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Where is a good store to demo headphones in Manhattan?

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
Where is a good store to demo headphones in Manhattan?

I went to J&R MusicWorld this evening and was completely disappointed with their setup. The HD580 right ear was not working. The HD555/595 was no where loud enough to get a good sampling. Same goes for the HD600/650. I also wanted to try the DT880 or DT890 and they did not carry them. It was a wasted trip.
post #2 of 11
Thread Starter 
I take it not that many places then?
post #3 of 11
They don't have Senns or Beyers, but how about the Qualia store?
post #4 of 11
My experiences in Manhattan:

Harvey on 45th st. has lots of Senns but you demo them standing up at the headphone rack. Only Grado on rack is SR80. Sales help is very weak. After listening there a salesperson asked what I thought and I said I tended to like the Grado sound and he said "So you like very warm, compared the Sennheisers." That did not strike me as being a useful or well-informed response. You will have to listen to their music. "We can't unplug them." The music playing in the store will make it difficult to hear the phones. You will curse Harvey and its high self-regard.

Sound by Singer
Has full range of Grados and nice people will set up a CD player and amp for you to plug and unplug and listen to heart's content. Cords will be all tangled together. But no one will care if you decide, on a whim, to listen to the RS-1 or RS-2 even though you came in to listen to the 325 or whatever. You'll have to stand, though, in a hall, and you won't be able to compare between brands because I think all the had was Grado.

Park Ave. Audio
Nice people will slightly grudgingly take a few Grados out of the cabinet and let you stand there and listen plugged into component of your choice.

Stereo Exchange
Salesperson will seem slightly put out if you don't want to listen to one of the headphones already out of the box and ask to listen to, say, an AKG priced at $200 or so. But you will get a chair in a listening room.

Have never been to Lyric

Innovative stopped carrying headphones.

Curious for anyone else's experience. $300 is enough money for me that I want to be sure I'm spending it on what I'll like best. Most places make it pretty hard for me to compare headphones thoughtfully. Annoying.
post #5 of 11
Thread Starter 

Me and my ears thank you for that excellent info.

post #6 of 11
Yeah, unfortunately I can't say I've been all that impressed with headphone shops here in NYC, but I think that's true whereever you go. Well, other than Tokyo maybe.

I know there have been threads if you do a search. The folk at Stereo Exchange aren't too bad, they have plenty of the lower end Grado (dunno if they carry RS-1/RS-2, but they do have up to 325i's). They also carry some AKG.

Dunno any good place to audition Senns other than those already mentioned.

Sorry, I'm prob the last guy to ask as I just got here, you might want to ask Jahn or Romanee or any of the NYC crew.


post #7 of 11
I thought immtbiker was running a place just outside of NYC, but I could be wrong.
post #8 of 11
The Qualia store of course! !
post #9 of 11
You could always audition at jjcha's place...oh wait, I have his best cans...

Then there's the wall of shame at J&R Music World...
post #10 of 11
If you wanna hear Grado, Sound by Singer IS the place. They'll even let you bring in your own amp, if you call ahead (and it's reasonably sized, I'm sure). I came in to audition the SR60 early last summer, and stayed for like an hour listening to the RS-1. They didn't mind one bit!

J&R is an "OK" place to go and just try headphones on. You'll get to see if they're comfy or not, but they have AWFUL music piped through the entire wall at all times. Still, if you're unsure how much the "Sennheiser Clamping Action" is going to bug you...

If you want to try out the DT770-80, Ultrasones, or the Sony V6, Guitar Center's the place to be. They've got a big box of demo headphones for you to hear from, but bring your own source (an iPod or something portable, I REALLY doubt they'd let you set up anything).
post #11 of 11

Guitar Center is decent; as of right now they have on display the Audio Technica M-50S + M-45, Krk KNS 8400, Beyerdynamic 770 + Beyer 880, Shure 840, and two random ~$200 Sennheisers.


Best Buy has the Bose and the Beats, as well as the Sony extra-bass series.


The Stereo Exchange has Grado's up to the 325's, but that's about it.


I'm surprised no one brought this one up; but AC Gears are #1 if you want to try out your headphones before buying them. They have a great selection, and their prices are extremely reasonable as well, either equally matched or cheaper than Amazon. Something you don't have in any of the other above stores.


Some mid/higher end headphones that AC Gears has:


AIAIAI TMA-1 Headphones

Marshall Moniter Over-Ear Headphones (really small and great sound too)

V-Moda Crossfade LP(2?) / V-Moda Crossfade M-100

All the Grado's up to the RS2i (besides for the RS1i). The RS2i's sounded surprisingly good, even including the fact that I am not a Grado fan. 

Sol Republic Tracks HD / Tracks Air Bluetooth Headphones

Thinksound on1 Supra-Aural On-Ear Monitor Wooden Headphone

Sennheiser Momentum, Sennheiser HD 600, and Sennheiser HD 650.


These are some headphones I remember being there. They also said that they should be getting a shipment of Shure and Beyerdynamic headphones soon, which should be fun :D 


A small store, with great selection, price, and customer service. Highly recommended!


Enjoy hunting! :atsmile:



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