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After reading though forums, need help refining my choice of high end phones. Sennheiser has my...

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 

I'll start by saying that my becoming an audiophile happened overnight more or less when i decided to build a new PC. I've never listened to a high end set of speakers or phones and as such  have never felt that i was missing anything. That is what made it strange that, while browsing newegg, out of the blue i just suddenly knew that anything like the z5500 speakers i have now would be unacceptable.

 

The headphones i would buy need to cover a wide range of activities and this is where my problem comes in as they all seem tailored to one task or another. I want to use them for games as much as music, and probably a movie now and then on netflix.

 

The games would of course have explosions, guns shots, environmental soundsect. The music range would go from just about any range.. classical to hard rock or some light metal, skipping over rap but some R&B .

 

In other words i more or less want it all. Clarity, good bass (doesent have to be overpowering, just there so as not to feel flat or empty in situations where nice bass would be expected), ect that can be used for most applications. I'm not the type that can sit down and compare two headphones for nit picky details (at least not yet) so it doesent HAVE to be absolute highend either.

 

The concept of soundstage is new to me which as what gets me as it would seem to be counter to a good gaming or movie experience. unless i am not understanding the concept, the idea of a headphone placing sounds in different places would seem like a terrible artificial surround sound. From what i've read though, it seems all the high end phones have soundstaging as a feature.

 

ive also noticed that some phones like the HD-800 seem to be very picky with the amp. I'm going to use the new Asus xonar essence external amp which has been getting great reviews but as it has alot of silicon i imagine it needs something that is forgiving when paired with modern technology.

 

1,000 dollars would be the idela max i would spend but if i needed to spend 1500 so be it.

 

i went to guitar center hoping to try out headphones to get a better idea but they dident have in over 250 dollars and did not even have a setup to test them out. i dont know of any stores in the phoenix area set up for walk in testing either.

 

also open ear/closed doesent matter as these wont be used in public.

 

 

I hope someone out there has some ideas for me. Also, glad to join these forums!.

post #2 of 9

"Welcome to Head-Fi Sorry about your Wallet!"

And sorry to get your hopes up. your range isn't me field. I can answer any questions you have on file formats(lossless,lossy), DAC's amps stuff like that

 

but my actual comment:

Guitar center lets you demo headphones when they aren't on the shelf ....if they like you. i went to one recently too. i had a talk with this guy, at first i played a consumer. i asked about headphone demo's and he said not really and kinda gave me that face. then..i went full hard on(no pun intended) and just let everything out. after a 15 minute conversation, the sales person who also liked headphones know i like headphones too and know a lot about them.i whip out my portable setup and withiin minutes was on my way to demo SRH840's and Beyer's :D

 

most high end headphones need their own seperate non computer audio components. sound cards and stuff like that usually don't do it anymore. the ASUS Xonar essesnce external is special. it is ASUS's new move in the audiophile direction. make sure ..make perfectly sure the people that test them have tested many others before and that people agree with what they say. the people that don't like them or have qualms about them should be the posts you read most thoroughly

 

 

post #3 of 9
Thread Starter 

the only complaint i have found so far is that the upsampling feature actually made it sound worse according to one guy. most seem to be pleasently surprised at the quality for the price and all claim it hands down decimates the top end asus pc cards. someone else paired it with his hd 800s and liked it, though i imagine if you have a set of 800s you can do much better than the essence one :D

 

I am really curious about the HD 700s that will launch soon.

 

As far as testing headphones out of the box.. i thought they needed a break in period?

post #4 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zurak View Post

the only complaint i have found so far is that the upsampling feature actually made it sound worse according to one guy. most seem to be pleasently surprised at the quality for the price and all claim it hands down decimates the top end asus pc cards. someone else paired it with his hd 800s and liked it, though i imagine if you have a set of 800s you can do much better than the essence one :D

 

I am really curious about the HD 700s that will launch soon.

 

As far as testing headphones out of the box.. i thought they needed a break in period?

In my experience the most things people claim about break-in periods are myths. It might make a small difference over time, but it will never be the 'night and day' difference some people claim it to be.

At your rather high budget you can actually jump straight to some of the more high-end cans. While I haven't tried them out myself you could get the HifiMan HE-500. They get a lot of praise for being the cheapest high-end headphone.

As far as source and amp is concerned I would personally get an Audio-GD NFB-12.1 as a DAC/amp combo. I personally believe this will do the HE-500's justice, but if you later decide you want even more you can always upgrade your amp to e.g. a Schiit Lyr.
The NFB-12 should be adequate as a DAC in all setups, I believe. The technology behind DAC's is simply so advanced that spending more does not equal better performance.

Getting an NFB-12.1 and an HE-500 would together cost about $950.
Edited by Tilpo - 2/25/12 at 1:24am
post #5 of 9

I use my headphones for similar activities. I wanted a good pair of headphones for music mainly, but I knew I would watch movies and play games like Battlefield with them on.

 

I can tell you:

 

  • these headphones turned music into a 3-dimensional thing rather than the flat 2-dimensional sound I was so used to hearing
  • these headphones made tiny details very obvious (but not obnoxious) in movies, such as footsteps heading in a certain direction or a person in the background talking on the phone, or the clunk of metal on wood as a watch is set on a table. I never miss anything in movies (no more "What did she say?" moments - ever)
  • these headphones really upgraded gaming for me. I play Battlefield 3 on the PC and the ability to pin point a helicopter's location as it is flying over me without looking at it (or having vision of it at all) is a supreme advantage and an overall really cool experience

 

I use a pair of Sennheiser HD650s with a FiiO e7 and e9.

post #6 of 9

I think it would be awesome to have headphones that are good with sound stage cause I have never listened to headphones like that before and I would like to hear that in but sadly I don't have the money for a really good pair of headphones . . . even if I sold my Incase Sonic's (which I enjoy listening to immensely) I don't think I could get good money off of them.

post #7 of 9
Even the headphones with the best soundstage in the world are not speakers. The relatively bad soundstage is by far the biggest drawback of headphones, and there is no real way to fix it either.
You should honestly not expect to much out of soundstage in headphones, as even the best headphones still don't have that good of a soundstage in absolute terms. If you are expecting a large soundstage, then you will sadly be dissapointed.
post #8 of 9

I know . . . but I still would want a decent sound stage for a pair of headphones.

post #9 of 9

For a computer I always LOVED my MDR-F1's they are EXCELLENT all rounders, awesome soundstage, great with music as well as movies, and equally stellar with games, they will run you (last I checked) about $100-$150, give them a shot. I'm using mine with the Creative Sound Blaster X-FI Titanium HD. I am looking into Sony's DR-GA500/SOE's Gaming headphones, but I don't think they'll match the F1's And ASUS just released a DAC, nothing too special about it, just another DAC from another company.


Edited by BattleBrat - 3/7/12 at 12:22am
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Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Headphones (full-size) › After reading though forums, need help refining my choice of high end phones. Sennheiser has my eye/ear but need experienced input.