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  #1  
Old 05-09-2012, 02:43 AM
katabatik katabatik is offline
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Default Help choosing headphone - I'm going round in circles

Hi guys

I've been trying to choose some full-sized headphones for weeks now and I'm more confused than ever. I felt into the mistake of searching Head-Fi.org for an opinion. Among the contradictory opinions and the sheer lunacy of some claims, I'm more confused than ever. I first joined this forum when I decided to buy an MP3 player and some IEMs. I have a lot of respect for dfkt and for the sensible people of this forum.

That being said, I must say that I don't believe that something sounds good/better just because it is expensive. I find the price of some equipment to be a rip-off. But hey, if it is that expensive it must sound better! That is, I believe, the reasoning behind many opinions in the Hi-Fi world.

I also don't believe in burn-in. I interpret claims such as "at first the highs had sibilance but they calmed down after xxx hours of burn-in" as "the highs are sibilant but after xxx hours I no longer notice it". I also believe that some sound equipment is not necessarily better than other, it may just have a different sound signature. If you like it or not, that is another issue.

I tried following the forum's guidelines for advice seeking. Hope you guys can help.
  • Budget: up to 150 Euros
  • Location: European Union
  • Category: Full size headphones
  • Open Style because of the wider soundstage, but it's not a deal breaker
  • Circumaural because I tend to find them more confortable, but again, not a deal breaker.
  • Primary location of use: Home/indoor use
  • Preferable SQ or Sound Signature: I'll try my best to explain, but I'm not an audio buff. I hope I make sense. I'm looking for an immersive experience. Something that makes me fell like the instruments are around me or in movies like I'm in the middle of the action, so I guess a wide soundstage is important. I like clear, detailed sound but nothing too analytical or flat. I listen to music for pure enjoyment, not for professional purposes.
  • Media: I listen mainly to solo piano, acoustic guitar, smooth jazz, classical and opera. I'll also use the headphones for watching movies and some occasional gameplay. 80% of my files are FLAC and the rest in MP3 (320 kbps, mainly).
  • Source: laptop.
I will use the headphones for long hours, so confort and fatigue are also an issue. I don't have the oportunity to try any headphones before I buy them (no Hi-Fi shops were I live). I'll buy them online.


I hope someone can help me. Thanks.
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  #2  
Old 05-09-2012, 03:58 AM
sideways sideways is offline
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Here are a few ideas:

http://www.amazon.de/Audio-Technica-...6553669&sr=8-3

http://www.amazon.de/Sennheiser-HD-5...6551706&sr=8-1

http://www.amazon.de/Sennheiser-HD-5...6551706&sr=8-3

http://www.amazon.de/AKG-601-High-En...6551706&sr=8-7

I have the Sennheiser 555's which are the earlier model to the 558's. I can't say if they are the best of the bunch but I like them. Amazon.de usually has good prices so you can compare your local prices to that. Be aware that the ath ad700 headphones are massive and only suitable for people with big heads.
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  #3  
Old 05-18-2012, 09:35 AM
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I know it isn't open - but possibly a used set of Denon D2000's might be good.
I thoroughly enjoy them
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Old 05-19-2012, 02:15 PM
katabatik katabatik is offline
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I've had a chance to briefly listen to about 6 Senns, ranging from 35 to 220 Euros and about 4 low priced AKGs at Media Markt. They only play rock in demonstration headphones and I couldn't listen to other genres that interest me more. Still, it was better than nothing.

My (superficial) impressions were:

Senns: Didn't like the 518. The sound seemed too muffled. The only one that sounded decent to my hears was the 598, but nothing to write home about, especially at 220 Euros.

AKG: Didn't even bother to remember the model names. Wouldn't buy any of them (the most expensive was 60 Euros).

I'm listening to my Yuins G2A as I write this. Julian Bream is playing classical music on his guitar (APE files). The sound is detailed and clear. The only thing I'm missing is a wider soundstage and a somewhat "fuller" sound. In some pieces it seems that the sound is a tad flat and distant, but I'm being picky.

If I'm going to spend 3 or 4 times more than I did on my Yuins I want some headphones that I can honestly say "hum... these DO sound better. It was as good investment" and not only marginally better sounding . I'm also not ready to take the often seen approach of "I've spent 200 Euros on these so they MUST sound better or I'll feel like I've been ripped off. Let’s listen to these suckers for hours on end until I convince myself that I like the sound. I'll then call it "burn in"". I'm not saying people do this consciously, but when I read a review saying that some equipment sounds "horrible" out of the box and after a couple hundred hours it has a "wonderful" sound, this is what I believe happened.

