Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Headphones (full-size) › Headphones for classical under $150
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Headphones for classical under $150

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 

I'd be very grateful if someone could recommend a headphone for me to buy. I'll make it brief:

 

Music I listen to: Mainly classical music - usually solo piano and chamber music, sometimes piano concerti and symphonies. I also listen to soft rock and jazz occasionally.

 

Audio source: I do not own a headphone amp, and will be plugging the headphone into my laptop. This laptop does not have a dedicated sound card - it uses onboard audio components (Intel HD Audio). I would like to listen on my mobile phone occasionally, but it is not a requirement that this should be possible.

 

I use original audio CD's, or lossless rips of the same. I'm not above the occasional youtube-spree, but it's not a requirement that low-bitrate audio should sound good.

 

Budget and cans I'm looking at: I can't really afford to spend more than $150. Also, headphones are more expensive in my country than in the US, and not all models are available. I'm presently considering the - 

1. Sennheiser HD555 (~$134)

2. Sennheiser HD558 (~$178)

        (exceeds my budget, so I'd prefer to go with the HD555 unless the benefits of upgrading are truly staggering)

3. Audio Technica ATH-AD500 (~$123)

        (the AD700 doesn't seem to be available and would probably exceed my budget if I had it imported)

4. Alessandro-Grado MS-1 (~$112)

 

Taking all this into account, which of the above headphones / some other headphone would you advise me to purchase? I like my sound to be natural and airy, and without excessive color or exaggeration in any department.

 

Thanks!

post #2 of 15

Get AKG K271 or K240 but you need amp for both. Personally I prefer the vintage K240DF but those are 600 ohm and you need a powerful amp to drive them properly, so K240 MKII will do for the moment.

post #3 of 15

Fostex T50RP

 

I just got them in and loving them

 

Don't read the bad reviews, they talk about the first thing they hear before they could be burned in, which they sound BAD

 

But after 10 hours burn in, FAST, they sound great for anything and mostly for jazz, classical and pop for some apparent reason.

 

Comfy for several hours and modding to the ends of the earth

 

$75 shipped from B&H

 

EDIT: 

 

they do need an amp or a good source. You can ask around the desktop amp forums for a cheap one. They'll tell you to get a FM/AM receiver

 

if you don't want to get a amp, get some Grados

 

Grado SR80i will work great for you

 

Great sound, great separation between instruments, great treble and tight light bass

 

$100 shipped

 

EDIT EDIT:

 

Alessandro are Grado that have been played with a bit. To my ears, they have better mids but treble and bass get fogged out. Not good for classical


Edited by BotByte - 6/11/11 at 11:10am
post #4 of 15
Thread Starter 

Thanks to both people who have replied so far.

 

However, neither AKGs nor Fostex cans are available in my country, so let us keep the discussion in this thread restricted to how well each of the four headphones mentioned in the OP fit my requirements, unless there's a recommendation for a really common brand like Sony.

 

Thanks!


Edited by Atriya - 6/11/11 at 11:17am
post #5 of 15

Are KRK products available in your country? If so, check into the KRK KNS-6400. It's closed, but it has angled drivers and one of the best soundstages I've heard in a closed headphone in a very long time. I'd take this over any open headphone for classical under $150 I think. Even the K240 Studio and HD-555. It costs around $99USD. I even prefer it to the 8400 which costs $50 more.

post #6 of 15

Samson SR850(very detailed with good bass and low price), HD558, Fischer Audio FA002(highely recommended).

post #7 of 15
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by tdockweiler View Post

Are KRK products available in your country? If so, check into the KRK KNS-6400. It's closed, but it has angled drivers and one of the best soundstages I've heard in a closed headphone in a very long time. I'd take this over any open headphone for classical under $150 I think. Even the K240 Studio and HD-555. It costs around $99USD. I even prefer it to the 8400 which costs $50 more.



Thanks for the recommendation! I found out that the KRK KNS-6400 is available (although there's just one dealer at the opposite end of the country who imports it on demand, barring the smuggled-goods market) and is priced ~USD150 - JUST within my budget.

