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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: 3186
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: 6720
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: 3186
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: 6720
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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#159205 - 02/20/07 05:39 PM Re: Headphones [Re: dazzling]
oldskoolboarder Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 05/25/03
Posts: 2181
Loc: Menlo Park, CA
The FS1 are definitely made by Futuresonics for Xtrememac. I had those for a little bit. I tried them at Macworld last year and actually liked them. Then I compared them to Ultimate Ears and it wasn't even close.

I almost opted for the Futuresonics brand, it was only about $100 but I can't see them on the site anymore. It was the EM3. The only disadvantage is that the ear piece is actually like earplug foam. That has a finite life so you'd replace them often. However, the foam is way more comfortable since it's form fitting.

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#159206 - 02/20/07 05:49 PM Re: Headphones [Re: dazzling]
PeterChenoweth Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 10/23/03
Posts: 1349
Loc: Jacksonville, IL
I own a pair of Shure E3C's, and my wife has a pair of E2C's. We love them. I wouldn't hesitate to buy them again. Excellent headphones if you can deal with in-ear phones. I would actually go so far as to compare the sound of E3C's with Axiom speakers. They share the characteristics of smooth and balanced output throughout the range. The E2C's are great too, but are a bit heavy with the bass.

I can also tell you that Shure absolutely stands behind their product. After about 18 months of heavy use one of the cords started to fray on my wife's E2C's. One call to Shure and she had a brand new pair replaced under warranty within a few days. Very satisfied wth their customer service.

Etymotic also makes lovely in-ear headphones. Many, many happy owners to be found in that camp.

I've looked and listened to the B&O ones. They look pretty and sound ok - about on par with your standard $30-$60 Sony earbuds. IMHO, they are not worth $120+. They do not compare to the Shures.

Every Apple store I've ever been in carries both Shure and Ety cans, and also have a generous return policy should you not like them.

Headphone crazies live here.

Oh, and the thing about canal phones being damaging to hearing, I don't buy it. Well-fitting canal phones will block out all of the ambient noise. Consequently, you can listen at much lower volumes than regular open-ear headphones. I've spent many afternoons listening to music at work to find that the ambient noise of my office seems quite a bit *louder* when I take them off. Kind of like when you pop your ears after having a head cold.

It is true that at a given volume level canal phones will be louder than open headphones - and that's *really* important to remember if you ever 'plug in' to someone else's MP3 player.


Edited by PeterChenoweth (02/20/07 06:04 PM)
_________________________
M80v2 | VP150v2 | QS8v2
SVS Pci+ 20-39
Emotiva UMC-1 & LPA-1
M22ti + T-Amp, in the Office

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#159207 - 02/20/07 06:05 PM Re: Headphones [Re: oldskoolboarder]
oldskoolboarder Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 05/25/03
Posts: 2181
Loc: Menlo Park, CA
actually peter brings up a great feature that I like about ultimate ears.

The cords are removeable, so they can replaced easily. That is a good feature when you realize that frayed cords is one of the biggest reasons for replacing headphones.

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#159208 - 02/20/07 09:14 PM Re: Headphones [Re: PeterChenoweth]
LightninJoe Offline
aficionado

Registered: 10/28/05
Posts: 558
Loc: Portland, OR
Peter,

Good comments. Shure does make some quality cans. And head-fi.org is the place to go. Although it will cost you $$$ if you're not careful. I really do like my "canal phones" quite a bit. Most come with a few different "tips" so you can find a set that are most comfortable for you. I've been pondering picking up a set of Ultimate Ears UE-10s. Before you order these, you to an audiologist and get molds made of your ear canals. The 10s are then custom molded to fit your ear. Pros: They are 3-driver IEMs that have reportedly unparalleled comfort and sound. Cons: $1000 bucks, give or take. And you can't return them.
_________________________
"That's some catch, that Catch-22." "It's the best there is." M22ti VP150 EP350 QS8 M3Ti

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#159209 - 02/28/07 03:38 AM Re: Headphones [Re: PeterChenoweth]
dazzling Offline
regular

Registered: 02/19/07
Posts: 6
Thanx for all suggestions. It might be that I have a "strange" pair of ears, but B&O sound really good to me, much better than sony, sennys or AKG within the same price range. I still hold my ground that ear-canal phones are damaging to hearing. I talked to some professional musicians, who use them vastly, from thier point of view ear-canals phones are no good for those who wish to preserve thier hearing. So, I'd say it's matter of personal choice.

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#159210 - 02/28/07 10:34 PM Re: Headphones [Re: dazzling]
F107plus5 Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 01/24/05
Posts: 2034
Loc: Fla. Orig. Mich.
Speaking of headphones....It's the end of an era!! Arrrrgh!!

My beloved Alessandro MS-1s are being phased out of their long standing position as computer and background music headphones!

As good as the MS-1s are, they are being overshadowed by the better sounding and more capable Sennheiser HD600s which are just as stable as the MS-1s when looking down at the keyboard.

