IPB

Welcome Guest ( Log In | Register )

2 Pages V   1 2 >  
Reply to this topicStart new topic
High end headphone advice needed !
azoth
post Dec 17 2012, 16:25
Post #1





Group: Members
Posts: 8
Joined: 17-December 12
Member No.: 105229



Hi All,

I've optimised my headphone search into a metaphorical cul-de-sac sad.gif

I've viewed the graph comparisons, read the subjective listener impressions, viewed (but not listened to) models instore and generally spent far too much time trying to make an informed decision about my first set of proper high end headphones.

I've owned rather nice IEMs (Phonaks, Hifimans, Shures), swapped a few headphone amps and spent far too much time reading audiophile blogs. Then I got a bit bored of the fanboyism and went off in search of something sensibly priced, well built and neutral.

I'm looking for a pair of neutral, highly detailed headphones for general home listening, primarily for prog metal, post rock, electronica, classical (modern composition) and world music. Basically anything featured in The Wire magazine. I'm not a bass head an didn't rate Sennheiser Momentums, Sennheiser Amperiors and UE6000s (passive mode) when I tested them out recently - too much booming bass. Having said that I do like well defined, articulate bass, just in intended quantities, not boosted because its the current trend.

Right now I intend to power my headphones with a Minibox E+, but in the near future I want to get an O2 / ODAC combo - a chain that ensures that I hear my music without colouring, exactly as the recording engineer intended. So the final piece of the puzzle is which pair of headphones to get. Based on my neutral / detailed requirement I've been gravitating towards the Sennheiser HD600, but there's something that makes me balk at spending 300 quid on a 16 year old headphone which used to cost a hundred quid+ less a few years ago. I understand the benefits of driver matching, the amazing sound signature, etc but I'm wondering if for the money I can do a bit better.

I've also considered the Hifiman HE-400 and HE-500 series, though the 500s are getting very pricy and I'd rather not spend THAT much on headphones. Although buying the 500s via Head Direct's ebay store makes the price a bit more palatable. Basically I'd say top end of my budget is about 400 if I can get away with it (though spending less is of course welcome).

Am I missing anything for consideration ? Or have I covered all the bases ? Someone considered Beyer DT880s, but they have non-removable cables and I figure that being able to swap cables means being able to fix parts of the headphone that fail.

Your advice is much appreciated.

Azoth
Go to the top of the page
+Quote Post
extrabigmehdi
post Dec 17 2012, 17:03
Post #2





Group: Members
Posts: 409
Joined: 15-August 09
Member No.: 72330



QUOTE (azoth @ Dec 17 2012, 15:25) *
I've been gravitating towards the Sennheiser HD600, but there's something that makes me balk at spending 300 quid on a 16 year old headphone which used to cost a hundred quid+ less a few years ago.


Sennheiser is a brand that became a bit too popular. It's way too much hyped, often recommended by people that have no clue of what are other offerings from other brands. So, off course Sennheiser raise prices. Sennheiser also create new models, in order to justify even bigger prices, but the improvements can be controverted, I saw lot of bashing regarding the 1000$ hd700.

QUOTE
Someone considered Beyer DT880s, but they have non-removable cables


You know I got a hard lesson with the srh940. They come with removable cables. But cracks appeared on the headband,
and according to many review, they'll break soon or later. So in that case , having removable cables doesn't matter much.
The beyer have reputation of good build quality , just take care of them.


QUOTE
I've also considered the Hifiman HE-400

An affordable orthodynamic headphone , I'd try them if I could.

QUOTE
I'm looking for a pair of neutral, highly detailed headphones for general home listening, primarily for prog metal, post rock, electronica, classical (modern composition) and world music.

You might look at head-fi too.

This post has been edited by extrabigmehdi: Dec 17 2012, 17:04
Go to the top of the page
+Quote Post
azoth
post Dec 17 2012, 17:16
Post #3





Group: Members
Posts: 8
Joined: 17-December 12
Member No.: 105229



QUOTE (extrabigmehdi @ Dec 17 2012, 16:03) *
QUOTE
I've also considered the Hifiman HE-400
An affordable orthodynamic headphone , I'd try them if I could.


