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Help with first headphones. . . . or two.

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 

Newbie here. A buddy at work has gotten me into better headphones and now I'm looking for my own pair or 2. 

 

I'll be using these in a cubicle at work so I want closed headphones though I actually like open ones better. I bought a Fiio E17 amp/dac that I'll be driving them with and playing with the EQ on. Comfort is important to me and over-ear seem to be the only ones comfortable to me. On ear fight the natural direction of my ears (out) and in ears get annoying after a while. I also enjoy a larger soundstage and open feel. Also, I listen to pandora's higher quality tracks and mp3's. Not really willing to seek out super high quality song sources so I guess I need forgiving headphones.

 

I don't consider myself a basshead but sometimes I like to crank up the bass for some chunky palm-muted heavy riff songs (Metallica, Godsmack, Breaking Benjamin, 10 years, exc). I also like to listen to country and acoustic instrumentals (like Erik Mongrain, Justin King and Andy McKee).

 

I've read a bunch of reviews and kind of settled on 2 options.

 

1. Save and buy a single nicer pair of headphones (Shure SRH 1540 or Ultrasone Pro 900 were the 2 I'm looking at, maybe a better pair of Beyer's). Would probably try to find these used.

 

or 

 

2. Get 2 pair of cheaper headphones. (one for clarity for the acoustic music and something fast and punchy for metal).

     - Here I was looking at Sennheiser HD 380's or Momentums and a pair of Ultrasone HFI 580 or 780, Beyer DT770's or Shure 840.

 

 V Moda M100's fit kind of in between categories for me. They would probably be a single pair option unless I found some used ones.

 

A couple pair that I have tried are ATH M-50's (do not like them. Feels like the speaker is in my ear and they don't breath so my ears get really hot after a while). Beyer DT770 80 ohm (I actually like these quite a bit, very roomy and open feeling, comfortable). Sennheiser Momentum on-ear (like these, would have to get the over eye version though, a little concerned the cups would be too small for me). And I tried a pair of AKG somethings, so I don't remember. They were my favorite but they were open so everyone around me could here it.

 

edit: Couple of other things I forgot to mention. Budget is around $350-$400 for single or combined for a pair. I prefer detachable cable but not necessary and I don't care about portability.

 

Sorry for the lengthy first post, just trying to get exactly what I'm looking for out there. Open to suggestions.

 

Thanks in advance!


Edited by choog - 3/31/14 at 11:27am
post #2 of 7

Check out the NAD VISO HP50:

 

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

post #3 of 7
For the acoustic and country, I really enjoy ZMF. Isolation is very conservatively at least 80%. You might find you like it for metal too. I rather like idea of two $250-300 instead of one $500-600. So maybe a ZMF and a V-Moda.
post #4 of 7
Quote:
Originally Posted by choog View Post

 

I don't consider myself a basshead but sometimes I like to crank up the bass for some chunky palm-muted heavy riff songs (Metallica, Godsmack, Breaking Benjamin, 10 years, exc). I also like to listen to country and acoustic instrumentals (like Erik Mongrain, Justin King and Andy McKee).

 

I've read a bunch of reviews and kind of settled on 2 options.

 

1. Save and buy a single nicer pair of headphones (Shure SRH 1540 or Ultrasone Pro 900 were the 2 I'm looking at, maybe a better pair of Beyer's). Would probably try to find these used.

 

or 

 

2. Get 2 pair of cheaper headphones. (one for clarity for the acoustic music and something fast and punchy for metal).

     - Here I was looking at Sennheiser HD 380's or Momentums and a pair of Ultrasone HFI 580 or 780, Beyer DT770's or Shure 840.

 

 

Actually you can have both in the same headphone, but of course there can be compromises in some areas. In my case, the HD600 has both and a more precise imaging of the soundstage, however it is more demanding when it comes to amplification. Despite the fact that even an iPod at full tilt can get it to listening levels, at that point the iPod is distorting. Some cheaper amps sound too dark with it, though I'm not sure if that's a distortion characteristic and I'm hitting that threshold because of the high impedance (and ergo they might be producing less power, and I have to twist the volume knob higher); or being more downmarket they might have been designed to have a warm coloration to immediately seem more pleasing tonally, at which point it already piles on too much on top of what coloration the HD600 already has. The O2 doesn't have any coloration with it and doesn't distort badly but there is noticeably a lack of grunt compared to amps with huge power supplies.

 

In your case, I'd suggest the Grado RS-1, or the SR225 - either would be a lot easier to drive than the HD600, and the RS1 has a lot more punch to the bass. Their one weakness though is soundstage. People here tend to focus too much on the soundstage size, but personally that's not the problem; rather, it's the shape of the soundstage and the placement of the instruments. Grados - a lot more the Prestige series than the RS - tend to have a strong L-C-R that is very forward, but between the L-C and C-R, the sound sources tend to be a bit recessed. Simple crossfeed programs can tame this, of course the RS-1 needs it a bit less. Then there's the other problem with more complex recordings - again, the Prstige series more than the RS - seems to be just throwing everything at you. Generally, in a simpler set-up - three guitars (including bass), drums and vocals - it's not much of a problem, and of course they're easier to drive. However once you get into more complex recordings, like Nightwish's Wishmaster onwards - the presentation can seem confusing, with less sense of being able to pinpoint where each sound source is. Based on the music you listed, however, this is not likely to be a problem.

post #5 of 7
Thread Starter 

Thank you for the replies. I'll check out the NAD VISO HP50's and ZMF's, never heard of them.

 

Protege Maniac, appreciate the reply but unfortunately I really can't get away with open headphones sitting in my cube. These headphones would be for work only so I really need closed ones. I tried some open AKG's and really liked them a lot but people 2 rows over could hear my music.

 

I've read good things bout the Grado's for metal but they don't make a closed headphone do they?

post #6 of 7
Quote:
Originally Posted by choog View Post
 

Thank you for the replies. I'll check out the NAD VISO HP50's and ZMF's, never heard of them.

 

Protege Maniac, appreciate the reply but unfortunately I really can't get away with open headphones sitting in my cube. These headphones would be for work only so I really need closed ones. I tried some open AKG's and really liked them a lot but people 2 rows over could hear my music.

 

I've read good things bout the Grado's for metal but they don't make a closed headphone do they?

 

Sorry, missed the part about how important it was that they needed to be closed. Try this one - limited quantities produced I think, it's not even in their website. Not sure if it's upcoming or the production run is over, in which case you can watch the classifieds here in case you might get lucky. It's not unusual for people here to swoon over a flavour of hte month, especially limited eds, and soon financial realities catch up. It still leaks a bit of noise though, more than the usual closed headphone, but you can check its thread here and see/ask if it's audible from several feet away.

 

Apart from that I'd bet on the Sennheiser HD25-1 II.


Edited by ProtegeManiac - 4/1/14 at 9:30am
post #7 of 7
Quote:
Originally Posted by choog View Post

I've read good things bout the Grado's for metal but they don't make a closed headphone do they?

I've been working on that one too. The closest I've found so far is Mikros 90 (http://www.head-fi.org/t/689357/closed-grados-a-compilation-of-30-threads-poll/15#post_10404753).
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