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Open back cans with replaceable parts <300 bucks

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
Hey guys and gals,

I am looking for some nice open circumaural headphones for home usage only.
They should have replaceable earpads and cable.

I am mostly listening to indie rock, some heavy metal and hip-hop. Strange taste, I know. I also love to listen to some vocal tracks, so the mids are important since there's nothing more important in music than a nice sounding voice, IMHO.

I've been looking into the Fidelio X2 and I do like them, but I listen to music a lot and the almost 400 grams are a big down when it comes to comfort in hour long sessions.

So I would like to get some more recommendations from you guys.

Also: Should I consider a dedicated DAC/headphone amp? I am currently powering my stuff through an old Denon DRA325R, but I'm getting a Pioneer vsx 527-something in a few. Music comes through dlna streaming from a NAS server, so there aren't any devices. Sound comes straight out of the AVR.

Thanks in advance, have a good one! ~
post #2 of 10
If you are worried about changing pads & cables, then I would stick to one of the major brands: Sennheiser, Grado, AKG, Beyerdynamic, Shure, etc. Pads for the major brands are usually easy to find. For light weight, open, comfort & good sound, it's hard to beat Sennheiser. They pretty much invented that category.
post #3 of 10

There's also Grado - parts are even more replaceable considering you can get replacements fabricated somewhere, but of course 99% of the time it's not out of necessity. Like more headbands made of softer leather with thicker padding, or going all-wood or all-aluminum on the driver housings. If imaging accuracy isn't all that important, get Grados. For long term comfort, do the proper bending on the headband frame, plus maybe try the more comfortable earpads (even if they're not the ones that come with whatever you buy), including the mods that can allow for mounting a circumaural earpad from another brand. Used to be the only option for that was the $200+ Beyer adapter from Headphile, but there's a kit coming out using Superlux (AKG) parts (that can also mount real AKG earpads).

post #4 of 10
Thread Starter 
Alright, so the AKG Q701 seem to fit my needs pretty well. Only thing I'm worried about is the strange plug at the headphone end of the cable. No 3rd party cables, no microphone support (like the V-Moda BoomPro or the custome one pro one).

About Sennheiser and Beyer - most of their phones are coming with non replaceable cable. Though especially the HD 600 looked to fit my needs as well, but I am still worried about the cables. My old AKG and Sony monitor's cable broke. But I guess a well made cabling should last at least a decade and replacing them afterwards shouldn't be that much of an issue.
Tbh it's all about the possibility to plug in those microphones. I don't want another cable dangle around, what's the case with the ModMic for instance.

Thanks.
post #5 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by HowardBateman View Post

Alright, so the AKG Q701 seem to fit my needs pretty well. Only thing I'm worried about is the strange plug at the headphone end of the cable. No 3rd party cables, no microphone support (like the V-Moda BoomPro or the custome one pro one).

 

1. It's called a mini-XLR.

 

2. 

http://www.ebay.com/itm/One-Furutech-iHP-35X-OCC-Copper-Cable-AKG-Studio-MKII-Q701-K702-HDJ-2000-/291284418955?pt=US_Video_Cables_Adapters&hash=item43d1e7818b

 

http://www.ebay.com/itm/36-Portable-AKG-Headphone-Cable-Q701-K702-Canare-cable-3-5mm-for-iPod-iPhone-/121387494143?pt=US_Replacement_Parts_Tools&hash=item1c43422aff

 

http://www.ebay.com/itm/2-5M-Upgrade-Headphone-Cables-For-Q701-K-702-271-272-181-Neutrik-6-3mm-Plug-/251581370618?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&var=&hash=item3a936b10fa

 

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Replacement-6-35mm-to-Mini-XLR-Headphone-cable-1-5M-for-AKG-Q701-K702-HDJ2000-/271681778464?pt=US_MP3_Player_Cables_Adapters&hash=item3f417ef320

 

http://www.ebay.com/itm/10-AKG-Headphone-Cable-Q701-K702-Mini-XLR-Canare-3-5mm-Or-1-4-iPod-iPhone-/171289465652?pt=US_Replacement_Parts_Tools&hash=item27e1a5d334

 

http://www.ebay.com/itm/HIGH-END-HEADPHONE-CABLE-FOR-AKG-K702-Q701-K240-K271-AND-MORE-/331239013838?pt=US_Headphones&hash=item4d1f623dce

 

3. Modmic isn't as difficult to manage - you can just coil the ModMic cable around the headphone cable. If you go with the eBay sellers there you might be able to ask them to coil them for you and then put a jacket over the whole thing so everything's neater.

post #6 of 10
Thread Starter 
Alright, touche for this mini-XLR thingy. Didn't look much into it cause I instantly thought that this would be another move from a company to restraint the customer, like Apple with their lightning cable and so on.

