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Thread: Headphones?

  1. #1

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    Default Headphones?

    The better 1/2 just gave me my birthday present, a set of Sennheiser 485's!

    I know they're not the nicest cans on the market, but these things have blown me away so far. I had no clue bass could be that....present in a set of headphones. And clean! I'm not good at describing what I hear, but the clarity is just incredible. The highs are crisp, the lows are deep and accurate, with no distortion or muddiness. Talk about renewing a love for classical music in the workplace; these have most definitely done it.

    So what nice headphones do you have/recommend? It wouldn't hurt to have another pair at some point for my office, and to leave here at work permanently, etc :)

    I'm sure in the grand scheme of things these are just "above average", but they have certainly impressed me.

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    What you're hearing in the bass region is a complete lack of room effects...all but the most meticulously designed speaker systems will have significant deviations from a flat bass response due to room acoustics (not to mention the issues with phase, etc with multi-driver systems). Headphones can be a wonderful reference if you don't mind the sound-in-the-head thing. Some people just gotta have a big wall of sound in front of them :)

    When you're ready to step it up, the Sennheiser HD650 at ~ $300 new will get you about as far as you'll need to go in the headphone world, though you can buy some other nice headphones up to $7K (used!). The rest is up to your source and amp - oh yeah, at the HD650 level you'll need a nice dedicated headphone amp, preferrably tube...it also benefits greatly from a nice vinyl source :)

    On the more affordable end of the spectrum, stuff you can buy on impulse - $30 for a set of Koss PortaPros might be worth a try against your 485's. The PortaPro has a sonic signature vaguely similar to the HD650 and the $2.5K Audio-Technica L3000.
    Last edited by mulveling; 06-22-2007 at 10:07 AM.
    Tannoy Dimension TD10, SOTA Star Sapphire, Heathkit W4A's, McIntosh MC2100, Eddie-Current Zana Deux, Singlepower SDS, Sennheiser HD650, Audio-Technica L3000, Sony Qualia 010

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    Another of the things I love about a good set of headphones is that many of the so-called "bad" recordings will sound great again. Especially with hard rock & metal, which are typically written off for recording quality. I sometimes wonder if these complaints are fully valid...this kind of music is naturally busy and at a fairly constant high volume level...the nuances can be hard for a speaker system to completely resolve once you factor in room acoustics, crossover networks, and phase coherence. Something like jazz, with varying levels and much more distinct instrument separation, seems like it would be less apparently affected by these problems. Anyways, I digress :D If you're not allergic to enjoying headphones then they'll give you an excellent alternative to enjoying music.

    Some of headphones I've owned in the $300-$4000 range (many of which are long discontinued)...
    Sony MDR-R10, Sony Qualia 010,
    Audio-Technica L3000, W2002, W11jpn, W10vtg, and W5000.
    Grado HP1000, RS1 (2 pairs, 1 old vintage), RS2, HF1, SR225
    JVC DX1000
    Sennheiser HD650, HD600, HD580
    Ultrasone Edition 9
    AKG K1000
    Tannoy Dimension TD10, SOTA Star Sapphire, Heathkit W4A's, McIntosh MC2100, Eddie-Current Zana Deux, Singlepower SDS, Sennheiser HD650, Audio-Technica L3000, Sony Qualia 010

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    I have a pair of Sennheiser HD-590 headphones.. they sound great.. esp when used with the Outlaw Audio 990 pre amp.. the pre amp has three different headphone processing formats... the best one is DPL headphone.

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    so if I were going to spend $100 tops on a pair of cans, what would you guys suggest?
    Main HT
    Magnepan 1.6QR fronts, POlk R15 surrounds, Pioneer SC-25, Parasound Halo A23, Oppo BDP-105, Panasonic TC-P60ZT60, Sony PS3, Apple TV

    Bedroom System
    Polk Blackstone TL3, Polk PSWi225 Wireless Sub, HK 3490 Integrated, Oppo BDP-103, Sharp Aquos 32" TV, Apple TV

    Office Rig
    27" iMac w/Amarra, AudioQuest Dragonfly 1.2, Focal XS Book, Schiit Valhalla, Cypher Labs Theorem 720, Philips Fidelio X1, Sennheiser HD600, HiFiMan HE-500, B&W P7, LG 47LM7600, Sony PS3, Apple TV

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    Quote Originally Posted by Polkmaniac View Post
    so if I were going to spend $100 tops on a pair of cans, what would you guys suggest?
    Unfortnuately I'm not too experienced with headphones under the $200 mark...going from what I've heard, only the PortaPros have impressed me. I love them, and eagerly recommend them to anyone willing to spend 30-40 bucks on headphones. Bought them as a gift for a coworker who's also a musician, now he loves and raves about them too :)

    I use them at work, unamped out of my PC - total system cost $40. My home headphone system costs several thousands ;)

    The Sennheiser HD485 mentioned by the OP is also < $100 and could be a nice choice. There seem to be other good Sennheiser options in that range. Check out the descriptions from headphone.com; they're pretty honest in their evaluations:
    http://www.headphone.com/products/he...ll-headphones/

    Some people love the Grado headphones, but I'm not a big fan. Their low-end stuff sounds bad to me, and the high end stuff is overpriced IMO. I'd take the PortaPros over any of their headphones under $300, lol.

