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Please recommend a headphone for listening to solo (classical) piano - Page 2

post #16 of 104
Quote:
Originally Posted by cel4145 View Post

I still find that Kempfs 1951-1956 Beethoven Sonatas sound good in mono with my Ultrasone HFI-780s because of the S Logic Plus effect (even Schnabel's 1935 sonatas are OK, although better with a little EQ to reduce the hiss).  Know that Ultrasones do tend to color the sound a little (which might be a considered an understatement smile.gif   ).  

I've never tried the spatialization DSP effects obo mentions (me thinks I need to with my other phones), but that sounds like a great help to improve the experience. 

S-LOGIC is neat with a lot of things. biggrin.gif But it isn't "tonally accurate" imho (the RS-1i, however, is). Ultrasone v Grado is a never-ending debate in my mind - both are lots of fun, one is more "enhanced" and one is more "natural" though. Sort of like listening to a good Pro Logic system versus a good stereo system.

A few years ago Ultrasone was starting to get pidgeonholed into "best for piano" - no idea what happened to that. I think every one I've heard does a good job, but I don't even want to think about running my PRO2900 + mono track. ph34r.gif It probably works a lot better than I'm fearing though (I'm just imagining a super-railed image straight to the face). I just know that with conventional headphones (TBSE, RS-1, etc) a mono track will produce an extremely centered "brain cloud" effect, unless the set you've got has massive channel imbalance or one side is out of phase. It's detailed and accurate and all, but I don't like the experience. redface.gif
Quote:
Originally Posted by Atriya View Post

Thanks to everyone who has replied so far. I am now seriously considering the Grado SR325is (although it will stretch my budget a bit). A very closely related and similarly priced headphone is the Alessandro-Grado Music Series TWO, so I'm considering that as well. It apparently has a better soundstage and less-harsh treble.

I would get the SR-225, or simply based on their reputation, the MS-2. I really didn't like the SR-325. Or the TBSE (because they're, you know, $50).
post #17 of 104
Quote:
Originally Posted by pp312 View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by bbophead View Post

I really don't understand this headphones are bad in mono post.  IME, not true.

 

 

 

 

Not true why? Mono is horrible on headphones.

Not true, why?regular_smile%20.gif

post #18 of 104
Quote:
Originally Posted by Atriya View Post

 

Thanks. That's good and honest advice. You're right - I do intend to listen to Cortot, Rachmaninoff, Hoffman, maybe even Yudina as you suggest, who recorded in mono.

 

However, that's around 40% and around 60% of what I will listen to will be stereo... Richter, Horowitz, Gould... EARLY stereo, but stereo nevertheless. Would you say the HD598 is a good choice for listening to solo piano in this case, or should I be considering the Grados, as suggested in this thread?

 

Trying them out might be difficult. I'm new to the place I live in and don't know my way around local stores. I was planning to buy online.

To be honest, I do not know either Senn or Grado models well enough to be able to give any qualified opinion. My real game is far higher up - Stax Lambda Pro with "everything" and AKG K 1000. 

 

However, there is a new kid in town. Very new - and VERY inexpensive. And  - very, VERY GOOD.  Please check this thread : 

 

http://www.head-fi.org/t/621063/the-new-jvc-ha-s500-40mm-carbon-nanotubes

 

Thing has its ....ahem.... teething problems, yet the potential is far, far above the asking price.  May well be too revealing for your purpose - I could hear

small defects in ultra select audiophille recordings that went unnoticed before with the JVC HA-S 500.  You can only buy them online at the time, import from Japan - relieving you from the searching for dealers.

 

Been busy like hell these days, but will search for my mono historical CDs and report how it goes with the JVCs.


Edited by analogsurviver - 10/11/12 at 2:04pm
post #19 of 104

KRK KNS 8400

post #20 of 104
Quote:
Originally Posted by MalVeauX View Post

Heya,

 

I would suggest you look at dark headphones for piano. If you get something terribly bright, you're going to cringe the whole time. Piano shouldn't be piercing on the treble side, but recordings often are very hissy, and will sting on high notes with a bright headphone. I wouldn't get a Grado or HD598 for this.

 

Some suggestions:

 

T50RP modded (mad dog). It's a darker headphone, with delicious mids for piano, and a good low register.

AudioTechnica A900X. Warm, mellow, not quite dark, but not as bright as some others, it does very nice with piano.

Hifiman HE-300 revision 2. It's a little darker than other headphones in it's category and less expensive and easier to drive (no amp needed).

