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looking for new cans...need inputs.

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 
Hi everyone. First thank you for reading this. I am not entirely new to hifi audio but I am new to this forum. Currently I have a two channel setup in my mancave but I need a solution for late night listening session. I currently own two headsets...bw p5 for mobile devices and logitech g35 for gaming session. They are good enough for what I use them for.

I am currently looking at three headphones but dont have anywhere to demo them. I currently own an B&W p5 for my portable devices which works for that purpose. I am looking for a "man cave" cans that can provide quality audio for music listening and I am mainly looking at open design although a closed design is not out.Three cans I am interested in (all around same price range):
AKG 712Beyerdynamics
DT990Sennheiser
HD600/650
Other suggestions welcomed.

Mainly I am looking for a warm and flat response kind of experience. Accurate reproduction with good imaging and soundstage. I dont like harsh and analytical for music. Just for reference sake my two channel setup right now is Kef speakers with a two channel marantz integrated amp. I also have a Project TT for my vinyls and Dacmagic for my FLAC/Wav collection. My compreesed audio mp3/acc is for my smartphone+bw p5.My question for you guys is which one of these cans will provide an accurate reproduction and warm sound.I dont care if its open design because I will be using it in my mancave for late night listening with hifi source. I just want to know which cans will be better suited for my listening preference.Btw I listening to all kinds of music but most of the time I like jazz classic and acoustic types for relaxation especially at home. Thank you guys in advance.

Also I am typing this from my phone so I apologize in advance.
Edited by nos024 - 12/9/13 at 10:15am
post #2 of 21

Which model Marantz amplifier do you have?

 

I own and like the DT990 Premium 600-Ohm, great for action movies and works for everything else.

But the mids are a little overshadowed by the bass/treble, so you might consider getting the K712 Pro, I own the AKG K242HD and AKG  K550 and they have great mids.

Not sure how the Senn HD600/650 compares to the K712 Pros.

post #3 of 21
Thread Starter 
PurpleAngel thanks for the suggestions. I have a Marantz Pm8004. Before purchasing that amp I auditioned the rotel and NAD amp. Rotel was good but the sound was too clinical and harsh for the KEFs q300. I didnt like the NAD. Marantz is warm and airy. Based on your experience the Beyerdynamics may not be for me. Ive heard good things about the k712 pro and hd600 but some folks are saying the hd600 may be bright and clinical.
post #4 of 21

JVC HA-S680 are very comfortable and will fit your requirements:

http://www.head-fi.org/t/690493/the-jvc-ha-s680-s400s-and-s500s-big-brother-is-here

 

They are closed, but provide a soundstage more typical for a semi-open, thanks to the "Dynamic ports".

 

They can be had for 65$-75$ directly from Kakaku:

http://kakaku.com/item/J0000010505/

post #5 of 21
Thread Starter 

Pulled the trigger on a K712 Pro and Asus Xonar Essence STX.  Should arrive by tomorrow for me to play with over the weekend.  Can't wait!

post #6 of 21
Thread Starter 
Received both products and have 4 hours on them. Installation of the STX was somewhat a breeze. First attempted failed and turns out I had to really chug that molex into the port or it wont go in all the way and the installaioin will hang. I ran some of high res music...Shelby Lynne Just a Little Loving album...John Mayer Live...Kim kwang Soeok...Norah Jones...Tracy Chapman. This headphone really shines on female vocals...I think that is its greatest strength. Male vocals sounds fine.

The bass...I think it sounds like a good set of monitor speaker positioned correctly with extensions down to the 35Hz range. It wont give you the bass impact like a well setup subwoofer that extends to 15Hz..but that is usually for movies.

Overall the cans is sounding a bit clinical And one the bright side..but not fatiguing. I havent gone through much bass heavy music yet. I will throw in some fast paced bass from one republic's Apologize Later when I get home.
post #7 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by nos024 View Post

Received both products and have 4 hours on them. Installation of the STX was somewhat a breeze. First attempted failed and turns out I had to really chug that molex into the port or it wont go in all the way and the installaioin will hang. I ran some of high res music...Shelby Lynne Just a Little Loving album...John Mayer Live...Kim kwang Soeok...Norah Jones...Tracy Chapman. This headphone really shines on female vocals...I think that is its greatest strength. Male vocals sounds fine.

