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Grado SR325i / AKG K701 / Sennheiser 650

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 

Posted this in the 'buying new headphones' thread, but didn't get answers :/

 

Hey all,

 

I'm looking to replace my ATH A700's. Headphones I have in mind are:
Grado SR225i / SR325i

AKG 701

Sennheiser HD650

 

I really think I might like the sound signature of the grados and the senns. In my limited experience with headphones I've found that a dark signature appeals to me (the senns), and the mid-centric grado sound sounds great too. Bass isn't THAT much of a big deal for me, but I do like a bit of a thump.

I also need a suitable amp. I would prefer the amp to be cheap (obviously) and portable, as I intend to use it for both home use and any IEMs which i will definitely purchase in the near future. At the same time, I need the amp to be adequate enough for the headphones listed above! Recommendations, corrections, rants, all welcome :)

I'd like to the set-up to be under $500 in total.

 

Music tastes:

Post-Rock 

Alt. Rock

Electronic

 

Thanks for reading and somebody please get back to me soon!

post #2 of 20

Grado headphones are great for rock music, but are you sensitive to treble? If so, just as a warning, the 325i I had was VERY treble heavy. More so than any other headphone I've ever had. Some don't find the Grado headphones comfortable, so that's something to consider too. I love the mids on the SR-80.

 

The 325i to me is a complete opposite of the HD-650. The HD-650 is OK for rock, but needs a good amp. A full desktop amp is best. I use mine with the Headroom Micro Amp, but even an E9 works. For the HD-650 it's best to spend more on a better amp. I didn't like the HD-650 out of the E9 much. Not even the Asgard I had.

 

The K701/K702 is also not a great match for rock I'm sorry to say. Just "OK". As much as I love my K702 I can't suggest it for your genres. It's great for electronic music (especially ambient) but as long as it's not bass-heavy. I won't go out and say they're bass light, but the bass might be lacking for some. They do have a lot of treble and even at the 60 hour mark I'm trying to tame it, but I won't have much luck. For some people, it's soundstage and how it presents sound is hard to get used to. For me, it was never an up-front experience, but it got a little better with different amps.

 

For rock I might suggest the HD-598 or HD-600. The 598 is far easier to amp and can even be driven out of a portable player if needed. I hate to say it, but the HD-600 is easier to like than the HD-650 for many. I guess it's the "safe" option. To me it's also less picky about amping. The HD-600 is a lot more laid back than the 598. The 598 definitely has the more forward sounding mids, but a little less bass but more treble. It's nowhere near treble heavy.

 

HD-598 and the E9 would be nice combination. Even a portable amp would work, but a desktop amp is a good investment. I wish I had gotten one much sooner in the past and just skipped all the portable amps.

 

 

post #3 of 20

I heard the AKG K702's through some micro amps at the London Head-Fi meet, they sounded amazing. I ran a LOD from my iPhone to an AMB Micro and one of Justins justaudio.co.uk amps, don't let anyone tell you they are bass light. On a track by Niwa, the deep bass was incredible! Had to turn the volume up quite a way, but they seemed to ride the increase in volume, seemed very even frequency response through all volumes. The presentation way absolutely perfect of all the Niwa sounds.

 

I also heard a HD650 rocking out to The Verve on some Little Dot equipment at the next desk, and I really enjoyed hearing the tubes with some great rock and roll. However, next to the AKG's, I didn't like the sound signature of the Sennheisers at all. Not a massive massive difference, but I can see how the genre of music affects how much enjoyment people get out of them. For example, I imagine I would hate electronic music through the Sennheisers. They didn't seem to have the open punchy sound the AKG's did, crazy noises, sound effects, piercing drums- would all be lost in the Sennheiser midbass laidback flop!

 

However, rock and roll music, I can't imagine a better headphone than the HD650's. Mellow, laidback, chilled-out bass, brilliant. I don't even like rock music, never listen to it.

 

Best advice, decide what you listen to most, and get to a meet. Oh, and don't listen to anyone on here to seriously ; )

post #4 of 20
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the reply.

I don't think I'm sensitive to treble, although I have experience with 'sibilance' coming from a few of my IEMs (which I hated). 

Would you recommend another grado above the 325i?

The 598s do look tempting.

Would the E7 be suitable for any Grado / Sennheiser 598?

 
post #5 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Caeciro View Post

Thanks for the reply.

I don't think I'm sensitive to treble, although I have experience with 'sibilance' coming from a few of my IEMs (which I hated). 

Would you recommend another grado above the 325i?

The 598s do look tempting.

Would the E7 be suitable for any Grado / Sennheiser 598?

 

 

The E7 will be fine for the 598 I think. I don't suggest any portable amps with the HD-600 and HD-650 though.

I don't have any experience with Grados other than the 325 and SR-80.

 

Someone can correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe most of the cheaper Grado headphones can be driven with a portable amp quite well.

Some don't even require an amp.
 

 

post #6 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by tws1 View Post

I heard the AKG K702's through some micro amps at the London Head-Fi meet, they sounded amazing. I ran a LOD from my iPhone to an AMB Micro and one of Justins justaudio.co.uk amps, don't let anyone tell you they are bass light. On a track by Niwa, the deep bass was incredible! Had to turn the volume up quite a way, but they seemed to ride the increase in volume, seemed very even frequency response through all volumes. The presentation way absolutely perfect of all the Niwa sounds.

