Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Headphones (full-size) › Five headphones compared (KNS-8400, DJ100, HD-598, Sextett and MDR-7506)
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Five headphones compared (KNS-8400, DJ100, HD-598, Sextett and MDR-7506)

post #1 of 34
Thread Starter 

Today I had some free time and for my own amusement I decided to compare all my favorite headphones and take mental and written notes. I was most curious about which one really had the most detail and that was my goal. I also wanted to find which one sounds "just right" for most of my music. So what headphones to you have the most detail for under $200 NEW? What is the clearest sounding headphone you've heard at under this price? Please reply! Somehow I always felt that as you go up in price, the sound keeps getting clearer and clearer, but that isn't always the case. I basically stopped this short since so much testing is pointless and I hate over analyzing my headphones. It ruins the experience. I won't go into much detail about each and I've left off a few things in my notes. Remember, these are just my opinions.


Here are the headphones and a brief description of each:


KRK KNS-8400

 

This is the headphone that dethroned my precious SRH-840 as a favorite un-amped portable. It's that good and it's far more comfortable. Out of the box the treble is extremely ear piercing. Trust me, it goes away. This one surely is a detail monster to me. I think if it can be heard, you will hear it on the KRK. For listening to music just for fun, it's not always the best choice. It won't try to make your music out to be any better than it really is. It has the most treble out of all the headphones I own. It takes many, many hours to tame the treble. Now it's signature is kind of smooth and well balanced. People who love bass should avoid it. It's one of the rare studio monitors that actually SOUNDS like what one should be. It doesn't seem colored in any way. The absolute best thing about this headphone is how clear the sound is.

 

Sony MDR-7506

 

This one is fairly cheap and has a good level of detail. I don't have months of experience with this headphone. For me it has sort of an abnormal mid-bass hump and I dislike that. My MDR-V6 felt bass heavy, but this one not so much. The bass on the DJ100 seems similar, but it's better quality bass without that annoying mid-bass hump. The mids are OK, but they're not forward to my ears, which I wasn't expecting. Treble can be somewhat piercing, but not too badly.

 

AKG K240 Sextett LP

 

I wasn't a fan of this headphone at all when I got it, but it's growing on me. It seems to have more detail than I originally thought. The sound isn't as clear as it could be, but still better than the 7506. To me it's a far, far better headphone than the K240 Studio. Ok, not that much better. Maybe 15% better, if that. I would never pay over $120 for one though. BTW mine does have a Canare cable, so I don't know if that makes it any better or worse than the original. For a neutral Studio Monitor, it's still quite fun to listen to. Not that much though.

 

Koss Pro DJ 100

 

This one I like because the sound is very clear and has very good female vocals. The soundstage and imaging are also good for such a cheap headphone. This one just isn't as good without an amp despite what some say. This headphone for some reason seems more picky about high quality sources than the others. I don't find it forgiving of low bitrate files. The mids on this are slightly forward. They're one step under being bass heavy. The sound feels well balanced to me, but they do have very slightly rolled off highs. I'm testing this with the MDR-V6 pads. This to me has a more engaging and fun sound than any of them. HD-598 and DJ100 have some similarities.

 

Sennheiser HD-598

 

Unlike the DJ100, this one seems a bit more forgiving of poor quality files. It's sound signature is very smooth and balanced. Not too much of anything. To my ears it does not have the laid back sound of the HD-600, but still quite similar. I actually prefer this to my old HD-600. It's not better probably, just matches my preferences a bit more. This one has slightly forward mids and is very good for gaming.


Vocal Quality: DJ100 > HD-598 > KNS-8400 > Sextett > 7506
Clarity: KRK (easily) > DJ100 > HD-598 > Sextett > 7506
Bass Quantity: DJ100 > HD-598 > Sextett > 7506 > KRK
Treble: KRK > 7506 > DJ100 > HD-598 \ Sextett
Soundstage: HD-598 > Sextett > DJ100 > 7506 > KRK
Imaging: DJ100 > HD-598 > Sextett > KRK > 7506
Comfort: HD-598 > Sextett > KRK > DJ100 (MDR-V6 pads) > 7506
Level of Detail: KRK (easily) > Sextett > DJ100 | HD-598 > 7506
Mids quality: DJ100 > HD-598 > Sextett > KRK > 7506

RANDOM NOTES - Feel free to skip


I listened to many, many more songs, but got tired of keeping notes. Here's a few. I probably listened to dozens in many genres.



