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In Iraq, need help choosing setup

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 

I am USAF currently forward deployed in Iraq.  I have a lot of time and not much to do when I am not on duty, so I find myself listening to my iPod and headphones a lot more than usual.  When I was at home I typically would only listen to music in my car which has a pretty good stock sound system.  Several years ago I built a few different CMOY amps for fun and purchased a set of really cheap Sennheiser HD202 headphones.  I have been using these headphones for years and haven't really listened to any others in comparison.  Obviously these aren't high end headphones by any means and I mostly just listened to them when traveling.  Now that I am listening to music more and more I realize that they lack in a lot of areas. 


I am trying to find a suitable upgrade for my current setup.  I have pretty much only searched this site because it comes up rather quickly in comparison to other websites.  I would search the site more but my internet here would be considered slow by 56k standards... it is also frequently down and has several other issues.  I know on a lot of  websites if someone asks a common question they get flamed and told to use the search button.  This isn't really an option for me as most webpages take several minutes before they even start loading.  For example: Facebook takes anywhere between 7 to 15 minutes to load the homepage... if it doesn't time out first. 


For sources I have a iPod Classic 80GB and a ASUS G53 laptop.  Most of my music is 128k MP3's and I am currently trying to locate higher quality rips of music that I currently have.  I know that my low bitrate is a factor here on sound quality so I am trying to fix that as well.  I plan on getting a FIIO L1 to accompany my iPod to help out with sound quality.  I am by no means an audiophile but I can seem to tell a difference between 128k and 320k Mp3's, but that might also be limited to my crappy Sennheiser HD202's.


For headphone amplifiers I plan on purchasing a FIIO E5 as what reviews I have found on it seem to be pretty good.  If there are other better similarly priced alternatives I would love to hear about them.  If possible direct links to reviews and places to purchase the product would be very helpful.


My major problem that I am having is what headphone to buy.  Obviously I cannot go out to a store and compare headphones.  As far as research I have looked up the headphones listed on http://www.head-fi.org/wiki/buying-guide-headphones-by-price-range and narrowed my price range to up to $200.  I am pretty good at doing mods so a headphone that has room to upgrade would be nice. 

I have read about the Fostex T50RP, Beyerdynamic DT770 Pro-80, Fischer Audio FA-003 and Audio-Technica M50's.  The Denon AHD2000's in that list I haven't found within my price range. 


I listen to all kinds of music and I do like bass, but what I am mostly concerned with is quality.  Both in build quality and sound quality.  I figure anything really is a good upgrade from my Sennheiser HD202's... I tend to listen to a lot of faster music where I think the Fostex's would probably shine.  Although I do switch it up and listen to more bass heavy music, especially DubStep.  I was thinking about the M50's but I see a lot of people hating on them.  I need something that is comfortable to listen to for hours audio-wise. I don't mind headphones clamping on my head tightly.  I am used to headsets in vehicles making my head feel like its gonna pop open.


Anyways, if anyone has any reviews on other similar equipment I haven't listed if you could post up a direct link to it, or if anyone has any suggestions to help me narrow down my choices it would be much appreciated.  I also need places that will ship APO once I have made my final choice. 


Thank you.

post #2 of 11

Check out some Ultrasones, they are fast and bass heavy. I've heard the Fostex are a little bass light and the others may not be fast enough depending on what you mean by fast music. They may sound a bit slow with black metal. 

post #3 of 11

In that weather, you should be looking for something small and light ( just my opinion ) and I would recommend the phiaton MS400 over the other full sized sets.  Its got very good bass, as do the Audio Technica ESW9s. Both of these are well rounded and very comfy, a nice short cable to make sure it doesnt get tangled, highly rated and well loved around here.  


If you feel the need for larger sets, I would dissuade you from the DT770 80 ohm and recommend the 32ohm instead.   

post #4 of 11

Welcome to Head-Fi!  I have a few suggestions for ya:


Audio-Technica ATH-M50


Denon AH-D1100


Shure SRH440 SRH840


Ultrasone HFi-580


All of the options here, with the exception of the D1100, have a foldable design for easier portability and would work well with your ipod.


