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#159195 - 02/19/07 04:27 PM Headphones
dazzling Offline
regular

Registered: 02/19/07
Posts: 6
Hi, I am trying to fugure out what headphones to buy. It looks a daunting enterprise, so many options. I am considering Bang & Olsfuen, any suggestions? May be Bose?

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#159196 - 02/19/07 04:48 PM Re: Headphones [Re: dazzling]
alan Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 01/29/02
Posts: 3189
Loc: Toronto/New York/Dwight
Hi and welcome dazzling,

The smoothest and best-sounding headphones tend to come from specialty manufacturers who build only headphones, not from brands like B&O or Bose. Here are some excellent brands to consider: Grado, Sennheiser, Koss, Beyer, and AKG.

There are many options: do you want them to be portable and compact, usable with iPods and portable players? Or just for use at home? Good sounding home phones tend to be larger, but there are some models like the Koss SportaPro (or PortaPro) that fold up and work well with portable devices or at home. The latter have very good sound and are a bargain--about $19 to $39, and are comfortable on most users.

Comfort is a huge factor. Our external ears (pinnae) are different shapes and sizes and so are heads, so some headphones may be comfortable on some and feel like a vice on others.

Do you want the headphones to shut out all outside sound, in which case you should look at over-the-ear types that encase your entire ear, or tiny earbuds that you insert into your ear canal.

The best earbud types are made by Shure, Etymotic Research, and Ultimate Ears. Again, fit is crucial. Earbuds shut out most outside sounds but some are much better than others. You may or may not like the feeling of earbuds inserted into your ear canal.

Differences in headphone sound quality tend to diminish fairly rapidly over the $100 mark, however, you may find a particular model that perfectly suits your tonal preferences and is very comfortable. I've used the Grado SR125 at home for years and find them very comfortable on my head.

You'll get more feedback from others on these message boards. Try doing a search as well. We've discussed headphones at various times over the years.

Regards,
_________________________
Alan Lofft,
Axiom Resident Expert

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#159197 - 02/19/07 06:12 PM Re: Headphones [Re: alan]
F107plus5 Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 01/24/05
Posts: 2034
Loc: Fla. Orig. Mich.
Hi dazzling! Welcome to the Axiom forum!

And as we would say in the traditional welcome to the "Head-Fi" headphone forums: Welcome to Head-Fi and "Sorry about your wallet!"!!

....yes; an almost unimaginable array of options!!

Alans' suggestions about companies like Grado and Sennheiser among others is a good one. I followed his suggestion and it got me into a whole lot of trouble with my family!

But....I'm also having a whole lot of fun with the phones though since they sound so much like what my Axiom speakers would sound like if they were in a less "acoustically sucky" listening room!!

A word of warning however, if you manage to pop in at Head-Fi, don't make a serious mention about Bose. Their phones sound ok for cans in the $50 and under, range, but at the prices they charge......! Woah!

But if a person had Axiom speakers, the Grado or Grado/Alessandro models are a very good match for the speakers. You can bounce back and forth from cans to speakers with no acoustic shock. My Alessandro MS2i work great with my Axiom M50s!!

....well; in stereo mode for most types of music other than classical that is. For classical; a more laid-back set of phones with a more expansive soundstage is required, so for those, I've just chosen some Sennheisers. They aren't the thicker sounding more bass heavy HD650 model, but the slightly more forward HD600s with more naturally presented bass.

There are some phones that are somewhat more full-range. The AKG701 is a good one. There a lots of others!

One suggestion would be to drop by over at the Head-Fi web-site forums and just lurk for a bit. There is a forum for phones, for headphone amps..watch out for this one.. for sources, and bunches of other things related to headphone use.

Just watch out for your wallet!!
Rich.

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#159198 - 02/19/07 11:43 PM Re: Headphones [Re: dazzling]
oldskoolboarder Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 05/25/03
Posts: 2181
Loc: Menlo Park, CA
Alan makes some great recs/comments. Someday when I can dedicate a tube headphone system I'll give AKG and Grado a serious look.

Most of my personal needs are portable, so I spent a few years trying to find some in ears that actually fit my head. I finally got the perfect combo of fit and sound w/ my Ultimate Ears Super.fi 5EB. I LOVE THEM. They're pricey, probably close to the Shure and Etymotic lines. They sound fantastic and fit like a glove.

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#159199 - 02/20/07 05:16 AM Re: Headphones [Re: alan]
dazzling Offline
regular

Registered: 02/19/07
Posts: 6
Thanx very much for you kind suggestions. Actually, I am looking for hi-end headphones, I do not grudge money, becasue it's all my ears. I'd like the portable ones, so that's a bit of a problem. Noise-cancellation & ear-canals options are not for me, I'd like to be aware of the environment around. So, it looks a bit tough. I own a couple of portable Sennhheizers, but they sound absolutely awful even if compared to Bang & Olufsen. So, I feel a bit at a loss.
What would be the options for expensive, portable ones without noise-cancellation or ear-canals? Thanx once again for your replies & suggestions.

