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High end headphone advice needed !
azoth
post Dec 17 2012, 16:25
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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
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evereux
post Dec 18 2012, 11:26
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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!


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azoth
post Dec 18 2012, 14:04
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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.
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extrabigmehdi
post Dec 18 2012, 20:34
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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.
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Posts in this topic
- azoth   High end headphone advice needed !   Dec 17 2012, 16:25
- - extrabigmehdi   QUOTE (azoth @ Dec 17 2012, 15:25) I...   Dec 17 2012, 17:03
|- - azoth   QUOTE (extrabigmehdi @ Dec 17 2012, 16:03...   Dec 17 2012, 17:16
|- - extrabigmehdi   QUOTE (azoth @ Dec 17 2012, 16:16) I...   Dec 17 2012, 17:33
|- - azoth   QUOTE (extrabigmehdi @ Dec 17 2012, 16:33...   Dec 17 2012, 17:41
- - Carledwards   All things considered, the HD600 really is a good ...   Dec 17 2012, 18:25
|- - Nessuno   If you feel like opting for an IEM, my advice is f...   Dec 17 2012, 19:12
|- - azoth   QUOTE (Carledwards @ Dec 17 2012, 17:25) ...   Dec 17 2012, 20:33
|- - extrabigmehdi   QUOTE (azoth @ Dec 17 2012, 19:33) QUOTE ...   Dec 17 2012, 21:01
- - gregs1104   I have many of the popular brands here--from Cheap...   Dec 18 2012, 09:45
- - azoth   Would 240 be a reasonable cost for a brand new HD...   Dec 18 2012, 10:58
- - evereux   I'm gobsmacked at the price hike of the HD600....   Dec 18 2012, 11:26
|- - azoth   QUOTE (evereux @ Dec 18 2012, 10:26) I...   Dec 18 2012, 14:04
|- - extrabigmehdi   QUOTE (azoth @ Dec 18 2012, 13:04) Are th...   Dec 18 2012, 20:34
|- - azoth   QUOTE (extrabigmehdi @ Dec 18 2012, 19:34...   Dec 18 2012, 21:26
- - Porcus   I own a pair of ER-4's. They don't reach 2...   Dec 18 2012, 21:26
|- - mzil   QUOTE (Porcus @ Dec 18 2012, 16:26) I own...   Dec 18 2012, 21:56
||- - Porcus   I guess the OP will only be satisfied by the lack ...   Dec 19 2012, 02:35
||- - mzil   QUOTE (Porcus @ Dec 18 2012, 21:35) ...th...   Dec 21 2012, 01:19
||- - Nessuno   QUOTE (mzil @ Dec 21 2012, 01:19) QUOTE (...   Dec 21 2012, 09:13
||- - Porcus   QUOTE (mzil @ Dec 21 2012, 01:19) QUOTE (...   Dec 21 2012, 16:37
||- - mzil   QUOTE (Porcus @ Dec 21 2012, 11:37) Oh, y...   Dec 21 2012, 17:38
||- - mzil   QUOTE (mzil @ Dec 21 2012, 12:38) Oddly t...   Dec 27 2012, 04:31
||- - mzil   QUOTE (mzil @ Dec 26 2012, 23:31) QUOTE (...   Dec 27 2012, 22:58
|- - Arnold B. Krueger   QUOTE (Porcus @ Dec 18 2012, 15:26) I own...   Dec 20 2012, 14:21
- - sorabji   Hifiman HE500's are very good, save the peak @...   Dec 18 2012, 21:50
- - azoth   Thank you all for your replies, you've given m...   Dec 20 2012, 11:52
- - AndyH-ha   My experience is based on the HD600 set I own. May...   Dec 21 2012, 09:35
|- - extrabigmehdi   QUOTE (AndyH-ha @ Dec 21 2012, 08:35...   Dec 21 2012, 14:06
- - Mach-X   One thing to remember - music is mixed to be playe...   Dec 27 2012, 09:58
|- - johnb   QUOTE (Mach-X @ Dec 27 2012, 09:58) ...   Dec 27 2012, 10:43
|- - Nessuno   QUOTE (Mach-X @ Dec 27 2012, 09:58) ...   Dec 27 2012, 12:09
- - markanini   Diffusie field EQ doesnt really adress Mach-X conc...   Dec 27 2012, 14:47
|- - Nessuno   QUOTE (markanini @ Dec 27 2012, 14:47) Di...   Dec 27 2012, 19:20
|- - markanini   QUOTE (Nessuno @ Dec 27 2012, 20:20) In f...   Dec 27 2012, 20:04
- - Stop the Noise   I've owned a number of different cans over the...   Dec 28 2012, 05:31
- - Nessuno   QUOTE (Stop the Noise @ Dec 28 2012, 05:3...   Dec 28 2012, 18:51
- - Stop the Noise   QUOTE (Nessuno @ Dec 28 2012, 12:51) QUOT...   Dec 28 2012, 22:58
- - Nessuno   QUOTE (Stop the Noise @ Dec 28 2012, 22:5...   Dec 29 2012, 11:14


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