Upgrade My Sound Experience

Hi all,

So been doing a lot of reading and a lot of searching around. I’m wanting to upgrade my audio experience and looking for suggestions and a little bit of answers. So here goes.

To start I’ll say I have the money to sink in to get the improved experience but I definitely put stock into the best value to be had. Meaning budget isn’t really the go to but I’m not the type to drop thousands for minor gains.

Usage will be for competitive gaming and for classical music listening(listen to almost everything but this is what I care about enhancing). I currently have a middling pair of older sennnheiser cans. Not around home atm and can’t remember exact model… something around $200.

I’ve narrowed choices down after reading around and seeing what’s typically recommended.

Looking at Topping E30 and Magni 3+(or liquid spark). Going to run the cans I have initially and see what they can do with the source upgrade. I’m looking at upgrading headphones as well to around $500 price point but focus is source first.

Read something somewhere about possible fake E30s kicking around and wondering how to avoid them.

For the Magni 3+ is there a way to differentiate from a 3? To avoid being scammed by mislabeled items (could just order direct but think I could safely get it faster somewhere else).

I’m in Canada and wondering about recommended places to order these from as well. I’ll also take any recommendation for changes to my choices if any upgrades could be had in about the same price point.

As for the headphonesI know the beyer line is the recommendation for competitive cans but not sure how they would do for classical listening. This is kind of why I want to listen to current headphones on new source first… to see if I even need to factor that into upgrade choice.

Sorry about long post but wanted to cover most things I expected to come up. Thanks in advance for the help.


Hi, Derek. Welcome to HFGF. I’ll try to address some of your specific points/questions here.

I’ve not heard that about the E30 yet. But, I know it was an issue on Topping’s D10. A company called Aimpire was making a bad knockoff. Somewhere on this forum someone has posted a list of Topping’s authorized resellers. If you buy direct from one of them, it shouldn’t be an issue.

The 3+ is the newer model. A cosmetic difference is the 3 has an external power indicator LED. The 3+ does not have such on the outside, you just see the power light glow through the ventilation holes in the top of the chassis. However, that point is pretty much moot since Schiit sells everything factory direct. If you order from Schiit’s website, you’ll get what you ordered.

I would argue the DT880-600ohm probably is best suited for classical music, actually. If you’re at all sensitive to or bothered by sibilance, removing vocals pretty much eliminates the problem. Plus, what makes the 880 so good for gaming, it’s spatial presentation, is also of great benefit to classical music. It does a pretty good job of locating the instruments where they’re found in a symphony arrangement, for example (if you have a good recording). The 880 is a pretty good headphone for many types of music, but it might be my current favorite for classical.

magni 3+ has a sticker on the back that says magni 3+. the sticker on the back of magni just has serial numbers. both say magni 3. the sticker tells them apart. plus the led on the front as @WaveTheory said. the 3 has an led, the 3+ does not.

Thank you for the quick input @WaveTheory and @joshua_g.

Seems likely that I misread or just didn’t remember correctly about the fake DACs. I’ll look into finding the E30 somewhere. (Unless something gets recommended as a better upgrade).

For the Magni 3+ I’ll keep an eye out for the sticker :+1:unless I just order straight from Schiit.

Thx for the first hand about the 880s…figured the signature would work but firsthand knowledge is always better than assumption. Looked at some of the 880s on Amazon and noticed they are $150 more expensive than the 990s. Supply vs demand or what? Or are the 990s inferior somehow or just different. Also would they suit my usage (supposed to be good for gaming but what about classical).

I’d take other recommendations on other upgrades for any of the items listed, places to expedite getting them, similar cans but possibly removable cable(only issue i can think of with beyers)


880’s are one of the best FPS headphones on the planet.

edit: 990’s have more bass and more of V shape, 880’s fairly flat.

Nope, don’t agree with this statement at all. Have sat down and tested 770, 880, 990, 1770, 177x, 1990, and custom one pro plus

DT 880s Subtle V signature caters more towards a neutral or flat sound. Semi Open back. Good all around headphone. Not so great in competitive but good in other areas. medium sound stage good imaging. If you had posted this in casual and a emphasis for classical music I would’ve pointed you to the 880s and without the amp I would’ve pointed you to the tygr 300 r or custom one pro plus. The 880s can be good for classical as they are all rounders… I just feel the 990s can do their job better more so in this case. Personally I liked these about as much as I liked my 58x jubilee but these had a better sound stage and overall sound to them. Good choice if you want the all around headphone you can just pick up and use. Would recommend Head-Fi or Ebay or some alternative sites to use for buying these headphones. DT 990s for example have been shown to go for like $70 or so on there. another site called Offerup is good too.

DT 990s strong v signature sharp treble caters towards it’s V with increased low and high frequences with a recessed mid range. Open back. Both bass and treble are raised here. Due to the higher treble and emphasis on low and high frequencies this makes them superb for competitive and depending on your classical music these will do very well. Footsteps,breathing,explosions,gunshots, etc in side of competitive scenarios are emphasized with these headphones and due to the open back nature of this headphone gives you what can only be described as a feeling of a 360 degree sound experience with a very large sound stage and imaging. Can be viewed as uncomfortable to some who have treble sensitivity this can be reduced by using the 600 ohm version of this headphone and a liquid spark amp. Still due to the natural sharp sound of this headphone some things may come off as sibilant though I did not have that issue once I had the 600 ohm connected to a liquid spark.
Note: there is someone on this site who does mods of this headphone for a removable cable and balanced port. Haven’t heard from him in the longest time. https://www.afkheadphones.com/products/afk-khan if you can get ahold of him all the better. Also I had personally found the 250 ohm pros to be more comfortable than the premium. Felt that the premium had quite a bit more clamping force despite the 600 ohm having a much better overall tune to it Cons to the dt 990 is the fact that its only good with certain genres of music that make use of its signature and its not good as an all rounder headphone. not the greatest choice for more casual gameplay that would prefer a sense of immersion over a sense of competition

Lastly, if your lucky and can score one of these in the $300 range dt 1990. These are just like the 990 except much like the 880s they cater more towards neutral while still being an open back. Offers the best of both worlds both fantastic in competitive and fantastic in casual. Caters towards a very wide variety of music and does its job very beautifully. Very wide sound stage and imaging on par with 990s. Bass and treble are still heightened though not as sharp as the 990s are. Personally traded my 990s for these. If you don’t want a well rounded variation you will be fine with the 990s and if you don’t want the heightened v signature you will be fine with the 880s

Difference in amps has already been discussed…I had asked the comparisons between the magni 3+ and the liquid spark myself when I was first making my setup. I wanted something to compliment my Beyers and went with the liquid spark. Do not regret my decision at all. Not sure on the sound difference between the E30 and topping D10. Will say though, that you can get a D10 for cheaper than the E30

Beyer does offer a few headphones that are solid for gaming even in competitive without the use of an amp. Tygr 300 r is said to be like the dt990s but not as sharp. Custom one pro plus and Custom studio are well rounded and can be open back or close back and custome one pro plus comes with a mic. mmx 300 i dont recommend this due to the price tag like at all these are similar to the dt 770s just with a really high price tag… they do supposedly sound good though. Lastly is the 177x closed back unique for a closed back as it sounds fairly open and has a wide sound stage and good imaging but great bass signature is more of a U with a good yet subtle emphasis on low and high with a more balanced mid.