Still, I don't like the idea of a ModMic. But maybe I will get used to it.

To the grados - I just looked around and saw that they're pretty present in the modding scene. Would I go fine with just getting the G-Cush pads for the 325's? Or do I need to regard some other things since the circumaural pads will change the sound signature?

And what about the DAC issue in the first post I have?

I will take a closer look at the HD 600 and Q701 now. Thanks, guys.

Edit: Q701 got a strike. Don't seem sturdy enough for me. HD 650 seem fine, now I have to find some local shops where I can try these 3 boys.
Edited by HowardBateman - 11/28/14 at 12:34pm
post #7 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by HowardBateman View Post

Alright, touche for this mini-XLR thingy. Didn't look much into it cause I instantly thought that this would be another move from a company to restraint the customer, like Apple with their lightning cable and so on.

 

You can actually DIY that cable by searching for mini-XLR plugs, but the thing with that headphone design is that the + and GND wil lstill be carried over to the right cup by the thin wires running through the headband. That's even worse than the 1.5in or so of copper wire from teh HD6x0 terminals going to the drivers, which at least are symmetrical. Many just drilled a hole on the right cup and made a dual-entry for their AKGs. Personally, the only real need to get a different cable is to get a shorter one to replace a damaged cable, so just buy a quality copper cable with the right terminations. See if there's anything made with StarQuad cables for example.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by HowardBateman View Post

Still, I don't like the idea of a ModMic. But maybe I will get used to it.
 
Where are you going to plug in the mic anyway? Unless I'm missing something in your posts, I only see that you're currently using an HT receiver. Are you going to use these for gaming?
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by HowardBateman View Post

To the grados - I just looked around and saw that they're pretty present in the modding scene. Would I go fine with just getting the G-Cush pads for the 325's? Or do I need to regard some other things since the circumaural pads will change the sound signature?
 
 
Note that the Grados' sound change a lot when you mod them, more so when you take the drivers farther from the ears (as with circumaural pads) than with adding length to the airchamber. From a technical standpoint it's more correct though, but I'd rather use the mods that would allow for other kinds of circumaural pads. The Grados that aren't voiced for use with their own circumaurals tend to sound too thin with inarticulate bass with them, likely due to the lack of density on top of driver distance. You can search for the "glue mod" and "tape mod" though, and see how specific Grado headphones do on the modded circumaurals.
 
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by HowardBateman View Post

And what about the DAC issue in the first post I have?
 
How do you get the DLNA server to feed the music into the DAC? if for example you're using a network A/V receiver that can route the audio from the DLNA device out through an SPDIF pass-through then get a DAC-HPamp, these will likely drive the headphones better if you pick the right one.
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by HowardBateman View Post

Edit: Q701 got a strike. Don't seem sturdy enough for me. HD 650 seem fine, now I have to find some local shops where I can try these 3 boys.
 

Note that the HD6x0 headphones have a flaking problem on the finish of the plastic cover on the headband. That part is painted, and when the headband expands enough and often enough over time, the paint starts cracking then comes off. A minor issue personally but better you know that now; anyways it's easier to get inidividual parts for Sennheiser, including that headband part, and they're easier to take apart too.

post #8 of 10
Thread Starter 
ModMic would be plugged into an external sound card of my laptop, headphones into the AVR or HPAmp. As far as it comes to dedicated headphone amps, I like the FiiO products. Seem sturdy and high quality for a nice price. I was going to get the e09k + e07k combo. Though they don't have an optical input.

I would probably get a 1/4inch > cinch cable and plug it into the headphone output of the amp. Would that make any problems, since it's a headphone output? Other idea would've been to make a DIY cable and plug it into the speaker output on the back. Same question there - would that be a problem? Like impedance or sound wise?

I know exactly what I want, but I don't know how to implement it. Also, it's hard for me to explain it in a non native language. German forums couldn't help me, though.

Let me try it once again, as good and precise as possible:

I need a solution to control my music stored on a USB HDD or other storage device besides my phone/pc remotely. The playback via the device source should have at least a shuffle and repeat function. User interface should either be on my phone or TV. All in all I need to play my digital music without my pc in a player that offers USB support and a shuffle/repeat function.

I hope that'd somewhat clearer than the stuff in my first post.


