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Getting back into the audiophile scene

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 

To start, I have been the biggest "audiophile" in my family since I first built my (what was then) high end PC in 2006. In 2007 I started to upgrade things outside of the system itself. The displays (Primary IBM P260 21" trinitron), keyboard, MX1000 wireless mice (upgraded to MX Revolutions after initial release), and wouldn't stop until I got all of the high end stuff I could afford, ending with my Logitech Z-680 5.1 surround sound system. The experience was great, but I listened to music through 90% of my day, and I eventually realized that sound quality was my new focus!


I had already purchased a pair of Sony MDR-V600's that were on clearance when a place by the name of Ultimate Electronics, in Boise Idaho, was going out of business. I always wanted a set of over ear headphones, and the V600s were close in design to a set of old 80s model Sony's that my dad had in his home audio cabinet. They had great bass response, but sounded muddy, highs were more like mids, and the mids were bleh. However, they were quite the step up from all other "from the factory" headphones I had ever used in the past, which came with portable CD plays. I enjoyed the MDR-V600s, but just knew there had to be more available, especially in comfort! The V600s were not tight and would slide off my small head if I looked down to quickly, and they hurt the ears, as the pads were not very plush.


After my 10 year PC building and customization hobby started to slow in 2007 (due to rapidly evolving PC hardware industry, and cost becoming and issue with my moving out of my parents house and on my own), I turned to a comfortable decent performing set of cans, which became even more important as I moved out of my parents house and into my own apartment at the age of 18. I didn't want to start off my new founded free life by irritating the neighbors with my (wonderful) 505W 5.1 surround sound system!


I bought a set of Sennheiser HD280 Pros and was ASTOUNDED at the comfort and sound quality! I was somewhat disappointed at the bass response, as I as still used to the Sony MDR-V600s, but the more crisp highs and clear mids made up for that! I gave my V600s away to a friend at no charge, an didn't look back!


I learned of Head-Fi shortly after my purchase of the HD280's, and build a couple of CMOYs, as desktop enclosures. One of which I still use at my computer desk, the other I gave to my friend who now owns my MDR-v600's and a set of HD280s as well. The amp served very well for adjusting volume at my computer, as even the max volume on the computer wasn't quite loud enough during gaming sessions. As we all know, the HD-280 Pros are quite demanding at 64 ohms.


I have a family now, got a promotion to the top as restaurant manager, and we're in a home with more room than the apartment we were in before. I now have more room and cash flow to provide for some of my more preferred hobbies. While not able to afford to build a new PC, I built a 5.1 home theater system (something I have wanted for awhile now). Now that the HT build is settling out, I'm starting to rediscover my love for sound quality of the music I love to enjoy!


I found my Sennheiser HD-280s with my audio stuff while setting up the entertainment center and remembered how wonder they were, and still are! I did a cable mod just recently so I can detach the cable while they are not in use, and it makes their portability during business trips much more convenient, not to mention a feature that I have really liked on other sets of cans that I cannot afford. I also have built a headphone stand out of oak, stained and lacquered, to show off my beloved Sennheiser cans to friends and family. They cannot understand my love for sound quality, but have never really taken the time to learn it either.


Now I am awaiting a new set of cans, the ones I was considering when I purchased my HD280 Pros....Grado SR-80i. I have been doing a lot of research on modifications and am really excited to start customizing these and making them into what I want, all the while improving them! I love the look of the Grados, as well as the fan base for them. That just means I have more people who can help me with questions and modifications when the need arises. It's nice to have others who I can relate to about fine audio equipment as well.


I am counting down the time to the arrival of my SR-80i's, and can't wait to enjoy them and start the mods. I have a set of L-cush pads on order as well. I did a lot of research and found that it's a 50/50 on the preference on the stock pads or the L-cush. I have small ears, so I don't believe it will be to much of an issue, we shall see. My dad has a wood lathe which I have used for projects in the past, and I look forward to finding some nice grain hardwood and make myself some nice wood cups. From what I have heard, the most noticeable mods will be the driver venting mod (I plan for 4 holes), the quarter ear pad mod (If I don't like the stock L-cush, I'll do this quarter mod), and the wood cups. I may do a cable mod later for a single sided cable on the left since I have six feet of starquad leftover from cables I made for the 5.1 system on the computer.


I look forward to spending time here on Head-Fi, the forums seem to be filled with friendly and intelligent people who are willing to help when they can!

post #2 of 4

Welcome back to the "scene"! Please let us know what your impressions of the SR-80i are! The most intuitive mod, in my opinion, was adding a more comfortable headband (I got mine from shooting earmuffs).


I'd definitely be interested in a before/after comparison of these when you do the 4 hole driver venting and wooden cups.

post #3 of 4
Thread Starter 

Came home from my meeting today, to my wife handing me a box from FedEx with my SR-80i in it!


They sound terrific! The highs, as stated by others are a bit harsh, but not unbearable. The mids are just fine, and the lows are actually perfect for me! I had done extensive reading and heard that the lows are usually not powerful or present enough for most users. I think they sound just fine, and I listen to a lot of electronic music in terms of vocal trance and traditional trance. Rock and metal sound fine as well. Country sounds nice and smooth.


As I anticipated, the SR-80i is much brighter than the Sennheiser HD-280 Pros I have, but the HD-280 Pro's have a much more "smooth" sound to them, and I like that the highs are not as bright on them, however, the accuracy and the low end punch of the SR-80i's is something I have desired at times. These are the first open-air headphones I have ever owned, and been able to listen to for longer than a few minutes. I really enjoy the detail and purity of sound they deliver. They deffinitly have a different tone than closed over the ear cans like my Sennheisers.


While I may not liberate the drivers now, since I find the bass fine as it is. I may do so later if I like the L-cush pads, and if the bass become less noticable.


I still plan to change the grills and do a set of wood cups, as well as a removable cable mod.


I realize now that I need to do a mod to secure the adjusting posts, I'm thinking of doing a tap screw like I have seen a couple others here do.


A headband mod will be a must as well!

post #4 of 4
You may need heart medication if you ever hear a pair of RS-2i!
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