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New to classical music, Headphone advice please

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 

     Hello everyone. As I become older I am starting to enjoy music even more than I used to. What I mean is that I am opening up to more styles rather than staying in the same box like I have for so long. I am pretty much a budget audiophile and I would like some advice. I own three sets of headphones:

Audio Technica M50s

Sony MDR V6

Shure 215 IEMs

My headphone amp is the Headroom Total Bithead. My Fiio E9 went poof and I am trying to get it replaced. My listening source will be my Apple iMac and iPod Touch using Apple Lossless files or CD from the iMac. From what I already own, which headphone would be best suited for classical music? Thank you for the help.

post #2 of 22

I will recommend the Beyer Dynamic DT880, DT990, AKG K701, Sennheiser HD600 and Sony MA900 for there great imaging and high resolution soundquality. BTW if you need portable closed back headphones then V-Moda M80, Sony ZX900, DT1350, Bose QC15 and Klipsch M40 are great buy.


Edited by ZARIM - 8/26/12 at 9:32am
post #3 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by ZARIM View Post

I will recommend the Beyer Dynamic DT880, DT990, AKG K701, Sennheiser HD600 and Sony MA900 for there great imaging and high resolution soundquality. BTW if you need portable closed back headphones then V-Moda M80, Sony ZX900, DT1350, Bose QC15 and Klipsch M40 are great buy.

those are pretty expensive compared to what the OP has suggested, but a whole lot better too-

post #4 of 22

If you can, save up some money for the akg k701 or find a used one. Really good for classic. I get goosebumps just listening to chopin with them.

post #5 of 22

in my experience classical has to be played through speakers and headphones which have great imaging, plenty of detail, and a sweet midrange, otherwise it is very difficult to stay into it (for a hilarious description of the "spacing-out" effect watch the classic talk of  Benjamin Zander on TED http://www.ted.com/talks/benjamin_zander_on_music_and_passion.html).

 

Of the many good headphones mentioned in this thread none really fits the bill, unless you connect them to a  well-matched head-amp. So you are looking at a good $500, perhaps $400 if you are patient and lucky in the used market.​ My top mid-fi recommendations would be a used AKG K501 which would work OK off your Bithead (I owned the combo). It will sound unbearable with less than well-recorded music, but luckily classical music is almost always well recorded. The K701 and Senns 600 are superior technically but (much) harder and hence expensive to drive. If you are ready to spend that money than I would rather buy a Hifiman HE400 and a decent amp.

 

If you need a quick fix that would work well un-amped, I  would consider the (gasp!) Skullcandy RocNation Aviators. Only yesterday I spent half an hour listening to the reference-quality MTT/SFSO recording of Mahler 1st Symphony on a iPod Nano driving the Skullcandy and I could not believe how good these little closed thingies were at imaging and detail extraction. They are way too warm to be your ultimate classical music headphone, but they are definitely good enough to keep you engaged in the music.

post #6 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by calaf View Post

in my experience classical has to be played through speakers and headphones which have great imaging, plenty of detail, and a sweet midrange, otherwise it is very difficult to stay into it (for a hilarious description of the "spacing-out" effect watch the classic talk of  Benjamin Zander on TED http://www.ted.com/talks/benjamin_zander_on_music_and_passion.html).

 

Of the many good headphones mentioned in this thread none really fits the bill, unless you connect them to a  well-matched head-amp. So you are looking at a good $500, perhaps $400 if you are patient and lucky in the used market.​ My top mid-fi recommendations would be a used AKG K501 which would work OK off your Bithead (I owned the combo). It will sound unbearable with less than well-recorded music, but luckily classical music is almost always well recorded. The K701 and Senns 600 are superior technically but (much) harder and hence expensive to drive. If you are ready to spend that money than I would rather buy a Hifiman HE400 and a decent amp.

 

If you need a quick fix that would work well un-amped, I  would consider the (gasp!) Skullcandy RocNation Aviators. Only yesterday I spent half an hour listening to the reference-quality MTT/SFSO recording of Mahler 1st Symphony on a iPod Nano driving the Skullcandy and I could not believe how good these little closed thingies were at imaging and detail extraction. They are way too warm to be your ultimate classical music headphone, but they are definitely good enough to keep you engaged in the music.

do you think the hd598 would do well without vapourising the wallet? it has good midrange, very wide soundstage and is quite clear (not nearly as detailed as srh940 though)

post #7 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by streetdragon View Post

do you think the hd598 would do well without vapourising the wallet? it has good midrange, very wide soundstage and is quite clear (not nearly as detailed as srh940 though)

may be. I have heard the hd598 only at meets and thought they were good phones, but there was something in their imaging that did not quite work for me. Very wide soundstage as you say, but perhaps not the most natural one.

post #8 of 22

I like the DT-660.. very detailed and clear.

 

There's a review of them for classical music here.

