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New to full-size need advices

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
Hi guys, Head-Fi having been my bible when it comes to audio, I come to ask for advices. I've been using IEM for years now and finally decided to try full size cans to enjoy my music every days. Here is what I can tell you guys...

First, my budget is $300 max. My main sources are my iPad 2, iPhone 4 and laptop at work as well as a Pioneer VSX-815 at home. I listen to music such as Dream Theater, Tool, Nightwish, Within Temptation, Rush, Apocalyptica, movie soundtracks and classical as well as some dance and pop such as David Guetta and Tiesto once in a while. I enjoy every genre of music except western to be honest.

My current phones are all IEM's: Shure SCL3, UE 700, Klipsch S5i. I would like to get a good balanced sound with great soundstage as well as some bass presence as I enjoy some warmth. I have tried a few different models based on recommendations found on the forums here. The different models I can currently get fairly easily where I live in Canada which I have tried are:

- Bose AE2i
- Audio-Technica ATH-M50
- Sennheiser HD-558
- Sennheiser HD-598
- AKG 271 MK II

What do you guys think if I want to use them every day at work as well as home?
post #2 of 11
Thread Starter 
I forgot to mention that comfort is important to me as I tend to listen to music for around 4-5 hours a day at least.
post #3 of 11
Thread Starter 
bump because I really need good advices before throwing my money away!
post #4 of 11

When you say you're going to use them at work, are you in a noisy environment, or where your music could disturb others if your headphones leaked sound?

post #5 of 11

I agree with dirkgently, what do you want out of them?

With headphones, you have the option of either getting:

open back, which let you listen to outside noise and others can hear what you're listening to as well. This option is great for home use from what I've heard, but I'm thinking the people recommending it don't have family members screaming at them to keep the noise down, or sleeping next to them.


You also have close back, which provide some if not all noise isolation. This means you will not be able to hear what someone in front of you is saying when you're cranking it loud. (I've tested this with a sennheiser hd 286 pro, which were great)


Then there is semi-close back which I have yet to witness myself.


I tried a set of shure srh940's which are close back, and they weren't as good as the cheaper sennheisers in my opinion. I went to guitar center and asked to try them out. I could still hear the salesman through the music, as well as the annoying kids playing with the synths nearby. I would remove the headphones from my ear, about 3 inches, and place them back on, and the noise isolation is not even there. Though, they were comfortable.


Then you have the two options of noise canceling, or noise isolation.


Noise Isolation uses the headphones as a noise dampener, kind of like a set of ear muffs at a gun range. They remove a lot of outside sound and let you listen to nothing but the music.


Noise canceling try to do the same thing, but use electronics to bounce frequencies away from what you're listening to. I tried these with a set of bose headphones at best buy. They do a good job in keeping out the sound, but the feeling you get when you have them on is like stepping into an airplane. The tonal frequency it uses is about right, and enough to make me almost lose balance when I closed my eyes to enjoy the music. It's a weird feeling, but it does keep the sound out.


There are other things to keep in mind, but these are a good way to narrow down what you're looking for, especially on a budget.


I'm currently looking into the AKG K701's. I keep hearing that the bass isn't as hard, and the fact that they're open back turn me off, but since it's for home, I'm highly considering it. You can find them online cheap, which is a good thing for me.

post #6 of 11
Thread Starter 

Hi guys, thanks for responding. My work environment is mixed: offices supposedly quiet, but with open spaces and most people speaking loudly enough between themselves to have people requiring to concentrate to use headphones. As such, I believe sound leakage should avoided if possible. With regards to isolation vs cancellation, I have tried cancellation and didn't like it much. Sound isolation is something I enjoy. I just had the chance 15 minutes ago to test a pair of AKG 240 and I quite enjoyed the felling and the sound.

post #7 of 11

If that's the case, then you should take those particular Senns off the table.  Have you considered the Senn HD25-1s?  They're closed back and considered better for rock music.


Taking a look at the frequency response of the HD25-1s vs. the M50s and the AKG 271s, the Senns and the AT's are very similar in frequency response after you get out of the bass range, where the AT's have a distinct advantage; the AKG's have less low end, but otherwise a similar response except for a bit of a bump from about 200 Hz to 600 Hz.



Edited by dirkgently - 12/15/11 at 1:14pm
post #8 of 11
Thread Starter 

Thanks a lot for the information dirkgently. I looked at the HD25-1 and I am slightly reluctant as they are on-ear and not around-ear. I don't know if anyone here on Head-Fi knows about the SRS iWOW 3D. As I understand it, its a small amp for iOS devices. I own one and currently use it with all my IEM's. I tried the Senn HD-598 as well as the AKG k-240 with it and I really enjoyed what I heard. Am I wrong to believe that the SRS iWOW 3D is probably as good as something like a FiiO E6?

post #9 of 11
Thread Starter 

Ok, I went back to a local store to try the ATH-M50 again on my iPhone with and without my SRS iWOW 3D. My feeling is that they are extremely easy to drive from my iPhone compared to many other headphones I've tried. I am debating now between:


AKG k-240

AKG k-271 MK II

Audio-Technica ATH-M50

Sennheiser HD-558

Sennheiser HD-598 (these do cost a little more than I wished though)




Again, I will use most often at the office in a semi quiet environment, will use my iPhone or iPad as source with SRS iWOW 3D. The sound reference I can give is my IEM's which are UE700, Shure SCL3, Klipsch S5i. I should specify that I am looking for a sound that has some warmth with good bass (not overpowering).


Songs I use as my testing tunes:

Dream Theater:


In the presence of enemies Part 1 and 2


Panic Attack

The Count of Tuscany

Beneath the surface




Malignant Narcissism



The Poet and the Pendulum

The Islander






Down with the sickness




Faraway Vol. 2

I don't care

I'm not Jesus

Not strong enough

On the rooftop with Quasimodo


Tool: Vicarious


David Guetta:




In the dark


Lunatic Soul:




I don't know if this can help, but I use these songs as my reference.


post #10 of 11
Thread Starter 
post #11 of 11
Thread Starter 

I finally decided to go with a pair of ATH-M50 that I got a few hours ago. I am extremely impressed so far even though they are brand new. I'm looking forward to hear the difference once they've gone through some burn-in.


A new question now is: am I ok driving them on my iPhone 4 and iPad 2 using an SRS iWOW 3D or should I get myself a FiiO E6?

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