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porto

earphones VS DAP money priority

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Hi there!

 

Whats more important, good earphones or a good DAP?

Another way of thinking would be if you were going to buy a system consisted of earphones and a digital audio player and both components each on a scale 1 through 10, 10 being perfect, added together need to equal 10. Is it better lets say to get earphones that are 7/10 and a DAP 3/10 or get it the other way, DAP 7/10 and earphones 3/10, maybe both 5/10. I am a newbie and I would like to have your experienced opinion. Currently, I have a budget of 800usd for the system (earphones and DAP)

Thank you all

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I am at this moment listening to Audioquest Nightowl Carbon headphones being driven by a Pono.  I figure I spent right around your budget for this combo, and this combo has given me many hours of delightful listenting.  Unfortunately, both have been discontinued, but the Nightowls can still be found for $399.  If you can snag a pair of these, that'll leave you half your budget for a DAP.  I'm not sure what to suggest at that price point, so I'll be interested in what others have to say.

 

So back to your question, I think I'd say they are equally important.  But headphones are a very personal thing - where comfort and reliability factor in as well.  Maybe the best bet is to find a headphone you really like and then build around them.

 


Digital:  Innuos Zenith Std Mk2 > Shunyata Alpha USB > Chord Hugo M-Scaler > Shunyata Alpha S/PDIF > Chord Hugo TT2 

Amp & Speakers:  Spectral DMA-150mk2 > Aerial 10T

Foundation: Stillpoints Ultra, Shunyata Denali power conditioner, Shunyata Alpha power cords, Shunyata Anaconda interconnect, MIT Oracle speaker cables, GIK bass traps

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If the ultimate cost you pay is dissatisfaction with how well the two match.  Reflecting on fiscal price as an absolute percentage of your budget might prove unwise.  Put more directly, should someone throw a $2K DAP out their window into your lap. Buying an $800 set of earphones will not guarantee anything but that you maxed out your budget.  :)

 

11\11 is the split you should reflect on while fully engaged with a listening environment optimized beyond capabilities you expected when setting off down this road.  

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@porto

Is your setup dependend on portability, therefore a DAP?

Or could you imaging a scenario, listening with high end ear phones (>400 USD) to a desktop system, i.e. Mobile Phone + USB DAC + Headphone Amp, so portability or use in transportation (which could be a problem with open back cans as well) could be an issue?
Best, Tom

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14 hours ago, kennyb123 said:

I am at this moment listening to Audioquest Nightowl Carbon headphones being driven by a Pono.  I figure I spent right around your budget for this combo, and this combo has given me many hours of delightful listenting.  Unfortunately, both have been discontinued, but the Nightowls can still be found for $399.  If you can snag a pair of these, that'll leave you half your budget for a DAP.  I'm not sure what to suggest at that price point, so I'll be interested in what others have to say.

 

So back to your question, I think I'd say they are equally important.  But headphones are a very personal thing - where comfort and reliability factor in as well.  Maybe the best bet is to find a headphone you really like and then build around them.

 

I guess I will be 50/50. Thinking on a combo made by the new Fiio M11 and a pair of shure SE535 (I clerarly prefer earphones over headphones, only for a mobility purpose ex: joggion)

 

what do you think?

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10 hours ago, DuckToller said:

@porto

Is your setup dependend on portability, therefore a DAP?

Or could you imaging a scenario, listening with high end ear phones (>400 USD) to a desktop system, i.e. Mobile Phone + USB DAC + Headphone Amp, so portability or use in transportation (which could be a problem with open back cans as well) could be an issue?
Best, Tom

I totallly agree with your point of view. Definately mobility (either for commute or jogging) so a good DAP is a must. Thinking on the new Fiio M11. As for the earphones either the shure 535, DGVP DM7 or a pair from Fiio are my options. By the way do you think I will be compensated (sonically) if I purchase earphones from the same brand as the DAP, or it's a "no issue".

 

thank you 

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@porto

Thank you for your response.

In my experience, paying a plus for extra resolving audio products which fits  for jogging and commuting may prove to be a difficult decision to make.

These are demanding, but different environments for listening.