....the heavier MS2i with bowls fall off if I look down; these things ARE heavy!! But the HD600s stay in place just as well as the MS-1. Besides the MS2i are of absolutely no use as computer headphones as it's virtually impossible to concentrate on anything but the music while wearing them, so they are used only for serious listening for rock, as the HD600 are used for serious listening in classical. The HD600s are every bit as capable as the MS2i, and perhaps arguably better in their field, but by virtue of their relaxed sonic character they don't grab a hold and drag the listener into the music quite as strongly as MS2i. So the HD600s are happy being the computer and background music cans for everything but the most exciting forms of rock.

But sadly, the MS-1s are getting less and less listening time and the HD600s are getting more and more.

And more.
Rich.

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#159211 - 02/28/07 11:13 PM Re: Headphones [Re: F107plus5]
CV Offline
Founder, Axiom Upgrade Club
shareholder in the making

Registered: 07/20/06
Posts: 11160
Loc: Richland, WA, USA
It's good to know the HD600s are worthwhile. I've been interested in them for a while, and I imagine that one of these days I will get around to purchasing them. I just have too many other priorities. Subwoofer, amp, preamp-processor, new computer, Rives Audio consultation and design, implementation of said design. My money's spent for years, it seems.
_________________________
SuperGrand UltraDeluxe (Plus Extra More)

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#159212 - 03/01/07 03:17 PM Re: Headphones [Re: dazzling]
LightninJoe Offline
aficionado

Registered: 10/28/05
Posts: 558
Loc: Portland, OR
When it comes right down to it, the best choice is what sounds best to you. I can't tell you what sounds good to you.
_________________________
"That's some catch, that Catch-22." "It's the best there is." M22ti VP150 EP350 QS8 M3Ti

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#159213 - 03/05/07 06:50 PM Re: Headphones [Re: LightninJoe]
F107plus5 Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 01/24/05
Posts: 2034
Loc: Fla. Orig. Mich.
Hey Rick! They need your SR-325i S/N, just for fun, over on the other site!

New Grado SR-325i owners club!

....naw; MS2i don't have S/Ns....
Rich.

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#159214 - 03/05/07 06:52 PM Re: Headphones [Re: F107plus5]
Wid Offline
axiomite

Registered: 06/22/03
Posts: 6720
Loc: The Peoples Republic of Il.

Ok, I'll head over there in a bit.
_________________________
Rick


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


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#159215 - 03/05/07 07:26 PM Re: Headphones [Re: Wid]
F107plus5 Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 01/24/05
Posts: 2034
Loc: Fla. Orig. Mich.
#3334....cool!

Nice photo too! Nice cans!!
Rich.

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#159216 - 03/05/07 07:37 PM Re: Headphones [Re: F107plus5]
Wid Offline
axiomite

Registered: 06/22/03
Posts: 6720
Loc: The Peoples Republic of Il.
They look as good as new but sound better




Edited by wid (03/05/07 07:49 PM)

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#159217 - 03/06/07 12:36 AM Re: Headphones [Re: F107plus5]
sonicfox Offline
aficionado

Registered: 05/01/02
Posts: 902
Loc: Davenport, Iowa, USA
Quote:

But sadly, the MS-1s are getting less and less listening time and the HD600s are getting more and more.




Hi Rich! Tell me...when will the HD600's start getting less and less listening time before you move on? This headphone addiction can be very dangerous!
_________________________
M60s
VP150
QS8s
Marantz SR6003
Samsung LN52B550
Oppo DV-980H
Insignia NS-WBRDVD

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#159218 - 03/06/07 08:55 PM Re: Headphones [Re: sonicfox]
F107plus5 Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 01/24/05
Posts: 2034
Loc: Fla. Orig. Mich.
Yes it can; Mary! Very dangerous indeed!

While the MS-1s have been replaced by the MS2i for the rock side of things, the HD600s will probably be around for classical for a good long, long time!

Yeah; I did a study to see which phones would likely be my best bet for the bigger classical pieces, and just as importantly portray my favorite instrument, the pipe organ, as well as practical to complement my MS2i, with a bass response similar to the MS2i in presentation but yet go deeper to follow the longer pipes, and I found from taking lots of notes and wearing the heck out of the search function that HD600 would most likely best fit my style of listening.

That was cool.

What was cooler yet was when I was talking to a guy from Kansas about a couple of fellas I had known very well up in Michigan from the U of M school of music, one a Professor, the other a student who has since gotten his Doctorate, from back in my choir days. Turns out he knew them too, even mentioned the name of their dog!

And this guy happens to be Vice President of his company; a major pipe organ manufacturer! Really! I looked up his companies web site!! His primary job is being the "tuner" of the instruments and spends most of his life bopping around the country helping to design and setting up these organs in some pretty elaborate churches and cathedrals.

Another part of his job is making CDs of the recitals in which these organs are used when they are first dedicated. He is the most logical person to be involved in the CDs since he is by far the most familiar with the sound that these instruments are intended to produce.

