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This should be fun for you guys...

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

I have the JVC HA RX700 and Beats wireless studios. The $35 jvcs sound better than the $375 beats..

 

Now here is the fun part...I have a budget up to 700 dollars....recommend me some good over ear headphones!!

 

I will be using them on a macbook pro and I listen to hiphop, R&B, and classical...I really don't want to use an amp.

 

Thanks for all your help!

post #2 of 8

If you're going to be using $700 cans on a Macbook pro via it's integrated DAC and headphone amp, it would be a waste.

 

I can recommend some headphones though you also need to think about a DAC and amp combo.

 

Also I'm not too surprised that $35 JVCs sound better than $400 beats. Beats just suck. Period.

post #3 of 8
Quote:

Originally Posted by goft20 View Post

 

Now here is the fun part...I have a budget up to 700 dollars....recommend me some good over ear headphones!!

 

For $700 you might as well get some circumaurals (around ear) rather than supra-aurals (over ear), plus an appropriate DAC with built-in amplifier that will drive it properly. Something like the AudioGD NFB 11.32 for around $300 plus shipping, and then the Sennheiser HD600 for around $399 new ($299 refurb but get from reputable online dealers like Razordog). You might go a bit over $700 because of shipping costs though but this is something I would keep for a long time. I still have my Meier Cantate.2 (circa 2006 but bought in 2012) and HD600 (10+ years in the market, bought in 2009, still not hankering to replace it).

post #4 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by Joshua277456 View Post
 

If you're going to be using $700 cans on a Macbook pro via it's integrated DAC and headphone amp, it would be a waste.

 

I can recommend some headphones though you also need to think about a DAC and amp combo.

 

Also I'm not too surprised that $35 JVCs sound better than $400 beats. Beats just suck. Period.

 

Agreed!  - it seems like the more money you throw at the headphone driver, the brighter it gets-  which is a good thing if you are using a tube source, but a bad thing if you have solid state source.  I would not think of spending over $400 on a headphone without getting a tube amp to drive it- otherwise it will cause such bad listening fatigue I'll have to stop listening every 5 minutes.  Not to say that SS sources are bad- just generally bright.  If you are stuck on using the mbp output, I'd go with the Sennheiser 280 pro and be sure to get a cable with the 3.5 mm stereo fitting so you don't need an adaptor.  Spending a lot more money will only make the sound more piercing.

post #5 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by DigitalTim View Post
 

 

Agreed!  - it seems like the more money you throw at the headphone driver, the brighter it gets-  which is a good thing if you are using a tube source, but a bad thing if you have solid state source.  I would not think of spending over $400 on a headphone without getting a tube amp to drive it- otherwise it will cause such bad listening fatigue I'll have to stop listening every 5 minutes.  Not to say that SS sources are bad- just generally bright.  If you are stuck on using the mbp output, I'd go with the Sennheiser 280 pro and be sure to get a cable with the 3.5 mm stereo fitting so you don't need an adaptor.  Spending a lot more money will only make the sound more piercing.


Are you saying there becomes a point in time, when buying more and more expensive SS amps, where it's pointless because SS amps are too bright and will cause listening fatigue and a tube amp won't?

 

In other words, a $1000 SS amp isn't useful but a $1000 tube amp would be useful at the same price-point?

post #6 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by Joshua277456 View Post
 


Are you saying there becomes a point in time, when buying more and more expensive SS amps, where it's pointless because SS amps are too bright and will cause listening fatigue and a tube amp won't?

 

In other words, a $1000 SS amp isn't useful but a $1000 tube amp would be useful at the same price-point?

 

That's his take but hold off on taking his feedback as the only perspective on it.

 

First off, I don't find SS amps being too bright; in fact, I find too many tube amps to be too dark and the notes too smoothed out. At the same time, I have encountered a lot of SS circuits (amps and sources) that sound too soft, just like what we associate with tubes. An example of an SS circuit that sounds like a tube which I didn't like was the Rega Apollo - the treble was too smoothed out that I can barely hear the cymbals vibrating, and there's a bump in the midrange region that made some voices sound like the singers had a cold (it sounds worse than my Aurisonics ASG-1, which has nothing audible above 16khz). I also encountered circuits that used tubes but I liked them a lot better than this - like Cayin's products. The CD50T sounds even, smooth, and the midrange is only slightly "sweeter," but nothing like singing while pinching your nose holes; the CDT23 has a powerful sound that sounds very "live," and some dismiss it for being too bright but there's nothing like hearing Fanstasmic on it, while Norah Jones' voice is nicely extended in the treble. Both were with my Cantate.2 amp and HD600. Cayin's amps were also used while I was in that shop (the whole afternoon actually) and I didn't hear anything immediately unnatural about the tone, and the A88 was powerful enough to rein in some Aurum Cantus floorstanders.

