or Connect
Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Headphones (full-size) › Please recommend a headphone for listening to solo (classical) piano
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Please recommend a headphone for listening to solo (classical) piano - Page 5

post #61 of 104
Quote:
Originally Posted by Atriya View Post

It's wierd. I was just looking up the HD598 with the intent of buying it, and I can't find a price lower than $240. Several people on these forums claim to have bought this headphone NEW for $180 or even lower. Apparently it used to sell on AMAZON for $175? Amazon is selling it for $245 now! What happened? Should prices go down if I wait a bit?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Atriya View Post

Ah, but now I feel icky about buying something for $245, that once sold for $175. frown.gif How does this pricing thing work? Will prices go down again eventually?

This gets asked about once a week. Sennheiser started enforcing it's MSRP a while ago (about a year now), and they don't allow authorized dealers to sell under MSRP and stay authorized (and they won't honor warranties if you don't have an authorized dealer's receipt). You can wait, but you'll be waiting forever most likely. That's the thing about variable pricing - coulda, woulda, shoulda.

Grado does the same thing, and has for decades.
Edited by obobskivich - 10/14/12 at 12:16pm
post #62 of 104
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by obobskivich View Post


This gets asked about once a week. Sennheiser started enforcing it's MSRP a while ago (about a year now), and they don't allow authorized dealers to sell under MSRP and stay authorized (and they won't honor warranties if you don't have an authorized dealer's receipt). You can wait, but you'll be waiting forever most likely. That's the thing about variable pricing - coulda, woulda, shoulda.
Grado does the same thing, and has for decades.

 

Ugh, that's pretty sad. I guess I'll have to buy it for $250 then. :(

post #63 of 104
Quote:
Originally Posted by Atriya View Post

Ugh, that's pretty sad. I guess I'll have to buy it for $250 then. frown.gif

Pretty much. redface.gif

Amazon and FBA will honor the return policy and so on though, so if you're unhappy, they can go back less shipping (as Cel explained). If you have a Best Buy near you, some of them have the lesser HD 518 or HD 558 as demonstration models. You'd at least get an idea of how they physically fit you.
post #64 of 104
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by obobskivich View Post


Pretty much. redface.gif
Amazon and FBA will honor the return policy and so on though, so if you're unhappy, they can go back less shipping (as Cel explained). If you have a Best Buy near you, some of them have the lesser HD 518 or HD 558 as demonstration models. You'd at least get an idea of how they physically fit you.

 

Btw, what do you think of the AKG K550? It seems to be getting highly favorable reviews, even when compared to the Senn HD 650! And it's priced just $50 more than the HD598!

post #65 of 104
Quote:
Originally Posted by Atriya View Post

Btw, what do you think of the AKG K550? It seems to be getting highly favorable reviews, even when compared to the Senn HD 650! And it's priced just $50 more than the HD598!

I don't like them. Specifically I think they're too upper-treble tilted, and closed-in/congested. I know, I know, "closed-back headphone" - but that doesn't have to mean congested and nasty. At that ~$300 price-point there aren't many closed headphones that I'm in love with (there aren't many closed headphones *in general* that I'm in love with), but I would take the AT ATH-ESW9 or Kenwood KH-K1000 over the K550 any day of the week. I would even take the Bose QC15 over them, but the ANC effect is kind of uncanny (seriously, try this before you buy - 30-40 dB of isolation is very unsettling if you aren't used to it, they also eat batteries).

I also think they fit fairly poorly for their relative size. I'm not a fan at all.

I think though that the conflict in opinion that you'll see between me and more mainstream reviews is that I don't want some sort of "perfectly flat, analytical, dry, bright audiophile sound signature" - I know that I like a colored, n-shaped, warm, mid-forward signature with a spacious soundstage. And I judge everything against that preference. The K550 don't deliver that. In terms of pure ergonomics and "objective" stuff, I think the KH-K1000 are superior despite weighing much more, and would even put the ATH-A900X ahead of the K550 (at about $100 less), even with the weird fitting of 3D Wing (of course if you can't wear them, you can't wear them). This doesn't make me "right" or others "wrong" - I'm just letting you know that I have a specific bias.

You should also recognize that the K550 are, or at least recently were, FOTM around here. Especially since the AH-D2000 went away, and the KH-K1000 are fairly hard to source in the US (and from my understanding in Europe as well).
post #66 of 104
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by obobskivich View Post


