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Need help on my first Audiophile purchase.

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 

Hey guys,

I was thinking that you could help me here. I am just entering the audiophile world, absent much money<lol>. i had my eyes fixed on the HD555 for over an year, and now that i read the review, i think i'll be going for the HD558. The problem is, i use a phone for music and onboard PC audio for gaming. So would i be needing an amp/DAC for the HD558's?


So, i had the phillips shp2500 for quite some time now, and i broke them at about Twelve (12) different places, not that i am abusive, but the build quality really doesnt hold. The ergonomics were pretty nice, but again the build quality spoiled my day.

 

Now, there is really something i have to mention here-

 

1.The volume- The SHP2500 @ 20$ really have good sound reproduction. Only if you can hear it. The thing is, i have onboard audio(rlc88+srs) and the volume the 2500's give me is terrible. It is really distracting and annoying while watching movies and listening to music. But during games, it really is ok, the sound has a certain crispness and tight bass. So now you know one of the things i prefer.



Continuing with the story, i got sennheiser's HD202's as a gift. They are awesome. Really. The bass is exactly spot on and the volume and density of the sound is really rich. The problem with them is that they are a bit uncomfy. I prefer more ear coverage. So, circumaural is the way to go.
Again i mention, My PC's onboard audio handles them fairly well, atleast i can hear stuff. During games, the volume becomes unbearable, and i have to lower it. But while vids and music, on the pc, i am somewhat left craving for more.


Now comes the major part. I have an Nokia E-72 now, which is a really awesome phone. It takes REAL advantage of everything the 202 has to offer. The bass is rich, the mids crisp and the highs orgasmic.
I listen to music mainly on the E72, and i prefer it that way. The 2500's fair better on the phone than on the pc, and i really dont care now, since the 202's are the primary. Seriously speaking, the E-72 can drive the 202's really well.

So here comes the criteria-
1. Music- Mozart-like classical + House/deep punchy bass.
2. Movies- the whole bunch.
3. Games- it really doesnt matter here, as long as the Music part is handled, this is a piece of cake.

And here is the confusion-
1. I have to Upgrade to more comfortable cans. circumaural is first priority.
2. I dont really have the money for buying an amp. So its gotta perform well (atleast loud enough) on both my PC and my phone.
The pc is avoidable, since i'll prolly be ditching it for a laptop or a PC with a soundcard. The phone is the real priority. I can tell you that it handles the 202's very gracefully.
3. The open/closed thing really doesnt bother me much.

 

The cans i shortlisted-

Siberia V2

Vs HD555

Vs AD700

Vs Grado Sr80i

Vs Megadolon

Vs HD558
I present you with the options i shortlisted. I know its a weird list, but it started with the megadolon, which is NOT for anything else except PC. So its out of the question unless there's a workaround.
The sr80's are not circumaural but have nearly the best sound.
The AD700's i have no idea about.
The Hd555 i am not sure if my PC or my future laptop can drive them well enough. Other wise, they are the best option, and i am probably gonna buy these.
The siberia V2, i am confident about, just that they really dont provide that level of comfort and "audiophile-ness".

Please, gods of audio, tell me, How important is it to get an amp?
What do the HD555/AD700's sound like, au naturele??

Pls feel free to correct and suggest me better stuff.

 

EDIT-
Just saw the HD558's, and read they are a major improvement over The 555's.
How abt 558 + a fiio e5?
Should be barely affordable?

 

The HD558'8 really improve over the AD700's and the HD555's. It has an improved soundstage , but looser bass.

Sr80i is actually quite in the price range. But, they arent circumaural and i have no idea how much power is needed to drive them properly.

I have basically included the siberia and the megadolon coz they are more "consumer" headsets, and not exotic. That means, i will have a better probability of being satisfied by them, as they target a MUCH wider audience. Plus (somewhat a minus too) the megadolon has the fancy maelstrom.

The AD700's are easier to drive?


The last thing is, i really dont have the money to buy a good DAC/amp, i'll be holding off on that purchase for abt an year. I can maybe fit an e5 into my budget, so would it be worth it? will it cause a difference that is noticeable? will it be enough?

 

Some more questions-
1. Can The HD558's can achieve full glory without amps? I know that this sounds kiddish, but is the signature same as the HD202's for the 558's without the amp?
The reason i ask is coz i had the phillips shp2500 before, and i dont know why but they sounded flat on both the PC and the phone. I mean the volume so hollow and low that appreciating music was impossible. But having the same impedanc,e the HD202 really impressed me, atleast on the phone. If I really have to-

2. I could squeeze an amp into my budget, what do you recommend below the 100$ range? As in i can barely afford a fiio e7. Is it good enough for the HD558?

Also, i might invest in a bigger better amp, if i save money right now. So if it makes a godly difference, should i buy the fiio e5/JDSlabs Cmoy and ditch the expensive e7?
I know its small and all, but seems that i might need it to extract the worth of the HD558's till the time i get a better dac+amp.
But i need to ensure that the sound will be radically altered or atleast better than stock.
Will it make a difference enough to justify its price?