 

Second, if anything, some cheap SS amps with weak power supplies have a tendency to sound shrill and thin, likely because the power supply can't supply current when the impedance swings on louder, lower frequency notes when you have a lot of other instruments playing already. On the flipside, a poorly-designed tube amp will have the tendency to make it seem like someone's got the vocalist's nose while they were singing and they aren't about to let go of that nose. Maybe even try to twist it off.

 

Third, nowadays it's actually hard to find SS amps and sources that are shrill-sounding. Sadly, that's not always because they have better designs, but because companies know that people like buttery creamy warm sound to the point of someone's got the vocalist's nose and might twist it off, they deliberately design the circuit (mostly the op-amps)  to sound warm, maybe with a bump in the midbass also. Of late the only noticeably shrill sources I've listened to are DVD players (sometimes you get desperate when your CDP's broken), and to a much lesser extent, the NAD C515, the iPad2 (not really a problem in my case because the IEM I use with it is a bit too warm; also, I wouldn't know about other iPads since this is what I have), and my MSI Z77 motherboard. Even my laptop only has shrill treble if I play it too loud, so it's likely a distortion characteristic instead of a not flat response outright.

 

Fourth, when SS amps are observed to be bright, one has to ask what other gear was in that system - specifically, what source and headphone? If you have an amp that only does what it should do by definition - that is, to amplify an input signal into one that can drive a given speaker or headphone - then basically it is allowing the source to shine through more, or at least as much as the headphone or speaker would allow. I've tried my Cantate.2 with a variety of sources and the changes in overall sound of the system is more audible with it than with the Little Dot MkII and a CMOY I had before, for example (the latter two were too warm with everything), and I've heard a Rega Apollo squeezing nasal cavities while a Cayin CD50T was just the right amount of different over the USB DAC - that is, nothing unnatural outright, but the midrange is a little sweeter and the placement of instruments was clearer.

 

Fifth, for all we know my ears could be losing response/sensitivity at high frequencies as I'm approaching thirty. Just to balance that out theory however, even younger me never dated anyone with a shrill voice, although the real reason isn't solely that I wouldn't be able to talk to someone like Kristin Chenowith without flinching, but that I'm more likely to date someone with Kathleen Turner's vices (all my exes smoked and drank copious amounts of tea or coffee) and her voice. Or Bonnie Tyler's defiance of medical advice (sums up my exes) and her scratchy voice too (or at least so around finals week, or the bar exam). So basically as much as my ears' health might be suspect, I also have a history of finding nearly any female voice too shrill it's a wonder I have cats instead of dogs (and I have to talk to them in a cartoon voice because my normal booming voice is scary to them).

post #7 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by Joshua277456 View Post
 


Are you saying there becomes a point in time, when buying more and more expensive SS amps, where it's pointless because SS amps are too bright and will cause listening fatigue and a tube amp won't?

 

In other words, a $1000 SS amp isn't useful but a $1000 tube amp would be useful at the same price-point?

 

Well Sir, what I am suggesting is not the inherent goodness of a tube or SS amp, but the type of result that is likely when pairing of a certain type of amp with a headphone in a given price range.  No one headphone or type of headphones is completely flat, and the need arises for amps of varying response curves to accommodate the curves of various headphones themselves.  With a few exceptions, most of the higher end headphones (we'll say $1000 and up for an arbitrary number) have significantly more treble energy than headphones priced $500 and below.  Of course there are a variety of reasons for this- from the anticipated music format to the types of build materials used.

