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headphone help

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 

hi all,

 

im aiming to spend around $400. i can be persuaded to spend a bit more, especially since i recently saw some higher end models closer to my price range.

 

my list has basically come down to:

 

sennheiser 650 hd, 600 hd, 598 hd, and pxc 450

 

akg 701, and k550

 

denon- initially thought the ad2000s were the best in my range, but found a suitable price for the 5000s. 

 

audio technica  ath esw9a, a900x, ad900, and ath-w 1000x

 

hifiman he400

 

im open to grado and/or beyerdynamic as well, but havent been sold all that well on them. 

 

so i could really use some comparisons, within the brand, or brand against brand if possible. until now my heart had been with all of the sennheisers. its been clear id need an  amp with the 600s or 650s, but its now come to my attention that such an amp would be a few hundred bucks. ill buy an amp if need be, but i dont want to spend much. 

 

so now i guess im probably leaning toward the hifiman he400s. but if the ath-w 1000x, or denon ad5000s are superior, id go with them. but ive gathered the impression the only one that wont NEED an amp are the hifimans. 

 

purposes: mostly general music listening. probably some recording and monitoring. 

 

as for my particulars, im probably not experienced enough. until now, ive sworn by bose. my car stereo is a bose, and although its probably not even a high end model, i love it. i definitely like to listen to music about as loudly as i can. ive always found that even though it isnt necessary, i love turning the bose stereo up full blast in the car. i like a lot of instrument separation (is that a wide sound stage?). clarity. i wouldnt consider myself a bass head, but great bass response is certainly a major consideration. i find bose to be very clear and bright, with good overall handling. 

 

i am also a little confused about frequency range. i was under the impression the greatest range is the best range. the hifiman he400s appear not to have much in terms of frequency response range, however i see rave reviews about them in all regards, including bass. not sure how this works, especially with competing headphones having a greater listed range. 

 

any help is much appreciated. ive poured through this site and others and im still not satisfied. 

post #2 of 12

Well, I own the he400 and d5k. They are both fantastic hp's and I own them both because I feel that they are different enough to be a great set of complementary hp's. You can check my review listed in my signature for detailed impression. I owned the d2k and not the d5k when I wrote that btw.

 

d5k:

 

*Super comfortable. I can wear them all day literally. 

*Very few hp's can do bass with the texture and impact of this hp w/o distorting the mids.

*pretty good sound stage for a closed hp.

*very easy to amp

 

he400:

 

*incredible sound stage, fully open hp

*very nice bass for planar magnetic

*very natural, beautifully layered sound

*a bit more to amp but only just a bit-also scales up nicely with better amps

*pretty good comfort but not as good as the denon-I can wear these comfortably for a couple of hours

 

Hope that helps...gL!!

post #3 of 12

I wouldnt't use denons for recording, I would use them to see how musical a mix is though. 

 

You want a more analytical can for monitoring.

 

on musicality the 2 matt recommended are the best (depending on your preferences) since its subjective.

post #4 of 12

he-400's have a slightly dark signature compared to its bigger brother the he-500's. I'd recommend them over all the other cans you listed except for maybe a well amped hd-650 which also have a slightly dark sound signature.

 

I own the k701 and they are a great reference phone, but they lack a bit of bass, and are not suitable for bassheads. They do have impressive speed and detail across the whole spectrum though, and a massive soundstage. I like to think of them as baby hd800s :). The hd-600's are slower and a bit muddier but have a better bass response.

 

The ad900's are similar to the k701's but are less refined and with poorer bass. The k701's do need an amp but they run rings around the ad900's when properly amped. Not suitable for a basshead.

 

The Denon d5k doesn't NEED an amp, but it helps. It has great bass and vocals sound as rich as the wood it's made out of, but it is a closed can and suffers from typical closed can drawbacks (soundstage and colouration.) They are nicely balanced and one of the best closed cans in its price range. Get these if you want a closed can. They are suitable for bassheads.

 

I think the he-400's or the hd650's are most suitable for your tastes. The he-400's have plenty of othodynamic style rich, lush organic bass and midrange. The same applies for the hd650's *edit* to a lesser degree *edit*.


