I have a budget of about $1,000 and am looking to upgrade my headgear. My current set up is the ATH-M50's with my Fiio E11 amplifier plugged into my ipod classic or my laptop. Two headphones that I've been looking at are the Sennheiser HD600 and the Beyerdynamic T1 headphones. I've seen several deals on amazon/ebay recently for the T1's in the $900-1,100 price range, so that's why they could fit into my budget. If I bought the HD600, I would have $400-500 more to buy a decent amp/DAC for my headphones. If I bought the T1's, I would be pretty much broke, and would have to settle with the T1/Fiio E11 setup for a while until I have more cash to spend on a better amp. So what I'm asking is, which headphone would sound better overall, the HD600's with a decent amp, or the T1's, with a cheap portable amp. I've read reviews about the T1's where people said it was a significant upgrade from the HD600/650. I'm considering the HD600 because they are more neutral/less colored than the 650. I haven't gotten the chance to listen to either headphones though. I owned the HD555 a couple years back and really liked their sound from what I remember. I feel like if I went with the HD600's and got a good amp for them, I would still feel the urge to upgrade to the T1's. So I'm thinking it might be better for me to save up for the T1's and just wait until I have enough money to buy a nicer amp. I can barely afford $1,000 headphones and definitely don't have the kind of money to spend $1,000 on an amplifier to go with them. Maybe the reviews I was reading were from people who were comparing the HD600/650 with powerful amps and the T1's with a powerful amps. The T1's may actually sound worse than the HD600 if not properly amped. It's hard for me to justify the differences without listening to both headphones, so any insight or advice that you guys have would be much appreciated.
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Beyerdynamic T1 or the Sennheiser HD600?
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I bought the T1's when I had only an ipod and an o2 amp. I sold the Audeze LCD2r1 to get them and I wasn't sure it was a good idea.
I then got an RSA protector amp... better and the soundstaging was better than the Audeze but I wondered if I needed more power. My T1's came balanced with 4pin xlr so I bought an adapter and ran them balanced through the protector and boy oh boy, that was the needed boost.
I have since added a CLAS (original) and used violectric V181 ($650'ish lucky me) for balanced desktop listening and soon will have an RSA SR17B to replace the protector.
What I'm saying is that the T1's are great headphones but will not sound it's best until you spend some money on amplification.
I wouldn't be surprised if the $1000 spread between the HD600's and amp sounded better than the T1's with the Fiio, in fact I wouldn't doubt it. I'm not sure how long it will take you to get the $$ for an amp but if you can wait, the rewards are worth it. If not, then I would suggest the HD600 and amp and plan for the T1's down the road.
I was lucky to be able to do my changes quickly. The T1's were pretty much ready to be posted for sale and I was searching out replacements until I tried them well amped. Now, they are keepers. I'm even going to sell my Stax SR-507 and SRM-T1 in favour of these.
Edited by SBranson - 12/27/12 at 8:31pm
I've never heard the T1 so I can't comment about that headphone, but I've the HD600's which until I receive the GS-X I'm driving them with my Pico Slim. I've also got the SR-009's driven by the BHSE and I'm listening to my HD600 / Pico Slim almost as much as the 009 / BHSE. Although my source does play a big part with the SQ I'm getting.
I love my T1's, but it sounds like the better decision for you is to go with the HD600's (which are also great).
The 600's with a decent amp are probably going to be a better bet than the T1's with no amp.
hd 600s + good amp, you won't wanna upgrade for a while.
also check out the hd 650s if u like a warmer sound.
the t1's definitely require more investment to get the most out of them. you will barely be able to power them off a portable amp.
you would need to get a nice dac + amp to get the best possible sound, definitely be spending another $1000 or more on these
I bought the HD 600 in combination with a yulong d100. It was very nice - it was also my first headphone setup. Within a few months I built a B22 Amp. Then I got an offer for a used pair of T1s.
Initially I was very unsure how I liked the T1s compared to the sound I use to from the HD600. After breaking of the T1s (they were not used very much), there is no going back to the HD600. Still very good cans, but not the same as the T1.
I would choose the HD600's and get an amp or amp/dac. I've heard both and the T1s were way too treble happy for my ears (and I have some upper range hearing loss). They will probably win over the 600s in detail and clarity but that doesn't mean the Sennheisers are bad at that either, just not as sparkly.
ideally the OP would purchase the T1 and get a really good amp for them like the WA2, but thats over his budget. the T1 is only bright with a poor source/amp or with poor recordings.
In an headphone system IMO, the source is the most important part followed by the amp then the headphones. Having said that, I took my BHSE / SR-009 to an head-fi meeting and the source I used was my iPod and some couldn't believe it when they realised I was only using an iPod. The BHSE is a special amp though.
If it was me and I was only needing an amp and headphones, I'd spend 70% on the amp and 30% on the headphones.
Sort of like me now as well, a good pairing amp can make a night and day difference of bringing joy to your music, wrong combination of an amp can actually make your headphones sound a lot worse un-amped. For me it's little less overboard 60% on amp's/sources and 40% on headphones.
As for OP. I'd second the HD600 recommendations, I've own the HD600's, auditioned the T1's and HD650's through almost all of the popular mentioned amp's on this website (as well as few DIY one's). The HD600's would be the most neutral of the 3, I recommend pairing with a neutral or bright signature amp, the HD600's are slightly on the darker side of the sound at times (what is commonly referred by people as 'veiled'), pairing a brighter sig amp will bring the detail of the treble range forward preventing the sound from being too shelved or fallen back. Not to mention it easily fall's within your budget, if you can do DIY, I strongly recommend the Bottlehead Crack (even without the Speedball upgrade) for the HD580/600/650's headphones, the pairings are extremely good.
The T1's are no slouch headphones, I've heard them a few times with various rigs and surprisingly they are the only headphones that sound good on the Burson 160 (amp/dac) or the only headphones that the Burson's sound good with. Generally speaking of Beyer's past history with their headphones, they are only one of the few companies out there that like producing power-hungry dynamic driver based headphones on the market today, the T1's need power, not any power but the right power and synergy from the amp. They sounded the best out of the RWA Issabilina, the same amp that was used during the audition for a pair of balanced to SE HD650's.
The HD650's are more darker, more fun and less neutral than the HD580/600's (same drivers, different housing/headband). Pairs also well with the Crack, requires some power to sound best not as much as the T1's though. Sounds more warmer than the 600's but again falls within your budget.
I guess 60% amp and 40% headphones does sound more reasonable, my point is if I only had a certain amount to spend, I would spend the least amount on headphones. When I first got my iPod, I received the apple ear buds with it, I tried those ear buds with my Pico Slim and main source and I was quite impressed with how the ear buds sounded. My HD-600's cost me £269 but with the Pico Slim and my main source they sound like £1000 + headphones.
are u getting a portable setup or a desktop?
cos if u r going for portability u should go for low ohm high efficiency sealed or in ear, i ve the shure se530 which will sound decently with any portable device really good with portable amps and top with desktop amps, very good isolation from noise, but not so comfortable,
for a desktop setup i would go first with an amp dac upgrade and then eventually replace your shure m50,
or an amp dac and headphone upgrade together, matching both to fit each other and the budget,
i dont think u should upgrade to higher ohm lower efficiency headphones with your current portable amp dac
forget the t1 and hd 600 for portability and on the go use with portable amps etc
- Beyerdynamic T1 or the Sennheiser HD600?
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