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Considering the next step in audiophilia, need a recommendation!

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 

First off, I want to say that I've found this forum and all its members to be a great help with modding, reviews, recommendations, etc, and I want to thank you guys for that!


Now, here's the deal - Many years ago I acquired my very first "audiophile" grade headphone, the Grado SR-80.  I realize now, that I simply cannot expect too much from the SR-80 because it is, at the end of the day, an entry-level set of cans.  However, there are things that I do enjoy very much about them.  About a month ago, I read some amazing reviews on the ATH-AD700 and without much hesitation, purchased a pair.  Even though I was blown away by my Grados when I first heard them after a lifetime of never questioning SQ, the AD700 really made me realize how much I'm missing from my music.  Moving on, about a week or two ago, I decided to take another plunge and purchased a FiiO E7 USB DAC+amp to further increase SQ.  And now, I already have the itch to upgrade again.


I'm probably never going to venture past the realm of $300 headphones, because I feel that my ears simply cannot appreciate the tiny subtleties in sound past a certain point, and I am well aware of the diminishing returns past this price point.  But I really want to experience something that combines these two sets of cans that I have, into one nice package that will last me for years and years to come. 


I listen to a huge variety of music, ranging from instrumental/acoustic to dubstep to death metal to hip hop to ambient to you name it.  As such, I feel one of those rare "all-in-one" cans would be my best bet.  I *mainly* listen to metal and dubstep, two genres that I think benefit most from solid bass and detail.  However, after getting used to my AD700s, I have become quite spoiled with regard to a wide soundstage, and come to realize that it's a vital quality in my listening experience.  My SR-80s sound tiny and cramped in comparison to the AD700s, and I most often reach for the AD700s even though they don't fit all genres of music. 


I've been looking very seriously at the Denon D2Ks because from what I understand they could be the perfect upgrade for me.  If it isn't yet clear, I'm not exactly an audiophile per se; I know what sounds good to me and what characteristics a headphone excels at or falls short at, but it's difficult for me to put that into words and articulate it like so many of you guys can.  So, it would be a great help if, judging by what I've written, you could confirm or deny the D2K as a solid choice. 


As for amping - I have an E7, like I mentioned, but I'm willing to buy an E9 to pair it with, to make the most out of my next set of cans.  I have a question though - if I do use the E7/E9 combo, am I correct in assuming that I can still use the pair as an external USB "sound card"? This is important to me because my computer set-up demands an external USB solution, I have no internal card to connect anything to. 



TL;DR: I have Grado SR80s and Audio Technica ATH-AD700s and love certain qualities about both, but want something that combines the two into a superior sounding package.  I mainly want well-defined bass, detail, and soundstage.  I'm currently leaning toward Denon D2Ks...thoughts?

post #2 of 14

I went the same route your thinking of taking.  I started with SR80i then moved on to the D2k.  I've found that after many months of listening to the D2k that I prefer the SR80i's.  The Grado's are just more fun to me then the Denon's.  The Denon sounds muffled compared to the Grado SR80i.  While the bass extends much lower in the D2k it also sounds slower than the 80i's.  I much prefer the 80i for Metal, it's just so fast and in your face.  The mids on the Grado stand out alot more also.  Soundstage wise the Denon's sound a bit wider but not by much.


If I had to do it again knowing what I know now I would go with the Grado SR325is.  It has deeper bass, more detail and a wider soundstage than the 80i from what I read.

post #3 of 14



Lean right into the D2000's and don't look back. You'll love them. I consider the D2K to be one of the nearly perfect mid-tier headphones.


Very best,

post #4 of 14

For metal you're already into Grado territory. Just about everything else I've heard is

a step backward in that sense, nothing is as visceral.


If I were you - I'd spend a lot less and get some L cush bowls for the 80i's,

The E9 (the 80i's will improve in the bass area and the pads will grow

the soundstage) and a pair of SHure 750DJ's on the side.



post #5 of 14

Beyerdynamic DT990 has great bass and detail, is very quick and has very good soundstage. You can go for the cheaper Pro version, your E7 will drive them perfectly fine (I use mine with an E7). The other suggestions in this thread are also great.

post #6 of 14

Sounds like you are looking for a pair of headphones like Fischers fa-011 perhaps. Absolutely love em!

post #7 of 14

You should most definitely buy the Audio Technica Ad900. I both owned the SR80i (as my first headphone) and moved onto the Ad700 and had a similar experience, I even bought an E7 as well. The Ad900 is a complete linear upgrade from the Ad700 in every way. They are more forward and agressive, without being fatiguing, imagine a cross between the Ad700's big soundstage and the SR80i agressiveness. The clarity is easily increased going to the Ad900 from the Ad700 in every regard. The bass in much more impactful and responsive as well.