To make a long story short; he tried a whole slew of headphone designs and models and eventually decided on HD600s to monitor the recitals and the mastering of the CDs.

...his recording engineer uses similar sounding HD580s.

When he decided that HD600s were the best bet, he bought two pairs; one for home and one for on the job. Turned out he didn't use the second set that much since he normally brought his "work" pair home.

Timing is everything...the cans were for sale last fall! Although we agreed that I would buy them last October, I had to wait for the Christmas damages to my wallet to heal.

But since we had a few mutual friends, he even threw in a few CDs that were mastered with these exact same cans that just for fun he took along on the trips he made from October until I took delivery in February! Yeah! These very same cans were used in the making of a nice batch of organ CDs!! He also tossed in some publications documenting the assembly and history of the churches and the organs used in the making of these CDs!

Yup; real published CDs! Currently sold on the Raven label, as well as some CD masters not yet edited into final form yet. Entirely too cool!!

So all in all; I have a pair of phones which have somewhat of a historical, as well as personal significance, as well as being cans that sound really good to my ears within my current system!

Nope! These HD600s ain't goin' nowhere! They got themselves a permanent home!!

.....now if I can just figure out a way to keep my heavier-than-MS-1 MS2i from falling off when I'm trying to type, I can wear them more often too!

As much as I really love my aluminum MS2i, a move up to those lighter weight wooden MS-Pros are starting to look.....

......arrrrgh!
Rich.

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#159219 - 03/06/07 09:04 PM Re: Headphones [Re: F107plus5]
St_PatGuy Offline
axiomite

Registered: 03/07/05
Posts: 7395
Loc: Glendale, Arizona
Great story, Rich. I'll have to check out those pipe organ CDs. Watched the episode of "Dirty Jobs" where the host helps the pipe cleaners. It was pretty fascinating. Such intricate and immense instruments of music. Glad to know the Senns can reproduce them. Would have gone with the HD600s if I had not come across such a great deal on the HD650s.
_________________________
***********
"Nothin' up my sleeve. . ." --Bullwinkle J. Moose

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#159220 - 03/06/07 09:37 PM Re: Headphones [Re: St_PatGuy]
F107plus5 Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 01/24/05
Posts: 2034
Loc: Fla. Orig. Mich.
I had almost gone with the HD650 myself had I not gotten the info concerning the pipe organs. That pretty well sealed the deal.....plus also a very good price and some CDs, some history and some other good stuff!!

Yeah; I figured if the guy who builds the instruments contends they sound most accurate with HD600s....what the heck.

From most everything I have read, the HD650 outdoes most everything the HD600 does, but it's the bass that scared me off. I was of the understanding that it was almost overpowering to much music, but after seeing a few graphs it looks as though the difference is only about 2db!!

Two little stinkin' db!!
Dang!!
Rich.

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#159221 - 03/06/07 10:16 PM Re: Headphones [Re: F107plus5]
St_PatGuy Offline
axiomite

Registered: 03/07/05
Posts: 7395
Loc: Glendale, Arizona
No, they sound very balanced to me. I haven't heard the 600s for a comparison, though. My only complaint is the smelly foam from the box. Yuck.
_________________________
***********
"Nothin' up my sleeve. . ." --Bullwinkle J. Moose

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#159222 - 03/06/07 10:50 PM Re: Headphones [Re: St_PatGuy]
F107plus5 Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 01/24/05
Posts: 2034
Loc: Fla. Orig. Mich.
Ok...ya got me curious.

....so I dug out the box and took a sniff of the foam, and......nothing.

I wonder how old the cans, and the foam is. Hey! They're serialized!

This could be fun finding out!
Rich.

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#159223 - 03/06/07 11:12 PM Re: Headphones [Re: F107plus5]
St_PatGuy Offline
axiomite

Registered: 03/07/05
Posts: 7395
Loc: Glendale, Arizona
Oh man, I sniffed my box, too. Verdict: still smelly. I can't even begin to describe it.

Looked, and no serial number. Where would it be located? Hmm, I can't remember how long ago I bought these. More than two years.
_________________________
***********
"Nothin' up my sleeve. . ." --Bullwinkle J. Moose

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#159224 - 03/07/07 12:01 AM Re: Headphones [Re: St_PatGuy]
F107plus5 Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 01/24/05
Posts: 2034
Loc: Fla. Orig. Mich.
Aw Phooie.

It may not be an S/N after all.

I took another look and....oops...it's a fabrication number instead.

It's listed on the outer box flap, and the way it has been penned on the label it looked at first as though it were an S/N.

Then again, looking at the label it does list the Sennheiser P/N of the HD600 and then the penned in Fab No. right below it, so perhaps it actually could be a serial number. The number is 68333 which could well be the number in sequence of build since I guess these guys have been in production at least back somewhere into the 90s. I can't find a number anywhere on the cans though.

Hmmmmm....I love a good mystery!!

