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Headphones for female vocals that span many genres? (Up to ~$400) [Paired with O2/ODAC]

post #1 of 31
Thread Starter 

Hello Head-Fi!

I intend on getting the O2/ODAC combo and spending $250-$300 on headphones. My initial choice was the DT880, but I've heard that it has recessed upper-mids that make female artists sound a little less than stellar. I'm very unfamiliar with audio and its qualities, so is there any truth to this statement? I listen to many genres (girly girl pop, rock, metal, rap, etc) but 100% of my music is by female artists (Korean and Japanese if it has an effect (I've heard that some consider kpop very bright?)

 

So what would be the best headphones that sound great across many types of sound? Everything from e.via to Dazzle Vision

 

Thanks for any input! I truly appreciate the advice!

post #2 of 31
Why the expensive amp/dac combo when you don't even have headphones? Seems like you're putting the cart before the horse. redface.gif

Personally I'd steer you towards the Audio-Technica ATH-ESW9A or Kenwood KH-K1000. Neither really requires robust amplification (they're both very easy to drive), and will happily run from a portable device, stand-alone CD player, respectable PC soundcard, etc. They both are fantastic with female vocals, and generally good all-rounders (so as your music tastes change, they won't be woefully out of their league). The Kenwood are superior in sound-staging and somewhat superior in overall SQ (which makes them perhaps better all-rounders), the ESW9 are less expensive, more intimate in the mids, and easier to find (Best Buy Magnolia sells them, for example).

As always, if you decide to go ESW9, go from an authorized dealer, as they're one of the most faked headphones on the market.

If that blows your budget up (or if you just want to spend less), the Koss DJ100 (aka DJ200 aka TBSE1) are a very good consideration as well. Very good mids and overall extension, but less bass impact than the ESW9 and less sound-stage than the K1000. The upside is they usually cost less than $100. Also very easily driven.
post #3 of 31
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by obobskivich View Post

Why the expensive amp/dac combo when you don't even have headphones? Seems like you're putting the cart before the horse. redface.gif
Personally I'd steer you towards the Audio-Technica ATH-ESW9A or Kenwood KH-K1000. Neither really requires robust amplification (they're both very easy to drive), and will happily run from a portable device, stand-alone CD player, respectable PC soundcard, etc. They both are fantastic with female vocals, and generally good all-rounders (so as your music tastes change, they won't be woefully out of their league). The Kenwood are superior in sound-staging and somewhat superior in overall SQ (which makes them perhaps better all-rounders), the ESW9 are less expensive, more intimate in the mids, and easier to find (Best Buy Magnolia sells them, for example).
As always, if you decide to go ESW9, go from an authorized dealer, as they're one of the most faked headphones on the market.
If that blows your budget up (or if you just want to spend less), the Koss DJ100 (aka DJ200 aka TBSE1) are a very good consideration as well. Very good mids and overall extension, but less bass impact than the ESW9 and less sound-stage than the K1000. The upside is they usually cost less than $100. Also very easily driven.

I haven't purchased the amp/dac combo yet; I was just saying that was my intended combo. As for your suggestions, I can't find the Kenwoods for purchase anywhere! I'll start looking into the ATH-ESW9A though. How would the K702 fare? I've heard great things about them, but would they be too analytical for heavy rock/metal? (still with female vocals)

post #4 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bommie View Post

I haven't purchased the amp/dac combo yet; I was just saying that was my intended combo. As for your suggestions, I can't find the Kenwoods for purchase anywhere! I'll start looking into the ATH-ESW9A though. How would the K702 fare? I've heard great things about them, but would they be too analytical for heavy rock/metal? (still with female vocals)

See some Kenwoods on Audiocube, plenty of Japanese importers on ebay as well. Closed-back wise, you could check out the A900X, K550. The former especially excels in J/K-pop.

 

If vocals are an priority, the Q701 are slightly fuller-bodied in that respect than the K70X. 

post #5 of 31
Personally, I found the Q701 did not do that well with male vocals, but I never bothered testing them with female vocals before returning them. You might want to look at the Sennheiser HD598/600. Many people say the 598 does the best out of the 598/600/650 trio, but I find my HD600 to do female vocals very well.
post #6 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bommie View Post

I intend on getting the O2/ODAC combo and spending $250-$300 on headphones. My initial choice was the DT880, but I've heard that it has recessed upper-mids that make female artists sound a little less than stellar. I'm very unfamiliar with audio and its qualities, so is there any truth to this statement? I listen to many genres (girly girl pop, rock, metal, rap, etc) but 100% of my music is by female artists (Korean and Japanese if it has an effect (I've heard that some consider kpop very bright?)

