New Headphones! New Source?

[H]ealer

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I've been reading through some headphone threats here and after a few weeks I took the plunge and bought a new set of cans. I got the Samson SR850. I know that aren't the greatest and that there are much better out there. I figured before I spent too much I'd try these out and see how much I really enjoy listening to music and games through headphones. I have used my Klispch promedia 5.1's for the past 5 or 6 years. I had an x-fi card for most of that time but it finally bit the dust and now I'm using the Realtek on board audio :(

Here is what I want to know:

1. Should I plug the headphones into the line out on the back of the mobo or into the Klipsch control dock. The Klipsch does have a headphone mode.

2. What is an appropriate amount of time for burn in?

3. Should I think about purchasing something like a Fiio E9?

4. I have an extra Denon receiver. Is that something I need to consider working into my audio setup on the pc? I feel like that may be where all this is headed but I just don't know enough about it. Can someone direct me towards some threads on this?

Thanks...
 

spaceman

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Plug the denon into your mobo optical output and use it as a headphone amp. That is the quickest, best sound you have atm.
 

Liggywuh

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Burn in is a tricky question to ask, as long as possible is the short answer, but for example, some people say there is no burn in at all.

I have heard the burn on my HD595s. They needed about 40-50 hours, IIRC.
 

Viper87227

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Plug the denon into your mobo optical output and use it as a headphone amp. That is the quickest, best sound you have atm.
This. The dac on your receiver is going to be better than your onboard sound, and the headphone amp in the receiver will be better than that of your speakers. It's not ideal, especially for space reasons, but its the best solution you have until you can purcahse a dedicated dac/amp.

As for burn-in. There is really no answer. Some people don't hear it at all, some can. You may put 100's of hours into a pair of headphones and never hear a change. They will burn in very slowly over time, and as such, your ears will probably simply become accustom to the subtle changes as they burn-in. I think burn-in is a lot more noticeable when you have a brand new pair of headphones that you can listen to against the same headphones with a few hundred hours on them. You'll likely notice a difference then. With the many different headphones I've had, I've never worried about burn in. Just listen and enjoy them. If they get better over time, great... but its not like it will be night and day... your not missing out by just listening as they are out of the box.

If you want to purchase something, there are a lot of dac/amp combos out there for around $100. If you aren't in a rush, go watch the FS forum at head-fi. Being that you are shopping for entry-tier stuff, there are going to be a lot of people who were in the same boat as you that are now ready to upgrade. It makes for the kind of gear you are in the market for easy to find. I purchased a Zero DAC for $90 a few months ago, and its a fantastic piece of equipment for what I paid.
 
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BababooeyHTJ

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Does the SR850 even benefit from an amp? They seem fine coming straight out of a sound card for me, I wouldn't be able to crank the volume all of the way up comfortably unlike with my HD598.
 

spaceman

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Does the SR850 even benefit from an amp? They seem fine coming straight out of a sound card for me, I wouldn't be able to crank the volume all of the way up comfortably unlike with my HD598.
Not as much as a 598 no. Just gives you more control over the sound, aka it will sound different and probably better.

The 598 will need an amp to power it fully obviously. Sensitivity is rated in ohm. The higher the ohm, with a max of 600 ohm for headphones, the harder it is to drive.

The SR850 does not need an amp, it does benefit a bit from it. For example, out of my old xfi, it sounded fine but a bit sharp and edged. My receiver added more detail and sound stage overall to the sound. It was more natural to my ears.
 
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BababooeyHTJ

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I really think that something like an e9 with a high output impedance would probably do more harm than good on the SR850.

The SR850 is known for its piercing highs I have to eq the treble down to make it sound good. Does your receiver have a dsp?
 

[H]ealer

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Yes the receiver has dsp. From what I'm hearing I think I should give the headphones a chance as they are. Then buy an amp if needed. Is it better to go with an amp or a dedicated sound card?
 

