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++ FULL-SIZE HEADPHONE RECOMMENDATIONS THREAD++ CLOSED: Please post a thread in the Introductions, Help and Advice forum - Page 831  

post #12451 of 29490

I'm looking for a good set of IEMs for working out. I want something sweat resisitant, comfortable and with good sound for around $200 or less. I'm currently using the B&W C5 but think I'm gonna return them to the apple store as I keep hearing I can probably get more bang for my buck elsewhere. Should I wait for something like this to come out? 

 

http://www.amazon.com/Sony-Balanced-Armature-Sports-Headphones/dp/B006K55748/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1330274653&sr=8-1

post #12452 of 29490
Quote:
Originally Posted by Madhawanm View Post

Hi guys,

 

This is my first entry in Head Fi. Would call my self an amateur Audio Lover not Audiophile. :P

 

I have the Sennheiser HD 457 for around 2 Years and Want to move to something better now.

 

First of all, I like Open style of headphones . I hardly need isolation as I will use them with my laptop at home and Also, comfort is an important factor as virtually My headphones are on my head 12 Hours a day .I don't care about leakage and my priority is good quality music , more over I live alone so Who the hell cares about leakage.

 

Further, My budget is 200 US$. I am not a bass lover but having said that, I do prefer a good and tight bass response but not overwhelming bass.  I like my vocals and mids to be strong and not too bright.

 

For my music taste, I listen to a lot of Rock, Metal,some dance/trance, Rap and ..that would be all. I don't listen to Jazz/Classic/Acoustic/Pop.

 

I have chosen 2 headphones on my own research, 1) Sennheiser HD 518, 2) Audio Technica ATH M50

 

I have two options,

1) As i will use a laptop as my source with inbuild sound card,I want to get a dedicated amp. So, I can go for HD 518 + Fiio E10/E7., this will sum up to around 200 USD

 

2) I can also go for ATH M50 + Fiio E10/E7 as well.

 

Now firstly, I want to know that are HD 518 a good open headphones for my style, and secondly, do they benifit from the use of Fiio E7/10. The same for ATH M50 as well and how much of a difference could i possible notice in both these headphones with amps. I have heard that the HD518 respond better to amp. as compared to ATH M50. How far is that true?

 

 

Further, a bit different topic, I want to know what is the difference between AMP and DAC. For example, E10/7 are amp dac, I understand the function of amplifier but what does a DAC do and how could it possible give better quality considering I use a laptop as source,.

Thanks all for reading and responding.

 


Hello and welcome to the community, first I have to do my formalities: We take no responsibility for you wallet, and how much you spend on audio from this point on! (you will soon find out what that means) gs1000.gif

 

Secondly, regarding the headphones. I read good comments about both headphones, however, I would like to make a small suggestion. Meeting your criteria of an open-back circumaural headphone is another good pair. AKG K242 HD is somewhat in that price range and performs better than both headphones. Furthermore, regarding amping options for it, an E7 or E17 should do an excellent job. 

 

Regarding the difference between an Amplifier and a DAC (digital-analog converter), I have included my explanation from an older thread:

 

 

A DAC is basically a chip laying on a printed circuit board who's function is to convert Digital signals (in this case digitally encoded music such as mp3, flac, wav) into Analog signals. A sound card does contain a DAC chip, but it is not a dedicated DAC component. Here on Head-fi, when we say DAC, we refer to external dedicated DAC converter whos conversion is much much better than a standard integrated PC sound card.

 

Most people ask me: "why do you need digital signal converted into analog? I thought we only use digital stuff these days." Well the explanation is simple. Electronic devices such as Speakers, headphones and even TVs work on analog signals. Speaker/headphone transducers convert analog electrical input into an electromagnetic field which moves the diaphragm, and produces an audiable frequency of sound. Therefore, you need a good DAC in order to convert the Digital signal back to analog again. Then you might ask yourself why do we use digital encoding if we need to convert it back to analog? Again, very simple: for convenience, it is more practical, easier to store and convey. 