So what would be the best headphones that sound great across many types of sound? Everything from e.via to Dazzle Vision

Might help to what what source(s) the DAC & Amp are going to be plugged into?

 

Off hand headphone wise, the Audio Technica ATH-A900X headphones do have a sweet sound.

post #7 of 31
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by TwinQY View Post

See some Kenwoods on Audiocube, plenty of Japanese importers on ebay as well. Closed-back wise, you could check out the A900X, K550. The former especially excels in J/K-pop.

 

If vocals are an priority, the Q701 are slightly fuller-bodied in that respect than the K70X. 


The more I read about the Kenwoods, the better they sound! Still looking through this thread: http://www.head-fi.org/t/344543/kenwood-kh-k1000

I've been talking to others today and they've said that the Q701 is lacking in regards to heavy rock/metal, so I'm back to square one ;~;

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by mechgamer123 View Post

Personally, I found the Q701 did not do that well with male vocals, but I never bothered testing them with female vocals before returning them. You might want to look at the Sennheiser HD598/600. Many people say the 598 does the best out of the 598/600/650 trio, but I find my HD600 to do female vocals very well.

 

I'll start looking into the HD600! I see the HD650 recommended often as well.

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by PurpleAngel View Post

Might help to what what source(s) the DAC & Amp are going to be plugged into?

 

Off hand headphone wise, the Audio Technica ATH-A900X headphones do have a sweet sound.

My laptop. That's two recommendations for the A900X now. The wing mechanism for support looks very interesting. Just to reiterate, they'd be ideal for a wide range of genres? From pop to thrash metal? Sorry for asking so many questions and not really having any idea about what I'm doing; It just seems that everyone here enjoys their audio setup and I would like to as well!

 

 

Thank you for the replies, everyone! I'm thankful for having suggestions from people who know their stuff rather than me just blindly searching the internettongue.gif

post #8 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bommie View Post
I'll start looking into the HD600! I see the HD650 recommended often as well.

The problem is that it will be difficult to find an HD650 for $300. The HD600 can be had for $300 new, and even less used, while the 598 can probably be found closer to $250 new and $200 used.

post #9 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by mechgamer123 View Post

The problem is that it will be difficult to find an HD650 for $300. The HD600 can be had for $300 new, and even less used, while the 598 can probably be found closer to $250 new and $200 used.

 

HD580s used go for ~100-200 as well. Slightly less treble than the newer HD600 drivers, but essentially the same sound (after ABing). Just putting that out there wink.gif. Been seeing them on ebay a bit more frequently. 

post #10 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bommie View Post

The more I read about the Kenwoods, the better they sound! Still looking through this thread: http://www.head-fi.org/t/344543/kenwood-kh-k1000

I've been talking to others today and they've said that the Q701 is lacking in regards to heavy rock/metal, so I'm back to square one ;~;

I'll start looking into the HD600! I see the HD650 recommended often as well.

My laptop. That's two recommendations for the A900X now. The wing mechanism for support looks very interesting. Just to reiterate, they'd be ideal for a wide range of genres? From pop to thrash metal? Sorry for asking so many questions and not really having any idea about what I'm doing; It just seems that everyone here enjoys their audio setup and I would like to as well!

Thank you for the replies, everyone! I'm thankful for having suggestions from people who know their stuff rather than me just blindly searching the internettongue.gif

The Audio Technica ATH-A900X is my preferred headphone (of the 10 headphones I use) for listening to all my music files, all 20GBs of them.

post #11 of 31

honestly some of the best headphones for female vocals at this price range imo are grado sr325 or k701. the grados aren't that well suited for bright pop music or rap though. but they're great for rock and metal.

 

another good choice as already mentioned where the hd 600/hd 650, though they might be too expensive for you. 

 

 

if you wanted to go a little cheaper on the sennheisers you should look into the hd 558/598. haven't heard the 598 which have their own unique sound, but i heard the hd 558 a few times and i've been extremely impressed by their sound, especially at their price point.


Edited by Dubstep Girl - 12/23/12 at 10:58pm
post #12 of 31
+1 on the ATH-A900X with the O2!
post #13 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by mechgamer123 View Post

Personally, I found the Q701 did not do that well with male vocals, but I never bothered testing them with female vocals before returning them. You might want to look at the Sennheiser HD598/600. Many people say the 598 does the best out of the 598/600/650 trio, but I find my HD600 to do female vocals very well.

