Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Headphones (full-size) › Recommendations for 'phones with large soundstage?
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Recommendations for 'phones with large soundstage?

post #1 of 32
Thread Starter 

Let me premise this thread by stating that I have been researching headphones for a very long time (years.)  In fact, I am constantly reading reviews so the research is effectively ongoing.  I will also say that I thought that I had made up my mind on Grado SR325i headphones, but much to my displeasure, I read that their soundstage was very much "in your face."  This is the thing that I *hate* the most about headphones -- the sound is too "in your face."  There seems to be a lacking in the size of the soundstage and also a lacking in the "air" surrounding instruments.  I listen to a lot of "atmospheric" music and my reference album when testing headphones (or speakers, or anything audio-related) is Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon.  I have a MSFL disc and I know the sound by heart (I also own a few vinyl versions as well.)  

 

My budget is about $400 and I have a few CMOY amps around the house.  I have an iPod Touch and a Sansa Fuze and I am mostly looking for portability.  That makes things a lot tougher.  I have been looking at the AKG K701 headphones and I like what I am reading, but these things are honking HUGE!  I guess that is a common trait amongst 'phones with decent soundstage -- large size.  I have a small head, so this compounds the problem.  Sound is more important than aesthetics, but I'd really prefer NOT looking like a dork.  IEMs are very uncomfortable for me as well.  Maybe I am just too picky?  

 

Right now I have Shure e2c (modified,) Koss Portapros (also modified,) and px100s.   The Portapros are a huge disappointment to me.  The bass is so bloated and unnatural that they're difficult to listen to.  the Shure e2cs, I can't really comment on because they never fit into my ear properly.  The PX100 were just OK, but sounded very thin and I want "better."  

 

So to paraphrase what I am looking for:

 

- Decent air around instruments

- Less "in your face" sound.  Maybe something more relaxed, a bit slower?  Something that gives the music a bit of time before inundating your brain with a barrage of sound?  

- I guess it's not as important, but size is a factor.  K701s seems to be a bit big for my small head...  

 

Maybe $400 is too low of a price?  If you have something to recommend that is more expensive, do so!  I also have practically NO way to listen to any of these 'phones so it will be a "blind buy."  Or would that be "deaf buy"?  

 

Thanks!  :)

post #2 of 32

The K701s aren't that huge.  Here's some scale.

 

30 pages of google image search don't have the picture I was looking for though.  A side-by-side of the K701s and the HD800s so you can see what a big headphone looks like.

 

There's not a whole lot better than the 701 if you want everything to have a nice wide soundstage.  You might want to look in to some of the open back Audio Technicas.  Therey're supposed to have great soundstaging as well.  I dn't think they are any smaller though.  maybe just a little bit.

post #3 of 32

AD900, doesn't even need an amp like the K70x does :) Except it's pretty big.

post #4 of 32
Thread Starter 

God!  I almost sold on these K701... actually, the K702, are these the same except with detachable cable and black color?  That could make it a bit more ideal for cable replacement, perhaps...  size be damned, I may be sold.  :)

post #5 of 32

Look pretty much identical to me.

 

graphCompare.php?graphType=0&graphID[]=703&graphID[]=2621

 

That's probably withing the margin of error for this kind of thing.

 

I don't know that they are the same for sure though.

post #6 of 32

Seriously, the only can you should be considering is the K701 (or K702 depending on your color taste and if the detachable cable is important to you).

 

For good soundstage you really do need a big headphone, there aren't many small headphones with good soundstage. The best soundstage I have heard out of a small headphone is, listen for it, the Bose Triport OE. I am going to get shot for saying this but the Triport OE has the best soundstage I have heard in a small headphone that can fit in your pocket. But honestly it's not even on the level of the AD700 when it comes to soundstage.

 

You can also look at some IEMs which have decent soundstage, but none of them are going to even begin to compare to the K701.

 

You can also try the Beyers, which generally have great soundstage. I have the DT440 and the DT770, all of which have good soundstage. The Beyer house sound typically has recessed mids and this keeps the music from being "in your face" like a Grado and give the sound some depth. I also had tried the Senn HD580 which has the greatest depth out of any headphone I heard, it really threw the sound distant and in the far back, but unfortunately it had a very narrow soundstage (I call its soundstage a "tunnel"). 

