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My new quest: full size cans to match my SM3

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 

Hey all, I've been mostly into IEMs for the 2 years I've been on Head-Fi, and I've got pretty much everything I want in that department, but I'm beginning to dabble with a friend in producing electronic music, so I want to take it to the next level and get a real full-size can.

 

I have 3 favorite BA earphones, and there are attributes of each that I really like and would like to look for in a full-size can.

 

My favorite is the SM3, and the things I like about it are mostly technical in nature. I have de-filtered mine, and I love it's clarity, crispness, balanced tonality, and imaging. I wish it had a little more grunt in the lows, which is what I like about the Klipsch X10: the deep, detailed, punchy bass is great, but it does distract from, well, everything else. I would like something, ideally, with a level of warmth falling somewhere between the defiltered SM3 and the X10; as I remember, the stock, filtered SM3 was still a little too warm. The third would be the TF10: it's super dynamic, really fun to listen to, but it does sound artificial, which I'm not interested in for my full-size. The X10 and TF10 are too colored for me. I don't want anything that is overly colored, especially in terms of bass muddying up the spectrum, but I also don't want it to sound dead. I'm not rich, so this is going to most likely be a personal listening can, too.

 

So, I am looking for a closed, full-sized can, preferably one that can be powered by a portable device, but I'm not totally opposed to getting an amp; I assume I will need one some day anyways, and I assume I will probably have to keep my options as open as possible to meet all of these requirements...

 

The short and sweet: I want something crisp sounding, very dynamic, neutral to slightly warm, with slightly elevated bass that is well extended and textured, good treble extension, mids that are forward without being aggressive, and as good of a soundstage as I can get in a closed can.

 

Once upon a time I considered the VMODA M100, but after reading reviews I feel certain that the bass will be noticeably too much and that it's not a neutral sounding phone; the M80 sounded very glossy to my ears, like my TF10 with less treble detail and less bass punch, which I didn't like because it seemed  to hinder detail, and  the presentation just wasn't very natural. 

 

My current top 2 are the AKG K550 and the KRK KNS 8400; they seem to be perfect for my needs for the most part, but both are commented on as being bass light. I also considered the DT660, DT770, and Custom One Pro, but the DT660 didn't have quite enough bass for my taste, and I am worried from reviews that the mids on DT770 will be too recessed for accurate reproduction. Reviews don't seem great on the Custom One Pro.

 

I enjoyed the HD598 when I demo'd it, but the bass feels loose and a bit soft, and it was a bit too warm and dark for my taste. Something between the Sennheiser house sound and the DT660 would be perfect for me.

 

I've tried the ATH M50 and it sounded like crap to me for some reason. I think it was the recessed mids. I prefer my $100 Shure SE215 to them for any purpose; they sounded dull and lifeless to me, and the bass was doofy and one-note-ish. I much preferred the DT660.

 

Are there others I should be considering? My budget is not unlimited, I'm trying to keep it under 500 for all the pieces, but I want to do this right, and I am going to be doing more research and comparisons, so if there is anything that fits the bill, let me know, and if it's over $600 I'll do my research and find the next best thing for what suits me.


Edited by Gilly87 - 11/21/12 at 8:12pm
post #2 of 17

Hey hey. Welcome to the big leagues. 

 

What about brightness? Are you still a fan of dark sound signatures? And are you going to be using this at home or must it be portable or transportable? And leakage? I'm guessing you want decent isolation.

 

On the K550, definitely bass light, and a bit dry, and I'm one of the Nazi's majorly annoyed with the resonance in the upper mids.

 

Me thinks you should look at some AT's but for the life of me they confuse the hell out of me. So I can't help narrow it down much. 

This does kind of smell like Denon, but thats getting more and more expensive and harder and harder to find, and could be a bit bright.

 

MMMM... Kenwood KH-K1000, a bit pricey in the states. But it may be just what your looking for.

 

To note the Brainwavz HM5 or Fischer FA-003 are good, and balanced and all, but on a number of occasions I have seen people call them boring. Maybe a tubey is in order. 

 

Could be interesting with what I have been reading about the Aune T1.

post #3 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by WiR3D View Post

Hey hey. Welcome to the big leagues. 

