Balanced headphone suggestions
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  1. #1
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    Balanced headphone suggestions

    I have KEF M500 headphones which are very comfortable and neutral sounding. Very nice to use portable with my Pono.

    I am just starting to think about a step up headphone. I have used the McIntosh, but found them a little uncomfortable and I was not particularly fond of the total closed back design. I also had a pair of Audeze EL-8, but again felt they were not real comfortable for long time listening, a couple hours or more.

    I am thinking about a balanced design (if I do get something fairly sure I want to use a balanced cable), with comfort as a very important criteria. Obviously sound quality is important. Thinking about Christmas suggestions for my wife . Therefore I would say max budget would in the $2k range, hopefully a little less.

    Any suggestions on some good cans to consider?
    Electronics: Wyred 4 Sound STP-SE, DAC-2v2SE, Recovery Amplifiers: McIntosh MC7100 | Audio Research VT-50 | Goldmund Job 225
    Speakers/Headphones: KEF R700, R400b,
    M500 | MrSpeakers Ether | Bryston BHA-1 | Ayres Pono
    Sources: Roon Headless Server & Roon Tablet Controller | Oppo BDP-105
    | McIntosh MR85 w/Magnum Dynalab ST-2
    Cables: Richard Gray | Wireworld | Audioquest | Tributaries | Kimber Kable | Wyred 4 Sound
    Power: Furman Elite 15i | iFi iPower | PS Audio Noise Harvesters

  2. #2
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    Re: Balanced headphone suggwstions

    Randy - The MrSpeakers Ether line is right in your price range and have been getting universally great reviews. Might be worth your consideration if you can hear them.

  3. #3
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    Re: Balanced headphone suggwstions

    Focal has some wonderful new headphone. The Elear is in your budget.

    http://www.focal.com/headphones/#elear
    My Systems: http://www.audioshark.org/showthread...481#post158481

    "We can hear everything we measure, but we can't measure everything we hear. Let your ears be your guide."

    Dealer for: Audio Research, Aurender, Ansuz Cables, AudioQuest Cables & Power Products, Avantgarde Acoustics, Ayre Acoustics, Berkeley Audio Design, Bryston, Chord, ClearAudio Turntables & Accessories, Esoteric, FirstWatt, Focal Headphones, Harbeth Loudspeakers, Furutech, Gryphon Audio, iFi Audio, ISO Acoustics, KEF Loudspeakers, Kimber Kable, KL Audio Record Cleaning Machines, KR Audio Tube & Amps, Kronos, Lampizator, Lumin, Luxman, Magico Loudspeakers, MicroMega, MIT Cables, MSB Technologies, Ortofon, Pass Labs, PS Audio, Quadraspire, Rega Turntables, REL Acoustics, Roon Labs, Shunyata Research, Siltech, Solid Tech Racks, SRA, Stein Music, Stillpoints, T+A Electronics, Tannoy Loudspeakers, Transfiguration Cartridges, Trenner & Friedl, Triode Corporation of Japan, VAC, Vicoustics, Viva Audio, VPI Industries.

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  4. #4
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    Re: Balanced headphone suggwstions

    Thanks for both suggestions! Have either of you had the chance to listen to either the MrSpeakers or Focal line?

    Does the Focal offer a Balanced cable. I don't see anything mentioned on their web-sight.

    The Ether line also looks interesting.... looks like the Balanced cable is an option.

    Wondering how either of these compare against the Sennheiser HD800S?
    Electronics: Wyred 4 Sound STP-SE, DAC-2v2SE, Recovery Amplifiers: McIntosh MC7100 | Audio Research VT-50 | Goldmund Job 225
    Speakers/Headphones: KEF R700, R400b,
    M500 | MrSpeakers Ether | Bryston BHA-1 | Ayres Pono
    Sources: Roon Headless Server & Roon Tablet Controller | Oppo BDP-105
    | McIntosh MR85 w/Magnum Dynalab ST-2
    Cables: Richard Gray | Wireworld | Audioquest | Tributaries | Kimber Kable | Wyred 4 Sound
    Power: Furman Elite 15i | iFi iPower | PS Audio Noise Harvesters

  5. #5
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    Re: Balanced headphone suggwstions

    I've heard the MrSpeakers Ether and Ether-C and found them stunningly good, they made a lasting impression on me but I'm not really a headphone listener. I didn't have a chance to compare them to the HD800S but I recall reading a review that found the Ethers a definite step ahead. Good luck with your search!

  6. #6
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    Re: Balanced headphone suggwstions

    Thank you Bill.... It is the very initial stages (unlike most other things I have bought )... I know I want an upgrade and three major criteria for are; balanced cabling, comfort, and sound quality.
    Electronics: Wyred 4 Sound STP-SE, DAC-2v2SE, Recovery Amplifiers: McIntosh MC7100 | Audio Research VT-50 | Goldmund Job 225
    Speakers/Headphones: KEF R700, R400b,
    M500 | MrSpeakers Ether | Bryston BHA-1 | Ayres Pono
    Sources: Roon Headless Server & Roon Tablet Controller | Oppo BDP-105
    | McIntosh MR85 w/Magnum Dynalab ST-2
    Cables: Richard Gray | Wireworld | Audioquest | Tributaries | Kimber Kable | Wyred 4 Sound
    Power: Furman Elite 15i | iFi iPower | PS Audio Noise Harvesters

  7. #7
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    Re: Balanced headphone suggwstions

    I should have also mentioned that I found the MrSpeakers headphones to be some of the most comfortable I've ever tried, but of course YMMV definitely applies.

