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Starting Somewhere

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 

I've just joined HF after many reading hours. I don't see somewhere to introduce myself specifically, so I guess this is a good place to start. 


Spent the day reading, comparing, sizing and refining lists and trying to fix a budget. In the end I was tossing up between the Brainwavz HM5's (and any variation I could get to Oz for a chunk less), and the T50RP's. Keen to get into modding, but worried the stock sound of the T50RP's would slow my interest rather than helping it.


Somehow the HM5's are under $90 here in Aus right now, so I'm happy to spend more than I normally would on super-discounted bits.


I've been trying various cheap IEM's for about 5 years, had a basic set of Senny cans 10 years back, but in the last 9 months started getting dabbling again in the budget. recent purchases  include:

Superlux, Stretch O'Neill (very cheap, started modding), Munitio's (again, really cheap), Sony MH1C's and Brainwavz Hm3's (nice once you bend the band), Fiio E6 and E10 (the E6 was a gamble and the E10 helps my lappy put out cleaner notes).


As you can tell, budget is always in mind, I think I'd rather have 5 nice toys than 1 great one (how do you know if you can't compare)... I'm keen to start modding properly soon, much more reading to be done and need to get my collection of tunes in order (think its time to re-rip a lotta CD's properly.


Aside from the head stuff, I'm also building a tiny sub box to amp up supplement the newish deck. I have not tackled subs in cars for about 8 years when I had a pair of 15" in my boot, that was a lot of fun.


Looking forward to my new cans, contributing and maybe tackling a review down the track.



post #2 of 12

Welcome to head-fi

Sorry about your wallet.


Funny thing: I was torn with exactly the same question not long ago: about a HM5 or a Fostex. Even our background is quite similar with IEMs and fiio.

I suggest you to buy one good pair of headphones rather than many. In the end, you wont't be listening those and keep looking for the perfect pair.

Edited by squallkiercosa - 1/16/13 at 3:35am
post #3 of 12
Thread Starter 

Good input, I know you are right, but its fun to play.


The HM5's are in, started listening today. Very quick from Mp4 Nation

post #4 of 12
Thread Starter 

Having fun modding my HM5's prematurely.


Learning that I've been accustomed to bloaty bass, wondering if my ears and brain will come for the ride or possibly I'm just another listener with skewed tastes and accurate is not for me.


Time will tell...

post #5 of 12
Thread Starter 

I like the HM5's, they sound beautiful on well mixed music.


But I'm hooked and want more.


I'm looking at much bassier cans, but want it all and am looking to spend upto around $300 now.


Thinking of a few models, much research required;

Sony XB1000

Ultrasone Pro 900

Ultrasone 580

M-Audio Q-40


Lots of others I'm slowly crossing off, hoping the list will shrink rather than grow.


Any input welcome, I'm after a very flexible Can, closed or semi closed, something that can be driven with a Fiio (may require amping but does not need). I want a fun signature.


So yeah, want it all, have a budget, now to compromise...

post #6 of 12
Thread Starter 
Ended up buying the Beyerdynamic DT770 Pro 80ohm.
Was really keen on the Ultrasone's in general, but worried about the piercing highs which have turned me off some IEM's and cans before.
Was sold on them at $250 AUD, found them last minute for < $200 AUD so pretty happy with the price in the end. 
As its difficult to demo, I'm confident the signature described sounds like what I like and I'm not a fan of EQ'ing, so hoping I like the signature. If all else fails, they should be pretty easy to offload at close to the price I paid (after the deals disappear).
Looking forward to burning these in and listening to some tracks.
post #7 of 12
Thread Starter 

Its been a busy few months with a few cheap purchases.



From most recent:
Phillips Uptown
Creative Aurvana Live (CAL!)
Soundmagic M30
V-Sonic GR02-Bass with Comply's
DT770's now recabled, tried a few fillings to see how it improved, it didn't much. 
The V-Sonic's are great litte IEM's for the money. Only received the Uptown's today, promising. The CAL's were a fantastic find also. These 3 are my favourite.
The Uptown's are just starting to come alive with less than 10 hours on them. Comfy, nice overall sound signature. Bass does not extend as low as I'd like but I'm not finding I miss it, it does the rest so nicely. I've had the CAL's for 2 weeks and thought they were a great buy, but the Philips have more presence. 
They come with a volume adjuster and mic attachment but look like they will be fairly easy to recable. I feel like I want to keep turning them up, in a good way, the 770's felt quickly fatiguing by comparison. the pads seem very comfortable for a fairly strong seal.
I'm sure more to come, 

Edited by Noone025 - 4/4/13 at 3:32am
post #8 of 12
Thread Starter 

After recabling the Uptowns I'm very happy with them.


No doubt, I'll find a flaw over time and will then find something else to love for a few weeks.


Its interesting the journey of liking something and feeling comfortable with it, sated, but then finding something better and you adjust your benchmark.


I am by no means playing at the top end of the market, I'd much rather tinker with 10 sets @ $100 than own 1 $1K headphones. As I can't demo easily, its fun to find a bargain, confirm its a decent product for my tastes and have a play. There have been some misses, but now I have a clearer idea of what I like, its getting easier.


Glad the journey is still going. 


Currently listening to Aphex Twin which I've put aside for ages. Its nice to come back to music you've been ignoring and find it interesting again.

Edited by Noone025 - 4/6/13 at 1:03am
post #9 of 12

Your choices and buying pattern look much like mine. I am in Asia and have limited access to listening in person, so I buy things online after a great deal of research.


