Headphones

Posted by: Philippe

Headphones - 12/13/10 09:10 PM

I in search of a pair of headphone. I dont know much about them but look like there is a lot of headphone avalaible. I have around 300$ budget. I actually looking for a pair of AKG K701. Doesn't matter if in the use market.

Share me your experience.
Phil
Posted by: BlueJays1

Re: Headphones - 12/13/10 09:20 PM

Originally Posted By: Philippe
I in search of a pair of headphone. I dont know much about them but look like there is a lot of headphone avalaible. I have around 300$ budget. I actually looking for a pair of AKG K701. Doesn't matter if in the use market.

Share me your experience.
Phil


You can go closed or open. Closed style are good if your main listening is going to be in a loud environment or you do not want to disturb anyone with sound coming from the headphone. Open headphones are the opposite, they leak sound and allow outside noise in.

IMO quality open headphones tend to sound more natural and open/airy vs quality closed style headphones. Closed style headphones also tend to suffer from clamping/comfort issues.

That said, the open style AKG K701 would be a fantastic introduction to headphones as they are exceptional headphones. I won't sway you to any other options.


Posted by: Wid

Re: Headphones - 12/13/10 09:21 PM


Never owned the 701s but had the 501s, nice headphones. I am partial to the Grado sound. To me they (Grado) are more Axiom like in their sound than any other headphone I've tried.

I bet the 701s would be a great pair to have though.
Posted by: oldskoolboarder

Re: Headphones - 12/13/10 10:22 PM

Try headfi.org. They also have classifieds so you check out used headphones too.
Posted by: danmagicman7

Re: Headphones - 12/13/10 11:39 PM

I wouldn't go with AKG 701's unless you plan on spending thousands on equipment to get the best of them (seriously). I really wasn't a fan of them when I heard them, but they have a big following and do sound good with certain types of music.

Most people will tell you to get an amp or DAC, which really restricts your budget.

As wid said, Grado headphones are similar to the Axioms in sound. Grado SR225's or SR325's or Allesandro MS2's (brother to Grado) will sound fantastic out of just about any source like a laptop or portable music player. They are open headphones, so best for home listening. They are cheap enough used ($150-300) that you might be able to buy a small portable amp, too. Headfi is a great place to find used equipment that is generally well cared for.

If you'd like some closed headphones that isolate you from the world (and others from hearing your music) you'll have to decide if you want them to be portable or not. There are lots of options in each.

What music do you listen to? That might be the most important smile

Posted by: Henry66

Re: Headphones - 12/14/10 12:12 AM

Hey Dr.House, what are the headphones in your Avatar? They look very much like the Beyerdynamics DT990 that I have.

I have not been able to compare many headphones, but I had an open-backed Sennheiser before my DT990, and at work I have a closed-back Sennheiser. The DT990 is by far my favorite -- I think it sounds awesome.

Philippe, remember:
Open-backed = fresh air for your ears, but less bass, and people around you can hear the music too.
Closed-back = more bass, but sweaty ears, and people around you can't hear much.

My DT990 is open-backed, but it has slats making some people call it semi-closed. The bass is on-par with closed-back headphones, without the sweaty-ears feeling. Very comfortable. Sound does leak out like an open-backed headphone though.
Posted by: oldskoolboarder

Re: Headphones - 12/14/10 01:18 AM

I've gone through DT770 250 ohms (needs a good amp), Grado 325i's (very close to Axiom sound), Shure 840's and Grado HF2's. I LOVE my HF2's and the 840's were a great value at $130. I sold the first 2 and kept the last 2.

Open headphones aren't the best if you want it quiet for others. Unless you are willing to spend a lot of time doing return shipping, your best bet is to try as many before you buy. If you're lucky, you might find a local headphone meet on headfi. They had one in my area and I got to demo MANY headphones w/ different sources and amps. It's a pretty doable kind of equipment meet because they aren't as big as speakers.
Posted by: BlueJays1

Re: Headphones - 12/14/10 07:53 AM

Those would be the Beyerdynamic DT880 600ohm version. IMO the AKG's are in a different class than the Grado's and Alessandro which have a exaggerated frequency response in the midbass and high end and don't nearly have the bass extension of other headphones. If you are looking for a specific up front sound signature with a lot of sizzle, the Grado's/Alessandro would work. There are also a variety of different pad options for them and are easily moddable. As mentioned Grado/Alessandro are very easy to power on any device which might not be the case of the AKG's.