BababooeyHTJ

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I think that a good dac would probably be your best bet. I would pick up a decent sound card personally but try the receiver, that might do the trick.
 

spaceman

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I have a denon 589 receiver and have no issues with the highs on the sr850. This is straight up stereo with no changes to the sound. Of course, I AM an old fart so my ears might be less sensitive than yours.

Still, try the receiver. Put it on the floor if you have to. The headphone cord will reach.
 

[H]ealer

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Okay...thanks for the replies!! Phones will be here tomorrow and I'll post back after I've had a change to sample...
 

shadow_419

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Not as much as a 598 no. Just gives you more control over the sound, aka it will sound different and probably better.

The 598 will need an amp to power it fully obviously. Sensitivity is rated in ohm. The higher the ohm, with a max of 600 ohm for headphones, the harder it is to drive.

The SR850 does not need an amp, it does benefit a bit from it. For example, out of my old xfi, it sounded fine but a bit sharp and edged. My receiver added more detail and sound stage overall to the sound. It was more natural to my ears.
Sensitivity is measured in dB/V or dB/mW for headphones not ohms. The Ohm is a measure of impedance. Headphones with a lower impedance usually have higher sensitivity, but this isn't always the case. The Samson SR850 are fairly sensitive though.

When sensitivity is the same between 2 headphones/speakers
Higher impedance = Needs more voltage, less current to reach rated power
Lower impedance = Needs more current, less voltage to reach rated power
 

spaceman

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Yeah well I have had rhinitis for the past few weeks so forgive my brain. I have been sinused into stupidity.
 

Viper87227

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[H]ealer;1038275498 said:
Yes the receiver has dsp. From what I'm hearing I think I should give the headphones a chance as they are. Then buy an amp if needed. Is it better to go with an amp or a dedicated sound card?
Don't just buy an amp if you are using onboard. Crap goes in, crap comes out. You'd want to get a dedicated sound card or a DAC first. Are you still planning to use the speakers too? If so, I'd get another X-Fi, and then get either a headphone amp or an optical dac/amp combo, that way your headphones will play nice with your speakers. If you are ditching the speakers for headphones, get a dac/amp combo and call it a day.
 

shadow_419

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Yeah well I have had rhinitis for the past few weeks so forgive my brain. I have been sinused into stupidity.
Not trying to pick on you. Just don't want someone to make the mistake of buying a headphone with a lowish impedance(<100 Ohm), and automatically thinking it'll be sensitive enough to run by an ipod or onboard soundcard.
 

spaceman

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Not trying to pick on you. Just don't want someone to make the mistake of buying a headphone with a lowish impedance(<100 Ohm), and automatically thinking it'll be sensitive enough to run by an ipod or onboard soundcard.
No offense taken. I appreciate it actually.
 

[H]ealer

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Okay...so I'm about four days in with this new set of cans and am having a blast. I decided to drag out my denon receiver and use it as the source connected directly to the optical out from the on-board sound. Thing is, I can get no sound this way. Tried all the different input on the receiver and set the receiver to headphones. I have realtek on board audio...help!!
 

w00tMkay

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Id also consider an Asus Essence STx w/new op-amps, it comes to life with little work. I'm more than happy with mine at the moment driving my HD-650's. Headfi-org has lots of info on this card and what audio profiles you get with particular op-amps.
 

spaceman

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[H]ealer;1038291076 said:
Okay...so I'm about four days in with this new set of cans and am having a blast. I decided to drag out my denon receiver and use it as the source connected directly to the optical out from the on-board sound. Thing is, I can get no sound this way. Tried all the different input on the receiver and set the receiver to headphones. I have realtek on board audio...help!!
Need to turn on the optical output in your sound settings. Little speaker in the right corner of your windows usually.
 

[H]ealer

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Just spent a few hours listening to music through my receiver and new phones. Gotta say that I'm not as impressed as I'd hoped to be. There is a small difference...maybe a bit louder and the soundstage in a touch more full. Maybe I need to go ahead and purchase the dedicated sound card or a headphone amp
 
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HammerSandwich

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Good chance your receiver's output impedance is higher than the SR850s like. If you have a Sansa Clip+ or Zip available, that would provide a good (and cheap) reference.
 
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