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Good, neutral headphones?

post #1 of 43
Thread Starter 

Hello...

 

I'm currently in the market for a good pair of headphones, in the ~$300 - $500 range.

 

I actually used to own a pair of Grado HP-1's back in high school, which was 10 years ago, and I have no idea if they are still respected today as they were back then, but with college, and moving across town, I left them with my father, and have no idea where they are now. I plan on looking for them in a couple of days, and in case I don't find them, what is a good pair of neutral, uncolored headphones? (Even if I do find the HP-1's, I still probably won't use them anyway, just for the sake of keeping them as a collector's item. o2smile.gif)

 

At the moment, I'm currently considering the Sennheiser HD-600/HD-650, but I also used to own a pair of Sennheiser HD-580 and I remember selling them due to their "laidback" sound...

 

What I'm more looking for is the effect of listening to studio monitors. I remember fondly a pair of 8 in. studio monitors I had in college, and I'm looking for something that would give me the same effect. Granted, the pair I had wasn't the best brand (Tapco by Mackie), but I really do miss the crisp, clear, yet neutral sound of those speakers.

 

Are there any headphones, that are, quite literally, like a pair of studio monitors for the ears?

 

As mentioned before, I do remember the Sennheisers having that neutral sound, but it also was at the same time, laidback, so I don't remember them having quite the same feel as the studio monitors that I owned.

 

I also remember fondly a pair of Sony MDR-CD3000's... These are actually very similar to what I'm looking for, except, the CD3000's were a bit [i]too[/i] harsh on the treble, causing ear fatigue, and temporary tinnitus.

 

What I definitely -do not- want, is that kind of warm, colored sound as the Grado RS-1's. I'm looking more for a crisp, clear, and neutral sound.

 

Any suggestions? Ideas?


Edited by fuzzybaffy - 11/21/12 at 8:07pm
post #2 of 43

What's your source gonna be? The line out from your computer sound card? Do you have an amp to drive them with?

post #3 of 43
Thread Starter 

At the moment, I'll be driving them from an HT Claro Halo soundcard, -but-, I definitely do plan on upgrading to better DAC/Amps in the future.

post #4 of 43

Way underbudget but..

The most neutral headphones i know of are the Sony V6's. Never listened to a  pair, but the frequency response is pretty flat and the V6's are pretty much used exclusively among studio mix engineers. Not to mention the #4 best rated headphone on amazon.

 

Some head-fiers here say they don't sound the best among audiophile standards. I have trouble believing that due to the ratings on amazon and the legendary use in studios.. 

 

 

Also, an interesting headphone I've come across that was designed to be neutral ((again a monitor)(or at least the advertising says so)) is the Yamaha HPH-200. Although there are virtually no reviews on head-fi for no particular reason. -- But again, way underbudget. 


Edited by Xaborus - 11/21/12 at 11:57pm
post #5 of 43
Thread Starter 

Actually... I did own a pair of V6's back when I used to DJ in college...

 

They were indeed neutral, but... they of course didn't have all the other things associated with the higher-end headphones, like sound-staging, and clean sound (relatively speaking)... For instance, the bass just didn't quite have that clean sound, that my other headphones did, like the Sony CD3000.

 

It's like comparing a pair of studio monitors from KRK vs. Genelic. They are all neutral, but, and although I've never heard KRKs/Genelics before, I'm sure the Genelics sound much better. So... yea... I would prefer a neutral sound, but also better sound overall, as well.


Edited by fuzzybaffy - 11/22/12 at 12:06am
post #6 of 43

i have the 600 and couldn't be happier with it. For it price it is quite neutral. the sound stage is very nice. Though you may want an amp (300 ohms is nothing small) now with is where you might could play with things. Different amps have different sound signatures. So, building of that you can look around for a "fast" amp. That might give you the extra energy you're looking for. Now, specifically, i can't say. i have pretty limited knowledge beyond that.

 

i might also add, from what i've read, the hd650 is not really all that neutral. Thats hd600 territory. i can't personally confirm this. but it seems to be the general consensus. 

post #7 of 43
Thread Starter 

^ Yea, thank you. I did some reading here and there, and it seems that's the general consensus (HD-600 being more neutral vs. HD-650 being more colored). But, I don't know actually! I've read the HD-650 has a "darker" sound, and even though it isn't necessarily neutral, that's definitely sounding attractive to me.


