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Battle Of The Flagships (58 Headphones Compared) UPDATE: AUDEZ'E LCD-2 Revision 2 (6/4/13) - Page 211

post #3151 of 4960

So, I have added the HE400 and HE500 to this list after having a long listen to both. Everything is in bold that is new. 

 

 

DISCLAIMER: Opinions from a non-audiophile, this review is reflective of my personal tastes which is different from everyone else's. 

 

So I went to the high end audio shop and tested out these headphones, all connected to a high quality amp simultaneously so you can easily switch between headphones instantaneously. I tested them out with alternative/classic/modern rock, and hip hop on a number of songs. There were about 20 other headphones but I wasn't interested in listening to them. 

 

Sennheiser HD650

Sennheiser HD700

Sennheiser HD800

Sennheiser HD598

Sennheiser HD280

AKG Q701 Quincy Jones

Beats by Dre

Beats by Dre Pro

Grado PS1000

Grado PS500

Grado GS1000

Grado RS2i

Grado RS325is

Hifiman HE500

Hifiman HE400

 

This is the order I liked them in: 

 

PS500

HD700/800

------------------------ (this signifies moderate jump in how much I liked the headphones).

HE500

------------------------ (this signifies moderate jump in how much I liked the headphones).

RS2i

HE400

RS325is

PS1000 

GS1000

HD650

HD598

Q701

Beats

 

 

There's two profound things that I gathered after listening: 1. The grado PS500/RS2/325is clarity of treble/highs is ridiculously good by a large margin compared to the rest. 2. The HD700/800 vocals sound like the person singing is standing right there next to you. 

 

So this is what I realized: Music is about how it makes you feel. I didn't enjoy listening to music from the HD650s any more than I would listening to regular iPhone buds even though everyone loves them here. I just think they sound plain and boring. I have no idea how else to describe it. I understand now what people say when they mean the sound is "fun". The Grado PS500s were on a completely different level than all the other ones mentioned. Even compared to the RS2/PS1000 I felt they were very entertaining. The details on the highs and how you can hear every little guitar lick was incredible, plus the lows really captured that "warm room filling sound" I was looking for. I feel that the PS500's blew everything else minus the HD700/800s out of the water. On the flip side, the HD700/800s realistic sounding voices felt like you were standing in the recording studio. However, I noticed the highs were muffled and muted. The highs didn't sound anything like the PS500s and it felt there was a good chunk of music missing that the Grados were playing.

 

I found quite a bit of difference between the HE500s and 400s. It sounded as if the 500s had a much fuller sound, and was a substantial upgrade to the 400s. I now know why David stated that he would never recommend the 400s as a sole headphone, whereas he would feel comfortable with the HE500s. It was a more pleasing "complete" sound. I felt the sound of the 400s was somewhat 'empty' and not gratifying to listen to, I much preferred the RS2s (crisp, clean sounding), and significantly more, the HE500s --they did not give off that impression at all. Very different headphones.  

 

I found the HD650s and HD598 had a very similar sound, but it was not one that I liked, it was kind of dull and boring. I don't know how to describe it. The Q701 sounded thin which I did not like. The Beats were horrible --I thought people here were over exaggerating to prove a point, but they really are junk. 325iS sounded like the bass was missing, I did not like that. The PS1000 I disliked a lot, I'd rather have the 325iS over these --they sounded so different compared to the other Grados (it's as if an entirely different company made them). RS2s were great, just wish they had more low end like the PS500s, otherwise similar sounding, but much less bass.

 

 

CONCLUSION: At $650 the PS500s I felt were the best, the only concern I had was that the sound was too bright, and that anything over an hour of listening would start to become tiring. The HD700s at $1100 were the second best, but I didn't like that the highs are completely missing that the Grados had, but I now understand what "flat" means when referring to sound. Also, I understand why you can listen to music for hours on these whereas you can't on the PS500s.

