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Closed-ear library use/walking around headphones, <$500

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 

Hey all,

 

I'm relatively new to the audiophile headphone market.

 

I currently own:

 

AKG Q701

Sennheiser HD 555

Sennheiser PX 200 II

 

Right now the only headphones I bother to amplify are the Q701s. My amp is a cMoyBB v2.03 from JDS Labs, and it makes the Q701s sound a bit harsh without bass boost on and a bit muddy with it on.

 

Here are my questions:

 

  1. Is it worth my time and money to invest in a better amp in the <$125 range? If so, which one should I get? I value clarity, balance, depth, and a nice soundstage—if I can achieve punch and presence at the bottom end without sacrificing crispness in my mids and highs, I'd like to.
     
  2. I love the Q701s, but they leak like hell, which means I can't use them when I'm at work or when I'm studying in a library setting. The HD 555s have the same problem, and they don't sound anywhere close to as good as the Q701s. And the PX 200s sound nice (they have an exceptionally precise sound), and don't leak much, but their ear pads start to really hurt my ears after an hour or two of listening, as their combination of an on-ear style and an overly tight fit doesn't agree well with me. I'd like to purchase a set of high-quality closed-ear cans in the <$500 range, and am considering the following so far: AKG K550, PSB M4U 2, Sennheiser Momentum, AudioTechnica ATH-M50S, Polk UltraFocus 8000 NC, Shure SRH840, and Beyerdynamic Custom One Pro. I certainly wouldn't mind the convenience of around-the-neck carry I might get with the M4U 2, Momentum, or M50S sets, am especially drawn to the look of the Momentums and the K550s, and wouldn't mind the nice bonus of noice cancellation provided by the M4U 2s or the UltraFocus 8000 NCs, but I really do value sound above all. The three I'm most strongly considering right now are the K550s, the M4U 2s, and the Momentums, but if you more seasoned audiophiles achieve moderate consensus on a set not already in my "top tier," I'll consider your opinions strongly. See my comments in my first question to understand what I value most in my listening experience.
     

  3. Would I be better off looking into IEMs? As I understand things, they have some great sound quality and sound isolation—but I doubt I can find any for less than $400 or $500 that will match up to headphones of equal value.

 

 

Thanks!

post #2 of 17
I can confirm that K550 isolates well enough to be used in the library. But I carry T5p to the library. :-) K550 is an amazing choice, you get T5p like sound with only quarter of the price.

I've heard some good stuff about the momentous. I think you should audition both.
post #3 of 17
Thread Starter 

Hey,

 

To add another headphone to the list, how does the Philips Fidelio L1 stack up against the K550s, the M4U2s, and the Momentums?

post #4 of 17
Thread Starter 

Also adding to consideration: AKG K267 Tiesto


Edited by Downtempo - 12/23/12 at 5:08pm
post #5 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Downtempo View Post

Also adding to consideration: AKG K271 Tiesto


They are two different phones, LOLbiggrin.gif

post #6 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Downtempo View Post

Hey all,

 

I'm relatively new to the audiophile headphone market.

 

I currently own:

 

AKG Q701

Sennheiser HD 555

Sennheiser PX 200 II

 

Right now the only headphones I bother to amplify are the Q701s. My amp is a cMoyBB v2.03 from JDS Labs, and it makes the Q701s sound a bit harsh without bass boost on and a bit muddy with it on.

 

Here are my questions:

 

  1. Is it worth my time and money to invest in a better amp in the <$125 range? If so, which one should I get? I value clarity, balance, depth, and a nice soundstage—if I can achieve punch and presence at the bottom end without sacrificing crispness in my mids and highs, I'd like to.
     
  2. I love the Q701s, but they leak like hell, which means I can't use them when I'm at work or when I'm studying in a library setting. The HD 555s have the same problem, and they don't sound anywhere close to as good as the Q701s. And the PX 200s sound nice (they have an exceptionally precise sound), and don't leak much, but their ear pads start to really hurt my ears after an hour or two of listening, as their combination of an on-ear style and an overly tight fit doesn't agree well with me. I'd like to purchase a set of high-quality closed-ear cans in the <$500 range, and am considering the following so far: AKG K550, PSB M4U 2, Sennheiser Momentum, AudioTechnica ATH-M50S, Polk UltraFocus 8000 NC, Shure SRH840, and Beyerdynamic Custom One Pro. I certainly wouldn't mind the convenience of around-the-neck carry I might get with the M4U 2, Momentum, or M50S sets, am especially drawn to the look of the Momentums and the K550s, and wouldn't mind the nice bonus of noice cancellation provided by the M4U 2s or the UltraFocus 8000 NCs, but I really do value sound above all. The three I'm most strongly considering right now are the K550s, the M4U 2s, and the Momentums, but if you more seasoned audiophiles achieve moderate consensus on a set not already in my "top tier," I'll consider your opinions strongly. See my comments in my first question to understand what I value most in my listening experience.
     

