An Autonomous Agent

exploring the noosphere

Category: audiophile

TEAC UD-501, Sennheiser HD 650, Audiophile Linux

UPDATE (2016-Feb-01):
Upgraded from HD 650 to HD 800. Now in audiophile heaven. Also, added SOtM internal USB port with SOtM SATA In-Line power filter.
I recently switched my computer’s audio system from the Objective2 Amplifier and ObjectiveDAC (a good low-cost set-up) to the TEAC USB AUDIO DAC UD-501. I connected the TEAC to a spare laptop running Audiophile Linux. Listening with Sennheiser’s HD 650 headphones, the system playing native DSD albums sounds remarkable. All instruments and vocals are crystal clear and superbly smooth. It’s the way music was meant to be heard.
DSD is the future of music — beautiful high quality audio. With a well produced DSD album, it sounds as if you are at the recording studio with the artist. Granted that a typical DSD album can be around 2-4 GB, it is rather disappointing that people seem to prefer poor quality MP3 recordings playing on low quality DAC chips in iPods and cell phones. NOTE: If you want a portable option, see the Geek Wave. An MP3 album is less than half the cost of a DSD album, but it is also less than half the quality IMO. I don’t think many people are aware of how amazing DSD quality music played back with professional quality electronics can sound. Since we live in a time where hard drives in the 2-4 TB range are rather cheap, I hope that consumers begin to demand that music producers focus on providing high fidelity music.

Audiophile Headphones

Wishing for a high quality music environment, I did some research into audiophile headphones. I learned that there does not exist a “best” pair of headphones. Rather, there are various headphones which are great for their reproduction of various parts of the audio spectrum. For example, the ones that I bought, the Sennheiser HD 598s are known to be good (considering their price) for listening to the higher side of the spectrum; i.e., vocals and other high frequency sounds. I must say that I love my Sennheiser HD 598s. Sennheiser produces a couple of other highly rated headphones, including the HD 650 and HD 800. Here are some other headphones which have good reviews:  Beyerdynamic DT 770, AKG K702, Grado SR60, Grado RS1, and the ATH M50. Also, to get the best sound out of the headphones, one should buy an amplifier.
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