Student budget setup

Tl;Dr 500$ worth of HiFi available in the EU or China.

I feel filthy just posting this off my phone, but I will try to get it good.

I’m new around here and into this hobby. I can bearly speak audiophile, but I have a basic understanding due to what I’m learning. I live in Romania, and getting HiFi gear can’t be quite expensive and very hard to find, but anything in the EU would be fine as I can get to the delivery somehow with a forwarding address or relatives.

I am now on the verge of upgrading my headphone/dac/amp setup. I own a Topping MX3, a Audiotehnica M40x /w Brainwaves Lamb Skin pads. I can personally push 400$ but with a big effort maybe get 500$. I’m looking at the Argon’s Mk3 and the Verum 1(Ukraine is on the border of Romania). Both very awkward to drive as one needs an entire block worth of power and the other needs a hamster on a bike.

I’m usually listening to old school metal, instrumentals and some patriotic folk (I swear I’m not KGB).

So what would be your advice on 500$ worth of HiFi, considering what I already own.


Fiio QI ii from Amazon and pair of hd58x from Drop eu collection?


I know both the hd58x is a steal, as the Fiio is, but buying it from the US if you consider VAT and shipping is still cheaper then the EU collection. Either way warranty would be a nightmare. I am considering the 58x and the 6xx as I can just get a decent dac after. As I’ve seen the amp part of the MX3 is quite good. But ain’t the Verum 1 a tad bit better then the Sennheiser? 440 $ for a D10 and the Verums.

You still.need an amp unfortunately all the good amps you have to import unless you can find a liquid spark or a JD’s labs atom. Or even a magni locally

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If my MX3 won’t cut it, I have to choose between the Magni 3 and the Liquid Spark and figure out a way to import them at an affordable price. I can use my MX3 as a DAC until I upgrade to something better.

But I still didn’t figure out about the headphones. Is the Verum 1 or Argons MK3 a good choice for one of these amps or should I stick with the Sennheiser?

Also I think I can source an Emotiva A100 locally at higher price, but I don’t know if I should put all my money on the Argons, even tho my mom gave me an ultimatum (won’t be my last headphones).

If you have a topping mx3, that should work just fine for the time being. I personally wouldn’t recommend the argon’s unless you know what sound you like and have the amp to drive them. I think the 58x is a good all rounder that isn’t that picky about amps.

Also if you did want to upgrade your amp, the fiio k5 pro is a great option that might be available

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Well. I like warmer sounds, clean treble (as they are the most likely to ruin it for me) and good bass. I’m not a bass head, but but neither I’m the fan of flat, analytical headphones.(Got the m40x at a really good deal)

IDK if someone knows how a Marantz from the 80’ sound but I kinda am chasing that dragon.

Ah, you might like the 58x the most then, as it has good detail and treble, nice bass, and more of that kind of thick yet clean sound that you might be after

The verum ones also might deliver on that claim as well, so those would be a good option. The verum and 58x don’t really have super similar sound signature, so I would check and see if you would like the sound signature on the verums

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I heard about a V shaped sound in the Verums. I do own a V shaped sounding IEMs (KZ AS10). I do quite like them but the highs sound kinda janky imo. It’s good enough for carrying in my sling.

Ah, well the verums will be more towards a v shape then the 58x

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I’ve seen the graphs on the 6xx but not on the 58x. Reviews are pretty good on both but somehow I tend to lean towards the Verums as they are planars, and do advertise a warm sound. My only thing with them is that they are 8 ohms, and I don’t really know how to amp that, considering the 8x rule.

It might put amps through their paces, but it is fairly easy to drive, but somewhat amp dependent. I would say that you might want to get an amp to go along with it. I would say something like the jds labs atom and topping d10 can handle it no problem due to the low output impedance

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I’m sure of it. Yeah easy to drive but hard to make em sound right, I suppose. Can be used of a phone or Mobo sound card. I’m curious about an SU8 also but IDK if I need that balanced output yet + balanced tends to output more power per channel, which the Verums don’t need(think so). Kinda hard for me to get the atom. Liquid Spark or Magni would be the stretch of my limits.

The su-8 is just a dac, and cannot power headphones. You would want to get a balanced amp to go with the su-8

You would also need an dac to go along with the jds labs atom, or feed the atom with a phone or pc

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I could just stay with the MX3 till I can afford the SU8 and SH8 stack. It’s about 450$ I think, and only get the headphones now. That would work for balanced. I think in a year can get that money. I do think that the headphones do make the biggest difference in sound quality, but IDK.

Yes, you really want to invest in headphones for the bigger upgrade.

Also you don’t really need balanced tbh. It’s just not worth it if you want value. If you got a jds atom or monolith liquid spark and a cheaper dac like a topping d10 or smsl m100 you would honestly be set, and I don’t think you would need to upgrade anytime soon.

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I’m on the same line as you. Many choices good under 400$ many even planars, some good some not so good. A D10 and a liquid spark I could manage to get.

Later edit: no liquid spark in the EU and shipping is 70$ aka more then half of the price.

Yeah, I think a d10 and a liquid spark would be more then fine for the verums and whatever headphones you throw at it. I personally think a d10 and liquid spark could drive more then like 75 percent of my headphones to a decent quality level. It’s a pretty good amp and dac combo

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yes, you will get better return in buying a higher quality headphone than a lower quality unit paired with DAC and Amp. DAC’s n Amp’s help…but not enough to make a difference against a better headphone.


How much can you get a fiio 5k pro for? It’s a dac amp combo that’s also pretty good if you can’t get ahold of a liquid spark or atom