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Recommendations for Best headphones on the market (new and old)

post #1 of 1073
Thread Starter 
Hiya...

Inspired by a thread by Carlo, I'm going to try this as a trial, and see how things go... If you haven't already seen that thread, basically we're going to try and get an FAQ going ~ to which end, we need your opinions (good and bad ~ but no flame wars) for any popular headphones that are available for less than $500 (standard MSRP... Discounted products aren't really applicable)

The replies need to be as short, and concise as possible, because they're (hopefully ~ if this takes off) going to be used as quotes within a new sticky (locked) thread...

Lets see if this works
post #2 of 1073
Good idea Carlo! Thanks for starting the thread Duncan.

Short list of 2 obvious choices in no specific order....

Etymotic ER4 P/S

PRO: totally neutral, outstanding range, amazing detail, "just the facts, ma'am" type of headphone. AWESOME for air travel (due to isolation). Can get the P version plus the S adapter cable for ultimate flexibility (unamped pcd vs home rig + amp).

CON: that whole "in the ear" thing (works for some people, totally doesn't for others); obtaining a decent seal, microphonic noise from the cord, isolation can be so good as to can be dangerous in certain settings. So revealing that you may need to upgrade other components of your system.

Senn HD600

PRO: exceptional sound quality, laid back, crisp & clear sound, great for a wide range of types/styles of music and a wide variety of equipment. Very comfortable. Can easily upgrade the cord to further improve sound quality.

CON: not ideal for portable use (e.g., open design, somewhat large), needs sufficient power to allow them to reach their full potential.

Bruce
post #3 of 1073
My opinions are based 90% on rock (acoustic, hard, alternative, classic, just about everything) and 10% on pop, rap, and reggae.

1 Grado - the more you spend the more you get ive tested up to the 225's and those are my FAVORITE phones i love these things.
just incredible for rock infact i doubt anything will beat this and i know others have agreed with me (such as headroom) these are punchy, detailed, and in-your-face, not relaxing and definitely not something youre going to fall asleep to

2 Sennheiser 580 - NOT ROCK HEADPHONES these are smooth, laid back, and i consider them boring. I seriously did fall asleep many times while listening to hard rock with these on (NOT SOMETHING ILL DO WITH THE GRADO's) Im definitely sticking with my grados for a very long time.
post #4 of 1073

koss ksc-35

Koss ksc-35 earphones sound like full size cans with deep bass and great mid range and very nice highs all for 35.00 or less. They are very small and can be used on most portable devices but sound great with a portable amp. They are very confitable and are one of the great phones for portable use. They sound like they should cost much more than they do cost and are much bigger they they really are.
post #5 of 1073
hot diggitty, more lists.

grado sr-60: thick chocolate-y sound with excessive mid and lower bass warmth in a diffused presentation. extremely forgiving, with cheaper cd players the end result is completely colored but strangely enjoyable. a foot tapper, head bobber's headphone, great for grooving, beat based material, or "background" listening. i have no reservations at all with their portability, my favorite cans for on the go listening. in my experience adding an amplifier isn't a significant change in overall quality.

grado sr-125: think sr-60 trying harder. top end is a tad more extended in perceived response if not sweeter, tizzy and smeared inner detail, in many cases the nuances of the musicians are lost. vocals have a throaty quality, overall the sound is disjointed and jumbled. liked the cha47 as an amp.

grado sr-225: nice little home headphone that performs well with a lot of what i listen to. i like its effect on electric guitars, not audiophile level of reproduction by any stretch, but interesting to me nonetheless. resolves complicated passages better than the other grados i've used, i think its a great all around headphone. give them something with a beat and they'll sing, ask them to do anything subtle in scale and they give up. performs very well with the cha47 altoids and anthem 6922/ss headphone jack.

grado rs-2: surprisingly i think it sounds fantastic straight out of a headphone jack without an external amplifier. the only pair of grados i've used that sounded okay with the mg head dt, but still better with the cha47; i tried every tube set i had with my anthem and they still don't jive. i don't think it compares to the rest of the product line and is simply way past the peak of price/perfomance ratio. the pads took like 20 hours (not kidding) to conform to the shape of my ears, reasonably comfortable but need a five minute break for every hour of listening. decent depth, sometimes excellent tone, thats about it. at their best at extremely low playback volume, where their tipped extremes carry more balance and they still have some coherency, turn the volume up and the sound turns into mud. i've thrown at least 100 music titles at these things and maybe 6 were really good. biggest selling point is that they look cool and kinda retro.

senheiser hd580 - not sure how the msrp thing applies here, since there's no way anyone would pay $350 in the current market. to my ears, the top end lacks some sparkle and realism, double bass sounds exagerated, and there's a suckout with some strings in the midrange. other than that, they resolve information startingly well, have been responsive to changes upstream, and are excellent with vinyl.

