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Big headed users, help a brother out.

post #1 of 24
Thread Starter 

I spent like 6 hours yesterday night doing my own research, looking through other head-fi threads and reading amazon reviews. So I'm looking to buy my first pair of "premium" grade headphones. And the reason I quote premium is because my budget is less than $200. I realize you cannot get a product at that low of a price that will impress you audiophiles but I am simply trying to get into your world. I'm no authority on the nuances of sound. I think even a $170 pair of phones would be impressive. I'm currently using a pair of cheap Phillips. 

 

The two biggest buying factors for me are comfort and obviously, how the phones sound. Comfort is key since I have a huge head. I was looking at the VModa phones and initially thought they looked pretty damn cool. Then I read a review and discovered that they don't fit big noggins. Looked at the Grado line as well since they are consistently recommended for people who listen to rock but those look painfully small as well. This goes into the style of music I listen to. Rock is the staple. Simply put, the majority of what I listen to is band music. Not always guitar heavy but the formula is there. Favorite bands are Modest Mouse, Floyd, Wilco, Pavement, Arcade Fire, Radiohead, GYBE... Tons of indie obviously. Of lately I've been getting more into hip hop and electronic music. Been listening to Kanye pretty heavily for the past year. 

 

I had an intention to get the Beyerdynamic DT770s but apparently they are bass heavy, not suitable for the bulk of the music I listen to. They do look incredibly comfortable though. I also took a look at the COPs but I'm not sure if that's an appropriate fit either. Sennheiser 558s were on my radar for quite a while. I keep hearing good things about the 598s. I've checked out A900X and A700X. I've gone in circles, re-examining reviews and threads. Still, I'm lost.

 

One thing to note, I plan on getting a USB DAC/amp, the NuForce Icon 2 specifically. That runs for almost $100. I'm budgeting here to get a quality DAC since my laptop is my main source (terrible sound card). Unless of course I settle for a lower impedance model. But I know for something like the DT770s, it needs proper driving. 

 

If you guys can chime in on my dilemma, it'd be much appreciated.

post #2 of 24

Welcome to Head-fi

 

I've always liked the sennheiser sound but it's not for everyone. The 598's have great soundstage and are bass neutral which is what you wanted.

post #3 of 24
Thread Starter 

the thing about the 598s though is that they're right around $200, used on amazon.

 

is there a big difference between the 558 and 598?

post #4 of 24

Not sure about Sennheisers, but I've also got a fairly large noggin (and similar tastes in music) and haven't had trouble with anything from Ultrasone or Beyerdynamic. Reviews had me worried about bass on the DT770s too, but after listening to them at a local shop, I was sold. I had Ultrasone HFI-580s and 780s prior to that, but the headbands were painful after a while and I wasn't really happy with the sound signatures, amped or not - the Beyers nailed it for me though. Above 80ohms they definitely need an amp, but my DT770 Pro 80's can be driven without one.. have to turn the volume up a lot though. Custom One's should do even better at 16ohms (and Amazon Warehouse deals has a pair for $142 right now). A good amp still helps, but that's true of just about anything out there.

 

I had that ugh-I've-read-way-too-many-reviews-and-I'm-even-more-confused-now head spinning after a while on the forums starting out, and had to realize that the opinions are all very... relative. The DT770s definitely aren't reference-perfect tonality, but they're a really good gateway phone for the audiophile world IMO. Good luck, and try to hang onto your wallet... :)


Edited by j4ys - 7/23/13 at 5:42pm
post #5 of 24
Thread Starter 

Oh yeah I should have mentioned that I know how subjective this pursuit of mine is. I read about how one user thinks such and such model is fantatstic for such and such type of music and then another user completely contradicts that. It's really an intriguing part of this hobby.

 

I will be taking a leap of faith on someone else's personal opinion. Which doesn't seem like a sound decision haha. 


I'm definitely captured by the low selling price of the COPs + the 16 ohm impedance allows me to wait to buy a DAC/amp. But it seems like it's catered towards experienced headphone buyers. I hear it's sort of a competitor in the same league as the M50 and for a long time I wanted those because the praise for them is overwhelming. But that is a basshead's phone. 