Yes, I might get an opportunity to, but here in the UK they're sold for strictly 395, which is of course a little pricier than in the states.

QUOTE
I'm looking for a pair of neutral, highly detailed headphones for general home listening, primarily for prog metal, post rock, electronica, classical (modern composition) and world music.

You might look at head-fi too.


I'm rather reluctant to be honest - their signal to noise ratio is too high for me. Lots of people trying to justify expensive purchases without much factual information i.e. measurements to back it up.
Go to the top of the page
+Quote Post
extrabigmehdi
post Dec 17 2012, 17:33
Post #4





Group: Members
Posts: 409
Joined: 15-August 09
Member No.: 72330



QUOTE (azoth @ Dec 17 2012, 16:16) *
I'm rather reluctant to be honest - their signal to noise ratio is too high for me. Lots of people trying to justify expensive purchases without much factual information i.e. measurements to back it up.


Well, the hd800 has good measurements almost everywhere, except they have some treble emphasis.
I wouldn't be surprised if some people would hate them, their sound is a bit particular.
All I know is that orthodynamics usually excels on bass , so you'd probably appreciate the he-400 for electronica.

Just get the dt-880 then, they are well-known, and usually praised.
Forget about the removable cable, I never got problem with cable. I was more concerned
by the 3.5 mm thin phone connector, but if you take care ....

This post has been edited by extrabigmehdi: Dec 17 2012, 17:36
Go to the top of the page
+Quote Post
azoth
post Dec 17 2012, 17:41
Post #5





Group: Members
Posts: 8
Joined: 17-December 12
Member No.: 105229



QUOTE (extrabigmehdi @ Dec 17 2012, 16:33) *
Just get the dt-880 then, they are well-known, and usually praised.
Forget about the removable cable, I never got problem with cable. I was more concerned
by the 3.5 mm thin phone connector, but if you take care ....


They're on the list of considerations - thank you for sharing your experience with the cable, nice to know it isn't much of a problem.
Go to the top of the page
+Quote Post
Carledwards
post Dec 17 2012, 18:25
Post #6





Group: Validating
Posts: 30
Joined: 3-January 11
Member No.: 87003



All things considered, the HD600 really is a good choice, if a bit over-priced. It's hard to imagine a person looking for quality, reasonably neutral cans being disappointed.
Go to the top of the page
+Quote Post
Nessuno
post Dec 17 2012, 19:12
Post #7





Group: Members
Posts: 423
Joined: 16-December 10
From: Palermo
Member No.: 86562



If you feel like opting for an IEM, my advice is for an Etymotic HF5. They sell them for about 150 euro, rated impedance is 16 ohm and they are maybe the most neutral and detailed headphone, regardless of the price (excluded the ones of the Etymotic ER4 series, which anyway cost about twice as much).
Consider that with the aid of an equalizer, a neutral headphone with reasonable THD measures can mimic nearly every other sound signature.

This post has been edited by Nessuno: Dec 17 2012, 19:13


--------------------
... I live by long distance.
Go to the top of the page
+Quote Post
azoth
post Dec 17 2012, 20:33
Post #8





Group: Members
Posts: 8
Joined: 17-December 12
Member No.: 105229



QUOTE (Carledwards @ Dec 17 2012, 17:25) *
All things considered, the HD600 really is a good choice, if a bit over-priced. It's hard to imagine a person looking for quality, reasonably neutral cans being disappointed.


Thanks, it nice to know I'm in the right area. Its just a shame they've become so pricy. I don't mind paying more for quality, but here it feels like the price is artificially inflated by Sennheiser.
Go to the top of the page
+Quote Post
extrabigmehdi
post Dec 17 2012, 21:01
Post #9





Group: Members
Posts: 409
Joined: 15-August 09
Member No.: 72330



QUOTE (azoth @ Dec 17 2012, 19:33) *
QUOTE (Carledwards @ Dec 17 2012, 17:25) *
All things considered, the HD600 really is a good choice, if a bit over-priced. It's hard to imagine a person looking for quality, reasonably neutral cans being disappointed.


