Ok time to ask about headphones
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  1. #1
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    Ok time to ask about headphones

    After I get my PC sound issue solved (fixin to order a dac = my first piece of Schiit LOL! See what I did there), I think the next item I need to focus on is a pair of headphones.

    I’ve been looking to upgrade my headphones for months now and it has turned out to be about the hardest thing to do ever.

    I currently have the following cans:
    Monoprice Premium HiFi DJ style over-ear = Soundwise = just ok, comfort = forget it, I use them as clamps. Wearing them is like placing your head in a vice. I also don’t like the material of the pads anyway. I bought them just to try them out a couple of years ago as they were getting praise on another forum, but I should have known. Didn’t cost much anyway.
    Sennheiser HD518 = These are my best ones currently and best ever out of the 16 odd pairs I’ve owned in my life. However, I’ve kind of grown tired of their sound. They are well regarded for what they are, but the sound to me is lacking something. It seems a little detail is missing in the mid-highs and the staging is a tad bit narrow.

    I don’t use headphones much at all and especially not during warm/hot weather. I also can’t seem to wear headphones for long periods, I’m generally good for about 10 to 15 minutes tops. That may have to change because of something I will be doing involving serious listening. My main system can be painfully revealing (which I like), but unfortunately my current apartment is like living in a concrete factory inside a reverb unit so often times it’s hard to really listen to music on my main system. The bedroom system (vintage) is a better room acoustically, but that system is not revealing, the amps color it a lot. Not necessarily a bad thing, but for what I want to do, I need less color and more detail. A new pair of speakers may help some, but I don’t know and that’s a project for later.
    I generally plug headphones straight into an amp/receiver.

    The hard part is that there is no place to demo headphones. I did attend a headphone event a few months back. While they don’t need one I brought my HD518s and plugged them into different headphone amps thinking maybe that would fix things = Wrong! The HD518s do not get along with most amps. The only one they played nice with was the Oppo HA1, but as beautiful as that thing is, it is also pricey. (If I only listened through headphones I’d save up for one). The phones being offered for demo where mostly four digits with two exceptions. (One exception does not really exist and the other was just ok in my opinion).
    Sure I can do the whole purchase on internet thing, try them and return them, but that will only result in frustration after all is said and done. I’d have to order from different places so as not to exceed returns policies, plus try to find who carries what I want to try, then pay shipping both ways and restock fees. The shipping probably would not be bad, but added to the restock fees and multiplied by say six, it would eat up all monies for the phones unless I got lucky the first time. (I don’t have that kind of luck).

    So here is what I am looking for: I have a budget of up to a max of around $200. I am willing to stretch that by say $50 to $75 if need be.

    I’m looking for a pair of headphones that are well balanced in sound with a bit more width in staging. I listen to all kinds of music with few exceptions. Basically, I need something than deals well with Prog rock, classic rock, folk, blues, jazz, full symphony classical and everything in between.
    I like tight, detailed musical bass, not boom boom loose cannons. I also don’t like shrill tinny sound.
    They must by the around the ear style and no leather or vinyl ear pads (some models one can get replacement pads to their liking, so that opens a few more windows). I prefer the cloth or velour or whatever that stuff is.
    I prefer open, but have no problem also considering closed.
    Also if any cans suggested require a headphone amp that’s fine too, there are enough affordable amps out there to provide choice I can save up for since I won’t be using the phones until maybe September/October.

    So far on my list of considering are:
    Sennheiser HD598, HD558
    AKG K550, K240, K702, Q701
    Shure SRH840, SRH440
    Beyerdynamic DT660, DT770 Pro 250 ohm or 80 ohm, DT-150-250, DT-250 80 ohm, DT990 Pro 250 ohm
    Grado Prestige SR225e
    Audio Technica ATH-AD900x
    Yamaha HPH-MT220
    Takstar HI2050 (This may be dropped soon as it seems not right to me and I’ve never heard of the name)

    (Other models currently out of range but would consider if on sale = Sennheiser HD650, HD 600, Beyerdynamic DT880 600 ohm, Philips X2/27 Fidelio, Shure SRH 940, AKG K701, K712)

    Problem is that I have only had the opportunity to try the HD558s and none of the others outside of the Philips and a prototype AKG at the show I went to.

    Any other ones or suggestions I don’t know about, please inform.

    Without being able to demo this whole question may go down in the books as the stupidest ever and all time champion moot point, but I’m asking anyway.
    I may end up just closing my eyes and picking one hoping for luck. Unless anyone knows of a place that has a sort of home trial program like those eyeglass sites do where they send you 4 to 6 frames, you have 7 days to try them and then send them back. That would be good, but I’m dreaming, I know.

    Thank you,
    Eric

  2. #2
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    Re: Ok time to ask about headphones

    Eric - would you consider Oppo's new headphones?
    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."

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  4. #3
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    Re: Ok time to ask about headphones

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike View Post
    Eric - would you consider Oppo's new headphones?
    While I don't know much about them, I might of considered the PM-3s if they were 1) in my budget range, 2) were not optimized for gear I do not have (all that i-stuff),3)if they weren't geared towards mobile devices, and 4) if they had cloth ear pads (leather and vinyl are too uncomfortable for me).
    I'm not even sure if they are the around the ear type or not, the info doesn't say. They may be too small.
    Correct me if I am wrong on any of those points, like I said I glanced at the info.

    ~Eric

  5. #4
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    Re: Ok time to ask about headphones

    How would they be optimized for gear you don't have? They're headphones. They also aren't geared toward mobile devices.

