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How much of a difference is there between the Ultrasone signature pro/edition 8 and a mid fi...

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 

Im in doubt between two things: Buying a hi-fi open can and a mid-fi closed can, or buying a hi-fi closed can and a mid-fi open can. I can either have an ultimate open can and a decent closed can, or I can have an ultimate closed can and a decent open can. I'm willing to spend 1000 dollars on the hi-fi headphone and about 400 on the mid-fi headphone. closed cans obviously have limiations, but high end closed cans are known to deal with these limitations very effectively. I want to know if there is a lot of difference between a medium closed can (m100, akg k550, momentum, etc.) and a high end closed can (signature pro, edition 8, t5p). I always liked the idea of having an ultimate closed can which I could take everywhere, but I wouldn't be able to buy an ultimate open can. Do you think it's worth buying an high end open can, or a closed can? Is there a LOT of difference between a hifi model and a mid fi model closed can, or is the difference not big enough to not get a hifi open can? What do you think? Im only willing to get the ultimate closed headphone if there's a LOT of difference, or else I would be missing out a lot by not getting an awesome open headphone.

post #2 of 15
Thread Starter 

anyone?

post #3 of 15

Heya,

 

What kind of music are we talking?

 

Personally I've found that going from middle fi to high-end isn't a big leap. You spend twice as much to get a rather small increase. Sure, it's noticeable, but I find it really depends on the music too. In my experience I've found that going high-end is a lot more about the collection part of the hobby, and the psychology of knowing a high-end is on your head. But if you analyze how it performs, it may not even be a signature that you enjoy listening to. Just because it's high-end and expensive doesn't mean it sounds good to you. Do you get more resolution and realism from a high-end? You should, but again, it doesn't always mean it sounds best to you. Sometimes you'll find you have high-end, yet reach for middle-end headphones because they simply have a signature that pleases you more for your music tastes.

 

I find music has a big impact on what headphone is right for you. Some people listen to electronic or pop and they get a high-end and simply don't find it's worth it after a while. Some people listen to purely high resolution music from super cd, DVD, vinyl, digital high sample/rate stuff, and listen to classical, acoustic, jazz and absolutely cannot live without a high-end headphone.

 

Going high end also means you should probably consider going rather high end on your DAC/AMP solution too if you're wanting everything the high-end even has to offer. Again, music can be a limitation here depending on your collection.

 

If going high-end, you should really just listen to a few pairs before committing to a purchase.

 

I would suggest you get two middle headphones, open & closed perhaps. Like a Hifiman HE-400 or AudioTechnica AD2000 and something closed like a Denon D5000 or equivalent.

 

Very best,

post #4 of 15

Ultrasones tend to have a really love it/hate it sound signature. I would go more by whether you like that sound signature than by placing them into arbitrary categories like low fi/mid fi/hi fi based on price.

post #5 of 15
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by MalVeauX View Post

Heya,

 

What kind of music are we talking?

 

Personally I've found that going from middle fi to high-end isn't a big leap. You spend twice as much to get a rather small increase. Sure, it's noticeable, but I find it really depends on the music too. In my experience I've found that going high-end is a lot more about the collection part of the hobby, and the psychology of knowing a high-end is on your head. But if you analyze how it performs, it may not even be a signature that you enjoy listening to. Just because it's high-end and expensive doesn't mean it sounds good to you. Do you get more resolution and realism from a high-end? You should, but again, it doesn't always mean it sounds best to you. Sometimes you'll find you have high-end, yet reach for middle-end headphones because they simply have a signature that pleases you more for your music tastes.

 

I find music has a big impact on what headphone is right for you. Some people listen to electronic or pop and they get a high-end and simply don't find it's worth it after a while. Some people listen to purely high resolution music from super cd, DVD, vinyl, digital high sample/rate stuff, and listen to classical, acoustic, jazz and absolutely cannot live without a high-end headphone.

 

Going high end also means you should probably consider going rather high end on your DAC/AMP solution too if you're wanting everything the high-end even has to offer. Again, music can be a limitation here depending on your collection.

 

If going high-end, you should really just listen to a few pairs before committing to a purchase.

 

I would suggest you get two middle headphones, open & closed perhaps. Like a Hifiman HE-400 or AudioTechnica AD2000 and something closed like a Denon D5000 or equivalent.

