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Closed Headphones for classical music

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 

Hi everyone! I'm an avid classical music fan but I do listen to a whole variety of music too, namely Jazz, Vocals and Pop. Rarely do I listen to Club or Techno. Currently i'm using the Bose OE which has served me well for many years but I'm looking to upgrade to a better headphones. Any recommendations for a headphones with a great sound stage, good balance of trebles, mids and basses. I've read that the Denon AH-D600 and the Sennheiser Momentum seem to fulfil this criteria but I'm wondering if there are any headphones under $500 out there which any of discerning listeners out would recommend?? I love the Grado headphones ( hence the pic as my avatar ) but they are open back and I'm a frequent commuter so I need something with great isolation, should be easy to drive and is also portable. Thanks in advance! 

post #2 of 10

Closed headphones don't have great soundstage, but some are better than others.

 

Some of the more popular closed models for classical are: Momentum, SRH840, DT660, KNS8400, and K550.

 

Momentum accomplishes a lot. Sennheiser keeps proving how good its engineers are. It sounds like a mini-HD650, so expect a darker sound. Note that the earcups are small.

 

SRH840 is a great all-rounder. Warm and reasonable detailed. Soundstage is decent, though it sounds like a closed model. It doesn't do any subgenre poorly. Note that the headband needs to be taken apart and modded for comfort.

 

DT660 is comfortable and plays string works, including orchestral, quite well. Expect a brighter sound. Piano is slow and organ unbearably bright. Isolation is below average.

 

KNS8400 is the most open sounding of all, and its soundstage is somewhere in the middle of these. It's the most resolving of all, if a little bright. Comfort is above average. Note that the stock cable is very bad. It bears even small vibrations into the left cup, and you'll have to replace it.

 

I haven't yet heard K550, but reviews have made it out to be AKGs attempt at a closed K70x. Note that the headband and earcups are quite large.

 

Most comfortable: KNS8400, followed by DT660

Best isolation: KNS8400, followed by SRH840

For orchestral: Momentum and DT660 (tie, depends on whether you want a darker or brighter sound)

For piano: SRH840

For strings: DT660

For monitoring: KNS8400

My favorite so far: SRH840 because it's reliable; it works well with everything

post #3 of 10
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the reply! I really wish I could try out the SRH840 and KNS8400...it sounds like a great classical music pair of headphones.  Now all I need to do is to find a place which sells them so that I can try them out. :) Will the monitoring headphones make listening tiring after a while due to the clarity of it?

post #4 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by MusicalDoc View Post
 

Thanks for the reply! I really wish I could try out the SRH840 and KNS8400...it sounds like a great classical music pair of headphones.  Now all I need to do is to find a place which sells them so that I can try them out. :) Will the monitoring headphones make listening tiring after a while due to the clarity of it?

 

I didn't find KNS8400 fatiguing, but I didn't especially enjoy listening to it. If I needed something for audio work, I would buy it again. But not for pleasure. Resolution isn't everything.

 

As you can tell, I'm impressed with all of them, each for what it does. But don't expect them to be as good as the very good open models. KNS8400 comes closest, but open models sound more open and have better soundstage.

 

I think Guitar Center has both. Bear in mind that each needs some modding: SRH840 needs a new headband and KNS8400 needs a new cable.

post #5 of 10
Thread Starter 

Wow, thanks again for the speedy reply!! 

post #6 of 10

the akg k550 has amazing sound stage for a pair of closed headphones (the best i've heard for closed). i thought it has very well-balanced with amazing treble.

 

some ppl you get em say the bass is too light, but I thought it was very well-balanced if you aren't listening to electronic/dupsteppy-music. great texture & detail on the bass. goes really low as well, great bass extension. highly detailed & great clarity.

 

note these are not the most portable pair of headphones. I personally would not use em on the go as they are quite large & do not fold. the akg k545 is the new portable version of the k550.

 

haven't heard the ah6000, but from reviews they seem more bassy, so not sure if that's what you are looking for.

 

momentums over-ears are an excellent portable, closed choice. can't really go wrong w/ em. just note the the real life fit is more on-ear as the earcup dimensions are quite small.

post #7 of 10
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by money4me247 View Post
 

the akg k550 has amazing sound stage for a pair of closed headphones (the best i've heard for closed). i thought it has very well-balanced with amazing treble.

 

some ppl you get em say the bass is too light, but I thought it was very well-balanced if you aren't listening to electronic/dupsteppy-music. great texture & detail on the bass. goes really low as well, great bass extension. highly detailed & great clarity.

