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Help me decide what would be a good upgrade from HD203, and HA-RX700

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 

I've been pulling my hair out lately, trying to find the perfect cans. I just bought the Koss PRO DJ100's from BestBuy, and the Creative Aurvana Live's from Amazon (they're on sale for $60). Neither do what i was hoping they would do for me.

 

After hearing the Klipsch Image Ones at Best Buy, I fell in love with their bass signature. They are both punchy, like the PortaPro's, and extend very low, but they also seem to produce very forward, very musical, well textured bass. The rest of the frequency isn't really anything amazing but hearing the bass struck a chord for me. Unfortunately, I can't use the Image Ones because they wont work with my S:Flo2. They play in a sort of "karaoke" mode where voices are muted, and sound is tinny. The only way I can get full bodied sound out of them is to hold down the center "receive call" button on the inline iPhone control. They play fine on my Fuze, but it doesn't compare in sound quality to my S:Flo2.

 

I am also VERY sensitive to any sort of sibilance. Any accentuation of S's, and T's, etc... really gets to me, to the point that I flinch. The only headphones I can even listen to lately are the two I mentioned in the title. The Sennheiser HD203's, and the JVC HA-RX700. Both seem to have very smooth, although rolled off treble. The HD203's manage to still keep the rest of the treble airy, and detailed, but their bass isn't what I'm looking for. Neither of them have that punchy (mid?)bass like my K81DJ's, and PortaPro's offer.

 

I mentioned that I purchased the DJ100's, and the CAL!'s. They are BOTH too sibilant for me, if that's any indication. I was hoping the paper based driver wouldn't have the harshness of a mylar driver. The DJ100's sound like normal sibilance in the recording, just oddly amplified. The CAL!'s actually add a fake, almost metallic sounding shhh, or chhh to the sibilance that makes them fatiguing very quickly.

 

I guess to summarize, I'm looking for a bass signature similar to the Image Ones I described above. Midrange that is warm, and neutral if not slightly laid back. I have a habit of hearing forward vocals as "ringing" mids. I would like treble that has a noticeable dip around the sibilance range, but is otherwise detailed, and has shimmer. Headphones that seem to muffle, or swallow sibilance without losing much detail, would be great, even if it results in the shhh, chhh, ssss, tttt, not sounding as intended. I have read that the HD650 and above can accomplish this, but they're not within my price range.

 

I would like them to be in the $100 price range, if not cheaper. Please help me end my quest for the perfect cans. If you look in my profile you'll see how many I've bought over the years. I still have most, just sitting in boxes because I can't listen to them for more than 10-15 minutes.

post #2 of 11

Yeah.... the Koss Dj100 are actually really nice headphones and one of my top picks for under $100

 

I skimmed through the wall of txt, so please reply the following:

 

1. Price? $100, done.

2. Music preference?

3. Usage? Portable, studio, monitor

4. What you like about your current fav heapdhones.

post #3 of 11
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by BotByte View Post

Yeah.... the Koss Dj100 are actually really nice headphones and one of my top picks for under $100

 

I skimmed through the wall of txt, so please reply the following:

 

1. Price? $100, done.

2. Music preference?

3. Usage? Portable, studio, monitor

4. What you like about your current fav heapdhones.


I actually like the sound of the DJ100's. They have really great mids, good bass with 60hz bass boost on my amp. They even have nicely detailed, airy, and sparkly treble. If only they weren't so sibilant. If I EQ them, I find I have to cut so much of the 6khz range (as high as my S:Flo2 EQ goes), that there's a huge hole in the treble.

 

As for music preferences, I mostly listen to melodic metal (flaw, five bolt main, scars of life, art of dying), hip hop (pitbull, three six mafia, etc...), and house/techno (pendulum, tiesto).

 

I am usually listening at home. Sometimes i take headphones out when I go walking, but I have others (PortaPro) that will work there. I have access to 2 amps, but don't want an amp to be a requirement.

 

I think I mentioned most of what I like. The RX700's have nice warm mids, but rolled off highs, almost too rolled off. I like their deep bass when amped, but they still don't have any punch in the midbass area ala. portapro.

 

The HD203's have deep bass, but sometimes it's just not there when it should be, or instruments have a thud instead of tone. They also have fairly warm mids that blend well with most music. Their highs, IMO, are what is absolutely perfect. Whether rolled off or not, it's just right. No sibilance, and somehow they keep 95% of the detail.

 

Is it possible to have punchy and deep bass in one headphone? I would go to Sam Ash and just listen, but they never have their headphone rack working.

post #4 of 11
Thread Starter 

Maybe this will help. Maybe it will complicate things further. If sibilance is in the 6-7khz area, it would make sense why the HD203's don't bother me.

 

Headphone Comparo


Edited by cam94z28 - 6/29/11 at 12:39pm
post #5 of 11

You got it, sibilance is centered around 7k but can crop up to around 10k, so if a headphone is recessed around there like the hd203 you should be okay. You also could try eqing your headphones around there and see if that makes a difference.

 

I'm really not sure of any headphones in your price range that are as uniquely dark and bassy as an RX700 though. When I think of extended and punchy bass sibilance usually goes with it, unfortunately.

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by cam94z28 View Post

Maybe this will help. Maybe it will complicate things further. If sibilance is in the 6-7khz area, it would make sense why the HD203's don't bother me.



 

post #6 of 11
Thread Starter 

Quote:
Originally Posted by 200poundsofamp View Post

You got it, sibilance is centered around 7k but can crop up to around 10k, so if a headphone is recessed around there like the hd203 you should be okay. You also could try eqing your headphones around there and see if that makes a difference.

 

I'm really not sure of any headphones in your price range that are as uniquely dark and bassy as an RX700 though. When I think of extended and punchy bass sibilance usually goes with it, unfortunately.


