1) HifiMAN HE-6
2) Sennheiser HD650
3) Martin Logan Mikros 90
M... too late to write descriptions of the headphones now but...
What I listen to:
1: Sony DR-Z7: Adore it more than anything.
2: Pioneer Monitor 10: Best soundstage ever. Has a way of making things sound "just right".
3: Audio Technica ATH-6D (modded): Still working on mods for this one, good all-rounder.
4: Sony MDR-605 (modded): Shockingly listenable. Used as my portables usually.
5: Pioneer SE-500: Doesn't see much use anymore with the Monitor 10 around. Similar but without bass, harder to drive, less comfortable.
1) Superlux HD668B
2) Takstar Pro 80
3) Superlux HD669
4) Philips SHL3300
5) Pioneer SE-EX9
6) Somic MH463
7) Koss KSC-75
I didn't include the headphones I already sold and some might be outraged where I'd place the highly lauded ATH-M50 I had on that list.
Go ahead, put the M50 on. If you're anything like me it'd be below the KSC-75.
This is an insightful post. Very nice!
This is an interesting thread! I find it very difficult to rank the headphones I own because I specifically assembled a set that is supposed to be varied, so each headphone is here for different purposes. Therefore, I can't really compare them... in any case, some brief comments. The first six are my main headphones, and the other three are here but don't see as much use.
1) Sennheiser HD800
This is the new boy. I had one a while ago, didn't like it but now I've got one again and I'm loving it. In terms of soundstage, imaging and detail retrieval, there's really nothing like it, at least as far as dynamic drivers are concerned. I used to own a K1000 and even though it has an out-of-the-head soundstage, it's still relatively congested and doesn't portray a stage as realistically as the Senns. I also had the chance of staying a month with an Orpheus/Aristaeus combo, and while it's easily a better headphone overall, the diffuse soundstage is not nearly as precise as the HD800's. I've been using it for various genres, but they work best with genres that benefit from extreme transparency, spaciousness and a slightly analytical nature – that is, jazz, classical, acoustic pieces and reference recordings in general.
1) Grado HP1000
Extremely natural sound. It's much smoother and more laid back than current Grados, but it's still raw, crude and analog-like. They sound the real deal. Artists playing tired on a dirty stage. They work best with the same types of recordings where the HD800s shine, but for different reasons. However, they are far more enjoyable for rock and less capable with classical or when a spacious presentation is needed.
1) Audio-Technica W3000ANV
Incredibly luscious and seductive sound. It has an amazingly euphonic nature and do wonders with female vocals and jazz, mainly, but are also optimal when you just want to be warm, you know? This can happen with pieces like Turn Me On from Black Coffee but also with the likes of Justin Vernon or DeYarmond Edison. Different approaches to musical intimacy. They're obviously colored and not as natural as the other two, but for musical enjoyment, can best them in many cases.
1) HiFiMAN HE500
These have been here for a long time. They're the all-rounders, and work really well with everything. I usually use them for modern music – electronic, rock, metal or whatever. They have a very authoritative and powerful sound, with a warm presentation that just seems to suit everything. They're not as technically advanced or spacious as the Senns, as analog and real like the Grados or as seductive as the W3000ANV, but have a rather complete performance that's always adequate. It's not my favourite one, but since I'm rather eclectic, if I had to choose only one headphone, this would probably it. Or maybe it could also be the...
1) JH Audio Roxanne
It hasn't been here for long and I'm still maturing my opinions about it. I still respect it more than love it, but I can already say that they are easily the best in-ear headphones I've ever heard. They sound a lot more like headphones than earphones, but obviously without the spaciousness of the bigger brothers. They have a very thick sound, with a warm midrange and very clear and extended highs, without a hint of harshness. What strikes me most is how they combine warmness and fullness with extreme transparency and resolution. These last two characteristics are never thrown in your face, but will be there if you pay attention. The bass control is weird in that they don't seem to start from a lean sound – the Roxys sound very thinck with the bass at the minimum – with an increasing sub-bass boost that makes the sound thicker and more authoritative. What happens is that as you turn the knob up the bass starts to come and fill up a space that feels empty just below the mids. I just left it at 9 o'clock and was done with it. The sound is just nicely balanced and cohesive.
2) Sennheiser HD 25-1 II
This is my no-*****s-given headphone. It's really unattractive and badly finished, but they sound great for the price – energetic and punchy – and I don't have to worry about them breaking, scratching or anything. I just throw them on the backpack and that's it. Sometimes I don't want the fuss of the Roxannes – the case is really cool but spectacularly inconvenient and impractical, but I'm not very fond of the idea of just throwing the earphones around – or don't feel like using an IEM, and this is when the HD 25 fit like gloves. I really love these.
3) Sony EX1000
They don't sound much like the W3000ANV, but are also very very seductive and easy going. They're also really comfortable and have a very interesting soundstage. Not very precise but quite spacious. They haven't been seeing much use lately, but I'm very fond of them.
