Portable hi-res player and headphone recommendations (up to £600 total budget)

Nick74

Distinguished Member
Over the last year I've been creating classic vinyl DJ sets, recorded at 24 bit 96000Hz.

Bearing in mind this is a vinyl DJ system, I did as much as possible to major on sound quality on the equipment end. This means Ortofon Club MKii elliptical styli, separate Cambridge Audio phono stages, and an Allen & Heath Xone 23 mixer. That kind of setup will never be audiophile, but you can't DJ on audiophile turntables.

That's generally as good as a vinyl DJ setup can probably sound, but in terms of playback I'm limited to Audacity via laptop and my Senhheiser monitors (excellent for DJ and mastering purposes, if less so for hi-fi).

Which brings me to the question in the title. I want something portable that's going to lift playback quality well above what I've got. I need a portable hi-res player and a pair of over-ear headphones. I've plucked the budget a little from thin air, so can be somewhat flexible. I don't want to spend considerably more. I only need the player to handle his-res WAV files (streaming isn't really a requirement).

All suggestions on player-headphone combinations welcome. Thanks
 

camcroft

Well-known Member
Sony NW- A-55l Hi-Res music player is small and good comes with a small storage capacity but you can use micro sd cards to up it. They come with a volume limiter but this can be removed just google for fix. Headphones is another story it depends what you like bass heavy or not and are they just for monitoring the tunes being played, Does sound quality matter . These can be got second hand thats how I got mine.
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Nick74

Distinguished Member
Sony NW- A-55l Hi-Res music player is small and good comes with a small storage capacity but you can use micro sd cards to up it. They come with a volume limiter but this can be removed just google for fix. Headphones is another story it depends what you like bass heavy or not and are they just for monitoring the tunes being played, Does sound quality matter . These can be got second hand thats how I got mine.
View attachment 1548946

Thanks. Sound quality is the reason I'm looking to buy - to elevate the listening experience above using Audacity, my laptop and monitor headphones.

I'm definitely not looking for something V shaped and want to avoid a fatiguing top end.

Whether I want closed or open backed headphones is debatable. I'd probably lean toward open backed, since most of my listening will be at home (though it's be nice to have a portable system that isn't going to annoy people when out).
 

camcroft

Well-known Member
For portable that would rule Grado headphones out as they are open backed and the sound leakage is high. Which headphones have you used in the past any particular brand that you like?
 

Nick74

Distinguished Member
For portable that would rule Grado headphones out as they are open backed and the sound leakage is high. Which headphones have you used in the past any particular brand that you like?

Honestly, until now I've never been much of a headphone listener. Grado SR325e might be an option (on my radar and within budget), given that most of my listening would be at home, but that would rule out using them in public, as you say.

I think one of the difficulties with buying headphones is that they're not so easy to return if you don't get on with the sound.

Overall I'd want a flat (if not amemic) response and a good level of detail and separation. How achievable that is within my budget I really don't know, because I'm very much a novice in the world of portable hi-res media.
 

Daniel 70

Active Member
Honestly, until now I've never been much of a headphone listener. Grado SR325e might be an option (on my radar and within budget), given that most of my listening would be at home, but that would rule out using them in public, as you say.

I think one of the difficulties with buying headphones is that they're not so easy to return if you don't get on with the sound.

Overall I'd want a flat (if not amemic) response and a good level of detail and separation. How achievable that is within my budget I really don't know, because I'm very much a novice in the world of portable hi-res media.
Nick.. Anyone can advise you on Music Players ..and the Sony NWA series are good. As also is a reasonable Android mobile phone with an outboard USB DAC.. both of which I use, But nobody can really advise you on headphones. We can advise whether the sound level vwill be strong ir weak, buts thats about all. Headphones are a Goldilocks world .. Too heavy, Pinches too much, , Drags on ears , ..fits perfectly etc etc. And thats just the mechanical part of getting them on your head.
There are so many choices .. on ear, in ear ,overear. Open back, closed back wireless or corded ( corded is ALWAYS more hi-fi). Noise cancelling or not.

Sound is another ball game entirely. For my part I used to enjoy those tiny in ear buds and the sennhessier momentum are very satisfying, but tinnitus from impacted ear wax put me off them. I have Sony M3 Overear noise cancelling and they are very comfortable. I have Sony MDR1A which are extremely comfortable and enjoyable and finally a set of Mitchell and Johnson Quasi electrostatics , only suitable for home use .. weight . The MJs give more detail than the others ..notes hang a little longer
 

Nick74

Distinguished Member
Nick.. Anyone can advise you on Music Players ..and the Sony NWA series are good. As also is a reasonable Android mobile phone with an outboard USB DAC.. both of which I use, But nobody can really advise you on headphones. We can advise whether the sound level vwill be strong ir weak, buts thats about all. Headphones are a Goldilocks world .. Too heavy, Pinches too much, , Drags on ears , ..fits perfectly etc etc. And thats just the mechanical part of getting them on your head.
There are so many choices .. on ear, in ear ,overear. Open back, closed back wireless or corded ( corded is ALWAYS more hi-fi). Noise cancelling or not.

Sound is another ball game entirely. For my part I used to enjoy those tiny in ear buds and the sennhessier momentum are very satisfying, but tinnitus from impacted ear wax put me off them. I have Sony M3 Overear noise cancelling and they are very comfortable. I have Sony MDR1A which are extremely comfortable and enjoyable and finally a set of Mitchell and Johnson Quasi electrostatics , only suitable for home use .. weight . The MJs give more detail than the others ..notes hang a little longer

Thanks.

I agree that there's a huge amount of subjectivity when it comes to describing sound signatures (and that the issue of comfort can be very personal - nobody can tell you whether a particular set of headphones will fit your ears and head well).

Nonetheless, given my relatively novice status in the world of portable his-res media, I'm very open to advice from those with more experience, largely because it'll give me research options I can whittle down to make at least reasonably informed decisions. I think buying headphones is even trickier than buying regular hi-fi, since you can't easily audition options.

Appreciate the suggestions above.
 

camcroft

Well-known Member
John Lewis is good for auditioning headphones as long as they have got what you want Amazon is also very good on their return policy headphones are a bit different to earphones that go inside of your ears is where the hygiene policy comes in. As stated above headphones are a more personal thing we could suggest some that we like and you might hate them its just like anything else Cars, Beer anything in fact you should try to go and audition some and again its down to what you play them through,
 
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