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Searching for my first high quality headphones and need some help

post #1 of 24
Thread Starter 

I have never had really good headphones. The only headphones I've ever owned have been ten dollar IEMs and some crap skullcandys. I have about 300$ to spend, and I'm looking to get the best sound quality for my money. I know that depends on a lot of factors, so I'll try to make advice a little easier. 

 

I listen to mostly electronic music. Occasionally I listen to jazz, rock, or classical music. Portability is not a high priority, so open is an option. I also want a large soundstage. I'm most interested in circamaural, and binaural headphones. 

 

I've sort of narrowed my choices down to Grado SR325is, AKG K702, and ATH A900X. 

 

Thanks for input and advice

post #2 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by parkl View Post
 

I have never had really good headphones. The only headphones I've ever owned have been ten dollar IEMs and some crap skullcandys. I have about 300$ to spend, and I'm looking to get the best sound quality for my money. I know that depends on a lot of factors, so I'll try to make advice a little easier.

 

I listen to mostly electronic music. Occasionally I listen to jazz, rock, or classical music. Portability is not a high priority, so open is an option. I also want a large soundstage. I'm most interested in circamaural, and binaural headphones.

 

I've sort of narrowed my choices down to Grado SR325is, AKG K702, and ATH A900X.

 

Thanks for input and advice

 

The largest soundstage among those is the AKG K702.  You might want to look into the Annie or the K712, though - same headphone with improvements, mainly +3dB in bass.

 

JMHO, but the Grado 325's are a special brew.  I love Grados, but those are somewhat extreme down the road of Grado sound and unless you've heard them, they might be a gamble.  The K702 has just as much detail (maybe more analytical than Grados), but with perhaps the largest soundstage in existence for headphones.  The only complaint is that they are somewhat hard to drive and sometimes lack in the bass.  Perhaps the Annie/K712 has addressed some of that - certainly, AKG claims the bass has been addressed.

 

I haven't heard them, but unless I'm mistaken, the A900X's are closed.  There's not much soundstage available in a closed headphone.  There are many good reasons for going with a closed headphone, but soundstage is not usually one of them.


Edited by tomb - 9/24/13 at 6:58pm
post #3 of 24

The k70x has a massive soundstage, that being said it isn't that good at imaging and isn't the most accurate sound stage ever.  It also wouldn't be good for mostly electronic music (rock and jazz sounds beautiful with them) They are also massive cans, not ideal for portable use at all.  

 

I vote for the a900x they were almost my first pair of headphones and they're easy to drive, closed back so you won't annoy people as well.  Keep in mind they are also very large cans but not that bad if you don't mind looking a little silly.  The cups are the same size of a CD (or I've heard)

 

A quick google search gives me these threads and many others:

http://www.head-fi.org/t/610459/biggest-soundstage-in-a-closed-headphone-under-300

 
 
post #4 of 24
Thread Starter 

Annies and K712s a little out of my price range, it seems. 

 

Right now it looks like the K702 is the strongest contender, but someone mentioned it wouldn't play well with electronic music, and is kinda hard to drive. I'm looking mostly to listen from my computer. 

 

Saying I got the K702, what would I need in order to drive them properly? 

post #5 of 24
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by linglingjr View Post
 

The k70x has a massive soundstage, that being said it isn't that good at imaging and isn't the most accurate sound stage ever.  It also wouldn't be good for mostly electronic music (rock and jazz sounds beautiful with them) They are also massive cans, not ideal for portable use at all.  

 

I vote for the a900x they were almost my first pair of headphones and they're easy to drive, closed back so you won't annoy people as well.  Keep in mind they are also very large cans but not that bad if you don't mind looking a little silly.  The cups are the same size of a CD (or I've heard)

 

A quick google search gives me these threads and many others:

http://www.head-fi.org/t/610459/biggest-soundstage-in-a-closed-headphone-under-300

 
 

 

I'm a tad bit ignorant when it comes to audio terms. What does imaging mean? 

post #6 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by parkl View Post
 

Annies and K712s a little out of my price range, it seems. 

 

Right now it looks like the K702 is the strongest contender, but someone mentioned it wouldn't play well with electronic music, and is kinda hard to drive. I'm looking mostly to listen from my computer. 

 

Saying I got the K702, what would I need in order to drive them properly? 

Creative Sound Blaster Z (SB1500), $95, is one option.

 

Headphone wise there is the Audio Technica ATH-AD900X open headphones.

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

 

The largest soundstage among those is the AKG K702.  You might want to look into the Annie or the K712, though - same headphone with improvements, mainly +3dB in bass.