 

Very best,

The genres I most listen to is rock, pop rock, and metal. The reason the ultrasone SigPro appealed to me is because people say it deals with a closed headphone's limitations in very effective ways. I thought it would sound kind of airy for closed headphone, and it's portable so I could take it wherever I want. I might actually take your advice and purchase mid-fi stuff first. After reading a bit, it seems like there's not much difference between the HE400 and the HE500, plus the HE400 is really easy to amp. As for the closed can, I'll do some more research to see if the ultrasone signature pro is actually worth it, if not I'll get the momentum or m100. Do you think rock, pop rock, and metal are  good with high end stuff?

post #6 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by daniel521 View Post

Do you think rock, pop rock, and metal are  good with high end stuff?

 

Heya,

 

Personally no. There's a lot of really well recorded classic rock, and some modern rock. But a lot of rock is recorded poorly and sounds awful, at least to me, on high resolving setups. A lot of poor recordings just sound better on less resolving, less analytical devices (both speakers and headphones). Pop is very hit or miss too, some is well recorded, some is awful. And metal is mixed bag. I have a lot of albums that are great on speakers, but the moment you go headphone on them, you can hear just how poorly they recorded it all. Some of my favorite albums are just hissy and noisy and it's the album because of how it was recorded.


So when it comes to high-ends, I tend to only pass really well recorded stuff go through it. Otherwise, it literally just sounds better to me through a headphone that is not as high-fi. I think there was an article that said it best, "sometimes hi-fi is not the best-fi for your music."

 

Very best,

post #7 of 15
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by MalVeauX View Post

 

Heya,

 

Personally no. There's a lot of really well recorded classic rock, and some modern rock. But a lot of rock is recorded poorly and sounds awful, at least to me, on high resolving setups. A lot of poor recordings just sound better on less resolving, less analytical devices (both speakers and headphones). Pop is very hit or miss too, some is well recorded, some is awful. And metal is mixed bag. I have a lot of albums that are great on speakers, but the moment you go headphone on them, you can hear just how poorly they recorded it all. Some of my favorite albums are just hissy and noisy and it's the album because of how it was recorded.


So when it comes to high-ends, I tend to only pass really well recorded stuff go through it. Otherwise, it literally just sounds better to me through a headphone that is not as high-fi. I think there was an article that said it best, "sometimes hi-fi is not the best-fi for your music."

 

Very best,

I never expected this. Is the HE-400 or is it forgiving with poor quality recordings? How about grado's? Currently, all my songs are from itunes, will it sound bad in high end stuff? People say it's best to rip songs from cd's, but how do I know which cd is recorded well and which one isn't? Will a CD with a poorly recorded song sound bad, or are CD's in general high quality? I'm asking this because I find it highly annoying and difficult to find a well recorded album which is sometimes really expensive, so is there a huge leap of quality between each CD or will any CD be fine?

post #8 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by daniel521 View Post

I never expected this. Is the HE-400 or is it forgiving with poor quality recordings? How about grado's? Currently, all my songs are from itunes, will it sound bad in high end stuff? People say it's best to rip songs from cd's, but how do I know which cd is recorded well and which one isn't? Will a CD with a poorly recorded song sound bad, or are CD's in general high quality? I'm asking this because I find it highly annoying and difficult to find a well recorded album which is sometimes really expensive, so is there a huge leap of quality between each CD or will any CD be fine?

 

Heya,

 

Grados are grainy sounding, so generally, you're not going to notice as much problem with a recording that isn't superb. The HE400 is crisp and clear, it will reveal bad recordings for what they are with ease. Darker headphones are more forgiving than really bright headphones of bad recordings, and the HE400 while not super bright, is a touch on the darker side of bright, if that makes sense, it's a good treble, not overly bright, but not dim or anything.

 

I wouldn't buy a high-end setup to listen to iTunes honestly. Some will say "it's fine!" but me personally no, I've listened to various compressed formats and compared with my Hifiman HE-500 and I was able to tell the difference without even concentrating between 320kbps MP3 and FLAC on even electronic music. I mostly noticed it in clarity and treble. So I go lossless when possible these days. But that's my experience, others have differing thoughts and experience. And you will too.

 

There is actually a few websites dedicated to helping you find the best recorded albums out there. Just google. But there are plenty of albums in CD format that sound bad on headphones. They're just poorly recorded and even though they're not compressed, they still just sound like a mess, high noise floor, made way too loud artificially, so when you listen on headphones it just sounds like a hot mess. CDs in general are capable of high quality, but do not automatically make something high quality. Read more on the "loudness war" via google as well to get an idea of time frames of audio releases you can look at for an instant approach to better music quality recordings. I have plenty of albums I really like that sound awful on headphones because of how poorly recorded they are. I literally look for remastered versions or re-recorded versions trying to get a better recording, but it doesn't always happen. But if you're going high-end, you want the best ability to render music, so I assume you also want the best quality music to listen to in the first place. Because in audio, garbage in, garbage out. Put in a poor recording through a high end setup, you get a poor recording on the other end too. High ends do not make poor recorded compressed digital media sound better, actually the opposite, it reveals their compression and poor quality even more than an entry headphone so they sound worse.