The great thing about a neutral headphone is that it is much easier to tailor the headphone to the sonic signature you desire than one that is coloured from the start.


Posted by: PeterChenoweth

Re: Headphones - 12/14/10 10:31 AM

My at-the-office setup consists of Sennheiser HD650's and a LittleDot MKII Tube amp. They are fed a diet of lossless & 256kbs AAC and the occasional 192kb Pandora stream. In a word, heavenly.

I've had the setup for a couple of years, and I remain exceptionally satisfied with it. When I bought the HD650's, I also bought a pair of AKG701's. My budget would only allow one pair, so I spent a good couple of weeks agonizing over which to keep. I burned them in as best I could. The 701's are *great* headphones. They are exceptionally accurate in their sound. Crisp highs that will overblow on a brightly-mastered album, wonderfully accurate midrange, and tight bass. Very much like my Axiom speakers. But they *will not* sound very good if you try to drive them with the an iPod or some other MP3 player. They require a good, dedicated amplifier. Seriously. Otherwise, they sound feeble & scratchy. The HD's also need good amplification, but they are more forgiving from being powered by an iPod. The HD's have a slightly warmer midrange to my ears that really livens-up the kind of music I enjoy listening to. IMHO, it's a more 'intimate' sounding headphone than the 701's, and that was (and still is) appealing to me.

It was a very tough decision, but I chose the HD650's. I actually preferred the cosmetics of the 701's (they look 'special'), but the SQ won. Comfort was a wash - they were both great for multi-hour sessions. I wear glasses, so that is an issue. To me, the HD's just sounded better with the jazz & classical music that I enjoy listening to. I couldn't (and still can't) get over how rich and textured these cans sound. Sublime. I love my Axiom setup at home, and this HD650+LD pair gives me what I have at home but in a headphone experience. The soundstaging and dynamics are unlike anything I've ever heard in headphones. It's sinfully good, if I do say so myself.

It took a lot of courage for me to spend $500+ on a set of headphones and the amp (that's a lot of money!), but I can honestly say it's one of the best audio purchased I've ever made. Easily on par with my satisfaction of my Axiom speakers.

All that said, I also have a pair of Grado SR60's. They are great, and well worth their meager price. If the HD's ever break ( eek ) , I would definitely consider some of the upper-tier Grados as replacements, as I would imagine they are fantastic given how good the SR60's are.
Posted by: BlueJays1

Re: Headphones - 12/14/10 11:34 AM

If you do start looking at graphs of headphones you have to interpret them differently than speakers. Perceptual research into headphones shows that an ideal ruler flat frequency tends to be perceived as unnatural, bright and in some instances harsh. Since the drivers are touching the ear and are so close a gradual roll-off starting at 1khz-2khz is ideal.

If you look at a lot of high end cans like the 650's they have a lot of things in common - little to no bass roll-off, a slight rise between 100hz-400hz and a gradual roll-off starting at 1khz-2khz. This is sort of what is perceived as sounding "natural" in the headphone world.



Posted by: oldskoolboarder

Re: Headphones - 12/14/10 11:53 AM

Phil
Make sure you understand that headphones are like speakers. They have their own sound signatures and you have to figure out what suits your equipment and music tastes. Everyone has their own favorites, as you can see here. And as Peter mentioned, it will also depend on what your source equipment is. Portable players won't do justice to many 'high end' headphones and you might be wondering why $$ phones don't sound good.

Also, try to figure out if you really want headphones or IEMs (in ear monitors). In general, IEMs are easier to drive and there are LOTS of good options under $300. In fact, IMHO, some of the best values are under $100 for that stuff. IEMs also have their own signatures, probably the reason why I have 4 different sets...
Posted by: Wid

Re: Headphones - 12/14/10 12:02 PM


Good point, I use my iems more than any other phones I have.
Posted by: Philippe

Re: Headphones - 12/14/10 05:15 PM

Thanks for all your good awnser. Well i have forget to mention that i actually own a very good DAC with a 1/4 jack out. Opera Consonance from Grant Fidelity. Here a link : http://grantfidelity.com/site/consonance_DLinear_8_Wireless_DAC
Yes i do love this DAC.
So after review yeah i hesitate between Grado SR325is or the AKG model i talked about. So i guess i might "try" a couple headphone at local dealer just to make sure. I do love my Axiom sound so i guess Grado wouldn't be a bad entry in headphones world
Posted by: Wid