CHARA - Madrigal (track 5)

7506
The Mid-bass hump on this headphone nearly ruins the song and it just doesn't feel accurate. The sound is rather lifeless, but at the same time the treble is very slightly piercing at times.  This has the least amount of detail out of all of them. The mid-bass hump is just a very annoying distraction.

Sextett
There was a static like sound at the start of the song that I could not hear with the 7506. Vocals on this headphone are clearly more upfront and the sound is more engaging and fun to listen to compared to the 7506. Mid-bass is not a problem here.

KRK
Wow! So much detail. That static is so much more clear and easier to hear. It's impossible not to hear it. This one has the brightest and most clear sound.

DJ100
This clearly has the most bass, but without that excessive mid-bass hump. This one seems to have the least amount of treble. The static at the start of the song is now just as noticeable as it was on the Sextett. The sound is more clear than the Sextett, but not the KRK, but close. The vocals/mids are the most forward on this headphone. It has the most engaging sound with this song, but still a smooth sound signature. Cymbals aren't as prominent on this headphone, which is no surprise.

HD-598
I was very surprised to find that that static was just as noticeable as on the Sextett. This to me was a HUGE surprise. Compare to all of the above headphones, this one feels like it has the smoothest and most balanced sound signature to my ears. The mids are slightly more forward on the DJ100. Somehow the treble on this headphone still does feel as if it's more recessed than the DJ100.

Radiohead - Everything in it's right place

7506
Sounds pretty good. No complaints yet.

Sextett
Recording hiss! Once again it was almost non-existant on the 7506. The sound is only slightly more clear overall on this compared to the 7506. This headphone is much more fun to listen to while still being quite neutral.

KRK
Once again, the hiss is so much more present and can be heard for longer. I can't get over how crystal clear the sound is. So far, this song sounds best on the KRK. Much more clear than the Sextett by far.

DJ100
That hiss is present, but you have to be trying very hard to find it. Sounds good but nothing special for this song.

HD-598
Hiss is more present with this headphone than the DJ100 and 7506, but not the KRK. This song sounds best on the HD-598. KRK is second.


Pearl Jam - I am Mine

7506
Mid-bass hump makes this song nearly unlistenable

Sextett
Cymbals much more clear and present. On the 7506 they're are surprisingly more distant. Mids are so much better on the Sextett. Imaging on the 7506 seems much more poor than the Sextett. I didn't expet that.

DJ100
This offers better imaging than the 7506 and cymbals are much more clear and forward than the 7506. Somehow this makes little sense.

KRK
Cymbals sound great and similar to the DJ100, but are much more present during the song. Vocals sound very good on the KRK. This one definitely has the most treble. Imaging is very good. The sound is crystal clear and sparkly and could get fatiguing after many hours.

HD-598
The vocals sound the best on this. This offered the smoothest sound for this song.

Chara - Kiss

Sextett
This song sounds recorded in a room with a large echo. Sort of cave-like, but not that bad. It's definitely in the recording. This had quite a good soundstage for being semi-open.

7506
The echos are more present, but at the same time, the soundstage is lost. You don't feel as if you can tell what type of room you are in. Vocals are quite good.

KRK
This has better imaging, a clearer sound and much more forward vocals compared to the above two. The echos are very present and easy to spot, but I could just barely determine the type of room I was in.

DJ100
Vocals sound the best on this headphone, but the echos are not as present as any of the above. Big surprise there.

HD-598
This had the best soundstage and vocals were comparable to the DJ100


Boards of Canada - Hey Saturday Sun

7506
Not really fun to listen to with this headphone and the sound doesn't feel very clear.

DJ100
More engaging and much more clear sound and it's easier to hear some details.

KRK
Lots more detail. For ambient music, this would be my choice.


