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US$275 Budget advice: Koss Pro DJ100 vs Denon AH-D1100 vs Sony ZX700 + Amp for B'day present for...

post #1 of 30
Thread Starter 

Hello,

 

I´m looking for a set of closed full-sized headphones to give them away as a birthday present for my girlfriend. I need to make my mind in the upcoming days, because the date is quite close and they need to be shipped and all that stuff.

 

She mainly listens to Rock (Franz Ferdinand, Muse, Snow Patrol...) and some R&B (Usher, Ne-Yo..). Though she doesn´t know anything about audio, she loves good quality listening and likes balanced and detailed sound. I´m sure that any of them would make a great present, but I would like to read some advice, because although I´ve read all the reviews possible, I can´t make a decision.

 

One of the most important factors in the final purchase is the isolation. The other important factor is the balanced sound. Since I have no opportunity to try any of them in a store, I need to rely on the reviews. From what I´ve read, the Sony´s would have the best isolation, with the Koss´ in second position and the Denon´s in third. Am I correct?

 

The Denon´s costs almost the same as the Koss´ and the Sony´s together, so I don´t know if the investment would worth it. I have up to US$275/200€ budget, but don´t want to spend money needlessly. Other contenders are Audio Technica ATH-ES55, ATH-ES7 and ATH-A500, but I´m not very fond of them.

 

Also, if you tell me about the need of it, I will buy a Fiio E6 to match them, because she will use them through her Nokia X series for music cell phone´s headphone jack and her ipod shuffle.

 

What do you guys think? What should I buy her? Any other suggestions?

 

Edit: I discard the Audio Technica ATH-M50, the Sony MDR-V6/7506, the KRK KNS 6400 and 8400 and the Creative Audio Live!.


Edited by SLaRe - 9/11/11 at 2:38pm
post #2 of 30

The D1100 is an absolute bass monster in my opinion, so I would not suggest that since you mentioned she wants balanced and detailed sound.

The DJ100 I don't suggest because an E5 and a Ipod Shuffle might not be enough. If the cell phone is say an Iphone or something as large, then it may be OK.

The DJ100 isn't a headphone for everyone and without pad upgrades it's not super comfortable.

 

I'd suggest maybe the ATH-M50 or MDR-7506 plus an E5 or E7. They're not perfectly balanced, but close. Good for her genres.

 

Now if you're willing to give up some bass for an even more balanced sound, the KRK KNS-6400 with the 8400's memory foam pads would be PERFECT.

They have a ton of detail and are only $99. They might not have enough bass for her though.

 

The ZX700 isn't horrible, but I prefer the MDR-7506.

 

 

post #3 of 30

CAL!?  That seems the best price/performance ratio around right now for cheap.

post #4 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by Reticuli2 View Post

CAL!?  That seems the best price/performance ratio around right now for cheap.



Oh yeah, I knew I forgot one. That one gets my approval! Now it's not a favorite, but quite good. They're now a bit easier to find.

post #5 of 30
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by tdockweiler View Post

The D1100 is an absolute bass monster in my opinion, so I would not suggest that since you mentioned she wants balanced and detailed sound.

The DJ100 I don't suggest because an E5 and a Ipod Shuffle might not be enough. If the cell phone is say an Iphone or something as large, then it may be OK.

The DJ100 isn't a headphone for everyone and without pad upgrades it's not super comfortable.

 

I'd suggest maybe the ATH-M50 or MDR-7506 plus an E5 or E7. They're not perfectly balanced, but close. Good for her genres.

 

Now if you're willing to give up some bass for an even more balanced sound, the KRK KNS-6400 with the 8400's memory foam pads would be PERFECT.

They have a ton of detail and are only $99. They might not have enough bass for her though.

 

The ZX700 isn't horrible, but I prefer the MDR-7506.

 

 


From that list of headphones that you´ve mentioned, I don´t like the KRK´s (both models), the M50 nor the 7506.

 

If I buy her the DJ100, I will follow your recommendation and get the M50 pads.

 

I´m always afraid of the overpowering bass of Denon, although I´ve never listened to any model. If I have the chance this week, I will go to try the D2000 in a local shop. The whole pack of the Denon seems very attractive and eye-catching, with all that accesories included, but balanced sound and isolation come first than the selling package.