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#159225 - 03/23/07 02:49 PM Re: Headphones [Re: F107plus5]
AdamP88 Offline
aficionado

Registered: 08/12/03
Posts: 639
Loc: Omaha, NE
I have a new toy:





I decided headphones would be a cheaper way to try out tubes. It's a Little Dot II++ (not the coolest sounding name...). So far, I think I like this kind of distortion! Both my Senn 595 and 580 (595 in particular) sound better out of this than my other amp (HeadAmp Gilmore Dynamic V2), and that one cost over twice as much. The Gilmore sounds a little quicker - maybe even a little more revealing, but the Little Dot sounds more natural than the Gilmore. Midrange seems a little smoother (vocals in particular seem more lifelike) and bass is much better (though maybe a bit bloated) - overall it's a really satisfying presentation. And it can function as a preamp as well. Plus you can modify the sound with a different set of tubes. Pretty nifty if you ask me - and all for $200!

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#159226 - 03/23/07 02:51 PM Re: Headphones [Re: AdamP88]
MarkSJohnson Offline
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Posts: 10848
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Adam:
Where did you get it?
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#159227 - 03/23/07 02:53 PM Re: Headphones [Re: MarkSJohnson]
AdamP88 Offline
aficionado

Registered: 08/12/03
Posts: 639
Loc: Omaha, NE
via eBay. It comes from China, but there's a nice following on www.head-fi.org, so I decided to give it a try. Shipping was actually quite quick - under a week.

http://cgi.ebay.com/Little-Dot-2-PLUS-PL...1QQcmdZViewItem

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#159228 - 03/23/07 03:26 PM Re: Headphones [Re: AdamP88]
Wid Offline
axiomite

Registered: 06/22/03
Posts: 6720
Loc: The Peoples Republic of Il.
Nice amp from what I have read. I put in a bid on a used one some time back, to bad it didn't end up being the winning bid.
_________________________
Rick


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


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#159229 - 03/23/07 07:27 PM Re: Headphones [Re: Wid]
AdamP88 Offline
aficionado

Registered: 08/12/03
Posts: 639
Loc: Omaha, NE
Apparently this newest ++ version is a pretty noticeable improvement over the older Little Dot 2 and 2+, from what I've read. Better power tubes and better parts throughout, basically. It really is a great little amp. I did a little more comparison to my other amp, and the Little Dot's bass is just so much better there's no contest - the Gilmore sounds downright anemic in that respect. The Gilmore does do imaging noticeably better though - much more precise. But the more I listen to the Little Dot, the more clinical the Gilmore sounds.

I've also found out that this thing runs quite hot. Not just the tubes, but the entire chassis gets warm enough that it becomes uncomfortable to leave my hand on it for more than a few seconds. Not that I regularly do that while listening, so I'm fine. And it can act as a heater on cold nights.

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#159230 - 03/24/07 12:09 AM Re: Headphones [Re: AdamP88]
St_PatGuy Offline
axiomite

Registered: 03/07/05
Posts: 7395
Loc: Glendale, Arizona
Very nice, Adam! Looks to be a pretty good buy for $200 bucks. Brand new amp and you're already talking about tube rolling! Actually, I think it's pretty cool to be able to slightly modify the sound. What kind of tubes does it run?
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#159231 - 03/24/07 12:23 AM Re: Headphones [Re: St_PatGuy]
AdamP88 Offline
aficionado

Registered: 08/12/03
Posts: 639
Loc: Omaha, NE
Stock it comes with Chinese military spec 6C19 power tubes and Ediswan EF92 drivers. Not the most common tubes out there, but after reading a bit on head-fi about equivalent tube types, I did a quick google/ebay search and came up with some possibilities for both.

Also realized that you can remove two internal jumpers that supposedly allow the amp to drive lower impedance cans better. I dunno if I like the changes to the sonics, though. Bass actually tightens up well, but it loses something in the midrange.

What a weird world, this tube amp stuff.

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#159232 - 03/24/07 01:39 AM Re: Headphones [Re: AdamP88]
St_PatGuy Offline
axiomite

Registered: 03/07/05
Posts: 7395
Loc: Glendale, Arizona
The good news is that the amp runs only four tubes. That'll keep cost down if you want to start experimenting. I'd say run them with the stock tubes to familiarize yourself with the sound and it'll be easier to discern any differences once you start "rolling."

Aargh, you're gonna make me want to start looking at headphone amps again. Must stay away from head-fi. . .
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#159233 - 03/24/07 02:01 PM Re: Headphones [Re: AdamP88]
danmagicman7 Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 12/16/05
Posts: 1467
GAH!

I have 595's..eeeh...must...not...look...longer
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#159234 - 03/24/07 04:33 PM Re: Headphones [Re: AdamP88]
pmbuko Offline
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Registered: 04/02/03
Posts: 16267
Loc: Leesburg, Virginia
Tubes? You're dead to me.


Actually, I look forward to hearing your pleasing distortion generator when I'm out there in June for WWDC.
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#193868 - 01/25/08 08:17 PM Re: Headphones [Re: pmbuko]
Wid Offline
axiomite

Registered: 06/22/03
Posts: 6720
Loc: The Peoples Republic of Il.
Here's a new headphone amp I just got in. It is a tube hybrid they call Soha. So far I am really liking it, now to some pics.