So, what phones will give me the clarity, detail and balance of my Yuins with a wider soundstage and a bit more warmness?
Don’t the Denon AH-D2000 need an amp? (I’ve read this on Head-Fi, so I’m taking it with a grain of salt)


At this point I’m ready to spend up to 250 Euros on new or used headphones that give me what I’m looking for.


BTW, are there any online retailers that accept returns?
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  #5  
Old 05-20-2012, 06:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by katabatik View Post
I've had a chance to briefly listen to about 6 Senns, ranging from 35 to 220 Euros and about 4 low priced AKGs at Media Markt. They only play rock in demonstration headphones and I couldn't listen to other genres that interest me more. Still, it was better than nothing.

My (superficial) impressions were:

Senns: Didn't like the 518. The sound seemed too muffled. The only one that sounded decent to my hears was the 598, but nothing to write home about, especially at 220 Euros.

AKG: Didn't even bother to remember the model names. Wouldn't buy any of them (the most expensive was 60 Euros).

I'm listening to my Yuins G2A as I write this. Julian Bream is playing classical music on his guitar (APE files). The sound is detailed and clear. The only thing I'm missing is a wider soundstage and a somewhat "fuller" sound. In some pieces it seems that the sound is a tad flat and distant, but I'm being picky.

If I'm going to spend 3 or 4 times more than I did on my Yuins I want some headphones that I can honestly say "hum... these DO sound better. It was as good investment" and not only marginally better sounding . I'm also not ready to take the often seen approach of "I've spent 200 Euros on these so they MUST sound better or I'll feel like I've been ripped off. Letís listen to these suckers for hours on end until I convince myself that I like the sound. I'll then call it "burn in"". I'm not saying people do this consciously, but when I read a review saying that some equipment sounds "horrible" out of the box and after a couple hundred hours it has a "wonderful" sound, this is what I believe happened.

So, what phones will give me the clarity, detail and balance of my Yuins with a wider soundstage and a bit more warmness?
Donít the Denon AH-D2000 need an amp? (Iíve read this on Head-Fi, so Iím taking it with a grain of salt)


At this point Iím ready to spend up to 250 Euros on new or used headphones that give me what Iím looking for.


BTW, are there any online retailers that accept returns?
amazon is usually your best bet for returns
And the D2K's don't NEED an amp, but might be too low to listen to without one.
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  #6  
Old 05-20-2012, 07:08 PM
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I use my Denon D2000's without an amp all the time, and they sound fantastic - and more than loud enough. If you have an EU volume capped player they MIGHT need a little amping though, but it's nothing an inexpensive FiiO amp couldn't handle. Otherwise, the D2000's are apparently right for you. I personally luv their clarity, and you seem to be a fan of it yourself. Try them out,...99% of all who do are hooked. Except on head-fi. Some prefer to spend over $1000USD or they feel the SQ isn't good enough. These, my friend, are EXCELLENT!!!
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Old 05-21-2012, 02:55 AM
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Shame none of the ones I suggested were to your liking. Quite right, I would not pay 220Ä for the 598. For that price there are better offerings.

If the 558/598 are built like the 555/595 the only difference is a removable foam pad. http://www.anythingbutipod.com/forum...ad.php?t=52936
I got my 555 headphones a few years back for 120Ä. On the outside there is a bit of leather that separates the two models.

Your new budget puts you within range (though slightly short of) the Sennheiser hd 650. That might be the nuclear option if you can't find anything else you like.
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Old 05-21-2012, 03:01 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The DarkSide View Post
I use my Denon D2000's without an amp all the time, and they sound fantastic - and more than loud enough. If you have an EU volume capped player they MIGHT need a little amping though, but it's nothing an inexpensive FiiO amp couldn't handle. Otherwise, the D2000's are apparently right for you. I personally luv their clarity, and you seem to be a fan of it yourself. Try them out,...99% of all who do are hooked. Except on head-fi. Some prefer to spend over $1000USD or they feel the SQ isn't good enough. These, my friend, are EXCELLENT!!!
agreed TDS!

I've also gone ahead and modded mine with the d5k cups, and put some J$ pads (soon to be replaced by lawton angle pads) - they sound a lot better than what they used to sound like.

Mind blowing, honestly.
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  #9  
Old 05-21-2012, 03:28 AM
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Quote:
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... Your new budget puts you within range (though slightly short of) the Sennheiser hd 650. That might be the nuclear option if you can't find anything else you like.
Based on the requirements he posted in the first post I would think the HD600s would be more to his liking. That said, both the 600s and 650s are over his revised budget unless he shops used or refurbished. And donít forget theyíre 300 ohms ...
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  #10  
Old 05-21-2012, 04:05 AM
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Aye, good points.

http://geizhals.at/eu/31994

the lowest I found in the EU for the HD600 is 271Ä (HD650 is 307Ä). Persistent shoppers might find better deals.
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  #11  
Old 05-21-2012, 01:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TotallydubbedHD View Post
agreed TDS!

