Saturday, March 13, 2010

Head-Fi now

I've not listened to my system for some time. Even when I have the time, my kids could be taking naps, so blasting away on my speakers is not exactly desired. Then I started to think if I should venture into the realm of the sgheadphones and headfi guys... My experience with the Grado SR80 was good, except for the super uncomfortable sponges... It was torture just to listen to an entire cd album.

So I went to Jaben and asked for their recommendation for a comfortable pair of 600 ohms headphone. Turned out that they only had one 600 ohms model... which is the Beyerdynamic DT880. It's more expensive than the 250 ohms model though. I tried it and thought it was ok. Then I asked for a model in the same range, and they let me listen to the Denon AHD2000 (i think), but the highs were too pronounced for my liking. Testing was done on their cd.

I returned 2 days later with my CDs - Rammstein's Sehnsucht, Carla Bruni's Quelqu'Un M'a Dit and Ryuichi Sakamoto's Cinemage. Around 30 minutes later, I got the DT880, mostly because it is a 600 ohm headphone. I think that impedance matching is important and I wanted to see if I could make use of my preamp's 600 ohm output to drive the headphone directly. And also, there are an abundance of 600 ohm line output transformers available in the market. So, if I wanted to build a headphone amp, I would be spoilt for choice, compared to other odd values (but common values where headphones are concerned).

The DT880 have been running in off my ipod for around 40 hours on shuffle at moderate listening volumes. On my preamp, I need to crank to around 3 o'clock for loud volumes. 4 o'clock for Rammstein type of music is great for kicks. Anything louder for an extended duration may not be safe for the ears. This is using my CDPRO2 and the Monica DAC as a source. Output of the Monica DAC is lower as it uses passive I/V in the form of resistors.

I'll probably add the headphone output jack onto the preamp chassis soon. And maybe I should build an Akido headphone amp just for fun.

Some pics here.