cables to that’s a plus.

Thanks for the advices.

I understand what you mean about the 6XX, as I kind of have this feeling with my HD558.

So I guess the DT 880 250 ohms ( I can’t run the 600 ohm I presume ? ) is most likely the choice to make, I still have plenty of time to make a choice, so i’ll see if I can save up and go ultimately for the DT 1990.

You would find that the 250 ohm are easier to drive, and since you wanted to be able to run them off of a phone or pc occasionally, you would get a better experience with the 250 ohm in this case.

Edit: also neither the 880 or 1990 can run balanced without modding. TBH you really don’t need to go for balanced, because a good balanced amp can cost alot and you can get similar performance from a single ended amp if it was designed well

You mean the DT 770 ? I guess it’s not a bad set of headphones, but I’m looking for an open one.

As for the HD 58X, I’ve lurked around and asked multiple times about it ( not here though ), and what I understood is that the 6XX scales better and provides better performances, and so if I can afford it, it’s worth the extra 50€.

The 58x isn’t as amp picky as the 650/6xx, so yes the 6xx would scale better, but the 58x is still a great value for headphones. I would say they just have more of a different signature, but the 6xx does have more detail while the 58x has better imaging and subbass performance. But the mids on the 6xx are so good.

I’m using my Sabaj da3 on the pc exclusively ( if I want portable audio I might get a dap ), and since its unbalanced port isn’t that powerfull ( I belive it’s like the fiio k3 ), I was worried about it running the 600 ohms version of the DT 880.
If I get the k 702 I would get the same Issue I guess, but the 6XX can be run balanced I believe, so that’s why I hesited over the HD 6XX vs DT 880. But you convinced me in your first post.

You would need to buy a different cable to run balanced with the 6xx as well. The DA3 can only put out around 111mW @ 64Ω balanced, so it is more power, but not enough imo to buy a balanced cable. You might as well put that money towards a nice single ended amp.

Regarding portable, if you got something like the ifi xdsd instead of a dap for portable usage, you could power mostly anything and just connect it to your phone.

Edit: or a fiio q5s. They are just going to be more “futureproof” then a dap, unless you really want that separation from your phone

Thanks for all of the points made. I think that the choice really now lays between DT 880 250 ohms or save up and go for the next price range of the DT 1990. It’s actually suits me better since Beyer products are more affordable and accessible in Europe.

I have another thought to go over: What about going for the DT 880 600 ohms, and pair it with a small amp ( I think ~50€ ) with my Da3, or is it just a waste of money, and Da3 with DT 880 250ohms is just fine?

About your last post: When I meant a DAP, I meant something dedicated for mobile usage, I actually prefer a portable DAC/amp ( could use my sabaj ) over a DAP, but it’s not a big need for me right now anyways. I got a good setup with my sabaj and iems ( KZ z10 pro ) and now I want some good open cans to enjoy more some music styles.

Honestly, the difference between the 250 and 600 ohm isn’t that huge, and a 50€ amp most likely isn’t going to do anything significant.

If you wanted a cheaper desktop setup, you could just buy a topping d10 and a jds labs atom or monolith liquid spark, and pretty much be set for around $200 USD. Honestly imo it would be more clean then the audio gd. I find audio gd products compressed and lacking dynamics compared to competitors.

But going back to the topic at hand, you really won’t be missing out on much by going with 250 ohm

I meant to get a small amp because the only issue I have with my sabaj da3 is the power it has, it’s a pretty neat little DAC ( I think it’s better than the D10 you mentioned ), and if I could run the DT 880 600ohms with one, it would be perfect ( not sure if It actually has a proper line out and is meant to be used like that though ) .

As for Audio-DG, I’m interested in the brand because we have it at a really good price here in Europe ( 350€ R2R 11 2019 / 450€ NFB 11.38 2019 ), and it has really good components for the price range. The NFB 11.38’s DAC chip for exemple I believe outclasses the Topping D50’s.
But DAC/amp setup right now doesn’t matter much, I firstly want to get a decent pair of cans, I will have plenty of time to look for it later.

You wouldn’t be able to run the 600 ohms with the da3. They wouldn’t sound correct unfortunately.

Regarding audio gd, I have no issues with the dacs, its the actual headphone amps that I dislike. Also the performance of a headphone amp will be much more noticeable then that of a dac (unless it’s implemented in a way that would seriously mess with the freq response or other aspects, not very common).

The reason that I suggested another dac when you have the da3 is because the da3 does not have a line out mode, and could only output through the headphone out, which would not be ideal if you were looking to connect it up to another amplifer. Although you might be able to turn down the volume to half and get away with it.

Yeah I know that 600 ohms is way too much, I meant paired with a small amp like ( on top of my head ) smsl sap II /topping nx1/3s / fiioa A3 ( A5 is too expensive ). But I guess since there isn’t a line out as you just said, simply going for the 250 ohms version of the DT 880 might be the safest and simplest choice anyways.

Also, thank you for your help throughout this post, I feel like i’ve grabbed too much of your attention and time, and I’m sorry about it. I’ve been nitpicking over random ideas, but I’m now set on this matter thanks to you.

Testing off of a fiio q1 mk2 which has slighty higher power ratings then the sabaj in single ended, my 880 600 ohm sounds off and lacks bass slam and extension. Also is slightly more bright. 600 ohm puts alot more strain on an amp then 250 ohm. Testing my 250 ohm 770, it can get to sufficient volume and sounds correct. So you will most likely be able to run the 250 ohm off of the da3, but not the 600 ohm without problems

Actually I also have an a3, so let me test it off of that, but I don’t think it will be able to drive it well.

Thank you for trying all that, It’s hard to find people that have these kind of gears, I’m quite surprised you do.

You can check my profile and see what I’ve got or have owned. I just enjoy this hobby too much lol

Also the 600 ohms did not like the a3. At all. it sounded really bad, where on the q1 it was at least listenable

what’s your budget for the headphones? I don’t see anything said about that.