 

note these are not the most portable pair of headphones. I personally would not use em on the go as they are quite large & do not fold. the akg k545 is the new portable version of the k550.

 

haven't heard the ah6000, but from reviews they seem more bassy, so not sure if that's what you are looking for.

 

momentums over-ears are an excellent portable, closed choice. can't really go wrong w/ em. just note the the real life fit is more on-ear as the earcup dimensions are quite small.

 

Would it be right to say portability-wise it would be as portable as the Momentum? i.e. big and bulky. Well, I guess that's something i'll have to seriously consider. Looking at the impedance, I'm just wondering if it's easy to drive the K550. And regarding the ear cups, since the momentum's are kinda small, would be advisable to the newer on-ear momentum? 

post #8 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by MusicalDoc View Post
 

Would it be right to say portability-wise it would be as portable as the Momentum? i.e. big and bulky. Well, I guess that's something i'll have to seriously consider. Looking at the impedance, I'm just wondering if it's easy to drive the K550. And regarding the ear cups, since the momentum's are kinda small, would be advisable to the newer on-ear momentum? 

no. The momentums on-ears are designed to be used as a portable pair of headphones, while the akg k550 is designed more for home-use. the akg k550 has a non-removable 3m cable & the earcups are seriously large. makes for amazing sound stage, but definitely not something you can use on-the-go. the akg k551 or k545 would be the portable option with removable cables.

 

all those headphones: the k550/k551/k545 and momentums can be easily driven out of a 3.5mm jack. no amp required. headphones w/ an impedance of 16-32ohms are considered low impedance, and mostly are fine without an amp. there are some exceptions to the rule, but that really only comes into play for the luxury high-end market.

 

you have it opposite. the momentum over-ear are the ones with better sound quality. the OVER-ears actually end up fitting more like on-ears for most people due to the small ear cups. however, the on-ears are actually on-ears with even smaller earcups. the on-ears version is even smaller than the over-ears version.

post #9 of 10
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by money4me247 View Post
 

no. The momentums on-ears are designed to be used as a portable pair of headphones, while the akg k550 is designed more for home-use. the akg k550 has a non-removable 3m cable & the earcups are seriously large. makes for amazing sound stage, but definitely not something you can use on-the-go. the akg k551 or k545 would be the portable option with removable cables.

 

all those headphones: the k550/k551/k545 and momentums can be easily driven out of a 3.5mm jack. no amp required. headphones w/ an impedance of 16-32ohms are considered low impedance, and mostly are fine without an amp. there are some exceptions to the rule, but that really only comes into play for the luxury high-end market.

 

you have it opposite. the momentum over-ear are the ones with better sound quality. the OVER-ears actually end up fitting more like on-ears for most people due to the small ear cups. however, the on-ears are actually on-ears with even smaller earcups. the on-ears version is even smaller than the over-ears version.

Hahaha...liked your last paragraph. I imagine the on-ear version to be akin in-ear earphones. :)  And please forgive the few of my missing words here and there...but I guess you get the overall pic. :) I haven't had the chance to try the K-550 but would the weight ( compared to the momentum, which is almost double ) be uncomfortable after a while? And you mentioned about the bass...would it do songs like Pitbull's and other dance music justice? or do i have to tweak the eq to get the right mix?

post #10 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by MusicalDoc View Post
 

Hahaha...liked your last paragraph. I imagine the on-ear version to be akin in-ear earphones. :)  And please forgive the few of my missing words here and there...but I guess you get the overall pic. :) I haven't had the chance to try the K-550 but would the weight ( compared to the momentum, which is almost double ) be uncomfortable after a while? And you mentioned about the bass...would it do songs like Pitbull's and other dance music justice? or do i have to tweak the eq to get the right mix?

i wouldn't recommend the k550s for you as they are non-portable. i think the better choice would be the portable k545 (which have more bass than the k550s). the weight wasn't an issue for me for the k550s. 

 

keep in mind that the momentums on-ears are unusually light for a pair of headphones. in fact, the momentums may be the lightest pair of closed over-ears I've ever tried. it's build quality is excellent, stainless steel & real leather. if you only using it as a portable, you shouldn't really have any comfort issues w/ it as it uses really soft-real-leather earpads.

 

the momentums or the k545 should both be excellent choices meeting your requirements. if you can go to a best buy to demo their sound signature, that would probably be more helpful as everyone's preferences are different.

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