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  1. #1

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    Default Looking for Headphones

    OK, I'm just starting my research. I'm looking to buy a decent set of headphones. I don't want to take baby steps-I want something that I'll be happy with. I also understand that headphones are a highly personal thing so one persons opinion may not be valid for others. I'm also trying to stay under $500-less if possible, especially if I can get a good sale price--I'll wait if I have to. I don't want to by used. I'll by used Audio hardware, but not headphones.
    I'm not concerned with blocking out external noises or bothering others. I can blast my 2 channel rig in the middle of the night without bothering anybody sleeping, so I'm not concerned with anybody hearing my headphones.
    I'm also not too concerned with amplification for harder to drive headphones--I realize its a necessary thing so that will be a separate purchase if I can't use anything I already have.

    I wasn't even really ready to buy, but I'm seeing some decent prices so I might jump sooner-- Other than the cheapies, I currently have a Bose QCII Noise Canceling phones which are OK, but they get uncomfortable (physically) after long periods.

    Currently I've got my eye on the Sennheiser HD650's--cheapest I can find them are $340 (Reg $650)--The next step up in the Sennheiser line is the HD800, and $1300 is well beyond my budget right now. I've seen almost all great reviews on the HD650. My only concern is wether Sennheiser only honors the warranty when purchased from an authorized reseller or not. I can't find that info on their site.

    The Denon AH-5000 also caught my eye. Its currently $388 (reg $699.99). Its real Mahogany wood shell is intriguing.

    I still have yet to checkout Head-Fi and such-but I wanted to get some quick thoughts from you folks first.
    If you had to choose between the Sennheiser HD-650 or the Denon AH-5000, which would you go with and why?
    Or should I be checking out other brands or models that I would be happier with?


    Thanks
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  2. #2

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    Quote Originally Posted by mmadden28 View Post
    OK, I'm just starting my research. I'm looking to buy a decent set of headphones. I don't want to take baby steps-I want something that I'll be happy with. I also understand that headphones are a highly personal thing so one persons opinion may not be valid for others. I'm also trying to stay under $500-less if possible, especially if I can get a good sale price--I'll wait if I have to. I don't want to by used. I'll by used Audio hardware, but not headphones.
    I'm not concerned with blocking out external noises or bothering others. I can blast my 2 channel rig in the middle of the night without bothering anybody sleeping, so I'm not concerned with anybody hearing my headphones.
    I'm also not too concerned with amplification for harder to drive headphones--I realize its a necessary thing so that will be a separate purchase if I can't use anything I already have.

    I wasn't even really ready to buy, but I'm seeing some decent prices so I might jump sooner-- Other than the cheapies, I currently have a Bose QCII Noise Canceling phones which are OK, but they get uncomfortable (physically) after long periods.

    Currently I've got my eye on the Sennheiser HD650's--cheapest I can find them are $340 (Reg $650)--The next step up in the Sennheiser line is the HD800, and $1300 is well beyond my budget right now. I've seen almost all great reviews on the HD650. My only concern is wether Sennheiser only honors the warranty when purchased from an authorized reseller or not. I can't find that info on their site.

    The Denon AH-5000 also caught my eye. Its currently $388 (reg $699.99). Its real Mahogany wood shell is intriguing.

    I still have yet to checkout Head-Fi and such-but I wanted to get some quick thoughts from you folks first.
    If you had to choose between the Sennheiser HD-650 or the Denon AH-5000, which would you go with and why?
    Or should I be checking out other brands or models that I would be happier with?


    Thanks
    I like my Grado's. Mine are the bottom of the Grado line and have blown away every set of headphones that I have heard under $200. The SR325's are the priciest Grado's that I've heard with my own ears. They are a whole other beast than the cheap ones that I have. If you have the time to listen, try them out and give the Grado's a little consideration with these other sets.
    I've not personally experienced these models, but I've listened to both brands (some of their cheaper models) and I loved the Sennheiser's.
    Between these two, however, you might want to check out the pro's and con's of the open cup vs closed cup of each. Do you care if other people are able to hear? Do you want to completely isolate yourself? Etc, etc.

    Personally, I like the open back; for some reason I get a sense of airiness and natural flow from the music. Again, I've not experienced the more expensive models, but I prefer the open cup design.

    If I were going to drop a half-grand (and open to a whole new rabbit hole of hi-fi, what with the headphone amps, and custom cabling, etc, etc...) I'd audition both. I'd think about comfort at extended listening ONLY if I was able and willing to do extended listening.

