Headphone Gear:from front to your ear drum

This post will not go on forever. But $50,000 Sennheiers will not sound good with a poor input signal. A dedicated amp and or DAC is essential to quality headphone sound. But don’t fret: There are many things to choose from. The Audio Quest Dragonfly is less than $200.(The more expensive model is well worth the money) And the balanced Sennheier amps are close to $5000, plus the special cable. I have, over years, a $2000 system that smokes. Every person who listings to it never knew headphones could sound that sound that good!
So if your goal is to listen to your Iphone or an receiver, or your boombox, its not going to happen. As far your as your phone is concerned, you are not going get high fidelity sound without spending some serious coin. But quality gear needs quality sound. When it comes to headphones it comes to financial, the music you favor, open or closed back, can your gear power them and then some(call headroom),etc. And the more you spend doesn’t mean better gear. Try to find an audio shop and bring music you’re familiar with try out many different model. Then shop online.
Good luck and happy listening

Their latest, the HDVD820 is less than half that - even at full MSRP ($2,399), and it’s both a DAC and an amp.

I’m not familiar with piece, but if it’s made by Sennheiser I’m sure it’s top not notch gear!

While I agree with all this, there’s certainly diminishing returns at play here. At the end of a day, an amp is an amp and a DAC is a DAC.

That being said, yes they can improve and be more transparent (lend less coloring to the sound) or just might be smoother, but I think it’s mostly just placebo effect taking over at some point.

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