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Head-Fi Buying Guide (Over-Ear Headphones)
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++ FULL-SIZE HEADPHONE RECOMMENDATIONS THREAD++ CLOSED: Please post a thread in the Introductions, Help and Advice forum - Page 1523post #22831 of 294901/2/13 at 9:20pmSorryI know this has probably been addressed several times in this thread, but with 2000+ comments my ADD doesn't allow for that type of sensory over-load I want to get my husband a set of noise canceling headphones for less than $250. He listens to audio books (text books, nothing fun), transcribes interviews, and watches movies on planes. I'm toying with the Sennheiser PXC 450, but would like someone with a little more knowledge/experience to give honest opinions & offer recommendations. When he listens to music it's usually Tejano or pop music (not an audiophile by any stretch of the imagination). He does travel a lot by air and tends to cram gear into a backpack, so durability is important. Some reviews mentioned head size as a factor so I guess I should mention that his head appears to be larger than average, but not grotesquely disproportionate.
Gear mentioned in this thread:post #22832 of 294901/2/13 at 9:42pmQuote:Originally Posted by KG Jag
The Senn HD 558 & 598 and AKG Q 701 are three excellent cans and great buys at their current pricing. In many ways the AKG is the opposite of the slightly vieled but smooth as very good whiskey Senns. The AKG will allow you to hear every musical voice and (as part of that) have a larger sound stage. the Senn HD 5x8 series has improved on the old HD 5x5 series that you have.
We need to know if you are looking for a desktop or portable amp. I can help with the former but not so much with regard to a portable.
First off, sorry for the late response. In terms of amps, I'm pretty locked in on it being desktop-oriented. I'll be using the headphones+amp to listen to music on my computer(primarily iTunes at the moment but hopefully this upgrade will get me to branch out).Quote:Originally Posted by derbigpr
1) K702 are technically better headphones than the HD595, when amped properly they will give you slightly better resolution, detail, better extension in both directions, better build quality,a bigger soundstage and they will simply sound like the more expensive headphone. However, their sound signatures are complete opposite. Whereas the HD595 is pretty warm with great full sounding mids and overall "thick" sound, K702 are somewhat bright and cold, very fast, analytical and light on bass. That is good for studio monitoring, BUT, for someone like you who is used to the Sennheiser sound, they might sound too thin and people often consider such analytical headphones to be boring. I agree, AKG's never made me feel the music, Sennheisers always did. Not to mention K702's chew and spit out any music recording that is not absolutely perfect. Forget about low quality mp3's, they will sounds like crap on K702's. Not that HD595's is totally veiled, but its not as transparent as the 702. You'd have to try one on your own too see if you like it. If I were you I'd go for HD598 or HD600's instead depending on your headphone budget. They will both be a natural upgrade to the sound you're used to. Both will offer better resolution, detail, soundstage, imaging than HD595's. But of course I understand you probably have the urge to try everything, its normal, maybe you should buy something totally different like the K702 just to try it and see if you like it. Some people love bright thin sound with little weight to it.
For pure music enjoyment, I personally can't recommend the K702 and would consider it a downgrade compared to HD595. I don't know how to describe it, but to me its like an analogy between a raw photo and a painting or enchanced photo. A raw photograph will give you better clarity, but it will never be as beautiful as a painting or a nicely blurred or modified photo. You know on your own that in order to make pictures, or even movies more beautiful, they're usually artistically modified, they will look less natural, less clear, etc., but be more beautiful.
AKG is a photo, Sennheiser is a painting. Its not as dramatic when it comes to headphones, but you get the point, clearer and more detailed is not always more enjoyable and more beautiful.
2) A headphone amp just amplifies the signal that goes from the source. The better the amp, the less it will change the signal and better power the headphones allowing them to sounds as good as they possibly can. DAC is a digital to analog converter, basically a source of signals that travel towards the amp. You can find them in many forms, in hi-fi terms most significant are the standalone DAC's (portable or desktop), soundcards, but they come integrated into other devices (usually lower quality) that produce sound such as PC motherboards, laptops, smartphones, media players, bluray, dvd players, TV's, monitor controllers, gaming consoles, etc. All stereo receivers,AV receivers, CD or SACD players, as well as some integrated speaker amps have DAC's built in, although usually not of the same quality (but still very good, we're talking about dedicated audio gear after all) as standalone DAC's that you can get for the price of those receivers or amp. These integrated ones are good enough for headphones of HD595 / K702 caliber. However, they will not be quite on the same level as the standalone DAC's, which cost more money, but offer slightly better sound. On the other hand receivers and speaker amps with DAC's give you significantly better value for money. For 300-400$ you can get a decent receiver that will not sound considerably worse than a standalone DAC. Usually when people have receivers or cd players, they dont really need a separate DAC, as the improvement in sound quality will not be significant. However if your source is a PC, laptop, or any device with a low quality DAC, you'd need a separate one so you don't bottleneck your setup and limit other components you're using.