4) Etymotic Research MC3
To me they sound a lot like Grados. I also don't use them very much, but I think that with some recordings they sound incredibly natural, much in the same way as the HP1000s – although obviously not to the same degree. Also, probably because of the extreme isolation provided by the triple-flange tips, detail retrieval is really good and consequently they can show clear differences in the rooms of recordins. I mean, you can very clearly hear the room on some Kings of Convenience of Chris Whitley's recordings, for example. Therefore, while they're not very spacious, they can show space very competeltly.
5) Bang&Olufsen A8
These don't get much love around here, but I find their airy character to be very appealing, and apart from the lack of bass expected with an earbud, they sound really balanced.
Actually, I'd put it just above the KSC-75. lol. Still, it's below a lot of much cheaper cans on my list.
Yes. I've read your feedback of the Presonus HD7 in the Superlux thread. From your feedback, the difference isn't big compared to the HD668B. Thing is, I want my next upgrade to be substantial. I'm saving up for something in the $200 to 400 range, preferably open or semi-open.
I listen to a lot of classical, orchestra, jazz, older pop, disco, contemporary RnB etc. Not a lot of new stuff really.
Vivaldi - Four Seasons
Pokemon Reorchestrated, Kanto Symphony - Red's Journey (Route 3/4 theme)
Swing Out Sister - You On My Mind
Mariah Carey - Emotions
Aretha Franklin - Say A Little Prayer
Alicia Keys ft. Usher - My Boo
Mariah Carey - Honey
Since we're also talking about IEMs here. Anyone have the Sony EX310 or EX510? The ones with the 13.5 mm CCAW dynamic drivers? I tried the Walkman W-series (NWZ-W273 to be exact) which is basically a waterproof, all-in-one earphone music player and I was blown away by its sound. It also has those 13.5 mm drivers and I suspect it's the same driver on the EX310 or EX510. I doubt it'd have the same drivers as the EX600 since it costs more than twice the NWZ-W273.
really limited selection but I'll at least comment on each for what it's worth
1. HD650 - I don't believe I have the right amplification for them at the moment and almost think my HD595's + little dot II++ sounded better in every way EXCEPT bass extension. I'm driving my hd650's with schiit lyr and bifrost. mids just feel.... cold. They sounded so thick and warm on my hd595's on the little dot amp. With the lyr and 650's, I feel like the mids are lacking. This could completely contradict what my setups should reflect, but that's just my personal experience. I could be remembering incorrectly and possibly just having higher than realistic expectations since the new gear cost so much more than the last setup. I think something like the bottlehead crack amp would be better suited. I'm still ranking it #1 on my list due to comfort and what everyone else who properly drives them rates them at. I think I'll get a SS amp for these cans, and pick up some planar's for my lyr. win-win, right? except my wallet loses. always.
2. HD595 - My first "audiophile" setup. Little dot II++ amp. Blew my mind. And ears. Had some crap bose tri-ports that broke after a short while. They were sadly the best I had heard, and after going through set after set of crap headphones at best buy, I decided to research. Then I stumbled upon head-fi and fell down a deep pit. A money pit. Of delicious phonics. These headphones are great for a lot of things, but they lack greatly in bass. There's just no punch, and no extension. Don't get these if you have to have bass in your music. There's just a large lack of it. Get closed headphones if you want bass. These open 595's have a great open airy sound to them. Vocals sound great on them. Comfort is a big thing with senny and these are light and comfy.
3. monoprice high fi dj style headphones - don't hate! they sound great for $26. I actually like them better than my ATH-50's. Quite a bit more. First of all, they're more comfy. They're MUCH lighter, and they squeeze less. I also like the sound quality overall.
4. ATH-50 - probably the most recommended entry headphones ever. they're great. they were great. until those monoprice ones were discovered for a fraction of the cost.
I've owned other junk before my "good" headphones. None are worth mentioning. Most of it sucked worse than my $10 walmart koss on-ear headphones.
Ehh... changed my mind.
1: Sony DR-Z7:
--Perfection in everything but soundstage. Bar none.
2: Pioneer Monitor 10:
--Perfection in soundstage, greatness in everything else. Strangely sweet and special sounding with my favorite soundstage of anything, closed or open.
3: Pioneer SE-500 (modded):
--I thought the magic of these would be gone after the Monitor 10 came along since they sound so similar... but somehow that is not the case. I still adore them.
4: Sony MDR-605 (modded):
--Extremely listenable. Not the most detailed or precise thing, but pleasant sounding with a lot of air and a nice presentation. This would be my go-to budget recommendation if it wasn't so damn rare.
5: Audio Technica ATH-6D (modded):
--I'm starting to realize these aren't anything even remotely special... the soundstage is okay, but that's about it. Needs more treble and more detail. Very cloudy and murky sounding.
1. HiFiMan HE-5LE - New toy syndrome? I don't know but the minute I put them on I was in awe. Had a chance to compare a friend of a friends HE-500 and liked these slightly better. Wish they were still made.
2. Sennheiser HD650 - Very solid performer but prefer the LE's by a fairly large margin.
3. Shure SRH940 - My closed headphones for outside. Build quality is suspect IMO.
4. Ultrasone HFI-580 - First headphones bought, got them at a good price so I can't complain. Rarely use them anymore because I'm not into their sound signature as much as I once was.