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Open Back - Alternatives to grado SR80i?

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 

I need open backed headphone so I can hear doorbell and phone. I need them for watching TV, movies, music (80's pop), listening will only be indoors in a room on my own so leakage is not a problem but I may be using them for extended listening periods of up to 8hrs.

The Grado SR80is are in my budget but I am concerned that they may not be comfortable even after my head/ears get used to the fit.

 

So has anyone got any alternative suggestions for good sound quality, comfortable and open backed headphones in the same sort of price range as the SR80's (I am in UK so that's about £100 ish/ $160 ish).

 

Thanks for any help.

post #2 of 13

How about Sennheiser HD558's. There's a popular 5 minute mode for this that increases the soundstage, which is pretty good as is. These are easy to drive, comfortable and sound very good.

post #3 of 13

Based on U.S. pricing, the Audio-Technica ATH-AD700X is a good option.

post #4 of 13
Thread Starter 

Cheers for the 2 suggestions. For the record the Grado SR80i = £100, Sennheiser HD558 = £120,  Audio-Technica ATH-AD700X = £120.

 

HD558's are looking good, they get great reviews for comfort as well as sound quality. I may have found a local shop that has the Grado and Senns, so I might try and have a test tomorrow.

post #5 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by ched999uk View Post
 

Cheers for the 2 suggestions. For the record the Grado SR80i = £100, Sennheiser HD558 = £120,  Audio-Technica ATH-AD700X = £120.

 

HD558's are looking good, they get great reviews for comfort as well as sound quality. I may have found a local shop that has the Grado and Senns, so I might try and have a test tomorrow.

Right now I'm listening to my HD600's. My HD558's are coming to the office with me tomorrow. The 558's sound surprisingly similar to the 600's. The 600's really need an amp and the 558's can do without one.

post #6 of 13

Yes I agree with the opinions on the HD558, I had a chance to listen to them last week and was pleasantly surprised. They are very comfortable too.

post #7 of 13
Thread Starter 

Went to listen to the Grado SR80i and the Sennheiser HD 558 to a hifi shop. Only problem was that the Sennheiser HD 558 were brand new, straight out of the box and the SR80i were burnt in.

To my ears the SR80i sounded 'better' in the high and mid range and fairly similar in bass to the HD558.

It was interesting to note that the build quality was not great on the SR80i. I have read this here and elsewhere but didn't really get what people meant. I now do. The SR80i did not seem to be well finished. For example the semi circular band between the metal rod and the cup actually had sharp edges on it like a burr. The demo SR80i had their cables twisted and I attempted to sort it out and I was able to untangle after a while. The 3.5mm plug surround was too fat for my phone in it's case, no big deal as the HD558 needed a huge adapter to fit my phone!

The HD558's were a pleasure to put on, they were soft and comfy, not that the SR80i were uncomfortable just the HD558 were gently cradling my ears!

They also let me try SR125i as they were the same price as the HD558 in this shop. Must say they were beyond my ears, in that I couldn't really tell the difference between the SR80i and the SR125i!!!!

 

So thanks very much for suggesting the HD558 and although the sound wasn't quite up to the SR80i's, weighing up the pros and cons I think I am leaning towards the HD558's. The only problem I have is if I buy the HD558, when I listen to them, is the thought that I might be constantly thinking what am I missing in not buying the SR80i !!!!!

 

This is a difficult decision. Do the HD558's improve with burn in? 


Edited by ched999uk - 11/19/13 at 10:38am
post #8 of 13

Don't think neither need burn in. Pads may deform over time and that would have an effect on their performance... Sometimes for better, sometimes for worse.

 

The SR80's might have more sparkle than the HD558s. I like the HD558 more, but both are great cans IMO.

post #9 of 13

Assuming that the 558 was properly powered and seasoned, you should have heard that the Grado is very forward and has a smaller sound stage--like you were sitting with the band.  The Senn should be more laid back and have a larger sound stage.  The Senn should given you a bit more bass and less strident treble.  Both cans are about their mids, but those are presented in the context of quite different sound signatures--both very good but also very different.

post #10 of 13
Thread Starter 

SR80i: Sparkly, forward, smaller sound stage - After my demo I think I now understand what that means. Thanks.

HD558: laid back, bigger sound stage - great description. They are not so in your face as the SR80i.

 

KG Jag: Thanks very much for putting that into words.

post #11 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by ched999uk View Post
 

Went to listen to the Grado SR80i and the Sennheiser HD 558 to a hifi shop.

Such a good decision! Way too many people come here asking for advice but never actually listen to the products they end up buying while personal preference is so important here.

 

Also, I completely agree with you on the build quality of Grado, they are quite flimsy actually. They are not very confortable compared to the sennhiesers. Nontheless, they do sound good. Very different than the HD558 as I am sure you noticed.

post #12 of 13
Thread Starter 

HD558s ordered. :-) Just have to wait till Christmas now :-(

Thanks very much for suggestions.

post #13 of 13
The sr80i isn't really flimsy, it just looks flimsy. Tons of people who bought the sr80/I a while ago still have them...in one piece.

I think going with the 558 was the smarter decision since it's much more comfortable.
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