    My opinion only.... Those Denon's sure are pretty, though...

    ? Harmon Kardon AVR 55 (dead; replacing with Onkyo TX NR-616)
    ? Polk RTA 11TL's (FR and FL)
    ? Polk TSi200's (RR and RL)
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    ? Grado SR-60i Headphones
    ? Fii0 E5 headphone amp
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  3. #3

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    Sennheisers are no slouch, but I prefer my AKG-701s; they can be had for about $250 shipped:

    TNRabbit
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  4. #4

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    Default

    You may want to check out the AKG K701's as well while researching.
    I had narrowed the field to the Senn 600/650 series and the AKG K701s, and up popped a deal on the AKGs. I'd still like to demo the Senns at some point but have been more than happy (performance, comfort) with the K701s.
    As you research be aware that these two companies are at either end of the
    "house sound" spectrum so if possible demo.

  5. #5

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    I would check this out:
    http://www.goodcans.com/HeadphoneRev...endations.html

    Then head over to Head-Fi and search around a bit; I'm sure the topic has been covered.

    Good luck and let us know what you decide and how you like them when they come in!

    ? Harmon Kardon AVR 55 (dead; replacing with Onkyo TX NR-616)
    ? Polk RTA 11TL's (FR and FL)
    ? Polk TSi200's (RR and RL)
    ? Polk CS10 (Center)
    ? Polk PSW-350
    ? Grado SR-60i Headphones
    ? Fii0 E5 headphone amp
    ? iPod touch (8 gig)
    ? iPod Classic (80 gig)
    ? Mac Mini (as media server)
    ? xbox 360


  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by TNRabbit View Post
    Sennheisers are no slouch, but I prefer my AKG-701s; they can be had for about $250 shipped:

    What amp is that?
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  7. #7

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    My girlfriends Dad has the Sennheiser HD650's and uses a Musical Fidelity X-can amp with it, and they really sound phenominal. The seperation of instruments is top-notch, vocals have a lot of air, they "soundstage" quite well and are the most comfortable headphones I've ever worn. I can't even really think of any negatives to them, especailly if you can get them for $340. After I heard them I've gone Sennheiser ever since, and own 3 pairs, my best being the HD-515's. Those are good, but the 650's are in a whole other league.

    This opinion might not be worth every much, as I've never heard the Denon's, but I can assure you, you would be happy with the HD650's.
    - Jeremy

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  8. #8

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    There have been some deals on the older 580's and some 600's. Many prefer hd-600's to the 650's. Head fi does have used show up cheap enough
    sometimes. The AKC 701's are harder to match with an amp and
    still don't quite cut it for me. I'm currently running Hd-650's with a
    homebrew Millett minimax. If you're handy building, it sounds really great.
    I've also got Stax sr-202 and 404's with a srm-313 and a SRM-1.
    The Denon cans have some good and bad points, too.
    The whole 580/600/650 series is good, and scales up with cabling and
    amp upgrades. Time to go find a Head-fi meet and listen in. You can sort out
    what sounds good and not so good pretty fast.
    "The legitimate powers of government extend to such acts only as are injurious to others. But it does me no injury for my neighbour to say there are twenty gods, or no god. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg." --Thomas Jefferson

  9. #9

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    I've had pretty good luck with the Senn 600's and 650 and an entry level Singlepower PPX 3. Kinda hard to take em' off especially when listening to some vinyl.
    JC approves....he told me so. (F-1 nut)

  10. #10

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    I've owned several pair of high end headphones. These are inexpensive, but the best sounding pair I've ever owned, IMHO of course.

    http://pro-audio.musiciansfriend.com...nes?sku=240203

  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by bigaudiofanatic View Post
    What amp is that?
    I believe that is a Benchmark....very expensive.
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  12. #12

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    It would be hard to go wrong with Grado, Sennheiser or AKG in the price range you are talking about. All make excellent headphones and it boils down to subtle sonic differences, comfort, and style. Each brand has a solid following. Grados have a nice sound and really good reputation, but when I was first looking for some cans, they were uncomfortable as hell. I understand they are better now. However, I have always preferred the Sennheisers myself. I like the way they sound and fit. My brand loyalty was strengthened when I called them about purchasing a replacement part that broke on the headband section of a modestly priced set of cans. In less than a week I had a COMPLETE, brand new headband section delivered by the USPS...AT NO CHARGE. Fifteen minutes with a soldering gun and screwdriver and my set was as good as new. That is why I will stick with Sennheisers.
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  13. #13

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    I'm a Sennheiser fan as well. They don't have the best top end but comfort is a big deal to me. The AKG701's I sold here were probably my actual favorites but too clunky looking. I'm fashionable and pose alot in the mirror when I wear headphones.

