Head-Fi.org › Forums › Help and Getting Started › Introductions, Help and Recommendations › "Best" Closed Over the Ear headphones for office and amp considerations.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

"Best" Closed Over the Ear headphones for office and amp considerations.

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 

I've slowly been upgrading the audio around my home starting with an Klipsch RF-82 II / Emotiva home theater setup.  Then some Monitor Audio RX1 (still trying to pick an dac/amp) for the bedroom for music.  Now I'm getting to where I'd like to give my office headphone setup a nice big upgrade as well.  My headphone gear I've probably had the longest and it's definitely not sounding as good compared to all my other nicer gear.  I also probably use my work headphones more then anything else so... I really should get something nice.

 

Right now I have an old Total Bithead dac/amp and some HD280 Pro's.  Since this is my day-job work environment I need headphones that don't leak too much sound so I don't aggravate my co-workers.  So, closed headphones is the main requirement.  I mostly listen to jazz / vocal and  dubstep/electronic music but I also occasionally play some classic/modern rock or classical.   I never listen to Country or Rap and very rarely listen to anything "Pop".

 

At this point I'm not sure if I should spring for headphones or a dac/amp first.  Which one would would give me the biggest upgrade? Probably headphones :).    So I've been reading about the Fostex 900's but I'm not sure what else is out there that I should be seriously considering as well.

 

A side note.  I'm on the fence on rather I should get a Tube amp/dac like, say a Woo WA7 or a solid-state amp/dac like the Yulong DA8.  I would like a USB DAC that can play all the great hidef formats I can download (16/44.1 to 32/384).  I believe the Woo doesn't play them all and I'm not sure if that's a deal breaker for me or not yet becuase I am -very- curious about tube amps but maybe a tube amp is what I'll decide on for my bedroom setup. Rather I can hear the difference of a 96khz 24bit track and some crazy 384khz 32bit DSD file is another topic - but I'd still like to be able to play those formats.  I'll never get to decide if I like one more then another if I can't actually play them properly without my computer down sampling them.

 

So, again.. I'm looking for top of the line closed headphones that are great for great jazz / vocal and dubstep/electronic music.  Then considerations on tube vs solid-state amp/dac selections that are well suited to the recommended headphones.

 

Thank you :)

post #2 of 19

TH-900 will work for electronic, not but for jazz.

 

D7000 will work for both, if you like its sound to begin with.

 

Two that I haven't heard yet are:

 

ATH-W3000ANV (http://www.head-fi.org/t/634201/battle-of-the-flagships-58-headphones-compared-update-audeze-lcd-2-revision-2-6-4-13#user_ATHW3000ANV)

 

LCD-XC (http://www.head-fi.org/products/audeze-lcd-xc/reviews/10236)

 

I am very dubious of Woos. I think you're paying more for looks than design, but I don't want to upset the fans so I'll leave it at that. Consider a high grade warmer sounding solid state such as the Violectrics.

post #3 of 19
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the response Claritas, I appreciate your help.  I hadn't seen the LCD-XC's before and they look (from reading the thread on them) to be what I'm looking for.   I was curious about the Fostex since I read they had a "recessed mids" but I'm so new to these forums and reading frequency graphs that I wasn't sure what that meant in terms of what I'd actually hear.  I take it you saying they wouldn't be suited for jazz is due to that, right?

 

I wish there was a place I could try some of these headphones locally before ordering them.   I'm with you actually on the WA7.  It's so.. "fancy" looking I definitely assumed some of it's price would be for the design of them.  I've read in the LCD-XC thread that they can be powered pretty well off just about anything including peoples iPods.  I will probably get the headphones and it'll be a few months later before I can get the dac/amp.  Hopefully my little Bithead will be okay for awhile.  I can't afford to buy them both at the same time.

 

I read up on the Violectrics DAC V800 but doesn't support the DSD formats either.  I'm really not sure how big a deal that is or rather I should be putting much weight into that.  I would just like to have the ability to play those files (I actually have some of them now) natively without my computer re-sampling or whatever before sending them to the dac.  Are there some other good dac options that handle all the currently available formats?  I believe the Yulong DA8 does but I'm not sure of what else.

