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Need help deciding on an upgrade...

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
If you hit the forsale section, you can see that I am selling my HD575s (unintentional sales plug notwithstanding). I am interested in getting a new set of cans with these on the list:

Senn HD580
Senn HD600
AKG 501

I am leaning toward the 580s or 501s for obvious financial reasons, but if there is a compelling reason to get the 600s, I don't want to get upgrade-itus again in a few months (I just started in equipment in January, so I lasted 6 months this time). I am working with mskeen to purchase a Creek amp, and I already have a TA that I will possibly sell. I've read TONS of reviews/etc. My music tastes are classic rock, jazz (more fusion than big band, but some of that too), Classical, singer/songwriter (Joel, JT, etc.).

Opinions?
post #2 of 8
I'd say the decision between the HD580 and the K501 will be mainly a matter of taste. Maybe you should add the beyerdynamic DT931 on your list and try alle three or four models yourself. I think that's the only way to find out which phone suits your taste best.

Greetings from Munich!

Manfred / lini
post #3 of 8
Yeah, don't worry about the 600s for now. Either the 580s or 501s would be good. The 931s might be a possibility as well.
post #4 of 8
Out of all those phones which I've owned for some time or another, I prefer the DT931.

Some simple short comparisons:

Build:
HD600 - Even with its psuedo-marble it manages to be the best looking with excellent build and has a nice case in comparison to the other two.
AKG501 - Cool industrial look and smart design
DT931 - Looks pretty plain with a incredibly simplistic headband...but it works

Comfort:
HD600 - Are these phones fit for midget heads out of box? They need some stretching. Didn't seem very breathable. Nice soft pads but seemed starchy to me compared to Beyer Viscose.
AKG501 - Floats on the head, the most breathable of the three, but has the roughest pads of all three.
DT931 - Simple fitting that works, earpads are the absolute best of the three with its silky smooth viscose, and in terms of breathability is in between AKG and Senns.

Note: All three phones rank pretty high in comfort compared to most of the headphone world.

Sound:
HD600 - I'm not much into Senn sound, but these are phones that are hard to offend with no severe peaks or dips or anything of the sort. I thought they had a tad too much midbass and laid-back treble. The safest bet of all three in terms of sound if you are unsure of what you want. People say it has good bass extension but this is bettered by DT931's.
AKG501 - Very spatial transparent and airy phone, lacks extreme extension on either end. Might come off as boring and unlively in comparison to the others.
DT931 - My favorite phone as long as you find a way to overcome the brightness through amp or source. IMO shares the best qualities of the AKG and Senns. Because of the possibility of too much brightness in some setups is probably the least safe. My favorites in low-end and midrange performance. The brightness will make or break this phone.

Conclusions:
Either 580/600 Senns are the safest bet in both sound and resale. And if you don't like them they are a cinch to resell at minimal loss if any. AKG501's are similar because they are already cheap anyhow it is also easy to resell at a minimal loss. DT931's with their fairly high sale value, unflattering looks, and possibility of brightness probably aren't the safest in terms of resale, but for me the phones with greatest risk had the greatest rewards. To me the DT931 has some livelyness of Grado's, transparency of AKG, and even some warmth and solidarity of Senns in a proper setup. But I was picky in what I wanted, and I still think the Senns are the absolute safest bet to please so they definitely are the ones to try first.
post #5 of 8
JeffKiel, you can get a pair of HD 600's for $220 at http://www.meier-audio.com/ which is a really good buy for them and then you do nto have to compromise.
post #6 of 8
I have all three on your list. The HD600 is very very close to the HD580 in sound, making the 580 a much better deal. One big difference between the AKG 501 and the Sennheisers is the amount of bass they have. The Sennheisers might have a tad too much bass, where the 501 is slightly bass shy, in my opinion. If you use your TA with the crossfeed processor on, then the bass boost it gives is too much for my taste with the Sennheiser but about right for the 501. They have a different sound through the rest of their range as well, but I find them both enjoyable and pick one or the other depending on what I'm in the mood for. I find the 501 a little more comfortable. If I had to choose only one, and I'm glad I don't, I would probably go for the 580, especially with the Creek. I could also easily see someone else choosing the 501, so it's really a matter of personal preference. For many, the bass differences will make the decision easy.
post #7 of 8
I can comment on the HD580 vs 600 issue. Haven't auditioned K501 long enough.
I am one of those people who claim to be able to hear differences between the 580 and the 600s. To me the difference is small but audiable. HD600 have just a bit more extended and sweet treble and perhaps better resolved bass. This makes them sound a touch more opened and detailed compared to HD580. I should say again the differences are small and both are great phones. As it was mentioned before HD 600 are made of better materials also (carbon fibres and metal instead of plastic) and come with IMO nice storage box.
All in all, if you can get them for cheap go for the 600s. This is what I did, and don't regret it. There is a psychological aspect to it also. Now, I know that there is no place for upSennheisering (oops new word) until I win on latery and can afford Orpheus which makes me feel kind a "secure"
post #8 of 8
Thread Starter 

Decisions, decisions

Thanks for everyone's input. I have decided to get the HD600s from Jan Meier (by way of ODEEN). Given that this is such an inexpensive route to some really killer cans, I just couldn't pass it up.
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