Audio Audiophile and gears

Stronk

Adept
As Nitendra said, they all sound very similar. Deva has a touch more midbass and warmer sounding. The mids in these headphones are not as forward as in Sennheiser HD598/ 599 though specially the male vocals.
I would have bought the cheapest one available among the 400i/ SE/ Deva ( as I have tried them all)
@DrkLord this might be helpful. Personally have the HE400i which I got for 11k after card discounts and couldn't be happier - especially with eq'ing! Use the eq only for music tho; prefer their stock sound signature for movies.
 
20210911_145555.jpg
new stuff added :)
KEF certainly are very open and engaging
 

DrkLord

Disciple
If you're gonna buy right now, buy used ones from Pre loved Fb group if not wait for offers during sales. I saw several sundaras with few months warranty left for 17-20k, there was a hd560s for 12k probably without warranty (not sure)
This is good to know, I will most probably buy he400se when they dip to 10k but will keep an eye on the fb group for once in a blue moon deals. Thanks!
@DrkLord this might be helpful. Personally have the HE400i which I got for 11k after card discounts and couldn't be happier - especially with eq'ing! Use the eq only for music tho; prefer their stock sound signature for movies.
Yep. Waiting on a deal on he400se, keepa has spoiled me and has increased my patience manyfolds :)
 

red dragon

Justiceforall
Skilled
For the ess DAC, it's probably more to with the implementation/amp than the DAC itself if the experts are to be believed. But I have my own preference for ess DAC too, even for songs I liked it more than akm dac that was in es100.
Yes, very true, it's the implementation. All DACs should sound same according to the basic definition.
What's keepa?
 

red dragon

Justiceforall
Skilled
What are your endgame portable setup guys?
I'm thoroughly confused now. Though my desktop set up is complete (hopefully) now.

Thanks to Topping for the D90,A90, don't think will need anything else in next 8-10 years. Only have to take a call between 2-3 headphones. Arya is out definitely. It's fantastic, the famous "depth" can't be expressed in words. But it's too relaxed and Ananda is there for relaxed sessions.
Next options are rather easy and limited 1. Susvara 2.Utopia 3. The unthinkable Abyss 1266 whatever whatever. And I'm leaning towards Susvara ( not only because of the sound, but the personal relationships developed over years with hifiman...such a fantastic company with so many helping people who understand the hobby)

What bothers me is portable set up. Don't care about IEMs, waaay past that stage. Even T2,Solaris, ie800 all sound same to my ears and honestly like mediocre sound of pxc550 over any IEM ( possibly damaged ears after years and years of on stage IEM use...find them strangely uncomfortable these days)
Will probably go back to the good old hd25 II with a portable DAC amp from Shure, or just stick to average BTNC headphones.
So I'm almost done with this hobby. Just 1 more headphone and I'm out for good. Everything must end, and my journey in this hobby has almost come to an end, thanks to Topping. This A90/D90 pairing made me actually believe in end game ( within a reasonable price range, unlike what RME is producing at a much higher cost)
 

Nalin

Skilled
There is no end game here, don’t amuse yourself. Joking :p

My end game currently (in my mind) is Focal Clear paired with QP2R in USB DAC mode so no hit on battery life either. In this way I can squeeze every last bit of life from it hopefully. For portable it’s Andromeda coupled with the upcoming Fiio UTWS5 making it a true wireless without compromising on SQ.
 

red dragon

Justiceforall
Skilled
Susvara it is...spent the entire day at Naim (primarily for Focal products, but they do have some very very high end headphones, haven't even heard some names)
Utopia is great, I've never heard anything this fast sounding ( almost electrostat like) and they indeed look gorgeous.
But they are too efficient!! Perfect for tube amps. Plus the experience is entirely within inside the head. These are relentless... usually this is the signature I do love, but with A90, they won't let you relax and constantly scream for attention.
They didn't have any Abyss.
But had a single pair of Susvara ( not for sale), possibly the most inefficient headphone nowadays. But when powered adequately ( the store only had the Topping A30, but it's also very powerful, but this thing can scale up even more, and I have the perfect solution..the king of affordable amps...D90) it took less than 15 minutes to decide. This is it!! I had my own music with me and they sounded perfect..the exact sound I got from Barefoot while mastering...the EXACT!!
But the price!! 6000 EUR, with all my connections with hifiman and little bit of begging skill it may come down to 5500 EUR with some long extended warranty. Very difficult to get used. People buying it take care of the amp situation first ( really difficult to drive with 83dB/ mW with 60 ohm impedance to full potential) Hifiman is increasing the efficiency of all the headphones but this one ( the Sangri-la is a complete system like Sennheiser's TOTL and waaaay above my max budget)
 

Nalin

Skilled
Yes Susvara is absolutely on top of TOTL crop of headphones, on other level even in comparison with Utopia but needs an equally good desktop grade amplifier. But it’s HiFiMan which means reliably concerns and a kind of stationary headphones which can’t be carried easily from one place to another.
 