Edited by fuzzybaffy - 11/22/12 at 12:16am
post #8 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by fuzzybaffy View Post

^ Yea, thank you. I did some reading here and there, and it seems that's the general consensus (HD-600 being more neutral vs. HD-650 being more colored). But, I don't know actually! I've read the HD-650 has a "darker" sound, and that's definitely sounding attractive to me.

true, but it has also been said that the 650 has a "veiled" sound. which, as best i can understand, means the bass mildly masks the highs...now that doesn't sound too good to me. But then again, i'm really a neutral kinda guy so...

post #9 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by fuzzybaffy View Post

^ Yea, thank you. I did some reading here and there, and it seems that's the general consensus (HD-600 being more neutral vs. HD-650 being more colored). But, I don't know actually! I've read the HD-650 has a "darker" sound, and even though it isn't necessarily neutral, that's definitely sounding attractive to me.


650 is not neutral, darker means less high frequency ( uppermid-treble ) presence. 650 is warmer, darker, and more relaxed than 600 in general

post #10 of 43
If I were you, I would seriously consider the AKG K701's. From what I remember, they are more like a studio monitor than any of the others mentioned so far, including the Sony V6's. They have plenty of clean, clear midrange and treble, though they were a little lean in the bass, but then again, so are studio monitors. Don't get me wrong, the bass is there, but it's not in your face like some of the others. And it's tight and detailed bass too. Just expect it to start rolling off gently around 35-40Hz or so.
Edited by Chops - 11/22/12 at 5:22am
post #11 of 43

AKG K701. Done. For more information read my review in the signature area.

 

Edit: there's a little bit of comparison with the HD600 in my review too. HD600 is a bit warmer and a bit more coloured. The K701 is a bit colder, dry and detailed. The differences are not huge.


Edited by iamthem - 11/22/12 at 5:37am
post #12 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by iamthem View Post

AKG K701. Done. For more information read my review in the signature area.

 

Edit: there's a little bit of comparison with the HD600 in my review too. HD600 is a bit warmer and a bit more coloured. The K701 is a bit colder, dry and detailed. The differences are not huge.

Sense the differences aren't huge, which would you prefer for non-critical listening/ just enjoying music/gaming.

post #13 of 43
IF you read just about any topic regarding headphones within audio-engineer / recording circles, you'll constantly get the following headphones tossed around in terms of neutrality when it comes to checking a mix against monitors. Furthermore walk into any recording studio and you're bound to see any of the following kicking around. All of the following headphones are fantastic in general.

The ones I agree with (neutrality):

Sony MDR-7506 or MDR-v6
Shure SRH440
AKG K701/702 or Q701/702
Beyerdynamic DT880
Sennheiser HD600 / HD580

The ones that I sorta/kinda agree with (more or less neutral but tend to be a tad humpy in parts):

AKG K240, K271
Shure SRH840
Beyerdynamic DT770 and DT990 (get the high-impedance versions 250/600ohm)
Sennheiser HD650 / HD280Pro
Audio-Technica ATH-M50

As a guy who hunts exclusively for neutrality, I can wholeheartedly recommend the Sony MDR-7506 / V6 and Shure SRH440 on the cheap, and the Beyer DT880 and Senn HD600 on the higher end.

Here's a great link: http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/jan10/articles/studioheadphones.htm
post #14 of 43
Just remember use a low output impedance source otherwise you may be disappointed with the results. I would love to know how many people wind up being disappointed with a headphone because they plugged their low-ohm headphone into a high-ohm amp and had some severely altered FR.
post #15 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by Catharsis View Post

Just remember use a low output impedance source otherwise you may be disappointed with the results. I would love to know how many people wind up being disappointed with a headphone because they plugged their low-ohm headphone into a high-ohm amp and had some severely altered FR.

when you refer to amp, you mean out put impedance correct? isn't there some rule of thumb for that. It's like the phones should be 6 times (or is it 8) higher impedance? do you know.

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