Thanks.


BTW: as for now it's about HD 650 vs Fidelio X2. I just don't like AKG and the Grados seem awesome, but I would have to mod them until they are what the senns and the Fidelio already offer - circumaural headphones with detachable cable. So they're out as well..
post #9 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by HowardBateman View Post

ModMic would be plugged into an external sound card of my laptop, headphones into the AVR or HPAmp. As far as it comes to dedicated headphone amps, I like the FiiO products. Seem sturdy and high quality for a nice price. I was going to get the e09k + e07k combo. Though they don't have an optical input.

 

Can you detail how exactly that entire system is wired up? At this point I'm going to guess you're using the external soundcard to feed an SPDIF signal to the receiver, then you hook up the ModMic to the same soundcard; in which case, yeah there shouldn't be any problem.

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by HowardBateman View Post

I would probably get a 1/4inch > cinch cable and plug it into the headphone output of the amp. Would that make any problems, since it's a headphone output? Other idea would've been to make a DIY cable and plug it into the speaker output on the back. Same question there - would that be a problem? Like impedance or sound wise?
 
That depends on the amp circuit, but the number one concern will be to NOT do that on just any headphone cable. Make sure your headphone cable has four conductors throughout, because if you just wire up speaker cables to a regular 3-pin TRS socket, you can say goodbye to the receiver, because they aren't supposed to share the "-" pin.
 
HiFiMan sells the kind of adapter you need, you might as well just get that and then the right kind of cable for whatever headphone you use. Don't assume that just because a headphone has dual-entry cables means you can just use it - at the very least you'll need to replace the plug, then solder the - of the left and right drivers to their new dedicated pins (on a regular single-ended set-up both of them share the same - pin).
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by HowardBateman View Post

I need a solution to control my music stored on a USB HDD or other storage device besides my phone/pc remotely. The playback via the device source should have at least a shuffle and repeat function. User interface should either be on my phone or TV. All in all I need to play my digital music without my pc in a player that offers USB support and a shuffle/repeat function.
 
The simplest way to do that kind of interface is an A/V receiver with a Network function. For example the Onkyo TX-NR5x5 can be hooked up via LAN cable to your router, so if you have an NAS accessible via your home network, all you need to do is install the Onkyo player app into a smartphone and you can browse the content of the NAS while the receiver plays them like it has a CDP built in.
 
The problem then is no USB. The thing is, every other option without some kind of general purpose computer will not have a USB, because dedicated audio equipment like music servers (with or without LAN capability) use SPDIF. If a smartphone will be used solely as an interface - ie, basically a more complex, feature-rich remote control where you browse your music library - then you'll have to use either a music server with (W)LAN capability (this is how the phone functions as a remote, as well as access to remote drives, as some don't have built-in HDDs or USB ports for storage drives) which again uses SPDIF, or you can set-up a headless audio server using an Android or Windows miniPC. "Headless" here just means that you will use a low-power, very tiny form factor PC as a music server without a monitor - you only need one for the initial set-up, after which all controls will be on the smartphone. Just Google "headless audio server" and you'll come up with tutorials on how to set up one as well as what miniPCs are out there.
 
 
 
post #10 of 10
Thread Starter 

You, mate, are the man! The 3 words "headless audio server" solved all my problems.

After some research I found an Android version of "Music Player Daemon" which can be controlled by another Android device via an app.

It offers all I need. So I will be getting an ODroid U3 as the Server, hook it up to my network and my receiver and plug the HPAmp in between(Odroid via USB[if possible] or AUX into the HPAmp[FiiO E09k/E07k combo] which goes then into my AVR via simple cinch cables.). USB HDD into the ODroid, HDMI into my TV, done! At least thats what I thought. There shouldn't be any problem with this, or did I miss something?

 

To the ModMic question: The ModMic would be plugged into an ASUS Xonar U7 card which is plugged into my Laptop. This Sound Card is connected to my AVR via a 1/8" plug > cinch cable. Probably the HPAmp would be connected to the PC when I have it, but thats what it is for now. Then I just use my headphones via the AVR or the HPAmp through the PC input.

If I decide to get the Fidelio's the impedance of them allow me to plug it straight into the soundcard, since I think its not powerful enough to drive the HD 650's 300 ohms.

 

So far thanks A LOT. As I said, you completely solved my problem regarding the setup. Now I only have to decide which cans I am going to get. I guess A/B comparison is the best thing to do so.


Edited by HowardBateman - 11/30/14 at 4:51pm
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