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In your opinion, can open headphone + desktop amp for $450-500 clearly "beat" Se535 or Westone 4?

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 

Hi all! I'm toying with the idea of switching from iems to open cans.

 

My audio experience has been exclusively iems. But I just sit in an office all day. I have to be able to hear the phone or the door knock which almost makes the iems a disadvantage. I'll keep the ER4P for working at a coffee shop, etc.

 

Now, I know that iems and earphones have different strengths. But I would hate to take a lateral move though in sound quality. I want something bigger and better.

So far my favorite earphones have been the SE535, Westone 4 and the ER4P. I think the Se535 is the sound signature I like the most, though something between the W4, w/ controlled bass and extended treble, and SE535, with its lush mids, would be perfect. I have liked etymotics a lot, too, though I have yet to hear the ER4S.

 

I listen to mostly classical, lots of jazz, and some folk/rock/world (anything from Loreena Mckennit to Radiohead). I have mostly lossless on my ipod classic, though some 320bps. I'm not in need of a dac yet since i'm listening from the Ipod Classic, though I will probably move away from the classic when it croaks and get a DAC.

I'm looking at around $450-500 for desktop amp and headphones. It'll be tight but I hope I can get it done with your help! If of course, its recommended!

From reading up, good options for me seem to be DT880 (600 ohm) and HD600. I'm open to others and almost completely unaware as to what would be a good amp. I hate to mention the E9 because I don't want to limit people's input but I have been considering it.

Thanks for any suggestions!

 

(I’ve put this in the headphone forum as well but it seems like there are not many who frequent both often)

post #2 of 13
This is a great question!

Sorry I can't answer, but I'll be watching other's responses with keen interest.
post #3 of 13

Im also pretty interested. I got the same problem at my work. I cannot put on my W4's because I need to hear the phone / doorbell ring and I need to hear other people when they ask me something.

 

And I am also looking at the DT 880 / 990 600ohm to use for home and mabye work. I am buying the Beyers with the Little Dot MKIII amp, it looks really good and the reviews are also mostly positive.

post #4 of 13

I don't think any headphone + amp combo can beat the SE535 for the same price.

post #5 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by Xcellent View Post

Im also pretty interested. I got the same problem at my work. I cannot put on my W4's because I need to hear the phone / doorbell ring and I need to hear other people when they ask me something.

 

And I am also looking at the DT 880 / 990 600ohm to use for home and mabye work. I am buying the Beyers with the Little Dot MKIII amp, it looks really good and the reviews are also mostly positive.


I hope you are aware that DT990 have bright highs (that's why like new pair is on sale now) while DT880 aren't bright but also not as detailed as DT990 are
post #6 of 13

I would have recommended the SRH840 for $100 if open headphones weren't a requirement

post #7 of 13

open can headphones with an amp can beat any top end earphone at double the price.

 

i was remarking to my better half the other day, how my grado sr80 amped sounds better than my triple driver custom amped. given a quiet environment of course. and the grados are a fraction of the cost!

 

this led me to believe that for supra aural enjoyment i would be better off with full size cans like the hd800 and lcd2. current top tier customs simply can't hold a candle to them even though they're priced the same. and i'm sure its obvious why this is through since on one end you're dealing with a pair of headphones that can move air freely with a large headroom, and customs/earphones have limited headroom and space.

 

i would suggest semi open for portable use, and full open for home/office use. the sennheiser hd600 and the DT880 are very good options but if you wish to spend more on a good desktop amp, you might want to consider cheaper alternatives.

post #8 of 13
Thread Starter 

So far from the advice I've read, its way better to put more in a headphone than an amp. Would you agree or disagree?
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Saintkeat View Post

open can headphones with an amp can beat any top end earphone at double the price.

 

i was remarking to my better half the other day, how my grado sr80 amped sounds better than my triple driver custom amped. given a quiet environment of course. and the grados are a fraction of the cost!

 

this led me to believe that for supra aural enjoyment i would be better off with full size cans like the hd800 and lcd2. current top tier customs simply can't hold a candle to them even though they're priced the same. and i'm sure its obvious why this is through since on one end you're dealing with a pair of headphones that can move air freely with a large headroom, and customs/earphones have limited headroom and space.

 

i would suggest semi open for portable use, and full open for home/office use. the sennheiser hd600 and the DT880 are very good options but if you wish to spend more on a good desktop amp, you might want to consider cheaper alternatives.



 

post #9 of 13

Find a used set of Stax low bias lambda/srm-1 amp. Close to your budet. I still prefer the SRX mk-3 to any dynamic but some find them too lean. Pre Lambdas also tend to need to have the contacts inside the ear cups cleaned up to sound like new.

post #10 of 13

@ imackler - that really boils down to what kind of headphones you're talking about. the higher you go the more an amp becomes necessary. in an ideal world we'd like to go half and half, but if he gets a decent amp (not over the top) paired with a decent budget headphone, he can upgrade his headphones from time to time without having to change the rest of his rig. if hes looking for an end all set up then with that budget its hard to do. anyways everything i've said is IMHO.

post #11 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by Saintkeat View Post

open can headphones with an amp can beat any top end earphone at double the price.

 

 



Have you heard tried any customs?

post #12 of 13

yes please look at my signature. i've had them for 3 years, and just had to remold them cos i broke them. on top of which i've heard the ES5, JH16, JH13, UE11, UM miracle. albeit all universal demos of cos. 

 

post #13 of 13

I actually prefer the JH13s to most full sized headphones. To me, with the exception of the sheer size of soundstage, most full sized headphones don't even come close to it.

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