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I'm complicated...I think. Need help.

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 
I'm a noob here at head-fi but I've been lurking and searching for a while but I can't find anyone with my same needs and tastes. I'm complicated it seems.

First off I consider myself an audiophile in that I love great sounding audio, whether it be movies, music or games. As for my tastes...I enjoy a wide variety of genres, from rock to bluegrass, pop to musicals, symphony to metal with a side of electronic/dance. I also spend a fair amount of time gaming on the PC. All of my music is archived in lossless quality files.

I do not have a studio or a sound proof room from which I can enjoy my music in a noise free environment. I also listen to things that I do not want my kids to hear. From what I gathered searching, Open headphones emulate a wider soundstage (not sure what that means) whereas Closed cans offer sound isolation and more bass response. Isolation and bass response are important to me..among other things.

The sound I'm looking for could best be described as Full Range. I want something that can replicate the subtle of picks on mandolin strings and fingers sliding up the fourth string on a banjo. I want something that can shake my ear drums when the stand up bass is hammering away in a ragtime song. I want something that handles loud lead guitar solos with ease and has tight punchy bass drums along with mellow bass of a bass guitar. Something that plays well with techno music played loud and metal as well. In summary, clear sharp highs, full rich vocals and midrange and strong bass when the music calls for it. I like it loud with no distortion or bottoming out.

I currently own a set of mediocre Bose QC15s and some Sony MDR-EX71SLA buds which are also mediocre. I've owned shure e2c and e500 buds in the past. The 500's were nice but I'm not looking to spend that much and I'm not looking for buds. I have an amp, albeit a small one (fiios e5) and was thinking about getting the e7 and e9 unless there is a better solution in that price range.

My price range is $300-350 although I won't turn up my nose at cheaper ones if they are a better fit. Comfort is also an important factor, not so much weight as soft plush pads that completely engulf my ears.

Ive heard mention here of the likes of the ultrasone hfi780 and the sennheiser hd 598 and the audio technica m50 and the beyerdynamic dt880. I'm not sure if any or all of these fit the bill, they are just some names that I've seen in my searching.

Sorry this is so long...thanks for reading and if you post a helpful response, thanks for that as well.

Steve
post #2 of 19

Soundstage is basically how well a set of headphones reproduces a stage full of musicians in front of you.  Most inexpensive headphones have a "beamed into the brain" effect with music - almost monaural, where the music seems to be coming from the very middle of your head.  Headphones with a wide soundstage will "place" singers, instruments, sounds, etc in a 180* arc in front of you, with varying simulated distance.  A good set of headphones will allow you to tell the guitarist is standing at the front right side of the stage, and the drummer is at the rear left; cheap headphones just pile them all on top of one another.

 

Another thing to keep in mind is that while all open headphones will radiate all sound, not all closed cans isolate well. 

 

The HFI-780 is a great set of cans...if you primarily want something that does metal, or dubstep/electronica well.  The HFI-680 is supposed to be a little more neutral, which may work better with mid-centric music.  The M50 is really an entry-level can and if you're willing to spend up to $300, I'd replace it with the Shure 840, or possibly the 940 (once it gets more reviews).  The ATH-A900 might be a good alternative, too.

post #3 of 19

For the best soundstaging and versatile sound, go for the HD598. I've already written a review on it and there are many threads also. It's one of the most versatile headphones I had the pleasure to listen for almost any music type, movies, or games.

 

If you want more impactful bass for genres like pop and hip hop, you can get a closed headphone in addition, such as the Ultrasone HFI 580.

 

 

post #4 of 19

I think you could do well with the 600-Ohm version of the DT 990s, and the E7/E9 setup.

post #5 of 19

i would first determine if you need closed or open.  if you can't use your headphones because it disturbs others in your house, or you need to listen for screaming kids at night, the headphone fails no matter what the sound sig is.  

 

$300-350 is a lot of cash to spend on HPs and any sonic preferences are going to be personal, including comfort.  usually, midrange with suffer a bit if looking for a sparkling trebles and pronounced bass.  if you can sacrifice a bit of bass, the K271mkii with velours for closed is a no-brainer.  these have an excellent soundstage for a closed HP.  you can also add a pair of DT770 pads for more bass and soundstage.  i've owned the Beyer DT880 and DT990 as well and would recommend those for open.  the DT770 would be a good bet for closed and i think there's one the FS forum in the 600ohm variety. 


Edited by fishski13 - 5/14/11 at 5:27pm
post #6 of 19
Unless you really have it cranked, open headphones don't bother most people. They're not louder than a TV in another room or street traffic. Most will just tune it out.