 

I also heard a HD650 rocking out to The Verve on some Little Dot equipment at the next desk, and I really enjoyed hearing the tubes with some great rock and roll. However, next to the AKG's, I didn't like the sound signature of the Sennheisers at all. Not a massive massive difference, but I can see how the genre of music affects how much enjoyment people get out of them. For example, I imagine I would hate electronic music through the Sennheisers. They didn't seem to have the open punchy sound the AKG's did, crazy noises, sound effects, piercing drums- would all be lost in the Sennheiser midbass laidback flop!

 

However, rock and roll music, I can't imagine a better headphone than the HD650's. Mellow, laidback, chilled-out bass, brilliant. I don't even like rock music, never listen to it.

 

Best advice, decide what you listen to most, and get to a meet. Oh, and don't listen to anyone on here to seriously ; )

Interesting perspective. . . IMO the HD 650's are excellent for electronic, and pretty good at rock. I'm using a solid state amp at the moment and the bass is fairly tight and controlled, but not as much as the K 601's. The bass on the HD 650's isn't really anything to complain about, again IMO. 

 

Basically all I listen to is rock and electronic, and I love the HD 650's.

 

One more thing to say: anyone who says they're only good for classical must be really high.

 


Edited by Satellite_6 - 5/17/11 at 8:50am
post #7 of 20
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by tdockweiler View Post



 

The E7 will be fine for the 598 I think. I don't suggest any portable amps with the HD-600 and HD-650 though.

I don't have any experience with Grados other than the 325 and SR-80.

 

Someone can correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe most of the cheaper Grado headphones can be driven with a portable amp quite well.

Some don't even require an amp.
 

 


 

Did you like the Grado sound? What are your musical tastes?

Would you recommend any other headphone in the same price bracket as the 325 over it (keeping in mind my musical tastes)?

 

Thanks for the help guys :)

post #8 of 20

Just get the MS2i and thank me later. Amp... well those are plenty

post #9 of 20

The 650's imo are one of the most versatile hp's on the market (for music). Everything sounds great on them! but they do need the right amping... ideally a hybrid with lots of power!

 

I personally can't think of anything worse than 325's with electronic... ouch! Grado's are great with acoustic music for me. But its all down to personal pref.

post #10 of 20

Grado SR-225i > uDac > Headroom Micro Amp

Get the above used and you'll have a very solid setup for about your budget.

I had the 325is (later the HF2), the 701 and the 650 at the same time and I think for your needs and budget the 225 setup is best suited. The AKG and the Senn really need higher quality amplification than the Grado to get the best out of them. In my opinion.

I've had and heard (the RS1) every current modern Grado except the RS2 and I really disliked the 325is. To me it has piercing highs. The 225(i) is the best Grado in the Prestige line. IMHO of course.

post #11 of 20

x2 on the 225i's

I love mine and they can be amped by a toaster and will sound good! But seriously they are a very good phone and a sweet spot in the Grado line up both in price and sound.  

post #12 of 20
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by baka1969 View Post

Grado SR-225i > uDac > Headroom Micro Amp

Get the above used and you'll have a very solid setup for about your budget.

I had the 325is (later the HF2), the 701 and the 650 at the same time and I think for your needs and budget the 225 setup is best suited. The AKG and the Senn really need higher quality amplification than the Grado to get the best out of them. In my opinion.

I've had and heard (the RS1) every current modern Grado except the RS2 and I really disliked the 325is. To me it has piercing highs. The 225(i) is the best Grado in the Prestige line. IMHO of course.


How portable is the Headroom Micro Amp? Is is attach-to-iPod-Classic-able? 

If not, I might lean more towards a Fiio E7 (or the E11 when it comes out)

 

post #13 of 20

The Micro amp is a desktop amp(though it's a bit on the small side) therefore it is not portable.  Headroom does sell a portable version that runs on recharble batteries.

post #14 of 20

Of the cans that you listed, I own the HD650s and have auditioned every SR, GS, and RS series Grado.  I also used to have the Alessandro MS-1s, which, if you didn't already know... are known for having the Grado signature, but slightly laid back.

 

What I found is that while the Grado's are very aggressive, their sound is not as analytical as I prefer.  The detail of each individual cymbal, for example, is sometimes just a crash on Grado 325s, instead of hearing the decay, etc.

 

Please please please know that the HD 650s properly amplified and with the right source are not dark---at all.  I just got them about a week ago, was expecting to be disappointed because of everyone talking about this so called "veil"..  and my question is honestly... well... what veil?

 

HD650s are excellent all around cans.  Grado from my auditions are too genre specific.  If you want a better all around can, go with the HD650s.  

 

K701 will likely be my next purchase, if I get them and this thread is still active I'll post impressions for you.

 

You wanted a recommendation for DAC, amp, etc..

 

HD650s with a Musical Fidelity V-DAC powered by the Matrix M-Stage is phenomenal.  Which to get first?  Tough call....

 

http://www.amazon.com/Musical-Fidelity-Upsampling-Digital-Converter/dp/B001P6FO5E/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1310951205&sr=8-1 Musical Fidelity V-DAC

 

http://tamaudio.com/store/index.php?route=product/product&product_id=54  Matrix M-Stage

post #15 of 20

erm HD600 anyone - faster than HD650, more balanced, more forward, less warm, cheaper than 650.  To me that sounds better for rock.

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