Let's talk high end headphones for lossless digital

The best way to break in any headphones is to put them on and enjoy them while listening to a variety of different kinds of music with them. Listen as often as possible and just enjoy :grinning: Any differences in sound that may come after 200 hours of use is going to come regardless of the type of noise used. Congratulations on the headphones.



I know this may be wasted time, and I think that’ll be confirmed by this exercise, but I figured, no harm in doing it (if only to convince myself never to have to do it again)!

Don’t forget to change the oil after the first 100 hours :wink:

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And wrap the cans in a blanket warmed by vintage tubes, right?


Sennheiser HD800, Focal Elear and Sennheiser/Massdrop HD6XX on a variety of DAC/Amps, including a Benchmark DAC3 DX, Foster HP-A8C and Questyle CMA400i.

My grail headphones would be Stax Omega II SR-007mkII.

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WOW, that is quite a collection!
Would you mind sharing what convolution filter you use for the HD800? Would be interesting to test, have used PEQ but Ibtend to go back to no EQAfter a whilebso Interested to find the optimum EQ settings for my HD800, aware very personal and subjective…

Gee thanks!

As for the convolution filter I believe that @killdozer is the Convolution King of the Roon Community. Perhaps he would be kind enough to post yet again a link to his fine collection of filters.

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I’ll leave the crown to Jaakko Pasanen. I’m just doing my best to make his work more accessible.


Update coming this weekend after some crazy work weeks and a huge sidetrack with DIY binaural mixing for headphones…


Hello Ralph,

Please help me with an info:

I wish to buy the AKG N90Q, but…and this is a big but, i wish to know if it is possible to play Tidal Masters 24 bit 192 khz? I wish to use an external dac+amplifier and to be able to play 24 bit 192 khz.

I’ve spent some time surfing the net trying to find if the N90Q internal 24 bit 96khz really is non-by-passable? Is this true?

If the internal Dac is going to limit the 192 khz Tidal Masters, then, this is a letdown for me.

Thank you in advance for your response!

If the chip only outputs 24/96 then yes…

But in all honesty is there much tidal at 24/192 - and would hear any noticeable difference ?



Having a quick look - interesting head phones but now 7 years old - you could just buy for example a audio dragon quest red with a very nice set of headphones (focal for example) for less than the akg’s though not not sure how much they go for now )

There are lots of other dongle style dacs - or other portable solution which let you then choose from a world of headphones.



To tell you the truth I haven’t a clue. The most frustrating thing about these otherwise wonderful headphones is the completely lack of a worthwhile user manual. The headphones come with a quick start guide that is impossible to make any sense of and AKG had promised to release a real user manual but that never happened. So the answer to a simple question like can the headphones be used in passive mode, i.e. bypassing the built in DAC, remains a mystery. My gut feeling is that the answer is no.

Thanks Ralph,

I appreciate you taking the time to write back :+1: !

If anyone else has these and is able to hit play to a 24 bit 192 khz track in Tidal and tell me if the track plays as a Master i would be grateful!

A nice day to all !

Unless someone has hacked them they were definitely limited to 96/24. And as @Matthew_Horne pointed out they are ancient from a technology point of view.

That may be true but they are still world class headphones with respect to sound quality and after all isn’t that what’s really important?

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I was denigrating them in that respect; I was referring to the technology and bit rate at 96. After all that’s what the OP was concerned about, not their sound :smiley:.

I use an Astell and Kern KANN ALPHA as Roon endpoint/dac/headphone amp connected to my MacBook Air feeding Focal Celestee with a custom 4.4mm balanced cable.

90% of my listening is via headphones these days.

Matrix Mini-i Pro 3 > HiFiman Ananda
iMac > xDuoo TA-10R > Sennheiser HD650
Pi4 > Topping D10b > Topping A90 > Dan Clark Aeon 2 Closed
Shanling M3X > SeeAudio Yume
Android Bluetooth > Sony MDR-1000X

Am currently deciding on another pair of closed backs to pull the trigger on.

Wife says I spend more time listening to my cans than her.
Well I think that’s what she was saying as I read her lips.


Massdrop HD6XX + RopieeeXL + Schiit Asgard 3

Been curious about this streamer, but I don’t really need a new streamer in my main systems. But as a standalone endpoint with a headphone amp, it could be something cool.

So, how’s the headphone section in this unit?

I only use the pro 3 as a Roon streamer for headphones. Matrix state headphone output impedence is 11 and 22 ohm for single ended / balanced. Could impact can pairings on dynamic drivers. I’m driving Planars with it though so not a big issue in that respect.

I used to run it into the Topping A90 but moved that elsewhere. Don’t feel I’m missing anything since taking the A90 out of the chain. For a one box option the pro 3 is a fine unit, drives the Ananda on balanced with ease and has more headroom than I’ll ever need on the pot.

Not had any problems with it since buying. :+1:

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