 

 

I´ve been looking and maybe it´s better to get a Fiio E6, instead of the E5. The cell phone is a Nokia X series for music, so I presume that the headphone output should be as good as the iphone´s.

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Reticuli2 View Post

CAL!?  That seems the best price/performance ratio around right now for cheap.


 


Quote:
Originally Posted by tdockweiler View Post





Oh yeah, I knew I forgot one. That one gets my approval! Now it's not a favorite, but quite good. They're now a bit easier to find.


I didn´t try the CAL!, but the reviews didn´t convice me back in the day, mainly because its poor isolation. Now they´re very cheap in Amazon UK, but I don´t take them into consideration.

 

 


Edited by SLaRe - 9/11/11 at 11:40am
post #6 of 30

That KRK 6400 looks phenomenal.  I wonder why Tyll thought it sounded uneven.  I understand the 8400 looks very uneven, but the KRK has some of the better measurements in an under $200 closed studio headphone I've seen.  It looks like it should beat the Denon AH-D2000 in some respects.

post #7 of 30
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Reticuli2 View Post

That KRK 6400 looks phenomenal.  I wonder why Tyll thought it sounded uneven.  I understand the 8400 looks very uneven, but the KRK has some of the better measurements in an under $200 closed studio headphone I've seen.  It looks like it should beat the Denon AH-D2000 in some respects.


As I stated before and wrote in an edition of my first post, I'm not taking into account some headphones. I've had the KRK KNS 6400 and 8400 for several days and didn't like them at all. The sound was veiled, boring and unnatural and using them while wearing glasses was a total nightmare, even with the 8400 and its memory foam pads.

At this point I don't know what to buy her and the day is getting closer. frown.gif
post #8 of 30


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by SLaRe View Post



As I stated before and wrote in an edition of my first post, I'm not taking into account some headphones. I've had the KRK KNS 6400 and 8400 for several days and didn't like them at all. The sound was veiled, boring and unnatural and using them while wearing glasses was a total nightmare, even with the 8400 and its memory foam pads.

At this point I don't know what to buy her and the day is getting closer. frown.gif

Veiled, boring and un-natural? Huh?! confused_face_2.gif I can understand they may be boring for some (especially the 8400) but veiled makes no sense at all to me. Maybe I have your definition of veiled wrong.

The sound is pretty dang clear with more than enough treble for most people.

 

I guess if the reduced bass makes them sound un-natural, then OK. Now it's OK if someone doesn't like them, but I'm just baffled by these comments. Were they well amped or driven from something other than a small mp3 player? On my Ipod Touch I need to put the volume at nearly 90%!

 

I guess we all hear different, so it's not a big deal. I know of a few people already who don't like them. I think for some they're not musical enough, but for me they certainly are.

 

BTW I also wear glasses and have had no problem with the KRKs, but some may.
 

 


Edited by tdockweiler - 9/11/11 at 4:36pm
post #9 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by Reticuli2 View Post

That KRK 6400 looks phenomenal.  I wonder why Tyll thought it sounded uneven.  I understand the 8400 looks very uneven, but the KRK has some of the better measurements in an under $200 closed studio headphone I've seen.  It looks like it should beat the Denon AH-D2000 in some respects.


Are you going by the Headroom graph? If so I think this frequency graph is way off the mark. It also makes them look bass heavy. I think they need a redo.

The Inner Fidelity graphs seem a bit better.

 

I was hoping Tyll could review them, but I'm sure they're probably returned from loan.

 

Unlike most studio monitors, these actually sound like one, unlike the M50 and a few others. Still fun enough for me and doesn't bore me to death with it's sound. It's not just the music...

 

For those that want a lot of bass, it's best to avoid these. There's some fairly good bass extension, but they do lack bass impact.

post #10 of 30

Tyll's innerfidelity measurements show the 8400 is very uneven, as Tyll has said about the KRKs. But I assume he's including the 6400 in that statement and looking at that one's measurements, they seem great.  I wonder if he didn’t mean to include the 6400 in that statement or he heard something the measurements don’t show.  The 6400 does not look uneven and it performed extremely well.  Good impulse good sustains bass waveform.  Neutral response.  Lower distortion than the vast majority of other closed headphones.  ???