Re: Headphones - 12/14/10 05:29 PM


If you want to try the Grado sound and not spend a lot of money try the SR60s. These are one set I own and refuse to sell, to me they are a great bang for your buck when it comes to headphones.
Posted by: danmagicman7

Re: Headphones - 12/14/10 07:19 PM

Philippe,

If you have a great DAC already, that is going to give you the biggest boost to your sound quality, so you have an excellent start! Headphones are unbelievably nuanced, and a superb DAC will provide the detail you need.

If you wanted to try out my Allesandro MS2's, I could lend them to you. I might even be in the market to sell them. It would be hard to part with them though...

To be honest, you'll lose very little (if any) money from buying a good pair of used headphones because you can sell them again for the same price, if not more. All of my equipment (except my amp) was purchased used.

Originally Posted By: PeterChenoweth
My at-the-office setup consists of Sennheiser HD650's and a LittleDot MKII Tube amp. They are fed a diet of lossless & 256kbs AAC and the occasional 192kb Pandora stream. In a word, heavenly.


Word. Senn 650's + Exellent DAC + Tube amp = Utter Bliss.

I just acquired a used Music Hall DAC 25.2 (with the highest level mods from affordable audio) and it just notched up my system to a whole 'nother level. I was lucky to find it. Has a tube in the output stage for the RCA outs, too. Here's a pic, because I know you guys love pictures. smile

Lights...ON!




Lights....off.




Posted by: Philippe

Re: Headphones - 12/14/10 09:27 PM

Look like i still have to read about it before a choice. Danm, your headphone seem interesting, i might take a look at some review. I let you know.
Posted by: oldskoolboarder

Re: Headphones - 12/14/10 10:23 PM

IIRC the MS2's are based on the Grado 325i's. I LOVED my 325i's. I only sold them because I like the HF2 a bit better. Per Wid's rec a while back, I tried the Grados in order to find an Axiom-like sound.

I did try my friend's HD650 but it needs a proper amp (which he didn't have).

I haven't listened to AKG701's but from my research, the sound is different.

So yes, you'll want to demo to let your ears decide.
Posted by: danmagicman7

Re: Headphones - 12/15/10 12:55 AM

Also, a GREAT way to listen to a lot of awesome headphones, and ultra-expensive headphone equipment setups is by looking for the meetups on head-fi.org

Very friendly people and a whole lot of people that love audio. You'll come back home with a whole list of music suggestions and a plenty of new headphone knowledge smile
Posted by: Philippe

Re: Headphones - 12/15/10 10:59 AM

So today i could get a Sennheiser HD600 for 300$. Good review around he net but i would like to know if it seem a good price or not.
Posted by: PeterChenoweth

Re: Headphones - 12/15/10 11:21 AM

Originally Posted By: danmagicman7
Also, a GREAT way to listen to a lot of awesome headphones, and ultra-expensive headphone equipment setups is by looking for the meetups on head-fi.org

Very friendly people and a whole lot of people that love audio. You'll come back home with a whole list of music suggestions and a plenty of new headphone knowledge smile


I'll second that. We're a great group here, but our collective knowledge of headphones might not be as deep as the OP would like. The folks over at head-fi, well, they're on a whole different level when it comes to headphones and their accessories. smile

If there's one site to visit to learn about headphones, it's head-fi.

And buying used can save you money, no question. But I don't know if I would want used headphones. It would depend on the savings. Being worn, headphones are kind of personal. And especially IEM's. I don't think I'd be comfortable with using someone's used IEM's.

