Yet another "what the hell should I buy help me plz" question

Simply put, my audio set up is the oldest part of my desk at this point and is sorely due for an upgrade. My audio game… well isn’t. It consisted of random cheap earbuds, then Astro A40’s (I kinda miss the xbox 360 days), then when I switched over to PC entirely I got some M50x as a gift (I know, I know) and that’s where I’ve been for the past 3 years. I did replace the god awful pads about a year and half ago for some brainwavz.

I’ve ran the M50x off onboard, got a random external sound card to fix some buzzing issue I had, then when I switched my mic to XLR I’ve been running both my mic and headphones off a UMC202HD.

As far as what I uses are… primarily music. I do game and watch movies a lot, but music is the one true constant and I don’t need some god cans to soundwhore a guy crouch walking 2 rooms over in RB6 or CoD anymore. Mainly cause when I’m playing games, I’m listening to music and have a discord call going so that’s all rather pointless.

My main genres are:

Metal of all kinds (metalcore, melodic, Electro/Industrial like The Browning, Doujin circles like Undead Corp., Demetori, BLANKFIELD)
Whatever the hell Anime OP/ED’s are… I guess J/K Pop?
Dance/Electronic (lapix, psyqui, redalice, camellia, t+pazolite ,etc…)
Vocaloid (The vast majority of it. From Livetune to Mitchie M to UTSU-P)

Now on to what I’m looking at. The stack is simple and comes down to the modius/magnius or the d50s/a50s. I’m not opposed to the Asgard 3 with a dac module either. Budget $400-ish

Headphones… well I’ve looked at a lot, seen a lot of reviews, read a lot etc and kinda narrowed it down to:

Neumann NDH20
Airmotiv GR1 (Favorite looking)
HarmonicDyne Zeus (Second Favorite looking)
beyerdynamic DT 880/990

That’s not a end all list, if anyone has a glowing recommendation for something else please voice it. Budget $400-ish

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welcome to HFG!

I’d go with the Modius / Magnius and the Sundara t start. then as you explore, it only takes a DAC or amp to pair with your existing to try out new sound.

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Your UMC204HD looks like a decent DAC:

But the headphone out on it looks pretty crappy:

I’d look into a decent amp: Topping L30 (if they fix whatever is causing them to blow up), JDS Atoms, etc.

Should have about $300 left for a good pair of cans (less if you need to buy interconnect cables). HD6XX are great new for $220. Or you can try to find an open box / used pair of Sundaras for around $300 (the official HifiMan store usually has them, ebay, or various WTS posts on audio forums). I really, really like the Sundaras.

if you’re in the US, it makes sense to support a local company and Schiit is North American. or you could look at JDS Labs or Geshelli Labs, two other US based firms with excellent products and reputations.

Ya, the umc was really just for my mic but I was having random little issues that all went away just from separating headphone from pc. Never really meant for it to be anything more.

I was highly considering the topping stack based on reviews and how small it was… until I saw that issue of them blowing up.

Getting multiple recommendations on the Sundaras, so I’ll be on the lookout for those.

With a $400 budget, I think you’d be happier forgoing a complete stack for now. Get an amp, hook it up to the DAC you already have, and grab a used / open box Sundara (this’ll already be a stretch budget-wise without adding another $100+ component). You can complete the stack with a matching DAC later. Marzipan is right, Schiit, Geshelli, and JDS put out really highly regarded products =).

Well it was more so $400 for headphones and $400 for amp/dac. Probably should have worded that a little better.

However, more I think and more I look It probably would be best to just grab an amp and some Sundara’s and grab a DAC later.

Im still getting used to the way this forum layout is lol, thought I replied to Marzipan but guess I didn’t. Ya Schiit I know is really highly praised and being in the US helps. Even if coast to coast shipping is bit… much. I’ve played around with a buddies modi/magni and some Jubilee’s before and that was something to hear.

Ah, that opens things up a LOT. You can get a good stack for $400.