Thanks, it nice to know I'm in the right area. Its just a shame they've become so pricy. I don't mind paying more for quality, but here it feels like the price is artificially inflated by Sennheiser.



The hd600 is often considered one of the most neutral headphone.
However, I think they are other qualities that makes a good headphone, and for instance the dt-880 is known to be detailed.
The hd600 is probably a good headphone, but I don't want to let Sennheiser think it was right to raise the prices.
In fact , from what I've understood, Sennheiser didn't exactly raise the prices, but enforced the msrp , i.e Sennheiser doesn't allow stores to sell a headphone for cheaper than a fixed price.
If you want absolutely the hd600, you could buy a used one at head-fi or elsewhere and save some money.
If you "neutral" above all, the closed brainwavz hm5, was praised for this, and is a relatively cheap closed alternative.
Go to the top of the page
+Quote Post
gregs1104
post Dec 18 2012, 09:45
Post #10





Group: Members
Posts: 5
Joined: 16-December 12
Member No.: 105206



I have many of the popular brands here--from Cheap Grados to moderate Sennheiser and AKG models--and most of the time when I'm at home I have on my Beyerdynamic phones. Check out the Beyerdynamic Custom One Pro. Those do have a detachable cable. And they have a bass adjustment feature that lets you tune that in particular to your taste. I haven't heard them in person yet, being relatively new, but they're not too expensive. (Headroom suggests a large price increasing is coming in 2013)

I thought Sennhesier pricing was reasonable when I bought my HD580 models many years ago. I don't think I could justify a HD600 nowadays though. The value just isn't there anymore.

All my portable/in-ear listening is done on the Shure 500-series models I bought a few years ago, forget which one exactly. Those weren't cheap, but they make me happy to listen to even when I connect them right to my inexpensive portable player. I had a funny moment recently. A friend who isn't very into audio wanted to audition new headphone models, was willing to spend a hit $100 to $150 to get better sound. Her friends were recommending Bose and the like. We all brought our headphones along for a party to let her hear the options. She listened to all of them and commented to everyone what she thought. I got a one-word review: "wow".
Go to the top of the page
+Quote Post
azoth
post Dec 18 2012, 10:58
Post #11





Group: Members
Posts: 8
Joined: 17-December 12
Member No.: 105229



Would 240 be a reasonable cost for a brand new HD600 ? Its more than it was a few years back but the lowest of the current crop of prices. MSRP is 370.
Go to the top of the page
+Quote Post
evereux
post Dec 18 2012, 11:26
Post #12





Group: Members
Posts: 907
Joined: 9-February 02
From: Cheshire, UK
Member No.: 1296



I'm gobsmacked at the price hike of the HD600. ohmy.gif I've had mine for several years now (still going strong) and paid ~120 for them.

I've several sets of headphones and my preference in ascending order: Etymotic ER4P (the most over-rated headphone ever IMO), Shure SE530 / Sennheiser HD25, Sennheiser HD600. I paid the least for the Sennheiser HD600 and they're still my favourite for reasons of comfort as well as sound!


--------------------
daefeatures.co.uk
Go to the top of the page
+Quote Post
azoth
post Dec 18 2012, 14:04
Post #13





Group: Members
Posts: 8
Joined: 17-December 12
Member No.: 105229



QUOTE (evereux @ Dec 18 2012, 10:26) *
I'm gobsmacked at the price hike of the HD600. ohmy.gif I've had mine for several years now (still going strong) and paid ~120 for them.


I guess some of the price hike can be attributed to the pound getting devalued in the last decade, and its buying power isn't what it used to be. Some of it is probably Sennheiser taking advantage of the hype and enforcing their ridiculous MSRP policy.