 

Digital is basically a copy of the original analog and its quality depends on two things: how it was encoded (from analog to digital) and how it is played back (from digital to analog). That is why most audiophiles still prefer Vinyl records (which are analog) to everything else, and they pay hefty money to be able to make the most out of it. 

 

Basically, to get the digital to sound as good as analog, you need to have two major things: 1) Good quality digital files. 2) Good setup.

 

This is how a typical digital rig looks like (i used speakers as an examle, but it is the same as headphones):

 

Computer (source)   = USB/Coaxial/Toslink cable=>   Dedicated DAC comonent (this is where the digital signal, now becomes analog)  =RCA/XLR Interconnecting cable (aux cable)=>  Amplifier => Speaker cable (standard/bi-wired) => Speakers

 

This is an analog setup:

 

Turntable (source) = RCA Cable + grounding=> Amplifier => Speaker cable (standard/bi-wired) => Speakers

 

What is a DAC/AMP combo (like the E7)?

 

It is basically an external sound card connected via USB/Coaxial/Toslink to your PC with a high quality DAC and a dedicated headphone amplifier. So it is a very convenient combo. 

post #12453 of 29490

I'm looking to buy my first pair of mid/upper tier headphones and would appreciate a few recommendations. I don't really know enough to offer any technical preference, but here is the best idea I have of what I'm looking for.

 

- A sharp, clean, and balanced sound. I mostly listen to rock from the likes of Third Eye Blind, Incubus, Billy Talent, etc. The remainder of the time I spend listening to music is divided fairly equally between classical and hip hop. I don't need skull-crushing bass or any other kind of sound bias, just a pair of headphones that will give me a higher level of clarity.

- I can part with $200 to $300, unless there is an exceptionally compelling option just outside of that range.

- I'd rather have a pair that I can use without an amplifier.

- As a layman, I have no idea whether I prefer closed or open back. If I receive recommendations for both types, I'll just go and do some research myself.

- These headphones will be pretty exclusively for use at home and on long distance trips. They don't need to be extremely portable, but I would like to be able to move around my house while listening.

 

Thanks ahead of time for your help and advice.

 

post #12454 of 29490
Quote:
Originally Posted by elshabador View Post
I'm looking to buy my first pair of mid/upper tier headphones and would appreciate a few recommendations. I don't really know enough to offer any technical preference, but here is the best idea I have of what I'm looking for.

- A sharp, clean, and balanced sound. I mostly listen to rock from the likes of Third Eye Blind, Incubus, Billy Talent, etc. The remainder of the time I spend listening to music is divided fairly equally between classical and hip hop. I don't need skull-crushing bass or any other kind of sound bias, just a pair of headphones that will give me a higher level of clarity.

- I can part with $200 to $300, unless there is an exceptionally compelling option just outside of that range.

- I'd rather have a pair that I can use without an amplifier.

- As a layman, I have no idea whether I prefer closed or open back. If I receive recommendations for both types, I'll just go and do some research myself.

- These headphones will be pretty exclusively for use at home and on long distance trips. They don't need to be extremely portable, but I would like to be able to move around my house while listening.


I would say usually (my two cents) that open headphone usually have a better all around sound, but you really need to use them in private away from distracting noise.

If you go for closed headphone, something like the KRK KNS 8400 (which I own) have a nice all around sound and the cups turn 90 degrees which should make it a little easier to pack.

 

 

post #12455 of 29490
Quote:
Originally Posted by elshabador View Post

I'm looking to buy my first pair of mid/upper tier headphones and would appreciate a few recommendations. I don't really know enough to offer any technical preference, but here is the best idea I have of what I'm looking for.

 

- A sharp, clean, and balanced sound. I mostly listen to rock from the likes of Third Eye Blind, Incubus, Billy Talent, etc. The remainder of the time I spend listening to music is divided fairly equally between classical and hip hop. I don't need skull-crushing bass or any other kind of sound bias, just a pair of headphones that will give me a higher level of clarity.

- I can part with $200 to $300, unless there is an exceptionally compelling option just outside of that range.

- I'd rather have a pair that I can use without an amplifier.

