Need a dedicated home headphone set up
My current home set up is simply a pair of audioengine a2s playing off a Dell Studio Laptop; and my portable set up is a pair of phonak audio 012s with a fiio e06 portable DAC playing off of my HTC Desire S. The majority of my music is stored in FLAC, with the rest at 320kbs.
Next year I am going to be in a smaller flat share, and so for home listening I won’t always be able to use my a2s. I am looking for some decent headphones mainly for home listening, as I am fine with my current portable set up (although I might get a sansa clip). Also, I am after a decent USB DAC/amp for the headphones. Would a DAC also improve the sound of my A2s? They are active speakers, so they don’t need amplification, but at the moment they are plugged jack to jack into my laptop.
With regards to headphones, I had been looking at these (from cheapest on Amazon)
Beyerdynamic DT770 Pro – 80 ohms
Audio-Technica ATH M50
Philips Fidelio X1/00
The AKG K550s look a bit ugly to me, but they have quite a large price reduction, and I’ll only be wearing them at home. The Philips look great, but I’m not sure if they warrant another £100.
I was also wondering what impedance would be suitable. The advantage of low impedance headphones is that I can use them straight away and then get the DAC further down the line to cushion the blow to my wallet. Is there a significant improvement from a higher impedance driven set?
I would be interested if there are any in this price range that are superior. The amazon reviews for the audiotechnica’s are very good, but I had read somewhere that they had good bass and average mids and highs. I’m leaning towards either the DT770s or the AKGs…or waiting on a price drop on the Philips. There are cheaper models of the Philips available as well. Decisions, decisions.
With regards to DACs my knowledge base is very low. The fiio e06 significantly improved the sound coming off my htc, and gave me more volume; but their main selling point was that it was cheap and small.
I have a bit of brand loyalty to audioengine and had looked at the D1. I was also quite impressed with the value of my e06 and have been looking at the e17. But now there is a spanner in the works as I have also seen the meridian explorer, although this is twice the price, and the HRT microStreamer.
Being realistic at the current prices the Philips headphones are too expensive as is the meridian explorer, but if one of the two significantly merited the price I might break the bank. Or is it worth getting a much cheaper DAC and more expensive headphones?