_________________________
Rick


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


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#193869 - 01/25/08 08:24 PM Re: Headphones [Re: Wid]
St_PatGuy Offline
axiomite

Registered: 03/07/05
Posts: 7395
Loc: Glendale, Arizona
What a coincidence, Rick--I was just browsing through headphone amps on eBay!

Congrats on the new amp! That 12AU7 is easy and cheap to change if you like experimenting.
_________________________
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"Nothin' up my sleeve. . ." --Bullwinkle J. Moose

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#193870 - 01/25/08 08:26 PM Re: Headphones [Re: St_PatGuy]
Wid Offline
axiomite

Registered: 06/22/03
Posts: 6720
Loc: The Peoples Republic of Il.
I've been looking at different tubes and they are fairly inexpensive. For now I will just sit back and enjoy it as is. BTW Sean do you have a favorite place to purchase tubes?
_________________________
Rick


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


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#193871 - 01/25/08 08:32 PM Re: Headphones [Re: Wid]
pmbuko Offline
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They're just barely squeaked that design past ATEAMS (Association for Tube-Equipped Audio Merchandise Standards). Section 3, subsection IV of their Minimum Appearance Guidelines document clearly states that any piece of tube gear (other than guitar amps, which have the privilege of a grandfather clause) must show at least the top half of one tube -- though displaying the entire tube is preferable -- in order to be legally sold in the United States.
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#193872 - 01/25/08 08:33 PM Re: Headphones [Re: pmbuko]
Wid Offline
axiomite

Registered: 06/22/03
Posts: 6720
Loc: The Peoples Republic of Il.
\:D \:D
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Rick


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


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#193875 - 01/25/08 08:38 PM Re: Headphones [Re: Wid]
pmbuko Offline
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Posts: 16267
Loc: Leesburg, Virginia
I had fun coming up with that one. \:\) Glad you're enjoying your acquisition.
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#193876 - 01/25/08 08:40 PM Re: Headphones [Re: pmbuko]
Wid Offline
axiomite

Registered: 06/22/03
Posts: 6720
Loc: The Peoples Republic of Il.

Thanks.
_________________________
Rick


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


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#193877 - 01/25/08 08:45 PM Re: Headphones [Re: Wid]
St_PatGuy Offline
axiomite

Registered: 03/07/05
Posts: 7395
Loc: Glendale, Arizona
My last couple of purchases have come from here. Prices are fair and the shipping is fast--mainly because they ship from San Diego. I've found most new production tubes run about the same price everywhere you look. Haven't dived into the NOS thing--too expensive.
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#193878 - 01/25/08 08:45 PM Re: Headphones [Re: pmbuko]
St_PatGuy Offline
axiomite

Registered: 03/07/05
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\:D That was a good one, Peter!
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#193884 - 01/25/08 09:14 PM Re: Headphones [Re: St_PatGuy]
EFalardeau Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 08/27/07
Posts: 3270
Loc: Laval, Quebec, Canada
Ok. So we know the new amp is photogenic. Could we have some comments about the sound? Or did you try it yet? ;\)
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#193887 - 01/25/08 09:52 PM Re: Headphones [Re: EFalardeau]
Wid Offline
axiomite

Registered: 06/22/03
Posts: 6720
Loc: The Peoples Republic of Il.
I gave it a bit of a listen today with some Santana and Los Loney Boys. I find the headstage to be quite a bit more than with the Creek amp I have been using. There is spaciousness to this amp the other one just didn’t have. The highs seem to have an airy quality to them in comparison. I was afraid the bass would have suffered but that was far from the case. My Grado 325is really seem to come alive with the tube sound. To my surprise this thing can really rock. Let's not forget the midrange, there is a warm quality to the midrange that I have never experianced before. It's hard to put into words but if you were to hear it you would know. It has me thinking a tube preamp might be in my near future.
_________________________
Rick


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


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#193888 - 01/25/08 10:07 PM Re: Headphones [Re: Wid]
St_PatGuy Offline
axiomite

Registered: 03/07/05
Posts: 7395
Loc: Glendale, Arizona
Warm midrange? Geez, Rick, now you sound like one of those tube geeks! ;\)

Seriously, you're right--it is really hard to describe without relying on all the cliches like warm or organic.
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"Nothin' up my sleeve. . ." --Bullwinkle J. Moose

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#193891 - 01/25/08 10:21 PM Re: Headphones [Re: St_PatGuy]
Wid Offline
axiomite

Registered: 06/22/03
Posts: 6720
Loc: The Peoples Republic of Il.