 

Very best,

post #9 of 15
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by MalVeauX View Post

 

Heya,

 

Grados are grainy sounding, so generally, you're not going to notice as much problem with a recording that isn't superb. The HE400 is crisp and clear, it will reveal bad recordings for what they are with ease. Darker headphones are more forgiving than really bright headphones of bad recordings, and the HE400 while not super bright, is a touch on the darker side of bright, if that makes sense, it's a good treble, not overly bright, but not dim or anything.

 

I wouldn't buy a high-end setup to listen to iTunes honestly. Some will say "it's fine!" but me personally no, I've listened to various compressed formats and compared with my Hifiman HE-500 and I was able to tell the difference without even concentrating between 320kbps MP3 and FLAC on even electronic music. I mostly noticed it in clarity and treble. So I go lossless when possible these days. But that's my experience, others have differing thoughts and experience. And you will too.

 

There is actually a few websites dedicated to helping you find the best recorded albums out there. Just google. But there are plenty of albums in CD format that sound bad on headphones. They're just poorly recorded and even though they're not compressed, they still just sound like a mess, high noise floor, made way too loud artificially, so when you listen on headphones it just sounds like a hot mess. CDs in general are capable of high quality, but do not automatically make something high quality. Read more on the "loudness war" via google as well to get an idea of time frames of audio releases you can look at for an instant approach to better music quality recordings. I have plenty of albums I really like that sound awful on headphones because of how poorly recorded they are. I literally look for remastered versions or re-recorded versions trying to get a better recording, but it doesn't always happen. But if you're going high-end, you want the best ability to render music, so I assume you also want the best quality music to listen to in the first place. Because in audio, garbage in, garbage out. Put in a poor recording through a high end setup, you get a poor recording on the other end too. High ends do not make poor recorded compressed digital media sound better, actually the opposite, it reveals their compression and poor quality even more than an entry headphone so they sound worse.

 

Very best,

Do you think HD Tracks is a good website for high quality music? Also, how do you normally find and buy the CD with the best quality? In the Loudness war DR Database (http://www.dr.loudness-war.info/details.php?id=8), the website doesn't tell you where to find the album. So if you're buying, lets say, a used CD in amazon, how would you know if it's a good quality recording? I find it really hard to know which CD is good and which one is bad.

post #10 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by daniel521 View Post

Do you think HD Tracks is a good website for high quality music? Also, how do you normally find and buy the CD with the best quality? In the Loudness war DR Database (http://www.dr.loudness-war.info/details.php?id=8), the website doesn't tell you where to find the album. So if you're buying, lets say, a used CD in amazon, how would you know if it's a good quality recording? I find it really hard to know which CD is good and which one is bad.

 

Heya,

 

I get a lot of my albums from HDtracks (I like getting the 24bit/96khz recordings), the quality is excellent, though you have to be careful, not all of them are perfect, so definitely pre-listen (which is a really nice feature). I still buy a lot of CDs though and I love getting them used to save money, so I use half.com and amazon.com for that usually. The only way to know if an album is well recorded is if someone listened to it and told you or if you listened to it yourself. There's not going to be a chart. The loudness war information is simply a good way to say, "If it was made before the year XXXX, then it may not be overly bloated with enhanced volume which exacerbates poor recordings." It's just a rule of thumb, not a hard set rule. A guide, if you will.

 

But then again it also depends on what you're listening to. Some genres are just riddled with poor recordings because there's just a lot of trash that is output quickly to try and capture market instead of high quality, because the more you release, the faster you release, the more money you make. If everyone just took 5 years to release something, they'd never make enough money to be mega-wealthy, and cocaine isn't cheap. A lot of metal for example sounds horrible on headphones to me, because they're just so poorly recorded. And there's quite a bit of rock that suffers this too. But to be fair, I have albums of acoustic/classical piano that are irritating to listen to because they have such high hissy noise floors from the microphones, which is really distracting from the piano. I find more piano music has mega hiss in the recording that some other instruments for some reason. I assume due to how they're recorded.

