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One fits all? or multiple headphones for diverse musical tastes?

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

As I am about to enter the world of personal hifi, I have auditioned some of the leading headphones.   I have quite diverse tastes in music - big choral works, to electronica and a lot in between. I seldom like most of the songs on any one CD.    

 

The cool thing about headphone systems, unlike listening room systems, is that you can easily switch to different headphones that are best suited to different music , or ones that are more forgiving for lower quality source material.   I assume this is one of the reasons that many head-fi'ers have several (or more) different headphones.

 

If money and desk space was no object, I suppose ideally you might want different DAC/amp to drive each different headphone - bespoke system for each need.  But perhaps we can assume just one very well performing DAC / amp , to support multiple headphones (no more than 2 at the same time is required).   Can you offer some examples of a suite of several headphones that are great for covering the range of musical genres and recording quality?  


Edited by qveda - 5/26/14 at 1:24pm
post #2 of 8
HD600 - classical
HE400 - jazz
SR225i - metal, rock
post #3 of 8
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Claritas View Post

HD600 - classical
HE400 - jazz
SR225i - metal, rock

Great,  this is just the kind of suggestions I'm looking for ,  thanks.   Any one else care to chime in?

post #4 of 8
AKG Q/K700 series would also be worth considering.
post #5 of 8
Thread Starter 

thanks cel4145,   it would great to hear from a few more folks

post #6 of 8
Have you seen the Battle of the Flagships? This might help with your decision making, too: http://www.head-fi.org/t/634201/battle-of-the-flagships-58-headphones-compared-update-audeze-lcd-2-revision-2-6-4-13#user_index2
post #7 of 8

Certainly... Heres where I have managed to settle into things, and keep in mind the following commentary is all relative to the other cans in my list.

 

AKG K701:

Pros- My flattest, driest, most accurate sounding headphone, also has the most layered soundstage.  Its my most detail revealing.  With complex recordings I am able to more clearly hear the different tracks and instrumentation.

Cons-  Sometimes its too flat sounding, too dry/accurate/analytical and boring.  Hard to amplify despite its 65 ohm load.  Its upper midrange character can sound a bit "plastic-ey" and synthetic at times.

 

HD650:

Pros- Warm, soothing, smooth, distant sounding at times in a good way, relaxing, kick back, get lost in the music and soak in the tunes.  My most bass-heavy headphone, with the  deepest extension.  High impedance accompanied with high sensitivity, makes it easier to drive than I was led to believe.  Very forgiving with poorly mastered recordings... My go-to headphone in this regard.

Cons- Limited detail resolution.  The warm, plump bass presentation can be a bit murky, and has a hard time with musical complexity.

 

RS1, with modified S-cushion pads:

Pros- Grado slam, punch, energy to the max.  You are on stage and in the recording booth with the musicians.  Good detail resolution.  The only headphone I have used that really sounds like the live instrument played in person (using clarinet, guitar and drums as a reference).

Cons- Intimate, near-field imaging and soundstage.  Stock pads are not very comfortable, and take some getting used to.

 

K240s 55 0hm

Overall-  Just a good overall headphone.  Jack of all trades, master of none, like a Leatherman multi-tool.   Smooth and Balanced sounding across the spectrum, with no real spectral hot spots or dead spots.  Good energy and dynamics, good detail resolution.  It layers an image and soundstage surprisingly well for a headphone in this price range.  It does benefit slightly from amplification, particularly in the bass frequencies which can be a little murky when under-amped.  Sounds great paired with my Macbook Pro, and is forgiving with poor recordings.  It lacks the detail resolution, image/soundstage layering and overall clarity of the higher end cans mentioned above.

 

SR60i, with modified S-cushion pads:

Overall- Similar pros / cons to the RS1, but a step down in detail resolution, clarity, instrumentation separation.  Can't layer a soundstage image as well as the RS1.... a more "one dimensional" soundstage image.   A thicker sounding headphone with less "air" in the ambient elements in recordings.  A much more forgiving headphone than the RS1 when it comes to poorly mastered recordings, my fave Grado in this regard.  If you're plugging into a Macbook or iPhone The SR60i sounds great and is about 85% of the RS1 at a fraction of the price.  Its only when you start amp-ing and sourcing things up when the RS1 starts to really flex its muscle over the 60i.

 

Hope this helps!!!  Good Luck!

post #8 of 8
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by cel4145 View Post

Have you seen the Battle of the Flagships? This might help with your decision making, too: http://www.head-fi.org/t/634201/battle-of-the-flagships-58-headphones-compared-update-audeze-lcd-2-revision-2-6-4-13#user_index2

Oh, right,  thanks for the reminder,  I do recall seeing that.  I'm sure that will help.   and thanks to kramer5150 as well !

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