 

post #7 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mochan View Post

 

For good soundstage you really do need a big headphone, there aren't many small headphones with good soundstage.

 


Thats true, the Sennheiser HD-595's have a great soundstage...but they are big. 

post #8 of 32
Have you looked at any of the criticism of the K-701/2? I owned a pair for well over a year and never did take a liking to them. They simply do not get vocals right. For lack of a better term, they're plasticky with the human voice. They always sounded "off" to me and I never loved them. Sure, the soundstage, comfort, build quality, etc. are all good enough, but whenever someone was singing they just sounded wrong.

The K-701/2 is popular because it is the top-end headphone of a major manufacturer and has a low price. So a lot of new members buy them and - often - love them because they are actually better than anything else they've ever heard.

However, some of us went to the K-701/2 having owned a bunch of other AKG headphones. I owned the K-501 for some time and still have the K-1000 and K-340. The K-701/2 simply does not measure up to AKG's best from the past. The others all have a very natural, realistic sound. The K-701/2 does not. To these ears, anyhow.

If you want a great soundstage, spend some time hunting down the K-501. The K-601 is also pretty good and sounds natural, but is not as good as a K-501. And the K-1000 is still the best thing AKG ever did. If you want soundstage, those are the headphones to have. The HD-800 does awfully well, but nothing touches the K-1000.

If you're open to speakers, you can sometimes find a used Magnepan MMG for $400 or so. They'll run off a $20-$50 vintage two channel receiver. Until you've listened to a dipole, you have no idea how good soundstage can be outside of a concert hall.
post #9 of 32

no other headphones cept sennheiser hd800 can compare with the akg k701 in soundstage. especially with tubes

 

ive had the sr325i. it had highs that shot up to the sky. ridiculously painful if you are not going deaf. also the bass spikes up in random places. imo Grados are the most unnatural sounding headphones.

 

the akgs are my favorite headphones when i want to relax and when bass irritates me. acoustic music and female vocals are amazingly natural sounding. 

post #10 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by wind016 View Post

no other headphones cept sennheiser hd800 can compare with the akg k701 in soundstage. especially with tubes

 

ive had the sr325i. it had highs that shot up to the sky. ridiculously painful if you are not going deaf. also the bass spikes up in random places. imo Grados are the most unnatural sounding headphones.

 

the akgs are my favorite headphones when i want to relax and when bass irritates me. acoustic music and female vocals are amazingly natural sounding. 

 

I think the k701s sound artificial, especially the soundstage.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by jbarbier View Post

Maybe $400 is too low of a price?  If you have something to recommend that is more expensive, do so!  I also have practically NO way to listen to any of these 'phones so it will be a "blind buy."  Or would that be "deaf buy"?  

 

Thanks!  :)


Well, for more than 400, the best soundstage I've heard from a pair of headphones would be the k1000s. They're a spectacular all round headphone. 
 

post #11 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by jjinh View Post

 

I think the k701s sound artificial, especially the soundstage.

 


Well, for more than 400, the best soundstage I've heard from a pair of headphones would be the k1000s. They're a spectacular all round headphone. 
 

tubes help alot for me for k701s but i cant hear the artificial qualities you claim. i usually listen to acoustic music on them. what type of music would you say exposes the artificial sound? 

post #12 of 32

If you want a good soundstage, Ultrasone's headphones have a pretty good soundstage for a closed set of phones. I'm working on a writeup right now about it.

post #13 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by blackzarg View Post

If you want a good soundstage, Ultrasone's headphones have a pretty good soundstage for a closed set of phones. I'm working on a writeup right now about it.


i agree with this. the pro series have very good soundstage.  it can sound kind of metallic for acoustic songs but they are amazing for electronic music.

post #14 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by blackzarg View Post

If you want a good soundstage, Ultrasone's headphones have a pretty good soundstage for a closed set of phones. I'm working on a writeup right now about it.


I never got the HFI-780's soundstage..

post #15 of 32

I just listened to the 780 myself a while ago. I didn't hear much soundstage to be honest. The Pro 900 is another matter, it had these weird "reverb" effect that made it sound like it had more soundstage than the 780, like it was in a large metallic room.

 

But HFI 780 was definitely quite closed in. It doesn't even begin to compare to the DT770 Premium, another closed headphone.

 

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Headphones (full-size)
Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Headphones (full-size) › Recommendations for 'phones with large soundstage?