Seriously, I really don't know how it would be discribed other than that. It is quite suprising to me, the difference in the sound.
_________________________
Rick


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


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#193896 - 01/25/08 10:59 PM Re: Headphones [Re: pmbuko]
Nachosgrande Offline
local

Registered: 09/26/06
Posts: 258
Loc: New York
 Originally Posted By: pmbuko
They're just barely squeaked that design past ATEAMS (Association for Tube-Equipped Audio Merchandise Standards). Section 3, subsection IV of their Minimum Appearance Guidelines document clearly states that any piece of tube gear (other than guitar amps, which have the privilege of a grandfather clause) must show at least the top half of one tube -- though displaying the entire tube is preferable -- in order to be legally sold in the United States.


This post has already been nominated for 2008 Post of the Year - Interwebs ;\)
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#193904 - 01/26/08 01:24 AM Re: Headphones [Re: St_PatGuy]
oldskoolboarder Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 05/25/03
Posts: 2181
Loc: Menlo Park, CA
 Originally Posted By: St_PatGuy
My last couple of purchases have come from here. Prices are fair and the shipping is fast--mainly because they ship from San Diego. I've found most new production tubes run about the same price everywhere you look. Haven't dived into the NOS thing--too expensive.


Thanks! I've book marked that if/when I decide to starting rolling.

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#193905 - 01/26/08 01:28 AM Re: Headphones [Re: Wid]
oldskoolboarder Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 05/25/03
Posts: 2181
Loc: Menlo Park, CA
Cool! Did you buy this built or as a kit? For a decent price, I might be interested in a pre-built for an amp in my office cube.

Took a look at the site. Definitely engineers, looking at the PSPICE and OrCAD tools.

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#193913 - 01/26/08 07:27 AM Re: Headphones [Re: Wid]
EFalardeau Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 08/27/07
Posts: 3270
Loc: Laval, Quebec, Canada
Thanks. An headphone amp might be in my future in 2008!
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#193915 - 01/26/08 08:28 AM Re: Headphones [Re: EFalardeau]
Wid Offline
axiomite

Registered: 06/22/03
Posts: 6720
Loc: The Peoples Republic of Il.

I had it built for me by a fellow HeadFier. I traded a set of headphones and a little cash for it; all total I’d say I have about $150 into it. Not to bad imo. I'm sure someone with the skill to build one can do it cheaper.
_________________________
Rick


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


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#193927 - 01/26/08 01:09 PM Re: Headphones [Re: Wid]
SirQuack Offline
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Registered: 01/29/04
Posts: 13321
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pretty cool Rick, hope you enjoy your new addition.
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#193992 - 01/27/08 09:04 AM Re: Headphones [Re: SirQuack]
ZG Offline
veteran

Registered: 11/01/06
Posts: 135
Loc: Canadian in NYC
Hey Rick,

Nice looking headphone amp. I've been looking for a portable one of late. I use the headphone jack on my Scott 222C tube amp for headphone use, and let me tell you it really blows me away! I use a lower end pair of Grados, the SR-60. I only wish they worked as well outside, but since they are essentially small open speakers, I hear mostly the noise of the rest of the world when I use them on the subway or the streets of NYC. Not what I need when I'm listening to music to block out the constant honking and such. I just ordered Etymotic ER-4P headphones for travelling. I've got a little cMoy homemade amp that I'll try using with them at first.

I buy my tubes from here: http://tubedepot.com/ They have, on average, the best prices, cheapest shipping, and are always reliable.

Enjoy!

Zoë
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#193997 - 01/27/08 09:22 AM Re: Headphones [Re: ZG]
Wid Offline
axiomite

Registered: 06/22/03
Posts: 6720
Loc: The Peoples Republic of Il.
Thanks Z. I also use a set of Al iM716s for when I want to block out the rest of the world. Your cMoy is going to work really well with the ER-4s, that's exactly what I use with the 716s.

Thanks for the link.
_________________________
Rick


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


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#193999 - 01/27/08 09:33 AM Re: Headphones [Re: Wid]
ZG Offline
veteran

Registered: 11/01/06
Posts: 135
Loc: Canadian in NYC
Interesting about the Altec Lansing. I have some bias against that company. I guess it's because I sampled their bookshelf speakers years ago and couldn't get over how bad they were. But, I've got a friend who loves his AL speakers - albeit he's not really into audio like I am. But, I'll keep my eyes on those. There's a 30 day return policy on the Etymotics. But, from everything I've read, I'm truly hoping I love them. And I know it will likely take longer than 30 days to break them in.

The reason I've been looking for a new portable headphone amp is because I find the CMoy one exaggerates the bass more than I like. I've only used it with my Sony headphones, which were about $75 when I bought them four years ago. They have great bass - I think they state that they go down to 16 hz or something insane like that. So, what I decided was that the Sony's really didn't need the amp and that's why the CMoy sounded bad to me. I have highly sensitive ears, I've been told. ;-}

ZG

PS...I've been meaning to ask you which Rotel amp(s) you use.
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#194003 - 01/27/08 10:07 AM Re: Headphones [Re: ZG]
Wid Offline
axiomite

Registered: 06/22/03
Posts: 6720
Loc: The Peoples Republic of Il.