Chara - Beautiful Scarlet

KRK
Vocals sound crystal clear and forward

DJ100
Best vocals. No contest here.

Sextett
Nearly as good vocals as the DJ100, but not as clear. They're also much more forward on the DJ100 of course.

post #2 of 34

Nice work, i am in the marcket for a Krk soo this review helps.

post #3 of 34

The Sextett is a bit of an outsider. If you work out the right set up it can sound out of this world, it is typical for some vintage headphones. 

 

Interesting, the 'DJ oriented' DJ100 is second to a studio headphone. Some DJ headphones seem to be better than a lot of headphones you can find on the market, even for studio purposes...

 

Interesting comparison, thanks.

post #4 of 34

Nice impressions Tdock.  Like you I've been checking out the 598 also.  As an anti-Senn guy I've been very impressed w/ it overall.  Especially for classical.  Very neutral and very well balanced.  I think I might like the 598 imaging more than the DJ100, I'll have another listen.  The 558/598 are serious competitors unlike their predecessors IMO.  I presume the KRK ranking highest in clarity means they provide the blackest background as well?

post #5 of 34
Thanks for sharing:rolleyes:
post #6 of 34
Thread Starter 

I'm so glad a few people actually read my long winded review! I sometimes do things like this for myself, when I should be just listening to them and not analyzing them. Some headphones I just enjoy so much that it's almost impossible to do that. One reason I started doing this is that I got the 7506 and felt I had wasted my money since I couldn't return it. Darn Guitar Center! Why do I keep buying from them?! I always thought the 7506 was some sort of detail monster, but I didn't get that impression. I looked at it's frequency graph and it doesn't look like it has any sort of mid-bass hump, which is very strange. I don't trust any graphs anymore at all. The only one I've seen that looks accurate to what I hear is the K240 Studio's graph.

 

I should have added the ATH-AD2000 to my list, but that's kind of not fair. I like the sound of those but sometimes they're too shouty with the wrong music. Today I was listening to a CD called "In the Heart of the Moon" from Ali Farka Toure and it just made the HD-598 look like a joke. The HD-598's soundstage is just not even remotely comparable, but still pretty good. It's hard to give up the best gaming headphone I've ever heard. Audio Technica really ruined it with the pads. Doing a mod makes them a lot less "shouty" and makes them more comfortable. Soundstage on the ATH-AD2000 is the best i've heard.

 

I don't know why, but I was listening to my ATH-AD2000 while walking around my house and I got bored with them and switched to my DJ100. I think that says a lot. I think closed headphones sometimes do a few things better than an open headphone. Vocals seem to usually be better. Strangely I've always felt that closed headphones always had the best imaging. HD-598's imaging is quite good though for an open headphone.

 

The KRK is really something special. It's hard to suggest for those that just want a fun headphone to listen to. People who like a treble heavy and somewhat bass light headphone might love it. I like mine, but it rarely gets used. I would like to find a studio monitor that blows it away. I was thinking maybe the Beyer Dynamic DT48 25 ohm. Is that a pretty clear sounding studio monitor? I've heard the DT-250 is also pretty good. DT48 sure is expensive though. Hopefully the DT48 is as clear as the KRK.

 

Are there any extremely detailed headphones out there that are VERY unforgiving of poor quality source files? Maybe the D7000? I read another post in a DT48 thread and they mentioned the HD-650 fell into this category, which is a big surprise. The DT-880 is nice (preferred the 250 ohm version the most somehow!), but it's mids just weren't quite good enough for me. Too picky I guess. I wish I had tried it for gaming before letting it go. I just need to find the most detailed headphone there is, even if it's extremely boring to listen to. Sometimes all these "studio monitors" aren't even that neutral to me.

 

For "fun" headphones, the D7000 or the W1000 are on my list. I loved the D2000, but slightly less bass would be nice. I imagine the D7000 might do the trick. I had the D2000 for awhile, but had a guilty conscience about buying so many expensive headphones at the time and had to return it.