  14. #14

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    I bought these for my brother when he graduated from recording school, His instructor used them as well,

    http://www.amazon.com/Grado-Prestige.../dp/B000JNA4HW
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  15. #15

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    Grado pads must be made with 60 grit sandpaper. I gave my pair to son #2.
    If you don't want to use an amp, a pair of Grados would get it done.
    But comfort would have to be a lower priority.
    "The legitimate powers of government extend to such acts only as are injurious to others. But it does me no injury for my neighbour to say there are twenty gods, or no god. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg." --Thomas Jefferson

  16. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by sucks2beme View Post
    Grado pads must be made with 60 grit sandpaper. I gave my pair to son #2.
    If you don't want to use an amp, a pair of Grados would get it done.
    But comfort would have to be a lower priority.
    I've no problems with mine. While employed, I wore mine around 8 to 10 hours a day. You can wash them or buy ratshack replacement pads. There are some Sennhieser yellow pads I thought about using that fit all Grado's, but haven't got around to it yet.

    The headband is the only part that I will definitely change out, personally.

    ? Harmon Kardon AVR 55 (dead; replacing with Onkyo TX NR-616)
    ? Polk RTA 11TL's (FR and FL)
    ? Polk TSi200's (RR and RL)
    ? Polk CS10 (Center)
    ? Polk PSW-350
    ? Grado SR-60i Headphones
    ? Fii0 E5 headphone amp
    ? iPod touch (8 gig)
    ? iPod Classic (80 gig)
    ? Mac Mini (as media server)
    ? xbox 360


  17. #17

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    For me, Mike Grierson's "Rock Grotto" forum at http://rockgrotto.proboards.com is to headphones and headphone amps as Club Polk is to Polk speakers. Mike is a huge Pink Floyd fan and the inventor of the "Little Pinkie" PSU for Musical Fidelity products and he also does outrageously sweet mods for most MF gear.

    I would hang out there for a while if you want the best bang for your 500 bucks. :)

    Also, their forum has pricing for great gear as good as or better than some of the deals I have seen at CP.
    Last edited by inspiredsports; 12-23-2009 at 11:07 PM.
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  18. #18

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    I have a pair of Denon AH-D950's, which used to be their TOL. I still have and use them almost 20 years later. They still sound fantastic. There was a D1000 model, but they had smaller drivers, and the FR was narrower. I bring those up, because they spec out very similar to the new 5000 models.

  19. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by Knucklehead View Post
    I believe that is a Benchmark....very expensive.
    It is; a Benchmark DAC1. Very nice headamp/DAC/preamp that will run TWO pair of cans to insane levels.
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  20. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by everpress View Post
    I've no problems with mine. While employed, I wore mine around 8 to 10 hours a day. You can wash them or buy ratshack replacement pads. There are some Sennhieser yellow pads I thought about using that fit all Grado's, but haven't got around to it yet.

    The headband is the only part that I will definitely change out, personally.
    The hazards of being a wrestler in my youth. There are many that don't mind them,
    but I wear nothing but around the ear cans. The 125's that son #2
    is using has the modded Senn ear pads, which do improve them.
    I also owned a set of HF-1's for a while. I actually found a guy at a garage
    sale that showed me a Grado HP1 and HP2 that someone had given him.
    He knew they were worth something, but just about crapped when I told him
    what they sell for. I've had a chance to listen to just about every better
    set of cans out there. Some of those guys are about as hardcore as it gets.
    "The legitimate powers of government extend to such acts only as are injurious to others. But it does me no injury for my neighbour to say there are twenty gods, or no god. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg." --Thomas Jefferson

  21. #21

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    I use nothing but around the ear pads as well. I just don't like the feel of "on ear" pads. Closed around the ear pads also allow for noise issolation from outside and keep my music from those around me. I use in ear canal buds for my portable stuff.
    "Just because you’re offended doesn’t mean you’re right." - Ricky Gervais

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  22. #22

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    The AKG-701s are the most comfortable headphone I've ever put on my noggin.
    TNRabbit
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  23. #23

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    The 701's are comfy. But make sure to buy a really good amp. Do your homework on what works. At the last head fi meet, I listened on multiple amps. None of my amps at that time got the job donewith AKG 701's. But on
    Peter Millett's personal amps, they did sound very good. I seem to think
    that a Minimax did a good job also. The Minimax is a darn good choice for
    most headphones without spending the house payment. Whatever you do,
    stay away from Singlepower amps.
    "The legitimate powers of government extend to such acts only as are injurious to others. But it does me no injury for my neighbour to say there are twenty gods, or no god. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg." --Thomas Jefferson

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    I really like my HD600's. Supposedly the 650's are slightly better. They need a really potent headphone amp if you want to get live level amplitudes. Great sound!
    Vinyl, the final frontier...