red dragon

Justiceforall
Skilled
Utopia is also huge, but looks stunning.
AFAIK hifiman is very careful with their 3 pair of headphones..Arya, Susvara and SL.
Just two flaws with Susvara, the 2.5 inch cable. Wish it was the sturdier 3.5. And the absolutely rubbish stock cable. It's like an IV fluid tube!!
Yes, this set up is completely stationary, the D90 weighs more than 2kg and the stack is about 5kg. I dont intend to move them an inch.
But I have to wait for few months to save up as most of my personal savings has been blown away by the covid in India. If the itch becomes too much will take a loan from wife ..she won't say no, as this will stop the continued wastage of money on audio gears for a long time. And this is the first time I told her the real price of a headphone, she thought I was kidding. But agreed to buy it for me ( but I will either return the money or buy her something)
May even pull the trigger tomorrow ( if hifiman agrees to at least 5 years of under table warranty)
P.S If you ask hifiman about Susvara, they will ask you about your amp dac situation, such a nice company.
 
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red dragon

Justiceforall
Skilled
No it was one of the dogs... suddenly jumped on my lap. Saturday evening...the entire family with all the dogs go out for a long evening stroll and the mom was waiting for me. It's a crazy family mate...3 human ( one coming soon), 6 dogs.
 

Nalin

Skilled
For me carrying situation is a must and for that I don’t want to get anything that needs a desktop amplifier. I need something portable that I can carry in my backpack and drive that with something as portable as DAP. Portable bomb is what I like to describe it as but soundstage is the compromise of such setups as it seems.

This is what I like the most about Andro that despite being IEM it has such a terrific out of head imaging capability that I forgot sometimes that I listening to an IEM.
 

red dragon

Justiceforall
Skilled
Yes, that's a major concern for everyone. This covid related situation will settle someday and all of us will go back to our regular routines.

I'm just trying to set up this system stationary at home to comeback to something good (have to travel a lot and often for months)

I think people with this disease should have at least 2 set ups ( 3 is optional...the wireless set-up) One primary for home use only. Another one for mobility ( for me it's just a laptop, portable amp DAC and a pair of headphones while holed up in a hotel) A BTNC pair for plain, train, bus etc.
My recommendations from cheap IEMs to mid level headphones ( after buying a portable amp dac)
IEMs: T2, bl03 ( not aware of all new IEMs, stopped buying them) But these 2 should be enough for anyone. No amp needed. HOWEVER T2 does upscale with the absolutely basic entry level NX1S ( a very inexpensive Topping portable amp only, like Fiio A5
Headphones:
Closed back : M40X. Doesn't sound like 50X, treble is much more forgiving, has some soundstage with aftermarket pads. Fairly neutral sounding and non fatiguing ( 50X made my ears/ brain hurt)
Open back: hifiman HE400i ( this one needs some power to function optimally, my puny DAP can drive it and Deva to deafening levels, but can't bring out the dynamics, but NX1S is more than enough)
To my audiophile friends here, who have good IEMs, headphones, but no amp. Buy a cheap one like NX1S ( available with HPZ) over the expensive dongle DACs. Most of us need some more power from the onboard amp of the phone, all new phones from last 3/4 years have very decent ( clean ) headphone out/ usb line out, all they need is a little more power to drive. And these dongles are pretty expensive for what they do ( few exceptions like E1DA, S9 pro...some hardcore audiophiles I trust swear by them)

If you're after something different AKG K702 is a good option, if the bass is not enough, get the K712. HD560s is also a solid option, but some may find it boring.
 
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Sundara also should be a honorable mention I suppose. Although I haven’t had the chance to listen, but what consensus says it’s pretty noticeable upgrade from he400i. I think I’ll upgrade to sundara someday and might stop there to not fall deep into the rabbit hole.

It seems most of the guys aren’t fond of high end iems. Open backs have server portability issue, given you are reluctant to carry separate bag for your cans. Iems solve this issue like nothing. Also neck strain might be prob for some folks. India doesn’t seem to have relatively more iem enthusiasts than say, SE Asia or Japan or China. Associating the size of your cans to money you’re spending can be one reason.
 

rdst_1

Skilled
Yes, that's a major concern for everyone. This covid related situation will settle someday and all of us will go back to our regular routines.

