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Yet another newbie question

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 

Although I consider myself an audiophile, I am new to the headphone game.  My current systems consists of a Classe' CAP 151 integrated amp, a Cambridge Audio DACMagic D/A converter being fed lossless files from my Macbook laptop, Revel M20 stand mounted monitors and a Sony XDRF-HD1 tuner.

 

As my wife is usually in the room when I'd like to listen to my music, I've decided to get a decent pair of headphones.  Initially, I'd like to drive them from my Macbook, but eventually from the main system.  Neither the Classe' amp nor the DACMagic D/A converter have a headphone plug.  So ultimately, I would need to get a headphone amp to connect the phones' to the Classe' when not plugged into the Mac.

 

I'm thinking of some Phiaton MS400 phones to start.  I would be listening to them for no more than an hour or two at a time, unlike some folks who may listen to them 8 hrs. a day at work for instance.  These seem to be able to be driven from a Macbook or iPod.  Thoughts?

 

Also, what somewhat inexpensive amp (say, under $200) might you suggest that I would hook up to an output of my Classe' integrated amp (both of these questions asked with the understanding I will probably get 100 differing opinions!).

 

thanks!


Edited by ilmonster - 10/9/11 at 6:53am
post #2 of 9
Thread Starter 

FYI...I post the questions above as there are very few places locally to "test drive" headphones.  One higher end audio store (Bryston, B&W, etc.) does carry Grado, but aside from that there are only the usual suspects (Best Buy, etc.) that seem to only carry Bose and lower end Sennheiser, Sony's, Dr. Dre and the like.  Thanks again.


Edited by ilmonster - 10/9/11 at 6:53am
post #3 of 9

If you're worried about ambient noise bothering the wife, are you looking for good isolation from a closed can? Or are you open to an open-back design which generally gives more detail, and a larger soundstage (but is hard to drive unamped)?

 

What kind of music do you enjoy? or are you looking for something that works well as an all-rounder for all genres? Anything in particular you are looking to get out of a headphone? i.e great bass, or detailed mids, or comfort... usually depends on the music you enjoy. 

 

If you are set on driving from a Macbook, that will also limit your selection considerably. If your end goal is to drive with an amp, I would purchase more toward that end. 

post #4 of 9

Heya,

 

Criteria? What kind of sound do you enjoy? Bassy? Neutral? Thin? Bright? Dark? What sort of music will you mostly be listening to?

 

Very best,

post #5 of 9
Thread Starter 

As far as isolation, I don't necessarily need to be isolated from other noises, so closed or open back could work.  Sound wise, I probably would tend toward neutral.  I don't need huge amounts of bass and I don't want them to be too bright where it would uncomfortable to listen to recordings for an hour or two.  Accurate mid's would be nice. 

 

Music includes everything from Beethovens 5th piano concerto to the Foo Fighters, Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Audioslave, to Dianna Krall and Bueno Vista Social Club.  So, a little bit of everything (not sure if that help, or makes things more difficult!).

 

It would be nice if they could be driven by a Macbook or iPod (I realize the DAC in a Mac already limits the sound quality as compared to an external DAC), but would probably want to add a reasonable amp too.

 

Headphones I've read about that might fit the bill on the site include the Phiaton MS-400, HD-25's and Audio Technica ATH-M50's?  Your thoughts...

post #6 of 9

Isolation goes both ways. Does the noise you're going to make with an open can going to be bothersome to a nearby wife? That's more what I meant.

 

Also, it's not that the Macbook DAC is bad, which it isn't the best, it's more of a factor of the internal Macbook amplifier being able to drive a high impedance open headphone to a descent listening level and adding the details you want to hear. However, none of the headphones you mention will have a problem being driven by your Macbook, and they're all closed designs. Though an amp will always improve things.

 

Of the headphones you mention, all are great. I have heard the least about the Phiaton. The other two are well regarded around here for the cost/value. I don't have much personal experience with any of them, so I'm sure a few others will jump in and help out. 

 

If you want neutral, I do have extensive experience with the Sennheiser HD280 Pro. A very neutral can, and goes great for any genre. A solid headphone for the money. 

 

Edit: All three of those phones are compared here: http://www.head-fi.org/t/433318/shootout-93-portable-headphones-reviewed-pioneer-se-mj71-coloud-colors-added-9-4-11


Edited by SoundFreaq - 10/6/11 at 11:42am
post #7 of 9
Thread Starter 

Great link!  This will keep me busy for a while.

post #8 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by ilmonster View Post

As far as isolation, I don't necessarily need to be isolated from other noises, so closed or open back could work.  Sound wise, I probably would tend toward neutral.  I don't need huge amounts of bass and I don't want them to be too bright where it would uncomfortable to listen to recordings for an hour or two.  Accurate mid's would be nice. 

 

Music includes everything from Beethovens 5th piano concerto to the Foo Fighters, Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Audioslave, to Dianna Krall and Bueno Vista Social Club.  So, a little bit of everything (not sure if that help, or makes things more difficult!).

 

It would be nice if they could be driven by a Macbook or iPod (I realize the DAC in a Mac already limits the sound quality as compared to an external DAC), but would probably want to add a reasonable amp too.

 

Headphones I've read about that might fit the bill on the site include the Phiaton MS-400, HD-25's and Audio Technica ATH-M50's?  Your thoughts...

 

Note: if you get open headphones, your wife will hear what you hear. It will not be pleasant since that's why you're getting headphones in the first place, right? So closed is what you should look at.

 

Suggestions for closed neutral headphones that are pretty easy to drive:


Fischer Audio FA-003 (flat, neutral)

Denon D2000 (flat, neutral, huge extension)

AKG K272 HD (neutral, bass shy)

Shure SRH940 (neutral, mids monster, bass shy)

AudioTechnica A900 (neutral, bass light)

 

Or look at Shure SRH840's & CAD Audio MH310's.

 

Very best,

post #9 of 9
Thread Starter 

Open or closed headphones shouldn't be an issue.  If my wife is watching TV (in the same room my regular audio system is in), I can alway go into another room to listen to music.  My issue was I couldn't listen to music while my wife watched TV, or read etc. because she could hear the music anywhere on the first floor.

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