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Best headphones for classical music - Page 12

post #166 of 176

yes i agree with paul. upstream gear are very important.this is the one of biggest reason why headphone evaluations are so dividend among head-fiers.

Different setup makes different results.

I auditioned benchmark DAC2(2000$) with my HD650 at my home today (dealer lent me a unit). with DAC2, HD650 sounds one of best i have ever heard.

Invocation do you use JDS elements? I also own Elements, Elements and O2 are not so bad. but sound tend to clinical and harsh.

i guess there are better DAC/amps in the market.


Edited by Pokemonn - 12/25/15 at 2:20am
post #167 of 176
Quote:
Originally Posted by Invocation View Post
 

  I need some recommendation on a headphone. Currently I am using HD600, one of the "safest" choice of mid-fi headphones for classical (my first series headphone). While I am very happy with its analytical presentation as well as its beautiful treble, I still feel it lacks something when listening to large symphonic works. It is hard to say, but I just think I cannot feel the "excitement" that I enjoy in concert halls. It could be the neutral sound taste, or its more controlled bass. So I am thinking of getting a second headphone mainly for music with large scale and plenty of dynamic. I expect something with a large soundstage, clear separation of instrument, full range of sound that is powerful but does not cause fatigue easily.

   My budget is 500-800 USD so that rules out HD800 or T1. I have tried HD650 but I do not like its recessed treble and I feel it is kind of similar as HD600, and I want to try something with more difference. Any suggestions?

   Thanks in advance!

Hi there! I think sometimes it's more to do with how the originally large scale music was recorded. The sound stage of orchestral recordings can vary quite a bit depending on how the engineers had placed the mics and also on how the recordings are later mastered. Just thought I'd mention that as I listen to a lot of large scale orchestral music too and noticed differences in the spaciousness of various recordings.

 

Anyways, this year in August I happened to be at the CanJam in London and managed to audition the HiFiMAN HE400S planar magnetic headphones and I must say I was pleasantly surprised by how well it performed for classical & orchestral music. The frequencies were well balanced resulting in clarity, and the sound stage was more than decent. The best part is that it doesn't require much amplification to perform well due to the low impedance and relatively high sensitivity (by planar magnetic headphone standards). It struck me as one of the best bang-for-buck headphones as I also had the chance to listen to the flagship HE1000 (at 10 times the price), and the SQ of the HE400S was to me, more than half as good as that of the HE1000. Definitely check out the HE400S if you have the chance. I personally would consider getting a pair if I didn't already have my more than decent all-rounder HD650. :)

post #168 of 176
Having both, I have had ample opportunity to compare the HD600 and HE-400i. On a solid-state amp, and for large scale, highly dynamic orchestral music (Shostakovich, Mahler, Bruckner), I prefer the HE-400i. With an OTL tube amp, it is a different story...
post #169 of 176
Quote:
Originally Posted by pauliunas View Post

First of all, I wouldn't call HD600 "mid-fi", I think "mid-fi" could only be something below 200$.
Then what you're trying to describe is warmth, as far as I understand... Can you tell us, what's your source? Although I'm new to head-fi and I'm on a budget, I think it's absolutely not worth it spending over 500$ just to get some warmth, and then throw away your already amazing HD600. Alternatively, you might look into getting a better source. For example, I can compare experiences when listening to my ATH-AD900 from my PC/smartphone/tablet/whatever and from my not-so-budget stereo system. The difference is not only marginal - it's day and night! And the main difference is warmth. Amazing warmth that doesn't compromise the clarity (actually the clarity is even greater, too). As HD600 is a much better pair of headphones, and it has much more potential in bass reproduction, when paired with the right source. So, my recommendation, start looking for a good source. Many people recommend Magni+Modi or ODAC+O2 as a starting point, but your budget is higher, so get creative wink.gif

 

I normally listen to music from my working desktop. The DAC/amp I paired with it is JDS Elements, which is basically ODAC+O2 but it is smaller and I like the design. As Pokemonn said it might not be the DAC/amp I want to pair with HD600 but I feel it might be better to get a headphone as a complement of 600 rather than change the DAC/amp. No, I never said I will throw away my HD600. I love it, and it works great for strings and small ensembles. I just think about getting another one specifically for larger scale symphonic works like Mahler.

post #170 of 176
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pokemonn View Post
 

yes i agree with paul. upstream gear are very important.this is the one of biggest reason why headphone evaluations are so dividend among head-fiers.