598/600/650 "trio" ??

The 598 are unrelated to the 600/650...

Regarding the 70x cans - some claim there's *huge* differences, others that there aren't (AKG themselves are closer to the later category) - personally I find the K701 a nice headphone for all-around use, but they aren't "sweet" sounding. Not like the ESW9 or K1000. The A900X are less romantic/sweet/full-bodied than the ESW9, and lesser overall to the K1000 (the A900X and K1000 have bigger/better soundstaging than the ESW9s - accordingly). Their fit can also be temperamental. That having been said - they cost less than the ESW9 or K1000, and are not bad by any means (I'm not meaning to knock them). For the money, the A900X are a *very* good choice here. And on the upside, Magnolia will have the ESW9 and A900X side by side for comparison - so you can see which of the two you like. The K1000 are available from Audiocubes (and Audiocubes is a good dealer to work with). The K701 are available from myriad sources.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bommie View Post


The more I read about the Kenwoods, the better they sound! Still looking through this thread: http://www.head-fi.org/t/344543/kenwood-kh-k1000
I've been talking to others today and they've said that the Q701 is lacking in regards to heavy rock/metal, so I'm back to square one ;~;

The K701 will do better for rock/metal than the K1000 or ESW9. The ESW9 will do best with female vocals specifically, the K1000 will be the best "in-between" of the three (they cost the most too).

Quote:
I'll start looking into the HD600! I see the HD650 recommended often as well.


My laptop. That's two recommendations for the A900X now. The wing mechanism for support looks very interesting. Just to reiterate, they'd be ideal for a wide range of genres? From pop to thrash metal? Sorry for asking so many questions and not really having any idea about what I'm doing; It just seems that everyone here enjoys their audio setup and I would like to as well!


Thank you for the replies, everyone! I'm thankful for having suggestions from people who know their stuff rather than me just blindly searching the internet:p

The HD 580/600/650 are a good family to look into, the K1000 is easily described as a less-dark closed version of that family (despite being from another country, manufacturer, etc - it's kind of uncanny how they relate). I'd take the K701 over the Sennheisers for metal and rock, but the Sennheisers for pop or vocaloid.

Oh, I like Dubstep Girl's suggestion on Grados too!

Regarding the amp thing - worry about that AFTER you pick a pair of headphones, not before. smily_headphones1.gif
post #14 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by obobskivich View Post


598/600/650 "trio" ??
The 598 are unrelated to the 600/650...
Regarding the 70x cans - some claim there's *huge* differences, others that there aren't (AKG themselves are closer to the later category) - personally I find the K701 a nice headphone for all-around use, but they aren't "sweet" sounding. Not like the ESW9 or K1000. The A900X are less romantic/sweet/full-bodied than the ESW9, and lesser overall to the K1000 (the A900X and K1000 have bigger/better soundstaging than the ESW9s - accordingly). Their fit can also be temperamental. That having been said - they cost less than the ESW9 or K1000, and are not bad by any means (I'm not meaning to knock them). For the money, the A900X are a *very* good choice here. And on the upside, Magnolia will have the ESW9 and A900X side by side for comparison - so you can see which of the two you like. The K1000 are available from Audiocubes (and Audiocubes is a good dealer to work with). The K701 are available from myriad sources.

The K701 will do better for rock/metal than the K1000 or ESW9. The ESW9 will do best with female vocals specifically, the K1000 will be the best "in-between" of the three (they cost the most too).
The HD 580/600/650 are a good family to look into, the K1000 is easily described as a less-dark closed version of that family (despite being from another country, manufacturer, etc - it's kind of uncanny how they relate). I'd take the K701 over the Sennheisers for metal and rock, but the Sennheisers for pop or vocaloid.
Oh, I like Dubstep Girl's suggestion on Grados too!
Regarding the amp thing - worry about that AFTER you pick a pair of headphones, not before. smily_headphones1.gif

The reason I included the 598 along with the 600 and the 650 is because the 580 is no longer available, and the 598 has a sound signature that is similar to the 600s. However, people end up preferring one of the three (598, 600, 650) to the other two.

post #15 of 31
Another vote for the 558.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dubstep Girl View Post

if you wanted to go a little cheaper on the sennheisers you should look into the hd 558/598. haven't heard the 598 which have their own unique sound, but i heard the hd 558 a few times and i've been extremely impressed by their sound, especially at their price point.
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