The bass...I think it sounds like a good set of monitor speaker positioned correctly with extensions down to the 35Hz range. It wont give you the bass impact like a well setup sub-woofer that extends to 15Hz..but that is usually for movies.

Overall the cans is sounding a bit clinical And one the bright side..but not fatiguing. I haven't gone through much bass heavy music yet. I will throw in some fast paced bass from one republic's Apologize Later when I get home.

Did you disable the motherboard's on-board audio? in the BIOS

Try using Foobar2000 for play music audio files.

post #8 of 21
Thread Starter 
Yeah its disabled. I am using foobar2000 with asio 2.0 plugin.
post #9 of 21
Thread Starter 
I compared the stx with my Dacmagic and so far I prefer the dacmagic...but this is just an initial assessment and the k712 and stx has not been propery burned in. In addition, the dac magic is also costs 4x more than the stx.

Changing the output to asio in foobar dramatically changes the sound quality...seems to open the music up and I start to notice bad recordings compared to good recordings.
post #10 of 21
Thread Starter 

Ok guys, now that I have had a chance to break-in (about 70+ hours) I will start my review procress this weekend.  I will use the cans with a number of DAC and amps.

 

My equipments:

 

Stock cable (orange cable).

 

DAC/Amp sources:

 

Asus Xonar Essence STX

DACMagic Plus headphone out

DACMagic Plus analog out to Marantz PM8004.

 

Music files:  FLAC, Wav, and 256ACC/mp3 files.  I have a few 192/24 bit files, but most are 44.1/16 bit.

Vinyls:  Played from Pro-ject MM cartridge, and fed to Marantz PM8004

 

Shelby Lynne - Just a Little Loving album 192/24bit

John Mayer - Try! Live in Concert 44.1/16bit

John Mayer - Where the light is 44.1/16bit

Tracy Chapman - New Beginning 44.1/16bit

Kill Bill 1 OST - 44.1/16bit

2 Pac - Greatest Hits 44.1/16bit

Akon - Konvicted 44.1/16bit

Red Hot Chili Peppers - Stadium Arcadium (Vinyl 180gram)

Norah Jones - Come Away With Me (Vinyl 180gram)

Adele - 21 (Vinyl 180gram)

Pearl Jam - VS (Vinyl 180gram)

Black Keys - Magic Potion (Vinyl 180gram)

Jimi Hendrix -  Axis Bold as Love (Vinyl 180 gram)

 

 

Games:  Play throught my computer, i5 4670K CPU, 770GTX GPU

 

Borderlands 2

Tomb Raider

Crysis 3

Assassin's Creed 4 Black Flag

SplinterCell Blacklist.

 

Movies:

 

Man of Steel (action scenes),

White House Down (action scenes),

Monster University (just for the heck of it),

Inception (for all the dialogue, I always have a difficult time with all the talking in this movie)

Dragon (martial art movie for action scenes)

 

My initial impression:  I bought these over the HD650 and DT990.  It is a somewhat bright and analytical sounding headphone.  I feel it's strenght is in vocals (espeicall female), piano, acoustic and wind instruments.  If these K712Pro have a +3dB bass boost over the K702/701, I can't imagine how thin the the bass will be like for those (I have not heard those).  Overall, it is a very good headphone if you want clear vocals.  The soundstage seems wide, but it feels too wide that I struggle to really find that "center" image.  Bass perfomance will not satisfy any bass head or genres that emphasizes bass.  I am thinking of returning them and trying out a HD650 or HE500/400.

 

I do like to use these cans when gaming.  I especially like the little things it reveals and brings a whole new level of immersion - especially in Tomb Raider.  I have not tried it with movies yet.  I'll update after the weekend.

 

Cheers! and thanks for reading.

post #11 of 21
Thread Starter 
Initial impression on the Xonar STX...

