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Advice required

post #1 of 58
Thread Starter 

Hi guys,


I've been driving myself crazy the last 3 weeks trying to settle on a pair of headphones.  Originally, I wanted something I could use at the office to block out the noise from construction outside, people inside etc. But, I also want excellent sound and above all, comfort.


The comfort requirement led me to Sennheiser, such as HD600 / 650 / 800 as they are reputed to be extremely comfortable. However, they certainly do not isolate / cancel noise. 


Although I am starting to think I need 2 pairs, one for comfort and audiophile quality, and one for isolation I can't afford two pairs at this time.


Therefore, I have decided that comfort comes above all else, followed by audiophile sound quality and I'll just forget about office cans for now.


For the record, I own a pair of Dr. Dre Studio Beats cans that I purchased on a whim a week before a flight to Florida a few years ago.


Do I like their sound ? well.. they are not offensive,  I mean they don't completely suck, but they ain't neutral. My biggest issue with them (other than the price I paid) is they are not comfortable for me to wear.   I do not have large head, but I cannot have anything touching my ears, it really annoys me after about 30 minutes and I have to take them off..


So, the $350 plastic Beats are now with my 14 year old daughter, who by the way thinks they are " OGM Amazing !".. ya..of course they are dear.


(I am considering the Momentum, but they also have a Bass heavy signature and are circumaural, which will be an issue for my ears.)


I also own a pair of AKG 240 Studios that I purchased in 1982 which are still in perfect working order, but again, the round form and the pads touch my ears and after 30 minutes I have to take them off.. they are very neutral, even boring I would say..I keep them for sentimental value :-)



What I want is:


1. Extreme comfort, nothing touching my ears.

2. Excellent to exceptional sound quality

3. Within my budget of up to a max of $1100 CA, would prefer under $1K if possible but willing to pay more if justifiable.



I would listen to these headphones at home (in basement), when I can't crank up my stereo system. So, no Ipod / Iphone listening.


I have the Anedio D2 DAC which is a great DAC and it also has a decent / very good headphone amplifier which I would be using with the cans I decide to purchase.


Hopefully that covers my headphone amplification needs and I can just get the best can for me at a good price.


My focus has been in Senns because of there reputation as very comfortable to wear, but I've read SO many reviews of their HD line and its near impossible to make an educated decision.


All models have their lovers and haters. 


Example:  "Get the 595 they cost less and are awesome, no, get the 650 they are "miles ahead" , no get the 800s they sound the best.. but then it's : don't get the 800 they have no bass and they have a sibilance issue.. or they are extremely picky on amp, don't get the 650 they have to much bass, don't get the 600 they are to neutral, don't get the 595 they have a peak at 2k..:" etc.. etc..etc..


and on and on..


I was within a mouse click of purchasing a used pair of HD800s with a Moon Audio balanced cable for $1100 all in.. then the more I read the reviews the more I though, do I really want to spend that amount of money on headphones that are "very picky" to drive, apparently have little bass impact and have a sibilance issue ? ..so I backed off last minute..


Did I mention this is driving me crazy ?


The worse part is that I cannot find a single store in my city (Ottawa, Ontario, Canada) that even have these phones in stock / in store.. Ottawa sucks so much for that.. if this was Toronto, I could easily find many stores that I could audition all of those models and make up my own mind.. but I can't.. I'm going on reviews and user feedback. And most, if not all, return policies suck as well with charging up to 25% restocking fee !


My music style is varied: Lounge / Low Fi (supperclub) Rock (Rush etc..) Metal (all kinds) . some occasional classical. I like anything that is exceptionally recorded, I like female vocals, celtic stuff etc..


I am a Bass player (30 years) and I record / mix / master music in my spare time.


Apologies for the long thread.. but I appreciate any input..





post #2 of 58

So, I gather that you want a be all-end all type of headphone for home listening as well as one for office listening. The good news is that both can actually be had for less than your budget. For home, look into the HD600, that is the more neutral of the 600/650 duo. Many people don't consider the HD700 a substantial improvement over the aforementioned so I would cross these off. The hifiman he-500 would also be another great home option. They come highly recommended in this thread
--> http://www.head-fi.org/t/634201/battle-of-the-flagships-50-headphones-compared
Whichever, you consider should leave you with enough dough left over to find the right office can. I actually think the Momentum would be a good fit; they were very comfortable when I tried them out; they were not as bassy as I had expected. Other options 'round $400 include the newly released V-moda m-100 (very highly anticipated) , Ultrasone pro900's, and perhaps the Denon D2k's if you find a pair around here for sale.

Edited by PanamaHat - 11/10/12 at 7:26pm
post #3 of 58

Study the battle of the flagships. That should steer you in the right direction.


You might even consider something cheaper like the Q701 and enjoy those while you make your mind up and save more money. Returns diminish quite fast after your reach the $300 to $400 level...

post #4 of 58
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the replies guys,


Today I tried the following headphones in a local audio store:


PSB MU12: Sounded pretty good on "off" mode, on "active" mode the bass just too much for me, too wide band and bled into the low mids, the highs were good. On Active Noise Cancelling, same sound as on " active ". My biggest issue was that the left side touched my ear and made it uncomfortable. Also, they are heavy and the exert too much pressure on my head. Not for me.


Bose QC15: Very light and comfortable, but to me, they did not sound good at all. Not for me.


B&W P5: Not as comfortable as the Bose, but better than the PSB. Sound wise, a bit anemic and "one note" no punch, not engaging. And the ear pads got warm really fast, like 10 minutes. Not for me.