- As a layman, I have no idea whether I prefer closed or open back. If I receive recommendations for both types, I'll just go and do some research myself.

- These headphones will be pretty exclusively for use at home and on long distance trips. They don't need to be extremely portable, but I would like to be able to move around my house while listening.

 

Thanks ahead of time for your help and advice.

 



Serious upper tier headphones are very hard to drive from a laptop or portable player. Something which should work is HiFiMAN HF-400 which costs 400$ retail.. but it is considered high end. The company states that it is efficient and it can be driven from an iPod. About its performance, I am not sure.. what I am sure about is that HiFiMAN is definitely a high-end company which outclasses 99% of the entire headphone market. Only a few models can rival them such as Sennheiser HD800, Audeze, Grado Professional series, and very few custom IEMs.

 

Cant think of anything cheaper which is upper tier and performs well without an amp. I have a pair of AKG K701 which I bought for approx 300$ usd which is upper tier (probably not like HiFiMAN and HD800), but it does require an amp.

 

Maybe you would want to sacrifice a little bit on the headphone, while you buy a portable amp for example. Possibly Sennheiser HD598, AKG K242... not quite sure about this price range.

post #12456 of 29490

I just realised the last time I posted on here was when I was looking to move from Sennheiser CX-300s to Denon AH-C751s. That was three years ago, and while they still work, the Denon's aren't wowing me anymore, just like the Sennheisers did eventually.

 

I picked up some Phonak Audeo PFE022's for a very good price (£30 ... less than half RRP).. but they're not that special I don't think. I've ordered some Comply tips to see if they'll improve.

 

But in the mean time, I feel like I'm ready to move to some cans. My criteria:

 
Good quality, balanced sound. Yes to bass for when I want it, but no to muddy and artificial bass boost.
£250 or less
Detachable cord
Closed-back
Stylish - I know this is down to the individual, but I love AKG Q/K701's and Grados looks-wise (shame they're all open back).
 
Closest I've found to ticking all boxes so far are AKG K271 Mk2's, but some say they're only good for acoustic music. Also found the Ultrasone Pro 550s after reading some threads on here.
 
My music taste is eclectic to say the least. It's not unusual for me to move from dirty dubstep to some Chopin depending on how my mood changes, hence a need for balanced phones.
 
Source will mostly be my iPhone 4 (sorry), and I will couple my new buy with a Fiio E11+L3.
 
Thanks.
post #12457 of 29490

Thanks for the suggestion. Having done some reading, I think I'm leaning toward closed-ear headphones. I'm not too keen on disturbing others with my music, or hearing the random noises of my house while listening. I read that the KRK KNS 8400's have a good but exceptionally bright sound. Can you attest to that, and, if so, has the brightness been at all irksome to you when you listen to a certain type of music?

post #12458 of 29490

Thanks for the suggestion. Having done some reading, I think I'm leaning toward closed-ear headphones. I'm not too keen on disturbing others with my music, or hearing the random noises of my house while listening. I read that the KRK KNS 8400's have a good but exceptionally bright sound. Can you attest to that, and, if so, has the brightness been at all irksome to you when you listen to a certain type of music?

post #12459 of 29490
Quote:
Originally Posted by mikiphile View Post



Serious upper tier headphones are very hard to drive from a laptop or portable player. Something which should work is HiFiMAN HF-400 which costs 400$ retail.. but it is considered high end. The company states that it is efficient and it can be driven from an iPod. About its performance, I am not sure.. what I am sure about is that HiFiMAN is definitely a high-end company which outclasses 99% of the entire headphone market. Only a few models can rival them such as Sennheiser HD800, Audeze, Grado Professional series, and very few custom IEMs.

 

Cant think of anything cheaper which is upper tier and performs well without an amp. I have a pair of AKG K701 which I bought for approx 300$ usd which is upper tier (probably not like HiFiMAN and HD800), but it does require an amp.

 

Maybe you would want to sacrifice a little bit on the headphone, while you buy a portable amp for example. Possibly Sennheiser HD598, AKG K242... not quite sure about this price range.



