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I recently decided on getting a pair of Beyerdynamic DT 990 Pro, the 250 ohm version. I know for sure this is the headset that I want, but I'm pretty confused as to what a good match would be in terms of portable amp/DACs.
From what I've read, there are people who claim that amps which have a lower recommended headphone impedance (like, for example, the FiiO ALPEN 2-E17K would have in this case) might undesirably alter the frequency response and thus the quality of the sound. Other opinions I've seen were absolutely in favour of such solutions saying that in the worst case you might not be able to play anything super loud.
Mainly 2 portable amp/DACs have caught my attention: the Creative Labs Sound Blaster E5 and the Oppo HA2-SE. On one hand, the E5 is much cheaper but some say it may not be an ideal choice with the DT 990s. On the other hand, the HA2-SE is a little above my budget and it seems weird to have to pay more for the amp than the headset itself.
I'm really more after quality audio reproduction than loudness if it comes to that. So my questions are: would the Sound Blaster E5 be a reasonable choice? Is the Oppo HA2-SE overkill? Is there any chance a less powerful amp would suffice? Ideally I wouldn't want to pay more for the amp but I'd be prepared to if it made a REAL difference.
If you have, then what amp? 250 ohm is really high for portable, even with external amp. I will go as far as to say I'd avoid these with SS amps of any kind (personally I'd simply avoid the DT990's, my least liked cans ever).
If you haven't bought anything yet, the Oppo HA-2 SE and their PM-3 headphones are a fab combo for portable use, especially when combined with a Sony Walkman A 17 playing Hi Rez tunes. The Sony does not have any operating system problems like many others and you can buy a cord that connects the Sony's digital out to the HA2 SE so you can get the benefit of its great DAC
I have had the Oppo HA 2 for over a year and drive 300 ohm Senn 600 and 150 ohm Etymotics. Sound is excellent as is the build qualty.
Either amp should do the job, at least on paper. However high impedence Beyer Dynamics are quite hard to drive in practice nevertheless. Fortunately you do not appear to want high sound levels.
Many of the features that the Sound Blaster amp has appear orientated towards Bluetooth connected 'phones however.
I just wonder what sort of "portable" you mean. If it involves using the cans in an environment where there are other people around e.g. commuting or in an office or other workplace then DT 990 Pros would not be a good choice being fully open headphones. You will hear them and, importantly, they will hear you.
I forgot to mention that I will be playing lossless files off my laptop (at home most likely - I am aware they are open-backed, that is one of the reasons I'm getting them). So by portable I mean something that I can hook up to my laptop that will bypass the integrated sound card AND will provide decent amplification without messing up the sound. I'm just looking for something that matches the headphones (more or less) in terms of price and value.
you got screwwed.
As usual with MassDrop much of what they sell is long out of production models being unloaded by the manufacturers and their distributors' warehouses.
You could have purchased the 32 Ohm version which would work GREAT on an iPhone or any portable DAC for even less.
I haven't bought the cans yet. From what I know the 32 ohm version is inferior in terms of sound quality, and since they cost around the same (at least where I'm from) that doesn't seem like a very smart choice.
to the other models.
Keep in mind one COULD conclude that the 32 Ohm DT990 might be inferior to the 200 Ohm model when played on an amp with a lot of power (1 watt or more).
That would not be of much help to you if your main use is portable DAC/Amps.
In fact, I would guess that, with the low power of the DAC/Amps you listed, the 32 Ohm version will sound MUCH better.
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