The Altecs were developed by ER with their technology, all they are are a rebadged ER. They are in fact quite nice. I also had some UE SuperFi 3s that I ended up giving to my sister after I got the Als. Although the SuperFi 3 are a really nice set the Altecs are far better imo. I would have think the problem is not the Cmoy but the Sony hps.

I think you are going to be happy with the ERs. To me they are Gradoish in their sound.
_________________________
Rick


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


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#194008 - 01/27/08 11:03 AM Re: Headphones [Re: Wid]
ZG Offline
veteran

Registered: 11/01/06
Posts: 135
Loc: Canadian in NYC
Cool! I love the Grados and only wish that at the time I had the money to get the next step up since the sales guys said that the SR80s are more balanced. They basically create a big batch of them, test out matching pairs and call those the SR80s, then take the ones that are a little less balanced and call those SR60s. The rest get thrown back into the melting pot. But at that moment I was between jobs (we're talking a few days), so the panic of not being able to pay rent set in. It's amazing how $30 can make that kind of a difference in a person's life. Anyway, I gave a pair of SR80s to a friend for his birthday this summer. He is a headphone junkie and raves, raves, raves about them! I'll upgrade one day, but the SR60s are fantastic for now.

So, you didn't tell me what Rotel(s) you are using - maybe you didn't see that part of my post. Since you seem to love them as a brand, I figure it's worth reading up on.

Zoë
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#194010 - 01/27/08 11:26 AM Re: Headphones [Re: ZG]
Wid Offline
axiomite

Registered: 06/22/03
Posts: 6720
Loc: The Peoples Republic of Il.
If you want to up grade those SR60s I recommend putting a set of bowls on them. Before spending more on the SR80s give this a try, you will like what you hear, I'd bet on that. I bought a set for my SR 60s so I know there is a pretty big difference. If you are to upgrade those Grados go up in the line to at least the SR 225s. I went to the SR 325is only months after the 60s. They are, so far at least, my favorite set of hps.

P.S. you have a pm.
_________________________
Rick


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


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#194014 - 01/27/08 12:30 PM Re: Headphones [Re: Wid]
ZG Offline
veteran

Registered: 11/01/06
Posts: 135
Loc: Canadian in NYC
OK, what do you mean by "putting a set of bowls on them"? (Sorry if this is a newbie question!)

I've also got a pair of Koss PRO/4 AAA headphones. Nice sounding, but not really as detailed as I normally like.

Since I only listen to headphones at home in the early morning and late at night, I don't plan on upgrading the Grados any time soon. But I have heard the higher models are amazing.
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#194016 - 01/27/08 01:02 PM Re: Headphones [Re: ZG]
Wid Offline
axiomite

Registered: 06/22/03
Posts: 6720
Loc: The Peoples Republic of Il.
The Grado bowls are what comes stock on the SR 80s and up.
_________________________
Rick


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


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#194017 - 01/27/08 01:07 PM Re: Headphones [Re: Wid]
ZG Offline
veteran

Registered: 11/01/06
Posts: 135
Loc: Canadian in NYC
Ah!! Thanks! I'll order some.
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#194026 - 01/27/08 04:07 PM Re: Headphones [Re: ZG]
ZG Offline
veteran

Registered: 11/01/06
Posts: 135
Loc: Canadian in NYC
Oh, wait, it says they don't work on SR60s. I'll post on Head-fi to find out more about that. Thanks for the tip!

Zoë
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#194034 - 01/27/08 05:22 PM Re: Headphones [Re: ZG]
Wid Offline
axiomite

Registered: 06/22/03
Posts: 6720
Loc: The Peoples Republic of Il.

They will fit.
_________________________
Rick


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


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#194044 - 01/27/08 05:55 PM Re: Headphones [Re: Wid]
ZG Offline
veteran

Registered: 11/01/06
Posts: 135
Loc: Canadian in NYC
Cool!
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#201165 - 03/20/08 11:55 AM Re: Headphones [Re: ZG]
donaldekelly Offline
local

Registered: 08/12/04
Posts: 274
Loc: Washington, DC
"Review: Portable amp roundup! 37 portable amps reviewed and compared"

http://www.head-fi.org/forums/f5/review-...ompared-214588/

I thought this was helpful for portable amp buying - though just one person's opinions.
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#202021 - 03/26/08 02:07 PM Re: Headphones [Re: donaldekelly]
PeterChenoweth Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 10/23/03
Posts: 1349
Loc: Jacksonville, IL
To add to this lovely little discussion again...

The headphone bug bit me hard about 6 months ago. Grado SR60's, Sennheiser HD650's, AKG 701's, and a few amps later, I think I've got it under control now...

My work rig now consists of Sennheiser HD650's powered by one of the new Little Dot MKII's, linked via a DLO Audio dock. When it comes to raw and emotional 2-channel musical enjoyment, I almost prefer it to my home system. Yeah, really. It's that good.