I would say that it lives up to its hype. The headphone amp works pretty well and the audio performance is pretty good. I dont have machines to make objective measurements but my subjective assessment says it has very high audio fidelity for music and the dobly surround works for surround sound gaming. I would give the product an 8.5/10 rating wise. Half a point off for no digital in and 1 point off for crappy installation and the software could be a bit better. I have yet t I try the stereo out for my speakers.

Overal I I am satisfied since it was only $160usd. All this for only that?
post #12 of 21
Thread Starter 

well, got a new toy to play with...Hifiman HE-4.  I just couldn't get myself to pull the trigger on the HE-500. And the burn-in begins. should be ready by the weekend for an extensive listening session.

 

I like the AKG K712 Pro, but some genre it just don't cut it, such as RnB, techno, and some soul music.  I am hoping the HE-4 will fill in some gaps.  I may end up keeping both, or sending them both in for an HE-500.

post #13 of 21
Thread Starter 

Initial impression on Hifiman HE-4:

 

This thing definitely needs a somewhat powerful amp.  The Asus Xonar Essence STX can somewhat power it at extra high gain setting.  Volume needs to be at around 75% to be comparable to the the AKG K712 Pro at 45%.  The bass is meatier and seems to be more "timbre" in the voices.  I have about 30hrs on it so far, but the manual suggest a 100+ hour burn in.  It is actually quite a comfortable headphone, it is a bit heavier than the AKG.  Personally I think the AKG is thin and airy, while this headphone is somewhat darker and mellow but I havent fully burn in the Hifiman.  I do have an EMotiva a 100x that is currently setup with my monitor speakers.  I am going to try to make a mod for it and try it once it is properly burned in.

 

So far they are completely different headphones.  

post #14 of 21

Definitely use the Emotiva. The Asus is way, way underpowered for the HE-4. Do you know you're going to make a speaker taps adapter yet? If you don't know how to solder, you can easily build one with some wire and a Switchcraft model 1230 female TRS jack. It has screw terminals, so you just wrap the wires around the little screws and tighten. 

post #15 of 21
Be careful when using adapters. If the amp shares a common ground then you will be fine but if the amp does not you will need a true balanced cable to run it off of speaker taps. I took the trrs balanced cable cut off the end and terminated it in speaker plugs and works great. Not the best looking but works. I'll probably commission someone for a cable in the future.

Glad to hear you got the HE-4 and welcome to the club. You should join in on the appreciation thread. The he-4 is truly an underrated headphone, once you power it properly wow.

Once you go to the thread you will realize that a lot of the HE-4 owners are running vintage amps to power them. Its a great cost effective way to power them but can also get expensive moving up to totl vintage pioneer. Most vintages run the same amount section as a the speaker amp but with a resistor inline so no need for speaker taps. My vintage pioneer sx-680 headphone out was good but still underpowered so I ended up speaker tapping it lol. 30watt now and its amazing. As a reference i also own the schiit lyr with 1972 telsa gold pin tubes and it is still not eniugh to amp them properly. I believe MattTCG suggests the sx-850 and above for the he-4 for headphone out usage.

There are also a growing number of mods and tweaks for them.

Grill mod opens up the airiness and soundstage (even though the HE-4 airiness is already amazing).

Jerg has come up with jergpads but there isn't a whole lot of impressions with them specifically with the he-4 and some not so great ones with those but are supposedly a must for the he-500. I have purchased a pair and waiting delivery and will be posting impressions when I get them. I use alpha pads from Mr speakers but once again people find the sound a bit distant which I do agree but to me its minimal and the comfort improvement is worth it IMO.

Then jerg also came up with the fuzzor mod which comes from audeze fazor technology which applies felt on the driver to increase clarity. I haven't tried it yet but plan to in the future.

Munkynutz makes wood cups but this is an aesthetic only mod but gorgeous. (Check my profile for pics, might only be one but I have posted others)

Sorry I'd post links but I'm on my phone.

Needless to say I'm a huge fan of the HE-4 and if you have any questions feel free to pm me or post on the appreciation thread, tons of helpful people.

Good luck,
ab111
Edited by ab111 - 12/27/13 at 9:51am
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