A fantastic combo

Discussion in 'PC Audio' started by ysu, Feb 13, 2015.

  1. ysu

    ysu Member

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    I just thought I'll share my experience. It may help some on the quest for quality audio out of the pc :)

    I used to run an Auzentec Forte 7.1 - which has shat itself after a couple of years - with Audiotechnica AD700 cans. It was a pretty good combo while it lasted, altho it had some quirks with the driver, the music sounded very nice. After it was gone I went for a simple SoundBlaster recon3D as an interim solution, boy was it a downgrade...A few month later the AD700 broke, too.
    Bugger.
    I bought another pair. But it gets worn out after a few monhts, and becomes somewhat uncomfortable, and to be honest it's just not secure enough, an enthusiastic nod gets it off my head.

    So I thought; time to upgrade...how bad can it be, a few hundred at most, right? And I can do it in steps. Well....

    First I went for a planarmagnetic HE-400, at headphonic, but I found it not comfortable enough. And the sound wasn't much better. So I had to realise the step up from the previous setup is not in the few hundred $$$ range....

    Final solution is a Mayflower O2 odac+headphone amp and a set of Beyerdynamic T90. It's a rather pricey solution (compared to my original idea, certainly), but thank god for headphonic's return policy on the He-400 :)
    What can I say...it is heaven on earth. Forget sound cards, forget AD700 sound quality, it's all rubbish. Well, not really, but it's a mayor step up from there. :)

    I guess what I want to say; I had to realise a proper quality sound costs proper money. But if you can afford it, you're better of going straight for a DAC, rather than playing around with sound cards. The cans can be a personal thing, but the T90 has not left me wanting in any way, comfort, sound, it's all there.


    p.s. I'm not associated with headphonic, but I love their business model & helpfulness. I can remove the links if it bothers someone, just thought it could help to get an idea about the items.
     
  2. Comma

    Comma Member

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    T90 is probably the world's most comfortable mid-high end headphone.

    I swear when I get my HD800/HE-560/LCD-2 if they're not as comfortable I'll cry.
     
  3. power

    power Member

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    your problem is the AD700 was never going to be amazeballs without a proper amp to drive them.

    don't blame the soundcard for that.
     
  4. OP
    OP
    ysu

    ysu Member

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    I still have it, and compared it plugged into the O2 :)
    And I still "blame" the AD700 for inferior sound quality. (not really; it's pretty good for the price)

    And the test was while the T90 was nearly fresh out of the box. A lot of audiophiles say it gets better once it's broken in. Just sayin' :)

    Edit:
    Oh wait, don't blame the sound card for not being able to drive the ad700 is what you're saying. Ok, fair point.
    Altho afaik the as700 is easy to drive (the average sound card should be able to do it)

    BTW I've plugged the T90 into the sound card too (it drives it well, T90 is amazingly easy to drive) and it does not sound nearly as good, either.

    I reckon if you want decent sound, the sound card route is a dead-end - altho, indeed, I've not tried the auzentech+T90 combo (auzen being dead) that maybe good.
    But that bloody auzen was so expensive, the USB-plugged o2 (eliminating potential noise from the case) is probably still a better option. Especially if you still need an amp after the sound card...

    Each to his own I guess - I know I'm not going back to a sound card, as long as I can afford it. This combo just sounds magnificent, exactly the way I like it. :)
     
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2015
  5. Dingostolemyghz

    Dingostolemyghz Member

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    I wouldn't rate LCD2 very high on the comfort scale, too heavy, bulky leather pads. :thumbdn: wasn't overly impressed by the sound either, too bass heavy for a high end can, but audeze have re-tuned that model headphone so many times so they might sound different again now.
     
  6. thormania

    thormania Member

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    Headphones/speakers don't really quantifiable improvements with use. (though your ears do get used to the sound !)

    I love the new setup you've got! I just got some AD900x's and a Fiio e10k and even that setup to me is unbelievable compared to anything else I've heard. The extra bass the e10k provides the headphones makes all the difference.

    Who knew a DAC/AMP could do so much for sound quality? I guess a lot of people but I never expected this given the amount of audiophile fluff out on the web.

    I too will never go back to a sound card over an external DAC
     
  7. Snufkin

    Snufkin Member

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    As the T90 pads soften up slightly it means the drivers sit slightly closer to your ears increasing bass presence a little - you can simulate it by gently pushing the pads closer to your ears around 1/2-1cm - it's quite a big difference :)
     
  8. thormania

    thormania Member

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    That I can believe and makes perfect sense! Burning in drivers - plenty of evidence that's mostly bogus.
     
  9. Aratahu

    Aratahu Member

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    Congratulations on your upgrade. That sounds really good about the headphones, the T90s look a bit nuts but I'm totally with you on spending the cash where it matters. If good sound is what matters to you, then it's all good. :D

    Just gone through a transition myself, backed by my own research. I got the ATH-ADG1s, which I believe are very similar to your ATH-AD700s - if not their successor? This is a bit of a new coming for my own experience with audio. They replaced Logitech G35/G930 USB headphones ... which I _thought_ were good. I'm blown away, almost literally (got to watch that I don't destroy my hearing now).

    One thing I'd like to note is that there's a huge difference between the soundcards. These ADG1s are also very easy to drive at 38ohm. Tried them with the USB Dac they threw in - but found the response very flat and unexciting. Based on what I experienced with my external Z5500s (see below), I'd compare them to onboard audio. A lot of people were saying that's all you needed, don't worry about a sound card. Bull####. If I had listened to them ... well, coupled with a real soundcard it's not even the same headset anymore. Started with the Asus DGX but then moved to the Sound Blaster ZxR less than one week after (thanks Scorptec for letting me return the DGX).

    There's a huge difference in quality between the three. The ZxR very easily comes out on top, with airy highs and a real sense of gravitas to the lows - and everything in between feeling being tight and precise. The output ohm is probably too high for the ADG1s, but having the volume turned down it's not an issue. It's not just the volume, but the gravity, depth, airiness and definition of the sound that increased in quality. Also the ZxR nails positioning in games. The DGX wasn't bad at all, actually - I found them very good, however it forced me to use the front headers if I wanted to also have my external speakers connected, and there was a tangible reduction of quality. Also there was no positional audio happening at all.

    Now, having said that I'd love to be able to try the new bits you just bought, especially also to hotswap the T90s between your O2ODAC and my ZxR. Actually, maybe not just right now, as I'm finally happy and don't want to upset this. But later. :D

    Here's a couple of shots I processed last night.. :)
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    ps. For a bit of fun check out http://www.hdtracks.com/the-ultimate-headphone-demonstration-disc-160853 or http://www.hdtracks.com/explorations-in-space-and-time-176-24-binaural at 192/24 and 176/24 FLAC. You probably won't regret the purchase, if you do.

    pps. Now, for my externals, I also a Logitech Z-5500 which is nice enough for the desktop; moving from onboard to the DGX totally gave them new life, and the audio was refined even further with the ZxR. They sounded like a new set of speakers.
     

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