Imho, the comfort of wearing light earphones (for jogging) and the wish for noise cancellation (public transportation) are often somehow contradictory.

I for myself cannot enjoy 192/24 or DSD when running, not speaking about hearing a difference to Redbook files in that situation.

One of the things to consider (if for example you look for a desktop  hp system) in order to cover budget constraints, could be to separate the chain into player (phone or RPI), DAC (Digital 2 Analog Converter/Digital Audio Converter) and HP amp. This gives you the possibility to upgrade to a quality DAP later, or just upgrade units that you feel are limiting your sq.

For example, an AQ Dragonfly red or a Topping NX4 work well with Android phones as portable solution, a mix of a JDS Atom/Khadas Tone Board DAC could be a viable desktop solution.

Depending where you live, you can have the set of 3 starting @ 350 USD, which leaves you some serious money for headphones.

I am unsure if this answer does suit your direction,  nonetheless, looking from different angles before spending a budget proves often valuable.

Just my 2 cents on the topics..

Best, Tom

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1 hour ago, porto said:

By the way do you think I will be compensated (sonically) if I purchase earphones from the same brand as the DAP, or it's a "no issue". 

Sounds like you have already met some salesmen 😉

Matching components is important, but seldom defined by brand names.

Cheers, Tom

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6 hours ago, porto said:

I guess I will be 50/50. Thinking on a combo made by the new Fiio M11 and a pair of shure SE535 (I clerarly prefer earphones over headphones, only for a mobility purpose ex: joggion)

 

what do you think?

 

Sorry I missed your mention of "earphone".  I use Cardas A8 Anniversary Edition earbuds with my Pono when I'm on the move and want good sound.  I prefer Bluetooth buds when working out or doing yard work - Jaybird X4 connected to my iPhone. These are my commuting buds too.  Yeah, I sacrifice sound quality, but the convenience and reduced risk of damage justify that.

 

It looks to me as though you have selected a very fine combo.  If you are going to be pretty active with your earbuds, you might want to find a set that allows the cable to be replaced.  I don't recall if that was possible with the Shure models.


Digital:  Innuos Zenith Std Mk2 > Shunyata Alpha USB > Chord Hugo M-Scaler > Shunyata Alpha S/PDIF > Chord Hugo TT2 

Amp & Speakers:  Spectral DMA-150mk2 > Aerial 10T

Foundation: Stillpoints Ultra, Shunyata Denali power conditioner, Shunyata Alpha power cords, Shunyata Anaconda interconnect, MIT Oracle speaker cables, GIK bass traps

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3 hours ago, kumakuma said:

The cables on the Shures are very robust and can be easily replaced if damaged.

 

Shure also sells two different Bluetooth cables (BT1 and BT2) that allow their wired IEMs to go wireless. I converted my Shure SE215s to Bluetooth, leaving my SE525s wired. 

+1 for this clever approach 😎

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4 hours ago, kumakuma said:

The cables on the Shures are very robust and can be easily replaced if damaged.

 

Shure also sells two different Bluetooth cables (BT1 and BT2) that allow their wired IEMs to go wireless. I converted my Shure SE215s to Bluetooth, leaving my SE525s wired.

 

If you go with the Shures, I suggest getting either Comply foam tips or SpinFits. I use the latter on my Bluetooth pair because they aren't as noise blocking as the Comply tips.

 

 

 

 

 

I use the Comply tips on my 535’s. I don’t know if they sound better but they’re way more comfortable. 

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11 hours ago, daverich4 said:

 

I use the Comply tips on my 535’s. I don’t know if they sound better but they’re way more comfortable. 

Are you satisfied with the 535's?

If you had to buy a new pair today would you still buy it or would you prefer one of the following options:

 

BGVP DM7
Campfire Orion 
Audio-Technica ATH-E70 
Westone w20

 

thanks

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3 hours ago, porto said:

Are you satisfied with the 535's?

If you had to buy a new pair today would you still buy it or would you prefer one of the following options:

 

BGVP DM7
Campfire Orion 
Audio-Technica ATH-E70 
Westone w20

 

thanks

 

I would definitely buy the 535’s again but have no experience with any of the others you mentioned so can’t comment on them. 

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