I don't like them. Specifically I think they're too upper-treble tilted, and closed-in/congested. I know, I know, "closed-back headphone" - but that doesn't have to mean congested and nasty. At that ~$300 price-point there aren't many closed headphones that I'm in love with (there aren't many closed headphones *in general* that I'm in love with), but I would take the AT ATH-ESW9 or Kenwood KH-K1000 over the K550 any day of the week. I would even take the Bose QC15 over them, but the ANC effect is kind of uncanny (seriously, try this before you buy - 30-40 dB of isolation is very unsettling if you aren't used to it, they also eat batteries).
I also think they fit fairly poorly for their relative size. I'm not a fan at all.
I think though that the conflict in opinion that you'll see between me and more mainstream reviews is that I don't want some sort of "perfectly flat, analytical, dry, bright audiophile sound signature" - I know that I like a colored, n-shaped, warm, mid-forward signature with a spacious soundstage. And I judge everything against that preference. The K550 don't deliver that. In terms of pure ergonomics and "objective" stuff, I think the KH-K1000 are superior despite weighing much more, and would even put the ATH-A900X ahead of the K550 (at about $100 less), even with the weird fitting of 3D Wing (of course if you can't wear them, you can't wear them). This doesn't make me "right" or others "wrong" - I'm just letting you know that I have a specific bias.
You should also recognize that the K550 are, or at least recently were, FOTM around here. Especially since the AH-D2000 went away, and the KH-K1000 are fairly hard to source in the US (and from my understanding in Europe as well).

 

What does FOTM mean? Thanks for your opinion of the K550, btw.

post #67 of 104
Quote:
Originally Posted by Atriya View Post

What does FOTM mean? Thanks for your opinion of the K550, btw.

Flavor Of The Month.

Basically they were a hot ticket item recently, and that means there's a lot of hype and favorable reviews out there. That doesn't mean the hype may not be deserved, but it means it should be taken with a grain of salt. Most FOTM products are decried as being the second coming of Jesus, cure for cancer, and gateway to a higher state of being...until a new FOTM comes along. While most FOTM products are on the whole good (and I think the K550 are "good" compared to ALL headphones available for $300, especially if we're talking about only stuff that you would see at Best Buy or the Apple store), they rarely ever live up to the hype.
post #68 of 104
Quote:
Originally Posted by obobskivich View Post

Most FOTM products are decried as being the second coming of Jesus, cure for cancer, and gateway to a higher state of being...

 

de·cry (dibreve.gif-krimacr.gifprime.gif)

tr.v. de·cried, de·cry·ing, de·cries
1. To condemn openly.
2. To depreciate (currency, for example) by official proclamation or by rumor.
 
Perhaps "proclaimed" might have been the better choice.
post #69 of 104

As promised, here is description of the sound of the JVC HA-S500 supraural (on ear) headphones with solo (classical ) piano in mind.

 

OP stated he is going to listen to both modern recordings in stereo as well as historic ones by great masters that could not but record  in mono at the time.

 

The first recording I used was Glen Gould's Goldberg variations originally recorded in 1955 in mono, from CBS 61540 long play record, made in 1977 in Germany.  Oddly enough, this particular copy does not present mono in dead center, it leans to the right. The recording is bass shy, and JVC portrays this well. Someplaces I heard people talking ( Gulda humming along ? ) in the background – not before with any other phones, electrostatics included, was this as clearly reproduced. Hiss from the analog tape was there, but it was not piercing or unpleasent to the ear. The same goes for the noise of the vinyl – JVC HA-S500 must be one of the least expensive phones to handle this hard to do thing with near aplomb.

 

#2 was a recording most probably little known in western world – Rach 3 played by Eugene Moguilevski with Moscow State Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Kiril Kondrashin on LP Mezhdunarodnaya Kniga (  predecessor of Melodiya ? ) D 014875-14876(a).

The only date I can see on the cover is 1958, but is it reffering to the date of recording or the review of the pianist's achievements that year in »Musical Calendar« 1958 by B. Asafiev is not exactly clear.

According to my (very limited ) internet research, this record made Recording of the Year Award back in the day – it is great playing.

It is mono – dead center this time. Somehow, a good perception of depth is created. Even though the LP has obviously been played a lot, it does not fall to pieces during louder passages. There is some congestion of piano and strings where they almost overlap in timbre , but it occures rarely and very briefly, not distracting from the performance at all. Bass is still rather shy, but not so much as with Gould above. Sadly, my copy of this rare LP exhibits end of side distortion, the nice lady, a piano teacher (ret.) who gave it to me,  did unfortunately not posess a top notch turntable.

 

I use Stax Lambda Pro electrostatic headphones driven by Stax SRM1MK2  amplifier as reference  -  no exception here. JVC HA-S500 are very chameleonesque in sound, depending which earpads one uses with it. Please see the JVC HA-S500 thread for details : http://www.head-fi.org/t/621063/the-new-jvc-ha-s500-40mm-carbon-nanotubes

I used what is reffered to in this thread as ATH velours , as it was with these pads of limited selection at hand that I achieved the sound most closely matching the Stax combo. It is very inexpensive possibility to rather completely change the character of the JVC headphones by changing the pads ( from around $5 to $30, with most desirable ones below $15 on average delivered ), according to taste, personal preference or characteristics of a particular recording. No matter what, JVC HA-S 500 always remain clear and articulate, with resolution at times rivalling, if not exceeding, the electrostats. Under no circumstance write it off as inferiour due to its modest cost (about $ 75 delivered, import from Japan, count in customs etc ).

