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What are the best closed headphones to audition?

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 

Posted this to no response in the general forum, and a helpful soul told me to try my luck here.

 

I'm mainly a speaker person, but now need a set of closed headphones for use in the same room, for my gf to use when I'm resting/sleeping. Sound isolation is important - only so it does not disturb the other party in the room. While sound quality is not the most critical, we are realising our expectations are quite high (maybe cos of the performance of the speaker setup) so I've decided to open my budget.

 

Have done the basic rounds, testing several headphones from  Audio Technica (W5000, W1000), AKG, Denon (not sure what models, but >$1k) and other brands.

 

After the auditions, we didn't find anything that we wanted, but the top two were:
- Ultrasone Edition 8: we found this to be too thin sounding though not sure if it was the amp pairing at the shop (Ray Samuels Dark Star). Also comfort level wasn't too our liking as we prefer 'around ear'.

- Beyerdynamic T5p: gf found the highs wanting over here, but otherwise not too bad for the price.

 

The next on my list:

- Fostex TH900: Currently out of stock at the dealer. Am anticipating this since I read all 100+ pages in the forum and it sounds promising.

- Stax 4070: Seems very difficult to get, but I might try in WTB (noted another ad there already). I already own a Stax amp and have good experience with the brand so would buy blind if there were any out there.

 

Preference is for a neutral, balanced sound which is probably why we like Stax and don't seem to mind studio headphones like the Shure 940 (though more performance is better). We also don't mind a little coloration as long as pleasant.

 

What's important is that the headphones keep the 'energy' of the music - as a reference for open headphones, we quite like the Stax 009 over anything else, and even the Airbow SC-1 over the 007 or HD800 (maybe didn't hear these two driven properly). I found Grado PS500 to be quite nice as well, but uncomfortable to wear.

 

 

Does anyone have closed headphones to recommend that we can take a look at, that I hadn't mentioned? Could not find any other mentions in the head-fi guide.


Price should not be an object, but I'd preferably like to spend less than $5k - so no R10 for me. ;) A lower priced, balanced sounding headphone is also not out of our consideration as this won't replace our main setups - but I did note the gf rejected almost all of the <$1k headphones (other than the Shure 940) when we went to try.


Edited by Quest88 - 7/31/12 at 7:43pm
post #2 of 19
You shouldn't have let her listen to your speaker set up. Now you are royally screwed wink.gif.

Most of the good sounding 'closed' phones I have tried aren't really closed in the traditional sense, ie, Denons and AT woodies. Neither were created with the objective of being closed for isolation. I hope you like the TH900 because it sort of fits the bill (it's short comings are that it doesn't isolate as well as you might like and it has a warm signature).

Just an alternative, friendly suggestion. Have you looked at IEMs? You get great isolation and also surprisingly good sound. It seems like the better option to me.
post #3 of 19
Thread Starter 

Hi MomijiTMO,

She was part of building my hifi system so I couldn't let her not listen. :)

 

Thanks for mentioning IEMs - I had considered but as I am likely to share them with her, I don't quite like the idea.

 

She already uses her Stax maybe 3 times a year, and this new set may have equal amount of usage.. so I figured that I am likely to be the one to use them - e.g. when I am playing D3 past midnight and can't use my speakers or the Stax. Currently I'm on mute!

 

If all fails, I can always get 2 pairs of IEMs. Hoping the TH900 works out as well, if no other options to consider.


Edited by Quest88 - 8/1/12 at 2:10am
post #4 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Quest88 View Post

Hi MomijiTMO,

She was part of building my hifi system so I couldn't let her not listen. :)

 

Thanks for mentioning IEMs - I had considered but as I am likely to share them with her, I don't quite like the idea.

 

She already uses her Stax maybe 3 times a year, and this new set may have equal amount of usage.. so I figured that I am likely to be the one to use them - e.g. when I am playing D3 past midnight and can't use my speakers or the Stax. Currently I'm on mute!

 

If all fails, I can always get 2 pairs of IEMs. Hoping the TH900 works out as well, if no other options to consider.

 

The TH900's are nice, though i think a bit expensive for the sound. But those woodcups are gorgeous. have you thought about the LFF modded T50rps the Paradox they are called? many have said they are the best closed cans out there.

post #5 of 19
Quote:
The next on my list:
- Fostex TH900: Currently out of stock at the dealer. Am anticipating this since I read all 100+ pages in the forum and it sounds promising.
- Stax 4070: Seems very difficult to get, but I might try in WTB (noted another ad there already). I already own a Stax amp and have good experience with the brand so would buy blind if there were any out there.

I have these and they're very different beasts. The 4070s are the kings of detail for closed `phones, though they can be a little sterile and bright if not paired with the right amp. I've found them to be brilliant with the Woo GES (I bought the GES just for them). OTOH, the TH900s are my favorite dynamic headphones; peerless timbre, very detailed, huge soundstage (for closed cans), and beautifully balanced. I wouldn't want to choose between them, they're both fantastic in their own way.

