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Old 12-21-2010, 12:13 PM
Kiiskinen Kiiskinen is offline
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Default High-end headphones for studio/home/travel!

Good day all,
I'll give you the short version first, since I know I have a habit of writing too much and not everyone is willing to read a huge wall of text:
- 500€ to spend, can extend up to 600 easily and 700 with a stretch
- Two pairs of headphones: One pair that's all about SQ for home and studio, one (cheaper) pair that's portable, energetic and aggressive, excelling in rock and heavy.
- A portable amp, a home amp and a dac.
- Taste in music is from classical to rock to rap to trance to pop to deathmetal to jazz to... Well, everything really. See link for a mosaic of my all time fav. albums if interested http://img405.imageshack.us/img405/7227/mosaicsm.jpg


I've been a happy music lover for pretty much all my life, and I was perfectly happy with my pair of streetstyle Sonys and my iPod, until recently when I started recording vocals at a professional studio and magically developed a taste for... well, SQ.

My current set-up -- ignoring the stuff at the studio for now -- with my computer is a pair of Senn HD 428's, plugged into my stereo which is plugged into my comp. For outdoors/travel I've got a pair of Senn PMX 90's, a Cowon X7, an iPod Classic 80gb and a FiiO E5, which was enough stuff to keep my satisfied for about a week, and now I'm looking to upgrade, hopefully to a level above, if not to the highest possible level yet (uni. student here, not rolling around in cash).

What I'm looking for is:
- A pair of open/closed circumaural headphones for heavy use at home. I've been drooling for Senn 598's and 650's, but I'm open for suggestions (no AKG or Koss though, preferably). I'd love phones that are great with every type of music, but for home I prefer clear and balanced sound (not too heavy on the bass). The type of relaxed enjoyable sound that Sennheisers seem to provide.
- A pair of portable headphones that excell in rock. Compared to the cheap Sony Streetstyles both the 428's and PMX 90's lose when it comes to rock. They just don't have the certain 'edge' to the sound -- they sound too relaxing for rock. I've been looking at Ultrasone Zino and Grados iGrado to fill this void -- Any thoughts? I dislike IEM's and headbands (neckband is the best for me), but again I'm open for suggestions

- A portable amp, that also would work as a beginner level headphone amp & dac for me at home. Can be two products that together fill both these needs. I've been eyeing the FiiO E7 + E9 combo, that seems pretty much perfect as far as price goes, and from what I've heard and experienced FiiO products are not exactly bad either. Thoughts? Suggestions?

My budget for the whole thing is about 500€, but it's extendable up to 600, and if it benefits my setup greatly, even 700 is doable. Buying second-hand is not out of the question.

That's about all I think. Ask for more information if necessary. All tips and suggestions highly appreciated.


O.K.

Last edited by Kiiskinen; 12-27-2010 at 10:37 AM. Reason: reworked
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  #2  
Old 12-27-2010, 10:39 AM
Kiiskinen Kiiskinen is offline
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Bump & changed my request to better fit my current needs.
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  #3  
Old 12-27-2010, 10:51 AM
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IDvsEGO IDvsEGO is offline
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according to google thats about $650 USD. I can honestly say thats beyond my personal budget so I cant give any first hand info. I can say what I have seen and drooled over though. The Aiaiai TM1 for starters. Also, the Senn stuff is nice but from what I have heard, not enough punch to satisfy me typically. If you can do it, go with open for home. I personally cant because I have small kids and one of my primary uses of headphones is to not disturb others, so I always go closed. The ATH-M50 is on my list as well as the Klipsch Image One. Neckband sets are hard to find these days. How about clip ons?

as far as the amp goes, what is your source? there are plenty of sources that don't benefit much from amps like the J3 and some even say the Rockboxed Clip +. I dont know how much of my budget I would shift to it personally. If you do, the FiiO products seem reasonable.
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Old 12-27-2010, 02:36 PM
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My personal choice would be:
- The ATH-M50's or Beyerdynamic DT770's for home use, although you could go any way with this depending on what you want; these two are good contenders.
As a side note, you can get the ATH-M50's for 145€ here - it's the cheapest place I managed to find.
- Panasonic RP-HJE900 Zirconia for outside use, mainly because IEM's offer better isolation. Don't know where to find these for a respectable price though, so I think you'd be better off searching for something else that strikes your fancy.
- Headstage Arrow 12HE amp. About 200€ + shipping and no DAC, but I'm doubtful about the need for either of them anyways.
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Old 12-27-2010, 05:16 PM
Kiiskinen Kiiskinen is offline
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My source(s) are Cowon X7 & 6th gen iPod Classic for outdoors, and basically my comp for home use (a DAC would be great for this reason, right?). Thanks for the suggestions, I'll look into all of them.

What seems like the most plausible package for me at the moment is HD 650, iGrado or SR80i & the FiiO E16 combination. This way I'd get the high end headphones for pure SQ (and they'd be Sennheisers, which is great as I love the Sennheiser sound with everything but rock), a good DAC, a good portable amp and a pretty good desktop amp to help power the 650's. Plus the Grados are -- from what I've heard -- pretty much the best phones for rock and such, which is really the only thing I'm currently missing entirely. Thoughts on this set-up?

It roughly translates into 650€. Which is quite a bit truth be told, but hey money is just paper and metal if you don't use it, right

Still wanting more tips of course!


Cheers,

O.K.
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  #6  
Old 01-01-2011, 01:02 PM
Kiiskinen Kiiskinen is offline
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One last bump, in hopes of getting the final 'Yeah go ahead, that seems like a nice set', or a 'No no no, don't buy that, this will suit your needs much better!'.

