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Julian_b's picture
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Headphone Amp/DAC to partner Denon AH D5000
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Does anyone have any thoughts/advice on what would be an improved solution to get the best out of my new Denon Headphones (AH D5000) versus using my Yamaha RX V3067 Receiver? So excited that I just found a pair of these in Bangkok - no they're not a copy....

Thanks in advance for any input.....

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RE: Headphone Amp/DAC to partner Denon AH D5000

Congrats on the D5000!

What do they sound like through the Yamaha? How would you like them to sound and how much money do you have to spend?

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RE: Headphone Amp/DAC to partner Denon AH D5000

Hi quadpatch - thanks for the congrats.

The sound through the Yamaha is way too laidback and bassy at the moment - need to do some experimenting when I get some time on the weekend.

Will also experiment with my Fiio E17 too.

I must admit I was really enjoying the sound direct from my Cowon Z2 whne I was on the flight from Bangkok to Singapore - just set to normal in the jet effect eq settings. Clear, contralled treble and mids with a nice full firm bass. Soundstage was great too.

I'm also still running them in - heard some say they change somewhat after a few hundred hours of use.

Don't have a fixed budget in mind but don't want to go nuts either....

I'll get back to you further on the sound after my experimentation.

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RE: Headphone Amp/DAC to partner Denon AH D5000

Wow - these headphones sound great! The Yamaha sound is now good - the problem was that the 'drama' DSP mode was on rather 2channel stereo, plus shifted from the Internet radio station to play my flac files.
I also played some ALAC files from a Mac through the Fiio E17 - also a great sound - amazed at how deep the D5000's go, while strong through the mid range and clear treble too.

I have a feeling that things overall could tighten up while improving separation with a better amp/DAC than the E17 - any thoughts on what would be 'solid' step up - Dragon Fly, ibasso, other to look to try?

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RE: Headphone Amp/DAC to partner Denon AH D5000

Hey I'm glad you managed to fix the sound. Haha @ 'Drama' DSP. I've had similar issues because of headphones requiring EQ, when switching to others and forgetting to turn the EQ off I've thought "OMG why do these headphones sound awful all of a sudden"...

Between us we have the entire dispanded Denon line of headphones, just don't be tempted to sell them! I keep thinking that I want to pick up a pair of D2000's for work, but I'm too eager to keep trying new things at the moment. I hope I can still get them when I finally decide to pick some up. 

The D5000's id the only one of the three models that I haven't heard, but for now I will assume it sounds similar to mine. I found nice results from a bunch of DAC/amps actually. I like the Yulong D100 mkII quite a bit, The Fostex HP-A3 is very nice too (I'm reviewing that today), although for different reasons. The M-DAC is a great combo with the D7000 for me, but... How do you feel that the E17 compares to the Yamaha now that you've fixed the DSP settings? If you let me know which you prefer in what area and why maybe I can help steer you towards a good DAC/amp combo for you.

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RE: Headphone Amp/DAC to partner Denon AH D5000

Hi quadpatch

 

Have had a bit of a listen between the Yamaha and the Macbook/Fiio E17 and my preference is definitely towards the latter. The Yamaha sound with the Denon's is too warm overall. Not a problem I have through my Monitor Audio Apex speakers.

I found the Mac/Fiio combo gave more clarity to the whole of the soundstage - bass was still good and solid and in the right place but better balanced with midrange and the treble. However, with the Fiio i noticed some harshness there sometimes. So I think what I'm looking for is something that will present a balanced sound stage from bass through to treble and therefor provide a tight, precise signal for the Denon's to exploit. I will probably use a mac or pc as source mostly using alac or flac files.

By the way, I was also thinking of moving the D2000's to my office too along with Fiio (though if the new DAC/Amp is amazing then....mmmm)

What are your thoughts ...?

 

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RE: Headphone Amp/DAC to partner Denon AH D5000

Hey Julian,

OK my next question is going to be how much would you like to spend? That will dictate a lot, but would you like a larger / mains powered unit or would you prefer a portable USB powered one that can be used with a laptop?

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RE: Headphone Amp/DAC to partner Denon AH D5000

Hi quadpatch - thanks for your time again.

I think it will be sensible to consider both options at the moment. I can see where I could go from a pc or my receiver or even connect to my Squeeze Box Touch for that matter - great headphone listening options all over the place.

As for budget, I don't really have one in mind but let's 500-600 pounds (if you tell me I may need to look at higher than that to get the best out of the D5000's then so be it). I will also look to leverage prices in Singapore/HK/USA which may be better too.

Look forward to your thoughts.