Different setup makes different results.

I auditioned benchmark DAC2(2000$) with my HD650 at my home today (dealer lent me a unit). with DAC2, HD650 sounds one of best i have ever heard.

Invocation do you use JDS elements? I also own Elements, Elements and O2 are not so bad. but sound tend to clinical and harsh.

i guess there are better DAC/amps in the market.


Yes, Pokemonn. Mine is the JDS element, which is the same as ODAC/O2 but it is smaller. The reason I bought it is because I do not want to stack one DAC and another amp on my desk. I do not have that much space for that and the Element is quite cute and can be easily placed under my computer monitor. The other reason I am thinking about get another can rather than another DAC/amp is because I think it is good to have two headphones, one for larger scale music and another for smaller. But once you use the same amount of money to upgrade the DAC/amp, your older one would become a waste of money. And I do not think I can sell the Element at a decent price on the second-hand market as it is not that popular here (did not see many people trading it). What do you think?

 

By the way, have you tried oppo PM-3 for classical music?

 

And a friend suggested me to try a tub amp yesterday. He said WA7 would be a good choice to pair my HD600 and it is also very small. Well, WA7 is not cheap so I need to save some money for that if I decide to go for it...


Edited by Invocation - 12/25/15 at 12:56pm
post #171 of 176
Quote:
Originally Posted by ClassicalViola View Post
 

Hi there! I think sometimes it's more to do with how the originally large scale music was recorded. The sound stage of orchestral recordings can vary quite a bit depending on how the engineers had placed the mics and also on how the recordings are later mastered. Just thought I'd mention that as I listen to a lot of large scale orchestral music too and noticed differences in the spaciousness of various recordings.

 

Anyways, this year in August I happened to be at the CanJam in London and managed to audition the HiFiMAN HE400S planar magnetic headphones and I must say I was pleasantly surprised by how well it performed for classical & orchestral music. The frequencies were well balanced resulting in clarity, and the sound stage was more than decent. The best part is that it doesn't require much amplification to perform well due to the low impedance and relatively high sensitivity (by planar magnetic headphone standards). It struck me as one of the best bang-for-buck headphones as I also had the chance to listen to the flagship HE1000 (at 10 times the price), and the SQ of the HE400S was to me, more than half as good as that of the HE1000. Definitely check out the HE400S if you have the chance. I personally would consider getting a pair if I didn't already have my more than decent all-rounder HD650. :)

 

Thanks Mr. Viola:) It seems the price of HE400S is quite acceptable. The problem is that I cannot find a hi-fi store nearby so I cannot try it in person, which is actually crucial... Have you compared HE400S with 400i or 560? And how does 400S compared to 650 considering orchestral music like Mahler or Bruckner? I tried 650 a few times and I think it fits better then my 600 on orchestral music, but I just do not want to get another Senn at the similar price range...

post #172 of 176
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Invocation View Post
 

 

I normally listen to music from my working desktop. The DAC/amp I paired with it is JDS Elements, which is basically ODAC+O2 but it is smaller and I like the design. As Pokemonn said it might not be the DAC/amp I want to pair with HD600 but I feel it might be better to get a headphone as a complement of 600 rather than change the DAC/amp. No, I never said I will throw away my HD600. I love it, and it works great for strings and small ensembles. I just think about getting another one specifically for larger scale symphonic works like Mahler.