 

Note- I know i sound incoherent, this is because all of the above is from different forums. I didnt get a satisfactory response. So i decided to step it up and come to you guys. Thanks for any help you can offer.

 

EDIT 24/6/11-

Pls Read my latest post, i have locked on the HD558, and there's another contender in the mix- THE M50s.

{sorry for sounding cheesy}

 


Edited by tharkimaa - 6/23/11 at 2:24pm
post #2 of 18

Hey man, I've owned the HD555, the HD558, and the HD202, so I'll give you my impressions:

 

I liked the HD202 when I first put them on, but after further listening I was unsatisfied with how they sound a little muddy in comparison to the other phones I had near that time (ATH-M50 and HD555).  The HD202 has a nice fun signature that is centered around the bass, but the bass is not very fast and can get muddy quickly.  If I remember correctly, the highs were rolled off and irregular, and the mids felt a little overwhelmed by the bass.

 

Now, if you switch over to the HD555, you will find that the frequency balance is very different; it's more balanced across the spectrum with some emphasis on the mids as well as the upper bass.  So if it was the balance of the HD202 that you liked so much, you will find the HD555s just a little weak on the bass.  HOWEVER I am not hesitant to say that the HD555 is a major upgrade over the HD202; you get a lot more detail, more clarity in the mids and bass, better extension on both sides, more comfort, and an amazing soundstage (this is the big one) that will really show the power of an open can.

 

As for the HD558, I bought them because after selling my HD555s for my M50s, I missed the big soundstage of the HD555.  So, I could not to a direct comparison, but I believe they have similar sound but the HD558 has more bass.  Anyhow, both are great cans.  I think the HD558 looks cooler.

 

You don't need an amp for either one!  If you have the money for a $50 amp, I think it'd be better to save up for something like the amazingly clear and versatile FA-003, which I have now and love to death.  It does not require an amp either.

 

If you are using these outside remember that open cans like the HD555/HD558 AD700 SR80 leak a lot of sound, don't isolate, and look big on the head.


Edited by Hayang - 5/3/11 at 10:22am
post #3 of 18

As for what the HD555/558s sound like: they sound very full-bodied with an emphasis on the lower midrange that give a very flattering thickness to pianos, guitars, strings/orchestras, and vocals.  This has an effect of making them sound very smooth and even, although it involves a coloration in the sound.

 

They are excellent with acoustic and classical music, with vocal-centered music, and also with well-mastered synth music, trance, electronica, and pop.  Rock is good too, but other cans can do it better.

 

The soundstage is one of the best you will find under $200, and is very, very immersive.  This is one of the greatest strengths of the HD55X, and the soundstage alone will often be a good reason to forgive any qualms one might have with the balance of the cans.  If you compare it to other closed phones and even many open phones, you will realize that the HD55X has a great sense of space and air to it.

 

Overall a great phone.

post #4 of 18

hd-55

post #5 of 18
Thread Starter 

Hd55 what?

558 or 555?

 

 

 

post #6 of 18
Thread Starter 

@Hayang

Thanks for the detailed impressions.

 

I would really like the FA-003, but sadly they arent available in my area. Sennheiser's on the other hand are really available. AT is scarce, i would have to start an intense search, i m too lazy for that.

Also, i have to ask,

1.How well do the AD700 compare to the 558.

2.How much of an improvement is the 558 over the 555?

3.If i could sacrifice the amp, is it feasible to buy the 598?

4.Is the e5 enough in case i need one with the possible 558? Or should i save for an e7?

 

post #7 of 18

I see.  Do you live in a very remote area?  There are a lot of sellers on ebay that will deliver many sorts of products internationally.  The FA-003 can be bought from gd audiobase or off of a fellow head-fier.

 

As for your questions:

1 - I don't know.

2 - I owned these a year apart from each other so I really can't give reliable impressions.  I do remember them sounding very similar however, and if they were rated from 1 to 10 I doubt they'd be rated apart by more than 0.5 points.

3 - I really don't recommend you spend the extra money to get a HD598.  They are said to sound very, very similar.  Look up the "foam mod" for the HD5XX series.

4 - Again, I don't think you need an amp for them.  But if you really want one I don't have experience with amps.

post #8 of 18
Thread Starter 

Thanks again,

 

I live in india, i prefer to buy stuff face to face, since it really is cheaper. I got quotes for the 558 as low as 101$ while internet offered me 170.

Any fellows here who could sell their stuff? I could buy used, only if the condition is pristine. Coz i am a bit obsessive compulsive , i really cannot stand major scratches and stuff.

 

And what do you have to say about the build quality of the 558's? I hear they crack too soon.

Also, any views on other similar priced good headphones?

post #9 of 18
Thread Starter 

I just found out that the AD-700 is available for a price difference of almost  30$.

That means i can easily afford an e7 along with it. I would hv in the case i bought the 558, but it would be a close call.

What should i do?

