Headphone recommendations?


It could be I got a set of defective headphones with the 598’s, and I did return them. I wasn’t going to take that assumption. Besides the sound though, I thought the 598’s felt bad on my head. They were so hard compared to either my cushy 580’s or the HiFiMan 400s I got as a replacement. It was like stiff Styrofoam compared to my two others. How comfortable do you feel they are?

I was curious about your golden ears test as I’d never heard of it before. I went through the basic spectral balance perfectly, but when it came to timbre, I could only go down to the 5 db before I couldn’t tell the difference. not sure how many other tests are beyond that because it seems Phillips doesn’t want you to try anything else once you fail.


So what headphones did Gary Whitta end up getting? I’ve been thinking about getting a decent pair of over the ear headphones and it looks like Audio Technica really puts out some good stuff. I particularly like the ATH-M50X and the ATH-MSR7. I also tried on the Bose QC-25s. I think it would be awesome to have active noise cancelling headphones but I’m not at the part of my life right now where I feel I can drop $300 on a pair of headphones (not with the wife’s approval, anyways!) I’ve really got a tin ear though and to be honest I couldn’t really tell the difference between any of the headphones I tried.


I really like my ATH-50X for its neutral sound. Just go with whatever’s comfiest. I wish I would have picked up some Japan-specific colours/models when I was in Japan earlier this year from Yodobashi or Bic though so I’m jealous there.

I also like my Shure 440s that I replaced the pads with the ones from the 840s but it’s heavier than most.

For $200-300+, the PSB M4U 1s are really comfortable.

Of course, $150-300 headphones are just an gateway drug into the $100-300+ headphone amp…


Thread necro with a response to my own post!

Kingston HyperX Cloud II is soooo comfy.


What did Canuck end up with?


I was trying envision you sitting there with a pair of PC RAM circuit boards on your ears, but I guess these are something different…


Dual channel memory foam ear pads. Nice.


Very much recommend these!


May not need to worry about that for much longer…


The “Hi-Res audio” is the LDAC codec, which AFAICT is only in Sony audio products. IOW, you’d need a Sony smartphone to get the best sound out of them.


So I have a HeadRoom Little headphone amp and a pair of Sennheiser 650s that have been running strong with my HDTV’s analog output for over a decade. However, I just upgraded my TV to one that only has an optical output. Does anyone have a recommendation for a good-but-cheap DAC that would work well for my situation?

I really don’t need a DAC/amp and would prefer to avoid the extra expense since my HeadRoom amp is still trucking along. There’s a lot of options on Amazon in the $20 range, but I don’t know if they’re going to give me the same kind of quality I’m used to from the analog-to-analog connection.



This totally doesn’t fit your parameters (amp and much more expensive than that), but if you don’t find something that fits your needs, have a look at the Booster from Orb. When my Klipsch promedia set on my PC died, I bought one of these and have 2 of the Klipsch speakers plus a sub plugged into it, and I’ve been very pleased with it.


Number 14 on this list, optical in, phono out or internal headphone amp. Nice value.



Thanks for the recommendations!

The Booster looks like a good candidate when my own Promedias die.

And the 793 does look promising. I wish there was a version without the amp that was a little cheaper, but it’s certainly more economical than some of the standalone DACs I’ve found (all the reasonable ones are USB-input only). There are a number of reviews on Amazon regarding product lifespan that give me concern, but I decided to take a chance since the 793 appears to be the only game in town for what I need near my price point.

Thanks again!


Yeah, when I was looking for a solution it was pretty frustrating, as there seemed to be a massive gap in what was available. You went from sub-20 dollar stuff of dubious quality to very expensive, with almost nothing in between.


Take a look at what I just stumbled across: FX Audio DAC-X6. It does everything the 793 does for a couple dollars less plus a USB input.

I think it’s fairly new, so there’s not a lot of reviews on it. However, this guy likes it.

I’ve got time to order later and still get it on the same delivery day as before, so I cancelled my 793 order to mull this over. But I think I might give it a shot since the 793 isn’t necessarily bulletproof itself.


I know I looked at one of the FX audio ones, but I really wanted a sub output in a straightforward setup without having to do additional gymnastics.


I’m down with small external USB amps, but note that some newer fancier motherboards are now taking analog audio quality a bit more seriously… for example my Asus prime Z270A says:

###Crystal Sound 3

  • Realtek® S1220A
  • Impedance sense for headphone outputs
  • 120dB SNR stereo playback output & 110dB SNR input (line-in) support
  • Power pre-regulator
  • EMI protection cover
  • Audio shielding
  • De-pop circuit
  • Different layer for left/right track
  • Japan-made audio capacitors

I’m sure it pales next to what a $99 external box can do, but it’s certainly better than the “generic AC97” you get on the average mobo for analog output:


Yeah, but you still need an amp unless you have powered speakers. My speakers had been powered by the sub and the sub died, so I had nice speakers with no way to power them. Still, nice to see audio getting better treatment. Remember when the only way was to buy a dedicated card?


The Asus Prime Z270A apparently does have an onboard amp as well, though it doesn’t go into specifics.

The Strix Z270E has two Texas Instruments op-amps, RC4580 and OPA1688, and can power headphones up to 600 ohms.

Unsure if either would power speakers directly, but Asus at least are definitely working on improving audio.