Buying Guide

Best Headphone Setups for Audiophiles Under ₹30,000

In today's video, we're looking at complete audiophile setups or headphone systems for a budget of 30,000 rupees. In today's video, we're going to be talking to you about six different complete audiophile-grade headphone setups, all of which include a headphone, a DAC, an Amplifier and cables within a total budget of 30,000 rupees. I've got six setups today that I like - three that are centred around full-sized headphones and three that have IEMs - all six of these setups sound amazing, and in this video, you'll figure out which is the right one for you for a budget of 30,000 rupees.


In today's video we're looking at complete audiophile setups or headphone
systems for a budget of 30,000 rupees. Very often when we're recommending
some amazing sounding headphones and IEMs you also find that we tell you to
use them along with a headphone amplifier or a DAC and balance cables but all
these components add to the overall budget for the setup. In today's video
we're going to be talking to you about six different complete audiophile grade
headphone setups, all which include a headphone, a DAC, Amplifier and cables
within a total budget of 30,000 rupees. I've got six setups today that I really
really like - three that are centred around full sized headphones and three that
have IEMs - all six of these setups sound amazing and hopefully in this video
you'll figure out which is the right one for you for a budget of 30,000 rupees.

Setup 1

All right guys for our first setup today I'm going to be looking at full size
headphones. Now if I would take a budget of 30,000 rupees and I try and split it
pretty evenly between the headphone and the DAC and Amp, you'll find my
favourite headphone for 15,000 or so is this, this is the Meze 99 Neo. Some of
you have been following the channel know that I really really like the
headphones from Meze Audio and the 99 Neo is one of the cheapest, most
affordable offerings from a super premium brand like Meze Audio. All the
headphones are made in Romania, they're gorgeous, they're designed very well
and the Meze 99 Neo for about 15,999 is my pick for the best headphone in this
price segment for me and the Meze 99 Neo is a closed back headphone
something that's relatively easy to drive, so you don't need a very heavy duty
amplifier to use along with it. It's something that you can use at home on your
desktop or it's something that you can carry with you and use on the go. So
what we're gonna go for is a very versatile setup to use with the Meze 99 Neo.
What we've done though is because the Meze 99 Neo comes with detachable
cables we're going to upgrade the cables with a balanced cable from Meze
Audio for 4,499 rupees, this is an oxygen free cable and it has a 4.4 millimeter
connector that the cable has. This is specifically meant to be used with DACs
and Amps which has a balanced output. Now what difference does the
balanced cable make? Well it makes quite a bit - one it allows you to use the
balanced output on any DAC and Amp and the second and most importantly
you find that it improves the sound stage just a little bit by removing the
crosstalk between the left and right channel but in the case of the Meze 99 Neo
it just makes the bass a little tighter, it makes the vocals just seem a little bit up
front and I like the way that it makes the entire headphone sound a little bit
more balanced. So the additional 4,499 to use with Mess 99 Neo, I think is a
great spend. The next thing we want to do is we want to make sure that we
have a DAC which features a 4.4 mm balanced output so that we can take
advantage of the balance cable. Lucky for us right smack in the budget for
7499 you have the Shanling UA2 Plus, which is an incredible portable dongle
DAC. You'll find that it comes with a USB-C cable so you can plug this into your
Android phone and if you want to use it with an iOS device you can swap out
the cable for a lightning cable. It has a 3.5 mm unbalanced output as well as the
4.4 mm balanced output that we're looking for and voila you've got a complete
audiophile set up right here bringing you up to a grand total of 27,997 rupees,
well within the budget of 30,000 rupees and this is a fabulous setup that is
superbly optimised. All the components work really really well to give you a
portable full-size headphone that you can use.