 

At the $1000 mark,  if anything is to go wrong with a tube amp design, such as a dirty rectifier, it's going to be too warm and perhaps a bit noisy.   If anything goes wrong with a solid state design- such as a weak power supply or mismatched impedance,  it's likely to be a bit too bright (albeit I respect opinions to the contrary).    So when you're starting with a headphone in the > $1000 range which is probably bright to begin with, a $1000 tube amp would likely be a better match than a $2000 SS amp.  But if you have a headphone in < $500 range which is a little darker, you may find that a $500 SS amp that beats the $1000 tube amp. 

 

From the sounds of it Joshua, you are using the HD600 which sounds remarkably good on either type of source.  Perhaps the only headphone that can make that claim.

 

Regarding the subject of this thread, though, to find a good headphone for the MBP headphone out;  it would have to be a purpose-built phone.  Something designed to cope with the frequency response curves of computer sound cards- which is no neutral thing!  The best headphone I've found for the job is the Sennheiser HD265, which is no longer made.  The HD280 pro is now their primary 'computer' headphone, as I understand it.

post #8 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by DigitalTim View Post
 

 

Well Sir, what I am suggesting is not the inherent goodness of a tube or SS amp, but the type of result that is likely when pairing of a certain type of amp with a headphone in a given price range.  No one headphone or type of headphones is completely flat, and the need arises for amps of varying response curves to accommodate the curves of various headphones themselves.  With a few exceptions, most of the higher end headphones (we'll say $1000 and up for an arbitrary number) have significantly more treble energy than headphones priced $500 and below.  Of course there are a variety of reasons for this- from the anticipated music format to the types of build materials used.

 

At the $1000 mark,  if anything is to go wrong with a tube amp design, such as a dirty rectifier, it's going to be too warm and perhaps a bit noisy.   If anything goes wrong with a solid state design- such as a weak power supply or mismatched impedance,  it's likely to be a bit too bright (albeit I respect opinions to the contrary).    So when you're starting with a headphone in the > $1000 range which is probably bright to begin with, a $1000 tube amp would likely be a better match than a $2000 SS amp.  But if you have a headphone in < $500 range which is a little darker, you may find that a $500 SS amp that beats the $1000 tube amp. 

 

From the sounds of it Joshua, you are using the HD600 which sounds remarkably good on either type of source.  Perhaps the only headphone that can make that claim.

 

Regarding the subject of this thread, though, to find a good headphone for the MBP headphone out;  it would have to be a purpose-built phone.  Something designed to cope with the frequency response curves of computer sound cards- which is no neutral thing!  The best headphone I've found for the job is the Sennheiser HD265, which is no longer made.  The HD280 pro is now their primary 'computer' headphone, as I understand it.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by DigitalTim View Post
 

 

Well Sir, what I am suggesting is not the inherent goodness of a tube or SS amp, but the type of result that is likely when pairing of a certain type of amp with a headphone in a given price range.  No one headphone or type of headphones is completely flat, and the need arises for amps of varying response curves to accommodate the curves of various headphones themselves.  With a few exceptions, most of the higher end headphones (we'll say $1000 and up for an arbitrary number) have significantly more treble energy than headphones priced $500 and below.  Of course there are a variety of reasons for this- from the anticipated music format to the types of build materials used.

 

At the $1000 mark,  if anything is to go wrong with a tube amp design, such as a dirty rectifier, it's going to be too warm and perhaps a bit noisy.   If anything goes wrong with a solid state design- such as a weak power supply or mismatched impedance,  it's likely to be a bit too bright (albeit I respect opinions to the contrary).    So when you're starting with a headphone in the > $1000 range which is probably bright to begin with, a $1000 tube amp would likely be a better match than a $2000 SS amp.  But if you have a headphone in < $500 range which is a little darker, you may find that a $500 SS amp that beats the $1000 tube amp. 

 

From the sounds of it Joshua, you are using the HD600 which sounds remarkably good on either type of source.  Perhaps the only headphone that can make that claim.

 

Regarding the subject of this thread, though, to find a good headphone for the MBP headphone out;  it would have to be a purpose-built phone.  Something designed to cope with the frequency response curves of computer sound cards- which is no neutral thing!  The best headphone I've found for the job is the Sennheiser HD265, which is no longer made.  The HD280 pro is now their primary 'computer' headphone, as I understand it.


Okay I see what you're saying now.

 

Very informative and persuasive I must say.

 

And actually I only have a pair of HD558s atm lol

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