I like to give you, your fellow servicemen and women a big thank you and salute for all of your hard work and sacrifice!

post #5 of 11
Thread Starter 

I dont plan on wearing these outside very often as headphones outdoors are prohibited.  ill pretty much only be wearing these inside my room so size and heat isnt a concern.  The phiatons look very attractive and the price is right, but i cant find any reviews on them from my quick google search.  The ESW9s seem to be kind of expensive, I couldnt find them sub 200 dollars.  



Are any of these mod friendly?  I plan on making my own cables eventually as I have access to a lot of nice shielded cable so all I really need are the connectors.

post #6 of 11

Shielded cable might not be too ideal for headphones because of its general inflexibility (and tendency to coil weirdly), or maybe that's just the cable I'm using. Anyway if you're using headphones only indoors and you want to do mods you could consider the Grado/Alessandro line, they're pretty good and I'd recommend them to anyone who wanted bang for the buck under $200. They are also excessively mod-able, and drive well straight out from the iPod jack. Haven't heard much of the other recommended models so I can't give you comparisons though.

Edited by Nightslayer - 6/11/11 at 9:15am
post #7 of 11

I would not recommend the Fostex T50RP unless you're prepared to mod it rather heavily with foaming and damping schemes and getting a larger full size amp. Another negative about the T50RP is the fact stock it's not the most comfortable headphone it's also a  headphone that I find is very picky with amplification.


I would personally recommend the DT770 80ohm second hand they can be had for about a hundred dollars sometimes a bit more but usually under 200. They sound decent out of an ipod directly but will be lacking a bit on impact. However when paired with a well constructed cmoy or a small portable amp like the PA2v2 it becomes a very solid can. It's a very durable well constructed and comfortable can. On top of that modding the cable isn't that hard in comparison to other phones if you have soldering experience.


I would personally recommend a DT 770 80 ohm with a PA2v2 or a Cmoy. It would be a very solid set up in my opinion.

post #8 of 11
Thread Starter 

As i keep reading more and more I seem to keep finding reviews on the Shure 750DJ and 840....  i saw on Amazon a combo buy for $176 a trio of the 750DJ, FIIO e5 and the FIIO l1.  i almost pulled the trigger on that.  i like the fact thatthey come with detachable cable.  I dont know if i would like the 840s better... im not sure how everything would compare to my HD202s as they are my only referance.

post #9 of 11

If you're considering the Shure SRH-840, just remember that it's quite heavy and uncomfortable. An alternative I highly suggest is the KRK KNS-6400. It's mainly a studio monitor, but has actually quite a lot of bass! I would have zero issues with it with even bass heavy music. Best of all it's signature is pretty much near perfect. They say you can't have everything, but it has quite a lot of bass, some good mids and fairly well extended treble. The mids are 100% not recessed. It also has one of the better soundstages I've heard in a closed headphone (angled drivers too!). I'm willing to bet money there isn't a headphone that's more clear or detailed or under $100. Got mine from Guitar Center with service plan for under $100! I think you can even use the 8400's memory foam pads with it.


It's also much smaller and more comfortable than the Shure SRH-840 and fairly light. If you get an E5, then the Koss Pro DJ 100 is another option. Those are $80. The KRK doesn't need an amp.


BTW The KRK also comes with a detachable cable too. KRK KNS-8400 is better than the SRH-840 in sound quality IMO. I compared them both. The 6400 has more bass impact (to my ears) than the 8400. Strange.

When you drop from the 8400 to the 6400 you don't lose out on much. Certainly not sound clarity or detail. Maybe a tad.

Edited by tdockweiler - 6/11/11 at 12:38pm
post #10 of 11

It depends on what you're looking for. If you want bassy headphones, 750DJ's are the way to go. If you want a more neutral and detailed headphones, the 840's are good in that respect. Only thing about the 750DJ's is that they clamp and may not be as comfortable. The build quality is also a little flimsy. 


Hope you find what you're looking for and thank you for your service and dedication in Iraq. 

post #11 of 11
Thread Starter 

i thought about it a lot... everyone seemed to compare things to the AT m50s so I ended up buying them.  I figure anything is a good upgrade to what I currently have and it will be a good referance for future upgrades.  I also purchased an L3 and a E5 amp.  unfortunately itll be two weeks before they get here.


ill let you guys know my impressions once i get them burned in.

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