 

Very best,

See i told you, for the lushousness and class of a piano you'd need a maddog

post #21 of 104
Quote:
Originally Posted by obobskivich View Post


S-LOGIC is neat with a lot of things. biggrin.gif But it isn't "tonally accurate" imho (the RS-1i, however, is). Ultrasone v Grado is a never-ending debate in my mind - both are lots of fun, one is more "enhanced" and one is more "natural" though. Sort of like listening to a good Pro Logic system versus a good stereo system.
A few years ago Ultrasone was starting to get pidgeonholed into "best for piano" - no idea what happened to that. I think every one I've heard does a good job, but I don't even want to think about running my PRO2900 + mono track. ph34r.gif It probably works a lot better than I'm fearing though (I'm just imagining a super-railed image straight to the face). I just know that with conventional headphones (TBSE, RS-1, etc) a mono track will produce an extremely centered "brain cloud" effect, unless the set you've got has massive channel imbalance or one side is out of phase. It's detailed and accurate and all, but I don't like the experience. redface.gif
I would get the SR-225, or simply based on their reputation, the MS-2. I really didn't like the SR-325. Or the TBSE (because they're, you know, $50).

 

Hmmm...Ultrasone the popular choice for piano? That surprises me, and I think I'm in agreement with MalVeauX's post earlier in this thread about dark headphones. I prefer my A900Xs for stereo piano over the Ultrasones, and I would imagine other less treble aggressive phones would be better for me, too. Particularly with someone like Argerich whose playing is so aggressive anyway. Not that piano sounds bad on the Ultrasones. Then again, sometimes I like to listen to concerto and symphony performances on the Ultrasones. The S Logic Plus and the rich bass presence adds something extra that can be good, depending on the mood. (I think I'm more wondering to myself here than actually responding to you in a coherent way. . . lol). 

 

Good analogy of the artificial surround of Ultrasones and Pro Logic. Although I generally tend to prefer stereo over Pro Logic effects, whereas the S Logic Plus tends to do me 99% most of the time. 

 

But the S Logic Plus does manage to create a little left/right spatial presence with the mono tracks--just enough that all of the sound is not centered directly in the center. I wonder if the regular S Logic in your 2900s would still help with that? 

 

Caveat: I wouldn't recommend that anyone go out buy Ultrasones with S Logic Plus just for that specific purpose of listening to mono tracks. Just a factor to consider if there is reason to choose them anyway. I wouldn't describe it as leaps and bounds better, but it does help. 

post #22 of 104
Quote:
Originally Posted by cel4145 View Post

Hmmm...Ultrasone the popular choice for piano? That surprises me, and I think I'm in agreement with MalVeauX's post earlier in this thread about dark headphones. I prefer my A900Xs for stereo piano over the Ultrasones, and I would imagine other less treble aggressive phones would be better for me, too. Particularly with someone like Argerich whose playing is so aggressive anyway. Not that piano sounds bad on the Ultrasones. Then again, sometimes I like to listen to concerto and symphony performances on the Ultrasones. The S Logic Plus and the rich bass presence adds something extra that can be good, depending on the mood. (I think I'm more wondering to myself here than actually responding to you in a coherent way. . . lol). 

Yeah I don't know. I just know that a while ago Ultrasone was getting a reputation for piano music, sort of like "Grado is for rock only." I'm not saying I absolutely subscribe to that. I agree that dark or n-shaped headphones tend to be more forgiving in general, something like the ESW9 are a much better choice if you have tizzy or clashy material. I didn't like the A900X too much. redface.gif
Quote:
Good analogy of the artificial surround of Ultrasones and Pro Logic. Although I generally tend to prefer stereo over Pro Logic effects, whereas the S Logic Plus tends to do me 99% most of the time. 

But the S Logic Plus does manage to create a little left/right spatial presence with the mono tracks--just enough that all of the sound is not centered directly in the center. I wonder if the regular S Logic in your 2900s would still help with that? 

PRO2900 is Plus, the 2400 is standard. I've heard (owned) both - I prefer the Plus variety, but it may just be that the 2900 are voiced better for my preferences. The 2900 seem better at placing sounds in space both outside and inside of the head, while the 2400 placed most things outside of the head (but not as artificially wide as the K701). I'm sort of curious about the difference between the open-back S-LOGIC Plus and the closed-back variety on the HFI-780 et al. The baffles are very different between the 780 and the 2900 at least.
post #23 of 104
Quote:
Originally Posted by obobskivich View Post

PRO2900 is Plus, the 2400 is standard. I've heard (owned) both - I prefer the Plus variety, but it may just be that the 2900 are voiced better for my preferences. The 2900 seem better at placing sounds in space both outside and inside of the head, while the 2400 placed most things outside of the head (but not as artificially wide as the K701). I'm sort of curious about the difference between the open-back S-LOGIC Plus and the closed-back variety on the HFI-780 et al. The baffles are very different between the 780 and the 2900 at least.

