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Please give me some advice on choosing between some ~600 USD alternatives I researched about

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 

Hello -

 

Thank you for opening the thread and looking and my request.

 

So far I have been using earbuds from Logitech Ultimate Ear and Thinksound and a wireless headphone from Creative, the sound blaster omega 3d. Now I decided to buy a new headphone and possibly a portable small amp. I searched for some long hours and narrowed down my options to the following:

 

Amp: 

I couldn't find another amp which is small enough to carry around and use with Android phones and tablets so I decided that this might be the best option for me. Of course any other suggestion in the same price range (less than 150$) is very welcome.

  • FiiO E12 Mont Blanc Portable Headphone Amplifier, The reason I chose it was good review here on head-fi and also on amazon. I will be using it with my headphone when I listen to music on my phone or tablet.
  • I am also looking for a desktop amp which possibly power my small speakers as well as the headphone, if such an amp exists. I want to save for it till maybe sometime next year. I saw several type of amps and some are using the vacuum tube lamps and some are not, but I didnt understand the difference between these two. I am planning for something around 2000$ for this. However, if you have suggestion that I should spend less on the amp and more on the headphone I'll appreciate the input.
  • It seems that it might be hard to have a headphone amp that can power the speakers as well, so I will not be looking for an amp for around 2000$ to power both speakers and headphone, but rather for something cheaper, or at that same price of 2000, just to power the headphone.

 

Headphones:

Just to give an overview of what I want to do with the headphone; 

  • I mostly listen to classical and melodies and movies sound tracks, from time to time I may listen to Bluz, Pop, Rock and NewAge but most of the time it will be classical.
  • I want to be able to listen to music on my MacBook pro, on my Android phone and also on my Android tablet. 
  • The headphone should be comfortable for long listening sessions and that basically means it should be relatively light and not a 1 pound heavy craft that hurt my head and neck.
  • I have some experience with on-ear headphones and they sorta hurts my ears; although that might have been result of using cheap headphone but I am skeptical about them.
  • The headphone should not bother someone sitting next to me in the plane or train by what I am listening to, so it should be closed and not open. Will use a separate headphone as on the go headphone. Taking a 600$ headphone out does not seem that much of a good decision. So no need for closed requirement anymore.
  • Answering phone calls (on the phone) and talking on Skype (on MacBook pro) is an advantage (which I believe can be provided using an alternative cord, if an alternative cord is available).  It seems that higher end headphones are not meant to be used to answer phone calls. I removed this requirement to wider my options to probably get a better headphone.

 

Now, the alternatives I found so far are as follow (no order)

  • Sennheiser Momentum Headphone
  • V-MODA Crossfade M-100
  • Bowers & Wilkin​s P7 
  • Bowers & Wilkin​s P5 
  • AKG K702 
  • Sennheiser HD 650 (I believe that this headphone may bother and annoy other people around me as they can head what I am listening to so I am reluctant about it unless people with more knowledge and experience say I am wrong about it)

 

If you see that I placed a headphone in the alternatives list which is not suitable for my music taste please let me know so I remove it from my list and 

I am sure there are other alternatives with similar features and price range which may fit better for my requirement, so if you know some other headphone that fits the description please let me know.

 

 

PS: I posted this in the wrong forum and I have reposted it here. Hopefully no forum rule is broken. I couldn't delete the original one though.

 

Note 1: Based on the feedback I got I lined out some of the requirements and refined my request for information.

Thank you.


Edited by sarahkho - 12/23/13 at 11:23am
post #2 of 17

what is the budget for headphone?

have you looked at K550, DT 770 250 Ohm, mad dog and momentum over ear?

 

For desktop amp, what would be the music source (computer or something else)?

post #3 of 17
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by rubinstein View Post
 

what is the budget for headphone?

have you looked at K550, DT 770 250 Ohm, mad dog and momentum over ear?

 

For desktop amp, what would be the music source (computer or something else)?

 

The budget for headphone is a maximum of 600. Although if something for 400 give me almost the same quality I will get the cheaper one. The 550 seems a valid choice.

 

My music source is my MacBook pro, 2012 for desktop. I believe macbook pros come with some optical sound output but I am not sure if that has any effect on my choice of amp.

 

Thanks.

post #4 of 17

you could get closed headphone on the go purpose for about 150 to 200 U$.

Then you can spend rest of money to buy an open headphone for home use (something like HE 400). However, if you want to spend all the budget of 600 US$ for closed phone, look at alpha dogs. I would not prefer to carry 600 US$ can on the go!

 

E12 is a good choice for portability.

regarding desktop amp, I think it is better to use a dedicated dac/amp set up and bypass the onboard soundcard of macbook. You could look at Audio GD 15.32 dac/amp. It has a good reputation in head fi.

post #5 of 17
If you are willing to always use a portable amp with your phone, it would be hard to beat one of the t50rp mods for closed headphones. Mad dogs or alpha dogs from mr. Speakers, or the ZMF.

