I've stalked this forum for some time, and I've recently decided to join the community so that I may take advantage of the wealth of knowledge and experience here (and hopefully give back as my experience here grows).
I hope I am not treading worn ground with this topic; searching the forum, I did not come across a straightforward answer to this perhaps peculiar question.
As the title implies, I am seeking the best equipment upgrade from the perspective of someone who is absolutely smitten with the sonic characteristics of the Ultrasone hfi-780. I listen mainly to technical rock and more uptempo material, in addition to gaming, and in these areas the ultrasones have been phenomenal. Since they are quite efficient, I've not yet ventured into the world of amplification (though I understand that some recommendations here may require a good desktop amp).
The reason I am asking about an upgrade is the comfort issue. It breaks my heart to say it, but even after modding these using the well-known Beyer velour earpad swap, in addition to replacing the headband with one from a Sennheiser 650, they still wear on my (regular sized) ears and the crown of my skull in a displeasing way. For the record, my headphones are not my only head gear (I wear glasses full-time).
I tried a lateral move in terms of product class to the Phillips Citiscape Uptown, and while these are some of the most fantastically comfortable headphones I've ever warn, the sound in comparison is wooly at worst, and too warm at best. They simply lack the speed, articulation and impact I get with my go-to musical material when compared to the 780.
What makes this question perhaps unusual is that I'm looking to jump several classes at once with my next upgrade. While I do not consider myself an audiophile strictly, I spend a considerable amount of time in headphones, and a good portion of that time is critical listening. I'm looking for an investment.
I'm willing to spend around 1K for a total system, ideally with somewhere around a 70/30 split between headphone and amplification in terms of price breakdown (if an amplifier is absolutely suggested). I state this because it seems some people will argue that one should purchase an extremely expensive amp which makes even cheap phones sound very good, and others will argue the quality of the transducer should be first considered, before amplification. I tend to fall in the latter category, since I feel I will be more sensitive to the character of the headphone than the amp driving them.
Not to belabor the point, these are the most important aspects of this hypothetical steup for me:
- Speed/detail - superb transient resolution.
- Impactful, up-front presentation - I don't mind if this comes at the expense of soundstage. I desire strong bass extension and resolution, with a solid, balanced presence. I'm no basshead, but I want the punch to be there.
- Long-term comfort - something very plush, like the Uptowns.
- Moderately efficient - I would prefer them to not require powerful amplification.
Closed or semi-open are the ideal candidates here, since I would like to recluse myself to The Dillinger Escape Plan while my girlfriend watches Idol, but I am open to any type in this sense. I should mention that these will be, long term, how I will consume audio from my PC. So I'm not terribly worried about size/portability issues.
Hopefully I've laid out my case clearly (please let me know if not!). Does anyone know of a set of cans (or cans with amp) that fit this bill? If there's a group of individuals best suited to point me in the right direction here, it's you guys.
Thanks a ton for the time and considerations!