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Soup to Nuts Recommendation

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

After years of kids/busy etc, I'm looking to step back into high quality/dedicated music listening.  Years ago I put together what I thought was an excellent audio/speaker system, but my current situation necessitates moving to a headphone solution.

 

Where I'm at currently:

 

Cans: Sony 7506

Player:  Sony 555ES 5-CD change

Amp:  Sony 5ES

(I've tried the headphones in both the CD player headphone jack, which is supposed to be pretty good, and the Amp and I find it better out of the amp).

 

So clearly Portable is not what I'm aiming for :).  This is for listening in bed, focused on the music.

 

Am I happy with this solution...not so much.  I have found over time that I am exceedingly sensitive to sibilance and harsh treble...and I tend to listen at a moderately loud volume (I like my music to have dynamic impact).  This combination I have now is "ok", but not great. I find it fatiguing and brittle.  When dialed in at the exact proper volume and source, it can be very good, but it veers off to harsh very quickly depending on the music or volume.  I don't know where the deficiency is really.  I suspect a little bit of everywhere.  But without any fixed point (settle on new cans or amp first) I'm finding myself in a circular loop of what to do...get a new amp, but those are only good with a particular subset of cans, etc.  So help me out with a full or partial solution of where to start.  My total budget is around $600.  If the best way to spend that is on a really nice pair of headphones, then great, if I should get a moderate (for me) pair of cans and an amp, then ok.  DAC?  Not sure.

 

What I'm looking for:

 

1) No harshness or sibilance, even with poor recordings.  I like detail in the treble, but not brittle/harsh.  My reference tracks are Nils Lofgren's Black Boots on the Sopranos music SACD and Brubek's Take 5 off the SACD.  The picking guitar parts on Black Boots should be "chiming" not "piercing" is the best I can do.

 

2) Bass should have presence, but not dominate. On Black Boots when the low pad comes in I want to really feel it happen.  On Take 5, the kick drum on the drum lead section should really punch you.  This is touchy, I don't think of myself as a "bass monster" and if the bass is mixed to loud it can really bug me, but it should be authoritative.  My current setup feels to bright and top heavy for me. I want to turn up the volume to get more bottom end impact, but then the treble just kills me.

 

I listen to mostly rock-ish stuff.  No classical, some jazz (horn bands and stax/muscle shoals soul horns).

 

From what I've read maybe the tube amps have the sonic signature I'm looking for?

 

Hopefully that is a coherent request.  I am open to all suggestions on headphones, amps and DAC's to get me the sound I'm looking for.

post #2 of 8

I'm a bit confused.  The 555 ES does not have a headphone out jack.

 

The 7506 is not know as a can that produces a sibilance problems for many people.  So I suggest that you listen to any can before you buy it.  That said; I suggest that you start by looking at (and listening to) the Senn HD 600 & HD 650.  It also won't hurt for you to check out the buying guide:

 

http://www.head-fi.org/a/headphone-buying-guide.

 

There are tube and hybrid amps from makers like HiFiman, Little Dot & others that might work and fit within your budget.  However the best value may be the very neutral solid state and semi-portable O2, which can be had for about $130--and sometime less.

post #3 of 8
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the reply.  it is possible I have the model wrong...i was working from memory and the player is about 15 years old.  

 

Found it:  C555ES  http://www.usaudiomart.com/details/649091585-sony_scdc555es_reference_sacd_cd_5disc_changer_mint_condition/images/654677/

 

That's what I have.

 

The Sennheisers are pretty high on my list...and I really wish I could check them out, but it's not possible where I live.

 

Basically, I'm paralyzed by all the options:

 

Sen 598, 600, 650, Momentum

VModa M100

Nad HP50

AKG 701

HiFiMan HE400

Fidelio X1

Shure 940, 1540, 1840

 

I could go on with the Beyers, AT's, et.

 

I could make a similar list for the amps.  It's pretty overwhelming.

 

Was hoping that my listening preferences would get somebody to just say..."Oh, you really should just go with X and Y."

 

I appear to be very sensitive to sibilance, and I find bright, forward treble to be very fatiguing.  For that reason I have dropped Grado, the words to describe their sound doesn't bode well.  I like a large soundstage.  I want to feel enveloped in the sound, not compressed into.  

 

Ugh.  Not sure I'm expressing it well.

post #4 of 8
Thread Starter 

I submitted a post with a picture of the player, but it's in mod.  The player is a Sony SCD-C555ES Reference SACD CD 5-Disc Changer and has a phone jack with a level/volume knob.  It's about 15 years old.

post #5 of 8
post #6 of 8

By the way--I'm assuming that you are OK with open cans.  They leak sound (not good if someone else is also in your bed) and don't isolate well.

post #7 of 8
Thread Starter 

Yes, Open is fine.  If later on my requirements change I can cross that bridge then....but for now, i'm typically alone when I am doing my critical listening.

 

Oh, and thanks for the links. I will look through those comparisons and come back with additional questions if I have any.  Is there a general feeling on the differences between the 600 and 650?  


Edited by chuckles2000 - 6/11/14 at 2:34pm
post #8 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by chuckles2000 View Post
 

Yes, Open is fine.  If later on my requirements change I can cross that bridge then....but for now, i'm typically alone when I am doing my critical listening.

 

Oh, and thanks for the links. I will look through those comparisons and come back with additional questions if I have any.  Is there a general feeling on the differences between the 600 and 650?  

 

The links will help you on that.  In a nutshell the HD 650 is darker; has more rolled off/veiled treble; and comes with a better stock cable.  The HD 600 is more neutral--and a better overall value.

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