 

On the K550, definitely bass light, and a bit dry, and I'm one of the Nazi's majorly annoyed with the resonance in the upper mids.

 

lol... that sounds like the K701 not K550. K550 is... well it isn't bass heavy but it's a bit boosted by 5db perhaps and I can't hear any resonance (unlike with the K701)

 

I quite liked the K550 - it might fit the bill. It's quite flat and it's less dry than the K701 - although quite dry compared to your "average" headphone. The bass is a bit boosted too - not quite as tight as the K701 but still very textured. It's a very nice, slightly warmish sounding headphone. I haven't had it in my possession for a significant amount of time so I can't say much more. Tyll at innerfidelity wrote a great review, you should go check it out.

 

"Dead" isn't exactly the opposite of coloured - dry is. Dead to me is a lack of dynamics - dynamics are almost always great in higher end headphones, so I don't usually pay attention.

post #4 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by iamthem View Post

lol... that sounds like the K701 not K550. K550 is... well it isn't bass heavy but it's a bit boosted by 5db perhaps and I can't hear any resonance (unlike with the K701)

 

I quite liked the K550 - it might fit the bill. It's quite flat and it's less dry than the K701 - although quite dry compared to your "average" headphone. The bass is a bit boosted too - not quite as tight as the K701 but still very textured. It's a very nice, slightly warmish sounding headphone. I haven't had it in my possession for a significant amount of time so I can't say much more. Tyll at innerfidelity wrote a great review, you should go check it out.

 

"Dead" isn't exactly the opposite of coloured - dry is. Dead to me is a lack of dynamics - dynamics are almost always great in higher end headphones, so I don't usually pay attention.

The graphs mean jack if you ignore the square waves, it really does lack bass. Especially midbass punch. I owned it - this is in comparison to AKG K242hd and Denon D2000 and D7000. 

 

AS for the dry sound, well to be more correct its not exactly a con, but its not warm or emotional. Its a typical analytical sound, although to me the K242hd was a much more pleasant sound when paired correctly. 

 

And the resonance, although nowhere near as much as the M100 (yes you heard me right), its definitely there, and once you notice its annoying as hell, a good example is trying to listen to Lana Del Rey on it, annoys the heck out of me, to an unlistenable level. ANd if it wasn't there then I bet she would sound fantastic, which she does until she opens her mouth. On the K242hd (especially when paired with a vamp) she can make you cry it sounds so good. 

 

I have read most of Tylls review. And although I agree, I still won't recommend it, to him some things are not as big of a deal as they will be to others i.e. the resonance. 

 

I would recommend the K550 for movies, because the imaging, soundstage, leakage, isolation are all very good. But not for classical music, and sure as hell not for electronica which I know gilly87 likes. The D2000 clobbers it like a catholic priest and a choir boy. 

post #5 of 17

I can hear it's about 5db louder than neutral -> about 50% louder. If I take a look at the graphs... Comparing D2k and K550 graphs (square wave+FR) the D2k has less bass... looking at waterfall graphs on GoldenEars the K550 has very little resonance except more in the bass than the D2k - so the K550 is a bit looser in the bass but otherwise has less resonance. Dry headphones have less resonance overall because dryness is a result of a lack of resonance, unless you're referring to resonance peaks (which appear as ridges on the waterfall graphs). I'm actually surprised at how well the K550 is engineered. I haven't done any ABing so I don't know from a subjective standpoint but that's how they compare objectively.

 

EDIT: I do agree that the D2000 sounds better (generally just more refined) than the K550, even though I have a different, albeit limited experience.


Edited by iamthem - 11/22/12 at 10:42pm
post #6 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by iamthem View Post

I can hear it's about 5db louder than neutral -> about 50% louder. If I take a look at the graphs... Comparing D2k and K550 graphs (square wave+FR) the D2k has less bass... looking at waterfall graphs on GoldenEars the K550 has very little resonance except more in the bass than the D2k - so the K550 is a bit looser in the bass but otherwise has less resonance. Dry headphones have less resonance overall because dryness is a result of a lack of resonance, unless you're referring to resonance peaks (which appear as ridges on the waterfall graphs). I'm actually surprised at how well the K550 is engineered. I haven't done any ABing so I don't know from a subjective standpoint but that's how they compare objectively.