 

I'm really apprehensive about the fact that they're closed headphones though. I've been told that closed headphones are disastrous for classical music - not just because of the soundstage, which the KNS-6400 possibly overcomes, but because they don't accurately reproduce timbre and sound less 'natural' and other audiophile terms I don't understand.

 

On the other hand, it would be handy to have some of the noise-isolation that a closed headphone would provide! Finally, these look like studio headphones - are you sure they'll work (well) from a laptop out (without a headphone amp)?

 

What's your opinion of all this?

post #8 of 15

The HD555's are great for classical. I had a pair a couple of years ago and loved them. Good soundstage and very comfortable.


Edited by pekingduck - 6/11/11 at 7:28pm
post #9 of 15

Second for HD555 (or HD558).  Really awesome and versatile cans that will give you great soundstage.  They have a certain warmth that makes acoustic music sound SO good.

 

They are the kings of the genres you mentioned, imo.  I really think you should go with those.

post #10 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by Atriya View Post





Thanks for the recommendation! I found out that the KRK KNS-6400 is available (although there's just one dealer at the opposite end of the country who imports it on demand, barring the smuggled-goods market) and is priced ~USD150 - JUST within my budget.

 

I'm really apprehensive about the fact that they're closed headphones though. I've been told that closed headphones are disastrous for classical music - not just because of the soundstage, which the KNS-6400 possibly overcomes, but because they don't accurately reproduce timbre and sound less 'natural' and other audiophile terms I don't understand.

 

On the other hand, it would be handy to have some of the noise-isolation that a closed headphone would provide! Finally, these look like studio headphones - are you sure they'll work (well) from a laptop out (without a headphone amp)?

 

What's your opinion of all this?


I normally would never suggest closed headphones for classical myself. On rare occasions I'll come across a closed headphone that has a very good soundstage. The DJ100 is one, the D2000 is another and this one just might have the best yet. I haven't heard the SRH-940 yet though. These are some of the most accurate and natural sounding headphones I've heard for under $99 yet. Of course if you want a super huge soundstage you'll most likely need a headphone that's fully open and requires an amp. I won't mention the Sennheiser's since you said they're not available.

 

The Superlux HD-668B isn't bad, but I think the KRK KNS-6400 has it beat. The HD-668B might be quite hard to find in some countries but it's cheap. I'm not a fan of it's V-shaped signature and recessed mids though. Those things have quite a lot of detail though, but it sounded a bit un-natural at times.

 

The KRK most definitely doesn't need an amp. I use mine out of an Ipod Touch at about the 75% volume level.

 

post #11 of 15
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by tdockweiler View Post




I normally would never suggest closed headphones for classical myself. On rare occasions I'll come across a closed headphone that has a very good soundstage. The DJ100 is one, the D2000 is another and this one just might have the best yet. I haven't heard the SRH-940 yet though. These are some of the most accurate and natural sounding headphones I've heard for under $99 yet. Of course if you want a super huge soundstage you'll most likely need a headphone that's fully open and requires an amp. I won't mention the Sennheiser's since you said they're not available.

 

The Superlux HD-668B isn't bad, but I think the KRK KNS-6400 has it beat. The HD-668B might be quite hard to find in some countries but it's cheap. I'm not a fan of it's V-shaped signature and recessed mids though. Those things have quite a lot of detail though, but it sounded a bit un-natural at times.

 

The KRK most definitely doesn't need an amp. I use mine out of an Ipod Touch at about the 75% volume level.

 


Thanks for the recommendation! By the way, I don't recall saying that Senns are not available! In fact, they ARE available, and more models than most other brands! I'm seriously considering the Senn HD555 and HD558. How would you say they compare to the KRK KNS-6400?

 

post #12 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by Atriya View Post




Thanks for the recommendation! By the way, I don't recall saying that Senns are not available! In fact, they ARE available, and more models than most other brands! I'm seriously considering the Senn HD555 and HD558. How would you say they compare to the KRK KNS-6400?

 

 

I've only tried the HD-598 and love it. They might be much more expensive in your area. I got mine for $175 and thought it was worth it. I don't know if they're worth $250USD. I might still buy them at that since it's signature isn't as common as it should be.

