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What to get for classical music (upgrading from AD700)?

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
Hi Head-fi,

I have been using a pair of AD700 for the past year and a half, and am very happy with how it sounds: deep and wide soundstage, great clarity, controlled bass, great highs etc. Now I'm looking to get an upgrade, and all the research I've done so far narrows it down to the choices below:

Sennheiser HD600 (Probably best choice since it's more forgiving on the amp department, and it's well-known that recording engineers use it for making classical music recordings?)
AKG K702 (extremely popular among classical lovers but I don't have an amp that will do it justice and probably won't get one any time soon)
Beyerdynamic DT880 32/250/600 (I heard its sound signature is very different from the AD700s and the treble might be harsh?)
Denon D2000 (not open air, but generally regarded as a fantastic all-rounder that's also easy to amp)

Which one would give suit my needs the most? I listen to mostly orchestral music, solo piano music and some chamber music (string quartets) too. Sometimes even jazz trios. Cost wise, the Denons are the cheapest at $1800HKD, then the Senns at $2350HKD, the 702s being the most expensive at around $3300HKD. I use a Creative X-Fi USB HD DAC/Amp connected to my computer, where my FLAC library is stored. Will I hear significant improvements with whichever choice I ultimately decide to go with? I won't be upgrading to a desktop amp any time soon since I'm a starving college student and have little to spend on an audio setup, besides the headphones themselves.

Thanks a lot!
post #2 of 11

Can I make things more complicated by throwing in another suggestion? tongue.gif

 

I think the AKG K601's would suit you very well. I have heard they Beyerdynamics, but I've heard the others you listed, and think the K601's beat them all. Very well controlled, low reaching, textured bass, huge soundstage, and a great, slightly forward midrange. I think string instruments sound utterly fantastic on them, particularly cellos.

 

I've heard a lot of people say they are very hard to drive, but I didn't feel they were. They sound excellent right out of my iPod, and iPods aren't exactly known to have a powerful amp in them.

post #3 of 11

My prefered hp for classical is my beloved 650's.

 

I used to have the D2000's and thought they were amazing for big orchestral peices and Grand Opera (especially Wagner). However, for me that is all they are very good at. They have a very big sound stage with bloated bass and emphasized top end and not much in between.  Chamber music sounded too harsh at the top and piano sounded unatural (the foot pedals can be heard as much as the keys!).

 

If I could have afforded to keep them I would have... if only for Wagner. 

 

The general consensus is the 600's for classical. But if like me you listen to a more varied type of classical with lots of percussion etc (I love contemporary) and want a little colour and warmth mixed in then the 650's could be for you.


Edited by LugBug1 - 4/15/11 at 4:08am
post #4 of 11

If you can find a vintage AKG and add a more than decent amplifier you can have a set up that is perfect for your preferences. The vintage AKGs are usually 600 ohms. 

 

If you want to keep your set up as it is the K181 DJ might be worth a try. Some DJ headphones are better sounding than you would expect. 

post #5 of 11



 

Quote:
Originally Posted by LugBug1 View Post

My prefered hp for classical is my beloved 650's.

 

I used to have the D2000's and thought they were amazing for big orchestral peices and Grand Opera (especially Wagner). However, for me that is all they are very good at. They have a very big sound stage with bloated bass and emphasized top end and not much in between.  Chamber music sounded too harsh at the top and piano sounded unatural (the foot pedals can be heard as much as the keys!).

 

If I could have afforded to keep them I would have... if only for Wagner. 

 

 

 

Not trying to be argumentative, but if they had a "bloated bass and emphasized top end and not much in between" I wonder how they could sound good with anything, let alone what is usually the hardest genre to reproduce: orchestral. I owned the D2000 and I agree with your assessment of their sound completely, but I found them too bright from day one for orchestral, Wagner or otherwise. I always feel that if a phone has any part of the FR exaggerated like that it just doesn't qualify, period.

 

As I say, not challenging your assessment, as it's all subjective. Just wondered if you have any further thoughts on the matter.  

post #6 of 11

Sound is subjective, but an objective measurement could help.

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Not enough room to include D2000, unfortunately. Judging by your preference of headphones (AD700), DT880 actually seems closest to the the AD700 in frequency response. Of course, If you want a different sound signature, then you'd probably want to pick on of the others. Ideally, you would go to a store and audition them rather than have some random people tell you what to get. Assuming you live in Hong Kong, I think there are plenty of headphone shops there you could check out.

post #7 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by bonehelm View Post

Hi Head-fi,

I have been using a pair of AD700 for the past year and a half, and am very happy with how it sounds: deep and wide soundstage, great clarity, controlled bass, great highs etc.


Wondering what prompted you to consider an upgrade (being a starving student and all that  tongue_smile.gif ). If you're considering selling them to finance the upgrade isn't that a bit risky? Maybe you'd miss the huge soundstage, the fit or... the colour biggrin.gif I believe that even the AD900 (which you might expect to be an AD700 but better at everyting) has a less expansive soundstage.
If you're considering keeping them, would you be considering something complementary?

post #8 of 11

It is better to keep the AD700 to compare it with the up/side grade headphone. A Sennheiser HD438 with a bit of power could be very nice but if you want more the HD600 is even better. 

 

I will stick with the K181 though: AKG clarity, bass with two bass settings and a good sound stage despite its superb isolation. No amplifier needed...

post #9 of 11



 

Quote:
Originally Posted by pp312 View Post

Not trying to be argumentative, but if they had a "bloated bass and emphasized top end and not much in between" I wonder how they could sound good with anything, let alone what is usually the hardest genre to reproduce: orchestral. I owned the D2000 and I agree with your assessment of their sound completely, but I found them too bright from day one for orchestral, Wagner or otherwise. I always feel that if a phone has any part of the FR exaggerated like that it just doesn't qualify, period.

 

As I say, not challenging your assessment, as it's all subjective. Just wondered if you have any further thoughts on the matter.   



 



Yeah "bloated bass" etc does sound a bit dodgy! ha ha, but seriously I did like them for orchestra and Wagner.. Solti's old recording may have had sometihng to do with the Wagner as I had just reacquainted my self with the latest remastering, the coloured sound of the d2000's made it sound bigger and in my opinion better and more exciting than a more neutral hp would. Although I'm mainly into contemporary classical music now (which I found the D2000's too aggressive and false for) I also have a big collection of old opera recordings and the Denons added something extra to the smaller soundstage of old live analogue recordings. An added presence overall, and the extra colour at the bottom sounded great for chugging cellos for e'g. So whether it be Serafin's 1960's Othello, or Klemperer's Flying Dutchman these great old recordings do sound better with a bit of colour either end I find.

 

   

Challenge away my friend! I love talking about Classical music.   

 

post #10 of 11

How about a nice 15-band or 31-band equalizer?

I've read that the Behringer FBQ1502 is quite good, and only $99USD.

post #11 of 11

x2 HD600

 

ATH-A2000X is a big upgrade over AD700, and does far better with classical as well.  And many other genres, really.  It has much better balance and is much more analytical.

It's more expensive than the others mentioned, however.  It is an efficient headphone to boot.

 

There's also T50RP if you trick it out.  It is also efficient.  Depending on how you mod it, it can be bassy or very balanced, almost linear-like.

 

If you can't decide on anything in the end, AD900 can be considered the next step up, somewhat.

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