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High quality, open-sounding closed headphones for Classical and Jazz

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 

Once again, I am trying to find some sensibly-priced closed cans for use at home, when the use of my open HE-500s or HD600s is not practical (i.e. when my wife is watching television, or in summer when the air conditioning is running at full blast).

 

The cans will generally be used on the end of an Opera Consonance Cyber 20 or an O2 (Epiphany), but it would be good if they could also be used with the Little Dot Mk. III OTL amp (which I use in a secondary system in the study). Musical genres are Classical, Opera (both Western and Chinese) and Jazz. Key requirements are:

 

- Open, detailed sound with good treble resolution

- Wide, "airy" soundstage

- Controlled bass (no "bloat")

- Speed and attack

 

Portability is not important - they will not be used OTG. They must be circumaural and offer decent isolation.

 

I currently have a number of closed cans, but am not really happy with any of them:

 

- Sennheiser HD25-I: good for portable use, plenty of attack and detail, but grainy treble and no sounstage whatsoever

- Fischer FA-002w: better than the HD25s, some soundstage width, but confused, compressed and "shouty" in complex orchestral tutti, sub-optimal isolation

- Denon AH-D1001: too little treble, too much bass, poor isolation (but very comfortable)

 

Consequently, I have shortlisted the following options (up to a street price of about GBP200 in China or the UK):

 

- Audio Technica ATH-A900X (my current front runner)

- Beyerdynamic DT-770 Pro 250 Ohm

- AKG K 550

- Sony MDR-1R

 

The Sennheiser Momentum will be over budget (and probably too "warmly"-balanced). Whilst the Denon AH-D2000 is still readily available here in China, I don't think I will like it (too much boomy bass, like the AH-D1001 I am about to sell....).

 

Any advice or further suggestions?

post #2 of 18

Sounds like the A900X or the K550. Both pretty much fill all of your criteria on sound. Isolation isn't amazing on either though, but passable. 

post #3 of 18

Heya,

 

AudioTechnica A900X

Mr Speaker Mad Dog (with Stax Pads)

Beyer DT770 Premium 250ohm~600ohm with T70 microfiber pads

 

Very best,

post #4 of 18

I do think my ATH-A900X are better sounding then my DT770 Pro 250-Ohm.

Not sure how well 40-Ohm headphones will sound hooked up to a Little Dot MKIII tube amp?

But my O2 works great with the ATH-A900Xs.

post #5 of 18
Thread Starter 
Most of the time, they will be used with the O2 (on mains power).

Has anyone had a chance to compare the Audio Technicas with the Sony MDR-1R yet?
post #6 of 18
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by TwinQY View Post

Sounds like the A900X or the K550. Both pretty much fill all of your criteria on sound. Isolation isn't amazing on either though, but passable. 

These two cost about the same here in China. Given the choice, which would you prefer for (i) SQ and (ii) build quality and ergonomics?
post #7 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by CJG888 View Post


These two cost about the same here in China. Given the choice, which would you prefer for (i) SQ and (ii) build quality and ergonomics?

They are? I didn't see them as they hadn't come out yet when I visited last year. Would have though the A900X would be more expensive. Which audio shop in Shanghai do you go to?

 

My personal preference would go towards the A900X, but the K550 would probably be a better all-round performer if it wasn't for all the upper-midrange-treble. I haven't ABed them, but I remember enjoying the midrange on the A900X more. Bass isn't as rounded as on the K550, but at least it's no AD900. The headband can be a hit or miss with the ATs, sometimes you barely notice it there, sometimes it irritates like no tomorrow. The pads are looser fitting on the ear and generally hotter and less comfortable on the K550 though. 

post #8 of 18
Thread Starter 
I generally buy my gear from wsz0304 in Shenzhen. The A900X cost RMB 2,100, the K 550s RMB 1,900.

Would you say the A900X were more neutral (i.e. closer to the HD600 sound)? Do they have a problem with build quality, in your opinion?
Edited by CJG888 - 12/8/12 at 1:07am
post #9 of 18
Thread Starter 

Just an "off the wall" thought:

 

I know they are supra-aural, but how would the Beyerdynamic DT-1350 and the AT ATH-ESW9 compare with the cans which I have shortlisted? Might they be a viable alternative?

post #10 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by CJG888 View Post
Would you say the A900X were more neutral (i.e. closer to the HD600 sound)? Do they have a problem with build quality, in your opinion?
 
No problem with build. The walls on the cups seem to be a bit thin and plasticky, nothing bad in terms of actual durability, just the feel of it might not be inspiring (can't do much about the actual design of it anyways)
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by CJG888 View Post

Just an "off the wall" thought:

 

I know they are supra-aural, but how would the Beyerdynamic DT-1350 and the AT ATH-ESW9 compare with the cans which I have shortlisted? Might they be a viable alternative?

If you didn't like the lack of soundstage on the HD-25, you won't like the ESW9 that much more. It's slightly better, but...

 

I've asked people about the DT1350, and they've always said that the soundstage isn't all that different from the Senns as well. Keep in mind I haven't heard them, so this is just second-hand info (but if they're anything like the T50p, then yeah, very likely that it's true)

post #11 of 18
Thread Starter 
About to pull the trigger on the ATH-A900X.....

smily_headphones1.gif
post #12 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by MalVeauX View Post

Heya,

 

AudioTechnica A900X

Mr Speaker Mad Dog (with Stax Pads)

Beyer DT770 Premium 250ohm~600ohm with T70 microfiber pads

 

Very best,


Would second the DT770 after what I have read on this forum also.


Edited by musiclife - 1/14/13 at 9:42am
post #13 of 18

SoundMAGIC HP100?

post #14 of 18

Out of curiosity, it sounds like everything you are looking for would be present in a pair of open headphones. May I ask why you are looking for closed?

post #15 of 18
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tjj226 Angel View Post

Out of curiosity, it sounds like everything you are looking for would be present in a pair of open headphones. May I ask why you are looking for closed?

Isolation from background noises (e.g. air conditioning, television etc.)....
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