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Old Jan 3, 2013, 12:22 PM   #1
zdobson
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Recommendations for listening setup?

I'm buying some good headphones and I want to know how to improve the audio signal coming from my Mac Pro. Would a digital audio interface be the way to go? If so, which ones would be good just for a listening setup. I won't be recording.

I have a vintage Pioneer amp that I'm currently using too, so that could be used in the setup or not.

I'm also wondering about mobile listening. I have a 5th Gen iPod classic and an iPhone 4. Is there a setup people use to improve sound there? I've seen a few options using a small amp connected to the dock.

Maybe there's one option that could be used for both? Some sort of portable amp that would accept either a USB/Firewire or dock connector? I don't know, just guessing here. Any feedback is appreciated.
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Old Jan 3, 2013, 02:13 PM   #2
Gofre
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What's your budget and what headphones are you buying? There's a few different options.
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Old Jan 3, 2013, 06:56 PM   #3
zdobson
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I'm thinking I'll buy the Grado SR80i. They seem to get great reviews and are only $99. I considered the Aiaiai TMA-1, but I think they were a little heavy on the bass for some genres.

As for budget, I'd probably like to stay under a couple hundred dollars.
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Old Jan 3, 2013, 07:55 PM   #4
Destroysall
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What music will you be listening to? The Grado headphones are very mid-range heavy. They work great for acoustics, classic rock, and string orchestras.
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Old Jan 4, 2013, 12:35 AM   #5
zdobson
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I listen to a lot of different things, so I think I probably need something pretty neutral. Can one set of headphones sound as good for John Coltrane as it does for LCD Soundsystem? Or The Who, Sufjan Stevens, Paul Simon or Herbie Hancock?
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Old Jan 4, 2013, 12:47 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by zdobson View Post
I'm thinking I'll buy the Grado SR80i. They seem to get great reviews and are only $99. I considered the Aiaiai TMA-1, but I think they were a little heavy on the bass for some genres.

As for budget, I'd probably like to stay under a couple hundred dollars.
I have the AKG K240 Studio headphones, also $99. These have a a very accurate sound. I use the headphone amp built into a Presunus Firewire audio interface. The K240 is a little hard to drive but the Presonus headphone amp set at about 2 (out of 10) is way-loud

So, what to look for is a good headphone amp, the S/PDIF out of the Mac is actually bit-per-bit perfect. I'd ue that.
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Old Jan 4, 2013, 12:53 AM   #7
torana355
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Originally Posted by zdobson View Post
I'm buying some good headphones and I want to know how to improve the audio signal coming from my Mac Pro. Would a digital audio interface be the way to go? If so, which ones would be good just for a listening setup. I won't be recording.

I have a vintage Pioneer amp that I'm currently using too, so that could be used in the setup or not.

I'm also wondering about mobile listening. I have a 5th Gen iPod classic and an iPhone 4. Is there a setup people use to improve sound there? I've seen a few options using a small amp connected to the dock.

Maybe there's one option that could be used for both? Some sort of portable amp that would accept either a USB/Firewire or dock connector? I don't know, just guessing here. Any feedback is appreciated.
Something like this could suit your needs. I use one to drive my Hifiman HE-400 planers. It is a DAC and amp in one. It has multiple inputs including usb.

http://www.fiio.com.cn/products/inde...nuID=105026002
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Old Jan 4, 2013, 03:38 AM   #8
Destroysall
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Originally Posted by zdobson View Post
I listen to a lot of different things, so I think I probably need something pretty neutral. Can one set of headphones sound as good for John Coltrane as it does for LCD Soundsystem? Or The Who, Sufjan Stevens, Paul Simon or Herbie Hancock?
What is your budget?
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Old Jan 4, 2013, 07:40 AM   #9
spoonie1972
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a used mytek stereo96 DAC would fit the ticket. It's not a consumer item so there is no fanfare for the brand name.

It is a fantastic piece of gear. When i'm not using the ADC version of it for input, i'm using it for its clock. It;s GOOD.

iirc, the most recent iteration of it (it has probably been superseded by the 192khz model) has optical in.
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Old Jan 4, 2013, 09:20 AM   #10
zdobson
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Originally Posted by torana355 View Post
Something like this could suit your needs. I use one to drive my Hifiman HE-400 planers. It is a DAC and amp in one. It has multiple inputs including usb.

http://www.fiio.com.cn/products/inde...nuID=105026002
I was considering fiio. What's the difference between the E7 and the E17? Also, I see that I could use the USB to connect that to the computer, but what about the iPod/iPhone? They have several dock connectors, which I assume would be the way to go, but which one?
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Old Jan 4, 2013, 11:33 AM   #11
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I was considering fiio. What's the difference between the E7 and the E17? Also, I see that I could use the USB to connect that to the computer, but what about the iPod/iPhone? They have several dock connectors, which I assume would be the way to go, but which one?
Go with the E17 and use a Line-Out Dock connector (LOD).
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Old Jan 4, 2013, 12:52 PM   #12
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If you're not going to be doing any recording, you can get something like this. It's not too expensive, and will greatly improve your sound quality when you use headphones. As for headphones, I recommend the Shure SRH840. I use these at home.
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Old Jan 4, 2013, 01:29 PM   #13
torana355
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Originally Posted by zdobson View Post
I was considering fiio. What's the difference between the E7 and the E17? Also, I see that I could use the USB to connect that to the computer, but what about the iPod/iPhone? They have several dock connectors, which I assume would be the way to go, but which one?
The E17 is much more powerful, its the newer model. I use the L9 dock connector, its the L shaped one, works a treat
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Old Jan 4, 2013, 02:12 PM   #14
zdobson
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I've had a few recommendations for the ATH-M50 headphones, so I might check those out, too. E17 DAC seems like a great way to go for combined computer and mobile listening.
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