The first package that I will order during january will most likely be:
- A pair of SR80i's
- FiiO E7
- FiiO E9
- A pair of PortaPros, just to see what all the fuzz is about

And later on this year:
-Sennheiser HD 650's

Totaling in about 650€.

A good entry level set on top of what I already have, that'll hopefully get me through 2011 without need for more upgrades, yes?
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Old 01-01-2011, 01:33 PM
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My only comment is "you want to spend how much?" 650€? I wish I had that kind of money to spare.

Steve
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  #8  
Old 01-01-2011, 02:09 PM
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Currently I own a Pico amp/DAC, WA6, hd650s and some portable iem’s. I’ve been using this gear for a long time now and still very happy with my set up, no plans on any current changes either. That said per your budget I would not recommend what I have due to budget, but if I were looking for a new amp/DAC I’d certainly give the iBasso D2+ Boa a chance, it’s a $169.00 usb amp/DAC with 2 gain setting that should drive most phones fine and for in home phones I’d go hd650s, they’re awesome. For portable use I’d go cheap till you have the cash to upgrade if needed, there’s plenty of good iem’s out there for under a hundred that should suffice, take a look at some of uncle Wilsons gear at jaben like the hippo VB or if you can find the Panasonic RP-HJE900 around $89 to $110, jump on them, good luck and enjoy ♪ ♪ ♪
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Old 01-01-2011, 02:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kiiskinen View Post
One last bump, in hopes of getting the final 'Yeah go ahead, that seems like a nice set', or a 'No no no, don't buy that, this will suit your needs much better!'.

The first package that I will order during january will most likely be:
- A pair of SR80i's
- FiiO E7
- FiiO E9
- A pair of PortaPros, just to see what all the fuzz is about

And later on this year:
-Sennheiser HD 650's

Totaling in about 650€.

A good entry level set on top of what I already have, that'll hopefully get me through 2011 without need for more upgrades, yes?
FWIR the Alessandro MS1's are supposed to be great deal and better than the Grado SR60/80/125. (I sure want to try them) They might be a better choice.

The HD 650's are quite amazing. They are good for pretty much anything and they do not have excessive bass.
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Old 01-01-2011, 04:56 PM
Kiiskinen Kiiskinen is offline
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@ FreeZ5
Heh... All about budgeting And since music is my most beloved hobby (sports, cooking, coffee, cheap cognac, expensive women and videogames tie for second) I figured it's worth an extra dime or two to bring out the full enjoyment in it.

@ WalkGood
I already have two (actually three, since my Sony's started working again for no apparent reason) pairs of cheap portable phones (KSC 24's, PMX 90's and aforementioned StreetStyles [MDR-G74SL]), and three pairs of cheap earphones (including the horrible iBuds), so I figured SR80i's would be a nice improvement for portable use -- which is a huge part of everyday life for me -- even though they apparently aren't the most portable phones around. But thanks for the suggestions, I'll check out the iBasso and the Hippos (who came up with that name? The last thing I want to stuck in my ear is a hippo.. or an alligator... but I digress), though I think the Grados will still have the lead in my list. I've heard absolutely nothing but good things about them.

@ Satellite 6
I heard good things about the Alessandros at Head-Fi as well, but didn't check them out all that thoroughly. Guess I'll give it another go. Someone said the sound they provide is slightly Sennheiser-ish, ie. relaxed/laidback. Which splits me two-ways and tickles me twice in different places, since I really love the Sennheiser sound with everything BUT rock, and the phones I buy within the next few weeks are supposed to just be great with Rock/heavy/metal. That's the only thing I want from them, and from what I heard, Grado is the master of this specific niche market.

Thanks for the replies,

O.K.
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  #11  
Old 01-01-2011, 05:36 PM
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You do not want to use Grados as portable phones. Everyone will hear what you are listening to except yourself.
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  #12  
Old 01-01-2011, 06:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kiiskinen View Post
... I've heard absolutely nothing but good things about them. ...
Not from me and you won't, obviously not a grado fan here Not sure if your intended use for the SR80i's is portable use but even if you do like their sound sig, they’re not good for portable use because of the open design will allow all the ambient noise in big time, the cable would have to be shortened too as it's a lasso although that'll be the least of your troubles and any active use will demonstrate their design shortfall, good luck ...
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  #13  
Old 01-01-2011, 08:16 PM
Kiiskinen Kiiskinen is offline
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Well I've used neckband phones for the past decade, let's just say sound leak doesn't bother me that much I've also used the 428's as portable phones, so the long cord doesn't really bother me either. That's what pockets are for, right.

I'm still leaning towards the FiiO package after reading some more reviews, and my only real choice now is between the Alessandro and Grado for portable use. I'd save at least 40€ with the Alessandros (cheapest SR80i's in Finland are 129€ + postal, and that's cheaper than buying from overseas, while Alessandros apparently ship from USA for 99$ -- which is basically free if you ask me).

But ignoring the price, which isn't really a question at this point, which pair is better for PURELY rock/metal/heavy: SR80i or MS1's?

I heard someone say that MS1's are relaxed -- too relaxed even, which is what I'm not looking for now. If it wasn't for this one comment I would have already ordered them probably.
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Old 01-01-2011, 11:25 PM
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Odd, I've read they are smoother than Grados but they are still supposed to be forward sounding and great for Rock. I doubt they sound anything like Sennheisers, especially the HD 650's which are very analytical/liad back - which might be a good or bad thing. . .

Maybe PM this guy about the differences: http://www.head-fi.org/user/olor1n
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