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Looking to make a long term headphone investment

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
I have had a pair of sennheiser hd555 for a few years now- they are ok, but they are obviously limited. Last week I bought a set of HD600s. The sound definitely improved, but the sennheiser veil is more apparent than ever. It's like the music is being played behind a curtain. My source material is Hdtracks/DVD-A/SACD - (minimum 24/88, but mostly 24/96 and 24/192). I am using the JDS Labs C5D amp/DAC combo.

I've decided that I want to make an investment in a decent set of headphones and potentially an amp/DAC. My budget is $1500 total. I am looking for a well-rounded phone with accurate sound presentation. I'd like something with a wide soundstage and an open-back design. My source material is pretty good, so I'm not worried about how forgiving the headphone is, but I will be listening for several hours at a time.
post #2 of 12

I've only a few minutes before I head off home but the HiFiman range may be worth a look. The HE-500 or HE-6 might do it for you just now, or the newer HE-560.

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post #3 of 12
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by SteveHiFi View Post

I've only a few minutes before I head off home but the HiFiman range may be worth a look. The HE-500 or HE-6 might do it for you just now, or the newer HE-560.
I will check into Hifiman. What are your thoughts on the HD800 vs the T1s? Also, any Grado fans out there?
post #4 of 12

I was in a similar boat a few years ago. I usually try to make a headphone purchase a thoughtful investment. For $1500, I would have to go with the Sennheiser HD 800. I've also owned the Beyerdynamic T1 and they are very excellent too, but overall I think the HD 800 is a better headphone (and it has detachable cables, so you can easily upgrade) and a better investment.

post #5 of 12

What were you plugging the HD600s in to? They tend, being high impedance, to sound less than stellar when plugged into, say, a phone or sound card.

post #6 of 12
Thread Starter 
I was using JDS Labs C5D amp/DAC combo.
post #7 of 12
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by jackskelly View Post

I was in a similar boat a few years ago. I usually try to make a headphone purchase a thoughtful investment. For $1500, I would have to go with the Sennheiser HD 800. I've also owned the Beyerdynamic T1 and they are very excellent too, but overall I think the HD 800 is a better headphone (and it has detachable cables, so you can easily upgrade) and a better investment.

What would you recommend for an amp/DAC? I would be plugging this into my laptop via USB.
post #8 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by maclenltd View Post


What would you recommend for an amp/DAC? I would be plugging this into my laptop via USB.

 

I think there are a number of good options, but I would have to recommend:

 

-Sennheiser HDVD 800 as an amp/DAC in one (I don't own it but I've heard it and it's excellent)

 

But there are many other options from a lot of manufacturers, it really depends on what you want to spend and what features you're looking for. 


Edited by jackskelly - 5/19/14 at 8:57pm
post #9 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by maclenltd View Post


I will check into Hifiman. What are your thoughts on the HD800 vs the T1s? Also, any Grado fans out there?

We've been doing a lot of testing with the T1 paired with various amps - I really like these headphones. There's a real effortlessness about them. The HD800 is fantastic with the HDVD600/800 particularly with the balanced cable but I'm unimpressed with the HD800 and other amps. It's all a matter of taste though.

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post #10 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by maclenltd View Post

I have had a pair of sennheiser hd555 for a few years now- they are ok, but they are obviously limited. Last week I bought a set of HD600s. The sound definitely improved, but the sennheiser veil is more apparent than ever. It's like the music is being played behind a curtain. My source material is Hdtracks/DVD-A/SACD - (minimum 24/88, but mostly 24/96 and 24/192). I am using the JDS Labs C5D amp/DAC combo.

 

If the HD600 are brand new (meaning the pads are brand new), you might want to have an ENT check your ears just to be sure. Whenever I'm fresh out of my annual deep clean (with that tiny vacuum cleaner) the HD600 sounds too bright for me, even on slightly new pads (on really worn pads the sound is dark but there's some sibilance). Also makes every other thing I have to listen to, like conversations, a lot clearer.

 

My ENT suggested this after I came in twice with earwax I pushed in. According to him I could be pushing more and more in considering how the Q-Tip moves around in there and I'm only guessing on how to move it, since I can't see my own ear canal. He does this for free by the way since I've been his wife's patient (my pediatrician) since I was born, so I'm sure he isn't just doing this for the pastries I bring him in lieu of cash. He actually said every six months but I'm way out in the other side of the city now and downtown traffic is all kinds of horrible on any day except Sunday.

post #11 of 12
Thread Starter 

Well, I pulled the trigger on the HD800s and returned my HD600s. Just received them today and all I can say is "wow". This will definitely be the last headphone purchase I make for a long, long time.

post #12 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by maclenltd View Post
 

Well, I pulled the trigger on the HD800s and returned my HD600s. Just received them today and all I can say is "wow". This will definitely be the last headphone purchase I make for a long, long time.

 

Congratulations on your purchase, I think you made the right choice. :)

 

After some time with the HD800s, and you feel like you want to move up again, I would suggest the STAX SR-009 (that's the path I took).

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