 

Finally, any thoughts on how the Yulong DA8 would pair with the LCD-XC's?  I've read so much about how headphones pair with a specific dac and amp I'm worried about buying something that's a bad match for each other :)

 

Thanks again for the help.

post #4 of 19
The AKG K550 may be a possibility for you, and it is easy to drive. Nothing wrong with paying a bit more to get a well built amp that sounds very good ( my WA7 works well with my headphones and custom iems). It all depends in what matters most to you.
post #5 of 19
Thread Starter 

Thanks SDBiotek for the suggestion.  I also agree that paying more to get a better built item is worth it.  I didn't say the WA7 wasn't worth it's price but rather that some of it's price is probably for paying for how nice it looks.  Which is completely reasonable, the WA7 does look really nice.

 

How do you feel the AKG K550's would compare to say, the LCD-XC's ?  I also wonder how much of an improvement the AKG's would be over what I'm currently using..

 

Other headphones I've read about that I'm curious about are the Alpha Dogs and the Darth Beyers and I'm not sure how they would compare to  LCD-XC's as well.  Mostly because while I could afford the XC's they are reallly pricey and some of these others seem a lot more reasonable to me.

post #6 of 19
I have no personal experience with the Audeze LCD-Xc. The AKGs have a pretty open soundstage for a closed headphone, and are good all around headphones. They are good with detail retrieval, and are more refined than your Sennheisers. Some people feel that the K550s lack in bass weight/impact. It depends on what you prefer. The K550s have clean, extended bass, but lack the elevated midbass you get with a warmer sounding headphone, like a Denon AH D2000. The AKG treble can be a bit too much for my liking with some recordings, but it doesn't sound artificial. Comfort is another big factor. Audeze in particular are heavy and some find them uncomfortable for extended listening.
post #7 of 19

You're looking at some very nice options!

 

Sorry no personal experience, but if I had your requirements then I would definitely consider the Mr Speakers Alpha Dogs.

For (probably) more than you want to know you might want to consult the massive thread at 

http://www.head-fi.org/t/676095/mrspeakers-alpha-dog-revealed-the-worlds-first-production-3d-printed-headphones.  

Watch Jude's video on page 1 and then go straight to the last page and proceed in reverse order to read the impressions

of early owners.  There is also an incredibly positive review, and nicely written, at 

http://hometheaterreview.com/mrspeakers-alpha-dog-over-the-ear-headphones/.

 

Again, regrettably, I have not heard them, but the NAD Viso Hp50 received an enthusiastic review on Tyll Hersten's

Inner Fidelity blog: http://www.innerfidelity.com/content/i-love-these-headphonesthe-nad-viso-hp50.

 

I do love the way those TH-900's look!

 

What I use at work is the Audioquest Dragonfly USB DAC/Amp and a pair of ATH-M50s.  But the M50s wouldn't 

represent much of a jump up (if any) from your Sennheisers, I suspect.  The great thing about the Dragonfly is

that it is the size of a USB flash drive.  You can easily carry it home and thus, no risk of workplace theft. Many

new products in this space, all of them with many steps up in performance from the Bithead (which I still own).

 

Edit: I do think you're doing it in the right order to find the headphones you want and then find amplification

suited to your purchase.  


Edited by flatmap - 2/27/14 at 5:05pm
post #8 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by bwmarrin View Post
 

Thanks for the response Claritas, I appreciate your help.  I hadn't seen the LCD-XC's before and they look (from reading the thread on them) to be what I'm looking for.   I was curious about the Fostex since I read they had a "recessed mids" but I'm so new to these forums and reading frequency graphs that I wasn't sure what that meant in terms of what I'd actually hear.  I take it you saying they wouldn't be suited for jazz is due to that, right?

 

I wish there was a place I could try some of these headphones locally before ordering them.   I'm with you actually on the WA7.  It's so.. "fancy" looking I definitely assumed some of it's price would be for the design of them.  I've read in the LCD-XC thread that they can be powered pretty well off just about anything including peoples iPods.  I will probably get the headphones and it'll be a few months later before I can get the dac/amp.  Hopefully my little Bithead will be okay for awhile.  I can't afford to buy them both at the same time.

 

I read up on the Violectrics DAC V800 but doesn't support the DSD formats either.  I'm really not sure how big a deal that is or rather I should be putting much weight into that.  I would just like to have the ability to play those files (I actually have some of them now) natively without my computer re-sampling or whatever before sending them to the dac.  Are there some other good dac options that handle all the currently available formats?  I believe the Yulong DA8 does but I'm not sure of what else.