In your case if your budget is 200$ for amp and DAC, then I'd advise to stay away from K702 as you will not power them to their full potential for that money. Rather get a HD598, it will be more familiar to you, yet improved over the 595 in every way, most people prefer it for music listening over the AKG's anyway. And for the 200$ you can get a decent DAC/amp combo, together with HD598's it will sound better than K702's would with the same components. For 250$ (if you save some money by not buying the more expensive 702's) you can get something like O2 amp and DAC, and that will sound absolutely wonderful with HD598's.
I immensely appreciate your thorough response. On the first point I have to say, you make some really interesting arguments for and against the AKGs. In regards to the contrast between Sennheiser's having a more lush/warm sound and AKG a more cold/analytical, I can't help but find myself torn. On one hand, I follow the mindframe of wanting to go out and try something completely different but, on the other hand I also love the Sennheiser sound and I'm worried that the AKGs may be too drastic of a change. As a little back-story, when I got the Sennheisers, I was coming from a $25 pair of sony IEMs that I can't even remember the name of(needless to say, I was blown away hah). Consequently, in making this upgrade from my broken HD 595s, I'm hoping to make an equally large step upwards in "audio bliss", and I'm somewhat worried that the HD 598s or 600s would be a smaller step than the AKGs. Hopefully that makes sense haha.
In regards to the second section, and as a disclaimer in general, I will primarily be using these headphones to listen to music on my computer and then secondarily using them to listen to games/movies on my xbox(I don't have any speakers). That said, do you think it would be better to just invest in a receiver? As it seems that, from what I've seen, amps/dacs in my price-range do not allow for easy-switching between audio-channels(if that makes sense). It's a decent factor for me and I'm wondering if there are any amps/dacs that can do something like that or if that's not what they're made for.
On a semi-tangent, the difference between listening to music through my receiver and straight-through the headphone jack in my computer tower is substantially noticeable to even me. So what I'm wondering is, was my receiver acting as an amplifier, a dac, or both? I know for a fact that the soundcard on my pc is old and vanilla so I need to know which option is can "override" the badness that is my soundcard and then give me the best sound possible for the money.
Thanks again for all the response guys, they're very much appreciated and I'd love to hear anyone else's thoughts on the AKGs vs the Sennheisers. Cheers :)
Edited by Grazel - 1/2/13 at 9:44pmpost #22833 of 294901/2/13 at 11:27pmQuote:Originally Posted by TrueToTheMusic
I've been looking at the Beyerdynamic DT 880's for a while, and have heard mixed things. The Sennheiser HD 650's look fantastic! What are your thoughts on the HiFiMAN HE-300? Portable 'phones, The Phillips Citiscape Uptowns caught my attention.
Thanks for replying:)
The HE-300 are generally viewed as just being OK. The ortho HE-400 and (especially) the HE-500 are much better--and much more expensive.
Most folks will find the Phillips a bit too bassy/colored for your genres that you have mentioned.post #22834 of 294901/2/13 at 11:44pmQuote:Originally Posted by gailedeg
SorryI know this has probably been addressed several times in this thread, but with 2000+ comments my ADD doesn't allow for that type of sensory over-load I want to get my husband a set of noise canceling headphones for less than $250. He listens to audio books (text books, nothing fun), transcribes interviews, and watches movies on planes. I'm toying with the Sennheiser PXC 450, but would like someone with a little more knowledge/experience to give honest opinions & offer recommendations. When he listens to music it's usually Tejano or pop music (not an audiophile by any stretch of the imagination). He does travel a lot by air and tends to cram gear into a backpack, so durability is important. Some reviews mentioned head size as a factor so I guess I should mention that his head appears to be larger than average, but not grotesquely disproportionate.
Most of us who frequent this thread aren't big fans of or have much experience with active noise canceling cans. I know that they tend to be expensive for the sound quality they deliver and most tend to be lightly built.
Hopefully someone will give you more assistance. However, if that does not happen, it's not because you are being ignored.post #22835 of 294901/3/13 at 12:20ampost #22836 of 294901/3/13 at 5:02amQuote:
So would the Sennheiser HD 650 be good for all round? and could you give and ideas on a under £100 pair?post #22837 of 294901/3/13 at 12:05pmQuote:Originally Posted by TrueToTheMusicQuote:
So would the Sennheiser HD 650 be good for all round? and could you give and ideas on a under £100 pair?
Yes--the HD 650 are excellent, classic cans. I love mine for rock, especially when paired with my HiFiMan EF-5 hybrid amp.
