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Classical Music Listener: Please Help Me Find a Pair of Cans.

post #1 of 67
Thread Starter 

Dear Head-Fi Community,

 

I would really appreciate your help in finding me a pair of cans that are geared towards classical music (pretty much the only genre that I listen to).

 

I mostly enjoy strings, some trios/quartets, as well as a wide variety of symphonies.

 

My budget is limited to $200, and my two audio sources are an iPhone 4S and a mid-2012 MacBook Pro (both un-amped).

 

Audio files are either FLAC or 320kbps MP3s (for the idevice).

 

I primarily listen to music at home; thus, open cans are an option.

 

Here are some choices that I've been considering:

 

Grado SR60i

 

Audio-Technica ATH-M50

 

Audio Technica ATH-AD700 (I don't quite like the looks of these, but the audio quality seems to be good)

 

Alessandro MS1i

 

I'm willing to peruse eBay for used market stuff if something better can be had for the same amount of money.

 

Thank you very much for any and all advice! smily_headphones1.gif

post #2 of 67

Sennheiser!

You would be hard pressed to find some hd600's for 200, most go around 250ish used.. I just bought a pair for that. But, you could find an hd580 for well under 200. They are supposed to sound identical to the hd600. I can chime in and let you know if I think they sound the same tomorrow when my 600s arrive :)

For closed I would recommend a modded t50rp, but if open cans are an option, go open!

 

Seriously though, I think Senn would be ideal and I don't recommend any grados that aren't vintage pinks for classical.

 

*edit* Didn't see the sources, but my recommendation stands. I just suggest saving up for an amp as your next purchase. I really like the objective2 amplifier.


Edited by chrislangley4253 - 3/22/13 at 10:20pm
post #3 of 67

Definitely not the Grado - I have these and they're fine for other genres but way too brash. Forget the Audio Technica 700s - nice sound, but too forward and congested for classical.

 

Go used - way better value.

 

Beyerdynamic DT880 250 ohms (to make them relatively easy to drive)

 

AKG K701: unsurpassed imaging and clarity but can be a little hard in the upper mids. Needs current - Audio-GDs headphone amp/dacs are highly recommended.

 

Audio Technica ATH-AD900. These come up under $200 and are not that much more new. No amp problem here, though an amp will make them even better.

 

Happy hunting!

post #4 of 67

If you're using your phone and laptop then get Etymotic ER 4P and add the P to S adapter. You can get a used pair on Ebay for $170, sometimes less. 

post #5 of 67
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by homeros8000 View Post

If you're using your phone and laptop then get Etymotic ER 4P and add the P to S adapter. You can get a used pair on Ebay for $170, sometimes less. 


How do IEMs compare with similar priced cans in terms of audio quality?

post #6 of 67
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by chrislangley4253 View Post

Sennheiser!

You would be hard pressed to find some hd600's for 200, most go around 250ish used.. I just bought a pair for that. But, you could find an hd580 for well under 200. They are supposed to sound identical to the hd600. I can chime in and let you know if I think they sound the same tomorrow when my 600s arrive :)

For closed I would recommend a modded t50rp, but if open cans are an option, go open!

 

Seriously though, I think Senn would be ideal and I don't recommend any grados that aren't vintage pinks for classical.


It would be awesome if you could post an update regarding the 580 vs 600 "debate." :)
 

These cans would've been on my list if I could them cheaper.

 

I guess eBay may be the answer...

post #7 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by cazhpfan View Post


It would be awesome if you could post an update regarding the 580 vs 600 "debate." :)
 

These cans would've been on my list if I could them cheaper.

 

I guess eBay may be the answer...

I will be sure to update you on how I feel they compare.

 

I found some 580's on craigslist for 115. You just have to look everywhere, you can definitely find a pair of 580s on your budget though! ebay is a good place to look. Just keep in consideration the condition of the pads and the fact that it is 40 dollars to replace the earpads and 9 to replace the headband pad. I think I overpaid at 115, seeing as the headphones needed new pads all around, but live and learn :)


Edited by chrislangley4253 - 3/22/13 at 10:24pm
post #8 of 67
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by bruce108 View Post

Definitely not the Grado - I have these and they're fine for other genres but way too brash. Forget the Audio Technica 700s - nice sound, but too forward and congested for classical.

 

Go used - way better value.

 

Beyerdynamic DT880 250 ohms (to make them relatively easy to drive)

 

AKG K701: unsurpassed imaging and clarity but can be a little hard in the upper mids. Needs current - Audio-GDs headphone amp/dacs are highly recommended.

 

Audio Technica ATH-AD900. These come up under $200 and are not that much more new. No amp problem here, though an amp will make them even better.

 

Happy hunting!


Thank you for the detailed information.

