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Comfy full size phones - upgrade from Grado SR-60

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 

My Grado SR60s have been a constant companion for many years now. After trying many different pads, the big yellow Sennheisser HD414 pad has made them comfy enough to sit on my head for anywhere from 4-10 hours a day, 5 days a week.

 

However, I recently got a pair of Klipsch X10i phones, which have delighted me with their light and airy soundstage. This has highlighted one feature of the Grados that's previously bugged med. They've often felt a bit too "womblike", sort of deep and moody. So I'm looking to upgrade! Budget isn't unlimited, but I'll consider anything up to around £300.

 

As previously mentioned, an wide, airy soundstage is preferable. As I'll be using these all day, comfort is a premium, as is a low level of fatigue. Isolation isn't an issue, as I work from home most of the time. I'm also in the UK, if that influences any suggestions.

post #2 of 20

The HD600 is a great choice but the soundstage isn't very big. 

post #3 of 20

The ma900 would be very good for you, very airy with supreme comfort. The sound quality is probably a bit below the heavy weighters in mid-fi (k701, hd6x0, dt880, etc.), but probably comparable to hd598/558.

Think it woud compliment the grado's while still being an overall upgrade in sq.

post #4 of 20

Oh, and I forgot to mention that the HD600 sounds dull and lifeless unamped IMO but when amped well, it really comes alive and is extremely engaging. 

post #5 of 20

Lol, forgot to mention that the ma900 is very easy to amp oth wink.gif

 

Cannot come up with any other very open sounding fairly easy to amp headphones. If you wanna go further, you should probably move up the ladder.

 

There are plenty of heapdhones with a very wide soundstage and airy sound, but many of them have a swallow soundstage as well aka not very deep (k701 for example). What do you actually want, what is most important to you?

 

Airyness, depth, width, imaging?

post #6 of 20
As someone who started with the original SR60 (not SR60i) and who has got rid of countless headphones, let me tell you this. Rate comfort higher than audio quality. The no. of times when I loved the sound but hated the comfort and got rid of headphones, I won't even bother to list them out.
post #7 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by davidsh View Post

 

There are plenty of heapdhones with a very wide soundstage and airy sound, but many of them have a swallow soundstage as well aka not very deep (k701 for example). What do you actually want, what is most important to you?

 

Airyness, depth, width, imaging?

+1 

It would make it easier to recommend you a headphone. 

post #8 of 20
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the recommendations so far. I've been reading up quite a few reviews - there's a lot to consider!

 

Quote:

There are plenty of heapdhones with a very wide soundstage and airy sound, but many of them have a swallow soundstage as well aka not very deep (k701 for example). What do you actually want, what is most important to you?

 

Airyness, depth, width, imaging?

 

I think part of the problem is that I'm not experienced enough! I certainly like the idea of airiness. I imagine it's going to be less fatiguing over long periods than deep, dark phones. Thinking about it, I don't need an exceptionally wide soundstage - certainly nothing that would distort the intent of the artist! Something that feels somewhat breathable. Irritatingly, my musical taste varies quite widely in terms of requirements - I'm just as likely to be listening to Steve Reich or Rachel's (smooth highs, soundstage, "air") as Kendrick Lamaar or The Hood Internet (bass, vocal clarity.) So perhaps killer (comfy) all-rounders are really the order of the day.

 

While I'd love a pair of HD600s, I'd probably have to give it a month or so to save up for them plus an amp (would a FIO e10 be suitable?), as I doubt my iMac would do them justice. Perhaps patience is the way to go! I'd rather spend £300 on a pair of phones that will satisfy me for years than £200 on a pair that'll just incline me to upgrade in a year or so.

post #9 of 20

Guess you want an overall balanced and airy sound. Still think you should read into the MA900, but only consider it if you can get it at a good price, I guess (like 150€). Dunno, haven't heard it myself...

 

The fiio e10 would probably be adequate for the hd600, but more is needed for it to shine. Same with k701.


Edited by davidsh - 8/30/13 at 4:43am
post #10 of 20

Take a look at the Audio Technica ATH-AD900x.  Well in your budget.  Weigh nothing and really wide soundstage.  The bass isn't going to win any awards; but if you like Audio Technica's sound, you can't go wrong with these.

post #11 of 20
Honestly, save up a bit more and get the HD600s. They will satisfy you for a long time and are a very solid pair of headphones. A worthwhile upgrade would be $700...
post #12 of 20

^That is true, but getting such a headphone is quite a commitment due to amping requirenments and the price, along with the possible need of a better source. It can indeed get expensive easily, which is not necessarily bad at all. Depends on what OP wants...

post #13 of 20
Thread Starter 

Well, I'm dithering over several fine suggestions. The Sonys (£130 on Amazon) and AKGs (not easily available in the UK) both sound like really good buys, and very comfy, but now I'm worrying that the quality difference over my Grados will be too slight. On the other hand, spending around £400-£450 gives me serious pause for thought. What's a realistic first headphone amp that would match well with the HD600s? I think I need to mull this one over for a while.

post #14 of 20
^An O2 perhaps. You didn't have any DAC? I'd suggest hifimediy, they also send from within Europe AFAIK meaning no taxes, which is kinda cool for such a product.

You shouldn't worry about the audio technicas or ma900 not being upgrades, they most likely are. The grados are also priced very high in europe compared to the US, just saying.

As you have probably found out, the ma900 should be some of the most comfy headphones around, if you don't have ears sticking out, that is. The hd600 will be a big step up in comfort from the grados anyway, though..

But if you want to take it to another league, an hd600 setup would be a nice way to go.
Edited by davidsh - 8/31/13 at 3:49am
post #15 of 20

I'm not sure the Senn HD600 or the AKG K702 qualify as "light and airy" but I think they both sound great amped and are quite a bit less than 300 pounds. What do you have (or want) for a source and amp? What have you listened to? I used to have a Grado 60 and 80 and I never thought either even remotely compared to my HD600s even unamped. Grados have a unique sound though. Very in your face in a good way for many types of music. If you like that sound you could consider upgrading to a better Grado. The 60 is strictly entry level. Barely an improvement from an el cheapo ultra-portable like a Koss KSC-35 or Yuin G2A. I did listen to 125s and 225s at a dealer once and the 225s did sound quite noticably better than the SR80s I had at the time. I can't own Grados anymore because I consider them to be headache inducing torture devices.

 

I've had my HD600s for about a decade. So I may just be bored with them. But I A/Bed them with my friend's K702s and definitely preferred them to my Senns. I only A/Bed them for like 20 minutes though. So I can't speak to differences in listening fatigue or synergy with various amps etc. As far as better phones than the traditional HD600/650 or AKG K701/702 'entry level' recommendations up to about 500 USD I don't have any idea. I am also interested in that price point. I'd really like to get a significant improvement for no more than around twice the 250-300 USD entry level, but I don't know of anything short of the Senn 700s or 800s for like 3-4 times the price. Maybe some high end IEMs? It seems like there is quite a big gap after the typical full size entry level phones and the real high end with not much in between.

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