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How can this be... I prefer my 50$ Koss PortaPro than my 150$ Denon 950? Help!

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
This is kind of weird, but i find myself spending more time listening to my techno, electronica and rock music with my Koss PortaPro than my Denon950. Its difficult to describe but i feel the music more with the Portapro. Its like my brain is physically reacting to the every peaks, bass wave, etc, of the songs. Maybe it is because the drivers are directly touching my ears... With the Denon950, even if the sound is a lot more clear and the bass more defined, its like all the sound is there but its only sound that have no impact on me, so im sitting there hearing everything but feeling nothing... And im not some dumBass, i also own a pair of Sennheiser545 and the music through these cans is just breathaking(classical, ambiant, etc). I also have heard the Senn580 and i known how music can become just sublime through some good headphones, so that why im so dissapointed with my Denon. Also the Bass on the Denon is good and deep but can become fatiguing on techno music, something i never feel with Portapro.
What im wondering now, and if someone have the Portapro maybe you can help(if you don't you can help too ), is there any Grado having the same general effects of the Portapro, i mean i definitely know that the sound is way way better than the Koss but are they giving you the same general physical and emotionnal effect. I can not easily demo those grado so if you guys can recommand the one that is best suited for me, i will listen mostly to techno, electronica and alternative(or rock). I think Grado325 is the best because of the bass, but what is the second best, i can not make my mind between 225 and 125, wich one is better? Are the drivers directly on the ears? Please help, im actually going to sell my Denon950 to go with a pair of Grado so i need good advice, and give me a lot of detail and impression please... Thanks a lot guys.
post #2 of 11
Hi Anokha---

I had the Denon 550s for a bit and own the SportaPro (same drivers as the Porta). I think your perception and preference is based on a few points:
1) open vs closed---the Denons are a "classic" old fashioned closed headphone, with a flat soundstage and a heavy emphasis towards lower frequencies, i.e. a "warm" sound. The Koss though also warm are less heavily biased towards bass, and have more of a balance towards the middle frequencies---lower mids, true, but still less bassy than closed cans. The Koss phones having open backs let the transducer "breathe" more and there is less sound wave backwash which gives the music a bit of a crisper cleaner sound throughout all ranges.
2) perceived distance from the soundstage---my Denons made you feel as if you were some distance from the music. Not as far away as with the Senn 580s, but not as close as the Porta/Sportas. This distance on the psychoacoustic level could be seen as less engaging for the listener and maybe even fatiguing.
3) 50mm drivers---my major complaint about the 550 was that the bass though precise was slow, due perhaps to my theory of the different physical characteristics of moving a larger (heavier) driver. Very few phones use a 50mm driver (most are 40mm or smaller) and I think this is the reason. The slowness of the transducer in moving variably with low frequencies means that the bass sometimes echoes and causes overlap problems with the mids in some music, especially bass heavy stuff, like what you listen to. This gives the sound a hollow and artificial effect.

I know the 950s use a different diamond coated transducer or some such fancy shmancy stuff, so maybe they are not as prone to "slow bass" as the 550s, but I have my doubts as to whether diamond coating a transducer will help it sound better. (It does look better in advertising copy though, and does something something to exoplain why the the 950s are 2.5x as much as the 550s! )

I also empathize that this is my own little theory and it has no backing from anyone with any real technical knowleged. If someone would like to educate me on the essential dumbness of my theory, please do so in a gentle and constructive manner!

Anyway, the upshot Anokha, is thar buying Grados will make you happy. The Grados do everything the Portas can plus much much more and I think you will find Grados will eventually completely edge out the Denons (unless you have ongoing use for a closed set of phones.) The Grados are more upfront in their soundstage and really engage the listener. They are better balanced than either the Denons or the Portas, and they handle bass very well, with precision, speed, and impact at least at the level of the SR125 and above.

As to which Grado, if you cannot afford the 325, buy the 125. I think the 225 does not sound different enough from the 125 to warrant paying any extra money for it. I listened to both phones for close to 90 minutes with a few different CDs and both phones were thoroughly burned in before deciding. This is minorly controversial, as the 225 certainly has its fans who perhaps will speak up for it here, but it is only my opinion of course. I think either the 125 or the 325 would be fine for your needs.

hope this helps!