 

Veiled does not match the 6400's measured performance.  Other people have called it analytical and neutral to the point of being un-musical, which jives with Tyll's measurements. However, if it's a low impedance headphone AND it's brutally neutral and un-hyped (as opposed to something like, say, a Grado) and you use it with a headphone jack that is not near-zero ohm, it cannot possibly sound as intended... unless KRK voiced it with a high impedance jack, which would be abnormal. We see the exact same thing with the AKG 700 series headphones. People using it with higher impedance jacks claiming it has no bass and what it's got is loose, and that there's no dynamics outside the upper mids and highs.  That's all consistent with rolled-off bass and nonexistent damping from an unsuitable headphone jack. People using it with a proper jack claim it's punchy and with quite neutral bass. I keep seeing good-measuring low impedance headphones being panned, and then a closer look shows they are not driving them right.  Whether a particular jack can get loud enough is besides the point. That's a sensitivity issue. If it can get loud enough, high impedance cans don't have to worry about jack impedance.

 

Anywhoo... Now, I don't know how you drove them. I don't know exactly why you have such an opinion of the particular 6400 you you owned. But this trend of not driving low impedance headphones the right way keeps cropping up and the measurements tell a very different story. It's certainly worth considering in your case.

 

That said… that Japanese reviewer guy and headphoneinfo.com both love the semi-open DT990 Pro 250ohm. That and a Fiio E7 (which ironically is near-zero ohm) would come right into your price range. You want closed, not veiled, and she will be using an amp. Hmm... I'd still stick with the Fiio E7 as the amp since it's well-designed and priced right, making it a best buy and has lots of built-in options, not to mention the impedance on it. I would match the E7 with an Ortofon O-One. I think they can be had for $150-200. They are about as lacking in "veil" as you're going to find regardless of the jack you match it to. The Koss, Denon, and Sony you mention really don't come anywhere close to its level of clarity. The O-One practically sounds like an open air headphone. Heck, those three you're looking at don't even measure well WITH the right kind of jack and they're all low impedance. They would all be exactly the opposite of what you're looking for with way to much resonance and warmth on the E7.  If you were looking for something less crisp and more neutral, I might suggest the Ultrasone HFI-680 but that’s not what you’re after.  They measure pretty darn flat like the KRK 6400.  Finding crisp, high performance closed full size headphones is difficult.  Most have terrible bass characteristics or are very high priced.  And the ones that don't have crummy bass character are likly using over-damped drivers or some other issue.

 

I suspect the Sennheiser HD280 is capable of being a benchmark if the driver housing was made of something less resonant. But that's still just a dream.  I'd avoid that one, too.

post #11 of 30

The Denon AH-D1100 will suit her musical preferences.

 

They are bassy hedphones but it does not bleed into the other frequencies.

post #12 of 30
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by tdockweiler View Post


 

Veiled, boring and un-natural? Huh?! confused_face_2.gif I can understand they may be boring for some (especially the 8400) but veiled makes no sense at all to me. Maybe I have your definition of veiled wrong.

The sound is pretty dang clear with more than enough treble for most people.

 

I guess if the reduced bass makes them sound un-natural, then OK. Now it's OK if someone doesn't like them, but I'm just baffled by these comments. Were they well amped or driven from something other than a small mp3 player? On my Ipod Touch I need to put the volume at nearly 90%!

 

I guess we all hear different, so it's not a big deal. I know of a few people already who don't like them. I think for some they're not musical enough, but for me they certainly are.

 

BTW I also wear glasses and have had no problem with the KRKs, but some may.
 

 


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by tdockweiler View Post




Are you going by the Headroom graph? If so I think this frequency graph is way off the mark. It also makes them look bass heavy. I think they need a redo.

The Inner Fidelity graphs seem a bit better.

 

I was hoping Tyll could review them, but I'm sure they're probably returned from loan.

 

Unlike most studio monitors, these actually sound like one, unlike the M50 and a few others. Still fun enough for me and doesn't bore me to death with it's sound. It's not just the music...

 

For those that want a lot of bass, it's best to avoid these. There's some fairly good bass extension, but they do lack bass impact.

 


I tried them through a professional headphone amp (600 Ohm capable) and through a mp3 player with the same results, so I don´t think it was due to lack of amplification.

