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Creative Aurvana Live!; Brainwavz HM5; Something else?

post #1 of 24
Thread Starter 

Hi All.  Up until recently, I was pretty happy with my headphones setup.  I have a pair of "modded" Senn HD555's (supposedly turning them into 595 replicas), which I've been pretty happy with.  Sound is good, comfort is pretty phenomenal, and they don't necessarily require external amping to sound decent.  They are open, however, and leak a metric ton of sound both in and out.  So when my wife's watching TV, I can hear everything unless I turn them up at which point she can hear everything.  So that's a problem.  And while they're pretty punchy, they don't really dig down very deep in terms of lower tones.  They're certainly adequate, but nothing to write home about.

 

So.  I happened to run into somebody with a passion for headphones, who had on them a set of Denon AH-D5000's.  And, stupidly, I listened to them.  So clean, so comfortable, and so isolating.  Even straight out of the laptop, which is a feat in itself for a large set of cans.  Now, my budget is nowhere near the amount required for a set like that, and even the 2000's are above my abilities at this point.  So naturally I'm looking for cheaper sets that sound 95% as good :-)  What I want is basically to have my cake and eat it too.

 

Or maybe not.  There are a handful of cans in my price range that get much positive talk on this forum.  Before I get ahead of myself, here are my needs (aka limitations):

  • Closed Headphones
  • Sounds great w/o external amplification (I have no desire or plans to buy an amp)
  • Comfortable for listening sessions > 1 hour
  • Lower extension, more detail/clarity than Senn 555/595
  • Durable construction (this is one thing that appeals to me specifically about the HM5)
  • <= $150
  • The idea of phones fitting around my ears appeals to me much more than on my ears

 

The two phone's I've listed in the title seem to fit at least several of those criteria.  They're both closed, both in my budget (on Amazon), and both seem to not require an amp to be worth the purchase. 

 

Has anybody heard both and can directly compare them?  I'm actually starting to wonder if the HM5's are in a very different league (a better one) based on build quality.

 

In terms of listening habits, I tend to listen to a little bit of everything.  And it all needs to sound realistic.  Distorted guitars need to have that snarl and distortion.  Low bass on tracks by the likes of Massive Attack needs to be powerful and low.  Electronica needs to have the sizzle on the strange high-noted squealy bits.  I cannot abide a headphone that makes one genre sound excellent while leaving others out to fend for themselves.  In this sense, the more neutral of the two headphones seems like it would be the better option.  But hell, I don't know.

 

So there we are.  Opinions on the two I've mentioned would be greatly appreciated.  I should re-emphasize that I really enjoyed the Denon AH-D5000's.  So, if I can get that for my budget let's make it happen.  Now I'm excited :-)

post #2 of 24

Save up for the D5000. Or maybe even the D7000.

post #3 of 24

I have pretty much the same requirements as the OP. Listen to HD555 and AD700 as of now. The Denon D2000 looks like one of the possible candidates, though I have will have to wait a bit before I accumulate the moolah for it.

 

HM5, I have stricken off the list, as I have begun to feel, its a bit of the hype/initial euphoria.

 

post #4 of 24

You're not going to get what you want for the price you want to pay, unless you look at use cans.  Possible exception (that I have not heard): KRK KNS8400 Studio Headphones--now $149 at Amazon.

post #5 of 24
Thread Starter 

I've taken the HM5 off my list, as I think my listening habits trend towards preferring a slightly more robust low-end presence.  That's probably one reason Denons always appeal to me when I listen to them.

 

I should have mentioned this up front, but I love a great mid/low-end bargain.  For instance, my still-favorite set of speakers as the AV123 X-LS, which sold for around ~150/200 new for a pair.  Nobody's going to put them up against the likes of $1000+/pair speakers and say they have more resolution or a more neutral presentation, or even higher build quality.  But dammit they sound good, and they cost so little for how great they sound.  That's sort of what I'm looking for in the headphone area as well.  Granted, the AH-D5000's kicked off this "upgrade" wish, but I'd never be able to be happy with headphones I spent that much on unless they were absolutely perfect and sounded sublime powered from my iPhone.