Setup 2

All right guys the second setup for today is a full-size planar magnetic open
back headphone something that's ideally suited to be listened to at home for a
complete audiophile listening experience. We've got the HiFiMAN HE400se,
which is a full-size planar magnetic headphone from HiFiMAN, the most
affordable offering and it's priced at only 9,999. Planar magnetic headphones
have drivers which are very very accurate but the downside is that very often
they need a lot of power for them to sound good. In this particular case the
HE-400se sounds good only and only when they're given an adequate amount
of power for the magnets to really really shine. They have very very low
distortion, they have a great wide soundstage but the secret ingredient is to
have a powerful amplifier to drive it so with the remaining budget that we have
in this setup I've chosen the Topping DX3 Pro Plus a phenomenal amplifier
priced at 19,999, giving this entire setup a grand total of 29,998, perfectly
within a budget of 30,000 rupees. You'll find that the HiFiMAN HE400se has a
3.5 mm connector on its cable and the DX3 Pro Plus has exactly a 3.5 mm
connector so no adapters required and you'll find that on the High Gain mode
this has so much power that the HE400se sounds very very good. Now of
course the setup seems a little skewed in its budget because I'm spending 33
of the budget - 10,000 rupees on the headphone and 20,000 rupees or 66
percent of the budget on the headphone amp and that's intentional because
even though you'll find that the HE400se is not a very expensive headphone it
does require the amount of power that only and only the Topping DX3 Pro Plus
can give it within this budget, but for the overall budget of 30,000 rupees, I do
believe that this is a great open back planar headphone setup that every audio
file can enjoy as a part of their home listening setup.

Setup 3

All right guys our third setup for today is another full-sized open back
headphone and this one's from Beyerdynamic - the DT900 Pro X. It's a brand
new headphone and Beyerdynamic released it this year. It's a dynamic driver
headphone and sounds very very nice and we had to have it as a part of our
video today. It's priced at 19,999 so you'll find that in this particular case I
swapped the budgets. I'm taking the majority of my budget for a great
headphone and the Beyerdynamic DT900 Pro X is that and you'll find that this
is a relatively easy to drive headphone and therefore with the remaining budget
I need a DAC and Amp that can do justice to that headphone and the one that
I'm going with is this, this is the Topping DX1 for only rupees 8,999. It has a
nice 3.5 mm unbalanced output that I can plug my Beyerdynamic into. You'll
find that it does a great job powering it up and for the overall price of 28,989, I
think that this setup is a complete setup that sounds very very nice. The
Topping DX1 is a very capable DAC and Amp, it's got just the right amount of
power to be able to drive the Beyerdynamic DT900 Pro X. It's a great sounding
headphone, full bodied, nice and warm while being very very balanced overall.
Some of you may want a closed back headphone only and only because of your
requirements for it to not leak out or for it to sound fine in a noisy environment
and you can very easily swap the DT900 Pro X for a DT700 Pro X which is
pretty much the identical headphone but a closed back for the same price and
make that work for you.

Setup 4

The next setup we're going to be talking about is an in-ear monitor paired along
with a portable dongle DAC. The one that I'm going for today is one of my
favourite IEM from FiiO. FiiO is a great brand, they make some fabulous
audiophile products across multiple product categories and their in-ear monitor
lineup is quite extensive with lots of different setups - hybrid, balanced
armatures, but today go for a single dynamic driver. The earphone of my choice
is the FiiO FD5. It's a very popular IEM especially for people who are looking for
a nice warm and smooth sound signature with nice meaty low end, the FD5 is
exactly for them. It features a beryllium coated dynamic driver so it's very very
powerful, very very good sounding and you find that it's fun to listen to, while at
the same time giving you a lot of resolution and detail that only a dynamic
driver with the beryllium coating can give you. What's amazing about FiiO is
that they put a lot of attention to detail into a lot of the accessories as well as
cables connectors and your tips that they give you in the box. The FD5, in the
Box has a balanced cable and you can swap out the plug for a 4.4 mm plug or a
3.5 mm plug, it's entirely up to you. So we're going to take advantage of the 4.4
mm connector and balanced cable that the FD5 comes with and pick a DAC
from FiiO that has the 4.4 mm balanced output and I'm gonna go with the FiiO
KA3. It's got a USB-C connector, it's okay you can swap it out and connect it to
an Android phone or an iOS device by using a lightning adapter. You'll find that
it's a really nice powerful DAC that you can use along with your mobile phone
that has a 4.4 mm as well as a 3.5 mm unbalanced output. We want to definitely
use the 4.4 mm balanced output on this DAC because it just sounds so much
nicer. You'll find that the instruments are well separated, the bass gets a little
bit tighter and why not the DAC of course is priced at rupees 6,999, so this
overall budget for this setup - IEMs and DAC included go slightly over budget to
31,998 but I think that even though it goes slightly over a budget of 30,000
rupees, what you get is phenomenal value for money and very often these days
you'll find that the FD5 does go on promotion giving you a couple thousand
rupees off which makes the entire budget then fit within the 30,000 rupee price
bucket. If I have to pick a single IEM as well as DAC and Amp combination that's
portable and sounds fun this has to be one of my top picks for this budget.