 

BTW I must be crazy, but the closest match to the DJ100 I've heard is the Sextett. Weird huh?  I wonder if the DJ100's driver is in any other Koss headphones. I doubt it. The MV1 looks similar, but I doubt it uses the same driver. For a DJ headphone I somehow expect massive amounts of bass for some reason. The DJ100 doesn't have that, but it's quite balanced with a little extra bass. The MDR-V6 pads made it even better than before. The V6 pads for me on the 7506 are supra-aural mostly, but not on the DJ100, which is a huge plus. An open version of something like the DJ100 would be really nice, but I don't know if it's possible.

post #7 of 34

The DT48 should definitely be more of the 'studio monitor' type of phone you are looking for.  The D7k is a very refined and proficient, fun, colored phone.  Just Utubed Ali Farka Toure, I'm guessing the 598 sounded a bit too dry, brittle and crispy w/ that CD.  I think the 558 would sound better on that.  The 598 is more a classical standout though it does many genres well IMO.  I'll have to try it w/ my 602 and see if I get a positive synergy.  But do try the DT48 if you can vs. the KRK.  It seems to be a very enigmatic phone still around these parts.  Gotta say, I almost want the AD2000 based on looks alone!  Gorgeous.  

post #8 of 34

Surprised at how uncomfortable you found the 7506, for some people that's their only saving grace..

post #9 of 34
Thread Starter 


No, they're actually very comfortable! For me, they're supra-aural. Well kind of a mix of both. It's just that all the rest I have are mostly extremely comfortable.

I only rated the Sextett above the KRK because it has no clamping pressure at all and doesn't make my ears hot. KRK is only more comfortable than the 7506 because the headband and pads are made out of memory foam. Not the cheap stuff you find on a Koss or Sony headphone. Despite having the same pads as the 7506 (mine anyway), I prefer the DJ100 only due to how they're circumaural when they're stretched to fit.

 

Right now I'm happy to say I don't own a headphone that's uncomfortable that I use anymore. UR-55 and Grado SR-80 are in a box somewhere. The supra-aural scratchy foam pads on the UR-55 are annoying, but when modded those things have a ton of detail for a $50 headphone, yet the sound isn't as clear as the SR-80, but more detailed. Somehow my SR-80 can't pick up recording hiss, but I thought they could. I was surprised.

 

Today I tried the M30 pads on the 7506, but they were worse somehow, yet they're basically the same design, but with more of those lines in the pad. They have less cushioning it seems, but it's hard to notice.

 

I tried the 7506 with gaming today and for a closed headphone it's not bad. The soundstage is terrible, but in SOME areas it's better than the DJ100 for gaming only due to having less bass. Still wouldn't use it.

 

I spent FOUR hours listening to my Sextett today. I said it in the review, but I keep liking them more and more each day. I swear, they're like a semi-open, more airy version of my DJ100. For a few songs I thought I had found a clone. The mids just resemble the Sextett very much. The K240 Studio did not EVER. I wonder how the modded T50RP's mids compare to the Sextett or DJ100. Does the T50RP have forward sounding mids like the Sextett? The Sextett mids to me, feel very, very slightly forward. Not quite as much as the DJ100, but I like them. Too bad there wasn't a fully open version of the Sextett. Maybe the k501 would do the trick? BTW I think it's safe to say I like the Sextett more than the K601 and K702. K702 just has a much more clear sound and MAYBE more detail? The soundstage is much bigger, but I never liked the soundstage on the K702. Due to that, sometimes the mids felt distant (not recessed, bit weird to explain).

 

I've also been wanting to get the T50RP for a few months but they're always sold out. I always love a headphone with great mids and lots of detail. I don't mind if they have rolled off highs. I imagine I'll like them.

 

Another thing I've found is that based on my experience, the Sextett is much harder to drive than the K601 I had. About the same as the DT-880 600, which doesn't make sense since that's said to be easier to drive than the K601. Of course it all depends on what I have connected to it. If I hook up my Oppo DVD player for CDs, then I only have to put my Asgard at 60-70%.

