Originally Posted by jasonb
I wish I had a buddy with an HD800 then I could try one on my setup. I'm just worried that I would consider the HD800 to be only be like 10% better for 6-7 times the price. I guess I would just have to demo one at a meet first or buy from a place with a no questions asked return policy. I don't make a ton of money and the next big thing I want to buy is a fancy new laptop, not another new pair of headphones.
Do you ever listen to any prog rock or progressive metal? I'm wondering which you think is better for this genre(s).
I'll chime in, if you don't mind, as I have the same cans koiloco lists in his sig (mine = Q701 w/foam mod; HE-500 w/homemade jergmod pads, grill mod, and jerg's latest "felt on driver frame" mod). And I listen to a lot of prog, as well as indie and "classic" rock. I'm pretty much a rock guy, though not exclusively (how boring would that be).
Here's a recent experience I inadvertently had between the Q701 and HE-500. I was modding the HE-500, so I put on the Qs. Rush's Exit... Stage Left was in the queue, and I hadn't heard the 24/96 version since buying it, so on it went. Now, this is not the best recorded live album you'll ever hear. It tends to be heavy on the low end to the point of being a tad boomy, and the mids are not too prominent in the mix, so a lot of the guitar sounds veiled or distant. On the Q701 it was an ugly experience. I had to EQ it to reduce the low end and slightly boost certain mids (all quick and dirty). I don't like to EQ, but it was just a boomy, muddy mess.
After finishing the HE-500 mod and giving my ears a day off, I listened to the same album, same chain, on the HE-500. Totally different experience! No EQing needed, and while still pretty bassy (after a while I did reduce 50 Hz - 200 Hz to varying degrees, but no more than 2-2.5 dB), everything was so much more balanced. Even the guitars seemed better.
Conclusion: this is just one of those poor recordings that the Q701 exposes as such. Later I listened to Grace Under Pressure (again, 24/96, and first listen to that album in a long time) on the Qs. Absolutely fine. The typical forward higher frequencies (sorry, I suck at figuring out what is where in the spectrum) when present in the mix, but overall the Qs displayed their wonderful detail, clarity and soundstage. And the bass port foam mod allowed the bass to shine (Geddy is just insane ). Don't think I listened to that one on the HE-500 yet (I was still modding it when GuP rolled around).
No doubt the Q701 rules the soundstage arena vs. the HE-500, though the various mods really do help the latter. But for rockin' overall balance, I go for the HE-500. Now I need to rip some jazz and classical and get back to the Q701. That should be an interesting comparison.
Back on topic, I've no experience with the HD-800, and frankly, unless someone lends me one, or sells it for $700, I'm not even tempted. It's just way too much money for me.
My chain for all of the above
foobar2000 running WASAPI Event style for U2 Sabre DAC -> Monoprice USB extension cable -> HiFimeDIY USB isolator + U2 Sabre DAC -> AudioQuest Golden Gate mini-to-RCA -> Schiit Lyr running Super Cryo Reflector 6N23P-EV Military Matched Pair (nearing 200 hours of "burn-in"/use). Awesome tubes for rock, though I don't have much experience with other tubes, as I'm new to the Lyr, and that's for another thread ;-)