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Goldring DR150s beyond repair - what to replace them with?

Discussion in 'Sound City' started by Tiny Clanger, Jan 14, 2019.

  1. Tiny Clanger

    Hitman

    Joined: Oct 19, 2002

    Posts: 593

    Sadly my (admittedly old) DR150s are no more - the joint between the headband and the ear-cup has snapped and no amount of enthusiastic super-glue application is going to sort it out. So...what would be a good replacement? My current audio setup is:
    • Goldring DR150
    • Xonar D1 soundcard
    • Creative Gigaworks T20 speakers (old so I assume not Series II)
    Main use is for gaming with some listening to music. Budget-wise, I wouldn't want to be spending more than, say, £100. I've read elswhere on the forum that the AKG K702's are well thought of but am open to your suggestions/reccomendations...
     
  2. EsaT

    Mobster

    Joined: Jun 6, 2008

    Posts: 4,632

    Location: Finland

    Can't go wrong with K702, if you care about accurate sound.
    That also makes it one of the top headphones for telling what's happening around you in gaming.
    Neutral accurate bass also makes Dolby Headphone about tolerable, though it still doesn't sound good.
    Any stronger bass doesn't fit with Dolby Headphone's bass bloat.

    Though only frequency response measurement (from 2006) found by Google's image search for DR150 shows its sound might be more toward Beyer DT990 like with strong bass and treble.
     
  3. Tiny Clanger

    Hitman

    Joined: Oct 19, 2002

    Posts: 593

    Hi EsaT - thanks for such a quick reply. Sounds like the K702s are the answer - couple more questions if I may.... :)
    • I don't have a headphone amp - will the K702s be okay plugged directly into the Xonar D1?
    • I've found Dolby Headphone hit and miss with the DR150's - you suggest that it might be better with the K702's. I assume that if I upgrade the soundcard at some point that the K702's are still a sound (pardon the pun!) choice?
     
  4. Marsman

    Capodecina

    Joined: Oct 18, 2009

    Posts: 10,376

    Was just going to say that the D1 has no headphone amp. The AKG's are known for being somewhat insensitive headphones. D1 might drive them loud enough for the you, but that's not certain depending on how loud you like the volume. I think the K702's are likely the best replacement for the budget though.
     
  5. Tiny Clanger

    Hitman

    Joined: Oct 19, 2002

    Posts: 593

    Ah...so, that might be an issue. My speakers have a 'headphone' socket but is that just introducing additional components in which is going to degrade the sound? Also - to what extent would Dolby Headphone be propagated via the speakers headphone socket? As usual - apologies if these are daft questions :)
     
  6. Marsman

    Capodecina

    Joined: Oct 18, 2009

    Posts: 10,376

    Yeah, best avoid headphone sockets on speakers. They are only ever there for convenience and you only find them on cheapish speakers. Can't say I've seen a headphone socket on really good speakers; says it all really.

    It will work if you have to go down that route, but really not the best idea if you're going to spend £100 on headphones. Having said that; might be acceptable as a stop gap if you're going to get something better at a later date.

    What I would do, is get the K702 from the jungle site and try them with your D1. If you find the D1 will drive them plenty loud enough for you; then fantastic. If you find it can't drive them loud enough, then either consider a sound card with a better headphone out later down the line, or send them back and get headphones the D1 will have an easier time with.
     
  7. EsaT

    Mobster

    Joined: Jun 6, 2008

    Posts: 4,632

    Location: Finland

    Accuracy of reproduction makes it or breaks it for binaural sound.
    Same signal which with good headphones gives good sense of distance besides direction, becomes "head in bucket underwater" immersion with bad headphones.
    And bad signal for headphones, like stereo speaker mix, still has sounds very accurately positioned inside left/right ear, or in center of head even with the most accurate sound headphone.
    Because without binaural cues brain simply doesn't know where else to position sounds.
    It's kinda of symbiotic relationship.

    But with good headphones and good binaural sound simulation, next step up would be game showing locations of sound sources in on screen map.
    Which would be slower than just locating sounds by listening...

    Of course if your head shape differs more from average, then none of current sound cards can give best immersion.
    Because its shape of head which causes direction dependant changes to signal received by both ears from sound source.
    Your brain has simply learned to decode those personal binaural cues.

    If headphone output is just pass through, then there shouldn't be much things which could degrade signal.
    And if headphone output comes through amplifier, then it's up to its quality.

    Xonar D1 is one of those lame Asus cards with 100 ohm output impedance, so using case front connector might give better sound than card's rear connector.
    IIRC that front connector header of card didn't have that lame output resistor.
     
  8. Tiny Clanger

    Hitman

    Joined: Oct 19, 2002

    Posts: 593

    EsaT, Marsman - thank you both very much for your advice. Order placed for some K702s - I will pop back and let you know how I get on! :)
     
  9. EsaT

    Mobster

    Joined: Jun 6, 2008

    Posts: 4,632

    Location: Finland

  10. Tiny Clanger

    Hitman

    Joined: Oct 19, 2002

    Posts: 593

    New toy arrived this morning so just had a bit of time to play with them. Thankfully the Xonar D1 drives them plenty loud enough for me - I wouldn't want to try listening to them at 100% volume! The sound is wonderfully precise and uncluttered - at least to my admittedly non-audiophile ears. The 'self-adjusting' design feels a bit odd but I suppose it's something just to get used to - they are however more comfortable overall than the Goldrings.

    The music link you recommended EsaT sounds fantastic - as does the Vivaldi recording which popped up next. With the Battlefield 4 clip I found myself involuntarily ducking when the helicopter flew low overhead :)

    All in all - very pleased so far - thanks once again to EsaT and Marsman for your advice! :)
     
  11. EsaT

    Mobster

    Joined: Jun 6, 2008

    Posts: 4,632

    Location: Finland

    Actually there's no proper vertical positioning, (no) thanks to Microsoft killing DirectSound and hardware acceleration of sounds.
    "Modern" 5.1/7.1 what sound cards get from games is lossy format with all channels in one plane and unable to store vertical position data.
    In DirectSound era sound card got original sound data from game with true 3D locations of sound sources and calculated output channels from that.
    https://youtu.be/dcB9faNrz_M?t=42s
    https://youtu.be/dcB9faNrz_M?t=2m11s
    Now this is bullet effects...
    https://youtu.be/OaHG0EeAVF0?t=20s


    Here's another nice BF4 recording:
    https://youtu.be/B8xZp0WPwxs?t=19m50s
    And for that late night watching:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DGwvDmUwFcg
     
  12. Tiny Clanger

    Hitman

    Joined: Oct 19, 2002

    Posts: 593

    Those links were brilliant - thank you for sharing :)
     
  13. Marsman

    Capodecina

    Joined: Oct 18, 2009

    Posts: 10,376

    That's great news.

    Very interesting comparing your experience to another forum member; who was using his AKG K7xx's (almost identical to K702) with a Schiit Magni 3 headphone amp, found that even near max volume it wasn't quite loud enough. He had the same experience with a Xonar STX; both that and the Magni 3 have more power than the Xonar D1.

    Makes it somewhat difficult when suggesting to someone whether X can power Y headphones loud enough. So much depends on the listener.
     
  14. Tiny Clanger

    Hitman

    Joined: Oct 19, 2002

    Posts: 593

    It's surprising how subjective it is. I have the volume set to ~60% and that's grand for me. I will try using the front connector as EsaT suggested too - just for reference. Played around a bit more with them last night and the self-adjustment thing feels more natural now - so very happy overall.