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Open-back headphone dilemma for acoustic and classical; HD650, HE400, HP200, ATH-AD900x, DT880 or...

Poll Results: Vote for your choice

 
  • 9% (1)
    HD650
  • 0% (0)
    HE400
  • 0% (0)
    HP200
  • 27% (3)
    ATH-AD900x
  • 18% (2)
    DT880
  • 18% (2)
    DT990
  • 27% (3)
    AKG Q701
11 Total Votes  
post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 

Hello everyone! I'm hoping you can help make a few recommendations on my headphone quest. Like many here I suspect I've spent embarrassing (but entertaining) amounts of time reading through prior posts on this topic and others but still feel like I need a little help for my specific goals.

 

What I'm looking for: Open back headphones, 200-450

 

Optimized for: acoustic with mostly male voices and classical music  (I'll listen to a smattering of jazz, hip-hop, indie, electronic but can use other cans for this)

 

Amped with: an E17 (totally fine if the recommended pair scales even better on a non-portable amp, but I will listen to these all over the house/yard so I really want something that can work very well with an E17 which I already have)

 

What I tried already: HD 598s (loved them in general, super comfortable for me, just thought they sounded a touch "thin" compared to real life, and maybe slightly weak bass for my taste

 

What I'm considering based on reading here: HD650, HE400, HP200, ATH-AD900x, DT880 or 990, AKG Q701. Given I am a novice, feel free to expand the list if appropriate

 

Characteristics I'd like, in order of importance:

Soundstage (but I don't take it as a given that wider always = better)

Instrument separation/clarity

Comfort (ideally not touching or pressed against ears, nice and cool, HD598 was perfect comfort for me)

Sound profile: fuller/warmer sound than what I imagine the average true reference set to sound like, good with male vocal/acoustic and classical, perhaps with a slight bass/mid boost?

Non-harsh treble: I think I might be a bit sensitive to this and may use these for hours at a time 

 

Characteristics I don't care about: 

Portability, Style, Size (as long as they're comfortable)

 

My background: complete novice audiophile, but significant music background

 

My other cans: PSB M4U 1 (I'll use these for portable applications, "wife is around", or for hip-hop, electronic etc if they work better than my open set for that application)

 

Thank you so much in advance everyone!!!

post #2 of 15

welcome to head fi, I am sorry about your wallet smily_headphones1.gif

I would go with Q701, they seem very comfortable to wear like k240 mkii. But I am a noob. I hope that some experienced members would guide you well.

post #3 of 15

Sennehiser HD600 is definitely a great choice and will work with all genres. I like it better than the HD650. 


Edited by lin0003 - 8/30/13 at 7:03pm
post #4 of 15
Personally, I didn't like the K701. Very thin sounding to me and lacking bass.

I'd go for the HD600 as it does excellent with vocals and stringed instruments. However, I do prefer the DT880 because they are better for the genres I listen to (trance, DnB, rock), and the soundstage is a bit wider than the HD600's. But the HD600's do vocals and instruments better.
post #5 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by xkonfuzed View Post

Personally, I didn't like the K701. Very thin sounding to me and lacking bass.

+1

I didn't like the K701 at all. 

post #6 of 15

Here is a thread where an extremely experienced member suggests that the DT660 is in his opinion the best classical headphone. If so, you will save a big chunk of change which may allow you to save and build toward having another headphone on hand. It is nice to gain experience with the different sound signatures available, and it is always nice to have a second (or even more of course!) set of headphones around that differ in some way from your other set i.e more/less bass, closed/open back, warm or neutral etc. For quite some time I kept both the HD650 and the DT880 as my choices. Liked both quite a bit for different reasons. Anyway, here is the link to the thread you should read.

 

http://www.head-fi.org/t/559542/i-truly-believe-these-are-one-of-the-best-classical-music-headphones-ive-ever-heard

post #7 of 15

Audio Technica ATH-AD900X, only 40-Ohms, and will work with or without a headphone amplifier, but better to use it with a low impedance headphone amplifier (like the e17).

post #8 of 15

I actually like the DT 990 more for classical than I do the 880,. the 990 has a touch more sound stage and a nice mid bass hump which gives  a nice weight and punch to cellos and other deeper bassy instruments that are not percussion! 

 

So Dt 990 for me [Plus it's one of the cheapest up there] $125 for a refurrrbished Pro 250 ohm variant! 

post #9 of 15

RE: Open-back headphone dilemma for acoustic and classical; HD650, HE400, HP200, ATH-AD900x, DT880 or 990, AKG Q701

880 and q701 may not have enough bass for u.
Do you have any budget for a full size amp?