 

Finally, any thoughts on how the Yulong DA8 would pair with the LCD-XC's?  I've read so much about how headphones pair with a specific dac and amp I'm worried about buying something that's a bad match for each other :)

 

Thanks again for the help.

 

TH900 was too V-shaped and fun to work well with jazz, especially vocals--which is why many use it for electronic music.

 

If you're thinking of running LCD-XC unamped, ask on the thread in order to be sure. For example, K812 should on paper work from an iPhone, but users have reported it as being very thin sounding and unsatisfying. You don't want to buy something great and not be able to enjoy it for several months.

 

I'm not familiar with the Yulong. Sorry. I've read very good things about CEntrance DACport; worth looking into.

post #9 of 19
So I'm confused... You want to jump from a 280pro to a ~$1600 headphone? If so I am jealous. I hear good things about the th900. Jude says they're the most comfortable headphone he has worn. I would also consider the HD800 or the T1 too. If it were me I would spend $750 dollar on an amp+DAC and a $500 pair on headphones. See how you like that first, this eay you can better develop what type of sound you prefer. Headphones are the biggest upgrade though.
post #10 of 19
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by flatmap View Post
 

You're looking at some very nice options!

 

Sorry no personal experience, but if I had your requirements then I would definitely consider the Mr Speakers Alpha Dogs.

 

What I use at work is the Audioquest Dragonfly USB DAC/Amp and a pair of ATH-M50s.  But the M50s wouldn't 

 

Edit: I do think you're doing it in the right order to find the headphones you want and then find amplification

suited to your purchase.  

 

Thanks Flatmap!  I've been reading up on the Alpha Dogs for the last few days (when I get a chance) which is why it's taken some time for me to respond here.  They might be a nice option but I'm still researching them and considering how they would compare to some other cans.  There's a couple of reviewers that plan to review them directly to the LCD-XC's and I know there's a huge price difference but I'm definitely going to hold out for those reviews first.

 

I've read good things about the Dragonfly!  I'd really like to get a DAC that supports all of the formats I can download.  I know the odds of me hearing a difference is pretty unlikely but I'll never really know if I can't at least try it.  So while I can download some fancy DSD files but if they're down converted by my DAC to 24/96 (or something similar) then I wouldn't really be able to judge rather there was a difference.  That's why I keep looking at the Yulong DA8 since it seems to support all of these formats and I can just setup foobar using WASAPI direct to the DAC.  Though.. If I really want that it's a whole lot more expensive then a nice little 24/96 DAC!

post #11 of 19
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Claritas View Post
 

 

TH900 was too V-shaped and fun to work well with jazz, especially vocals--which is why many use it for electronic music.

 

If you're thinking of running LCD-XC unamped, ask on the thread in order to be sure. For example, K812 should on paper work from an iPhone, but users have reported it as being very thin sounding and unsatisfying. You don't want to buy something great and not be able to enjoy it for several months.

 

I'm not familiar with the Yulong. Sorry. I've read very good things about CEntrance DACport; worth looking into.

 

Oh, I do have a amp now! But I got it several years ago and while at the time it was a modestly respectable amp/dac (Total BitHead) it's pretty out dated now and it only supports 16/44.  If I jump for something like the LCD-XC's then I don't think I'll be able to order a new dac/amp for a few months after that but I think going headphones first would give me the most immediate improvement.  I'll read about the CEntrance DACports.  Thanks for the suggestion Claritas!

post #12 of 19
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Byrnie View Post

So I'm confused... You want to jump from a 280pro to a ~$1600 headphone? If so I am jealous. I hear good things about the th900. Jude says they're the most comfortable headphone he has worn. I would also consider the HD800 or the T1 too. If it were me I would spend $750 dollar on an amp+DAC and a $500 pair on headphones. See how you like that first, this eay you can better develop what type of sound you prefer. Headphones are the biggest upgrade though.

 

Yup, that's exactly what I want to do.  When I first got into headphones several years ago I got my HD280's and little Total Bithead amp/dac but I was younger and didn't have a very good job! Well time has fixed some of that :)  I've upgraded my home theater room and bedroom equipment considerably and now it's time to get my office upgraded!