 

Does anyone know anything about the AKG 701s? Used off of Amazon, they run as low as $180...

post #6 of 24

I'm not really an expert, but I do have a suggestion. I tried out the AKG K271s, and they seem to fit what you are looking for. They are not bass heavy, and they have great balance in the mid/treble end, and I love how comfortable they feel (pretty much everything AKG makes is comfy). They're pretty big too. Now, about the AKG 701s; are you talking about the Q701s or K701s? Apparently the Q701s have a little more bass than the K701s, but I'm not sure if thats true since I've never listened to them. Just note that if you do get either 701s, you'll need a good amp to drive them cause those are professional level headphones.

post #7 of 24
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by achelgeson View Post

I'm not really an expert, but I do have a suggestion. I tried out the AKG K271s, and they seem to fit what you are looking for. They are not bass heavy, and they have great balance in the mid/treble end, and I love how comfortable they feel (pretty much everything AKG makes is comfy). They're pretty big too. Now, about the AKG 701s; are you talking about the Q701s or K701s? Apparently the Q701s have a little more bass than the K701s, but I'm not sure if thats true since I've never listened to them. Just note that if you do get either 701s, you'll need a good amp to drive them cause those are professional level headphones.

The K701s. I mentioned that I'm going to get an amp/DAC but I've no idea if it's good or not.

 

I'm not liking what people are saying about the 271s. Low bass is not an issue. However, inaccurate bass seems something to be wary about. 

 

I've heard that a lot of people find the AKG brand to be too "cold" and "clinical".

post #8 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by TechnicallyDead View Post

The K701s. I mentioned that I'm going to get an amp/DAC but I've no idea if it's good or not.

 

I'm not liking what people are saying about the 271s. Low bass is not an issue. However, inaccurate bass seems something to be wary about. 

 

I've heard that a lot of people find the AKG brand to be too "cold" and "clinical".

Cold and clinical is probably not too far off with K701's.  Still, if you're looking for that kind of sound - there's none better.  They are definitely world-class, but as others have noted - you really need an amp.

 

You mentioned Grados in your first post.  I have a big noggin - had to sell the V-Moda M80's I bought because there simply wasn't enough travel in the headband to get the cups fully on my ears. mad.gif  However, you won't have any trouble with Grados - or Sennheisers - or AKG's.  All have plenty of travel for large heads.  I'm a Grado man myself, but you might want to look at Sennheiser HD25-1 II's.  $200 is about the limit of the street price you will find for new ones, but they are efficient and don't necessarily need an amp.  At the same time, bass is punchy and strong, yet the phones are still neutral enough to allow good mids and enough high-end sparkle to keep things airy and interesting.

post #9 of 24

An ATH-AD900X is a decent choice. 

post #10 of 24
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by lin0003 View Post

An ATH-AD900X is a decent choice. 

there is an open and closed model it seems

 

which is the better option? 

 

the 701s i was looking at just dropped to 170. im so tempted..

post #11 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by TechnicallyDead View Post

there is an open and closed model it seems

which is the better option? 

the 701s i was looking at just dropped to 170. im so tempted..
The A900X is closed. I would go for the open one. The 701 needs a decent amp.
post #12 of 24
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by lin0003 View Post


The A900X is closed. I would go for the open one. The 701 needs a decent amp.

now is there a standard number for impedance to know if the phones will need an external amp to drive them?

 

i thought the AD900X has a relatively low impedance.

post #13 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by TechnicallyDead View Post

now is there a standard number for impedance to know if the phones will need an external amp to drive them?

i thought the AD900X has a relatively low impedance.
Yes and bit doesn't require an amp to sound great. I would say anything over like 80 Ohms need an amp to sound great.
post #14 of 24
Thread Starter 

i'm pretty set on getting the K701s but now i have an issue of selecting an amp or an amp/DAC combo.

 

someone has suggested to me to get the Magni amp which alone runs $99. i'm not sure if that's worth it. 

post #15 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by TechnicallyDead View Post

now is there a standard number for impedance to know if the phones will need an external amp to drive them?

 

i thought the AD900X has a relatively low impedance.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by lin0003 View Post


Yes and bit doesn't require an amp to sound great. I would say anything over like 80 Ohms need an amp to sound great.

Umm ... NO.  Impedance by itself has nothing to do with whether an external amp is needed or not.  Typically, high impedances require an amp because small portables/sound cards simply do not have the voltage swing necessary to power a high-impedance set of headphones.  However, low impedance phones that are very inefficient will also require an amp.

 

It's more accurate to state the impedance defines the type of amplifier required (voltage or current), while efficiency really determines how much amplification is needed.

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