i'm very impressed with the 580's ability to dig out detail, provide authority on dynamic swings, and the lack of smearing on notes. however, they took a lot to open up in my system and i just don't feel that they provide a believable soundstage compared to speakers (nor so any headphones i've used). regardless i think that the current market price makes them the best bargain in audio. definitely flawed, but livably so.

i've amplified them with a cha47, modded anthem preamp, mg head dt w/wing mod, cary slp-2002, cary sei300, and cary sli-80.

thanks for giving it a shot duncan,
carlo.
post #6 of 1073
FYI, carlo, the current U.S. MSRP of the Sennheiser HD 580 is actually $260, not $350.
post #7 of 1073
sad to say but I gaurantee that sony mdr series is probably the most popular under 500

but they suck

so I wish it was grado, however most people in the music industry, in my area only remeber grado for their carteradge

however... same goes with the ety's they aren't the most famous


i'd say the next would be the sennheiser 580/600 series
they were very common and very highly rated

(not overated) they are good
post #8 of 1073
for portable--which is my main mode of headphone use--these are the phones i most commonly use:
etymotic er6
sony v6 (mod)
sony ex70 (mod)
just trying to be honest here.
post #9 of 1073
(In honor of MacDef...)

I think a FAQ like thing shoudl include general/overall consensus type opinions about how the headphones perform.

Examples might include:

Sennheiser HD600:
HD600 is Sennheiser's top of the line dynamic headphone. It is a popular choice despite the general belief that a dedicated headphone amplifier is required to truly take advantge of them. The overall sound of the HD600 is characterizes as warm and somewhat forgiving.

Many have said the HD600 has a somewhat recessed upper midrange that makes vocals seem as if they're placed further back on the stage. There's also a slight midbass hump that some people find rewarding while others find that it muddy's the bass. Several aftermarket cables exist for this headphone and some argue that the flaws mentioned here can be lessened greatly with the use of them. The HD600 retails for $450 but can be found for as little as half that at some mail order companies.

Sennheiser HD580:
The little sister of the HD600 is actually a slightly older model and became classic among audiophiles and headphone enthusiasts. This headphone shares the same personality traits as the HD600 but is slightly less refined and articulate. On a strict budget, finding a pair of HD580 used from someone upgrading to the 600 is a real bargain.

AKG K501:
The AKG K501 is the anti-HD600. Its "light and airy" nature give up a great deal of texture and detail. Unfortunately this headphone is also somewhat demanding of am amplifier. Many have argued that the K501's bass in unacceptably below average and many great HeadFi arguments have centered around this. The 501 retails for $249 and can be found for just over $100 in some places.

Sony MDR-V6:
The V6 is a popular headphone. Its closed design and solid construction make it a popular candidate for studio and road use. It also folds to make it easily portable. Many criticize the V6 as having poor imaging and soundstage and harsh treble, yet the V6 seems unbeatable in closed headphones in its price range. The V6 retails for $100 and is easily found for $60 on various web sites.

Etymotic ER-4S:
This headphone receives a lot of talk on HeadFi and almost all of it positive. It's difficult to get past the idea of canal-headphones--almost all of us were immediately put off by the idea of putting something in our ears. However, with its ability to block 25db of noise and a flat and neutral presentation with clear seperation and imaging, the ER-4S is ideal for airplanes and noisy environments. Suggested retail is $329 but most places seem to sell for $269.
post #10 of 1073
I'm all for the Grado line. I think that for the price, they all perform like a charm (60's, 80's, and 125's). After that, you are paying for less and less.

I have the 125's and I liked em more than ANY other comparably priced headphone.

Period.
post #11 of 1073
Quote:
Originally posted by r3cc0s
sad to say but I gaurantee that sony mdr series is probably the most popular under 500

but they suck
you mean sony mdr-v###(dj) series?
post #12 of 1073
Quote:
sad to say but I gaurantee that sony mdr series is probably the most popular...

but they suck
even the mdr-r10?
post #13 of 1073
Quote:
Originally posted by r3cc0s
sad to say but I gaurantee that sony mdr series is probably the most popular under 500

but they suck

so I wish it was grado, however most people in the music industry, in my area only remeber grado for their carteradge

however... same goes with the ety's they aren't the most famous


i'd say the next would be the sennheiser 580/600 series
they were very common and very highly rated

(not overated) they are good


the SONY MDR-V6 is a great headphone. dont bash the good sonys. just the v###dj series and v600 and streetstyles and...
post #14 of 1073
oops my bad
i mean like dj500, 700 600 etc...
the v6 is good
the d66 is apparenlty good
I don't like the ex70
I don't like the cdr 1700
but I do like the cdr-3000

and i would like to try a r10 sometime
post #15 of 1073
Grado SR-80 : Great value, doesn't need amp, sharp clarity (ok I haven't heard the higher end models nor Senns), very aggressive for rock, soundstage is kinda weird
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