    Avantgarde horns, 300b tubes, thats the kinda crap I want... :D

  25. #25

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    There has been a huge (15 pages of posts since Oct) discussion at Rock Grotto about cheap Chinese built SuperLux HD681 headphones (similar to AKG 240's) at . . .

    http://rockgrotto.proboards.com/inde...ay&thread=4559

    They are currently available for $45 delivered US by an eBay seller at . . . http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll...m=160325598103

    At that price just for kicks, I'm going to give a set a try and compare them to my Sennheiser's.

    While these are built like 240's, the poster's rank the sound up there with 701's!
    Last edited by inspiredsports; 12-25-2009 at 08:02 PM.
    VTL ST50 w/mods/RCA6L6GC/TlfnknECC801S
    CJPV-5 w/mods
    TT CJ Sonographe SG3 Oak/Sumiko LMT/Grado Wood Plat/Sumiko PIB2/The Clamp
    Musical Fidelity A1 CDPro
    Tuners w/mods Kenwood KT5020/Fisher KM60
    MF x-DAC V8, HAInfo NG27
    Herbies Ti-9/Vibrapods/MIT Shtgn AC1 IEC's/MIT Shotgun 2 IC's/MIT Shtgn 2 Speaker
    PSAudio Cryo PwrPrt Prem/ExctPwrEP15A
    Wlnt SDA 2B TL/Oak SDA SRS II TL-Sonicaps/Mills/Cardas/Cust SDA ICs/Mortite/Dynamat Extreme/TFLF Rings/FSB-2 Spikes
    NAD SS rigs w/mods
    GIK panels

  26. #26

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    Quote Originally Posted by madmax View Post
    I really like my HD600's. Supposedly the 650's are slightly better. They need a really potent headphone amp if you want to get live level amplitudes. Great sound!
    Not better, different. 650's have more bass, 600's are more balanced.
    "The legitimate powers of government extend to such acts only as are injurious to others. But it does me no injury for my neighbour to say there are twenty gods, or no god. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg." --Thomas Jefferson

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    Didn't someone figure out the difference between the models was a $25/pair of HD-650 covers?

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    Quote Originally Posted by dorokusai View Post
    Didn't someone figure out the difference between the models was a $25/pair of HD-650 covers?
    The drivers are slightly different. Or were. I believe if you order replacements
    you get 650 drivers. The cable and covers were better on the 650's.
    But the sound of 650's is more bass heavy, As one guy at head-case put it,
    you can get 650's and an upgrade cable, or just buy the 600's.
    I got my 650's with about 100 hours on them, a 20 ft. Cardas cable, and a cha47
    homebrew amp for about $340 shipped. The Stax setup was a Headroom demo unit
    sr-202 with a 313 driver for $550 shipped.
    I've seen a couple of NOS hd-580's set up show up at great prices, and
    they use the 600 drivers.
    It's a shame there's not many places to listen to headphones before buying.
    Thats why a meet is such a great place to go. There are some Beyers
    and Audio Technica models that are very good. Goldring dr-150 is priced at
    $150 most places, and if you remove the cloth dampening sound very good.
    I've owned ATh-w100's, AKG k240's, Grado sr-125, Grado HF-1,
    Beyer dt-770's, and still use the Stax sr-202, sr404, and the Senn HD-650's.
    I use headphones about 40% of listening time.
    "The legitimate powers of government extend to such acts only as are injurious to others. But it does me no injury for my neighbour to say there are twenty gods, or no god. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg." --Thomas Jefferson

  29. #29

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    Headphone's selection guide gives you quick descriptions of the basic character of different headphones.

    Might want to scan the list and see which ones warrant further research: http://www.headphone.com/headphones/?price=500



    :)

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    Quote Originally Posted by sucks2beme View Post
    Not better, different. 650's have more bass, 600's are more balanced.
    And, that is exactly the problem. The 650's have too much bass, and are colored beyond belief. The HD 600’s are easily one of the greatest transducers per dollar of the last 40 years. Before anyone questions me, yes I am correct!

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