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Hello Head-Fi! Where should I go next?

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 

Hi! This is my first post on Head-Fi! I've been reading threads around here for recommendations and reviews for a long time. After I bought some ATH-M50 headphones from Amazon, I've increasingly begun to appreciate audio. These days hearing muddy or fatiguing sounds really bothers me, although I'm sure I'll become even more sensitive to details in sounds as time goes on.


After my ATH-M50's broke (I cut the cable in half!), I decided to try something new instead of upgrading. I had heard some of my friend's Beyerdynamic DT-990's and realized how much I was missing. I bought some Grado SR-60's to give open back headphones a try. I immediately fell in love with them! I prefer to listen to rock and metal music, and Grado hit the spot. The high end can be very beautiful on the more symphonic metal songs, and the mid-range is up front but not fatiguing. I think that the low end could use some work, but I've really gotten accustomed to it and it's really become part of my preference.

To satisfy my newfound love for Grado I decided to try something new. I wanted to add some isolation so I could listen to portable music, so I gave the GR-10's a try. After giving them some time to burn in, I really enjoy their sound. However, these were my first IEM's that I really took seriously, and I had some bad expectations. IEM's simply can't provide the impact for which I am looking, and my equipment simply wasn't prepared for the high SNR that IEM's require.

So now I am deciding where to go next. I am considering trading my Grado GR-10's with someone on the forums. Does anyone have a recommendation for what I could try to listen to next? I am really into metal music, but I know that many metal albums have serious mixing and quality problems. I'm really looking to have fun listening to music, but I appreciate a sound that is balanced and not fatiguing. I really love the Grado sound, but I want to explore a sound signature that further emphasizes the bass. I was considering checking out the AKG K-550's based on a recommendation I found on this forum, but they're still closed back headphones and that concerns me.

Sorry if I used the wrong word for something; my audiophile vocabulary is still a work in progress. While I love hearing the details in my music, I am not yet the best at expressing them.

post #2 of 6

We're all works in progress ;)


So you're looking for full size? Your reference to the GR10s adds an element of doubt..


You might wish to try something other than dynamic headphones, such as planar magnetic. What you say about appreciating the bass with metal without necessarily getting the low-fi toppy splashback is making me think of these.


I have the HE-400 and find them amazing for rock music; apparently these are being improved upon with the new HE-400i model.


The bass on the HE-400 has a very impressive feel to it to my ear - not overblown but it goes so low! You can feel it as well as hear it. It adds weight to the whole performance. Soundstage and separation are fantastic too.


You may find the midrange a little recessed on the 400 however; this may be different for the newer model.

post #3 of 6
400i is to replace HE-500 as well as HE-400, and it will be tuned towards the 500's sound.
post #4 of 6

HE-400s are a great headphone. They do benefit from amplification, though. You'd probably want a headphone amp if you don't have one already.
post #5 of 6
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the suggestions! I'm interested in the idea of trying out some planar magnetic headphones. But now I'm wondering about how to maximize the value I get with different headphone/amping solutions. The HE-400's sound like a great headphone, and I am especially interested in the HE-400i. If I went with cans like that I could get some real high quality amping, like a Schiit Lyr. (950$ total?) However, I may be able to afford the LCD-2's, but I'd have to settle for an amp like the Schiit Vali, which I hear should be able to drive the LCD-2's. (1120$ total?) What do you guys think? How do the LCD-2's compare to the HE-400 and HE-500?

post #6 of 6
General consensus is that HE-500 and lcd-2 are equal, though the LCD-2 has slightly better bass. But they are very different. 500 is more airy and spacey while lcd2 is more intimate and smooth.
Both will be very different from m50, HE-400 would likely be more alike.
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