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  # 699483 11-Oct-2012 09:01
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joker97: the 50 is USD120

That's about what I paid for mine last year, then got them posted over from the US.  Computer Lounge's prices are a bit up there, but they do have stock which is great if you're in a hurry and don't mind paying the extra $40 or $50.





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  # 699837 11-Oct-2012 17:40
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Topping TP-32 USB DAC ex-eBay and regular bookshelf speakers. Marvellous little unit, audio quality is excellent.




 
 
 
 


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  # 699891 11-Oct-2012 19:32
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If you go bookshelf nothing i know tops wharfdale diamond 9.1 for its price range




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  # 699893 11-Oct-2012 19:33
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As OP stated audiophile i want to make sure they buy the best bang for buck first up rather than cheap and then needing to upgrade costing more in the future




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  # 699910 11-Oct-2012 20:32
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stevenz: Topping TP-32 USB DAC ex-eBay and regular bookshelf speakers. Marvellous little unit, audio quality is excellent.


just a note: USB DAC will bypass OP's sound card ... what a shame the sound card can't power bookshelf speakers on its own ...

i still think spend on a decent set of headfi cans (or two) and get cheap trademe 2.1s for now




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  # 699932 11-Oct-2012 21:11
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In that kind of price bracket there are several good closed options.

Did you want full-sized circumaural cans, or on-ear supraaural ones?

The Denon D2000 would likely be a good fit sound-wise for the OPs uses (as they include gaming/movies), although everything I've read about the Denons suggest that while they are closed, they leak so much sound its better to consider them an open can.

You can pick up the Sennheiser HD25-1 II at around that price online, even cheaper if you don't mind the Adidas-branded versions colour scheme. For your needs a very good headphone, good sound isolation in both directions, excellent sound quality, good bass reproduction, fast with good PRaT etc. They may not tick the comfort box though, I have some and the clamping force is fairly high (if you wear glasses like me even more of an issue). They're also sensitive enough to be driven well from portable sources, so if you wanted to use them with a smartphone or other portable player they'll add value there too.

The brand new Logitech UE6000 is also getting some good press.

The Philips Fidelio M1 is well regarded.

The B&W P3 is another good option...

Audio Technica ATH ES7 also...

The V-Moda Crossfade and M-80 also fall within the price range and might be worth thinking about.



....bottom line loads and loads of options!


EDIT: Should also mention that if you're not careful getting into audio leads to an insatiable hunger for better and better gear, find something you're happy with and never, ever listen to someone elses higher-end gear! I've amassed a headphone collection worth thousands of dollars since I started getting into this game. There is a reason that audiophile forums welcome new members with the phrase "Welcome to forum-X, sorry about your wallet".




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  # 699944 11-Oct-2012 21:55
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I think the term 'audiophile' has been a bit misused here. You won't get 'audiophile' quality out of a computer and $300 headphones - you'd want vinyl and a valve amp for that.

Back to your question though, I have a FiiO Alpen DAC/headphone amp coupled with Sennheiser RS160s. I have my doubts as to how well this would perform in a true audiophile environment because the base station for the wireless headphones takes an analogue input signal and transmits a digital wireless signal to the headset, hence an extra conversion between digital and analogue in this setup, but the end result is as good as I could expect to get out of my 256kbps compressed music source.

I should add that the FiiO Alpen is surprisingly good. I normally have it connected to my Apple TV via optical connection but it's great to be able to take it on the road and connect it via USB or even just use it as an analogue amp with my iPhone. The only downside with it is that the battery life seems a bit limited.

 
 
 
 


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  # 699945 11-Oct-2012 22:00
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beg to differ ... FLAC and solid state :)




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  # 699958 11-Oct-2012 22:09
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Also beg to differ, many audiophiles enjoy digital sources. Naturally $300 headphones are going to pale fairly significantly in comparison to higher end gear, but it really depends on your definition of 'audiophile'. To me an audiophile is merely someone with an active interest and appreciation of good sound quality, not a term that correlates to their bank balance. Having said that about $300 headphones though, it is a game of diminishing returns, and something like the HD251-II is by no means awful compared to say a $1000 headphone.

The Alpen is a very nice little unit, I had one and sold it a little while back since it didn't operate with my Galaxy S3 via USB audio (many others do). It's not going to offer a particularly tangible advantage over the ASUS STx though, since the STx performs out of proportion to its price. If the OP wanted one for portable use she'd be better off getting one that operates with her S3, since the S3 will be able to utilise the DAC of the external unit, rather than just the headphone amp component.




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  # 699962 11-Oct-2012 22:13
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that's why we're trying to get her to concentrate her entire budget on cans alone!




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  # 699964 11-Oct-2012 22:14
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joker97: that's why we're trying to get her to concentrate her entire budget on cans alone!


Exactly!

The sound card she has will be a perfectly decent source for the headphones in her budget.

EDIT: Since someone started a thread on headphones, I thought I would just mention that I have been thinking about organising a headphone meet here in Auckland for some time, if anyone was interested. Would be a good chance to audition headphones, which is a rare opportunity in New Zealand. I can contribute a few ones that headphones fans would love to try.




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