Buy any Grado, forget the amp/dac thingy and enjoy Placido, Jonas, Rolando, Juan Diego not to mention Franco, Giuseppe, Jussi and Nicolai.
- productAKG K 550tagged by System, 9/17/12
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- productAudioQuest DragonFly Asynchronous USB DACtagged by System, 9/17/12
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Best headphones for opera within sub $400 price range with sub $350 amp/dac combo - Page 2
Poll Results: Best for opera:
38 Total Votespost #16 of 539/17/12 at 7:38am
Gear mentioned in this thread:post #17 of 539/17/12 at 8:42amThread StarterQuote:Originally Posted by xaval
All headphones listed are highly regarded around these places and should be "good" for what you're looking for. You should try and listen to a few of them if at all possible before making a decision. If you cannot, as I suggested, any of them should be cool - sound signature preferences and nuances only come buy from empirical experience. Buy one +dac/amp, go listen to some great music and forget this forum, at least until you're ready to "upgrade" :)
I think this is the best advice for me right now, it was the kind of response I was unknowingly waiting for, haha. WhatHifi just added a review of the dragonfly giving it 5/5, and they have also rated the k550 5/5. The K550 look amazing, and that matters to me too, so I ended up putting in an order for those two. If I hate the headphones, there is a 30 day return policy. I will post on here how I like what I got. Thanks to everyone for their help!post #18 of 539/17/12 at 8:58ampost #19 of 539/18/12 at 9:08pmThread Starter
First impressions: Headphones have a very clear presentation and great detail, but very bright to my ears and lacking some lushness in the sound. I tested the Dragonfly with my Westone 4r's and it does seem to be somewhat brighter than when I use them with my fiio e11 - so that has something to say too. There's no distortion of the higher frequencies though, when listening to opera, which was very important to me, but at the same time it is too shrill. Overall sound is very impressive though, just not lively enough for me to be honest... I started listening to them for an hour then had them burn in for about 4 hours on low volume with white noise, pink noise, radio white noise, 20-20000 Hz frequency sweeps, 10-30000 Hz frequency sweeps, 20-200 Hz frequency sweeps, with a minute of silence in between each. I love it when listening to my Carl Nielsen Symphonies, but especially older recordings lack the warmth. They sound great with Infectious Mushrooms Vicious Delicious, here the bass seems tight and well balanced. Otherwise I do lack some bass. I also notice that the left cup is slightly louder than the right, now I don't know if it has to do with my ears, so I am going to let my friends listen to them as well - see if they hear it too. I don't seem to have that problem with my Westone 4r's though... Still not sure about what I think of the Dragonfly, sound is definitely clear and detailed, but I don't know about the amp section, whether it is just is too bleak.
EDIT: I am getting very big differences in soudn between using itunes alone, audirvana and amarra. The soundstage, speration and clarity seem best with audirvana, but very sharp sounding. Itunes alone sounds a little warmer but much more muffled. Amarra seems to be in between the two. I will try and run my fiio e11 through the DragonFly and see how that sounds... The DragonFly is very silent on its own, adding the fiio will surely add som hizz...
Edited by AdamFrandsen - 9/18/12 at 9:28pmpost #20 of 539/18/12 at 9:49pmThread Starter
Just listened to the K550 through my Fiio on my Ipod - the Fiio definitely has more heft adding a lot more warmth, but also seems more raw and less detailed. No matter the source they do seem a little fatiguing because of their sharp sound.post #21 of 539/18/12 at 9:56pmThread Starter
Listening to Oscar Peterson trio - Personal Choice - sounds fabulous on these! Really very different from genre to genre, maybe I have to get used to how big a difference there is in mixes etc.., and how revealing these headphones are. I can for sure say that I hate remastered classical albums, if I could get a hold of LP rips I would.post #22 of 539/18/12 at 11:08pmThread Starter
I also agree with others on this forum that the sound does improve in the treble when not listening too loud. On the other hand the bass kicks in better at a little louder volume - so what to do...
In terms of clamping pressure, they fit me just fine - good seal. No change in sound if I press them against my head.
I will resume my listening again tomorrow. I am seriously contemplating on sending both the DragonFly and the K550's back and exchanging them for the HE-400's with the Nuforce Icon HD.post #23 of 539/19/12 at 6:11amThread Starterpost #24 of 539/19/12 at 7:07ampost #25 of 539/19/12 at 8:24ampost #26 of 539/19/12 at 8:35amThread Starterpost #27 of 539/19/12 at 8:39amThread Starter
Using the Dragonfly with Westone 4r's + Fiio E11 I get a bright and thinner sound than when just plugging the Fiio E11 into the headphone out on the computer. (Major difference in sound!)
Using the Fiio E11 with Ipod plus K550 is a little warmer than using Fiio E11 with computer headphone out plus K550.
Using K550 plus Fiio E11 from computer is less satifying than just using the Dragonfly plus K550 without the Fiio E11.
Acoustic music sounds absolutely great on the K550, so does pop music and normal rock. Metal is very shrill and treble oriented. With opera the vocals are up front yet to shrill lacking warmth and taking away from the warmth of the background orchestration.
i am going to call amazon to see if they will let me exchange for He-400 plus Icon Nurforce HD - the 6mooons review of the HD says it can drive anything you throw at it.
Edited by AdamFrandsen - 9/19/12 at 8:52ampost #28 of 539/19/12 at 8:58amThread Starter
I am actually also thinking about the Grado PS500's now... I know I like both Sennheiser's and Grado's cheaper models with opera... I will go so far as to say that the most gratifying experience I have had with opera, thinking back, was with a pair of Grado SR-60s from a Marantz amplifier feeding a turntable with a recording of Verdi's Macbeth from the 60's at the Yale Music Library.post #29 of 539/19/12 at 8:59amThread Starterpost #30 of 539/19/12 at 9:21amThread Starter
Called amazon - return labels ordered and am sending it back. I am not going to spend $560 on something I am not 100% satisfied with... I am sure people who never listen to classical opera will find these great - especially for acoustic music, jazz and pop - clinical recordings. I thought that they were impressive headphones in many areas, but really lacking in warmth, color, bass and mids.
- Best headphones for opera within sub $400 price range with sub $350 amp/dac combo
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