 

JMHO, but the Grado 325's are a special brew.  I love Grados, but those are somewhat extreme down the road of Grado sound and unless you've heard them, they might be a gamble.  The K702 has just as much detail (maybe more analytical than Grados), but with perhaps the largest soundstage in existence for headphones.  The only complaint is that they are somewhat hard to drive and sometimes lack in the bass.  Perhaps the Annie/K712 has addressed some of that - certainly, AKG claims the bass has been addressed.

 

I haven't heard them, but unless I'm mistaken, the A900X's are closed.  There's not much soundstage available in a closed headphone.  There are many good reasons for going with a closed headphone, but soundstage is not usually one of them.

 

Is there such thing as a soundstage that sounds unnaturally large? 

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

 

Is there such thing as a soundstage that sounds unnaturally large?

 

Yes, and the K701/702/Q701/Annie/K712/etc. have often been described that way. ;)

post #9 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by parkl View Post
 

 

Is there such thing as a soundstage that sounds unnaturally large? 

 

There is, that's kind of what the K70x is in my opinion, it also ties in with accuracy/imaging.  You can have a massive sound stage with a ton of depth but if you can pin point exactly where the sound is coming from then it isn't good at imaging.  For example if you're playing a first person shooter game and you hear some one shooting to your right, if your headphone has good imaging you'll be able to tell right where they are -- even if the sound stage isn't the biggest.  

 

I wouldn't get the 701s, I think you would be much happier with a900x

 

If you REALLY want k70x then I would recommend getting at least a schiit magni amp (even then they won't sound nearly as good as they can)  

 

EDIT: Here's a link to a better explanation to what imaging is:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stereo_imaging


Edited by linglingjr - 9/25/13 at 6:50pm
post #10 of 24
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by tomb View Post
 

 

Yes, and the K701/702/Q701/Annie/K712/etc. have often been described that way. ;)

 

Do you know of any headphones with a slightly smaller soundstage? 

 

And what is the difference betweent k/q 701/702? A lot of the threads I've looked through seem to indicate that the q's have more emphasized bass, but other than that are the same as the k's. Is that correct? 

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

 

Do you know of any headphones with a slightly smaller soundstage? 

 

And what is the difference betweent k/q 701/702? A lot of the threads I've looked through seem to indicate that the q's have more emphasized bass, but other than that are the same as the k's. Is that correct? 

 

They really do all sound the same, some people say that the Q701s use a different material for the voice coil but they will sound the same as all the other k701/702s unless you've spent hours with both.  

post #12 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by linglingjr View Post
 

 

They really do all sound the same, some people say that the Q701s use a different material for the voice coil but they will sound the same as all the other k701/702s unless you've spent hours with both.

^ this

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by parkl View Post
 

 

Do you know of any headphones with a slightly smaller soundstage?

 

And what is the difference betweent k/q 701/702? A lot of the threads I've looked through seem to indicate that the q's have more emphasized bass, but other than that are the same as the k's. Is that correct?

Sennheiser HD580/600/650.

 

Differences in the K/Q 7XX? cosmetic.  One caveat - reports are that the K712 and perhaps the Annie have +3dB bass over the others.  If that's true, they might be worth the difference in price.  Still, a few years ago, the K701 was considered one of the three top-tier headphones.  That was before top-of-the-line headphones hit $1000 in price, however.

post #13 of 24

And I still wouldn't consider the HD600s (I own them and they have a much more realistic sound stage than the K70x) They also have a much more appropriate sound signature for your tastes.  However if you don't plan on buying an amp and DAC and want to  use them on the go I wouldn't get them.  Maybe the HD598?

post #14 of 24
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by linglingjr View Post
 

And I still wouldn't consider the HD600s (I own them and they have a much more realistic sound stage than the K70x) They also have a much more appropriate sound signature for your tastes.  However if you don't plan on buying an amp and DAC and want to  use them on the go I wouldn't get them.  Maybe the HD598?

 

I checked out the 598. It seems like a very good all around, entry headphone. I'm just concerned about whether or not it's worth the price. 

 

The q701 also seems like a warmer alternative to the k701/2, but I'm not sure how heavily amped it needs to be. I'm willing to get buy an amp/dac for it, if necessary, but I'd prefer not to have to do that. 

 

In a similar vein, would the 598's show any significant difference if amped?

post #15 of 24
The q701s really don't sound any warmer than k701s, they might if you compare them to eachother but in the big picture they sound the same compared to the sound signatures of different cans. The 598 is great for the price, I only had 15 or so minutes with it but especially if this will be your first quality headphone,I doubt it will disappoint you. The 598 will benefit a little from an amp (but not nearly as much as 701s) but a fiio e17 would do good for the 598, it's a amp and dac so you get a higher quality source as well plus it can be used on the go.
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