 

With veiled I´m trying to say that the sound is dark and dull, lacking treble clarity. In fact they have good definition, but I can´t imagine anyone mixing with them or enjoying music as with other headphone (even studio monitors). For example, if you A-B the 8400 with the HD-25, the latter seemed "shouty" and "bright" in comparison with the 8400.

 

 


Quote:
Originally Posted by Reticuli2 View Post

Tyll's innerfidelity measurements show the 8400 is very uneven, as Tyll has said about the KRKs. But I assume he's including the 6400 in that statement and looking at that one's measurements, they seem great.  I wonder if he didn’t mean to include the 6400 in that statement or he heard something the measurements don’t show.  The 6400 does not look uneven and it performed extremely well.  Good impulse good sustains bass waveform.  Neutral response.  Lower distortion than the vast majority of other closed headphones.  ???

 

Veiled does not match the 6400's measured performance.  Other people have called it analytical and neutral to the point of being un-musical, which jives with Tyll's measurements. However, if it's a low impedance headphone AND it's brutally neutral and un-hyped (as opposed to something like, say, a Grado) and you use it with a headphone jack that is not near-zero ohm, it cannot possibly sound as intended... unless KRK voiced it with a high impedance jack, which would be abnormal. We see the exact same thing with the AKG 700 series headphones. People using it with higher impedance jacks claiming it has no bass and what it's got is loose, and that there's no dynamics outside the upper mids and highs.  That's all consistent with rolled-off bass and nonexistent damping from an unsuitable headphone jack. People using it with a proper jack claim it's punchy and with quite neutral bass. I keep seeing good-measuring low impedance headphones being panned, and then a closer look shows they are not driving them right.  Whether a particular jack can get loud enough is besides the point. That's a sensitivity issue. If it can get loud enough, high impedance cans don't have to worry about jack impedance.

 

Anywhoo... Now, I don't know how you drove them. I don't know exactly why you have such an opinion of the particular 6400 you you owned. But this trend of not driving low impedance headphones the right way keeps cropping up and the measurements tell a very different story. It's certainly worth considering in your case.

 

That said… that Japanese reviewer guy and headphoneinfo.com both love the semi-open DT990 Pro 250ohm. That and a Fiio E7 (which ironically is near-zero ohm) would come right into your price range. You want closed, not veiled, and she will be using an amp. Hmm... I'd still stick with the Fiio E7 as the amp since it's well-designed and priced right, making it a best buy and has lots of built-in options, not to mention the impedance on it. I would match the E7 with an Ortofon O-One. I think they can be had for $150-200. They are about as lacking in "veil" as you're going to find regardless of the jack you match it to. The Koss, Denon, and Sony you mention really don't come anywhere close to its level of clarity. The O-One practically sounds like an open air headphone. Heck, those three you're looking at don't even measure well WITH the right kind of jack and they're all low impedance. They would all be exactly the opposite of what you're looking for with way to much resonance and warmth on the E7.  If you were looking for something less crisp and more neutral, I might suggest the Ultrasone HFI-680 but that’s not what you’re after.  They measure pretty darn flat like the KRK 6400.  Finding crisp, high performance closed full size headphones is difficult.  Most have terrible bass characteristics or are very high priced.  And the ones that don't have crummy bass character are likly using over-damped drivers or some other issue.

 

I suspect the Sennheiser HD280 is capable of being a benchmark if the driver housing was made of something less resonant. But that's still just a dream.  I'd avoid that one, too.


The only bad thing about the DT990 is the open back desing and she needs closed back. Maybe a DT770 could fit here, but I haven´t try one.

 

I have always thought that Ultrasones were bass monsters, like the HFI-580 and DJ1 Pro.

 

I will take a look at the Ortofon O-One, never heard about that particular model before.

 

 


Quote:
Originally Posted by erod View Post

The Denon AH-D1100 will suit her musical preferences.

 

They are bassy hedphones but it does not bleed into the other frequencies.



Thank you all guys for your recommendations. Hope someone could give more advice.


