Headphone random conversation

Page 6 - Love gaming? Join the PC Gamer community to share that passion with gamers all around the world!
I have only used headphones the once since getting them (to play games in) and it was my bathys for a few hours. I only stopped as a sound effect in one game was driving me mad.
I might try my IEM attached to a DAC that in turn is attached to PC via USB, next time to play a game. They don't squeeze head as much as some headphones might.
I got side tracked... one day I might buy a gaming headset but right now I don't really need to.

I have had my DAP a month now. It was meant to have 100 hours burn in, its probably added up to that in the last few weeks. Try to listen to music sometime in the day, for a few hours. The last few times its been to keep me awake.

I can't tell if it sounds any different as I have also been using new headphones that weren't great at blocking external noise themselves until last week, and that greatly effects the amount of bass you get. I swapped the eartips to a bigger size - I originally thought I had largest on.. instead I had smallest lol. They sound much better now... I should wear other IEM occasionally too. Only one set of ears and 3 new sets of headphones in the last 6 months... I blame @anort3 (since CT not here).

I haven't felt need to alter its sound signature at all. Which is funny as it has so many ways to do it. One reason I chose it was for one of them. Guess headphones don't really need it.
  • Like
Reactions: ZedClampet

So there are still (many countless) things I don't understand...

I don't know why these headphones

are easier to drive than these ones

Is it the frequency response? Or fact 2nd ones are planars?

and if my dap:

can run these: (focal hadensys- comes with 3.5 and 6.5mm connectors - No balanced)

as if they can't I just buy something else in a few months. No point if they going to be underpowered.
BTR7 might be able to run them but I bought dap for a reason.
  • Like
Reactions: ZedClampet
Jan 15, 2020
Visit site
You have to look at both impedance and sensitivity when looking at how 'hard' something is to drive. Lower impedance is easier to drive and 16 ohms is very low. Higher sensitivity is easier to drive. So the 109db set would get louder with the same power than the 101db pair.
  • Like
Reactions: ZedClampet
Jan 15, 2020
Visit site
You should be fine with your DAP. Can't it run a Sennheiser HD600 or 650? Those are 300ohm headphones and WAY harder to drive than just about any IEM.

Some planars really need power though. More than their specs would suggest.
  • Like
Reactions: ZedClampet
If I get the Bluetooth version of the K7 I can attach it to dap via BT and at least be able to use the dap as a source. That way i might be able to listen to music longer than I can if I just use DAP in class A High Gain mode. Some days I want to listen longer than a charge lasts. I expect it doesn't use as much power in Bluetooth mode.

Or I get a 3.5mm line out to RCA cable and attach DAP via line out and get actual Hi Res music as opposed to the compressed version over BT. DAP doesn't use AMP in line out mode so should last longer than it does when using them. It could be charging while it runs (though I do hear a hum on headphones if I charge them using DAP now)

It can only receive BT, it can't send. Can't use as base station for BT headphones as such. The Non BT version is cheaper but the BT one might be more useful later... who knows. I have bought everything in the wrong order all year.

So SPL = Sensitivity? So the focals are 105. They are in between the two IEM I have, and its impedence is 26 which is higher than the others but still classified as low (divide is 50) since headphones can be up to 600.

I am not buying anything now. Just research.
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: ZedClampet
I was saving towards a future pair of headphones but one thing led to another and I bought a pair of these tonight.

Mainly as they are $220 less than normal and I didn't really want to miss the discount. They were cheap enough it won't stop me buying something else later on, just slow me down a little. It was a pair I wanted to listen to, just to see if I like their sound. Still working out what I like.

If DAP can't run them well, I know my BTR7 can. It might make sense to use it anyway attached to PC. It comes with a 3 metre cable so its not exactly designed for mobile use. Open back not ideal for keeping noise out. Or in.
  • Like
Reactions: Brian Boru
I found the box for the PXC550 a few days back, so I put the old ones back in there. '


I had watched reviews of the HD600 and all the reviewers got a bigger box than I did... not amused. they got a storage box, I just got a plastic bag.