Setup 5

Okay here's another IEM setup and this one's quite interesting, I really really
like this. For those of you been watching our channel, you'll find that this year
planar magnetic IEMs are all the rage and one of the best tuned planar
magnetic IEM just happens to fall within our budget in this particular segment.
This is the 7Hz Timeless. It's one of those planar magnetic IEMs that really
started this trend and it's superb sounding, it's very very well tuned and you'll
find that at 16,999 it sits right within the budget of what we're looking for so I
had to pick this IEM for today's setup. Now for the remaining budget, I'm going
to be spending on two different things my DAC and Amp of choice is the brand
new FiiO Q11. This is a battery powered DAC that sounds very very nice, very
very powerful it features both the 3.5 mm unbalanced as well as a 4.4 mm
balanced output. It comes with a nice volume control and allows you to select
high and low gain mode and because it has its own inbuilt battery it's able to
give you a much higher power output as compared to the regular dongle DACs
that we have in this video. Why have I chosen this because planar magnetic
IEMs although they're very very compact and use very small drivers that fit into
your ears, they still sound very very nice with a little bit more power than most
dongle DACs can give you so we wanted to make sure that we're using a DAC
and Amp that gives you that additional power that's needed to make a planar
magnetic driver sound good. So this is only priced at 7,999 and you'll find that
what you get is phenomenal value for money with the FiiO Q11. You'll find that it
comes with USB cables to connect to your Android device or your laptop or
even a lightning connector to connect to your iPhone, so you quite literally
don't need to buy any additional adapters and the product in itself has
everything right out of the box. With the remaining budget of 3,690 I'm going to
be getting myself a Tripowin Petrichor balanced cable for these IEMs. You'll find
that these use MMCX connectors so as long as you're using any balance cable
that has an MMCX connector and a 4.4 mm termination you should be able to
take advantage of the FiiO Q11s balanced output and really upgrade the sound
on the 7Hz Timeless for a grand total of 28,679. Well within our budget of
30,000 rupees. A fabulous sounding planar magnetic IEM as a portable setup
that you can use with your mobile device anywhere.

Setup 6

My third setup for today is another IEM but now with a very different sound
signature this is specifically chosen for people who want a forward sound and
analytical sound signature and my IEM of choice to be able to give you that is
the Moondrop Kato. It has a single dynamic driver but it is tuned to give you a
very attacking forward leaning sound signature which people who really like
that kind of sound are going to enjoy a lot and its price is 17,999 is giving us a
lot of headroom for getting a balanced cable as well as a DAC and Amp. The
DAC and Amp that I'm going to be choosing to go along with this is the
Shanling UA3. Now there's a specific reason for that one it has both a 3.5 mm
unbalanced and a 4.4 mm balanced output which I fully intend to take
advantage of but at the same time this sounds a little bit warmer and so it kind
of complements the forward sound signature of the Kato really really well to
give you what I think is a well balanced and a well-tuned setup. UA3 is a very
very nice portable DAC and you'll find that it comes with a detachable USB-C
cable so you can plug into your Android phone and you're good to go right off
the bat and if you're using your iOS device you can simply swap it out for a
lightning to USB-C cable and it works perfectly fine. With the remaining budget
I'm going to be getting again the Tripowin Petrichor balanced cable. You will
find that the Moondrop Kato uses a 2-pin connector so the balance cables
would also have to be using a 2-pin connector to go with the Moondrop Kato
and I'm going to be using a 4.4 mm termination so I can take advantage of the
4.4 mm balanced output on the Shanling UA3 for grand total of 30,570 which is
just over our budget by 500 rupees but I do believe it is a nice complete setup
especially for those who are looking for an IEM that sounds very forward and
analytical and this entire setup really really suits them.


Okay guys so with that I've given you six complete audiophile setups with
headphones, IEMs, DAC & Amps and balanced cables, all included for a budget
of 30,000 rupees. You'll find that all of them sound very very good. All of them
suit somebody's preferences a little bit more than the other and you find that
they all cater to a slightly different requirement but I can recommend that you
can also build your own setups using the same guidelines that I've used as long
as you understand how we're pursuing this. You'll find that any setup that
you're going to be able to pick out with the right DAC Amp and headphone is
going to sound pretty pretty nice and these six setups according to me are best
ones that you can get for 30,000 rupees at this point of time and I'm very
happy for you to come down and try them out for yourself at our experience
store here in Mumbai or or at a headphone connect event that's happening in a
city near you. Thank you so much for watching this video bye.