Edited by SLaRe - 9/11/11 at 9:35pm
post #13 of 30

I can throw in that the DJ100 Isolates pretty well. With foam to fill out the pads they arn't too uncomfortable with glasses either. They arn't as comfy as my Sextetts though, those things disappear. I can't comment on the KRK, but I prefer them to the Sony-v6, which I think is the direct predecessor of the zx700. The v6 is far more clinical than the DJ100 in my opinion, although it did isolate the best and is more comfortable, the sound is harder to get in to. Granted, I've heard that sound-wise the ZX700 is an improvement over the v6, but I have no experience with the newer Sony line-up, as I said.

post #14 of 30


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by SLaRe View Post

 


I tried them through a professional headphone amp (600 Ohm capable) and through a mp3 player with the same results, so I don´t think it was due to lack of amplification.

 

With veiled I´m trying to say that the sound is dark and dull, lacking treble clarity. In fact they have good definition, but I can´t imagine anyone mixing with them or enjoying music as with other headphone (even studio monitors). For example, if you A-B the 8400 with the HD-25, the latter seemed "shouty" and "bright" in comparison with the 8400.

 

 

 

I hate to make a big deal out of this and derail the thread, but the KRK KNS-8400 is not even remotely dark. Something weird must have been going on. Of course we all hear different, so it doesn't matter. My first KRK KNS-8400 was as bright as a K702! Took 3 days to smooth over it's treble. The 2nd pair was perfectly fine. To my ears they are one of the clearest sounding budget headphones I've owned. Probably a step down from the K702 and DT-880 in this area of course. IMO the KRK KNS-8400 does not lack any treble clarity, so hearing this just doesn't make sense to me. I'm sure others who have heard them could agree with me. The 6400 does have a tad less treble than the 8400 I think, but the difference is very minor. To me, saying the 8400 is dark and veiled is like saying the K702 is. I guess we can agree to disagree normal_smile%20.gif

 

NOTE: The 8400 does have fairly relaxed mids IMO. Not forward sounding like on the 6400. This may bore some people to death.

 

If you felt the KRKs were too dark, definitely don't get the DJ100, D1100, Creative Aurvana Live or ZX700. No, I'm not kidding! Maybe look into a Beyerdynamic portable.


Edited by tdockweiler - 9/11/11 at 10:55pm
post #15 of 30
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Maverickmonk View Post

I can throw in that the DJ100 Isolates pretty well. With foam to fill out the pads they arn't too uncomfortable with glasses either. They arn't as comfy as my Sextetts though, those things disappear. I can't comment on the KRK, but I prefer them to the Sony-v6, which I think is the direct predecessor of the zx700. The v6 is far more clinical than the DJ100 in my opinion, although it did isolate the best and is more comfortable, the sound is harder to get in to. Granted, I've heard that sound-wise the ZX700 is an improvement over the v6, but I have no experience with the newer Sony line-up, as I said.


I also find the sound of the V6/7506 very hard t get into when I tried them.



Quote:
Originally Posted by tdockweiler View Post


 

 

I hate to make a big deal out of this and derail the thread, but the KRK KNS-8400 is not even remotely dark. Something weird must have been going on. Of course we all hear different, so it doesn't matter. My first KRK KNS-8400 was as bright as a K702! Took 3 days to smooth over it's treble. The 2nd pair was perfectly fine. To my ears they are one of the clearest sounding budget headphones I've owned. Probably a step down from the K702 and DT-880 in this area of course. IMO the KRK KNS-8400 does not lack any treble clarity, so hearing this just doesn't make sense to me. I'm sure others who have heard them could agree with me. The 6400 does have a tad less treble than the 8400 I think, but the difference is very minor. To me, saying the 8400 is dark and veiled is like saying the K702 is. I guess we can agree to disagree normal_smile%20.gif

 

NOTE: The 8400 does have fairly relaxed mids IMO. Not forward sounding like on the 6400. This may bore some people to death.

 

If you felt the KRKs were too dark, definitely don't get the DJ100, D1100, Creative Aurvana Live or ZX700. No, I'm not kidding! Maybe look into a Beyerdynamic portable.



I didn´t mean to disrepect the KRK series of headphones, it´s not my intention. Simply I don´t find them as flat as other studio monitors or as enjoyable as other hi-fi headphones. Maybe both pairs were faulty, who knows.

 

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Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Headphones (full-size) › US$275 Budget advice: Koss Pro DJ100 vs Denon AH-D1100 vs Sony ZX700 + Amp for B'day present for my girlfriend