 

The front-runner right now is the Aurvana Live!, only because it's supposed to be at least as good as the Denon AH-D1001.  The AH-D2000 is pretty appealing, however.  Especially seeing that a bunch of forum members got them for just over $200 shipped last month from a reputable store.  However, how much better are the 2000's than the 1001 were?  They sit around your ears, so that's already a plus.  And they look better constructed overall.  But in terms of unamped sound quality?  I see a thread that looks like it's specifically about this question, so I'll head over there as well.

post #6 of 24

I don't think there is a better bargain than the d2k for about $210 shipped. That'd be my suggestion.

 

GL!!

post #7 of 24

I have the D2k, and the AKG K242hd, although the latter is not closed, it isolates well, and does not leak alot, less then the Denons.

the sound signature is literally the same, the denons do have a touch more clarity, and are more forgiving.

 

BUT the Akgs are dirt cheap, and unfortunately not built as well, and really do need an amp, they need more power then the d2k.

A receiver will work fine though, but iphone... no. iPhone will be enough for the d2k though, as long as you dont want high volume levels.

 

 

So I would vote, save up for D2k.

Or make a plan to power and buy the AKG K242HD.

post #8 of 24

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by swartzy.baby View Post

Distorted guitars need to have that snarl and distortion.  Low bass on tracks by the likes of Massive Attack needs to be powerful and low.  Electronica needs to have the sizzle on the strange high-noted squealy bits.

 

The HM5 doesn't really do things like snarl, power, and sizzle.

post #9 of 24

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by swartzy.baby View Post

I've taken the HM5 off my list, as I think my listening habits trend towards preferring a slightly more robust low-end presence.  That's probably one reason Denons always appeal to me when I listen to them.

 

I should have mentioned this up front, but I love a great mid/low-end bargain.  For instance, my still-favorite set of speakers as the AV123 X-LS, which sold for around ~150/200 new for a pair.  Nobody's going to put them up against the likes of $1000+/pair speakers and say they have more resolution or a more neutral presentation, or even higher build quality.  But dammit they sound good, and they cost so little for how great they sound.  That's sort of what I'm looking for in the headphone area as well.  Granted, the AH-D5000's kicked off this "upgrade" wish, but I'd never be able to be happy with headphones I spent that much on unless they were absolutely perfect and sounded sublime powered from my iPhone.

 

The front-runner right now is the Aurvana Live!, only because it's supposed to be at least as good as the Denon AH-D1001.  The AH-D2000 is pretty appealing, however.  Especially seeing that a bunch of forum members got them for just over $200 shipped last month from a reputable store.  However, how much better are the 2000's than the 1001 were?  They sit around your ears, so that's already a plus.  And they look better constructed overall.  But in terms of unamped sound quality?  I see a thread that looks like it's specifically about this question, so I'll head over there as well.

 


The CAL! is a fine little headphone, but you're putting them in a fight well above their weight class there.  Two things to consider about them...the earpads have a slightly small opening in them, so that your ears won't fit entirely inside unless you happen to have small ears.  And their construction isn't a strong suit.  Its not bad, but they can't really be described as robust.

 

When they go on sale for $60 or so, they are a great bargain.  But their current price is $99.  I'd suggest saving for the D2000.

post #10 of 24
Thread Starter 

First - Thanks to everybody for input.  Ideally I'd be out there listening to these, but there are zero places around here to purchase much in the way of headphones, let alone listen to them.

 

So the saga continues.  I had been pretty set on getting the D2000's, but kept reading about a "V-Shaped" sound signature (assuming this means the lows & highs are a little more 'hot' than the mids), which is not something I'm interested in.  In order of importance to me in terms of enjoying the sound, I'd say the mids are first, followed by the lows, then highs.  Of course, if any one of these areas is complete rubbish then as good as the other areas are I won't be happy (take, for instance, the Senn. HD 448.  Loved the mids and detail, couldn't live without any bass impact).

 

I'm also not sure I want to spend over $150.  I know, I might be missing out on some great stuff, but at prices over that I'd probably end up with buyers' remorse and start wondering if I could have been just as happy with something less expensive.