 

VERDICT: Why would I consider buying anything else than the PS500? I can use all of these headphones at home, however the rest of these headphones are too big to walk with outside, and require an amp. Whereas the PS500s can be taken anywhere, hooked up to my iphone, and I won't look silly walking around with them with an amp in my pants. lol

 


QUESTIONS FOR EVERYONE HERE:

 

1. Can you guys point out which headphones have a very similar sound to the PS500s? DON'T ANSWER THIS QUESTION if you haven't heard the PS500s. The RS2/325/PS1000 don't sound like this headphone and you wouldn't understand what I mean if you haven't listened to it. 

 

2. If I could create the "perfect" headphones for MYSELF, I would take the PS500, add the vocal quality from the HD700, and turn down the treble just a tad. Does a headphone out there exist like this?????

 

3. Any advice/tips of which headphones I should listen to before I commit to buying a pair? This will be my only pair of headphones, and I plan on keeping these headphones until they break (which means over 10 years).

 

 

Thanks again guys for the help. Don't take any negative comments I made above personally because I'm just a beginner with a very particular preference of sound. I SINCERELY APOLOGIZE!!!!!

 

I look forward to hearing what recommendations you guys have or advice/tips. I plan on giving the Hifiman HE400/HE500s a listen tomorrow at another store since David recommended them. 

 

 

Having spent a few hours listening to all these headphones, I would suggest that buying any pair of headphones before listening and comparing them with others would be ridiculous. Reading through online reviews may be misleading especially when everyone here listens to different types of music. It would be ridiculous to buy a Grado 325iS for rap music for example, but great for classical. With that said, I think I've narrowed down my purchasing decision to a PS500. I like the 'metal' look it has, I tried it with my iphone with no amp and it sounded great, and felt really light on the head especially compared to the HE500s. I'll admit the HD700/800 has a sound that I would imagine lots of people would love, it's just so neutral and natural sounding --but at over $1000 I feel much more comfortable with the $600 PS500s. 

 

Does anyone know where I can buy the the PS500 headphones at a discount in Toronto? I may also possibly consider a used RS2 if the price difference is big.

 

Thanks for reading, go easy on me (so far you guys have been understanding), as I don't have a trained ear for sound!! :))))


Edited by kl237 - 3/17/13 at 9:39am
post #3152 of 4960

Hello David,

 

I recommend you the SRM600LTD or another tube amp with the HE60, better synergy than the KGSS that can present harsh treble.

 

Actually yy personnal ranking is :

 

1 HE60 - SRM600LTD
2 HD800 - Super 7
3 Lambda Nova Signature - SRM600LTD
4 SR007 - KGSS

 

Try the Lambda Nova Signature, it is a SR507 without that cold behavior.

post #3153 of 4960

What a thread!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

post #3154 of 4960
Picked up an HE-500 because of this thread. Loving it so far, thanks for the help Dave.
post #3155 of 4960
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shazb0t View Post

Picked up an HE-500 because of this thread. Loving it so far, thanks for the help Dave.

God, you beat me to it. Just did it today (as well ?)

post #3156 of 4960
Quote:
Originally Posted by kothganesh View Post

God, you beat me to it. Just did it today (as well ?)
Close. I grabbed one last week from the TTVJ sale. Share your impressions when you get yours.
post #3157 of 4960
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shazb0t View Post


Close. I grabbed one last week from the TTVJ sale. Share your impressions when you get yours.

Will do. 

post #3158 of 4960
Probably has been mentioned at some point in this thread, but I just noticed the HD800s are the highest combined ranking in sound and value, #5 in both columns. It's no wonder why they are clearly the most popular flagship in the world.
post #3159 of 4960

I've been hemming and hawing for the past little while, trying to decide if I should downgrade from the HE-6. I've been eyeballing the HE-500 and HD600/650 as potential stepdowns. "Good enough" right? 

 

Well after some recent auditions and organizing a local meet... it's getting harder and harder to convince myself to let go. The HE-500 is excellent, but the HE-6 just hits harder, reaches deeper, and resolves better than the HE-500. Even after switching around with different pads, grills, etc. It's not this eye popping difference, but they're readily noticeable. I find the HE-6 also responds more readily to fiddling, whether that be changing pads, some damping, re grilling, etc. Great fun for those who endlessly tweak like me.