 

The only thing I don't like in these cans is the weight... it's heavy, and due to a very light clamping force, it gets uncomfortable after a couple of hours (you can feel it on top of your head).

post #9 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by flavouz View Post

I like the DT-660.. very detailed and clear.

 

There's a review of them for classical music here.

 

The only thing I don't like in these cans is the weight... it's heavy, and due to a very light clamping force, it gets uncomfortable after a couple of hours (you can feel it on top of your head).

I agree, detailed and clear.  The weight doesn't really bother me.  But, as with all closed back headphones I know of, the soundstage is a bit narrower than say, the 598 (which I have owned).  Mo bettah would be the soundstage of the 598 with the isolation, detail and sub-bass of the 660.  I have Grados for open back listening.

post #10 of 22

The Sony MDR-V900HD is not a highly talked about headphone around here, but it is very worthy for classical music. It has a sweet midrange that is far beyond its price-range. Additionally, its soundstage is very large, which is essential for classical music. Be sure to check it out. It will blow the V6/7506 out of the water. 

post #11 of 22
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by calaf View Post

in my experience classical has to be played through speakers and headphones which have great imaging, plenty of detail, and a sweet midrange, otherwise it is very difficult to stay into it (for a hilarious description of the "spacing-out" effect watch the classic talk of  Benjamin Zander on TED http://www.ted.com/talks/benjamin_zander_on_music_and_passion.html).

 

Of the many good headphones mentioned in this thread none really fits the bill, unless you connect them to a  well-matched head-amp. So you are looking at a good $500, perhaps $400 if you are patient and lucky in the used market.​ My top mid-fi recommendations would be a used AKG K501 which would work OK off your Bithead (I owned the combo). It will sound unbearable with less than well-recorded music, but luckily classical music is almost always well recorded. The K701 and Senns 600 are superior technically but (much) harder and hence expensive to drive. If you are ready to spend that money than I would rather buy a Hifiman HE400 and a decent amp.

 

If you need a quick fix that would work well un-amped, I  would consider the (gasp!) Skullcandy RocNation Aviators. Only yesterday I spent half an hour listening to the reference-quality MTT/SFSO recording of Mahler 1st Symphony on a iPod Nano driving the Skullcandy and I could not believe how good these little closed thingies were at imaging and detail extraction. They are way too warm to be your ultimate classical music headphone, but they are definitely good enough to keep you engaged in the music.

I did watch that video and I enjoyed it. Now, where do I go from here? I mean (I am joking) I have the wrong headphones and the wrong amp and I am not sure where to start in classical music. LOL :) I realize the entire point is to simply enjoy the music, so I must start somewhere. I am new to classical music and at this point I am reading about it. It is time to start listening to it. :)

post #12 of 22

Hello,

 

From your own list, I think Shure SE215 should be best in handling classical music.  Actually, I like 215 very much and think it can do wonders if plug into a serious head amp.  It is very coherent and with good isolation, details can be easier retrieved.

post #13 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by s1mp13m4n View Post

I did watch that video and I enjoyed it. Now, where do I go from here? I mean (I am joking) I have the wrong headphones and the wrong amp and I am not sure where to start in classical music. LOL :) I realize the entire point is to simply enjoy the music, so I must start somewhere. I am new to classical music and at this point I am reading about it. It is time to start listening to it. :)

right you are: tyson put together a list here on headfi which is as good as any

   http://www.head-fi.org/t/205590/classical-basic-library-recommendations-big-list

one day I will try to compile a spotify playlist out of it (perhaps adding a few more opera titles) if nobody has done it yet.  If you are a CD dinosaur, public libraries are well-stocked in classical music and will have many of tyson's recommendations.

[POST 1000!!!]


Edited by calaf - 8/31/12 at 3:53pm
post #14 of 22
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by calaf View Post

right you are: tyson put together a list here on headfi which is as good as any

   http://www.head-fi.org/t/205590/classical-basic-library-recommendations-big-list

one day I will try to compile a spotify playlist out of it (perhaps adding a few more opera titles) if nobody has done it yet.  If you are a CD dinosaur, public libraries are well-stocked in classical music and will have many of tyson's recommendations.

I am asking out of curiosity. One of the points of classical music is quality, right? Would that make listening to it via MP3 or streaming Internet a bit of a contradiction? I am asking simply for adive purposes. :) Thank you for leading me to the list as it is a greta place to start. :)

post #15 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by s1mp13m4n View Post

I am asking out of curiosity. One of the points of classical music is quality, right? Would that make listening to it via MP3 or streaming Internet a bit of a contradiction? I am asking simply for adive purposes. :) Thank you for leading me to the list as it is a greta place to start. :)

If you're at 320kbps MP3 you are catching 99% of all the quality you can hear. Usually streaming is low quality, but recently Spotify bumped up to 320 via desktop, and mobile can be configured to be 320 in settings. MOG is also 320. Other than that I don't know of any other streaming services off the top of my head that stream high quality audio. But to answer your question: if your MP3's are at 320+, you're good to go. 

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