There a few headphone amps that also serve as speaker amps, but another option is to just get a speaker amp and power your headphones with it. This would only be a good option for a planar headphone like the ones I just mentioned above. I currently use a speaker amp for headphones, and I can tell you more about it if you are interested.

On the other hand, exceptionally powerful headphone amps, like many of the audio gd models, can be used to power speakers too. From the headphone jack.

The only headphones that have the option of a microphone in the cord for calls are going to be portable headphones that don't really need an amp in the first place and pale in comparison to the better headphones out there.
post #6 of 17

Alpha Dog w/ single end cable, done.

post #7 of 17
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by DrSheep View Post
 

Alpha Dog w/ single end cable, done.

There seems to be a great consensus that an Alpha Dog headphone (closed) is the awesome choice for my price range.

Quote:
Originally Posted by manbear View Post

If you are willing to always use a portable amp with your phone, it would be hard to beat one of the t50rp mods for closed headphones. Mad dogs or alpha dogs from mr. Speakers, or the ZMF.

There a few headphone amps that also serve as speaker amps, but another option is to just get a speaker amp and power your headphones with it. This would only be a good option for a planar headphone like the ones I just mentioned above. I currently use a speaker amp for headphones, and I can tell you more about it if you are interested.

On the other hand, exceptionally powerful headphone amps, like many of the audio gd models, can be used to power speakers too. From the headphone jack.

The only headphones that have the option of a microphone in the cord for calls are going to be portable headphones that don't really need an amp in the first place and pale in comparison to the better headphones out there.

I can ignore the whole fact of having microphone on the cord so I can remove that from my list of options. About using the same amp for speakers and headphone I am still researching to see how different will it be to listen to music using normal desktop size speakers compared to a 500$ headphones. If a pair of good speaker is going to cost more than 100-150 I should completely forget about it for the time being till sometime next year.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by rubinstein View Post
 

you could get closed headphone on the go purpose for about 150 to 200 U$.

Then you can spend rest of money to buy an open headphone for home use (something like HE 400). However, if you want to spend all the budget of 600 US$ for closed phone, look at alpha dogs. I would not prefer to carry 600 US$ can on the go!

 

E12 is a good choice for portability.

regarding desktop amp, I think it is better to use a dedicated dac/amp set up and bypass the onboard soundcard of macbook. You could look at Audio GD 15.32 dac/amp. It has a good reputation in head fi.

 

 

Thank you for the feedback. I didnt take into account the risk of taking out a 600 $ headphone everywhere I go. If I put aside the requirement for the headphone being closed, what are the good options for open headphones at 500-600 range? I guess one might be Sennheiser HD650, however I am not sure how suitable the HD650 can be for music genre I want it for (classical, soundtracks, and occasionally Bluz, Pop, Rock and NewAge)

post #8 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by sarahkho View Post


 If I put aside the requirement for the headphone being closed, what are the good options for open headphones at 500-600 range? I guess one might be Sennheiser HD650, however I am not sure how suitable the HD650 can be for music genre I want it for (classical, soundtracks, and occasionally Bluz, Pop, Rock and NewAge)


HE-500 (needs a powerful amp -- the plus side is that a speaker amp would be great, the negative side that most portable amps wouldn't work)

AKG Q701/ K712

Beyerdynamic DT-880

Sennheiser HD700

post #9 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by sarahkho View Post
Thank you for the feedback. I didnt take into account the risk of taking out a 600 $ headphone everywhere I go. If I put aside the requirement for the headphone being closed, what are the good options for open headphones at 500-600 range? I guess one might be Sennheiser HD650, however I am not sure how suitable the HD650 can be for music genre I want it for (classical, soundtracks, and occasionally Bluz, Pop, Rock and NewAge)

 

 

HE 500 (new one is 699$ more), but you can find used ones for 500 $ in sale/trade section of this forum. If you have an extra budget of 300 US$, you can buy Audio GD 15.32 with tcxo upgrade.

Also look DT 990

post #10 of 17

For classical, K70x, HD600, DT880. In order of versatility with other genres, HD600, DT880, K70x.

 

The planars don't shine with classical, though some like Audeze for orchestral.

post #11 of 17
post #12 of 17

 

Yeah, I've been subscribed to that too. I've heard HE400, HE500, and HE6, and they don't shine with classical compared to HD600, &c.

 

I think that some listeners are simply taken with Hifiman for everything, but nothing is best at everything. (The best you can get in that regard is something that's not bad at anything or an all-rounder, but OP wanted primarily classical.)

post #13 of 17
post #14 of 17

 

That's a useful resource, though I don't especially rely on him about classical (despite his name) because he listens to too much other stuff. He's still more impressed with the very good mid-priced dynamics for classical than the planars.

post #15 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Claritas View Post
 

 

That's a useful resource, though I don't especially rely on him about classical (despite his name) because he listens to too much other stuff. He's still more impressed with the very good mid-priced dynamics for classical than the planars.


For me, head fi is the resource. I do not have an opportunity to audition the headphones neither attend head fi meets. I am trying to learn on a daily basis.

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