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#159200 - 02/20/07 09:52 AM Re: Headphones [Re: dazzling]
Wid Offline
axiomite

Registered: 06/22/03
Posts: 6721
Loc: The Peoples Republic of Il.
Most of the higher end portables are ear canal phones that is just the way it is. There are high end phones that can be powered buy a portable device but not to practical to say the least.

If you were to throw out a budget and the style of music you listen to plus what you are going to power them with we could make a solid recommendation for you.

I really like the Grado brand of headphone. I have the SR 60s and the 325is. They sound most like my M80s out of all the headphones I have had. Some people have complained about a comfort issue with these phones but I have no such problems. I also like the AKG K501s that I have. I use them with Jazz and a little Classical that I own. I did have some AKG K81DJs that were pretty good and inexpensive portables.

On to the portables. I have a few sets of these too. They are iGrados, Koss KSC 75s, Ultimate ears SuperFi3s and Altec Lansing im 716s. All of these phones sound good to me. I use them in different ways. The iGrado and Koss I use while taking walks or riding my bike. They allow you to hear outside noises like cars, dogs ECT. The ear canal phones I use while working outside. They are really good at drowning out outside noises like lawnmowers and other power equipment.

So you see there are different headphones for different purposes. It would be tough to give you a recommendation without a bit more input from you.
_________________________
Rick


"A fear of weapons is a sign of retarded sexual and emotional maturity." Sigmund Freud


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#159201 - 02/20/07 09:54 AM Re: Headphones [Re: dazzling]
alan Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 01/29/02
Posts: 3189
Loc: Toronto/New York/Dwight
Dazzling,

Wow, you're really eliminating a lot of contenders, although truth be told, I find the ear-canal ear buds (and I have some very good and expensive ones) oddly uncomfortable for long-term listening. I just don't like the sensation of those things inside my ears after about a half-hour. But I'm in the minority on that score.

I haven't heard B&O headphones in years; perhaps they are making some good ones. In the vinyl era, B&O made phono cartridges that were quite good (though not nearly as good as Grado, Shure or AKG, to mention other transducer specialists) so they know transducer technology. But among headphone connoisseurs, I haven't heard anyone recommend B&O headphones (or speakers, for that matter) in many years. However, if you've accommodated the tonal balance of the B&O's as your reference, then others may simply not measure up. Or perhaps the B&Os really ARE that good.

Check out the head-fi web site for portable little headphone preamps that allow you to use home phones you like with portable gear. Then you could choose from a variety of very good models.

Regards,
_________________________
Alan Lofft,
Axiom Resident Expert

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#159202 - 02/20/07 11:01 AM Re: Headphones [Re: dazzling]
LightninJoe Offline
aficionado

Registered: 10/28/05
Posts: 558
Loc: Portland, OR
I love both my Sennys (HD-600 and HD-650) and my Grado SR225s. They have very different sounds but are very nice to listen to for extended periods. The Sennys have a very laid-back sound (the "Sennheiser Veil") that doesn't push anything at you. Very clear and articulate. The Grados are much more in your face and are great for rock and jazz and the like. You won't push the Sennys with an MP3 player at all. They are 600ohm cans and the little op-amps in an MP3 player will strain to make much sound at all against that load. The Grados aren't all that much easier to push. I use a headphone amp for listening to these 'phones, including when listening through my stereo.

For portable use I use Ultimate Ears Super.fi 5 Pros. They are great little 'phones but they are in-ear monitors so you probably aren't much interested.

Senny HD212 Pros are low-impedance full-sized cans that sound great and are easy to drive. And cheap. You can find them for $49.95. A good all-around utility headphone that can be driven by an iPod or PCDP.
_________________________
"That's some catch, that Catch-22." "It's the best there is." M22ti VP150 EP350 QS8 M3Ti

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#159203 - 02/20/07 04:40 PM Re: Headphones [Re: alan]
dazzling Offline
regular

Registered: 02/19/07
Posts: 6
Thanx so much for plenty of good suggestions. Actually, I would not say that B&O are really good, they just sounded better than my senn, but the point is that my current headphones are quite cheap, so that explains it all. In fact, I am sort of new to this whole layer of audiophile world, so...there is a whole way to go. Today I chanced on FC1, extreme mac that is somhow connected to Future Sonics. Is future Sound a respectable & credible organization? Sorry, I've got no idea. Would anyone recommend Xtrememac FC1? Thanks so much again. P.S. I reckon that all channel phones might be a bit dangerous for hearing, no proof though.

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#159204 - 02/20/07 05:10 PM Re: Headphones [Re: dazzling]
Wid Offline
axiomite

Registered: 06/22/03
Posts: 6721
Loc: The Peoples Republic of Il.

Well that made no sense at all
_________________________
Rick


"A fear of weapons is a sign of retarded sexual and emotional maturity." Sigmund Freud


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