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Interested in improving my headphones.

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 

Hi to everyone!

 

First of let me start by saying this is my second post, so i might need more information than i will initially ask for.

 

Right now i own: Cowon i9, Fiio E17 and Sennheiser HD 380 Pro.

 

I am interested in improving my Headset, yet i have a lot of unanswered questtions after reading around on this forum.

 

My initial interest was (and still is) the HIFIMAN HE-500, however i am a bit concerned about the power those will require to perform optimal.

 

Now i have to say that the invetment is very high for me, so the expectations are as well ( they cost a bit more than my monthly income, so yeah, sorry about my wallet ).

 

Now, as far as i know, since those are open cans, they are not really for travel use, as i would piss off everyone around me, but the amount of sound is higher than regular cans playing when around your neck for example?

 

My original interest would be to buy the cans and perhaps in the distant (as of 3 years) future to get a very good amp, but it would mainly serve for gaming use with the fiio as DAC and AMP. So, can Fiio E17 fuel the HIFIMAN HE-500 well enought that they can perform at their tip top? (And i will also use them for music and movies, but mostly for gaming).

 

Other models i have considered due to price and availability limitations are beyerdynamic T1, DT 880 ( 250 Ohm version ), and sennheiser HD600 ( basicly got those from cross-referencing the summer guide and the flagship battle on this site ).

 

If i had a shot at it, id go to a store and try them out personally, but i just moved to a new country (Poland, Warsaw) and i dont know any audiophile stores or clubs or anything here.

 

Any comments or ideas are welcome, but a full speaker system is out of the question due to neibourhood restrictions as well as the fact that i already own a Logitech Z-5500 set and i am o far happy with it.

 

IEMs are also an option, assunming they are close to the same quality.

post #2 of 14

What music do you listen to?

 

Do you prefer a headphone that sounds fun with most of your music rather than something that is extremely revealing?

 

Do you need something portable?

 

I think there is no doubt that you can find a great headphone under the price of the HE-500 that will suit your needs and sound awesome.

post #3 of 14
Thread Starter 

Id rather have a headset that is great for everything than one that is amazing for one sort of music and just ¨good¨ for other types.

 

Id like it to be portable (size and weigth dont matter, but beeing able to listen on my fiio E17 and cowon i9 combo is kinda a must, since i dont have another amp at this stage).

 

I just am unsure of what model should i aim for 8(.

post #4 of 14

The Audio Technica ATH-AD900 is another great headphone that receives high marks here:

http://www.head-fi.org/t/634201/battle-of-the-flagships-50-headphones-compared#user_ATHAD900

 

They run around $280 US and are an open headphone.

 

The AKG K550 is another headphone I can easily recommend.  They sound great and are built extremely well.  They can be found for under $300 US and remain one of my favorite headphones for general listening.

 

The beyerdynamic DT880 ( 32 Ohms ) would be a great option if you are looking for something with a little more treble emphasis.  They sound great, are built really well, and receive awesome reviews.  They are a bit more expensive seen around $350 US.

 

All of those headphones will sound just fine unamped and do not require special amplfication.

post #5 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by catspaw View Post

Id rather have a headset that is great for everything than one that is amazing for one sort of music and just ¨good¨ for other types.

Aim for a neutral headphone, such as the Sennheiser HD 580/600 or the beyerdynamic DT 880. They will provide a sound with no color.

 

destroysall.

post #6 of 14
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Destroysall View Post

Aim for a neutral headphone, such as the Sennheiser HD 580/600 or the beyerdynamic DT 880. They will provide a sound with no color.

 

destroysall.

 

That makes sence. You know if a DT 880 and Senns 600 will run decently on the Fiio E17 from a laptop (i guess 250 ohm DT 880, since fiio E17 has a max of 32 mW at 300 Ohm).

Im quite noob when it comes to calculating the dB/mW ratios (its dark magic for me for now), as for example, it took me reading the forums a lot to find out that the HifiMan he-500 is not a good headset withouth amp, even thou they are only 38 Ohm (but 86 dB/mW, something i still dont understand).

post #7 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by catspaw View Post

 

That makes sence. You know if a DT 880 and Senns 600 will run decently on the Fiio E17 from a laptop (i guess 250 ohm DT 880, since fiio E17 has a max of 32 mW at 300 Ohm).

Im quite noob when it comes to calculating the dB/mW ratios (its dark magic for me for now), as for example, it took me reading the forums a lot to find out that the HifiMan he-500 is not a good headset withouth amp, even thou they are only 38 Ohm (but 86 dB/mW, something i still dont understand).

The HiFiMAN is an orthodynamic headphone. Impedance ratings may be small for orthodynamic headphones, but they are extremely sensitive which makes them far more difficult to drive. I don't imagine either the beyerdynamic or the Sennheiser headphones experiencing any issues when being powered by one of the FiiO amplifiers since they are both dynamic headphones.

 

destroysall.


Edited by Destroysall - 11/29/12 at 3:14am
post #8 of 14
Thread Starter 

I assume that does not automaticly mean that HIFIMAN he-500 are far better, right?

Senns 600 cost around 1K PLN (Polish crowns, about 230 Euros), while HIFIMAN HE-500 cost around 3800 PLN (about 800 Euros), while beyerdynamic 880 cost under 1k PLN (thou i noticed two versions, one labled PRO, the other withouth it).