 

#3: Beethoven Concerto #5, Alfred Brendel, Orchestra Pro Musica Vienna, Zubin Mehta conducting, on Fabbri Editori (Italy) LP licensed from Vox MMG, stereo recording originally from 1965, my copy is from 2nd edition by Fabbri Editori of 1981. Although the piano is quite brightly recorded, JVC never get glassy, even at fortissimo. Piano does take center stage, with orchestra flanking it – but this unnatural perspective is comment on the recording itself and not criticism of the headphones' inability to present proper acoustics – if it is not on the recording, it can not reproduce it. Here,

bass is already recorded well enough for the Stax to show its impeccable extension  below anything a piano can possibly play – JVCs a a bit lighter in bass, but it is not a day and night difference by any means. JVC does never loose control in the bass, will not get boomy or congested at all.

 

#4 My introduction to Erik Satie : Daniel Varsano on French CBS 61874 LP. Stereo recording from 1979. Chased the elusive LP for 11 ( ! ) years after getting acquainted with it first through our local Centre Culturel Francais Charles Nodier way back in 1979 – after all the trouble, numerous orders and failures to deliver, I was not allowed to pay for it more than DEM ( Geman Mark ) 3,98 in Munich, Germany  in 1990 – phew ! Needless to say, I know the recording intimately – and JVCs did get on verge of glassines with it using ATH velour pads. Change back to stock pads (which are too bassy and reduce the brilliance a bit ) took care of the glassines – and revealed cyclic rumble from the imperfect vynil ! This recording sports quite high dynamic range –which is a forte of JVC HA-S500 anyway; no nasty surprises here, even the loudest peaks reproduced clearly.

 

#5 Keith Jarrett:  Koln Concerto ECM 1064/65 LP. With the stock pads from the #4, a bit too shut in and strangely distant – back to ATH velours ( about 15 sec per pad required to change ).  The airy tone of the piano on this well known recording restored, although bass may well appear as too weak for some. Fear not – there are pads available for the JVC HA-S500 that fit in beetween the above mentioned extremes in sound – mine are in the mail.

 

Next time, I will use a few CDs with piano I have – generally prefer analog or in recent times DSD, never did I truly embrace music on CD.

 

Hope this helps – despite opening yet another option to the OP; if not to him, to others that might want to give the JVC HA-S500 and piano a try. I am in no way trying to say JVC HA-S500 is overall as good as Stax Lambda Pro - but is a viable alternative at very reasonable cost most prospective listeners can afford.

post #70 of 104

Guess what I just found on youtube : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I62I0xloUXw&feature=related    Enjoy !

post #71 of 104
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the review and the link to the Rach 3. I've heard several Rach 3s, but this one is new to me. Listening to it right now, and it seems very good!

 

As for headphones, I'm presently considering a factory refurbished set of HD650s for $310.


Edited by Atriya - 10/17/12 at 5:31pm
post #72 of 104
Quote:
Originally Posted by Atriya View Post

Thanks for the review and the link to the Rach 3. I've heard several Rach 3s, but this one is new to me. Listening to it right now, and it seems very good!

 

As for headphones, I'm presently considering a factory refurbished set of HD650s for $310.

 

Make sure to get a good amp if you get 650's

post #73 of 104

HD650 would be a good choice, although if you were listening mainly to historical recordings I wonder if HD600 or HD580 would not offer you better value.

 

If you are willing to look into the used market, an even better value may be some vintage AKG (K340 or K240 Sextett): like the Senns, they have a relaxed tone which I find perfect with piano recordings, and at the same time they (usually) don't have the Senns dark color that may make an old mono recording sound downright muffled.

post #74 of 104

Just my $699 worth... The HE500's are my go to hp's for piano music. I think the orthos range are more forgiving in general with nasty recordings including old ones. But give the hifimans a half decent recording and they produce piano very elegantly indeed. They are very balanced and produce solo instruments very well. The piano is such a fickle instrument on recordings and very rarely do you find what pleases you most. Some like a warm punchy sound, others like sharp brighter clanks! Regarding the Sennheisers, The 650's are one of the great hp's that reproduce good and bad recordings in a none fatiguing, pleasant way and I would also recommend these. FWIW I would avoid the SR325's if listening to old piano recordings unless you've taken some strong painkillers prior eek.gif.  I used to listen to some modern (always warmer) piano with the RS1's and they were very good, but  give them older harsher stuff and noooo nooo.. "HELP!" I would shout, then my wife would come running in and find me in the fetal position curled in the corner kicking my Grado's away from me. (yes I am prone to exaggeration)

 

I may get shot down with this one but I also find the LCD2's very good with piano. They would also be kinder to older recordings. They don't have quite the sparkle of the HE500's,  but they offer a nice warm neutral response. (both the orthos hp's mentioned are not the most comfortable compared to dynamics)

 

(I'm a Schumann/Schubert kind of guy normal_smile%20.gif)

post #75 of 104

"warm neutral"?

 

Love my 325is on good piano recordings.  Don't listen that much to mono piano.

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Headphones (full-size)
Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Headphones (full-size) › Please recommend a headphone for listening to solo (classical) piano