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Best balanced Headphones you may recommend

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 

Bonjour,

 

I just hopped into the audio passion after buying a pair of AKG K551 sort of by accident as my portable gear.

 

I immediately fell in love with the clear, balanced, extremely accurate and dry sound signature of these cans, so much that when I went to buy some new HP (I wanted to buy a better gear, since it's clear the  K551s are not the best) for my home setup, I couldn't find anything fitting but a Beyerdynamic DT250.

And it wasn't even accurate enough compared to my portable cans.

 

So now, I'm still trying to find the perfect balanced precision cans for a desk setup. Not necessarily with the exact same signature as the K551, but I just need a set of HP to try out. I don't care if they are closed/open, uncomfortable, expensive, or plain ugly.

 

Thanks for your help !

post #2 of 15

Hi,

 

You should consider trying planar magnetic headphones! :)

 

Best Luck!

post #3 of 15

what is your price range?

 

Look into open cans like the akg q701, akg k702 anniversary, sennheiser hd600, beyerdynamic dt880, sony ma900, or even the hifiman he-500.

post #4 of 15
Thread Starter 

I don't know my price range yet (probably under 700 €).

 

Yeah, I definitely want to give planar magnetics like the HE-500 a try. Only problem is that there is no retailers where I can try these nearby...

post #5 of 15

In your case I would actually recommend an entry level Stax setup as they tick all the boxes:)

post #6 of 15
Koss ESP 9 might also be something to explore in your price range, as well as new Fostex TH600 (now reduced, and can be found for around $650 online), or 2nd hand Fostex TH900 for around your maximum budget.

Also, not forgetting the new top of the range 'Mad Dog Alpha' headphones can be ordered in standard or balanced input option, lovely looking headphone that are also very comfortable to wear...
Edited by Homage - 1/9/14 at 3:25am
post #7 of 15

I have no experience with the alpha dog, but judging from what is said about it it might be up your alley as well.

post #8 of 15

Why not consider the Martin Logan Mikros 90 closed portables, amped?

Current price of entry is ridiculously affordable (about $80 USD, street, vis-a-vis $299, MSRP).

Detailed, extended, highly resolving, focused, balanced, 3-dimensional and eminently musical.

Far from dry.

Get them properly positioned on your head and adequately amped, then I believe you are in for a real treat. 

I own and enjoy the HE-6 but these unassuming little MLs give the HifiMAN a serious run for the money, IMHO. 


Edited by pataburd - 1/9/14 at 5:15am
post #9 of 15

I wouldn't consider the Hifiman lineup to be balanced. Wouldn't recommend them for a dry and "clear" signature either. Like most orthos in the he- series, they stray from neutrality. Especially noticeable in the mid-range. Smooth cans nonetheless, with good transient response. More engaging than not.

But then again, if you think the AKG K551 is "balanced" and "dry", YMMV.

Entry stax is a better idea, but you'll have to look extensively at the used market just to hunt for a pair.

 

The AKG K701 modded is a better idea. Much better than the Q701/K702 Anniversary in terms of "balance". They changed the open and expansive, bass-light K701 to something more consumer oriented. This is particularly noticeable in the low end. 

The Sennheiser HD600 is pretty balanced. Just not very dry. They're quite sluggish though. 

I personally enjoy the Sony SA5000. If you can find a pair. Definitely worth a listen if you want details, speed, and accuracy.

The Sony MA900/Yamaha HPH-200 both are great bang-for-the-buck headphones. Recommended.

post #10 of 15
I see no reasons for going used with Stax unless he wants to save money of course. Not sure on the eu prices though
post #11 of 15

The Beyerdynamic DT880/600 ohm might tide you over.  My all-time favorite Beyers were the DT880/2003 version.  To my ears, even their flagship Tesla 1 fell short of the 2003 DT880's unique synergy.

 

Owned the K701, too, but they have a smear in the upper midrange/lower treble that led me to relinquish them.  Sil3nce mentioned the "modded" K701--what are the mods and what do they accomplish?  If it/they get rid of the smear, I'd give the K701s another listen.

 

I reiterate: the Mikros 90 might be worth the gamble.  And if you don't like them, well, no great loss.  But they are not dry--who REALLY wants "dry"? 

 

.  

post #12 of 15
Thread Starter 

I think he is talking about the little "bass boost" mod, making the K701 more punchy in the lows.

 

So much HP to try out, but only the Beyers are available to try in my city :/

 

How can I get to try stuff like the Hifimans easily ?

post #13 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by pataburd View Post

The Beyerdynamic DT880/600 ohm might tide you over.  My all-time favorite Beyers were the DT880/2003 version.  To my ears, even their flagship Tesla 1 fell short of the 2003 DT880's unique synergy.

Owned the K701, too, but they have a smear in the upper midrange/lower treble that led me to relinquish them.  Sil3nce mentioned the "modded"
K701--what are the mods and what do they accomplish?  If it/they get rid of the smear, I'd give the K701s another listen.

I reiterate: the Mikros 90 might be worth the gamble.  And if you don't like them, well, no great loss.  But they are not dry--who REALLY wants "dry"? 

.  

There should be quite a few threads documenting the different modification attempts on the AKG Kxx series. For me, I believed the dampening on the cans were severely hindering and providing an unnatural response. Note that this is only how I heard it. I replaced the foam donuts underneath the pads with just a thin layer of mesh, opened up the back. Just something like this changed the thin sounding, bright K701 into a different beast. They did something with the Q701. I can't seem to replicate the same effect. Everything sounds worse when you tweak it.
post #14 of 15

The whole akg x7xx is one big mystery that no one can really unravel.

post #15 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sil3nce View Post

There should be quite a few threads documenting the different modification attempts on the AKG Kxx series. For me, I believed the dampening on the cans were severely hindering and providing an unnatural response. Note that this is only how I heard it. I replaced the foam donuts underneath the pads with just a thin layer of mesh, opened up the back. Just something like this changed the thin sounding, bright K701 into a different beast. They did something with the Q701. I can't seem to replicate the same effect. Everything sounds worse when you tweak it.

I remember that something as simple as interchanging the earpads between the K501 and the K701 had a profound (and deleterious) effect on both.  Putting a piece of 3/8-inch thick open cell foam over the drivers of the MDR-SA5000 or the HFI-780 has a profound but beneficial effect.

 

We all hear differently for sure.  When I was courting the AKGs, I had my K701 recabled with silver, and they never sounded bright or thin to me--except for that pesky upper midrange glare, .

 

Beyerdynamic DT880/600, AKG K701, Grado SR325i, Sony SA5000 come to my mind, although I would not call the treble-prominent SR325i or the SA5000 "balanced".

 

Again, I would posit the Mikros 90 as "clear, balanced and accurate" but not "dry".  I am reading "dry" with a negative connotation, e.g. if I were given the choice between a fresh plum and a dry prune, I would almost always opt for the former.  The OP must take "dry" in a positive sense.  

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