I'd recommend the Sennheiser HD-600. It covers all genres and has been a staple for many audiophiles as well as professionals. Check the reviews and praise here - this is one of few headphones that is a classic. It's been around a long time and still holds up against the best.

You can find them used around $200 on Audiogon. This is probably the best values out there.

One caveat is that the HD-600 likes to run off an amp. You can build one for $100-$300 that will make it sing. (Not that hard and the DIY Forum is helpful). Also, the new Dynalo for $300 is a terrrific value. It's another classic. Great circuit and the sound is as clear, clean and crisp as anything on the market. I built one some years back and think highly of it - it did great with the HD-600 I had, too.

So... that's about $500. But that's a great setup. I'd put the Bose and a few other things on eBay to make up the difference. I think you'd be really happy with that setup.
post #7 of 19
Thread Starter 

There certainly is a wealth of knowledge here on head-fi.  I've been researching all the models you have presented and I'm still not sure.  I'm almost to the point of getting an open set and a closed set.  I'm liking what i see with the Senn hd598's and the hd600's.  Also i'm liking what i see with the DT990's and the DT770's.  I very well may return my bose qc15's as they are only a week old.  

 

Why should I get the 600ohm versions of any headphones over the 250ohm versions?  wouldn't the 250ohm versions work better with a small amp like the e5 or e7?  Do the 600ohm ones produce a more natural sound?  

 

post #8 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by uglysteve View Post

There certainly is a wealth of knowledge here on head-fi.  I've been researching all the models you have presented and I'm still not sure.  I'm almost to the point of getting an open set and a closed set.  I'm liking what i see with the Senn hd598's and the hd600's.  Also i'm liking what i see with the DT990's and the DT770's.  I very well may return my bose qc15's as they are only a week old.  

 

Why should I get the 600ohm versions of any headphones over the 250ohm versions?  wouldn't the 250ohm versions work better with a small amp like the e5 or e7?  Do the 600ohm ones produce a more natural sound?  

 


One thing to consider is that the Senn HD598 is only $175 at J&R and doesn't require an amp. Personally, I prefer the HD598 over the Senn HD6XX series and the Beyers.

post #9 of 19

I strongly suggest you look into the FA-003s!  They are extremely neutral and versatile, really detailed and clear, and have great bass response and great soundstage for a closed headphone.  Check out the thread about them here: http://www.head-fi.org/forum/thread/491632/review-fischer-audio-fa-003-a-neutral-champ

 

Really, I think this is the one for you as long as you're not using them primarily as a portable can, they're rather big.

post #10 of 19

Have you looked at Grado yet?

 

Great with rock, metal, and stringed instruments like guitars, banjo's, and the stand up bass.

 

$79 buys you a new SR60i. $150 gets you a used SR225i.

 

The FA003 suggestion is a good one too. I've never heard it but I've thought about buying it.

 

Good luck and welcome to Head Fi.

post #11 of 19
Thread Starter 

I'm leaning toward the Beyerdynamic 600ohm lines.  I've been reading http://www.head-fi.org/forum/thread/513393/guide-sonic-differences-between-dt770-dt990-models-more and am trying to decide.  All the others  you've mentioned sound nice, and after reading up a bit, they beyer's sound a bit nicer.  Should I just get the dt770's and return my bose qc15's for some sennheiser hd600's?  or hd598?  Or the e7/e9 setup?  so many decisions.  I'm sure some of you have been here before.

post #12 of 19

I agree with the Sennheiser HD600 suggestion and also suggest the Beyerdynamic DT880 (600ohm) for a good quality neutral sound. As you listen to a wide genre of music a sound closer to neutral will be a better allrounder. The E7/E9 combo will be better than an iPod or computer sound card but not by much, don't expect it to replace a full size desktop equivalent. You could always start out with the headphone only and make it work with what you already have, then invest in a decent amp and source later on.

post #13 of 19
Thread Starter 

Nobody mentioned the Denon AHD2000.  How would these compare to Beyer's DT990 or dt770?

post #14 of 19

D2000s are for bass-heads, decent with hip hop and DnB. DT770 has lots of bass, DT880 is neutral, DT990 is elevated bass and highs.

post #15 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by uglysteve View Post

Nobody mentioned the Denon AHD2000.  How would these compare to Beyer's DT990 or dt770?


The d2000 is a nice headphone. Not sure how they compare to the Beyers because I've never heard the Beyers. I'd say they are more than competent though, and super comfortable. A lot of people think they are great all arounders. Personally I found them a bit on the polite side and the mids sounded veiled or recessed to me, which is why I went back to Grado. At some point though it doesnt matter what we think, you just have to bite the bullet and buy something. If you buy used you can keep searching until you find what your looking for. Buying and selling until you get it right or your curiosity is satisfied.

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