My DAP needs all its power to run these, my dongle seems to do it better.

I just pick one of these up in a few weeks to drive them and anything I might buy later.
Then I should really stop for a while.
Last edited:
  • Haha
Reactions: Brian Boru
HD600 Headphones didn't grab me. I find myself getting bored listening to them, I don't think DAP is pushing them hard enough to wake them up. Went back to using the 1st set of IEM I bought, which don't need to be run as hard to be way louder. Hd600 needs High gain, these IEM are happy on low but i normally use medium gain to get about same level volume. This was to be expected but I don't want to run DAP at 100% volume so I will buy a desktop combo to fix that problem. Use IEM on DAP and wired headphones on something more capable.

I am not getting A K7, I hadn't really looked at alternatives and now I am stuck between either a
Topping A30 Pro Amp & D30 pro DAC Stack
Topping L70 Amp & E70 Dac Stack

The two Amplifiers sound different, and A30 Pro isn't a balanced Amp whereas L70 is.
A30 seems better suited to IEM as it has a low gain mode. Nevermind, they both do
So I will grab it unless it disappears from the store I can see both packages on.
I can get the E/L70 stack on two websites so not concerned about it. Both combos at most a year old so shouldn't randomly disappear. The A30/D30 combo isn't showing on the Topping website so there is that.

Both will have more than enough power to wake the HD600 up as well as a pair of Planar IEM I have that just seem too quiet on my DAP.
They can run almost anything I am likely to buy, its only headphones I can't afford that it can't run.

I only have one balanced cable, rest of headphones are single ended, so even one difference really doesn't matter to me. The main difference seems to be sound then
A30 Pro is an older model that used to cost the same when it was launched. In a typical Topping fashion, it’s also a powerhouse. But these two amps do sound slightly different. A30 Pro has a more laid-back midrange with thinner vocals that are further away from you. L70 sounds fuller and warmer in the midrange, all tones feel fuller and the vocals are bigger and closer. This also means that the A30 Pro develops a slightly more spacious soundstage.

A30 Pro doesn't have a remote, but it can be controlled with the DAC which has a remote.
Both E70 & L70 have remotes which seems excessive. Would make more sense to have one... but nope.

It seems one difference is these can use a switch on the back to allow both units to be turned off at same time.
ask me tomorrow and it probably changed again.
Hifiman EF400 current choice.
Last edited:
Jan 15, 2020
Visit site
Hd600 needs High gain, these IEM are happy on low but i normally use medium gain to get about same level volume. This was to be expected but I don't want to run DAP at 100% volume so I will buy a desktop combo to fix that problem. Use IEM on DAP and wired headphones on something more capable.
High gain is usually recommended for the best sound on any amp. Volume is just gain. It's not making the device use more power or anything so don't worry about cranking the DAP up to 11.

HD600 Headphones didn't grab me. I find myself getting bored listening to them, I don't think DAP is pushing them hard enough to wake them up.
Possible but a laptop or even the headphone out on your PC will probably drive them well enough to give you a sound impression. Yes neutral can be boring. The HD600 is also good enough to expose flaws in recordings so stuff you really like might sound terrible on the 600 if it's not well mastered.
  • Like
Reactions: Brian Boru
Anort and I had already had that conversation. I clearly posted that before talking to him in Discord. My feelings on headphones seem to change based on music as well. I need to get used to how they sound. They don't compare to my IEM well. But different sound signatures.
Interesting to know about volume and battery usage. One day I will let dap get below 40% power before I charge it again.
I knew that about recordings, I had noticed that with my Focals already.

I just noticed the EF500 which replaced the EF400... its only been out a few weeks.