 

I don't necessarily like the bass of the RX700's. It is mostly deep thunderous, with little punch. I like thunderous, but I'm looking for punch to go with it. It does sound better than the HD203's overall, when amped. HD203's don't change much when amped. 

 

Unfortunately, my favorite portable player (S:Flo2) has 6khz as the highest EQ frequency. Since I listen at home most of the time anyway, I guess I could invest in a cheap DAC/AMP combo, and EQ to my heart's content, from my laptop. Anything cheaper than an E7 that would get the job done?

 

FWIW I did find this software de-esser. I wonder if it's worth running some of my MP3's through it. I assume all it does it alter the sound card output though, so I'd have to play each song and re-record with something like audacity to save the changes. Time consuming to say the least. 

http://www.db-audioware.com/db-s-de-esser.html

 

Graphs don't seem to reflect what the actual bass/mids will sound like, but it appears they can be used, in my case, to determine if a headphone is dark sounding. I guess it's time to search headroom graphs and keep trying till I find "the one." The interesting thing about the 203's though, is that they don't really sound dark. Maybe it's because the treble is so sparkly.


Edited by cam94z28 - 6/29/11 at 2:46pm
post #7 of 11
Thread Starter 

I have been looking at this device...

http://www.digizoid.com/the-zo/

 

It's about $100 normally, but with coupon codes i have it sitting in my sharper image cart at $76 right now. I'm pretty sure this will give me what i want in the bass department, but I wonder if it'll smooth the treble out at all. It's supposed to equalize sound so that the mids/highs are in balance with the bass. This just might smooth out the sibilance for me, or at least increase the bass enough so that I can listen at a volume below the point of sibilance.

 

Still trying to decide if this is a better option, or should I order a Nuforce mobile, or a Fiio E7 instead, and adjust EQ from the laptop.


Edited by cam94z28 - 6/29/11 at 8:00pm
post #8 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by cam94z28 View Post

I don't necessarily like the bass of the RX700's. It is mostly deep thunderous, with little punch. I like thunderous, but I'm looking for punch to go with it. It does sound better than the HD203's overall, when amped. HD203's don't change much when amped.


Have you tried stuffing the ear pieces and taking some of the felt ring off the drivers? Don't expect miracles, but it definitely makes the bass punchier and less boomy. Makes them harder to drive too, but no worries since you have an amp.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by cam94z28 View Post

Graphs don't seem to reflect what the actual bass/mids will sound like, but it appears they can be used, in my case, to determine if a headphone is dark sounding. I guess it's time to search headroom graphs and keep trying till I find "the one." The interesting thing about the 203's though, is that they don't really sound dark. Maybe it's because the treble is so sparkly.

 

Weird, usually sparkly = sibilant to me. Guess they're just so dark that they get away with it.

 

Don't know much about them, but here's a review for several portable amps along with the e7, I imagine just for such basic eqing that would be most satisfying route to go.

post #9 of 11
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by 200poundsofamp View Post


Have you tried stuffing the ear pieces and taking some of the felt ring off the drivers? Don't expect miracles, but it definitely makes the bass punchier and less boomy. Makes them harder to drive too, but no worries since you have an amp.

 

 

Weird, usually sparkly = sibilant to me. Guess they're just so dark that they get away with it.

 

Don't know much about them, but here's a review for several portable amps along with the e7, I imagine just for such basic eqing that would be most satisfying route to go.


I have not tried any mods on the 700's. AS-IS, they can get glaringly loud out of my S:Flo2 alone. I don't really want to go changing them beyond reversal. If the felt is easily replaceable after removal I would consider it. I made that mistake with my K81DJ's. After removing the felt earpad inserts (which I can't find any more), they became so sibilant I swear I feel my ears bleeding after a short listen. These, with felt removed, actually have the most punch/impact I've probably heard so far in a headphone. They don't extend very low, though.

 

Yeah, I don't know how the 203's do it. Maybe I should just put up with their weird bass character and stick with them as my favorite cans. I can safely listen to them for hours and actually enjoy the music. I can't say that for any other headphone I have. Their common clamping force complaints never bothered me either. My 212PRO's share a very similar character, but their highs have an artificial metallic tinge to them, so I don't listen to them much any more.

 

Thanks for the link. I think I would go more for a DAC/AMP combo than a standalone amp, though. The Nuforce Icon mobile, and E7 are the only ones I've found so far in the sub $100 range. This way I can bypass my laptop's crappy onboard audio, but still (hopefully) use software based EQ.

 

I did go ahead and order the Digizoid ZO. It has a pretty good following around here, even from some respected members. If it doesn't do what I want, hopefully Sharper Image has a good return policy. 

post #10 of 11
Thread Starter 

Dangit, with the 4th of july sales coming out I can get the Image Ones for $118. I almost wish I hadn't bought the ZO.


Edited by cam94z28 - 6/30/11 at 10:04pm
post #11 of 11
Thread Starter 

FWIW I will either be going with the Klipsch Image One, or the Phiaton MS400.

According to headroom, the Klipsch has better treble response, and Phiaton has a HUGE dip at 4500hz. They might suit me better though. I wonder if that dip is a fluke? I also wonder if the Klipsch uses Carbon-Fiber enclosures as well. The bass response appears to be very similar. I will take a trip to Best Buy to see if the Image Ones will play through my amp without having to "button-hold" the inline iPhone control. 

 

Does anyone have the Phiatons in the $120 range with 4th of July sales? I know many stores are doing 20% off through the weekend, but couldn't find any with the MS400's.

Phiaton MS400 vs Klipsch Image One


Edited by cam94z28 - 7/2/11 at 11:37am
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