Thanks for the advice. Do you have any suggestions for closed-ear headphones that I can drive from my smartphone without an amp? I realize I am sacrificing some sound quality with those parameters, but all I'm looking for is a solid pair that will give me a better listening experience than the typical earbuds or entry-level full size headphones would.

post #12460 of 29490
Quote:
Originally Posted by elshabador View Post

Thanks for the suggestion. Having done some reading, I think I'm leaning toward closed-ear headphones. I'm not too keen on disturbing others with my music, or hearing the random noises of my house while listening. I read that the KRK KNS 8400's have a good but exceptionally bright sound. Can you attest to that, and, if so, has the brightness been at all irksome to you when you listen to a certain type of music?



My son has the krk and I have listened to them some. Like most monitor headphones they are quite bright and real strong around 2-3k but if you put something under the pads to get the driver further from the ear they sound better. I used coax cable cut to form a ring that I then put under the pads. Worked great. Some recordings still sound a bit harsh though.

post #12461 of 29490
Quote:
Originally Posted by drtturnip View Post



My son has the krk and I have listened to them some. Like most monitor headphones they are quite bright and real strong around 2-3k but if you put something under the pads to get the driver further from the ear they sound better. I used coax cable cut to form a ring that I then put under the pads. Worked great. Some recordings still sound a bit harsh though.



Thanks! I have another question, since you seem experienced with modifying your gear: Do you think that modification is necessary with most headphones in order to get the sound you're looking for?

post #12462 of 29490
Quote:
Originally Posted by abbztract View Post

What's the best set of headphones I can get $200~ that will be good with FPS games and hip hop music?
cheers, Abz biggrin.gif
Quote:
Originally Posted by iamthem View Post

@abbztract
I'd say the m-50. They have good SQ and great bass. The soundstaging is good, but because their closed back it's not great for gaming. Audio technica's ATH-700 is a popular gaming headphone due to their incredible soundstaging, but their very bass shy. Personally I'd go for the m-50s

That's exactly what I was intending to grab but apparently it's soundstage and positional accuracy aren't goof enough for FPS games frown.gif
That's also what I've heard about the Ultrasone HFI580 and 780 frown.gif

Is there anything that performs like an M50 for music but is better at gaming too?
Thanks, Abz smily_headphones1.gif
post #12463 of 29490

The only headphone I haven't messed with is a CAD mh310 (superlux hd662). They sound fine to me just as they are. Plus they are glued together!  Some headphones are easier to mess with and respond well to mods. Panasonic htf600 are easy and can change a lot. Grado cans get modded often.  The krk has a unique dual enclosure that I didn't want to mess with much, and once again sound pretty darned good stock. 

post #12464 of 29490

So, I'm looking for 2 pair of headphones in the $200 USD (each) price range that will benefit from amping. I currently own a pair of HD555's that I've become quite bored with. I'm really just looking to find a nice sound signature and go with it. Just looking to get a well rounded collection before I jump off into a top dollar set-up.

 

Only things I'm asking for:

 

2 different pair

1 to be a closed pair.

Must benefit from amping

~$200 price range per pair (give it a nice $75 buffer)

Circumaural is prefered

 

The only types of music I don't listen to are rap (not hip-hop) and screamo, Everything else I'm open to, as long as it's amazing.


Edited by Ora M - 2/26/12 at 4:33pm
post #12465 of 29490
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ora M View Post

So, I'm looking for 2 pair of headphones in the $200 USD (each) price range that will benefit from amping. I currently own a pair of HD555's that I've become quite bored with. I'm really just looking to find a nice sound signature and go with it. Just looking to get a well rounded collection before I jump off into a top dollar set-up.

 

Only things I'm asking for:

 

2 different pair

1 to be a closed pair.

Must benefit from amping

~$200 price range per pair (give it a nice $75 buffer)

 

The only types of music I don't listen to are rap (not hip-hop) and screamo, Everything else I'm open to, as long as it's amazing.


AKG Q 701 on one side.

 

Grado 225 or 325 on the other.

 

I hav e specific experience with all but the 225.

 

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