post #3 of 11
Thread Starter 
Thanks for anwering so fast delenda est Sony, man you actually answer just the way i wanted and also read my mind on how i perceive my Denon. Actually a lot of stuff that i forgot to mention in my first message, you point out in your response... like how the denon sound slow compare to other headphones. Your right, and also the sound distance from the music that i find fatiguing on the Denon but that is just fine on my sennheiser. Anyway, I also had the denon550 but returned them to the store for denon950 because i couldnt wear the 550 more than 45 min, they are so uncomfortable, they are so tight like claws holding your head.
Your right, i dont have that amount of money to spend on the 325, but i can afford the 125 or 225. I have read a lot of post on this forum about the difference between 125 and 225 and i can not see a clear winner. And on other reviews site, some say 225 is the best rockandroll headphone out there(headphone.com) and other say 225 are muddy, dark and not offer clear details.(http://www.hifichoice.co.uk/archive/...rintreview.htm). But 125 seems to be praised on every review site. But since im not thinking of upgrading soon and want to buy the best can i can afford(i will use at home hooked to a jvc homesystem with preamp and amp), i want to choose right. Any last suggestion between these two grado... Again thanks a lot for the help!
post #4 of 11
I think I know exactly what you mean. I had the same experience with every Senn model or anything else I tried thats available aorund here; there's the sound, it's very good, clear detailed etc, but it doesn't affect you. the only headphones that I've found satisfying in that aspect are the $20 mx500s I own and the Beyer DT770. I've had the Grado sr60 for some time, but that was the same thing, impact and all, but no emotion, no airguitar, no tapping your toes. I can't tell you anything about the higher end models tho.

I really think the DT770 might be your best bet, specially for the genres you listed. they need a bit of an amp tho, a portable wont be much good on its own. I guess matching it with a high-end tube amp might be even better, as mid-range is not their specialty (tonaly, I prefer my mx500s over them for instance), but not neccesary.
post #5 of 11
Thread Starter 
Anyone addict to electronica and techno music happy with there Grado 125 or 225? I know 325 would be the best bacause of the strong bass, but if the the 125 or 225 have the same amount of bass the PortaPro have, i can't see how that's not enough... Anyone that have compare the 125-225 with 325 but still satisfied bringing back home the 125-225 for there techno music and still don't regret it?
I also can get a used pair of Grado125 for 65$US, should i go for it or the bass, for the the music taste i have, is just not enough, so i should wait and get the 225 or 325?
post #6 of 11
Hey Ano---

I liked the 325s sound a lot, but I did not like it enough to spend double the cost of the 125s on it. If you are wildly in love with the Grado sound (i.e. you have heard it and liked it) than save up for the 325s. If you are a newcomer to the Grado sound, I cannot imagine that the 125s will disappoint. Again, the 225s cost more and did not sound very different from the 125s, at least to me.

As for used phones, unless buying with a warranty or from someone you trust (like a head-Fi member!!) avoid em. Sort of like buying a used sports car or a pre-owned guard dog; mistreatment from prior owner is quite iikely!
post #7 of 11
Odd, my main complaint about my KSC-50s (Porta drivers) was that they didn't have an inviting, enveloping sound.

My cure was the same as Braver's: the Beyer DT-770s. High impact, and yet smooth and enveloping at the same time. And hella bass. :P But as Braver said, make sure you've got a decent source driving them, they're definately on the power-hungry side.
post #8 of 11

If you're thinking about the Grado 125s, you might also consider the Alessandro MS-1s. They're made by Grado to Joe Alessandro's specifications and share much in common with the 125 and even a little with the 225. Some here have likened them to the Grado SR-80s, but I own a pair of MS-1s and feel that they're definitely well beyond that and firmly into the 125's league.

The difference is in your wallet---the MS-1s are $99.00 shipped from Alessandro (with comfy pads and choice of connector, either standard 1/4" stereo plug or 1/8" mini-plug with a sheath adapter for 1/4").

Ninety-nine bucks is a significant savings over either the Grado 125 or 225.

I can't comment on the Beyers (haven't heard 'em), but I believe you'll be wildly happy with whatever upgrade you choose.

post #9 of 11
very curious (original) query. Quite a coicidence, too. I have both Portapro's, which i use for running and with which i have been very happy generally, and Denon 950's, which i don't use so much, but listened to recently, on which occasion the thought was precipitated: it sure would be nice to have some headphones for running that sound as good as the Denon's.

So I do appreciate yr post, as it will motivate me try to see advantages of the portapro's, and possibly be more satisfied with them. (I've generally considered them way better than could reasonably be expected for their price and application, but...)
post #10 of 11

If you like the Grado sound & can get a good used 125 for $65US- BUY IT!!!!!! You should be able to sell them in the future for about the same if you keep them nice. That $65 is a tiny investment relative to the $$$$ for 225's or 325's, so I say go for the used 125 now just to get something Grado. I bought Grado SR80's on that theory (since my audio store did not have anything better Grado in stock at the time the Grado bug hit me). I now listen to those 80s (via a JMT amp) for 90+% of my headphone listening. I have read many opinions that the sound difference between the 80's and 125's is quite small, so I think my next "upgrado" will be a larger $$$ jump to the 225's or 325's (prob. the latter). I may also invest in HD600's for a different audio style, but I won't invest the $300 without extensively auditioning a set first. If I like the Grado sound I may not enjoy the HD600's presentation.

post #11 of 11
Go get yourself a headphone amp and a pair of Beyer DT770's. Now. They sound AMAZING with electronic music.

Search for Tomcat's posts regarding the DT770. You'll find out a wealth of good posts about them.
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