 

I'm limited to closed head phones that don't leak much because I work in an office with co-workers.  So that knocks the HD650 or HD800 off the list and now that I've read more and more about the Fostex it might even take them off the list.  Either way they're apparently not the best suited for jazzy vocal music that I like best.  So that took me to looking at the LCD-XC's or Alpha Dogs!   I really hate to settle for something less then "super awesome" because I want to find out how much of a difference high end equipment and digital audio files makes for me.  Maybe it's not much but the only way I'll know is to spend a lot of time listening with some very nice gear.  Going that path with headphones is a lot cheaper then full sized tower speakers too.

 

The more I read about the LCD's I am a bit concerned about their weight.  I wear my headphones at work for 6-8 hours a day and I'd hate to have a sore neck each day or a newly formed and large bulging muscle developed in my neck... so I'm still debating on what to get.

post #13 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by bwmarrin View Post

Yup, that's exactly what I want to do.  When I first got into headphones several years ago I got my HD280's and little Total Bithead amp/dac but I was younger and didn't have a very good job! Well time has fixed some of that smily_headphones1.gif  I've upgraded my home theater room and bedroom equipment considerably and now it's time to get my office upgraded!

I'm limited to closed head phones that don't leak much because I work in an office with co-workers.  So that knocks the HD650 or HD800 off the list and now that I've read more and more about the Fostex it might even take them off the list.  Either way they're apparently not the best suited for jazzy vocal music that I like best.  So that took me to looking at the LCD-XC's or Alpha Dogs!   I really hate to settle for something less then "super awesome" because I want to find out how much of a difference high end equipment and digital audio files makes for me.  Maybe it's not much but the only way I'll know is to spend a lot of time listening with some very nice gear.  Going that path with headphones is a lot cheaper then full sized tower speakers too.

The more I read about the LCD's I am a bit concerned about their weight.  I wear my headphones at work for 6-8 hours a day and I'd hate to have a sore neck each day or a newly formed and large bulging muscle developed in my neck... so I'm still debating on what to get.
Are you sure you wanna bring a pair of headphones, that are that expensive, to work? That just sounds like a bad idea. Someone might steal them or spill something on them and then refuse pay for them and then you're screwed. You woukd also need to being a nice rig with you. From one headphone lover to another, if you do get these don't bring them to work. Get a pair of v-moda m100's, bring them to work, and you also won't need a DAC or amp with these. Just my .02.
post #14 of 19
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Byrnie View Post


Are you sure you wanna bring a pair of headphones, that are that expensive, to work? That just sounds like a bad idea. Someone might steal them or spill something on them and then refuse pay for them and then you're screwed. You woukd also need to being a nice rig with you. From one headphone lover to another, if you do get these don't bring them to work. Get a pair of v-moda m100's, bring them to work, and you also won't need a DAC or amp with these. Just my .02.

 

Yup, I'm sure :).   I did consider it but I really do hate the idea of limiting the enjoyment of my life just due to worry or fear over some mostly unlikely "what if's".    I work in an IT Department and it's a pretty safe, clean, and professional environment and our department is locked when we're not here so overall I think it's pretty safe.  There's always a small risk I guess.    I don't use headphones at home, just at my office, so anything I get will just always be there and that's where my current headphones and amp/dac are and they've never gone anywhere.  Though, they're not nearly as expensive but heck.. There's thousands and thousands of dollars in equipment in that office and none of it has gone anywhere either :) 

 

Thanks for your concern though :)  Hmn! So back to selecting headphones.  Are there any other "top of the line" closed headphones that are ideal for jazzy vocal type music and also good with electronic/dubstep music outside of the LCD-XC's and Alpha Dogs I could read about?

 

Again! Thanks to everyone for the help.  I do appreciate it.

post #15 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Byrnie View Post


Are you sure you wanna bring a pair of headphones, that are that expensive, to work? That just sounds like a bad idea. Someone might steal them or spill something on them and then refuse pay for them and then you're screwed.

 

Not only that...what is the boss going to think? 

 

 

Are you there to work or to enjoy music?  I would go for something more understated.  Perhaps a high-end IEM.

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
Head-Fi.org › Forums › Help and Getting Started › Introductions, Help and Recommendations › "Best" Closed Over the Ear headphones for office and amp considerations.