I was an audiophile decades ago, set it aside, sold the equipment and music, and moved around a great deal. Electronics geek in High School and College. Now that I appear to be in one place for a number of years, it is time to gear up once again. I had a pair of Mirage M3i's paired with a PS Audio, Audioquest speaker cable and connects, the classic Denon 3520 as a transport. I sold it all and miss it, but shipping 280 pounds of speakers all over the planet made no sense. Speakers I am building myself here as access is very limited but drivers and parts are easy to get - but that's another DIY forum. That I am starting small and moving on up as well.


First headphones I ever heard were probably a pair of mid-70's Koss' at an Aunt's house listening to prog rock. First pair I owned were with a Sony Walkman.

Good phones early on were the K240 and 880's, originals. As I recall they cost me one week's pay apiece. Those both wore out as I worked public sound and the smoke and wear took their toll.


Now I am in a very out of the way place, in so far as sound gear goes, and must shop and buy online.
The good thing is that I can get much shipped to me and tube gear here is beyond cheap.

Selection is limited in odd ways though and imports can be much higher than you pay in the EU, Australia or North America.


So the past few months I have been reading here and put together a list and just for fun I am beginning at the bottom of the price scale and working up.


Began with the Superlux HD-668 B which looks and sounds like my old K240's. Much greater detail and midrange than a $27/pair should ever sound. They sound similar to what I recall from the MKI's. A bit disconnected as the lows, mids and highs seem separate, but at this price who cares?


It's paired with a $31 headphone tube amp running 2 x 6J1's. It's the size of a deck of cards and it sounds good. Source is now computer files in all formats. I have a few CD's and very limited vinyl but rarely play those anymore. Many times the source is a USB or SD stick.


Lots of cheap tube and SS headfi amps I want to buy, just because.

Maverick Audio TubeMagic D1
FiiO E17 amp portable SS
Yulong U100 amp portable SS
FiiO E11 amp portable SS
Electric Avenues PA2V2
NuForce Icon HDP (High-end Headphone Amp, USB DAC, Preamp)

Schitt Valhalla


Many no name amps built by hobbiests and sold online, various tubes, low price.


The list of phones is this so far. I hope to buy a set each month or so and the idea is to do it in this order.

Most of these from reviews here. I am curious about the names that are new to me, that I have not heard, so I will

try to buy phones I have never heard. Never had a pair of Sennheiser, for instance. Fostex and Fischer and Ultrasone

I never heard of until I came here. Did not know Shure made cans, and never got another Sony set after the walkman.


Superlux HD-668 B

Logitech Ultimate Ears 500 Noise-Isolating Earphones

Creative Aurvana Live!
AKG K240S / K240 MKII
Alessandro MS1i

Shure SRH840
Ultrasone PRO 900 - Black
Fischer Audio FA-003
Grado SR80i
Audio Technica ATH-AD700 or ATH-M50S
Sony MDR-V6
Fostex T50RP

AKG K 702
Sennheiser HD 650
Grado SR325i

Beyerdynamic DT1350tesla
Beyerdynamic [OLD] DT-990
Beyerdynamic DT 770
AKG K 550
AKG K 701
Beyerdynamic DT-880
AKG K 702
Beyerdynamic [NEW] DT-990
Beyerdynamic Tesla T70/T70p


I had the 880's long ago, but reading all the reviews it seems there is quite a bit of apprehension about the BD 'sound'. I liked it back then, but I played all rock and club tracks so that bass sound would have appealed to me then. Now I appreciate upper-mids, detail, reverb, echo, and lower treble so I want to get a pair of the Grado's, they seem like a nice set.


If I go really nuts I will hit the high end, but I would really prefer to auditon these at length first before buying them cold online. Pairing them with a proper front end will take a long time.:

AKG K840
Audeze LCD2
Denon AH-D7000
Hifiman HE-400, 500, 600

Beyerdynamic Tesla T1
AKG K3003 [earbuds]
Sennheiser HD 800
Stax SR-007
AKG KK K1000


I will also probably tire and burn out, but what the heck, right?


Look forward to lots of tinkering, mods and building my own.

Edited by marone - 4/6/13 at 11:10am
post #10 of 12
Thread Starter 

Thanks mate,


well, you make me feel better about the cash I'm spending, its a lot of fun to listen to something for the first time.


Brainwavz R1's arrived today, nice little IEM's, still getting used to the over ear bit (not my favorite design).


Still loving the Uptowns, the honeymoon romance has worn off, but they're still my favorite.

post #11 of 12
The Fios is on my list early, so I likely will be able to compare that with some things you know soon.
post #12 of 12
Well, I received 8 pairs of cheap Chinese cans this month and so far none compare to the two lowest end champions the 668b and the CAL!.

SuperLux 668b
I still like the 668b's, but the quality of the earcups means that they are not that comfortable. Hot and sweaty during warm weather. A very good can for jazz, vocals and classical,.

Not for bassheads.

But for the price, they are the best and only thing in town. I have listened to 8 mid-fi Chinese headphone sets and none of them approach the detail level, soundstage, tone and naturalness of the 668b. All have a variety of bass and low-midrange colourations.

To get better you need to spend $80 and get the CAL!.

-CAL! Creative Audio Live
The CAL is very comfortable and has slightly less detail in the treble and mid than the 668b, but it extends the FR to the bass with a more level SQ and FR across the spectrum. The 668 clearly had to make a design choice and the quality of the materials and bass response were what they left out to get the best of the rest. The CAL moves to the other end with bass and less treble, at a price.

So far no unheard gems. 668b and CAL are the best at the low end.

Also, burn in really does have much if any effect on the lo-fi end. Some of the cans settle in, soundstage and FR integrate, but usually what you hear on first listen is how it will sound 200 hours later.

668b is the real giant killer if you don't want bass. To get better you need to spend $100.

Next stop the $100+ tier.
Edited by marone - 8/20/13 at 7:24pm
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