4070s with GES will run you $3k - 3.5k, if you can find them. The TH900s are $2k, maybe a little less on sale, and their amping needs aren't extreme. So, there's that to consider.
post #6 of 19

I desperately want to hear the 4070s now that I plan on owning an LL...

post #7 of 19
Thread Starter 

Well, my gf has a SRM 600 amp that we can use with the 4070 for the time being, if I ever get one!

I would be more willing to buy a higher end stax amp as I might feel like buying the 009s.

I even feel like going to Japan to hunt for a set.. but unlikely to get one there even if I do.

 

Magick Man, what amp would you recommend with the TH900, if I go this path?

post #8 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Quest88 View Post

Magick Man, what amp would you recommend with the TH900, if I go this path?

Something neutral with as close to zero resistance as possible. I like the Benchmark DAC1 with mine, I think they have very good synergy. Another I'm hearing great things about is the Burson Audio Soloist. It's supposed to be even better, and it's cheaper ($1000).

A good match, IMO, would be:

Burson DA-160 DAC > Burson Soloist > TH900

That's $4k all together, but it sure would sound amazing. If you deal with Drew at Moon Audio I'm sure he'd work out something special for you.
post #9 of 19
Thread Starter 

Magick Man, I don't find benchmark that neutral, but get the general idea. I'd call it 'incisive'. :)

Just looking for a headphone amp without the DAC though.. preference is to use what DACs I already own.

post #10 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Quest88 View Post

Magick Man, I don't find benchmark that neutral, but get the general idea. I'd call it 'incisive'. smily_headphones1.gif
Just looking for a headphone amp without the DAC though.. preference is to use what DACs I already own.

No, the Benchmark is bright, but despite that it has good synergy with the TH900. If you like your DAC, then the Burson Soloist + TH900 would be a great choice, unless you want to pony up some more cabbage for the HeadAmp GS-X. smily_headphones1.gif
post #11 of 19
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Magick Man View Post


No, the Benchmark is bright, but despite that it has good synergy with the TH900. If you like your DAC, then the Burson Soloist + TH900 would be a great choice, unless you want to pony up some more cabbage for the HeadAmp GS-X. smily_headphones1.gif


I have owned the benchmark and don't find it that bright, though it can be in some setups.
Have to be abit more careful about the usb and power filter/cords used. I considered it the best in its price class, though that might have to be re-evaluated now with new additions over the years.

 

Thanks, will look up the options.. meanwhile I am still hunting for 4070, while waiting for the shop to call me about the TH900 audition.. :)

 

What is interesting is that while waiting, my gf heard some Audiotechnicas (think the W1000 and 3000) that she felt were 'ok' in terms of sound character, and that shop told her that the TH900 would be totally opposite from what she was looking for.


Edited by Quest88 - 8/9/12 at 10:20pm
post #12 of 19
Just a random suggestion, and I know it isn't expensive enough to satisfy your tastes (and also lacks the treble spike that a lot of the models you seem to "like" have), try the Kenwood KH-K1000. They're fairly balanced sounding and provide a decent amount of isolation, and are comfortable enough to relax with. Very similar in character to the HD 580 or HD 600 from Sennheiser. And very easily driven - if your preamp or power amp had a headphone jack, it would do well with them. Another consideration, based on the aforementioned treble spike, would be the Beyerdynamic T70 - these ones provide more isolation as well.
post #13 of 19

The TH900 are very nice and if I were to pickup a closed pair of headphones they would be high up on my list. Keep in mind that they do have quite a bit of bass(detailed as well), if you don't mind that then they are a good choice.

 

Do you mind sleeping with earplugs on such as a pair of custom ones which would be comfortable as well? I was pondering over getting the TH900 or the Stax SR-009, I went for the 009 and got my wife some comfy earplugs.


Edited by Donnyhifi - 8/17/12 at 4:06am
post #14 of 19
Thread Starter 

Donny, interesting idea. If earplugs were an option, we could even just use the speaker setup.

Tough to wake up in the morning if can't hear the alarm though. :P

post #15 of 19

Does anyone have closed headphones to recommend that we can take a look at, that I hadn't mentioned? Could not find any other mentions in the head-fi guide.


Price should not be an object, but I'd preferably like to spend less than $5k - so no R10 for me. ;) A lower priced, balanced sounding headphone is also not out of our consideration as this won't replace our main setups - but I did note the gf rejected almost all of the <$1k headphones (other than the Shure 940) when we went to try."

 

Although you've set a high dollar amount.

These are well below that,& you might want to look at:

 

http://www.mrspeakers.com/Mad-dog-Dog-Pad-Comfort-Strap-mrspeakers-headphone-dog-pad-fostex-t50rp

 

I've owned a pair of these for a few months,and IMHO they are excellent...some people even compare them to the Lcd2's.

 

This  will give you a lot of extra money that you can invest in other audio equipment.

 

If it's any consolation to you...,my wife also has rejected most headphones that are near the 1K mark

Although I do own the lcd'2,T1's-how I got away with that..I have no idea??.

 

Good luck..

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