Will be trying (in a few minutes :-) the Sennheiser Momentum.. I really want to like those.. let's hope !  I'll let you guys know. I  had to purchase them from FutureShop because they were not out to try.. but FS has a good return policy if I don't like them.




post #5 of 58



Sounds like you would enjoy a Beyer DT770, AudioTechnica A900X and/or Denon D2000/D5000. The Beyer is stupid comfortable and isolates well and is inexpensive.


Very best,

post #6 of 58

Actually the Momentum's are not bass heavy - I find that they're more 'treble light': the frequency curve is almost flat all the way (below 1000Hz it's flatter than the HD800) down but dips earlier on the way up (after 2000Hz), which I prefer as I think the HD800 (as an example) has too much treble - for me it was the perfect closed headphone.

The only real problem with them is the cups might be too small for larger ears, and if you find the K240 uncomfortable you're gonna need some BIG cans... or just new replacement pads, yours might be flat. 

post #7 of 58

Anyways, you could buy some in-ears for the office if you are comfortable with that. Take the etymotics for example. You wouldn't even hear the noice around you at all (with music on) and they have got superb sound quality for their price IMO, but the only other 'phone i can really compare with, is the denon AH-D400 and 600 and also the B&W P5 (which doesn't even come close to the etymotic hf5, they are plain bad).

I like my etymotic hf5 more than any of the beforementioned headphones except for the bass, and they are only around 100$, while the D600 is like 5 times it price. Ofc it isn't the same as an on-ear, dont get me wrong, the sound quality definetely compares to the on-ears from what i have heard so far.

post #8 of 58
Thread Starter 

Here are my impressions of the Momentum after one hour of listening.


First, I think they sound very good. The bass is nice and full, but tight and never overblown, just right in my opinion. I know what overblown and exagerated bass sound like, I own the Studio Beats.

The Mids are also very good, tried a variety of things, female vocals sound really nice.

The Highs are well extended, but for me I had some sibilance on certain material. Just a touch to much shimmer for me. It does not sound bad, but after a wile the sibilance was detracting a bit from my overall excellent sound experience.


Overall sound in my opinion is 8 out of 10. Better than P5, MU12, QC15 that I heard today.


On comfort. Well, they are fairly light and comfortable, but I have the same issue after a while. My left ear hurts, my right ear is perfectly fine. I can feel the pads pressuring multiple spots on that left ear.. obviously, my left ear is bigger / different which is causing me discomfort. And my mother never told me !!!! LOL ..


Also, I find the pressure on the head is just a tiny bit too much for my taste. I don't feel like my head is being squashed, but they do feel a little tight, probably that will loosen over time.


The beats I can only stand for about 15 to 20 minutes, then I have to take them off. These I was able to wear longer, close to an hour, but after that I was in pain and my ear was red etc..


I am not sure what is out there that can fit over my ear and not bother me AND sound really good. It's not like I have huge ears that stick out or anything !!


Maybe if the AKG240s were not round in shape, but like the Senns, it would not be an issue. The pads are certainly pretty big.


I have tried IEM and they don't stay, not comfortable etc.. not for me.


Sucks to be me I guess LOL

Edited by Riker - 11/10/12 at 2:21pm
post #9 of 58
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by GREQ View Post

Actually the Momentum's are not bass heavy - I find that they're more 'treble light': the frequency curve is almost flat all the way (below 1000Hz it's flatter than the HD800) down but dips earlier on the way up (after 2000Hz), which I prefer as I think the HD800 (as an example) has too much treble - for me it was the perfect closed headphone.

The only real problem with them is the cups might be too small for larger ears, and if you find the K240 uncomfortable you're gonna need some BIG cans... or just new replacement pads, yours might be flat. 

I guess that rules out the HD800 if you think they have more treble than the Momentum.. I found the Momentum to have too much treble / shimmer and some sibilance to my ears, so the HD800 would be even more so for me.

post #10 of 58

The etymotic IEM's will stay in your ears for sure rolleyes.gif

That is not the problem. It is rather if you can stand having them in your ears, at least with the tri-flanges. They are not that comfortable, you can say biggrin.gif

But even though i knew they wouldn't be comfy, i can't use them for sport, they are rather fragile, they are not practical etc. etc. i chose to buy them over some bose ie2 i got for my birthday, which fulfilled all before mentioned issues...


Anyway im just saying you could, hypothetically atleast, consider in-ears...

post #11 of 58

Don't know if this has been said, but HD 650 and HD 600 both have pretty shallow cups, and you can expect your ears to touch the inner padding even if your ears are normal. It is not of any discomfort to me personally (normal ears), but might be something you'd want to factor in.

post #12 of 58
Thread Starter 

Good to know.. this week I will be trying out a pair of HD598. This should give me a really good idea of the Sennheiser fit.


Anyone have opinions on the Beyer T1 ? in terms of fit / comfort ?




post #13 of 58

T1 is very comfortable, their drivers are angled and their cups deep. Padding on the headband is also very good. Hard to feel any discomfort with those.

post #14 of 58

$1100 for HD800 ? is this used ?


Based on what I read, I will get Ultrasone Edition 8, I compared with my Denon AH-D7000 and it's pretty similar sound signature, very good in isolation, and don't really need an amp.


I have pretty average ear and UE8 wasnt touching my ear, however, there is bit of clamping force upper side of the ear, my friend wears this 5-6 hours but I can't.


Hope this helps.

post #15 of 58

I have a HD800 myself, and I can tell you it's stupidly comfortable. No ear touching at all, and because it's open, you can leave them on for hours without getting warm or sweaty. The biggest problem with the HD800 is that there is a 6khz spike for the vast majority of them. You can request frequency-loudness charts by serial number, and you can see the spike there. Either you need an amp to tone down the spike, or obtain one of those rare ones that doesn't have a treble spike.


ATH AD700/900 are also very comfortable. But if I remember correctly, they do touch the ears.

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