 

Ooppss. I misread the Ultrasone website on the plus vs. regular. redface.gif

post #24 of 104
Quote:
Originally Posted by cel4145 View Post

Ooppss. I misread the Ultrasone website on the plus vs. regular. redface.gif

I think the 2900 are the only open-back cans to have S-LOGIC Plus (Edition 10 aside) - most of Ultrasone's marketing literature labels Plus as "getting big S-LOGIC sound into smaller closed headphones" (like the 780), and yet the 2900 are marketed with it. My understanding is all the "difference" is, is some extra holes in the baffle, whatever it is - it works. redface.gif
post #25 of 104

Let me give you the (hopefully informed) opinion of someone fairly intimately familiar with the piano both live and on recordings. Classical piano needs a neutral signature. A little bit of mid-forwardness is usually alright. Too much or too little of anything throws off the timbre completely. A "bright" or "dark" headphone is not good. A closed headphone is also undesirable, as classical music needs to sound spacious to be natural, unless you want it to sound like a tiny practice room. I am someone who regularly performs classical piano music, so I've had experience here. Keep in mind, there are badly recorded classical pieces where the timbre will be off no matter what, so I'm mostly basing this on my good Telarcs.

 

I personally find electrostats to be by far the most natural with piano and orchestra, but the HD598 is a fantastic choice for a more budget dynamic option. Grados are horrible, and Ultrasones would be among my last choices classical. Grado may sound okay for jazz piano, but that's because jazz piano is bright. It will ruin the timbre and it has far too many treble peaks compared to the relatively neutral HD598. I would say your gut instinct was correct.

 

Edit: As an addition, I want to add that mono recordings don't need particularly resolving headphones, but you should still aim for a mostly neutral signature. The Sennheisers are good for your better recordings and forgiving enough for your not so pristine ones. I wish all the great pianists of the 20th century had the recording technology available today. I can only imagine how hearing Richter or even Rachmaninoff recording for Telarc would sound.


Edited by juantendo8 - 10/12/12 at 9:42pm
post #26 of 104
Welp, the world's foremost expert has spoken - guess the rest of us are off the hook and no longer needed here. rolleyes.gif
Edited by obobskivich - 10/12/12 at 9:05pm
post #27 of 104

Nah, the conclusions I have come to are things I have learned from a long and arduous process. I have no beef against brands like Grado. If you need your rock and classical, just go for it. I just feel very strongly about the necessity of general neutrality if one wants to be extremely serious about classical music. Like everything, take my opinion with a grain of salt (if you must frown.gif). 

post #28 of 104
Quote:
Originally Posted by juantendo8 View Post

Nah, the conclusions I have come to are things I have learned from a long and arduous process. I have no beef against brands like Grado. If you need your rock and classical, just go for it. I just feel very strongly about the necessity of general neutrality if one wants to be extremely serious about classical music. Like everything, take my opinion with a grain of salt (if you must frown.gif ). 

I'm not really trying to "attack" here - I just kind of took exception to the whole "let me set you straight because everyone else has no clue, but I know the true path to walk" theme. You have your opinion, and that's fine, but it isn't the "final solution" (nobody's is). I'll also add that the generalization about closed headphones isn't entirely accurate - some of them are quite spacious sounding. It really depends more on how the drivers are aligned, how they are voiced, and so on - you will never re-create the live venue (or anything close to it), and the dragon-chase that is "neutrality" is mostly illusory. Sure, depending on the question, 'stats may be the answer, but not all 'stats sound the same, and depending on the listener the "airy and effortless" planar-wave effect may not even be desirable (it certainly does not reflect "natural" any more than S-LOGIC does).
post #29 of 104
Quote:
Originally Posted by obobskivich View Post


I'm not really trying to "attack" here - I just kind of took exception to the whole "let me set you straight because everyone else has no clue, but I know the true path to walk" theme. You have your opinion, and that's fine, but it isn't the "final solution" (nobody's is). I'll also add that the generalization about closed headphones isn't entirely accurate - some of them are quite spacious sounding. It really depends more on how the drivers are aligned, how they are voiced, and so on - you will never re-create the live venue (or anything close to it), and the dragon-chase that is "neutrality" is mostly illusory. Sure, depending on the question, 'stats may be the answer, but not all 'stats sound the same, and depending on the listener the "airy and effortless" planar-wave effect may not even be desirable (it certainly does not reflect "natural" any more than S-LOGIC does).

 

I edited the beginning of my post to sound less condescending. Yeah, I have listened to a Paradox Fostex Mod, and thus far that is the only closed headphone that I would accept for classical. Almost could have taken it for an open headphone. I just am much more picky than most about this. I have also fairly recently joined the Stax mob, so take it for what its worth cool.gifOthers may disagree, but I find S-Logic among the weirdest and most unnatural phenomenon I have had the delight to listen to. Hope nobody reads this.


Edited by juantendo8 - 10/12/12 at 9:46pm
post #30 of 104
Quote:
Originally Posted by juantendo8 View Post

 

I edited the beginning of my post to sound less condescending. Yeah, I have listened to a Paradox Fostex Mod, and thus far that is the only closed headphone that I would accept for classical. Almost could have taken it for an open headphone. I just am much more picky than most about this. I have also fairly recently joined the Stax mob, so take it for what its worth cool.gifOthers may disagree, but I find S-Logic among the weirdest and most unnatural phenomenon I have had the delight to listen to. Hope nobody reads this.

 

Your secret is safe

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