 

The KRK KNS-6400 is much less laid back, has less forward mids (not recessed!), more bass/bass impact, a much smaller soundstage and a clearer sound with more treble and detail. There is things I can hear on the KRK I could never hear on my HD-598 (or even my K702).

The KRK certainly isn't just a boring studio monitor, I find it very engaging and fun to listen to. The bass is well controlled, but not anywhere near bass light. IMO I believe it even has more bass than the SRH-840 (which isn't bass light, like many people say!).

 

The HD-598 is easier than the KRK to like maybe. The HD-558 shouldn't be far behind and might sound similar. The sound of my KRK is a bit more clear than the 598 with it's stock cable.

 

The 6400 is also fairly unforgiving of your source files. For low quality source files, the HD-558 is a bit easier on them and less picky. Like the DT-880, the KRK is good at picking out the garbage tracks in a collection.

The 8400 is harder to like than the 6400 and my pair had much less bass. Very strange.

 

So...the 558 might be the safe option. The KRK KNS-6400 is a good deal here in the USA at $99. Possibly the 2nd best headphone I've heard unamped under $150 so far.
 

 

post #13 of 15

HD558biggrin.gif

post #14 of 15
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by tdockweiler View Post



 

I've only tried the HD-598 and love it. They might be much more expensive in your area. I got mine for $175 and thought it was worth it. I don't know if they're worth $250USD. I might still buy them at that since it's signature isn't as common as it should be.

 

The KRK KNS-6400 is much less laid back, has less forward mids (not recessed!), more bass/bass impact, a much smaller soundstage and a clearer sound with more treble and detail. There is things I can hear on the KRK I could never hear on my HD-598 (or even my K702).

The KRK certainly isn't just a boring studio monitor, I find it very engaging and fun to listen to. The bass is well controlled, but not anywhere near bass light. IMO I believe it even has more bass than the SRH-840 (which isn't bass light, like many people say!).

 

The HD-598 is easier than the KRK to like maybe. The HD-558 shouldn't be far behind and might sound similar. The sound of my KRK is a bit more clear than the 598 with it's stock cable.

 

The 6400 is also fairly unforgiving of your source files. For low quality source files, the HD-558 is a bit easier on them and less picky. Like the DT-880, the KRK is good at picking out the garbage tracks in a collection.

The 8400 is harder to like than the 6400 and my pair had much less bass. Very strange.

 

So...the 558 might be the safe option. The KRK KNS-6400 is a good deal here in the USA at $99. Possibly the 2nd best headphone I've heard unamped under $150 so far.
 

 


Now I just have to ask: what's the best headphone you've heard unamped under $150?

 

post #15 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by Atriya View Post




Now I just have to ask: what's the best headphone you've heard unamped under $150?

 

Probably the KRK KNS-8400. It's technically the best and I love that headphone, but the 6400 is easier for me to enjoy and sounds a bit more natural. If I ran a studio I'd pick the 8400 over the 6400.

I also love the Shure SRH-840, but not it's comfortable. The KRK KNS-8400 is what beat out the SRH-840. I actually bought the SRH-840 just to compare them a few months back! Now I really want to compare the SRH-940 to the 8400! If the SRH-940 is even better i'll be impressed..and I'm sure it is.

 

Even unamped I still say my all time favorite the DJ100 is one of the best. I still don't like it enough unamped to suggest. With a good amp, I of course prefer the DJ100 to everything else, but the KNS-6400 sure comes close!

KNS-6400 also has more treble and more detail and possibly a larger soundstage.

 

I also think the AKG K240 Studio is quite good without an amp, but it's still not worth buying without one.

 

EDIT: BTW if one could find a usd HD-598 for around $150 that'd be quite a good deal. I actually quite like my 598 unamped. It does require an amp for good bass though. There is a 275 ohm spike at 100hz.
 

 


Edited by tdockweiler - 6/13/11 at 10:22am
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Headphones (full-size)
Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Headphones (full-size) › Headphones for classical under $150