240 is just about palatable for a HD600 for me right now. The DT880 Beyers are only 20 quid less in most places. And the Hifimans are certainly pricier. Are the DT880s and the H600s the only neutral headphones out there then ? The Brainwavz HM5 and all its OEM derivatives (in fact I believe the HM5 itself is a Joga/Yoga derivative) look like great value and are supposed to be neutral but I've read about some sort of 'echo' about their sound that keeps making people return them / sell them on.
Go to the top of the page
+Quote Post
extrabigmehdi
post Dec 18 2012, 20:34
Post #14





Group: Members
Posts: 409
Joined: 15-August 09
Member No.: 72330



QUOTE (azoth @ Dec 18 2012, 13:04) *
Are the DT880s and the H600s the only neutral headphones out there then ?


Well, if you have a little bit time, you can see all the assessments done by the website en.goldenears.net.
For each headphone, there's a page for pics, and a page for measurements.
If you look at end of measurements, there's a section called "reviewer's opinion".
On this section, there's two properties rated "treble relative to midrange"
and "bass relative to midrange". If they are both rated 0, you can consider headphone as neutral.

Here's for instance the link to hd600:
http://en.goldenears.net/8072

and dt 880:
http://en.goldenears.net/11302

But neutrality is not all that matters, otherwise how sennheiser could dare to sell the hd800 (bright). ?


QUOTE
are supposed to be neutral but I've read about some sort of 'echo' about their sound

I guess it's a kind of flaw that not everyone notice, just like sibilance.
Go to the top of the page
+Quote Post
Porcus
post Dec 18 2012, 21:26
Post #15





Group: Members
Posts: 1964
Joined: 30-November 06
Member No.: 38207



I own a pair of ER-4's. They don't reach 20Hz, that's for s(h)ure, but they have taught me not to judge in-ears until you have tested them with both foam and flangs.

Otherwise ... I'd suggest to check out Grado (been a few years since I did myself though). Cheap tweaks are discussed around the 'net: http://www.innerfidelity.com/content/evalu...dified-ear-pads


--------------------
One day in the Year of the Fox came a time remembered well
Go to the top of the page
+Quote Post
azoth
post Dec 18 2012, 21:26
Post #16





Group: Members
Posts: 8
Joined: 17-December 12
Member No.: 105229



QUOTE (extrabigmehdi @ Dec 18 2012, 19:34) *
QUOTE (azoth @ Dec 18 2012, 13:04) *
Are the DT880s and the H600s the only neutral headphones out there then ?


Well, if you have a little bit time, you can see all the assessments done by the website en.goldenears.net.
For each headphone, there's a page for pics, and a page for measurements.
If you look at end of measurements, there's a section called "reviewer's opinion".
On this section, there's two properties rated "treble relative to midrange"
and "bass relative to midrange". If they are both rated 0, you can consider headphone as neutral.

Here's for instance the link to hd600:
http://en.goldenears.net/8072

and dt 880:
http://en.goldenears.net/11302

But neutrality is not all that matters, otherwise how sennheiser could dare to sell the hd800 (bright). ?


QUOTE
are supposed to be neutral but I've read about some sort of 'echo' about their sound

I guess it's a kind of flaw that not everyone notice, just like sibilance.


Well the HD600s and the 600ohm Beyers certainly come out neutral !
Go to the top of the page
+Quote Post
sorabji
post Dec 18 2012, 21:50
Post #17





Group: Members
Posts: 6
Joined: 21-January 12
Member No.: 96586



Hifiman HE500's are very good, save the peak @ ~10K preceeded by a significant dip. Excellent bass. A little heavy on the head.

Sennheiser HD600 and 650 are also well worth consideration, bass is the weakest with these. Very comfortable. Look for used in good condition.

A sleeper is the Koss ESP-950, (better than the above imo) which can be had for ~$600 if you are patient looking. Comfortable and lightweight. Some have reported reliability problems, although I haven't had any and they have a good warranty.