I love the glowing happy lushness of the LD's tubes so much it's my new avatar. \:\)

I really, really love the sound of the setup.
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#202022 - 03/26/08 02:11 PM Re: Headphones [Re: PeterChenoweth]
St_PatGuy Offline
axiomite

Registered: 03/07/05
Posts: 7395
Loc: Glendale, Arizona
That's good news, Peter. I've been eyeballing those Little Dot amps on eBay ever since Adam posted about it a while back. I've got the HD650s, too.

I just don't do that much headphone listening and haven't been able to justify the expense. Things may change.
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"Nothin' up my sleeve. . ." --Bullwinkle J. Moose

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#202024 - 03/26/08 02:24 PM Re: Headphones [Re: St_PatGuy]
PeterChenoweth Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 10/23/03
Posts: 1349
Loc: Jacksonville, IL
Are you using any amplification with the HD650's? They're such high impedience cans that they really need it. You will not believe what they sound like when properly amped. \:\)

David, the guy on eBay who imports/sells them, seems to be a truly good guy. I was a little bit hesitant about buying the LD, considering it ships from China. You never quite know how that's going to work. But David's feedback and his presence over on HeadFi convinced me to give it a shot. I was blown away at how fast it shipped. Auction won & paid on January 24th, and the amp was sitting on my front porch on January 30th. Great communication with David the whole time. Zero problems, just as it should be.

My attitude towards headphones and how they can sound completely changed with this setup. It's hard to describe the changes without using the standard clichés. It's brought a tremendous amount of sensuality and depth to my music. Performances feel more organic, more alive, more.... real than ever before. Of course, I still love my Axioms and greatly enjoy listening to music on them at home, and there's a certain depth and spaciousness that headphones can't really reproduce. But there's an intimacy and warmth with this headphone setup that my home system just doesn't have. IMHO, it's incredible.

 Originally Posted By: St_PatGuy
That's good news, Peter. I've been eyeballing those Little Dot amps on eBay ever since Adam posted about it a while back. I've got the HD650s, too.

I just don't do that much headphone listening and haven't been able to justify the expense. Things may change.



_________________________
M80v2 | VP150v2 | QS8v2
SVS Pci+ 20-39
Emotiva UMC-1 & LPA-1
M22ti + T-Amp, in the Office

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#202025 - 03/26/08 02:45 PM Re: Headphones [Re: PeterChenoweth]
St_PatGuy Offline
axiomite

Registered: 03/07/05
Posts: 7395
Loc: Glendale, Arizona
I don't have a headphone amp for them, no. I do, however, have a tube preamp that has a pretty robust headphone section. With the high impedence Senns I can definitely hear a difference between my HK receiver (had to crank the volume way up) and the tube preamp (doesn't require so much extra juice to make the Senns sound good). The preamp is on the other side of my room and I've been looking for a separate headphone amp for my computer desk.

I'd be a little wary of overseas shipments, too. But, like you said, and have confirmed, David has excellent feedback and doesn't seem hard to contact.

Peter, how much heat does your Little Dot put out?
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"Nothin' up my sleeve. . ." --Bullwinkle J. Moose

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#202026 - 03/26/08 02:46 PM Re: Headphones [Re: PeterChenoweth]
tomtuttle Offline
axiomite

Registered: 06/20/03
Posts: 8271
Loc: Tacoma
Plus, you look really cool wearing headphones. ;\)

Is there no end to the nifty stuff upon which to squander my children's college fund?

So, a headphone amp would sound a lot better than the headphone jack in the Kenwood KA-5700 at my office, then?
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#202033 - 03/26/08 03:18 PM Re: Headphones [Re: St_PatGuy]
PeterChenoweth Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 10/23/03
Posts: 1349
Loc: Jacksonville, IL
I'm really new to headphone amplification, but from what I've read (over on HeadFi), the headphone outputs on things like receivers and DVD players that plug into the wall are usually pretty good. At least compared to using just an MP3 player's headphone jack, for instance. I have no idea if it would be better or worse than a specific piece of equipment. I know that there's a huge improvement in quality and quantity over the output from my iPod directly.

The LD does get pretty warm. I usually leave it on for 2-3 hours at a time, maybe 3 or 4 days a week at my office. Within about an hour, it's at the max temp. I would imagine that the tubes are about as hot as an incandescent light bulb at that point. No touching. The chassis itself is quite warm too, but not past the point where I feel discomfort in handling it. In other words, warm enough to be quite warm but not hot enough that there's a time limit on how long you can touch it. It's close though.

Eh, children's college funds are overrated. Make em take out their own loans. ;\) And no, I don't have any kids yet.
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M80v2 | VP150v2 | QS8v2
SVS Pci+ 20-39
Emotiva UMC-1 & LPA-1
M22ti + T-Amp, in the Office

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#202038 - 03/26/08 03:34 PM Re: Headphones [Re: PeterChenoweth]
St_PatGuy Offline
axiomite

Registered: 03/07/05
Posts: 7395
Loc: Glendale, Arizona
Good to know. Thanks for the info, Peter.
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"Nothin' up my sleeve. . ." --Bullwinkle J. Moose

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