The Ad900 are very balanced in sound, rather neutral even. They are forward, but at the same time they aren't fatiguing. They bring you into the music while letting it surround you. They are amazingly comfortable and easy to drive. I really can't recommend another headphone more for you. I can promise you won't be disappointed, they are easily the most musical headphones I've ever heard.

post #8 of 14



To clarify:



D.A.D.S. (Double Air Damping System) for bass reduction


Does that sound good to you? If so, try it. If you don't like that idea of reduction, well, steer clear! Yet it also has some reviews saying it has powerful bass. Others find it to not have powerful bass. I find the consensus across the board though that the 500/700/900 of the series all just have relatively neutral to shy bass in general. I bring this up merely because the A/AD5/7/9 series tend to creep into threads and when someone listens to Dubstep, they want goosebumps at the 55 second drop, not disappointment.


Very best,

Edited by MalVeauX - 9/19/11 at 2:40pm
post #9 of 14

I said the Ad900, not the A900. They're vastly different headphones.

post #10 of 14
Originally Posted by keanex View Post

I said the Ad900, not the A900. They're vastly different headphones.



And I didn't quote you, I strictly referred to the A900. I brought it up because he listens to dubstep.


Very best,


post #11 of 14

I see. Point understood.

post #12 of 14
Thread Starter 

Thanks guys for the replies! Well, the AD900 idea definitely intrigued me, and I have to admit that you make a very strong case for them, keanex, but the more I think about it, the more I think I'd be disappointed if I plunked down $200+ bucks for them.  Not disappointed with the AD900, but disappointed for not doing the research and buying those first instead of going with the AD700.  They sound like a superior headphone in every regard, while still maintaining all the stuff I love about the AD700.  I wish I could return the AD700s but it's far too late as I have painted the mesh grills black.  Additionally, I should probably mention that I don't exactly have tons of cash to throw around, and if I got the 900s, I'm sure they would replace my 700s in terms of use, which would mean I basically "wasted" 90 bucks on those.  That said, I'm not completely throwing out that idea. 


The DT990s also seem to have some great reviews.  Can anyone else chime in about these? Definitely considering these, although they're not quite my style in terms of looks, I must say :/


As for getting a better version of Grados? I'd kind of prefer getting some cans from a different manufacturer simply because while I really enjoy the Grado sound, I feel like they're a bit too colored for my tastes, and I'd like to have a more varied selection to choose from for different genres of music.  I do like the idea about the L cush bowls, thanks for that. 


One last thing about the D2K - are they really that bad a choice given my situation? Maybe I overemphasized how much metal I listen to on headphones; in all honesty, metal is something I probably enjoy more played through speakers and a sub for those ridiculous bass drops and double bass drums...in that regard, I don't think any headphone can really compare.  And as I said, I want my next headphone to sound amazing for everything I listen to, i.e. they don't need to "shine" for any one genre, but they should be great for all genres. 


Looking forward to some more advice...I'll be reading reviews in the meantime :)

Edited by murdercitydevil - 9/19/11 at 11:24pm
post #13 of 14



Seriously, get the Denon D2000. They do those ridiculous bass drops with authority. They render all genres, because they're a pretty neutral headphone, but oh man are they capable of bass when it's called in. Good sound stage too. Go for it. It's easily one of the best headphones you can get for the price tier that is closed, and is very easy to drive so you don't have to go gaga with extra source gear just to power them right.


Very best,

post #14 of 14
Originally Posted by murdercitydevil View Post

The DT990s also seem to have some great reviews.  Can anyone else chime in about these? Definitely considering these, although they're not quite my style in terms of looks, I must say :/


I have the dt990s 32ohms with e7... they are amazing... you dont need the bass boost on them, the soundstage is VERY wide and detailed, but must remember that they are FUN HPs so highs are bright. I pair them with a meier corda headfive and the bass response is amazing, very fast, viceral and deep, the attack on the notes is strong and very well rendered, some sibilance but in certain songs... 


I love them so much that Im getting the 600 ohms version too. Check my sig for a small review I did on them

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