Head Fi is mostly a waste of time. It's chock full of people obsessed with wire and other similar assorted woo-woo.
Go to the top of the page
+Quote Post
mzil
post Dec 18 2012, 21:56
Post #18





Group: Members
Posts: 710
Joined: 5-August 07
Member No.: 45913



QUOTE (Porcus @ Dec 18 2012, 16:26) *
I own a pair of ER-4's. They don't reach 20Hz, that's for s(h)ure, but they have taught me not to judge in-ears until you have tested them with both foam and flangs.


In addition to plug style, insertion depth and the quality of seal play a part with them. Also, unlike most headphones, ER4's don't have an elevated bass response, however their bass extension makes it to 20 Hz with just a few dB loss and they still has considerable output down to the lower limit of most graphs:

http://www.headphone.com/headphones/etymotic-er-4s.php

There's also different flavors of ER4 and how they differ is specifically in frequency response.

To some listeners their first impression might be "Wow, these have very little bass" and that's indicative of a poor seal. Once corrected, the same listener might say, "Well that's much better now, however there still seems to be more treble and less bass than I'm used to" and that's because they don't artificially raise the bass like almost all other headphones do in the bass, compared to say 1 kHz.

Music is not usually mixed taking the ER4's accurate bass reproduction into account so that's why many dismiss the ER4s as "too bright" and "bass shy".
Go to the top of the page
+Quote Post
Porcus
post Dec 19 2012, 02:35
Post #19





Group: Members
Posts: 1964
Joined: 30-November 06
Member No.: 38207



I guess the OP will only be satisfied by the lack of boominess, but the measurements of the ER-4 surprise me. There are signals which are well audible on other equipment, that I cannot at all hear on my ER-4P pair. (My other headphones are Stax Lambda (not known for boom!), and my loudspeakers are reasonably flat at the bottom, when I get past the resonance hump of my room. I have quite narrow ear canals though, it may be a factor, but certainly not to loose fit.)

Here is a piece of music that will shake some diaphragms for testing. Don't play loud first time!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5SqdcrH2pOE

This post has been edited by Porcus: Dec 19 2012, 02:47


--------------------
One day in the Year of the Fox came a time remembered well
Go to the top of the page
+Quote Post
azoth
post Dec 20 2012, 11:52
Post #20





Group: Members
Posts: 8
Joined: 17-December 12
Member No.: 105229



Thank you all for your replies, you've given me a lot to think about :-)
Go to the top of the page
+Quote Post
Arnold B. Kruege...
post Dec 20 2012, 14:21
Post #21





Group: Members
Posts: 4311
Joined: 29-October 08
From: USA, 48236
Member No.: 61311



QUOTE (Porcus @ Dec 18 2012, 15:26) *
I own a pair of ER-4's. They don't reach 20Hz, that's for s(h)ure, but they have taught me not to judge in-ears until you have tested them with both foam and flangs.


I bought a pair of ER4s some years back and they were also a big disappointment. It has been several years since I bought any IEMs so I don't know what of the current batch is hot and what is not. Some of the nicest-sounding IEMs I've ever had were from Futuresonics.
Go to the top of the page
+Quote Post
mzil
post Dec 21 2012, 01:19
Post #22





Group: Members
Posts: 710
Joined: 5-August 07
Member No.: 45913



QUOTE (Porcus @ Dec 18 2012, 21:35) *
...the measurements of the ER-4 surprise me. There are signals which are well audible on other equipment, that I cannot at all hear on my ER-4P pair.


Have you tried them wet?
Go to the top of the page
+Quote Post
Nessuno
post Dec 21 2012, 09:13
Post #23





Group: Members
Posts: 423
Joined: 16-December 10
From: Palermo
Member No.: 86562



QUOTE (mzil @ Dec 21 2012, 01:19) *
QUOTE (Porcus @ Dec 18 2012, 21:35) *
...the measurements of the ER-4 surprise me. There are signals which are well audible on other equipment, that I cannot at all hear on my ER-4P pair.