I'm just trying to set up this system stationary at home to comeback to something good (have to travel a lot and often for months)

I think people with this disease should have at least 2 set ups ( 3 is optional...the wireless set-up) One primary for home use only. Another one for mobility ( for me it's just a laptop, portable amp DAC and a pair of headphones while holed up in a hotel) A BTNC pair for plain, train, bus etc.
My recommendations from cheap IEMs to mid level headphones ( after buying a portable amp dac)
IEMs: T2, bl03 ( not aware of all new IEMs, stopped buying them) But these 2 should be enough for anyone. No amp needed. HOWEVER T2 does upscale with the absolutely basic entry level NX1S ( a very inexpensive Topping portable amp only, like Fiio A5
Headphones:
Closed back : M40X. Doesn't sound like 50X, treble is much more forgiving, has some soundstage with aftermarket pads. Fairly neutral sounding and non fatiguing ( 50X made my ears/ brain hurt)
Open back: hifiman HE400i ( this one needs some power to function optimally, my puny DAP can drive it and Deva to deafening levels, but can't bring out the dynamics, but NX1S is more than enough)
To my audiophile friends here, who have good IEMs, headphones, but no amp. Buy a cheap one like NX1S ( available with HPZ) over the expensive dongle DACs. Most of us need some more power from the onboard amp of the phone, all new phones from last 3/4 years have very decent ( clean ) headphone out/ usb line out, all they need is a little more power to drive. And these dongles are pretty expensive for what they do ( few exceptions like E1DA, S9 pro...some hardcore audiophiles I trust swear by them)

If you're after something different AKG K702 is a good option, if the bass is not enough, get the K712. HD560s is also a solid option, but some may find it boring.
Agree on almost all accounts, apart from the BT category. Even the PXC - 550 wasn't able to make me open my wallet for a BT headphone. I use my CCA C16 with a KZ bluetooth cable and even there one can clearly discern the drop in quality. I am yet to try a BT DAC/AMP, which I feel might be a better compromise, but spending a lot of money on those products doesn't feel alright to me due to the battery life issues.
I don't have a desktop setup because I don't have someplace in my house where I can sit down just for listening. I think people can also go for an AVR which has good headphone amp as that would kill two birds with one stone as they can enjoy, both their speakers and headphones in their music room. Of course, one can have both setups in that room as well.
 

Kmkaks

Disciple
Hi Y'all. I am not an audiophile by any means but I am a voracious music listener (mainly carnatic, indian film and devotional) and a stage singer. I have only started understanding the importance of audio equipment in the last couple of years. Until recently, only the songs, its raga, sur etc mattered to me.

Anyways, I am making this post after getting the jbl 104s a couple months back. Using apple music/spotify, I am starting to notice annoying sibilance (In highs) in a few of Rahman's songs when I play them at 75% volume in speaker as well as app. I am not sure if this is caused by the speakers or if the songs are poorly recorded? Eg. Kadhal Kaditham song from Jodi(1999), Scratchiness in some portions (min. 1:17) of Pachai Nirame song from Alaipayuthe (2000). The problem is, I am having an inconsistent experience, some songs sound good (for eg. Latha Ji's Raina Beethi jaye has extreme high's but I do not get disturbed by that sibilance) while some other tracks are stressing my ears out.

In the same way, I've had absolutely no issues playing (in disney plus), avengers endgame/ predator 2, the sounds are full and give a good experience. Whereas, 2018's the predator/alien/Premier league live stream are hurting my ears. The Jurassic Park films just sound neutral, as in neither a good experience nor a bad experience, just feels like watching with normal speakers.

I am unable to make sense of any of this. Is the problem with my speakers or the audio source? Will sidegrading to the edifier 1700bt give me a considerably different experience?
Lol. I never had any of these issues with my crappy older logitech speakers or soundbars since everything sucked.
BTW, I am playing from my asus laptop using apple type c to 3.5mm dac.

I HOPE THIS POST WILL BE MY ENTRY INTO AUDIOPHILIA.... CHEERS
 
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red dragon

Justiceforall
Skilled
Sundara also should be a honorable mention I suppose. Although I haven’t had the chance to listen, but what consensus says it’s pretty noticeable upgrade from he400i. I think I’ll upgrade to sundara someday and might stop there to not fall deep into the rabbit hole.
Surely, they are great but I was trying to list the cheap but good options.
Yes, Sundara sounds better than 400i, but it's noticable only with very high quality amplification. In a blind test with D90/A90 combo I will possibly won't be able to distinguish between them right away ( the bass may be a give away)
I did really try all current hifimans from 400SE to Susvara. The first major noticable difference came with Ananda. Honestly to my ears and with my desktop set up, entry level hifimans sound really good. Sundara is also very good, but I failed to hear any difference that can be called as a weakness in the cheaper cans.
Agree on almost all accounts, apart from the BT category. Even the PXC - 550 wasn't able to make me open my wallet for a BT headphone. I use my CCA C16 with a KZ bluetooth cable and even there one can clearly discern the drop in quality. I am yet to try a BT DAC/AMP, which I feel might be a better compromise, but spending a lot of money on those products doesn't feel alright to me due to the battery life issues.
I don't have a desktop setup because I don't have someplace in my house where I can sit down just for listening. I think people can also go for an AVR which has good headphone amp as that would kill two birds with one stone as they can enjoy, both their speakers and headphones in their music room. Of course, one can have both setups in that room as well.
Yes, wireless audio sucks...but the convenience... specially during long zoom meetings..
I HOPE THIS POST WILL BE MY ENTRY INTO AUDIOPHILIA.... CHEERS
Welcome to the audiofools club. And of course sorry for your wallet.
 
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