Edited by iamthem - 6/12/12 at 6:37am
post #5 of 12
Thread Starter 

thank you all, very helpful. matttcg, ive read your review, and im pretty much sold. i had been curious about the denon ad5000s in comparison. everything i see says they pretty much get the best bass, but ive now read a few reviews that said it can come off as unnatural. i know theres no such thing as a perfect headphone, but ill jump on the chance to rule one out, because this is a very difficult choice. i like to think i have a well trained ear, ive used some high quality equipment, and theres no substitute for an excellent japanese remaster of an album. but comparable to most on this forum, my ear might still be something of a virgin.

 

for the record, when i say these may be used for recording and/or monitoring, im not talking about serious work, mostly scratch stuff that id be perfectly happy using a ten dollar pair of headphones for. so i dont require analytical in that regard, although im an analytical listener, certainly.

 

so i guess it kinda comes down to, lets say, the denon ad5000, the hifiman, and the hd 650s, or 600s. which is most necessary to amp, and which would be less costly to amp? i was under the impression the hifimans didnt need an amp, but then again, i was under the impression their sound stage wasnt dazzling. 

 

edit: i suppose durability couldnt hurt. im not very concerned with comfort, but i dont take the greatest care of electronics.


Edited by headlong - 6/12/12 at 9:41am
post #6 of 12

Denons are built well. but not indestructible, I gather they have a better build compared to the HD650 and the HE400. 

They are all comfortable.

 

Again the denons are euphoric and forgiving so you they cover flaws well, as apposed to my AKG K242HD which reveal them.

 

And they have a very strong natural sound, so it varies very little depending what you plug them into, the biggest thing is to to use Solid state amps and thats mainly because Impedance mismatches ruin there bass response (happens quite badly with my Asus STX until I built an adapter.)

 

Also they don't need an amp, a good transparent DAC that can drive a lot of current (as apposed to high voltage as is the case with the HD650) and your good to go. The more current the better the response becomes especially the bass.

 

Hope this helps

post #7 of 12
Thread Starter 

it helped a great deal, thanks. just wanted to be clear, you are indeed saying the denons need an amp less than the hifiman or sennheisers, correct? 

 

im also trying to figure out how much id need to spend on an amp. from what ive gathered for the sennheisers id need to spend a few hundred. 

post #8 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by headlong View Post

it helped a great deal, thanks. just wanted to be clear, you are indeed saying the denons need an amp less than the hifiman or sennheisers, correct? 

 

im also trying to figure out how much id need to spend on an amp. from what ive gathered for the sennheisers id need to spend a few hundred. 

Jip, the senns need an amp from what I have gathered. 

 

The hifimans aren't far behind the Denons. But yes your correct. 

A Fiio would be a good starter for the Denons, but if you upgrade to an amp that can drive high current, it will improve. I have pretty much decided on the Yulong D100 II, but funds are short ATM.

 

 

And FYI bose has great noise cancelling, But its quite overpriced for its performance level. 

post #9 of 12
Thread Starter 

okay. it seems like i OUGHT to have an amp either way, even if the denons dont need one. so perhaps it might be prudent to go with the hifiman since theyre less expensive and seem to be the consensus in this thread. but for the record, im seeing the d5000s for $479. not a huge price difference. needing amp puts the sennheisers back into contention for me, but again, the consensus seems to be around the hifimans. ill look into amps next. i dont want to spend more than $200, would that or less be adequate? 

 

also ive gathered the hifimans cord sucks, and that i ought to replace it for better quality. 

 

thanks again

post #10 of 12

I think its the HE-500 thats cord sucks?

A Fiio E17 will be a good start for the Denons, but you will haveto spend atleast $350 on an amp for the Senns, and thats excluding a DAC. wait for matt to post about the Hifiman

post #11 of 12
Thread Starter 

will do, and thanks. the e17 gets rave reviews upon first glance and fits the price range, although there is some discrepancy between whether or not to pair it with the e9 desktop. any thoughts on this? 

post #12 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by headlong View Post

will do, and thanks. the e17 gets rave reviews upon first glance and fits the price range, although there is some discrepancy between whether or not to pair it with the e9 desktop. any thoughts on this? 

I wouldn't.

 

If you want a desktop dac/amp save up for something bigger. Violectric, Yulong, M-stage, Grace etc

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