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New Portable Headphones for a Beginner?

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 

For a while I've been the only one in a decent sized family that does not use standard iPod ear buds for listening to music. Finally, my younger sister has asked me to buy a pair of headphones for her--an important first step away from cultural inertia. 

 

Up to this point, I have really only had experience with Grados. I have SR-125's, SR-325i's and recently now RS-2's (I'm thinking I need to branch out a bit). I like the Grado sound a lot with the clarity in the mids and highs, a strong bass being less important. Like me, my sister doesn't listen to a lot of hiphop, rap, house music, etc... so I think the range would be a good match.

 

The thing is she wants these to be portable, so I don't want to get her something open-backed. They'll probably spend a lot of time plugged into an iPod. I was wondering if anyone had any recommendations for something that isn't too far away from the Grado sound in a closed-backed design. I was hoping to get something in the $100 - 150 range. 

 

Any suggestions would be awesome. Thanks! 


Edited by tjcaine - 12/14/13 at 1:35pm
post #2 of 5

It's common question. I've thought about it too. I started a thread about it that might give you some ideas: http://www.head-fi.org/t/689357/closed-grados-a-compilation-of-30-threads-poll.

 

Recently, wje suggested AKG K267 Tiesto, but it's $250. AKG makes a K167 Tiesto for $120, but I don't know how it sounds. Tyll, in his review of K267, didn't think much of the cheapest Tiesto, K67. (http://www.innerfidelity.com/content/akg-k267-tiesto-headphone-bass-adjustment-control)

post #3 of 5
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the reply, Claritas, and for the thread. Great discussion topic. 

 

It looks like no one has responded to your AKG K271 MkII suggestion based off of the FR graphs... and it seems like there may be some out there in my price range. The K167 Tiesto could also be an option. Either way, a present for my sister could be a good excuse to fund a comparison project. The burn in time between Christmas and New Years may be enough for a complete test. 

 

I'll keep watching the other thread as well. 

post #4 of 5
Quote:
Originally Posted by tjcaine View Post
 

Thanks for the reply, Claritas, and for the thread. Great discussion topic. 

 

It looks like no one has responded to your AKG K271 MkII suggestion based off of the FR graphs... and it seems like there may be some out there in my price range. The K167 Tiesto could also be an option. Either way, a present for my sister could be a good excuse to fund a comparison project. The burn in time between Christmas and New Years may be enough for a complete test. 

 

I'll keep watching the other thread as well. 

 

You're most welcome. It sounds like a fun project. I am guessing the K271 is the closest among fully closed, but it's worth mentioning that some experienced members don't trust charts. Regardless, I'm pretty sure K271 is a good model in its own right based on some reviewers I trust. I shouldn't be surprised if it's more integrated than K70x. I'll probably pick up a used one, especially as I want to know how Grado-like it actually is. Whatever you buy, please tell us what you think.

post #5 of 5
Thread Starter 

So just to update here... In the end, I didn't end up getting the K271's for my sister, mostly because when I actually saw their size in person, they were pushing the limits of what a 21-year old female would consider portable. So I ended up getting her a pair of Shure SRH440's instead, which she was very happy with and I actually liked the sound of. 

 

That being said, it seemed like a great opportunity to buy a pair of K271's for myself instead. I brought them into the office because I think people sitting next to me have gotten tired of hearing my music from Grados by now. These were some of my quick thoughts:

 

* To be fair, a couple of things to note. The first is that the new headphones probably only have 20-30 hours of burn in so far, whereas the Grados at the office have hundreds of hours. Also, important to note that I've been using SR-325i's at work (I keep the RS-2's at home). I know that many people, even Grado lovers, find the 325's as too tinny, too sharp--clarity without the warmth. Comparing them with my SR-125's at home may be a closer match. 

 

Setup @ work: Desktop -> iTunes -> Apple Lossless Music Files -> Creative Audigy Platinum Box 1/4" -> AKG K271 MK II

 

There have been a number of K271 appreciation threads on here, so just to focus on their similarities to Grados, I was pretty surprised (in a good way) at the comparison. Clearly the focus on the range is fairly close. I feel like these focus a bit more on the mids and a little less on the highs then the Grados I own, lacking the same degree of balance, but the clarity is definitely there. It is still a bright sound. Bass strikes me as extremely similar (very subdued). 

 

There is a muffled quality to the close-backed headphones that I'm still getting used to--maybe the burn in will help over time. They did well with 38 Special, the Eagles, Alabama or Kansas. Did okay with Goldfinger, Van Halen or Led Zeppelin. I think they underperformed the Grados in the classical arena. They struggled a bit with harder rock like Metallica or Ozzy, sounding a bit more muddled in the low end. 

 

Overall I'm happy for with them for an at-work option where open-backed headphones can cause some intra-office friction. I'm thinking of upgrading the cable to a Headphile cable instead. It seemed like some reviews were saying it was a nice improvement. 


Edited by tjcaine - 1/3/14 at 1:59pm
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