It is cheaper than the 400 , and can be connected via Ethernet so can stream from dap or PC. Also has Coax connection and USB B/C (like 400)
I will give it the Ethernet cable that currently goes into my PC, PC can use wifi.
not many reviews, only been out a month. Means I won't waste all night looking at reviews.
The power out from balanced is 4.5watts whereas unbalanced is only 1.32 -

It only has two headphone outs - 6.5mm unbalanced and balanced xlr outs.

I can find an adapter that is 4.4mm to xlr - https://www.ddhifi.com/en/product/xlr44b-2022/ but i may not have a use for it.
I can run all my headphones off a 6.5mm connection.
someone mentioned lack of 4.4mm balanced and was told that desktop amps generally don't include those yet.

Its unclear what output impedance is on both headphone outs. The 500 had a high OI and could change the sound of low impedance headphones. I read a forum thread and the 500 should be fine for IEM.

The sound stage isn't as wide as 400 but then its $250 less. 400 getting hard to find. I was going to compare it 600 's price but when I got to a shop, they didn't have 400 and its how I found the 499/500 (499 is cheaper again but doesn't sound as good. different R2R dac inside) and have been looking ever since.

Doubt about its IEM compatibility has me looking at topping stack again. Its more capable of running everything I own now. Ef500 is better suited to over ears, which I only have one set of. I prefer to use all the headphones I own now.

just research anyway, I need to save to buy either.
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: Brian Boru
need to buy a cable to link them. All the weaknesses of dac are fixed by the amp. Might be able to just buy the dac and if need be, get can afterwards.

Not many reviews yet. Can only been out about a week.
Last edited:
Zen dac 3 is a dac/amp combo unit that runs off USB C. It gets its power from USB, it doesn't have its own power source otherwise. can run it off a phone.

Max output power
4.4mm balanced -
up to 70mw @600 Ohms
up to 300Mw @32 Ohms
6.5mm Single ended -
18mw @ 600 Ohms
210mw @ 32ohms

One of these days I will know if that is enough. it is for the IEM for sure but not sure about HD600
if that is all I need I will pick it up in the next few weeks.

would I be right in thinking if its 18mw @600, then its 36mw @ 300, or is that too simplistic?

  • I could then add the Zen Can later once I have paid the Dac off.
  • The Can offers up to 2000Mw so would be more than enough for anything I own. It has some features I won't use like Xmems which makes TWS (True Wireless Crap) headphones sound better.
  • Can buy a separate power cable if its needed. USB is said to be enough, and if I buy the CAN I believe it does have power cable since it doesn't have a USB in...
  • Will need to pick up a balanced 4.4mm to 4.4mm cable if I buy the Can - to connect both units. Can use rca but they suggest 4.4 for best sound.
Most US reviewers complain about Zen dac 3 price as its gone up, and then they suggest Schiitt models. There are two problems I have there:
1. There is only one shop I can order Schiitt from in Australia, and it over prices them because its using its monopoly so the models suggested as deals aren't as competitive here; and
2. The models suggested are out of stock.

So in the price range of the Zen Dac 3 there are really only Topping and smsl alternatives, and if I bought Topping I would probably just buy the A30 Pro Stack (as the cost of the interconnect cable is silly, and getting it as part of price makes more sense), the SMSL would probably come from overseas as no one here has that model yet.
if anyone locally gets this before I go mad and make a decision, I will get one of these
Last edited:
My feelings on headphones seem to change based on music as well. I need to get used to how they sound. They don't compare to my IEM well. But different sound signatures.
Interesting to know about volume and battery usage. One day I will let dap get below 40% power before I charge it again.
Part of the reason they didn't sound good wasn't their fault. For the second time since getting the DAP I discovered yesterday one of its plug ins was making the HD600 sound worse. I should uninstall it, same plug in done it twice now.
Ever since then I have been listening to them again and they sound better now. It had made them quieter and restricted width of sound stage and these headphones don't need help with the second. Sound much better now. Most music isn't boring now.

its funny being able to hear a song without having headphones on my head... Maybe they are too loud...

