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Synthesizer freak demanded!!! Which are the best cans to plug to a synth?

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 

Well, I recently bought a MicroKORG synthesizer and I'm having a blast with the insane variety of sounds it can produce. However, my amplifier is crap and I hardly get opportunity to play it loud anyway. So I simply use my headphones, a  Koss TD/80. These ain't half bad soundwise considering they are a decade old and in the budget realm, but they clamp hard and are really really uncomfortable to use for long periods. 

 

Thus, I'm in a quest to buy a pair of the best decent cans in the unexpensive realm (> $100) I can get for this specific task. Suggestions will be greatly appreciated, both in and out this budget -I really can't spend more than that, but, hell, why should we tame our fantasies?-

 

 

$(KGrHqJ,!lwFHDHVGt)bBR3j,t0wsw~~60_57.JPG

 

 

Baby is waiting to be plugged. 

ROCK ON!

 

 

 

 

post #2 of 15
Do you need closed or open headphones? I'm guessing closed?
post #3 of 15
Thread Starter 

Hmmm, best sound and comfort are the priorities here. I mean, isolation is always handy, but not paramount in this case -and leakout a non-issue-.


Edited by Southern Cross - 1/31/14 at 4:22pm
post #4 of 15
OK - so here's what concerns me about this application. I have no idea what the output impedance of the headphone port is. It could be quite high - that would not be unusual for a piece of pro gear. If it's 80 or 100 ohms, and I tell you to plug in some 32 ohm 'phones, it might sound weird. On the other hand, if the output impedance is low and the amp is weak, and you plug-in some 300 ohm 'phones, it is going to sound anemic - not what a rocker wants!

From what I could google, your Koss 'phones are 60 ohms. If they sound OK and the volume level seems OK, then I'm going to assume something around the same impedance should probably work.

If you are willing to buy refurbished, check out these:
http://www.vminnovations.com/Product_20034/Sennheiser-HD518-Around-the-Ear-Audiophile-Headphones-Refurbished-.html

Also look at the AKG 240
Those are open phones. I'm still not convinced open is the best thing for you (most monitoring/musician 'phones are closed), so you might also check out:

Closed:
Sony MDR-7506
Sennheiser HD280-Pro

Semi-Open:
http://www.amazon.com/AKG-240-Semi-Open-Studio-Headphones/dp/B0001ARCFA/ref=lh_ni_t?ie=UTF8&psc=1&smid=ATVPDKIKX0DER

A bit over your budget & used:
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/801007433-USE/sony_mdr10r_blk_mdr_10r_headphones_black.html
post #5 of 15
Thread Starter 

Your suggestions are excellent, man, you're a true bargain finder! The refurbs Senns are a steal, the AKG's are an all time classic and those Sonys sure look sexy -I wonder how these compares to a Sony MDR-ZX700, the only good reference I have on the middle-end category-.

 

However, and even more important, I didn't even considered something as OBVIOUS as impedance. Sheesh.Thanks a lot for pointing that out, Billybob. Well, this is WHY i come to Head-Fi to get a clue, schmuck me.

 

Effectively, the Koss TD/80 has a 60 ohms impedance, and delivers good sound quality. I'm reading in the MicroKorg specs that audio output is 1100 ohm or 550 ohm in Mono  -which I gather is pretty damn strong-. However, regarding volume on my headphones, it sounds fairly strong in most of the preset programs -though never thundering- but almost inaudible in a few of them. This is quite puzzling, given that if I understand correctly, 1100 ohm -or even 550- should be blasting the sh*t out of my cans. 

 

Hmmmmm... weird, isn't it?

post #6 of 15
I think your 1100/550 ohm spec is not the headphone jack - that is more likely the audio out that would be sent to a mixer or recording device. That's a completely different kettle of fish.
post #7 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by billybob_jcv View Post

I think your 1100/550 ohm spec is not the headphone jack - that is more likely the audio out that would be sent to a mixer or recording device. That's a completely different kettle of fish.