 

So now I have a couple more models added to the list: Ultrasone HFI-780, & Denon DNHP 700.  From reading forum posts, I can't imagine I'd have any problems with the sound (or price) of that Denon set.  However, comfort is the trump card, and if I can't wear them for more than a half-hour before my ears hurt then it's game over.  Also, I've seen a few mentions of people saying you should amp them, which is something I'm not interested in doing.

 

So this brings me to the HFI-780s.  A couple years ago I had a set of HFI's....maybe the 450s (I know, the fact I can't remember is pretty terrible).  Really, really liked them.  And actually when there was a place around here to actually audition higher-end headphones, I had them up against the Senn HD 600/650 and much preferred them.  So Ultrasone already has a warm spot in my heart.  And the appealing things that I've read about the 780s are that the mids are just as 'in your face' as the rest of the spectrum, which I (think) I would like.  If the previous versions I've had are any indication, powering from the computer / iSomething shouldn't be an issue.  A concern I do have, though, is whether they make digital audio sound like rubbish (I listen to the higher-quality audio from services like Pandora & MOG most of the time).  

 

The more I think about it, the more I'm convinced the 780s are what I want.  I'm not going to pull the trigger yet, I'll let it set in and wait for input from people who know more and have more experience than I.

post #11 of 24

I have owned both the HFI-550 (which are close to HFI-450 in sound signature, just a tad cleaner I would imagine) and the HFI-780 though not at the same time. Both can be driven from a laptop/pc without problem (although the 550 is 64Ohm vs 35Ohm on the 780). If you used to prefer HFI-450 over something like an HD600 I would think it's because you were more into a quicker, better attack and fun in their presentation which is also applied to the newer HFI line including the 780. However, as often suggested, the 780 needs quite a long time to settle down in the treble (I did find them somewhat sibilant at first) and there are some easy tweaks you can do to them the better the bass and overall performance.

post #12 of 24

Have you looked at the Fischer Audio FA-011 headphones? Thread: http://www.head-fi.org/t/545368/review-fischer-audio-fa-011-off-the-deep-end. People seem to emphasise that the bass is really good. I recall a review saying it was a good alternative to the DT990, which is similar to the Denon AH D2000/5000/7000 headphones.

 

Edit: Oops, looks like these are open. I was thinking they'd be closed like the other FAs.


Edited by spaark - 6/5/12 at 11:46am
post #13 of 24
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the input.  How was the comfort?  It looks like the earpads are pretty similar to what were on the 450, and I don't remember having any issues with those.

 

Actually the memory I have of comparing the two was that the 600/650 (don't remember which one - also terrible, I know) had a lot of noise but little control over any of it.  It just sounded like a noisy mess to me which was really bizarre because I've been a huge fan of Sennheiser stuff since 2002 when I started my journey into headphones (first "real" pair was a set of HD 497s which I still have and enjoy, and I still enjoy a 555 set).  That was a shock to me.  Then I put on the Ultrasones and was immediately drawn-in with what I would have described as a much more controlled sound.  But that was years ago, who knows what actually went on, that's just how I remember it.

 

I'm planning on spending the next week or so doing research and letting the idea of the 780s sink in before pulling the trigger, but right now I'm fairly certain that's going to be my next set.

post #14 of 24
Thread Starter 

Wow, those (The Fischers) are actually pretty hot.  I was looking for a closed set....but, well...I have some thinking to do.  Thanks for bringing those to my attention!

post #15 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by swartzy.baby View Post

Thanks for the input.  How was the comfort?  It looks like the earpads are pretty similar to what were on the 450, and I don't remember having any issues with those.

 

I don't think the comfort will differ. They have the same earpad, actually also the same overall construction (except for the earcups which are a little curved on the outside for 450 while they're flat on 780) with the new HFI line (780) being a bit lighter and more elastic.

 

Also, I guess there was something wrong with the system (or possibly the headphones) with what you described from your experience with the HD600/650, they never sounded messy/grainy to me but very lush/warm and hit pretty deep, it just happened that I found them to be slow for my music and prefer the Ultrasone house sound. Oh, and the HD497 and HD555 were indeed quicker than HD600 imo (used to own both)

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