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Arcam AV9 and Grado's?

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
I am a noob and have never owned full size 'phones, so please be kind!

My system is based round an Arcam AV9 P7 for music and movies. My source for music is Lossless files from the apple TV., Pioneer bluray for movies. I work nights and therefore am pretty much nocturnal. It seems that some decent headphones could make a big difference to my late night movie watching/music listening sessions.

I would like to get some decent 'phones, I love the look of the Grado range, and was considering the 325's. They will need to be run straight from the Arcam headphone socket rather than a dedicated headphone amp. I am not allowed to buy any more boxes a the moment (!) plus I believe that headphone amps are only for stereo (but happy to be corrected).

My question is, how good is the headphone output on the AV9, or failing that Arcam's generally. Is there any point me spending decent money on some cans, for eg the Grado 325's, or should I stick lower down the range, 60s or 125's. Or would I be better looking at a different make altogether to get good movie and music sound from the Arcam?

Unfortunately none of the local shops stock 'phones at all, so I have no chance to try any decent 'phones and therefore will be buying blind. All advice greatfully received!

Cheers everyone
post #2 of 7
You are probably going to get told to get a head amp at all costs, however I have been perfectly satisfied with the output from my Marantz AV8003, and my Linn Kisto before that. They can drive a difficult phone in the Sennheiser HD650 way beyond how loud I want to go, and with no noticeable distortion.

Many people who reply saying you need a head amp have in their experience the output from portables, mp3 players, laptops etc.

If you spend $5000 plus on an AV pre/pro there is every hope that the headphone output is of excellent quality. But I don't know the AV9 personally.

I believe the Grados are an easy load for any headphone output, even portables.
post #3 of 7
I have never listened to the Arcam AV9 but do have a solo mini and I did try some Grados 225's through its headphone jack. Sounds very similar to running them out of an ipod, the lower end Grados do not need amplification but when amped they sound more refined all around.

I have a tube amp which I use with a pair of RS1's and it is better than the 225's but the 225's hold its ground and they have a very similar sound signature with only the RS1 being more detailed and greater sound stage. I have no experience with the 325's

One thing you may not like the Grado house sound, not bass heavy phones but good speed and attack with punchy bass. The midrange is where its at, upfront and guitars sound awesome. The treble could be a little hot but to my ears its fine. This can is great for rock.

I have listened to movies with them and enjoyed but you may want a better can for a larger soundstage. Other suggestions would be Audio technica's ATH 700 or 900 models. Look around at the FS forums if you don't mind buying used and score yourself a good deal. Good luck.
post #4 of 7
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the advce.
Any other suggestions for good all round (ie. Music and movies) cans comfortable enough for all night listening, up to £200?

Thanks again
post #5 of 7
I have heard Arcam Solo Music (older version maybe) vs HD650, definately unable to handle it properly.

As for Grado and comfort, I would rate it as so so. And of course Grado is not known for their 3D (except GS1k) which may not be best for movies.
post #6 of 7
well the grados are fairly easy to drive, but the higher end model requires a good amp otherwise they'll sound similar to the lower end models.

anyway headphones are mostly personal preference, so the safest bet is just get a 2nd hand grado and listen for yourself. sell it if you don't like it.

post #7 of 7

I have an Arcam AV9 which I have used to drive a pair of HD 650. I haven't spent a ton of time listening to the AV9 through phones, most of my headphone listening is at my desktop. I will say subjectively that there is a noticeable improvement using the SD 650 with my fubar III over the AV9.

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