 

Cheers,

Julian

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RE: Headphone Amp/DAC to partner Denon AH D5000

 

Hi Julian,

Well that's quite a decent budget. I wouldn't go much higher than that just for the D5000. Seeing that price makes my mind jump straight to the Audiolab M-DAC, it's a What hi-fi favourite and is amazing with the Denon's IMO. Although I don't think that it's totally stunning for everything, I do love it with the Denon D7000! With a potentially harsh treble like the Sennheiser HD800 it can be a bit grating but the Denons don't suffer much from this. I also love it with the new DT770 Limited Edition headphones. The great thing about the M-DAC is that a lot of hifi shops have it for demoing so that would be my first recommendation. Play it safe and see if you can test it. I found the M-DAC on offer for £480 (20% off) recently, but it's normally £600.

 

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RE: Headphone Amp/DAC to partner Denon AH D5000

I should also say that I really enjoy the Yulong D100 mkII with the D7000. It's a bit smoother than the M-DAC but not quite as resolving or aggressive. It also has lots of inputs/outputs, is about half the price of the M-DAC, but gives you about 80-90% of the quality. The main reasons that I prefer the M-DAC are: The variable line-out through RCA, the remote control (which can play/pause/skip in computer audio players) and the volume dial. The Yulong's volume dial is stepped and for a relatively sensitve headphone like the Denon it can be difficult to get quite the right volume at times.

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RE: Headphone Amp/DAC to partner Denon AH D5000

Hi quadpatch Decisions, decisions - have to admit I do like the amazing rap that the M-DAC receives for it's capabilities. I also like a bargain too so appreciate what you are saying about the Yulong too. I think the best way to go is the M-DAC route as will allow an even better set up going forward.....headphones, amp, speakers and all. Found a place in Singapore that distributes them so will go and have listen. Thanks for your candid thoughts and input too. Will report back when I've had a listen Smile

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RE: Headphone Amp/DAC to partner Denon AH D5000

Hi quadpatch

OK - the deed is done! Had a listen to the M-DAC - both through some floorstanders as well as importantly the Denon's. Absolutely fabulous sound. With it's flexibility as a pre amp too this really has spurred me on to sort my hi fi too - a nice project for the coming year. In the meantime I will just enjoy it through headphones.
My wife is also happy as that's my Xmas pressie sorted - now have to wait till Christmas day to have a play. Will post how things go after that.

Merry Christmas to you quadpatch and hope the new year brings you many new 'toys' as well.

Cheers,

Julian

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RE: Headphone Amp/DAC to partner Denon AH D5000

Hey Julian,

Merry Christmas to you too! I'm glad that you found happiness in the M-DAC :). I was listening to it and the Denons this evening and having a lot of fun. It's funny, I have heard a lot of very interesting headphones lately and I've been so impressed, but I come back to the Denons and wow - nothing else comes close at anywhere near this price and the M-DAC tunes it so well. So much energy and yeat it can be great for easy listening too. Dubstep blows your head clean off, classical is immense and Vocals are so vast and airy.

I too have have felt the draw to build an amp and speaker setup around the M-DAC. I can tell that you will be a happy puppy on Christmas morning :).

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RE: Headphone Amp/DAC to partner Denon AH D5000

quadpatch wrote:

.......I was listening to it and the Denons this evening and having a lot of fun. It's funny, I have heard a lot of very interesting headphones lately and I've been so impressed, but I come back to the Denons and wow - nothing else comes close at anywhere near this price and the M-DAC tunes it so well. So much energy and yeat it can be great for easy listening too. Dubstep blows your head clean off, classical is immense and Vocals are so vast and airy..........

Have you noticed that the old range of Denon headphones has become quite sort after now they have been discontinued, the prices for them have been rising. There doesn't seem to be much love for their new ranges from the audiophile community.
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RE: Headphone Amp/DAC to partner Denon AH D5000

I was talking to a guy who owns several of each range yesterday. He said the new ones are less about clarity and more about bass. I'm paraphrasing, but you get the idea. As much I love the old Denons it seems like they have enough bass already. 

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RE: Headphone Amp/DAC to partner Denon AH D5000

Hi Quadpatch. I have followed your posts here and your own blog with interest for a long time, thanks for all your work and analysis. I have had the AH D7000's for about 18 months and they are keepers. I was interested to read that they are holding their prices now that the range has been discontinued. Such a shame that Denon seemed to have got it wrong with their replacements. 

Out of interest (for the future) do you know anywhere in the UK that can repair or service AH D7000s should that day come when cables, cushions or whatever need replacing or upgrading?

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