 

If given the choice, would you go the AKG or the Beyers. When you say the AKGs can be "a little hard in the upper mids," are you referring to them when used with an amp, without an amp, or regardless?

 

The Beyers were my first choice if money wasn't an issue. I'll go check ebay.

post #9 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by cazhpfan View Post


Thank you for the detailed information.

 

If given the choice, would you go the AKG or the Beyers. When you say the AKGs can be "a little hard in the upper mids," are you referring to them when used with an amp, without an amp, or regardless?

 

The Beyers were my first choice if money wasn't an issue. I'll go check ebay.

 

To jump in on Bruce here, I would second the Beyer DT880. I listen to classical/orchestral exclusively and find the DT880 outstanding for its neutrality and clarity. I had the HiFiman HE-500 and AT AD900 and sold them both in favour of the DT880 (the HE-500 partly due to weight issues). The DT880 is capable of an astonishing performance on classical. I use a Marantz receiver which allows me to reduce the treble a touch, and with just -2db I get a beautifully balanced sound. They do need burn in though; out of the box they'll be over-bright. As for price, a Pro model, which I use (same drivers, higher clamping force, coiled cord), can be got new for around $240, but the extra over your budget wil be worth it. If you can get a used one, of course all the better.

post #10 of 67

any of you guys have some impressions of the beyers vs senns? Just curious, I like how you guys talk about them :)

post #11 of 67

At this price point it is hard to go past the Ety ER4ps as suggested above. Very good for classical, easy to drive, excellent sound isolation and you can take them area. Sonically they are as good as any full-size phone at this price point.

post #12 of 67
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by pp312 View Post

To jump in on Bruce here, I would second the Beyer DT880. I listen to classical/orchestral exclusively and find the DT880 outstanding for its neutrality and clarity. I had the HiFiman HE-500 and AT AD900 and sold them both in favour of the DT880 (the HE-500 partly due to weight issues). The DT880 is capable of an astonishing performance on classical. I use a Marantz receiver which allows me to reduce the treble a touch, and with just -2db I get a beautifully balanced sound. They do need burn in though; out of the box they'll be over-bright. As for price, a Pro model, which I use (same drivers, higher clamping force, coiled cord), can be got new for around $240, but the extra over your budget wil be worth it. If you can get a used one, of course all the better.

I'm currently leaning to the BD 880. Is there any sound quality advantedge to the pro version? What's higher clamping force?

I'm assuming the 250ohm version will not by drivable by portable electronic devices, right?
post #13 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by cazhpfan View Post

I'm currently leaning to the BD 880. Is there any sound quality advantedge to the pro version? What's higher clamping force?

I'm assuming the 250ohm version will not by drivable by portable electronic devices, right?

 

Higher clamping force means it grips your head a bit tighter, not a problem as they're so comfortable. The drivers are the same in the pro version, but as it grips tighter it's conceivable it may have a little more bass than the regular, Premium version. Main difference is price.

 

As for the 250 ohms, you'll find portable devices will drive them, just not as well as a proper amp. And by "proper amp" I don't necessary mean a dedicated headphone amp--it could be a good speaker amp.

post #14 of 67
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by pp312 View Post

Higher clamping force means it grips your head a bit tighter, not a problem as they're so comfortable. The drivers are the same in the pro version, but as it grips tighter it's conceivable it may have a little more bass than the regular, Premium version. Main difference is price.

As for the 250 ohms, you'll find portable devices will drive them, just not as well as a proper amp. And by "proper amp" I don't necessary mean a dedicated headphone amp--it could be a good speaker amp.

Is there a reason for why the pro version is cheaper by almost a hundred dollars?

What's a good, reasonably priced amp/dac for computers?
post #15 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by chrislangley4253 View Post

any of you guys have some impressions of the beyers vs senns? Just curious, I like how you guys talk about them :)

 

I had Senn 650s for 3 years and I've heard the 600, 565 etc, etc. I was always bothered a little by certain hardness in the 650, audible mostly on massed strings. When I bought the Beyer DT880 I wasn't expecting much--I've heard most of the mid-priced phones and been disappointed to varying degrees--but as soon as I put it on I knew it was a keeper--the sound just seemed so uncoloured, so neutral, so balanced. Really there's just nothing out of place with the 880 except for a treble peak from 5-8khz, which is easily reduced or even eliminated with EQ or just a common treble tone control. Fix that and it's hard to find a fault with them save that they have no particular "flavour", which bothers some people. Certainly they're not foward in the midrange at all, which causes some people to find them mid-recessed, but they're not really--the mids are all there, just not in your face. Ditto for the bass, which can surprise you when there's real bass in the recording. Really it's a pity the 880 has been around for so long as people tend to take it for granted, but it deserves better than that. It's certainly a worthy competitor to the 650, just not as full and luxurious sounding (but more accurate in my view).  

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