    Another brand I really like is Audeze. Anything there you fancy?
    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: AAvik Electronics, Air Tight, Aurender, Ansuz Cables, AudioQuest Cables & Power Products, Avantgarde Acoustics, Ayre Acoustics, Berkeley Audio Design, Chord, Crystal Cable, Dali Loudspeakers, Entreq, Esoteric, FirstWatt, Focal Loudspeakers, Focal Headphones, ISO Acoustics, Kimber Kable, KLAudio, KR Audio, Kronos, Lampizator, Lumin, Magico Loudspeakers, Manley Labs, Melco Audio, MicroMega, M2Tech, Ortofon, Pass Labs, PlayBack Designs, PS Audio, Quadraspire, Raidho Loudspeakers, Rega Turntables, REL Acoustics, Shunyata Research, Siltech, Solid Tech Racks, SOtM, Soulution Audio, SRA, Straight Wire, Stillpoints, Tannoy Loudspeakers, Transfiguration Cartridges, Triode Corporation of Japan, VAC, Vandersteen Speakers, Vicoustics, Vitus Audio, Viva Audio, VPI Industries, ZYX Cartridges.

    www.suncoastaudio.com
    Phone: 941-932-0282

  6. #5
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    Re: Ok time to ask about headphones

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike View Post
    How would they be optimized for gear you don't have? They're headphones. They also aren't geared toward mobile devices.

    Another brand I really like is Audeze. Anything there you fancy?
    Well, the info says the Oppo PM3 is optimized for i-phones, i-pads and all that. It also states that they are geared towards mobile devices. That part doesn't make sense to me either because they look too big to be wearing for mobile duties. Maybe I read it wrong.

    Everybody likes Audeze. I've tried on a pair of Audeze cans before and they are uncomfortable to me (heavy), besides they are also way out of range anyway (In fact, I think I wore them at the Schiit booth at The Show or it might have been the Mr. Headphone ones, they look alike to me). I also don't remember being wowed by their sound, but I'm not saying they sounded bad, I just don't recall anything that grabbed me about them outside of being uncomfortable.

    I get the feeling that there is nothing outside of the ones on my list that will be in my range and that's fine, it is what it is. I'm not looking for miracles. Headphones are not an investment for someone like me because I rarely use them usually. I don't like them that's why comfort is a big factor as well. Wearing headphones makes me feel like I'm being suffocated, that's why I can only handle up to 15 minutes on my best days, which by the way is an improvement. It used to be 5 minutes. I'm claustrophobic, so maybe that's partly why, I don't know. If I was a consistent headphone user I'd try for a bigger budget, but for me, anything more than what I stated would be money wasted that could and should and would go towards more important things.

    ~Eric

  7. #6
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    Re: Ok time to ask about headphones

    I may wait until November or something to see what goes on sale and then decide if I want to toss dice and just pick one or just live with my HD518s. (Most likely I'll end up doing the latter).
    Headphones are one audio item that is really tough to purchase these days. What happened to the days one could walk into a stereo shop and try out 18 pair or something? I think that may be my real question.

  8. #7
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    Re: Ok time to ask about headphones

    I have a set of the Zu-modified Senn 280s that would fit well within your budget. I've decided that at the office I prefer open back phones (I have the similarly priced Grado 225s as well) so I will probably move these.

    I liked the Audeze sound at Newport, but not the new EL8 which I found bright and quite unlike any of the others- the LCD-2 was the best bang for the buck. However, they are quite heavy.
    Brinkmann Bardo w/ 47 Labs MC Bee cart, MSB Analog DAC --> DarTZeel CTH-8550 --> DeVore Fidelity Gibbon X

  9. #8
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    Re: Ok time to ask about headphones

    Maybe try Massdrop. They occasionally have the AKG7XX and same in Red edition, 199 USD. A little more bass friendly and warm tuning than the 702, which I own and love, but are very analytic. A thought.


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

  10. #9
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    Re: Ok time to ask about headphones

    Quote Originally Posted by dufferdan View Post
    Maybe try Massdrop. They occasionally have the AKG7XX and same in Red edition, 199 USD. A little more bass friendly and warm tuning than the 702, which I own and love, but are very analytic. A thought.


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
    Do you have a pair? Thoughts? I was considering them.
    Cyril
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  11. #10
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    Re: Ok time to ask about headphones

    Quote Originally Posted by cmalak View Post
    Do you have a pair? Thoughts? I was considering them.
    I have the AKG702, AKG 7XX, Audio Technical ATH 50x and Seinnheiser SRH 840. For in-ear monitors, I have a pair of Etymotic ER4P I mainly use when flying with my iPhone or my iPad.

    I have a 27" iMac Retina, and while I rip everything to lossless and have listened to many 16/44 CD rips, most of my listening of late has been quick bouts at the computer using iTunes feeding 320kbps AAC rips.

    A Toslink link cable feeds my Schiit Audio Bifrist DAC and Schiit Valhalla 2 headphone amp.

    The 702's are very accurate and analytical. The 7XX are warmer and maybe a little more bass friendly, though still accurate. The 702's don't really seem to come to life with the Valhalla 2 amp, but using my Caiman DAC/headphone amp on my main home stereo, there seems to be plenty of juice. The 7xx seems to be friendlier for the Valhalla to drive. Note that the 702's should be well broken in while the 7xx's may only have a few hours on them.

    The AT 50x seem warmer and more vibrant than the aforementioned AKG's. Very different tuning. I like them and it may simply be that they are a better match for the Schiit utensils. The Seinnheisers are a closed back studio headphone. I found them the be fuller in the bass, but very even all around. Accurate to the point that the higher frequencies kinda bugged me. My son basically usurped them and used them in him mini-recording studio in the basement. He lives their accuracy and analytic approach.

    Not sure if this helps. For everyday casual listening, I don't think you can go wrong with the 7XX's.

 

 
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