Sent from my Lumia 900 using Board Express
post #10 of 15
Thread Starter 
I think down the road I might invest in a better desktop type amp, but for purposes of this thread, I'm looking for an open-backed pair that I can amp portably with my E17 as I'd like to be able to walk around the house or be in the backyard etc while listening. I don't want to be tied to one location. So while the cans themselves don't need to be portable, the amping solution does.

Also, a number of you have commented on the AKG k701s - what I have on the original list was the q701 as I understand these have the slight bass/mid boost I might like. I'm guessing that the k701s might be too neutral/cool sounding for my tastes though I know for many they might be the perfect classical headphone.

Thanks for all the comments so far.
post #11 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by jwvlahos View Post

I think down the road I might invest in a better desktop type amp, but for purposes of this thread, I'm looking for an open-backed pair that I can amp portably with my E17 as I'd like to be able to walk around the house or be in the backyard etc while listening. I don't want to be tied to one location. So while the cans themselves don't need to be portable, the amping solution does.

Also, a number of you have commented on the AKG k701s - what I have on the original list was the q701 as I understand these have the slight bass/mid boost I might like. I'm guessing that the k701s might be too neutral/cool sounding for my tastes though I know for many they might be the perfect classical headphone.

Thanks for all the comments so far.

the e17 will easily power the Dt 990 Pro 250. so I'd go for that personally. Not to mention you already have an amp so the Dt 990s are one of the best sounding and most inexpesnsive! 

post #12 of 15
Thread Starter 

Thanks - Mshenay. I think I might have to try out the 990. I've found that the flat "reference" sound perhaps preferred by many for classical music sounds a little thin for some of the instruments, especially low strings (chellos and string bass) and brass. Can you tell me where you saw refurbs for 125? Any quick comment on the pro vs premium difference? I've read several threads dedicated to this but I'm just curious for your opinion.

 

I have tried the closed audio technica a900x and liked the sound but I have to knock off points for comfort - it had some clamping across the lower parts of the cups on my jaw and I imagine it's the same for the open pair. 

 

Comfort-wise, can anyone compare comfort between the 990s and a Sennheiser set, either 600s or 650s? Or perhaps I'll just try both and compare myself. 

 

Thanks!

post #13 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by jwvlahos View Post

Thanks - Mshenay. I think I might have to try out the 990. I've found that the flat "reference" sound perhaps preferred by many for classical music sounds a little thin for some of the instruments, especially low strings (chellos and string bass) and brass. Can you tell me where you saw refurbs for 125? Any quick comment on the pro vs premium difference? I've read several threads dedicated to this but I'm just curious for your opinion.

 

I have tried the closed audio technica a900x and liked the sound but I have to knock off points for comfort - it had some clamping across the lower parts of the cups on my jaw and I imagine it's the same for the open pair. 

 

Comfort-wise, can anyone compare comfort between the 990s and a Sennheiser set, either 600s or 650s? Or perhaps I'll just try both and compare myself. 

 

Thanks!

I find it super comfy, the clamp is about 1/2 that of the ath a900x with double the pads. Trust us the Beyer Velour pads are sooo comfy 

 

As far as the price goes, I got mine almost... 7 months ago and I foget the website I browsed to find that deal [going to check my emails] in addition they are often sold here on head fir pretty cheaply, and DO NOT buy the Preium version, it's too expensive. The Beyer Dt 990 is one of the best cans for it's price [even at $150 used it's still great] 

 

I'll try to find the website I used a while ago... I can't find it. But it pops up every now and again. Just get it for $150 heck I hear amazons sellin it $169 new 

post #14 of 15
Pro's and Premiums use the same drivers, but the Pro's clamp a little more so you end up with slightly more bass. Stretch them out on a couple of thick books or a TV and you basically have a Premium version.
post #15 of 15

With your list (which sounds like mine), sounds like the Senn HD600 or HD650 is it.  It hits all your points. 

 

I have the HD595 (very close predecessor to HD598) and HD580 (predecessor to HD600)---often considered the vanguard of the "new generation" of quality headphones 15-20 years ago. 

 

I can compare 595 vs 580, which should carry over to 598 vs 600/650. HD580 is even more comfortable than 595, and for classical the sound is smoother, more refined and fuller, and sounds just like your description.  For 600/650 amp is mandatory, not so for 598.  The 600 is the evolution of the 580 and is nearly the same in acoustic and physical aspects. 

 

 

I later got a more expensive and well reviewed Denon D5000 after the HD580, but after a while I ended up going back to the classic 580 for sound and comfort.  I like warm & fuzzy better than even soft leather. I wouldn't underestimate the importance of comfort for long listening.

 

HD600 is often used as a reference by classical recording engineers.   The 650 is supposed to have a bit more bass than the fully neutral 600 but I haven't heard it.  

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