 

Does this mean that the Senns are a bargain and the HE-500 overpriced in my region or that they HE-500 are actually about 4 times better than then senns 600? i know this is highly subjective,

but i would not like to buy the senns 600 to only buy the HE-500 next year.

 

Any opinion would be helpfull since i dont know the reasons why some people enjoy more then senns, yet most people prefer the HE-500 (http://www.head-fi.org/t/625159/hifiman-he-500-versus-sennheiser-hd650/30).

post #9 of 14

You bring up an important point. Most value judgements here are based on US prices, which of course don't apply in many countries. I think we need to read everything here in the light of relative prices rather than take it all in open-mouthed. You read people saying things like, "Is the HE-500 twice as good as the HD650?", when in your country the HE-500 may be 3 times as much, or only half as much again. Personally, unless finances are really tight, I think you should go the extra dollar to get what you really want. In a few months $300 isn't going to mean that much, whereas being stuck with a crap (to your ears) headphone and feeling you won't recoup enough of your costs to justify a switch is a lousy feeling.

 

That said, though I haven't heard the HD600 in a while (I owned it, as well as several 650s), I would say the HE-500 is worth the extra. It is in fact in a different class, no question. That doesn't mean you'll like it, as it may not be as forgiving. But you'll be starting where you're most likely to be satisfied, rather than where you're quite frankly unlikely to be satisfied. Plus the HE-500 comes with two different sets of earpads which actually give different perspectives--the velour very precise and analytical, the pleather rather softer, less focussed, more forgiving. That's my take on them anyway.

 

Would it be possible to import the HE-500 for less money? 800 euros seems excessive.

 

Oh, and the Beyerdynamics come in 3 ohmages: 32, 250, 600. Word is the 600 is the better sounding one, but harder to drive. The 250 is the most common and maybe the wiser choice if you go that way. I have a 600ohm on order (used) so may be able to comment further later on.

post #10 of 14
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by pp312 View Post

You bring up an important point. Most value judgements here are based on US prices, which of course don't apply in many countries. I think we need to read everything here in the light of relative prices rather than take it all in open-mouthed. You read people saying things like, "Is the HE-500 twice as good as the HD650?", when in your country the HE-500 may be 3 times as much, or only half as much again. Personally, unless finances are really tight, I think you should go the extra dollar to get what you really want. In a few months $300 isn't going to mean that much, whereas being stuck with a crap (to your ears) headphone and feeling you won't recoup enough of your costs to justify a switch is a lousy feeling.

 

That said, though I haven't heard the HD600 in a while (I owned it, as well as several 650s), I would say the HE-500 is worth the extra. It is in fact in a different class, no question. That doesn't mean you'll like it, as it may not be as forgiving. But you'll be starting where you're most likely to be satisfied, rather than where you're quite frankly unlikely to be satisfied. Plus the HE-500 comes with two different sets of earpads which actually give different perspectives--the velour very precise and analytical, the pleather rather softer, less focussed, more forgiving. That's my take on them anyway.

 

Would it be possible to import the HE-500 for less money? 800 euros seems excessive.

 

Oh, and the Beyerdynamics come in 3 ohmages: 32, 250, 600. Word is the 600 is the better sounding one, but harder to drive. The 250 is the most common and maybe the wiser choice if you go that way. I have a 600ohm on order (used) so may be able to comment further later on.

Any idea how well would a Fiio E17 run the he-500? As far as i know yeou need 1Watt per channel, while fiio can only deliver about 250 mW.

I tried to find someone who has both those items but so far i found no information about that.

post #11 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by catspaw View Post

Any idea how well would a Fiio E17 run the he-500? As far as i know yeou need 1Watt per channel, while fiio can only deliver about 250 mW.

I tried to find someone who has both those items but so far i found no information about that.

I still think that the orthodynamic HE-500 might be too much. I don't imagine it being "properly" driven with the FiiO E17. However, do you have a budget? If you pair it with a decent DAC and amp, you would be set to go.

 

destroysall.

post #12 of 14
Thread Starter 

I dont really have a budget, i mean, first of all i did want it to be portable (not becuase i plan to use it on a bus, but when i travel i normally take with me my laptop and all my music).

I know that it would be best to aim for the best quality (meaning a desktop amp), but first of all, its too expensive for me (there is no way im gonna shell 1000+ dollars for an amp), and second, i dont have enought time to enjoy my music to get the bet of it (since when im not at work, or out of home, im normally gaming).

 

Thats mostly why i want the best quality i can get from a portable amp (i know there are better amps than the Fiio E17, but for now i cannot invest in the headphones AND the amp).

post #13 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by catspaw View Post
Thats mostly why i want the best quality i can get from a portable amp (i know there are better amps than the Fiio E17, but for now i cannot invest in the headphones AND the amp).

Go with the FiiO E17 and the HiFiMAN HE-500. A good plus in that case scenario is that you will have a future amplifier upgrade option available to you.

 

Destroysall.

post #14 of 14
Thread Starter 

Sounds good, Im going to a store where they sell hifiman products today with my portable gear after work, and will see if they let me try it to see the performance it will have (i know its supposed to have about 400h burn in, so im jsut going to be carefull with my judgement).

I just hope they do have the HE-500 or at least the HE-400 available in the store to try them out :D.

 

Thx for all your help mates... sorry about my wallet.

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