 

Anyhow, it's your money and your ears, I suggest you try these things before throwing $1000~1500 down on something only to find out a $400 setup does it just as well, or actually might sound better even for your music.

 

Very best,

post #11 of 15

One word of advice I may offer up is that you should experience the lower end of hp offerings first,  then when you are ready, pull the trigger on a nice pair of top tier hps.  This will give you an honest experience level in which to draw from when comparing low end to high end.  In other words it will let you appreciate the subtle (and sometimes not so subtle differences) between them.

 

On the other hand, some will say that its best just to shoot for the top right off the bat and simply buy the best you can and avoid loosing money on lower end stuff by continuously having to flip it.  Have to say both bits of advice are valid to some degree.

 

On the factor of getting Ferrari performance from a Honda doesnt always hold water.  You do in fact get what you pay for , admittedly not always the case.  As far as FLAC and so on, listen to what you like ..... heck most high end stuff sounds awesome just with simple streaming radio.  This will also expose you to many new genres / artists, etc. 

 

Personally, i find the Sig Pro to be a fantastic hp. 

 

At the end of the day its all about the music,  having said that it doesnt hurt if your a bit of a gear head also  .... good luck on your journey  wink_face.gif


Edited by Mortalcoil - 9/17/12 at 4:14pm
post #12 of 15
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mortalcoil View Post

One word of advice I may offer up is that you should experience the lower end of hp offerings first,  then when you are ready, pull the trigger on a nice pair of top tier hps.  This will give you an honest experience level in which to draw from when comparing low end to high end.  In other words it will let you appreciate the subtle (and sometimes not so subtle differences) between them.

 

On the other hand, some will say that its best just to shoot for the top right off the bat and simply buy the best you can and avoid loosing money on lower end stuff by continuously having to flip it.  Have to say both bits of advice are valid to some degree.

 

On the factor of getting Ferrari performance from a Honda doesnt always hold water.  You do in fact get what you pay for , admittedly not always the case.  As far as FLAC and so on, listen to what you like ..... heck most high end stuff sounds awesome just with simple streaming radio.  This will also expose you to many new genres / artists, etc. 

 

Personally, i find the Sig Pro to be a fantastic hp. 

 

At the end of the day its all about the music,  having said that it doesnt hurt if your a bit of a gear head also  .... good luck on your journey  wink_face.gif

Thanks :) I'm probably getting the Sig Pro and the HE400 anytime soon. I'm not gonna let this affect my listening and I won't think about it much, but does the Sig Pro sound bad with poor quality recordings by revealing a lot of it's mistakes like the HD800, or is it more forgiving?

post #13 of 15

I would say generally speaking the Sig Pro is very forgiving.  Although there have been times when I have thought just how revealing it was.  YMMV

post #14 of 15

I came to this thread a little late, but just in case anyone wants to know, my thoughts are these.

 

I have a set of Sig Pro headphones for use with an ALO RX mk 2, an iPod Classic via an ALO copper usb cable into a Cypher Labs Algorhythm Solo (original), and a Nordost iKable between the 2. The Sig Pro has a refined but clear and rounded sound when it is fed with a good, clean, signal. It still sounds pretty good with a poorer quality signal, but it sounds a bit too rounded for my liking when it is fed a warmish sounding signal. The above set-up is now my standard portable system, put together after some years of experimentation. I have a T5p, but find it needs a different signal - with a more "fat" bottom end - to work well, and I just prefer the above system for portable use.

 

The HD800s, on the other hand, are in my experience (and I have a Cardas replacement cable which takes some of the edge off the HD800 treble) too "revealing" for many recordings, and need a "fat" bottom end to sound good. (My most-liked headphone system for home digital use - which is usually via CD - is the Stax Omega 2 mk 1 with the 007t ii Kimik-modified energiser, given a very clean signal from a Chord DAC64 via a Nordost Heimdall 2 XLR lead and a Nordost Vishnu with Furutech plugs at both ends.)

 

I like all kinds of music, but listen most often to rock. I find that music of all sorts always sounds better through headphones that work well for me, and therefore I would not say that the quality of the recording does not matter so much with rock music. I never download from iTunes, and always rip to iTunes from CDs (which I have bought, not borrowed) using the lossless format. Again, that is important for sound quality. Every little helps in my experience.


Edited by Omriff - 4/29/13 at 5:00am
post #15 of 15

I have a question.

Ed8 is just not large enough for my head. (however I bought it for my wife). The Pro900/2900 are cool on my head, but I can't say they are comfortable.

How is Sig Pro comparing to these cans, comfort wise?

 

Thanks!

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