 

The HD600/650 are excellent cans, but after playing around with the big orthos they just don't stand a chance... though I'll give them the easy nod for comfort. I prefer the tonal balance of the HD600 over the 650 (which feel a little dark) and even the 800. It's hard to say whether I think the 650 is technically more proficient than the 600, though the 800 is noticeably so and stomps them for soundstage. However, there's a hardness to the HD800 treble that throws me off. 

post #3160 of 4960
Quote:
Originally Posted by Armaegis View Post

It's hard to say whether I think the 650 is technically more proficient than the 600, though the 800 is noticeably so and stomps them for soundstage. However, there's a hardness to the HD800 treble that throws me off. 

 

I've heard this steely hard treble you speak of, but only when paired with certain DAC/amp combinations.

 

Using too-aggressive tubes in my CSP+ can bring out some upper range harshness. But then again, so too can the right tubes create a sublime experience free from anything of the sort. 

post #3161 of 4960
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shazb0t View Post

Picked up an HE-500 because of this thread. Loving it so far, thanks for the help Dave.

 

Please post a personal review if you can! I'm also interested getting my first planar headphone.


Edited by musiclife - 3/20/13 at 7:44pm
post #3162 of 4960
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hun7er View Post

Hello David,

 

I recommend you the SRM600LTD or another tube amp with the HE60, better synergy than the KGSS that can present harsh treble.

 

Actually yy personnal ranking is :

 

1 HE60 - SRM600LTD
2 HD800 - Super 7
3 Lambda Nova Signature - SRM600LTD
4 SR007 - KGSS

 

Try the Lambda Nova Signature, it is a SR507 without that cold behavior.

Thank you for the recommendation.  For the time, I will be using the Aristaeus:)

Quote:
Originally Posted by zekioflo View Post

What a thread!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

:)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Shazb0t View Post

Picked up an HE-500 because of this thread. Loving it so far, thanks for the help Dave.

You're welcome! Thanks

Quote:
Originally Posted by Maxvla View Post

Probably has been mentioned at some point in this thread, but I just noticed the HD800s are the highest combined ranking in sound and value, #5 in both columns. It's no wonder why they are clearly the most popular flagship in the world.

That's interesting!

post #3163 of 4960

Hi David,

 

Do you know if the new Hifiman Jades are definitely in development?

If so, any ideas on a release date or pricing?

post #3164 of 4960

So call me a geek (I 'r engineer), but I came up with a way to 'Plan' my purchases base on David's list.  I use it as a guide and then decide which headphones to try out.

What I did was put both of his lists in excel and put numbers to the Value and Sound Quality Chart.  Then summed the numbers and sorted by the results.  Pretty simple no fancy weighting or anything just straight addition.  If there was a tie the emphasis went to Value. 

 

 

The results are in the attached pdf:

 

headphone rankings.pdf 30k .pdf file

 

I also highlighted the A+, A, and A- ranked phones.  I was also surprised at how many out of production ones there were so I highlighted them also.

 

The second sheet is the ones I picked out for my wishlist to get started, but of course, it will be a dynamic list.  I bought the top two off the list to test and so far I am happy with them both.

 

Check it out and let me know what you guys think.  Maybe this will help someone buy more phones: very_evil_smiley.gif


Edited by bearFNF - 3/18/13 at 4:57pm
post #3165 of 4960

Not bad. I was thinking of doing something similar... except then I realized that was just giving me excuses to look into more toys that I can't afford rolleyes.gif

 

p.s. your value/SQ are flipped around on the first page. I think I'd like to add an HD600 to my stable, though it really isn't necessary... 

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Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Headphones (full-size) › Battle Of The Flagships (58 Headphones Compared) UPDATE: AUDEZ'E LCD-2 Revision 2 (6/4/13)