Making the dubious assumption that your budget translates into $120 to $140 in the U.S. market, I recommend the Senn HD 25-1-II (assuming Senns are cheaper in Europe), KRK KNS 8400 (with optional short cord that can be changed out with standard detachable longer cord) and Sony MDR-ZX700 or Sony DR-ZX701IP (which is the same can with i-stuff controls). The CAL! is also good as long as you are careful with it.post #22838 of 294901/3/13 at 12:32pmQuote:
I own the 518, but not the 558. From comments by others and FR graphs, it seems that the 518 are the bassiest of the three 5X8 headphones, all three of which share the same drivers. Of the open headphones I own, the ATH-AD700 and Fostex T50RP are less bassy than the 518; the AD700 very much so.post #22839 of 294901/3/13 at 12:58pmI'm looking for a good recommendation for around-ear headphones (not the ones that press up against the ear or on-ear, I wear glasses and they hurt after a while). I have the Bose AE2 headphones right now, and while they're super comfortable, I'm not entirely satisfied with their performance. Here's what's really important to me in a pair of headphones:- Good bass response. I know audiophiles think more bass is bad, but I listen to a lot of electronic music where I'd prefer some nice bass. The AE2's I have are definitely lacking in this field.- Comfortable / not too heavy. Need to be around-ear. I wear them at work all day. AE2's are great for this.- Can fold up somehow. My AE2's can rotate the ear cups so they can be somewhat flat in my backpack pouch. That's all I need, I don't need them to do any more than that or fold in half or anything.- In-line or on-headphone volume controls would be nice but not required.- I really don't like noise canceling headphones, so if the best pair happens to be noise canceling I'd like the option to simply turn that feature off while still being able to listen to music.- Some headphones are just as loud on the outside as they are on the inside. I work in a quiet place and would rather not bug people with my loud music. AE2's are pretty good in this category.I'd really appreciate anybody's help with this. Thanks so much!Edit: Oh, and price doesn't really matter. I'd rather have headphones that suit my needs than save a few bucks.post #22840 of 294901/3/13 at 1:00pmQuote:Originally Posted by MarcoGVQuote:
I own the 518, but not the 558. From comments by others and FR graphs, it seems that the 518 are the bassiest of the three 5X8 headphones, all three of which share the same drivers. Of the open headphones I own, the ATH-AD700 and Fostex T50RP are less bassy than the 518; the AD700 very much so.
From my research (and listening), only the HD 558 and 598 share the same driver. And yes--the 518 is the most bass oriented of the three.post #22841 of 294901/3/13 at 1:08pmQuote:Originally Posted by kazestyle
Hey guys, I'm looking for entry closed headphones around $40(willing to go up a bit its worth it) with this price range I know I cant ask for much, but I'm looking for a pair that has low sound leakage above all else. It would be nice if they were exceptionally comfortable or sound decent ,for their price of course, but sound leakage is priority. I listen to many genres but mainly jazz and house. I was considering the Audio-Technica ATH-M30 or the Monoprice MHP-839, but all other recommendations are welcome. Thanks.
The Beyerdynamic DT-235 and Philips SHL-5500 should also be considered.post #22842 of 294901/3/13 at 1:24pmQuote:
According to the opening post at http://www.head-fi.org/t/609634/hd-518-teardown-with-a-shocking-twist, they all share the same driver, part number 93481B.post #22843 of 294901/3/13 at 2:34pmQuote:Originally Posted by MarcoGVQuote:
According to the opening post at http://www.head-fi.org/t/609634/hd-518-teardown-with-a-shocking-twist, they all share the same driver, part number 93481B.
If so, they have certainly tuned and tweaked the HD 518 version far differently than the two bigger siblings. The HD 558 & 598 sound very similar and there is a tape removal mod for the HD 558 that makes it sound almost like a HD 598 clone. On the other hand the 518 is darker; has a smaller sound stage; and is easier to drive from low powered portable devices.post #22844 of 294901/3/13 at 10:00pm
Hello all! I'm a newbie audiophile, looking for a recommendation.
I enjoy electronic music most of all. I tend to like Breakcore, IDM, ambient and the like (Venetian Snares, Aphex Twin, Squarepusher, Autechre, Boards of Canada, etc). I also enjoy rock music and stuff, I'm not restricted to just electronic, its just what I listen to the most (that's besides the point).
I own a pair of Sennheiser 280 pros and, while I like them a lot, I find that faster beats (as in breakcore) tend to sound muddled together if that makes sense, and it doesn't sound as "warm" as I'd like when listening to Boards of Canada. Not sure if I'm using the word "warm" correctly... They've also endured a lot of damage (I've owned them for YEARS). I was going to replace them with another pair, but I think it is time for an upgrade.
I know this is kind of a vague request, but can anyone who's had listening experience with these genres recommend a pair of headphones? I'm not too worried about them being too big or power hungry, they won't be leaving my desk and I have a Xonar Essence sound card that I'm going to use (build in amp).
My budget is around $250-$300 but I can go a little more if it is something that would be worth it. Less would also be awesome, but that probably wont happen around here.
Thanks in advance!
.post #22845 of 294901/3/13 at 11:49pm
I'm on a severe budget; basically looking for the best over ears, DJ can option for under $50. I've been really enticed by the Monoprice MHP-839's (Kicker HP541 rebrands), but people keep saying they're too heavy for one to have his head down, looking at a mixer or jogs. Can anyone else recommend a better option? I come from IEMs, EPH-100s, so those are my babies right now basically when it comes to SQ haha, I just need something functional for DJ'ing with some good SQ of course. I have a FiiO E11 I can drive the new cans with, been pretty much useless on the EPH's. Thanks for any suggestions!
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