  3. Would I be better off looking into IEMs? As I understand things, they have some great sound quality and sound isolation—but I doubt I can find any for less than $400 or $500 that will match up to headphones of equal value.

 

 

Thanks!

 

In your shoes I'd get IEMs.  They are much better for walking around and blocking ambient sounds than any closed headphone, while also not looking like a big dork.  My SE530 and SE535 are better to my ears than several good $500 headphones (Grado RS-1, Denon D7000) and as good as my >$1000 Ultrasone Edition 8.  They are so sensitive that you will never need an amp, which is savings that you can put towards good iems.  There are surely other great iems that you can find for much less.

post #7 of 17
Thread Starter 

My mistake; I've already changed it. I meant the K267 Tiestos, not the K271s.

post #8 of 17
Thread Starter 

And thanks for the great feedback so far!

post #9 of 17

Unless you have smurf ears, the Momentums aren't going to fit your ears.
 

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

 

In your shoes I'd get IEMs.  They are much better for walking around and blocking ambient sounds than any closed headphone, while also not looking like a big dork.  My SE530 and SE535 are better to my ears than several good $500 headphones (Grado RS-1, Denon D7000) and as good as my >$1000 Ultrasone Edition 8.  They are so sensitive that you will never need an amp, which is savings that you can put towards good iems.  There are surely other great iems that you can find for much less.

are the ed 8 really as good in resolution, separation and pin point accuracy?

post #11 of 17
The harmon/kardon bluetooths have amazing isolation, although they look like they wouldn't, as the pads aren't huge. I say the Bluetooth because the classics are on ear, not over ear like the Bluetooth. Bluetooths have a better sound, plus have the option of Bluetooth, which sounds good, albeit quiet, but if kept at the Bluetooth volume it will be silent to anyone in a library. You won't be able to hear outside noise unless your music is almost silent. At a volume that I like, which is fairly loud, someone will be able to hear it in a library if close to you, but not much. Best set of headphones I've heard. A very involving sound...which could be bad if you're easily distracted from the homework you're doing in a library. They may look like they would never isolate, but they do it well. The pads are a little shallow, and some discomfort may occur on a small part of your ears, but after a day it's good, and they become comfortable actually.
post #12 of 17
I'll throw in a new headphone to consider:
Fostex T50 RP. I have a pair of these. Thay are quite comfortable, quite noise dampening and have excellent sound. You have plenty of enhancement tweaks availible on headfi forum.
]http://www.fostexinternational.com/docs/products/RP-Series.shtml#2
Edited by trondareo - 4/20/13 at 12:09am
post #13 of 17
I've owned many decent iems because I sought the ease of driving them. I auditioned various over ears with just the iPod and they were never loud enough despite the better sound. No matter the price, iems just don't deliver the sound as it should be, and always sound like the sound is in your head. As a result, i found myself getting tiresome of each iem fairly quickly. I've had bass oriented ones (not beats over the top bass) like the b and w p5 and the bass-lacking ue 600. The p5s have an open back design to them, delivering remarkable soundstage and depth, probably at levels that only the most expensive iems can deliver. Definitely a colored, higher bass sound, but nice. They are under 200, and build quality is top notch. A good choice for in ear if you go that route. As they are open back, they leak more sound than other in ears, but less leak than full size headphones. Also, the Harman kardons I mentioned, the iPod will drive them well to, no amp needed, but my e07k helps deliver fullness and a bit more volume to quieter albums. I never had an amp with the p5 and they drive fine with a regular iPod.
Edited by thepiper92 - 4/20/13 at 12:17am
post #14 of 17
The Q701s are monitoring headphones, and could easily sound harsh, especially if the music quality is low. From what I read about them, they are not listening headphones, which I prefer, but analyzing ones. As a result, bass will not be an emphasis in the sound signature, so boosting it is not what the headphones are comfortable with. I would not change amps. While limiting control of the sound, the cmoy delivers a clean, warmer sound. I find with my Harman kardons, bass bloat is removed by the e07k, and depth is increased, allowing for a clean sound. I compared the cmoy that a guy had at university to my e11 and the cmoy had a cleaner, truer sound. The e07k seems to sound similar
post #15 of 17

Polk audio ultrafocus 8000?

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