I've also gone ahead and modded mine with the d5k cups, and put some J$ pads (soon to be replaced by lawton angle pads) - they sound a lot better than what they used to sound like.

Mind blowing, honestly.
I need new pads,...but $99?!?!?! Sheesh,... And I'm too lazy & unskilled to remove my drivers ans swap the shells. Nice idea though,...
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  #12  
Old 05-21-2012, 01:40 PM
katabatik katabatik is offline
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Thanks a lot for the suggestions!

Two questions:

- I've read often that the Senns 600 and 650 need an amp (again, on that well known forum...) Is it true? I don't mind spending 50 or 60 Euros on a portable amp, though.

- How do the Denon D2000's soundstage compare with the Senns? One of my deal breakers is the soundstage, that is why I haven't considered closed headphones, but I know there are exceptions to every rule.

Sideways,

Unfortunately I didn't have the chance to listen to all of your suggestions. Senns and AKG are the only ones available for listening in my area. Not sure if I'll be able to listen to the 600 or 650 phones, though. Usually, phones in that price range are available through order only. Audio Technica is one manufacturer that seems to have good reviews too. The ATH-AD700 and AD900 are on my list, even though I hate the AD700's colours. The thing that caught my attention on these models is the wide soundstage most people say they have.
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Old 05-21-2012, 01:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The DarkSide View Post
I need new pads,...but $99?!?!?! Sheesh,... And I'm too lazy & unskilled to remove my drivers ans swap the shells. Nice idea though,...
See my website - for more info on how to remove it - I'm no pro, but it was quite easy!!

For the pads - well I bought some J$'s for £40 so around $60 - I might be selling them on, when I get my lawtons
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Old 05-21-2012, 01:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by katabatik View Post
Ö I've read often that the Senns 600 and 650 need an amp (again, on that well known forum...) Is it true? I don't mind spending 50 or 60 Euros on a portable amp, though. Ö
I only own the hd650s not the hd600s, I have tried the 600s and I think they would be more to your liking based on what you posted in your first post. I amp mine because I like the way they sound via a tube amp, but Iíve driven my 650s from my laptop and a few of my portable players without an amp and they sound fine. Possibly not as loud as some people would like or enough emphasis in certain areas, but they arenít as hard to drive as most high ohm headphones. I love mine for numerous qualities, especially for their warmth, comfort and overall SQ. Even if you donít go the route of the hd600s, if you get the chance to try some, I think youíd like them.
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Old 05-21-2012, 02:20 PM
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The sound stage on the Denon's is great. But, I'm not an open headphone guy, so my opinion is limited.

@TotallydubbedHD: keep me in mind with those pads,...I'm interested.

PS: the hfi-780 is now $149.99 on Amazon.com,...a steal!!! http://www.amazon.com/Ultrasone-HFI-.../dp/B00101XVH2

Last edited by The DarkSide; 05-21-2012 at 02:28 PM.
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Old 05-21-2012, 02:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The DarkSide View Post
The sound stage on the Denon's is great. But, I'm not an open headphone guy, so my opinion is limited.

@TotallydubbedHD: keep me in mind with those pads,...I'm interested.

PS: the hfi-780 is now $149.99 on Amazon.com,...a steal!!! http://www.amazon.com/Ultrasone-HFI-.../dp/B00101XVH2
Ok will do broski!
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Old 05-21-2012, 06:39 PM
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I personally think the ATH-M50 sound better than the HFI-780.. And they are more comfortable. And you can get them cheaper. And they feel like they're better build quality.
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Old 05-21-2012, 06:47 PM
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I liked the hfi-780 more. I prefer more mids & highs myself,... But the price of both seems to be dropping lately.
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Old 05-21-2012, 07:56 PM
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I thought the HFI-780's highs were much to harsh, and IMO the bass is more fun on the ATH-M50.

Out of all these in the pics and the 780's I thought the M50's were the best.

The KRK isolated better and were more comfortable, though they didn't have near enough bass for me. Other than the Bass they were VERY detailed and sounded pretty good.

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  #20  
Old 05-21-2012, 09:11 PM
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I can't wait to set up my dap's and headphones and take a pic - your gonna call me a nutcase. Especially since the DT770 & HFI-780 might be in the frame.
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