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Dedline's picture
Last seen: 4 years 7 months ago
Joined: May 2 2018 - 9:38am
Sennheiser HD650 amp/dac question

I have recently had a bug to upgrade and need some advice. I typically enjoy a good balance of music (currently using Tidal HiRes subscription), gaming (all types), and some but usually very little movie/show viewing with headphones.

My go to for some time now has been the Sennheiser Game Ones open back headsets paired with the Sennheiser GSX 1000 amp/dac with 7.1 surround. This is a great option for all uses and good quality for what you pay, around $330 total. The amp drives these cans well for my needs.

But then I got a bug to get higher quality cans and expand my knowledge in the audiophile world. I picked up the Sennhieser HD650 about 3 weeks ago, as I missed out on the Massdrop HDxxx version. These ran closer to $400 and are 350ohms. The amp I have cannot drive them and sound a little funny in simulated 7.1 surround with gaming. Music sounds really good on low volume, but I really want to experience more. I have stuck with the Game Ones for gaming, and use the HD650s for music. Then I learned my PC motherboard can push so it says, 600ohms through the from aux port. Quite a bit of power was delivered into the HD650s and I can now crank them to a good level to experience all my entertainment.

I would say, gaming is close when at the volume I can now to my Game Ones, but the Game Ones paired with the GSX 1000 is still far superior in sound for gaming than the HD650s in either 7.1 or stereo 2.0 through the motherboard amp.

I am curious with everyone's expertise, if I picked up a good desktop AMP/DAC like the JDS labs The Element, or an ODAC, would I notice a significant bump in audio quality in music and games vs what my motherboard has to offer? Or will it be so similar it is not worth the $360-700 purchase on a decent setup? Thank you for your opinions in helping me make my decision.

dalethorn's picture
Last seen: 3 years 1 month ago
Joined: Jan 18 2012 - 3:09pm
Personally, I wouldn't mix

Personally, I wouldn't mix audiophile stereo headphones with the more specialized gear for gaming and surround sound. We might get to the point someday where the old stereo model fades away, but currently - for most audiophiles anyway - stereo still rules, and it's been that way for 60 years. That's a huge amount to overcome.

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