1100 Ohms good freaking greif, that's one heck of a line out. Must be for hooking that sucker up to a speaker amp 

But yea that sounds like a Line Out spec. 

post #8 of 15
Thread Starter 

You were damn right, 1100 ohm was clearly overkill. I was unable to find any other figures, not even in Korg's official page, but once I stop being lazy, of course is all there in the manual:

 

Headphone jack:
Output impedance: 10 ohm

Maximum output level: 35 [mW]

Load impedance: 33 ohm

 

So much for the mistery of the low volume: at 60 ohm my Koss are struggling to get some sound, As such, for example, the AKG 240 (55 ohm) and the HD518 (50 ohm) would not be quite an improvement, no matter how cool they sound. I imagine that going for the 30 ohm Ipod-friendly range should fix the volume problem for good...

post #9 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by Southern Cross View Post
 

You were damn right, 1100 ohm was clearly overkill. I was unable to find any other figures, not even in Korg's official page, but once I stop being lazy, of course is all there in the manual:

 

Headphone jack:
Output impedance: 10 ohm

Maximum output level: 35 [mW]

Load impedance: 33 ohm

 

So much for the mistery of the low volume: at 60 ohm my Koss are struggling to get some sound, As such, for example, the AKG 240 (55 ohm) and the HD518 (50 ohm) would not be quite an improvement, no matter how cool they sound. I imagine that going for the 30 ohm Ipod-friendly range should fix the volume problem for good...

maybe, it's more sensitivity in your case. You want impedance to be 1/8, meaning 10ohms out then 80 ohms in

 

but with a max output of 35 mW you might want a sensitivity around 100 spl or so! Or get your self a Fiio E6 and double amp, still the amp on your Synth is so weak... not sure you'd get much distortion from double amping. The E6 will run about 100 mW into 32Ohms... for $26 might be a worth while investment. I have a pair of Koss TD 75 [not a typo I'll post a Pic if you need one] which is about 60 ohms worked nicely with my E6

 

Funny my first pair of "good" headphones where older than me and Semi Open Backs 

post #10 of 15
Yeah, 35 mW into 33 ohms is pretty low power. A headphone amp connected to the lineout would probably help, and you then also wouldn't have to worry about the output impedance of the headphone jack.
post #11 of 15
Thread Starter 

Hahaha, it seems we are two Koss oldies lovers, these were also my first "decent" pair of cans and I laughed at you offering a picture, the TD/80 are also really obscure and even though they sport the famous Porta Pro drivers, nobody gives a damn about them -I wrote a good review, indifference ensued-. They are uncomfortable as hell, but they have a very cool sound, lots of bass, really enjoyable for electronic music and 80's pop. And built like a tank, a noble thing, I really love them.

 

I didn't quite get the part on sensitivity and so on. Amping would be kind of out of the question because here at Argentina is really hard to get amps, I would need something that souds good right on. Here are the specs of the TD/80, which as i said before are lacking in volume:

 

 

Sensitivity 98 dB
Frequency Response

20 Hz - 17 kHz

 

 

 

What would be the ideal impedance and sensitivity then, unamped?

post #12 of 15
I have an ancient pair of Koss 4/A - do they count?? tongue.gif I've actually been thinking about sending them to Koss to see if they can replace the pads and fix whatever has completely removed the bass - I think it's probably more than just flat pads.
post #13 of 15
Thread Starter 

We are running out of topic, but bring the Koss love, hahaha. Yeah, you definitely should send them to Koss at Milwaukee, I did so with mine -bad drivers- and got a brand new set just like that, expedite mail, no papers or even questions asked; their customer's service is just terrific. Boy, I'd kill for a pair of 4AA, they look like a Cold War tank commander headset, probably the oldest headphones design still in production.

 

 

But well, back to topic: best headphones, for less than $100, to be plugged into a synthesizer with the following output:

 

Output impedance: 10 ohm

Maximum output level: 35 [mW]

Load impedance: 33 ohm

post #14 of 15
The music shops around me growing up always had Yamaha Orthodynamic headphones or Sennheiser 414s plugged into the display gear. I imagine it had more to do with the times and availability but that's always what I associate with synth headphones.
post #15 of 15
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the input @SP00N. Well, I finally settled for a Sony MDR-ZX700: not a great step further over the Koss in terms of sensitivity, but certainly much better soundwise. Koss muddy bass and lazy highs were not suitable for music making, plus really uncomfortable. I wass inches from buyong a Fostex 30 orthodynamics, but I chickened about the sound being too flat for recreative music-listening. All in all, the Sonys proved to be a good jack for all trades, specially being SOOO comfy.

Still, I do believe there is no other threads regarding synthesizers and headphones, so any contributor to the thread is most welcome.

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