I think I spent the last week looking at every Dac/Amp combo. I hate not knowing what I want. It meant every day my ideas changed. Then Anort says yesterday... you don't have to just buy one brand... I knew that but restricting choice can make it easier. If it can be anything you don't know where to start. Combo units are either one unit that does it all or two units connected via a cable... in some cases just getting cable for less is worth the bundle.
Back to looking at an All in one. Think I have found all the brands now too except ones I can't afford to look at.
Might go tube amp

The price of cables is just exploitative as far as I can see. Sell thousand dollar USB cables to people who don't know it doesn't help. Special power supplies that make signal quieter... um, its digital?? sure, not all are but most only have digital inputs.
Headphone/speaker cables might make sense as its an analog signal.
By trying to answer a question on Hifi forums about why my Focal Bathys don't work with the DAP over USB, I found out I was wrong in a really nice way. Seems I can attach Bathys to my dap, as it detects the dac and only sends a digital signal to the headphones. I just had to make one adjustment on the dap to allow me to adjust volume.

Now my focals aren't such a waste of money after all. They won't be able to be attached to new Dac/Amp but at least its not just sitting in its case all the time. Sure, all it uses DAP for is a source of music but maybe batteries will last longer on dap if its not using its amp at all.

Only downside it I can' t charge dap while I listen to music. And I only have One set of ears
So part of me wants the TA-22 tube amp/dac but reviews of it had some hard times getting working units. Might have been teething problems. I can see others having problems such as USB not working or Optical connections glitching out. Doubt
The part that sees the doubt thinks probably safer to get a Topping stack or another combo unit.

I like the displays on the L70/E70 stack. It has two remotes as well which is a little silly. But once the dac is set up, probably don't need to use its remote at all. It having a remote at all makes it easier to control than the TA-22, as the control on front of TA-22 is too sensitive and tends to change menus you are using without you wanting to.

E70 has the same amp chip that is in the A90, obviously its not as good

About only thing I don't like is lack of MQA and it will play them at a lower format. I can probably live with it as most MQA on Tidal is being replaced by FLACC in theory.

Don't need to rearrange my room for it either. The tube amp needs space around it to not overheat. These two should fit under or near my monitor.

Its funny, I thought I knew what I wanted today (TA-22) but starting to have second thoughts. Might look at a tube amp or something later on. Pretty sure I can attach it somehow. I need more space before I can do that anyway.

One reason to buy E70 & L70 in a pack (with xlr cable to attach them) is separately they cost $1169 without the xlr cable.
Cable appears to be $100
Cost of the E70/L70/XLR cable in the pack is $1086
so yeah, pack cheaper without the 15% discount offered by the store
Current cost is $923.10 with the discount. it essentially wipes out the tax portion of payment. I don't get that much back ontop of the tax.

Its more than the TA 22 would have been but it may have less headaches.

Topping DX7 Pro all in one looked promising but may not be able to run my HD600 fully.
SMSL DO400 only available in China and I question warranty. Easier to order from someone in Australia. Headphones I don't mind O/S but hardware might be costly to return.

I spent last week looking... I don't think there is anything I haven't looked at now. So I just save a few more weeks and buy it... if I can wait that long :)
Last edited:
This video is 8 months slow. I am not sure I would have listened to them anyway
They got some things wrong:
They tested its ANC ability and chart shows the score without ANC on. Thing is, you can't disable it on the Battys so I suspect they are testing its transparency mode instead. Which isn't correct either. Transparency isn't off, its still using microphones and simulates open backs. Not very well.
Button has 3 settings.
  1. Silent
  2. Soft
  3. Transparent

Only way to disable ANC is to turn them off. Its possible that is what they did but I can't be sure. They never mention transparency mode so I have to wonder.

They also suggest Sennheiser headphones and I already had some of those, I wanted something better.

I didn't rely on one review for my purchase, instead I watched so many videos on them I had run out of English reviews and was starting to correct the reviewers. Time to buy them or not, at that stage :)


Latest posts