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Audiophile Beginner (Sort Of) Looking For Soundstage Under 300

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
Hey fellow audiophiles. I'm new to this site although I've been lurking extensively ever since I developed my headphone addiction the last few months. A little bit about myself is that I have been a guitarist/singer/songwriter for about 8 years now and a life long music appreciator. I already have an ear for detail and instrument seperation in what I hear through speakers and headphones that most people I have talked to about it don't.

I tend to lean towards clarity and neutrality over coloration of sound. I'm very into the idea of a headphone that will give me very accurate acoustic reproduction when picking up detail and tone of instruments. I currently own a pair of Superlux HD681's that I run through a Fiio e11 and then an EQ on my phone to tame the highs and clarify the mids a little and the sound I get is very pleasing but the general quality of the headphone's sound leaves much to be desired.

I'm looking for an open circumaural headphone under 300 that would give me a great soundstage with clarity and natural sounding reproduction. I listen to mostly blues, rock, grunge, folk, reggae, etc. Really anything except most electronic music. From my personal auditioning and research I have been leaning toward the Sennheiser HD598's but I don't wanna overlook any possible gems out there. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated, thanks!
Edited by RandyAines - 3/24/14 at 6:09pm
post #2 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by RandyAines View Post

Hey fellow audiophiles. I'm new to this site although I've been lurking extensively ever since I developed my headphone addiction the last few months. A little bit about myself is that I have been a guitarist/singer/songwriter for about 8 years now and a life long music appreciator. I already have an ear for detail and instrument seperation in what I hear through speakers and headphones that most people I have talked to about it don't.

I tend to lean towards clarity and neutrality over coloration of sound. I'm very into the idea of a headphone that will give me very accurate acoustic reproduction when picking up detail and tone of instruments. I currently own a pair of Superlux HD681's that I run through a Fiio e11 and then an EQ on my phone to tame the highs and clarify the mids a little and the sound I get is very pleasing but the general quality of the headphone's sound leaves much to be desired.

I'm looking for an open circumaural headphone under 300 that would give me a great soundstage with clarity and natural sounding reproduction. I listen to mostly blues, rock, grunge, folk, reggae, etc. Really anything except most electronic music. From my personal auditioning and research I have been leaning toward the Sennheiser HD598's but I don't wanna overlook any possible gems out there. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated, thanks!

 

Welcome to Head-Fi!

 

As always, I must give you the proper warning to allow you to give all your money to us. :D

 

I have the HD 598's and they are wonderful (see my review below) but that is to say if you are looking for a headphone that can do well without an amp, the HD 598's are great and top-notch.

 

If you're looking for sound with an amp however, take a look at the AKG series which are wonderful for your needs. If you can afford to spend a bit more, get the HD 600's for used or on a great deal with a cheap amp.

 

Hope that helped. If you need any more help, you can PM me!

post #3 of 11
Thread Starter 
Thanks for your quick response!

Do you think the 598's or AKG K-240 MK II would get the better sound through the same source (320 kbps mp3s on my LG Optimus outside of the home and WAV and FLAC files on my desktop) and with my Fiio e11?
post #4 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by RandyAines View Post

Thanks for your quick response!

Do you think the 598's or AKG K-240 MK II would get the better sound through the same source (320 kbps mp3s on my LG Optimus outside of the home and WAV and FLAC files on my desktop) and with my Fiio e11?

 

Both should be fairly comparable. The HD 598 are probably better in detail but are fairly equal in audio quality overall. There are two main differences: sound presentation and amping. 

 

The HD 598 have more engaging, forward mids (sounds realistic, like the vocalist is closer to you) and are brighter (have a bit more treble) and are wonderful for gaming and movies because of their large soundstage unlike the AKG's which won't be as good in those areas.

 

The AKG's are darker in presentation (less treble) but have slightly more bass than the HD 598's which are a little bass-light. The AKG's do need an amp for their full potential to shine. The HD 598 benefit from an amp and have better bass, but I wouldn't say it's a necessity.

 

Since the HD 598's are a little more portable (slightly more comfortable and don't really need an amp) and I like their sound presentation more than the AKG's personally, I would choose the 598's. That's just me however; you choose what fits best for you!

post #5 of 11
Thread Starter 
I'll definitely be auditioning both extensively before making my final decision. When I listened to the 598's I was impressed by the clarity and presence of the bass and didn't find it to be lacking but didn't find it to be overly strong either. Hopefully the AKG's will add that extra bit of bass without overpowering the rest of the mix. The price on the AKG's is low enough that I could also look for a decent home use amp to upgrade to as well. I appreciate your help!
post #6 of 11
Sure, anytime!
post #7 of 11

hd598: forward upper mids, but balanced otherwise. huge soundstage.

dt880: very neutral, medium-big soundstage.

q701: extremely wide soundstage, not so spectacular in depth. Kind of bright. You can turn it into the k702 anniversary edition, which is much more balanced, by adding the memory foam pads.

 

Sometimes you can find the hd600 at $300. Though its soundstage is smaller than the dt880, it's very much worth it.

post #8 of 11
+1 for the Q701
These are bass light, but you can EQ up the bass and make it very balanced. There's also a reversible mod to boost the bass. The soundstage is very addicting.
post #9 of 11
Thread Starter 
I've heard from some that the Q701 has an "artificial" sounding soundstage. Can anyone elaborate on what this means?
post #10 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by RandyAines View Post

I've heard from some that the Q701 has an "artificial" sounding soundstage. Can anyone elaborate on what this means?
'

They have a bigger soundstage than most other open headphones. To some people that sounds "artificial." To others, its sounds awesome smily_headphones1.gif

Given that you are interested in a big soundstage, you owe it to yourself to give them a listen.
post #11 of 11
I think K70x has the biggest soundstage in that range, substantially better than Sennheisers (even HD650) and better than Beyers too. It's also reasonably accurate and more resolving.

My liking for some AKGs (Kx0x) made me wonder if I'm a soundstagehead. Nope, I simply think they sound more open, which I expect is an effect of the large enclosure.

I wouldn't describe it as "bright" -- the treble is crisp, more suited to waking up in the morning than winding down before bed.
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