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Ultra flat response headphones with wide stage?

post #1 of 49
Thread Starter 

Hello everybody

 

I'm trying to decide which model is the perfect headphone for me (I want to buy my first audiophile cans, and I want to make it right regular_smile%20.gif) Genre's classical music, a lot of chamber music, but sinfonic too. I don't mind whether they are open or closed as I'd use them mostly at home. If they are closed and portable, that's a nice bonus, but not a must. Budget is 400$, or 450 if it's really worth it.

 

The sound I'm looking for:  a flat response, neutrality, a detail-monster. I'd love to hear the bow scratching the string, the valves of the woodwinds etc. From what I've read the HD600 seems to be a good bet. However, I'd also love to have a wide stage, where you can easily spot the different instruments/voices. Something like a HD600 with the stage of an AKG K701 (I've listened to them both, and I liked the AKG slightly better, probably due to the heavenly stage. The HD600 seemed a bit veiled and less detailed to me. However, I will do a second listening session, so please don't give up on me just yet normal_smile%20.gif)

 

I know that such a can probably doesn't exist at that pricepoint, and that I'll have to compromise on one aspect or the other. But I'd like to know my options first. So, apart from the HD600 and the K701, are there other models I should try?

I read about the LFF Paradox, which seems to be as flat and neutral as it gets. I don't know about the stage though. They are certainly very interesting, but it's difficult to try before buying. Also, how would Mr. Speakers MadDog compare to the K701?

Thanks for any comments, hints, tips...


Edited by papamogl - 3/31/13 at 10:02am
post #2 of 49

With those requirements in mind, the AKG K710/Q701/K702 would be the first thing to pop into my head. It's particularly well known for its large soundstage. But outside of the two models you mention, you might look at the Beyerdynamic DT880, which is particularly known for its neutrality.

post #3 of 49

$400-450 is just getting into vintage Stax Lambda territory, and soundstage is one of the Lambda frame's strong suits, along with detail (typical of electrostatics in general).

 

Neutrality probably varies depending on model; the various Lambda iterations do NOT sound alike, having compared a vintage SR-Lambda and SR-202 myself. The Normal bias SR-Lambda has a standout midrange (which I love), while the SR-202 sounds more like an electrostatic HE-400 and has a recessed midrange by comparison. Other people with more experience seem to favor the Lambda Nova Signature as the most neutral out of the entire series, but I have yet to audition one.

 

Just make sure you have some kind of speaker amp (old integrated receivers are a good bet) for the transformer boxes those cheaper setups include, or else you'll be spending just that much again (if not more) on a dedicated electrostatic amp.

post #4 of 49

HD598 was pretty flat with a wide soundstage.

post #5 of 49

I'm not saying you shouldn't trust your own ears, but the HD600 veil is very exaggerated.  They have a slightly rolled off top end and lots of liquid in the mids.  That makes some people pull out the "veil" word.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by papamogl View Post

 

The HD600 seemed a bit veiled and less detailed to me. However, I will do a second listening session, so please don't give up on me just yet normal_smile%20.gif)

 

 

post #6 of 49
Thread Starter 

Well I intend to give them another listening tomorrow. From my last test I remember them to be less clear, or crisp than the K701. They seemed a bit mellow to me. I'm aware that this might come from a biased perception on my part, hence the second go. The smaller soundstage compared to the K701 is obvious however, and I'd like to have both, neutrality and a big soundstage

Thanks for pointing me to vintage Stax models. It's difficult to get hold of one here in switzerland, but I'll try. Plus I intend to hear the HD598 tomorrow.


Edited by papamogl - 4/1/13 at 5:53am
post #7 of 49

Sennheiser HD600 with high quality files and equipment-player/dac,amp,good interconnects etc.

post #8 of 49

I think either one can be made to achieve what you are after with the right source, amp and a little EQ help.  I own both K701 and an HD580 modded with 600 grilles and 650 cable.  I prefer the 701 mostly though, its a little brighter and more energetic in the upper mids.  Its layered soundstage is very impressive and it has the advantage here.


Edited by kramer5150 - 4/1/13 at 8:14am
post #9 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by papamogl View Post

I read about the LFF Paradox, which seems to be as flat and neutral as it gets. I don't know about the stage though. They are certainly very interesting, but it's difficult to try before buying. Also, how would Mr. Speakers MadDog compare to the K701?

Thanks for any comments, hints, tips...

The mad dogs I demod at a meet were warmer and more deep-midrange "resonant" sounding from ~350-800Hz compared to my 701.  I demo'd them on a Burson HA-160 or the D model, I can't remember which one. I didn't have the fore-thought to A/B compare them with my 701 on the same rig.  I kind of wish I did though.  Their soundstage was very layered, very near, semi-near and farther out, not unlike the 701 in terms of layering the stage.  But they couldn't put stuff "way" out there like the 701 and HD580/600 can.  They are a closed, semi-isolating can though so this is to be expected.  Despite the fast, detailed, un-distorted orthodynamic sound I think they would make a great complimentary can to the 701.  Their isolation and that lower midrange warmth I think are 2 areas they have the 701 beat.

post #10 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by hodgjy View Post

I'm not saying you shouldn't trust your own ears, but the HD600 veil is very exaggerated.  They have a slightly rolled off top end and lots of liquid in the mids.  That makes some people pull out the "veil" word.

 

I agree with this.

 

I actually find the HD600 to be the least veiled out of every Sennheiser model i've tried. (Haven't tried the 700s or 800s through).

post #11 of 49

The HD600, though excellent, do not offer what I would call a "wide" headstage.

The HD650, when amped adequately, are really exceptional--bettering the HD600 in every respect.

The HifiMAN HE-6, on the other hand, may fill your bill: neutral, commendably flat, open 3D headstage AND immanently musical.


Edited by pataburd - 4/1/13 at 8:52am
post #12 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by pataburd View Post

The HD600, though excellent, do not offer what I would call a "wide" headstage.

The HifiMAN HE-6, on the other hand, may fill your bill: neutral, commendably flat, open 3D headstage AND immanently musical.

... you're recommending a $1300 model for someone on a ~$400 budget?

post #13 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by papamogl View Post

The sound I'm looking for:  a flat response, neutrality, a detail-monster. I'd love to hear the bow scratching the string, the valves of the woodwinds etc.

 

Sony SA3000, no discussion as far as I'm concerned.

 

I've had the HD600/650, DT880, K701 and while they all come close to neutrality they can't touch the Sony's for detail retrieval.

post #14 of 49
Thread Starter 

Wow, thanks to all. Now I've got quite a selection for testing tomorrow. Let's see if the K701 is still my favourite after that

post #15 of 49

Except if you like a little more treble sparkle that the HD650 doesn't offer.  The HD600 has more high sparkle, and it's already rolled off to begin with.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by pataburd View Post

The HD600, though excellent, do not offer what I would call a "wide" headstage.

The HD650, when amped adequately, are really exceptional--bettering the HD600 in every respect.

The HifiMAN HE-6, on the other hand, may fill your bill: neutral, commendably flat, open 3D headstage AND immanently musical.

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