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idc's picture
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Computer based headfi setup.

This is my setup in which the look is, well functional, but it sounds brilliant and for me has many conveniences....


                            


.....as I sit in the corner of the room, in my chair, laptop on its Ikea table, surfing the interweb, looking at mufti and posting drivel, I mean researching for and comment on the What Hifi forum. The actual setup is compact as you can see. It sits on two granite placemats to isolate it from vibrations when someone gets toys out the cupboard and we have a wooden floor.


                             


     


It consists of a Dell Inspiron laptop which has a WD Mybook as a back up hard drive in the spare room. The laptop is linked to the DAC (a Firestone Fubar II which is the small grey box on the right) with a USB cable. The DAC has its own power supply (a Firestone Supplier which is the small red box on the amp). It connects to the DAC with a tiny little cable hidden from view. The DAC connects to the larger of the two amplifiers (the X-CANV8P) with the Firestone supplied phono cable, again hidden from view.


The amplifier on the left is the original X-CAN headphone amp I had. It has been modified by Rock Grotto with pretty much new everything fitted, from the headphone socket to the valves. I use it when I can't be bothered to fire up the laptop and I connect my ipod Classic to it with a GQ-24 cable. The headphones are AKG K702 and Grado SR80s. I also have Sennheiser mx500 and PX200s for out and about with the ipod Classic or nano.


I connected it all up this way as it keeps power and signal cables separate and out of sight. Also out of view, the amps and DAC connect to a Russ Andrews mains extension with a Silencer plugged into it and the laptop and lamp into another socket. This really works as when I power everything up there is no hiss through the headphones at all.


Eventual upgrades will be a portable headphone amp to get the best out of the Sennheisers and the X-CANV8P will go back to Musical Fidelity to be upgraded. MF have prevented any other company from modifiying it by glueing as well as soldering the components in!


 

Anonymous
Anonymous's picture
Re: Computer based headfi setup.

Very nice set up idc, bet it sounds ace too!  

Look forward to getting my headphone amp in a few weeks (Little Dot Mk IV) and experience that beautiful valve sound, still undecided as to what cans to buy for it though. 

idc's picture
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Re: Computer based headfi setup.

Thanks Martyp. It does sound brilliant IMHO! Can you take your Little Dot to a dealer and try the headphones they have through it? I got the Grados after an audition. I got the AKGs and Sennheisers on recommendation from What Hifi, checking headphone forums and by trying various makes for comfort of fitting.

Anonymous
Anonymous's picture
Re: Computer based headfi setup.

Might do as you suggest and take the little dot to a dealer to try various cans through it. 

Within my budget of £150 (need to stick to this), I am tempted by the Grado SR125s - scored 5/5 on here so can't be a bad choice, but I would like to try them on.

Anonymous
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Re: Computer based headfi setup.

looks really nice.

one question though; wheres the volume knob on the original xcan? Am i just missing it in the photo?

idc's picture
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Re: Computer based headfi setup.

Martyp. Yes try the Grados for size. They sit on your ear rather than around them and the foam feels a bit rough at first. I paid a bit extra and went for the Mickey Mouse ears to replace the foam ring that comes as standard. I would sacrifice a bit of sound quality for comfort, but whatever headphones I have on I adjust them regularly anyway.


Eddie. The volume knob is the tiny black thing to the left of the headphone jack, that looks a bit like another headphone jack. I declined the mod of having it replaced as it works. But it is odd having a tiny very cheap plastic knob on what is otherwise an amp so solid you could stand on it all day. But it was very cheap, relatively, at about £130 at first. The obvious cost cuts are the volume knob and the PSU which runs very hot, has a pathetic, short wire and will get upgraded at some point. Thanks for saying it looks nice, it is just a collection of odd shaped and mismatched components and I don't look at it unless I have to Cool

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Joined: 22/08/2008 - 17:27
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Re: Computer based headfi setup.

Small is beautiful as they say. It looks like a great area to retreat and escape day to day pressures. Nice to see a piccy of a computer based system.

idc's picture
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Re: Computer based headfi setup.

Thanks shado. Your right, it is my corner of the room. Looks, well they just don't come into it. Hope that does not put anyone off such a setup. Visitors tend to just look at it and either say nothing or ask and then probably regret they asked!

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Re: Computer based headfi setup.

having just finished my setup , already i can see the benefit of yours when shes hogging the livving room watching 'enders'.

 

can i ask are you cornered by a wife that hogs the TV , but wants u in the same room?? LOL. as I am.

Anonymous
Anonymous's picture
Re: Computer based headfi setup.

Ooh you lucky thing! AKG 702's... I was gonna' get the 701's but then I realised I couldn't justify buying them without having to get a headphone amp as well; so I went for some Sennheiser HD595's.

Still, I have seen the power of a headphone setup.

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Re: Computer based headfi setup.

Method Man - very tolerant wife as the headphones leak sound. My son listens in as well and if he hears something he likes he comes and asks for a better listen, so the second jack in the amp is useful. My choice to be in the livingroom rather than tucked away elsewhere. Best of all, I still get to master of the remote control!


Murcielago. Lucky doen't come into it. The V8P was a freebie from Musical Fidelity when I found out there was a fault in the manufacturing of the X-CANS (wrong model inside it!) and the AKGs were a present from parents who at the moment have gone mad and are spending a fortune on the rest of the family now they have retired!


I trialed the HD595s and they are great, but they just don't do it for me. Difficult to put my finger on it, but I find after extended listening I am getting board. That only applies to the full sized ones, I am happy with the little ones I have.

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