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Sub + new speakers or headphones?

Discussion in 'Hi-Fi Stereo Systems & Separates' started by MoJo-chan, Aug 14, 2005.

  1. MoJo-chan


    Aug 14, 2005
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    I'm not totally happy with my current system, and would appreciate some oppinions on the best way to improve it.

    Current setup:

    • Rotel RA-820BX2 amplifier
    • Ruark Templar floorstanders, bi-wired
    • Sennheiser HD495 headphones
    • Stax SR-3 phonostatic earspeakers with Stax SRD-6 amp
    • Philips Ultimate Edge sound card

    I also have an old ADC Sound Shaper Two IC graphic equaliser. I know, I know, EQs are out, but it was free so I thought I'd experiment. To be fair, it can sometimes help.

    Most of my listening is with material on my PC (water cooled, virtually silent), using either FLAC lossless encoding or 256kb AAC. My preffered kind of music is power metal, but I also listen to most kinds of rock (going back to the 60s) and some pop. I tend to like stuff that has strong vocals, and a "powerful" sound. Drums with plenty of depth, driving guitars etc, but with clear and separated vocals.

    I bought the Ruarks recently. Before, I just used the headphones. The Ruarks are not too bad in terms of clarity, although I find a little bit of boost at the treble end with the EQ helps to really bring out the vocals. The headphones have the advantage of giving lovely clarity, which the Ruarks can't seem to match. Also, the bass on these floorstanders isn't fantastic (they are not ported). Drums don't have the slam I'm looking for. My other problem is that, in my room, I have to sit a bit too close to them for best effect.

    As for the 'phones, I usually use the Sennheisers. I find them nicely clear, with descent, controlled (but just a little weak) bass, my current favorate way to listen. No EQ needed. The Stax cost 10-20x as much when my dad bought them back in the mid 70s, and they had a new film in them a couple of years ago, but the bass on them sounds a bit boomy on modern stuff. Nice for older material though.

    So, I'm trying to decide what would be the best upgrade. I like music to sound lively and impressive, but I want the clarity too. I'm trying to decide between getting some better headphones (Grados perhaps) or a subwoofer. On the headphone front, I'd like a little more bass, but am otherwise mostly quite happy with what I have. As for the subwoofer, a Rel or perhaps Ruark Vita 50 seems like the best way to go.

    How much is it worth spending on 'phones? I could spend a few hundred quid tops, but with my amp and source material is that much really worth while? Whatever I go for needs to be very, very comfortable as well since I listen for long periods. Preferably open like the HD495s as well, since that keeps my ears from getting sweaty :)

    Or, perhaps you guys have some better ideas... I'm kinda new to HiFi but have tried to read as much as possible. So, er... Help?! :p

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