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Best Headphones for Jazz

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 
Recently gotten back into head-fi and am building a setup around my iMac.

I'm looking for a set of cans that do Jazz very well - since I listen to Jazz almost exclusively.

I will be getting a DAC and amp soon, once I've learnt more about them but until then I'll be running the cans out of the headphone port of my iMac.

I'd prefer a warm, rich and musical presentation. Comfort and fatigue are also of concern, as I'll be listening to them for long periods of time.

Budget would be about US$200, but anything less is definitely better.
post #2 of 21
Sennheiser HD600's should fit right into your budget range. Do you have a problem buying used?

Also, they should be driven ok enough to hold you over until you can get a DAC and amp. I listen to my HD650's at night out of my iAudio X5 and it's fine.
post #3 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by theobservatory.
I'm looking for a set of cans that do Jazz very well - since I listen to Jazz almost exclusively.

Budget would be about US$200, but anything less is definitely better.
Jazz and $200...this is so easy, AKG K601. You will not regret it.
post #4 of 21
Agreed. An AKG model will suit you very well. It's best with classical and jazz...
post #5 of 21
another good used choice would be the akg 501's which you could find a lot cheaper >150 maybe and have an expansive soundstage. if you want something new, the a900's are right at your budget limit, and are compatible with just about everything musically.
post #6 of 21
Thread Starter 
I've never really considered the AKG's before and I really wonder why. I'd love to get my hands on a pair of K501's but the "lean bottom end" as some make it out to be worries me. Does this problem plague the K601 as well? And how do these models compare with the Senn HD580/595/600 series?

And since I'll be running them out of the headphone port [until I get an amp] is the 120ohm impedance going to be a problem?

I've previously tried the Grado series. Loved the SR-60 though the highs were shrill and painful on Miles' trumpet passages. I've also tried the SR80, 225 and RS-1 (which was very disappointing considering the increase in price, the improvement was barely 5-10% so to speak). I guess the bowls just don't work for me, and on the whole Grado's seem to be a bit fatiguing for Jazz, what do you guys think?
post #7 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by theobservatory.
I've never really considered the AKG's before and I really wonder why. I'd love to get my hands on a pair of K501's but the "lean bottom end" as some make it out to be worries me. Does this problem plague the K601 as well? And how do these models compare with the Senn HD580/595/600 series?

And since I'll be running them out of the headphone port [until I get an amp] is the 120ohm impedance going to be a problem?

I've previously tried the Grado series. Loved the SR-60 though the highs were shrill and painful on Miles' trumpet passages. I've also tried the SR80, 225 and RS-1 (which was very disappointing considering the increase in price, the improvement was barely 5-10% so to speak). I guess the bowls just don't work for me, and on the whole Grado's seem to be a bit fatiguing for Jazz, what do you guys think?

ooh miles davis fan? anyway, i also have the k601. great sound with davis' horn. unless you're talking about doo-bop. the headphones will have enough bass. and yes the k601 need an amp but they sound good unless you're using an ipod. i think they sound just as good as, er6i and you're going to get an amp later right? go get the akgs
post #8 of 21
Thread Starter 
great! i hope to audition the akg 601 soon.

with regards to the akg series how far away is k601 from the k701's sq?

the senn's are still in my mind tho, having used them before [only the px100 and hd25 though]. i hear that the senn veil tends to soften the harshness of horns and the like but does this compromise sound quality? or am i still far better of with akg?
post #9 of 21
I think the k501s are great with jazz.I use mine with the Gilmore lite.Piano trios are wonderful with the 501s,and I love the way they make horns sound.
post #10 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by theobservatory.
great! i hope to audition the akg 601 soon.

with regards to the akg series how far away is k601 from the k701's sq?

the senn's are still in my mind tho, having used them before [only the px100 and hd25 though]. i hear that the senn veil tends to soften the harshness of horns and the like but does this compromise sound quality? or am i still far better of with akg?
Well, of course the K601's are not quite the equal of the K701's - they are the second model down the food chain. BUT, they'll get you over 90% of the way there for considerably less $$$. I compared the two, and decided on the K601's (mostly since they cost me over $200 less - look to www.buy.com for the best price I've seen) and have never regreted my decision - and I'm a jazz buff too. Plenty of bass - though the smooth frequency response my make them seem like they aren't producung as much. Give them a good listen, on as many types of jazz as you can and I'll bet you come to the same conclusion as VR6of Pain and myself, these are great cans for jazz (and anything else for that matter).

As to comparing them to Sennheisers, well, I find that the Senn's are to weighted in the bass to give me the smooth overal frequency response I crave (remember, I listen to Magneplanner's for speakers, and the AKG's sound more like my Maggies than any other headphones do - I love it). Both are good head phones, and I'd recommend listening to both for an extended period to get the best handle, as they do sound different. But my bet is you'll be happiest with the AKG's, especially for jazz.
post #11 of 21
also serious jazz lover of Davis, Trane, Byrd, Evans' piano, etc. NOT the smooth jazz stuff the radio plays today. Also female jazz singers.

That said, I'm running Portaphile maxxed with Ipod 5g. Now the word of caution. These AKG 'phones were apparently not designed for us portable users 'cause the cable is 9 or 10 ft. long. That's a heckuva lot of cable to lug around. Also, I don't think the termination is designed for miniplug but could be wrong. So if you're looking at AKG you may want to consider having them modded.

If you're going totally portable, might also check out a good IEM which are pretty unobtrusive.
post #12 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by JMCIII
Well, of course the K601's are not quite the equal of the K701's - they are the second model down the food chain. BUT, they'll get you over 90% of the way there for considerably less $$$. I compared the two, and decided on the K601's (mostly since they cost me over $200 less - look to www.buy.com for the best price I've seen)
Some one on this forum found the K701's for $244.42 with free shipping, NIB from a trusted retailer. $40 for an extra 10% is reasonable I think, but there's no doubt in the fact that the K601's can perform.
post #13 of 21
I'd recommend the Beyer dt900's. They will get your foot tapping again.

Just remember whatever you end up getting to amp them properly, so they can live up to their potential.

- augustwest
post #14 of 21
Thread Starter 
Sun's looking up for the AKGs. if i'm able to find the K701 for something closer to 200 i'd definitely get it. If not AKG K601/501 it is.

I won't be using them portably so cable length is not much of an issue. I have my iPod Shuffle and modded [paper filters removed] Sony MDR-EX51 which I find decent [until the portable upgrade bug bites again that is].

I guess i'll be moving my future questions to the amplication forum but for now, could you guys give me a nudge in the right direction when it comes to amps and DACs. The Gilmore Lite looks pretty good for an amp. As for DACs I have no idea.

Cheers
post #15 of 21
Thread Starter 
Alternatively would there be a unit that combines both the DAC and headphone amp as one?

The reason I'm considering a DAC is because there's no line in available on my iMac, only a line out and an Optical Digital Output (TOSLINK) which also serves as the headphone jack.

So if I'm going to run just an amp exclusively, I'll be running it from the headphone out, which I reckon is a little inferior. Not quite sure if this is true though.
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