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The Best Headphones For Classical?

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 

I've been looking through earlier forums on what the best headphones for Classical are. I have found a few but they are outdated however. What are the single best headphones for Classical? That have great time signatures and such?

 

Thanks! smile.gif

post #2 of 23

Here's the best thread on it http://www.head-fi.org/forum/thread/195589/classical-music-shootout-ad2000-hd650-600-k701-k501-sorry-longwinded

 

The K501 might be a little hard to find, but the others are all still in production and are probably still the best unless you want to spend a couple of thousand dollars.

 

This also assumes you have an amp or will buy one.  Otherwise your choices are more limited.

post #3 of 23

As a dedicated classical listener I want headphones that will make the instruments sound natural, (like you were actually there listening to them) and that includes the greatest instrument of them all - the human voice.

 

So what you need to go for is a set of cans that are as neutral as possible in their approach and studio monitor cans fit this bill quite nicely with one caveat - sound stage. The spacious effect of an orchestra or the separation of a string quartet can be best achieved with an open set of 'phones though some closed phones do come close.

 

My litmus test is piano reproduction. If a set of cans are going to fail in any area this will be it. The complicated harmonics of a piano can be very difficult to reproduce and many expensive cans that are designed for more contemporary music fail miserably to do this in my experience. My other two tests are string tone and voice reproduction both of which can be 'coloured' by a headphones sonic signature.

 

At the moment I am using Shure SRH840s and chose them because they gave me the most natural sound for my budget and the fact that I had to have closed cans.

 

I am now in the market for a set of open HPs and all the reading I've done suggests that for my budget the Sennheiser HD600s are the way to go so if you do try a pair let me know how they go.

post #4 of 23

I really only started enjoying classical after I bought my K701s.  I like my 5LEs just as much, or possibly a bit better.  I did not enjoy any classical on my HD650s.  Demo'd some Stax SR-Lambda Pros and I think those would be fantastic as well.

post #5 of 23

HE90

post #6 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by n3rdling View Post

HE90



LOL, jump right to the top.  I guess he is asking for the best.

post #7 of 23

I listen primarily to classical, mostly opera, but with healthy doses of late romantic solo piano, and orchestral.  I rolled through several different types, but ultimately ended up with d7000 with J$ pads.  I'd been hesitant about even considering them because the reading I'd done had emphasized the great bass, and the almost shrill treble.  The J$s and a neutral somewhat warm amp made them perfect for me.  The last F in the statement of the theme in the Rach Corelli variations lingers fading away.  The controlled bass shines in the opening of Das Rheingold's opening with the double bases  (half with the lowest string tuned down a half step) opening with 4 measures of low E flat followed by 132 measures of gradual layering in of the other instruments -- clear no muddiness at all.  I've tossed them against Sills in Donizetti, Callas as Tosca, Scotto as Butterfly, Olivero as Adriana, not to mention Dave Carter and Tracy Grammar, Growling Old Men, Tempest, and Pendereki's Threnody for the Victims of Hiroshima and haven't been disappointed yet. 

 

At home, right now I usually use the Nuforce HDP, work either the pico dac/amp combo, or an iMod through headroom micro amp (I don't care for the micro dac so much).  Yeah, I like them so much I a second pair.  (I got one here, and one off eBay, cost was not that much more than one pair would have been from Amazon.) 

 

 

post #8 of 23

I found my 650's perfect for classical.. A good source is important to make them sing. 

post #9 of 23
The AKG K400 IMO is the best for the price. Can be had for around 100. It's bass light though.
post #10 of 23
The HD-800 for orchestral and opera although also great for chamber and solo instruments, specially piano. The HD-600 if money is an issue.

Listen to a well recorded Decca or Reference Recordings of an orchestral ball-buster (ie: Richard Strauss, Stravinsky, Rachmaninov, Respighi, Ravel, etc.) and you'll need a diaper. With the HD-800, you are in the hall sitting in the best seat in the house.
Edited by Mambosenior - 5/13/11 at 7:57pm
post #11 of 23

T1, Edition 9, SA5000, PS1000, W5000 and DX700.

post #12 of 23

OP, you need to give your price range because you're getting recommendations from $100 to thousands.

post #13 of 23

Cheapie recommendation: Fischer Audio SBA-01, Fischer Audio Enigma

 

Mid Level recommendations: FA-003, FA-002W, HD-600

 

High end / best I have heard: Grado HP-2, HE-500, Omega 2, HE90, Thunderpants

post #14 of 23

I was wondering about the new orthos.  I really liked the sound of the LCD-2 I heard at a meet but I didn't listen to any classical.  Buried in BillinKansas's thead are some very positive posts about the Yamaha YH-1.  After his shootout, he kept the HD600 and Yamaha YH-1 and YH-2. 

 

I find it interesting that you, with Thunderpants, and Billl, with the Yamahas,  suggest headphones without great soundstage that most people consider a requirement for classical.  Huge sound state is not a requirement for me.  I guess since I'm usually sitting in the nose bleed seats for orchestral concerts, so I can see the orchestra, I don't get much expansive sound stage live so I don't really look for it in headphones.

 

 

post #15 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by scompton View Post
...suggest headphones without great soundstage that most people consider a requirement for classical.  Huge sound state is not a requirement for me.  I guess since I'm usually sitting in the nose bleed seats for orchestral concerts, so I can see the orchestra, I don't get much expansive sound stage live so I don't really look for it in headphones.

 

 


You see, as a mastering engineer, I know that soundstage is really not part of headphones. Soundstage is part of the recording. How accurate the headphone is in reproducing the soundstage is much more critical for me rather than how well a headphone is at expanding/narrowing what is already present. All of the headphones I listed will provide you with accurate soundstage.

 

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