Have you tried them wet?

You mean... the flanges, I suppose! wink.gif
I have a pair of Etys HF3 (the plugs are the same), and for the fist week after the purchase I thought I had wasted my money. Then, by chance, I found the perfect match: I used the smallest tri-flange plug, which is normally far too small to seal my ear canal, but with the outmost (biggest) flange reversed (as shown in the manual when they explain how to replace them): now I LOVE them! With classical, the deepest bass, say organ pedal or bigger strings, are perfect and so the rest.
And, yes, wetting a little the outer rubber surface eases the sealing process.


--------------------
... I live by long distance.
Go to the top of the page
+Quote Post
AndyH-ha
post Dec 21 2012, 09:35
Post #24





Group: Members
Posts: 2223
Joined: 31-August 05
Member No.: 24222



My experience is based on the HD600 set I own. Maybe there is something wrong with it, but if so it does not show in any other aspect of performance.

I record LPs and cassettes, then clean up the recordings. Primarily I try to get rid of the media defects. Many of the older LPs have pretty high background noise. In particular, older recordings originally made to tape can have very audible tape hiss. Opinions vary on what should be done about this but I know it is generally possible to significantly reduce the hiss without hurting the music, and I find such recordings much more enjoyable without the hiss.

I used my Sennheiser HD600s for some years is some confusion. I processed the tape hiss, and any other HF noise to an inconsequential level on many recordings only to find the hiss still quite pronounced once the recording was on CD and playing on my living room speakers. I got into the habit of writing samples to CD-RW so I could test them on the speakers in order to get adequate NR in the final result.

The headphones were supposed to be so great, it could not be them, so I didn't know what else to do. Then I woke up one day, got a headphone extension cord, and found that outside my computer room, with the door closed, where I could no longer hear the computer fans, I could hear the hiss reasonably well on the headphones.

Then I tried a pair of Sony MDR-V900s. The hiss was considerably louder. The Sonys are closed back, the Sennheisers open back, but my listening position in the hallway seemed more than adequately quiet to accommodate open back phones. When I tried the Sony's in my normal seat near the computer, the hiss was still more audible than it was with the Sennheisers in the hallway where I could not hear the computer. Switching to the Sony's for repair work obviated the need to make test CDs.

On the replaceable cables: I've had trouble with two HD600 cables, in spite of taking pains to route the cables so they don't get pulled, stepped on, or otherwise abused. I had a pair of Audio Technicia phones for 15+ years with no cable problems. Eventually the AT headphones practically collapsed into a pile of dust but the cable was still fine. The AT cable was much heavier (but never a comfort problem) and highly coiled. It was not very long until stretched. It stretched quite a long distance but never had drooping cable to get caught on things, which probably added significantly to its reliability.
Go to the top of the page
+Quote Post
extrabigmehdi
post Dec 21 2012, 14:06
Post #25





Group: Members
Posts: 409
Joined: 15-August 09
Member No.: 72330



QUOTE (AndyH-ha @ Dec 21 2012, 08:35) *
I record LPs and cassettes, then clean up the recordings.[...]
I used my Sennheiser HD600s for some years is some confusion. I processed the tape hiss, and any other HF noise to an inconsequential level on many recordings only to find the hiss still quite pronounced once the recording was on CD and playing on my living room speakers.


The hd600 are often described as "forgiving" , i.e it subdue flaws of bad/old recordings such like hiss in particular. This makes the listening experience more pleasant,
but these headphones are a bad choice if you work with them for denoising.
Try to get an "unforgiving" headphone instead, such like the k701.

This post has been edited by extrabigmehdi: Dec 21 2012, 14:07
Go to the top of the page
+Quote Post

2 Pages V   1 2 >
Reply to this topicStart new topic
1 User(s) are reading this topic (1 Guests and 0 Anonymous Users)
0 Members:

 



RSS Lo-Fi Version Time is now: 28th November 2014 - 08:18