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by burnliff View Post

Surprised at how uncomfortable you found the 7506, for some people that's their only saving grace..

post #10 of 34

T50RP mids are awesome and forwardness is also pad dependent.  Rolled highs are only a concern if you choose not to mod them.  wink.gif

post #11 of 34

@tdockweiler

Nice review.

 

Some informations for you. The MV1 and pro4 Series are using the dampened drivers in my gallery. The Dj100 and UR55 driver is too new.

Well, as i said in the other thread, look up for some open Koss headphones, please. There are only a few good closed ones.

My last experience on the older K 240 Sextett was somewhat bad. The only magic on these phones is the deep stage and a bit of rocking ambition. Everything else is recessed, smooth and muddy. 

Start with these one. I know, could be a bit expensive, but a lot of bidders paying much more in that.I don't going to comment this.

You are looking in a far more refined sextett with multi layering stage? Get some HV/pro and end on A/250. 

post #12 of 34

The DT48E is different, I am used to listening with it but the sensation of listening with the DT48E includes getting used to its presentation for the first moments. The thread devoted to the DT48 is very informative. If you want to know, the DT48E is more merciless than most studio headphones you will find today but good recordings take you into audio heaven, especially more acoustic and live performances...

post #13 of 34

tdockweiler, the Sextetts took a while to grow on me as well. My W10VTG is both more detailed and more euphonic, and my K400 is also more revealing and analytical. I won't even bother comparing them to the L3000. At first I was rather unimpressed, considering their reputation. But I came to appreciate them more after a while. What the Sextetts do have is a very balanced sound, warm but reasonably fast and not too colored which makes them a versatile headphone. I cannot think of a "fully-open" headphone that sounds like the Sextett, probably the closest match I can think of in regards to overall tone is the W11JPN which shares some common traits but has a wider soundstage, better detail and bass, and slmilarly thick mids. Based on your sonic preferences I think you might enjoy the JPN more than the W1000, especially if you find vocals on the AD2000 to sound too "shouty" at times.

 

I agree with you that the closed headphones I've tried generally seem better with imaging than the open ones (though I haven't heard many of the high-end open headphones). I also did not care for the 7506/V6 very much, detail monsters they are not.

post #14 of 34



 

Quote:
Originally Posted by tdockweiler View Post

The KRK is really something special. It's hard to suggest for those that just want a fun headphone to listen to. People who like a treble heavy and somewhat bass light headphone might love it. I like mine, but it rarely gets used. I would like to find a studio monitor that blows it away. I was thinking maybe the Beyer Dynamic DT48 25 ohm. Is that a pretty clear sounding studio monitor? I've heard the DT-250 is also pretty good. DT48 sure is expensive though. Hopefully the DT48 is as clear as the KRK.

 

Are there any extremely detailed headphones out there that are VERY unforgiving of poor quality source files? Maybe the D7000? I read another post in a DT48 thread and they mentioned the HD-650 fell into this category, which is a big surprise. The DT-880 is nice (preferred the 250 ohm version the most somehow!), but it's mids just weren't quite good enough for me. Too picky I guess. I wish I had tried it for gaming before letting it go. I just need to find the most detailed headphone there is, even if it's extremely boring to listen to. Sometimes all these "studio monitors" aren't even that neutral to me.


The HD 250 Linear II is like that, but only if you plug them to a cheap source. I guess they would complement the DJ100 nicely as vocals are their slight weak point. But they are very extended and detailed and have good soundstaging as well (diffuse-field equalized), I found very few headphones costing more having this much bass and treble extension at the same time with a balanced sound signature.

post #15 of 34

I just found out about the KRK 8400 as it was mentioned in HeadRoom's latest newsletter. I see that you mentioned gaming with other headphones - what about gaming with the KRK? Also when you mention gaming, what type of games are you playing? I ask because if I were to get one, I'd most likely use it exclusively for FPS games on the PC and would like to have satisfactory bass/mid-bass for explosions & gunfire.

 

I also see that you own the AD2K, does the KRK have more or less bass quantity?

 

 

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Headphones (full-size)
Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Headphones (full-size) › Five headphones compared (KNS-8400, DJ100, HD-598, Sextett and MDR-7506)