Well, you don't see drastic difference from upgrading headphones. Unless you go crazy and spend thousands on your equipment. And if you get headphones that are better for orchestral works, they will probably be better for everything else. Have you tried a tube amp?

post #173 of 176
Quote:
Originally Posted by Invocation View Post
 

 

Thanks Mr. Viola:) It seems the price of HE400S is quite acceptable. The problem is that I cannot find a hi-fi store nearby so I cannot try it in person, which is actually crucial... Have you compared HE400S with 400i or 560? And how does 400S compared to 650 considering orchestral music like Mahler or Bruckner? I tried 650 a few times and I think it fits better then my 600 on orchestral music, but I just do not want to get another Senn at the similar price range...

Unfortunately, I only managed to try the HE400S and HE1000 but not the 400i or 560. However, a quick search for reviews (Youtube videos or forums etc.) on the internet mostly seem to suggest that the 400S is one of the best options in the market at the moment, many even recommending it over the HD600/650 due to the relatively low budget required in order to bring out the max potential of the headphones (the latter two typically requiring significant amping). My own impressions suggest that the 400S seems to have a slightly better resolution/clarity than my 650 (might be due to the infamous Sennheiser veil :deadhorse:) but at the same time I also had the feeling that the 400S might become slightly fatiguing over longer listening periods due to the relatively more brilliant mid & higher frequencies. And the so called 'veil' is usually only noticeable when you've listened to brighter sounding headphones. Also, I must admit, and some have also kindly suggested, that while my equipment is technically driving my HD650 perfectly fine, it is not pushing the 650 to its max potential (mainly due to inconvenience of owning desktop gear as an international student), so perhaps the 650 are as capable as if not more than the 400S if it were driven to its limit.

 

Anyways, back to the music - Mahler & Bruckner! I think in general recording the works of these two composers is such a challenging task due to the complexity of the musical texture, that even modern recordings occasionally manage to sound only mediocre at best. So these days, although music is primarily about its expression and interpretation. I tend to be quite picky about the sound quality, because honestly and sadly, it's difficult for the poor quality of a recording to not get in the way of appreciating the music. But anyways, I think it'll be a good idea for classical fans here to share with each other particular recordings which they feel were well recorded. And last but not least, there's always Spotify or other similar services which allow you to sample the sound quality of the music first! :)

post #174 of 176
Quote:
Originally Posted by pauliunas View Post
 

Well, you don't see drastic difference from upgrading headphones. Unless you go crazy and spend thousands on your equipment. And if you get headphones that are better for orchestral works, they will probably be better for everything else. Have you tried a tube amp?


Not yet. I think I should seek for a hi-fier in my neighborhood so I can try different equipments... The major problem is that I live in a rather small town and cannot find a hi-fi shop here. Maybe next time when I visit a bigger city...

post #175 of 176
Quote:
Originally Posted by ClassicalViola View Post
 

Anyways, back to the music - Mahler & Bruckner! I think in general recording the works of these two composers is such a challenging task due to the complexity of the musical texture, that even modern recordings occasionally manage to sound only mediocre at best. So these days, although music is primarily about its expression and interpretation. I tend to be quite picky about the sound quality, because honestly and sadly, it's difficult for the poor quality of a recording to not get in the way of appreciating the music. But anyways, I think it'll be a good idea for classical fans here to share with each other particular recordings which they feel were well recorded. And last but not least, there's always Spotify or other similar services which allow you to sample the sound quality of the music first! :)

 

That's true. I feel their symphonies are hard to be captured live and detailed as well as giving you a full sense of concert hall so maybe I am asking too much. Never tried the top-end equipments but I doubt they can 100% reproduce the feeling I experienced in a concert hall listening to Mahler or Bruckner. By the way, so far the best recorded Mahler and Bruckner that I found are from the Japanese label Exton. Their recent issued Mahler cycle and selected Bruckner by Maestro Inbal has the best sound I experienced. And the performances are also first class. If you have a chance, have a try (those are all SACD).

post #176 of 176

I don't use HPs that often anymore, but when I do and listen to symphonies and chamber, I reach for my HE560. Very immersive. I had previously the GS1000i and LCD-2.2 (non-fazor), and decent as these were, they didn't do it for me, with classical music. With other genres, fine. The 560 is super, and no, I don't hear the treble peak that many claim is a deal-breaker for them.

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