    The typical recommendation in these situations is to browse the head-fi.org forums, but IMO that's overkill for a $100 budget. The headphone.com recommendations are perfect for someone just starting out.
    Last edited by mulveling; 06-22-2007 at 11:59 AM.
    Tannoy Dimension TD10, SOTA Star Sapphire, Heathkit W4A's, McIntosh MC2100, Eddie-Current Zana Deux, Singlepower SDS, Sennheiser HD650, Audio-Technica L3000, Sony Qualia 010

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    Can you provide an overview of sound characteristics of the Grado and the Portapros?

    I have LSi stuff around the house, and like that more laid back sound.
    Main HT
    Magnepan 1.6QR fronts, POlk R15 surrounds, Pioneer SC-25, Parasound Halo A23, Oppo BDP-105, Panasonic TC-P60ZT60, Sony PS3, Apple TV

    Bedroom System
    Polk Blackstone TL3, Polk PSWi225 Wireless Sub, HK 3490 Integrated, Oppo BDP-103, Sharp Aquos 32" TV, Apple TV

    Office Rig
    27" iMac w/Amarra, AudioQuest Dragonfly 1.2, Focal XS Book, Schiit Valhalla, Cypher Labs Theorem 720, Philips Fidelio X1, Sennheiser HD600, HiFiMan HE-500, B&W P7, LG 47LM7600, Sony PS3, Apple TV

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by Polkmaniac View Post
    Can you provide an overview of sound characteristics of the Grado and the Portapros?

    I have LSi stuff around the house, and like that more laid back sound.
    The PortaPros are def way more LSi-like than Grados (I've owned the LSi7, 9, and 15's). Grados are very forward, bright, lots of energy up top. Kind of a hyped-up sound IMO. Can be a bit harsh & fatiguing. The $30 flat pads really tame the treble down and fill out the bass, but you start to sacrifice resolution on the low-end models (they're a must for the $300+ Grados though).

    Some like the Grado-type sound and call the PortaPro/HD650/L3000 sound too dull & dark, of course this is all personal preference. To my ears, this "dark" sound is just right.
    Tannoy Dimension TD10, SOTA Star Sapphire, Heathkit W4A's, McIntosh MC2100, Eddie-Current Zana Deux, Singlepower SDS, Sennheiser HD650, Audio-Technica L3000, Sony Qualia 010

  9. #9

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    For under a hundred clams, these little gems are hard to beat.

    I use these quite often and for the money, couldn't be happier.

    http://www.headphone.com/products/he...rado-sr-60.php
    "she had the body of Venus, with arms."

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    Quote Originally Posted by Polkmaniac View Post
    so if I were going to spend $100 tops on a pair of cans, what would you guys suggest?
    You might want to up the pricepoint to $150. I got my HD-580's for $130 from Amazon like quite a few here so wait for a good deal if possible. Too bad you didn't mention any interest to headphones, you could have tested the 580's when you picked up the LSi's. They are driven by Yamaha receiver hooked up digitally to a computer. For iPod users I don't recommend them, it lacks the power to drive these adequately.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sami View Post
    You might want to up the pricepoint to $150. I got my HD-580's for $130 from Amazon like quite a few here so wait for a good deal if possible. Too bad you didn't mention any interest to headphones, you could have tested the 580's when you picked up the LSi's. They are driven by Yamaha receiver hooked up digitally to a computer. For iPod users I don't recommend them, it lacks the power to drive these adequately.
    Yep, the HD580 are an excellent set of cans for the price. Definitely worthy of consideration if you can swing a few extra bucks. Sound is virtually identical to the more expensive HD600. Compared to the HD650, both are just a touch bright (still nowhere near Grado levels) and grainy, with slightly cold & recessed mids. However in most aspects they're very similar to the HD650 and the HD650 starts at $300...

    The HD580 and HD650 truly set the standard at their respective price points.

    Anyone who turns out to be a Grado-with bowl pads-lover can safetly ignore most of my recs :D The only Grado I've really loved is the HP1000 (with flat pads) which is long discontinued and significantly different in sonics from the current line. Different designer (Joe vs. John Grado), different philosophy, different sonics.
    Last edited by mulveling; 06-22-2007 at 03:26 PM.
    Tannoy Dimension TD10, SOTA Star Sapphire, Heathkit W4A's, McIntosh MC2100, Eddie-Current Zana Deux, Singlepower SDS, Sennheiser HD650, Audio-Technica L3000, Sony Qualia 010

  12. #12

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    I really enjoy listening to my Sennheiser HD-590.
    Quote Originally Posted by George Grand View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Jstas View Post
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    Wonder WTF happened to the rest of my money.
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    I'll give an additional nod to the Senn 580s. I've had a pair for a few months and am loving them. They sound very good even just using the output on my 2-ch pre and/or my bedroom 2-ch receiver. My main HT receiver is a little weak in the HP circuit, but the others are more than adequate.
    Oh yeah, its hard to beat the comfort of the Senns too.

    Amazon's price is by far the best on these and if you can swing one of their $30 off promotions (by signing up for a credit card), they are the worlds best $100 cans, bar none. I signed up for the credit card, got the $30 back, made one payment of $99.99 and then canceled the card. Thanks Amazon!

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