If you go the used route, you may want to pick up some replacement parts to freshen them up a bit. You'd definitely want fresh & new tips if you get IEM's. And with normal headphones, you may want new/fresh pads. Neither are very expensive. Just something to think about.
Posted by: BlueJays1

Re: Headphones - 12/15/10 01:07 PM

If you do go with a Grado model be aware that they are susceptible to whats called the "grattle" where tiny pieces of hair touch the driver. This causes buzzing or a rattle in the affected driver at specific low(er) frequencies. I had this happen with a pair of MS1. In my case I removed and blew off the outside of the driver and cleaned the pads which solved it. In other cases it was not so easy of a fix and have had to take apart the headphones to get at the hair. Grado's are a bitch to disassemble without cosmetic damage. It just takes the smallest piece of hair to cause this. I never had this happen with any other headphone.
Posted by: Wid

Re: Headphones - 12/15/10 04:35 PM


Having owned three sets of Grado's I have never had this "grattle" happen. I'm not saying it's not possible but highly unlikely I would say.
Posted by: BlueJays1

Re: Headphones - 12/15/10 04:45 PM

I didn't think it was likely either until I had the problem and learned all about users having this same issue. In my case I was trying to get rid of a buzzing sound which was occurring only on certain mid-bass frequencies on the right side. It is a common thing among Grado/Alessandro phones and even the term "grattle" has been coined because of it. There is a lot of information about this on the web with a quick search.
Posted by: Wid

Re: Headphones - 12/15/10 04:58 PM


So it's common hey. Just what would you say the % of sets suffer with this so called problem.
Posted by: BlueJays1

Re: Headphones - 12/15/10 05:03 PM

Obviously I wouldn't know the exact number but it is a problem that is infamous for Grado/Alessandro headphones. It is the design that makes the driver more susceptible to stray hair etc. Learn about it tonight.
Posted by: Wid

Re: Headphones - 12/15/10 05:08 PM


No need, I did my time on HeadFi. Far to much bullshit on that site for my taste.
Posted by: BlueJays1

Re: Headphones - 12/15/10 05:15 PM

LOL. I understand. There is a lot of snake oil over there. You can read about this issue well beyond what Head-fi has to say about it.

Here is a quick synopsis.

http://www.ehow.com/how_7164160_do-fix-grado-headphone-rattle_.html
Posted by: Wid

Re: Headphones - 12/15/10 05:22 PM



I'm not saying it doesn't exist, just that the percentage is most likely very, very low in comparison to the amount of units Grado sells.
Posted by: BlueJays1

Re: Headphones - 12/15/10 05:25 PM

Its certainly a user dependent problem since its technically not a manufacturer defect
Posted by: MarkSJohnson

Re: Headphones - 12/15/10 05:33 PM

A blind comparison must be set up with blind, bald guys.
Posted by: St_PatGuy

Re: Headphones - 12/15/10 07:00 PM

Grado should offer a voucher for a free haircut with every pair of cans.
Posted by: Wid

Re: Headphones - 12/15/10 07:09 PM

Originally Posted By: St_PatGuy
Grado should offer a voucher for a free haircut with every pair of cans.


LMAO!!
Posted by: BlueJays1

Re: Headphones - 12/15/10 07:12 PM

Originally Posted By: St_PatGuy
Grado should offer a voucher for a free haircut with every pair of cans.


Just make sure you wash your hair and clean out your ears before enjoying the music. smile
Posted by: Philippe

Re: Headphones - 12/15/10 10:08 PM

So i just bought a Sennheiser HD600 with a upgraded cable cardas 15ft. I hope i will enjoy.
Posted by: St_PatGuy

Re: Headphones - 12/15/10 10:10 PM

Congrats, Philippe!

I own a couple pairs of Senns and enjoy the way they sound.
Posted by: Philippe

Re: Headphones - 12/15/10 10:21 PM

I bet it will be a good all round headphones drive via my Opera Consonance DAC
Posted by: danmagicman7

Re: Headphones - 12/16/10 12:01 AM

Originally Posted By: Philippe
So i just bought a Sennheiser HD600 with a upgraded cable cardas 15ft. I hope i will enjoy.


Philippe, the HD600's are excellent, maybe better than the HD650's for some people's ears.

Enjoy your headphones, and resist the temptation to get a tube amp.

I do have a warning, HD600's and HD650's may sound overly blissful and magical when driven from a tube amp. So, don't buy one. Wait...

Originally Posted By: wid
So need, I did my time on HeadFi. Far to much bullshit on that site for my taste.


No kidding. There is some commonly held belief that EVERYTHING needs to be "burned in". I can understand tubes, maybe, but cables, headphones, solid state amps -- heck, even when people put new capacitors or resistors in their modded equipment they say "Well, they don't sound that good, but after listening to it and letting it burn in, it's starting to open up"

WTF? Maybe you're just learning to appreciate the sound. Just sit back and enjoy...