  8. #8
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    Re: Balanced headphone suggestions

    My Systems: http://www.audioshark.org/showthread...481#post158481

    "We can hear everything we measure, but we can't measure everything we hear. Let your ears be your guide."

    Dealer for: Audio Research, Aurender, Ansuz Cables, AudioQuest Cables & Power Products, Avantgarde Acoustics, Ayre Acoustics, Berkeley Audio Design, Bryston, Chord, ClearAudio Turntables & Accessories, Esoteric, FirstWatt, Focal Headphones, Harbeth Loudspeakers, Furutech, Gryphon Audio, iFi Audio, ISO Acoustics, KEF Loudspeakers, Kimber Kable, KL Audio Record Cleaning Machines, KR Audio Tube & Amps, Kronos, Lampizator, Lumin, Luxman, Magico Loudspeakers, MicroMega, MIT Cables, MSB Technologies, Ortofon, Pass Labs, PS Audio, Quadraspire, Rega Turntables, REL Acoustics, Roon Labs, Shunyata Research, Siltech, Solid Tech Racks, SRA, Stein Music, Stillpoints, T+A Electronics, Tannoy Loudspeakers, Transfiguration Cartridges, Trenner & Friedl, Triode Corporation of Japan, VAC, Vicoustics, Viva Audio, VPI Industries.

    https://suncoastaudio.com/
    Phone: 941-932-0282
    Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Suncoast-Au...1105178279194/

  9. #9
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    Re: Balanced headphone suggestions

    Nice, but those are a tad out of my range Mike . Maybe I missed it, but I did not see anything about balanced connection???
    Electronics: Wyred 4 Sound STP-SE, DAC-2v2SE, Recovery Amplifiers: McIntosh MC7100 | Audio Research VT-50 | Goldmund Job 225
    Speakers/Headphones: KEF R700, R400b,
    M500 | MrSpeakers Ether | Bryston BHA-1 | Ayres Pono
    Sources: Roon Headless Server & Roon Tablet Controller | Oppo BDP-105
    | McIntosh MR85 w/Magnum Dynalab ST-2
    Cables: Richard Gray | Wireworld | Audioquest | Tributaries | Kimber Kable | Wyred 4 Sound
    Power: Furman Elite 15i | iFi iPower | PS Audio Noise Harvesters

  10. #10
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    Re: Balanced headphone suggestions

    Quote Originally Posted by Randy Myers View Post
    I have KEF M500 headphones which are very comfortable and neutral sounding. Very nice to use portable with my Pono.

    I am just starting to think about a step up headphone. I have used the McIntosh, but found them a little uncomfortable and I was not particularly fond of the total closed back design. I also had a pair of Audeze EL-8, but again felt they were not real comfortable for long time listening, a couple hours or more.

    I am thinking about a balanced design (if I do get something fairly sure I want to use a balanced cable), with comfort as a very important criteria. Obviously sound quality is important. Thinking about Christmas suggestions for my wife . Therefore I would say max budget would in the $2k range, hopefully a little less.

    Any suggestions on some good cans to consider?
    The best I've heard recently were the Hifiman HE-1000, but they are rather pricey. There is now however also a slightly more affordable version, which I however have not heard.

    For lesser money the open PM-1 and closed PM-3 are worth their money. I have the latter ones for travelling and telcos.


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    “Life’s too short to listen to bad audio.”

    Big rig: Vpi Prime with Phoenix Engineering Eagle and Roadrunner/ Ortofon Cadenza Bronze MC/ Stillpoints LPI/ Grandinote Celio/ Aurender N100H/ Curious USB/ Auralic Aries Mini/ Meitner MA-1/ Ayre KX-5 Twenty/ Pass Labs X250.8/ WyWires Platinum IC+speaker+power cables/ Magico S3 mk2/ REL S5 SHO/ REL Blue/ Shunyata Triton+AlphaHC+Alpha Analogue+Alpha Digital/ Finite Elemente Pagode/ Stillpoints Ultra SS.

    Small rig: Naim UnitiServe/ Curious USB/ Ayre Codex/ Auralic Aries Mini/ Sbooster PSU/ Pass Labs INT-60/ Acoustic Zen Silver Reference II/ HiD Diamond 8/ Harbeth 3PSR2/ Shunyata Venom EU7 & Venom 3 HD.

    HP rig: MacBookAir/ Audirvana/ Auralic Gemini 2000/ HD Plex linear PSU/ Charleston Cable Company Cardas Custom/ Sennheiser HD800/ Shunyata HD/ Shunyata Hydra 2/ AudioTekne Blue.

 

 
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