 

post #10 of 18

You should get the E7 if you want a good DAC for your PC.  But if you only want a portable amp, something like the soon upcoming E11 would be much better, and cheaper.  However, it seems like you might benefit from a DAC for your PC, so the E7 seems like a good choice.

 

As for AD-700 or HD558, one is closed and the other is open.  The HD558 won't block any noise whatsoever from the outside and leaks a massive amount of noise to others around you.  It's like having little speakers on your ears, very annoying if others are around and completely unsuitable for most outside uses.

 

On the other hand, the AD-700 is closed (at least one version is, go for that one for sure, I hear it's better in practically every way to the open one).  So it will block some outside noise and won't leak much out.  Not too sure about it other than that though, I haven't seen many impressions or reviews of it.

post #11 of 18

You might be confusing the A700 with the AD700, DaBomb.

 

I would recommend the HD555 over the AD700 and the HD558 if you want to conserve money.  The AD700 is said to be very bass light, more so than the HD555.

post #12 of 18

Gradolabs sr80...

 

or Alessandro MS1

 

 

 

And prepare to save some more money in the future...  to...  spend...

post #13 of 18
Thread Starter 

Hi,
I am torn between the Sennheiser HD558's and the M50s, can you suggest which one offers better overall performance. I am looking for durability and comfort, i mainly watch movies and play games. when i do listen to music, i mostly listen to classical (mozart, beethoven, etc) and some new pop/rock genres.
Which pair will suit me better? They stand at nearly the same price point.

PS- I like bass, but i've heard the HD558's, they sound good enough, is the M50 a huge improvement?
EDIT-
I will be shifting to a shared residence, would the 558's be a problem for the other person? Also, the folding design of the M50's is appreciated as i have the option of taking them wherever i want, eg- library.
One more thing, durability- i'm a sorta harsh user, i broke my shp2500's at bout 6 places, but those are shitty anyway. Which one of the aforementioned has better build quality?
Will be upgrading from HD202's.

post #14 of 18


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by tharkimaa View Post

Hi,
I am torn between the Sennheiser HD558's and the M50s, can you suggest which one offers better overall performance. I am looking for durability and comfort, i mainly watch movies and play games. when i do listen to music, i mostly listen to classical (mozart, beethoven, etc) and some new pop/rock genres.
Which pair will suit me better? They stand at nearly the same price point.

PS- I like bass, but i've heard the HD558's, they sound good enough, is the M50 a huge improvement?
EDIT-
I will be shifting to a shared residence, would the 558's be a problem for the other person? Also, the folding design of the M50's is appreciated as i have the option of taking them wherever i want, eg- library.
One more thing, durability- i'm a sorta harsh user, i broke my shp2500's at bout 6 places, but those are shitty anyway. Which one of the aforementioned has better build quality?
Will be upgrading from HD202's.


Heya,

 

You mentioned open/closed doesn't matter but if you haven't had open headphones, it may matter quite a bit. Where will you be using them? I read through and didn't see anything mentioned about environment. Open headphones will allow you to hear everything going on. Even driving with the window down and the wind passing by will drown out your sound with open head phones, let alone busy city sounds, traffic sounds, or loud people sounds in public areas. Probably doesn't matter at home unless you just don't want others to hear you there. But if you take your headphones with you, since you're talking about your phone being the primary source, which is portable of course, sounds to me like you're going to be going quite a few places and likely taking your headphones with you? If that's the case, I will suggest you avoid open-air cans. If this is not the case, then by all means, go with which ever suits you.

 

Based on your needs, the M50's would likely be better for you; closed so less leakage of sound both in and out. Comfort is relative, I don't like how they feel, but you might. Living with someone else, you're better off not sharing the audio so maybe closed is right for you--they will hear you with open headphones. There's also the Sennheiser HD280 Pros for you to check out.

 

Very best,

 

post #15 of 18
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by MalVeauX View Post

You mentioned open/closed doesn't matter but if you haven't had open headphones, it may matter quite a bit. Where will you be using them? I read through and didn't see anything mentioned about environment. Open headphones will allow you to hear everything going on. Even driving with the window down and the wind passing by will drown out your sound with open head phones, let alone busy city sounds, traffic sounds, or loud people sounds in public areas. Probably doesn't matter at home unless you just don't want others to hear you there. But if you take your headphones with you, since you're talking about your phone being the primary source, which is portable of course, sounds to me like you're going to be going quite a few places and likely taking your headphones with you? If that's the case, I will suggest you avoid open-air cans. If this is not the case, then by all means, go with which ever suits you.

I dont know what my new residence will be like, i am going to college. biggrin.gif

Not expecting anything. In all probability, i will spend most of the time with friends, where earphones will be put to use. At home, i will be mostly watching movies, and some light music.

i Dont like ppl listening to what i am listening, lol, but i've heard the HD558's arent really that intrusive, and i tried them out at an apple store, where it was fairly noisy, the sound engulfed me, and was good enough for me to be enjoying myself, but i could not appreciate the music that well.
 

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