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"Best" Piano/Classical full-sized headphones for 350$ or less?

post #1 of 71
Thread Starter 

Here's my setup.


Fatar Numa Nero MIDI controller > PC > East/West Quantum Leaps Pianos sampler program > Klipsch ProMedia 5.1 Ultra > headphones.


Looking for a set of cans that'll reproduce solo piano and classical music beautifully. I also listen to solo piano and classical music a lot.


Can anybody help me decide which ones to get?


The hunt for the perfect set of cans isn't something I enjoy and I can't unfortunately try them prior to buying so I'm relying on the expertise of the members here to let me know their thoughts/experiences/comments/opinions.


Anxiously awaiting your replies! :)


*** EDIT!!! **** I've decided to buy a HP amp to expand my choices (most likely a LD MK IVSE or WA3), so don't be shy to recommend some power-hungry cans that can give me a natural, organic piano timbre. :)

Edited by Strat-Mangler - 8/8/11 at 4:15am
post #2 of 71

$350 or less?

HD600, hands down.


Is that a list of headphones you're considering?  The HD800s are definitely wayy overshooting your budget.

post #3 of 71
Thread Starter 

Oops! I meant the HD600! Sorry about that. I edited my post.


Thanks for pointing that out.


Any other choices I should seriously look at?


Why are the HD600 that much better than the AKGs which, from my understanding, are designed specifically for piano/classical music?

Edited by Strat-Mangler - 8/4/11 at 10:49am
post #4 of 71

I think you should really consider the HD598 or HD558 if you are looking to use them unamped.

post #5 of 71
Thread Starter 

They will be amped since they'll go through the Klipsch ProMedia speakers which have a built-in amp in the sub.

post #6 of 71

Yeah you'll want to consider phones that don't need much power.

Edited by A Ham Sandwich - 8/4/11 at 3:15pm
post #7 of 71
Thread Starter 

They wouldn't be amped if I went straight from the soundcard to the headphones. I wanted enough power to drive them and the Klipsch amp has plenty of power. :)


Best *full* lush piano/classical (but especially piano) sound for 350$ or else is what I'm looking for.


On a piano forum, everybody seems to go for the AKG K702, but I read a couple of people who really enjoyed the Beyerdynamic DT48. Any opinions on those or do the K702 simply outclass them completely?

post #8 of 71

I'd suggest K702 if you want a huge sense of space, and the DT48 if you want to hear the keys been hit. Ultimately you're going to want a dedicated headphone amp, without you're compromising sound quality for sure. In addition if you're listening to a soundcard so perhaps the most revealing headphones aren't the best choice.

post #9 of 71
Thread Starter 

So if I understand this correctly, The K702 for a wide soundstage and the DT48 for more detail?


Can't seem to find DT48s anywhere though. :(


Wonder if they sound warm or neutral.


As for the soundcard, it's a good one ; Auzentech Prelude. And even with a wide variety of headphones at a cranked volume, I never hear anything but pure sound even in quiet passages, so no worries there. The Klipsch will provide plenty of power too. If I want a headphone amp down the line, I'll do it, but for now, an organic sound that makes it seem as though I'm listening to a live piano is what I'm looking for.


post #10 of 71
Thread Starter 

My apologies...


The set of cans that everybody is raving about on the piano forum is in fact the AKG 271 MKII.


Better or worse than some of the headphones mentioned here?

post #11 of 71

You should look into the ATH-W1000X and Shure 940 too, they're both easy to amp.


I'm really liking the Shures for orchestral stuff, vocals and piano. I don't play piano but I played guitar and trumpet for years, and I think they both sound very realistic to me on the 940s. Very nice soundstage and separation too, it's easy to pick things out in an orchestra.


Good luck.

post #12 of 71
Yes, the AKG K-501 and Sennheiser HD-600 would be excellent.

But the DT48 might suit you well. It does piano extremely well. Same with chamber/small classical groups. I usually go to the HD-800 or speakers for symphonic works. But spinning solo piano or Oscar Peterson, the DT48 is terrific. It is dead neutral, not warm. I warm it up slightly on tubes, but solid state makes it quite accurate.

You can find the DT48 at B&H. I got my pairs (I've had three) off eBay between $75-$120. I'm not sure what the going rate is. Beyerdynamic sells all the replacement parts, so you can put a new cord, pads and headband on an old one reasonably. The cups are turned aluminum and the headband is steel - they do not wear out and have terrific build quality.

I would not recommend the K-701/2. I had a pair for a few years and found a weirdness in the mids. The best way I can describe it is a "plasticky" sound in the vocals and some instruments. I didn't like it and found them irritating to listen to. They're not voiced like the pre-Harman takeover AKGs, like the K-501 and K-1000. Some people enjoy the K-701, but there's a minority of us who have real problems with their mids.

Speaking of old AKGs, consider the K-240DF. Not as detailed as a DT48, but very neutral and precise. They're not hugely sought after, either, so prices are fair.

You know, for $350, you might be able to pick up the K-501, K-240DF and DT48. All would make you happy and there's nothing wrong with multiple headphones. biggrin.gif
post #13 of 71

I think K701 are qiute safe choice for piano music. I've had many AKG's and in terms of details and clarity none came close. I do think sextetts are much overrated - my favorite vintage would be K240 Monitor (600 ohm version) and shortly after K240DF mentioned by Erik.

post #14 of 71

The issue is that you really can not get the K701s to sound right with out an amp.The Klipsch ProMedia speaker amp may not have the juice to drive the K701s. I think you may find that the HD 600s are easer to get to sound right with your amp. I really am not experienced with your amp though. You will need another amp in the future to really get the most out of most headphones. Maybe some other members would reiterate also on this subject.


The other things we always consider is planning your long term purchases. It is better to shop for having things a long time than just to make a purchase to work well with what you already have.

The HD600s have a chance of working with what you have now and will shine in the future to scale up with your new amp purchase that you may ultimately make.

post #15 of 71

The HD600, for all the reasons mentioned, would be a great choice.

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