I dunno what you just proved (mind blowing here). And not saying your wrong, but having heard and used both extensively I can say the subjective experience is vastly different from that. And I'm far from the only one, look at purrins measurements and definitely at RhythmDevils review here


Edited by WiR3D - 11/22/12 at 6:22am
post #7 of 17
Thread Starter 

This is probably a futile question, but is there anything more portable that approaches the d2000's presentation and signature? It just looks so big and bulky...it IS the heapdhone that I actually secretly want, but it just seems huge and doesn't fold at all. Ideally I am looking for something to fit in my bike bag, which is about the size of an average purse; the actual dimensions are 14" x 9" x 7." It doesn't have to be a "portable headphone" by definition, and if all else fails I will probably say screw it and buy the D2000 and try get my Phiaton MS400 fixed or something, but if I can do it all in one, that would be freaking awesome.


Edited by Gilly87 - 11/23/12 at 7:15pm
post #8 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gilly87 View Post

This is probably a futile question, but is there anything more portable that approaches the d2000's presentation and signature? It just looks so big and bulky...it IS the heapdhone that I actually secretly want, but it just seems huge and doesn't fold at all. Ideally I am looking for something to fit in my bike bag, which is about the size of an average purse; the actual dimensions are 14" x 9" x 7." It doesn't have to be a "portable headphone" by definition, and if all else fails I will probably say screw it and buy the D2000 and try get my Phiaton MS400 fixed or something, but if I can do it all in one, that would be freaking awesome.

I have to get my M100 back, but I suspect that is as close as you will get. And to tell the truth it doesn't cut it. I don't really like the helluva lot of resonances in the mids. Don't get me wrong its brilliant, but its not a Denon, and its sound signature is way too aggressive compared to the butter smooth Denons.

 

 

 

wait a minute Denon HP700

post #9 of 17

Hey Gilly,

 

That's actually very much what I've been looking for too. I've been watching the UE6000 and Sony MDR-1R reviews trickle in -- both seem like they could fit that description, but I still don't have enough info on those yet.

post #10 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by HeroicPenguin View Post

Hey Gilly,

 

That's actually very much what I've been looking for too. I've been watching the UE6000 and Sony MDR-1R reviews trickle in -- both seem like they could fit that description, but I still don't have enough info on those yet.

exactly why I haven't mentioned them. 

 

Also on the list. PSB M4U2, M-audio Q40.

post #11 of 17
Thread Starter 

Somehow I don't think that will quite cut it...

 

Anyone know anything about the Denon AH-D600? I'll be doing research myself obviously, but thought I'd throw it in there.

Quote:
Originally Posted by WiR3D View Post

I have to get my M100 back, but I suspect that is as close as you will get. And to tell the truth it doesn't cut it. I don't really like the helluva lot of resonances in the mids. Don't get me wrong its brilliant, but its not a Denon, and its sound signature is way too aggressive compared to the butter smooth Denons.

 

 

 

wait a minute Denon HP700

post #12 of 17
Thread Starter 

I've heard the Q40 have overwhelming bass, I researched them pretty well a while back. Also I think I'm looking for a step above that general SQ level; I am definitely looking for a more open, very detailed sound. The PSBs look cool but I would rather spend that extra money on SQ than NC capabilities.

Quote:
Originally Posted by WiR3D View Post

exactly why I haven't mentioned them. 

 

Also on the list. PSB M4U2, M-audio Q40.

post #13 of 17
Thread Starter 

Reading on the D600, it sounds like what I want but I am worried if the sound is as open as the d2000 and I am wondering if they might be too colored...They sure look sexy as hell...

post #14 of 17
Thread Starter 

I have had my eye on the MDR-1R but I think it won't sound as open as I would like...it's on the list though.

 

UE6000 looks like gaudy plastic wannabe beats, I doubt it will be neutral enough for mixing and producing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by HeroicPenguin View Post

Hey Gilly,

 

That's actually very much what I've been looking for too. I've been watching the UE6000 and Sony MDR-1R reviews trickle in -- both seem like they could fit that description, but I still don't have enough info on those yet.

post #15 of 17
Thread Starter 

So right now it's between the D600, and MDR-1R. I am still considering the KNS 8400 due to price and claims of its imaging capabilities, but right now it's at the bottom of the list.

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