A real head-scratcher
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GanChan

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Well, I'm not sure what to do. I've been planning to use the money I get from returning my HD555 to get an Equinox cable for my HD590. Then I started realizing that this summer is going to be a noisy one, what with the air conditioner going full blast, the occasional use of my front projector, and who knows what kind of neighbors might move in next to me at any moment. So now I'm weighing my original idea of improving my 590 with the alternative of buying a good quality closed (un-amped) phone that won't make me feel like I'm calling in the second-string team. Can't afford the CD3000, and probably can't go for the A900 either, even though that seems like the logical choice. I COULD go A500, if I was sure that its soundstage is sufficient for movies and that it goes well with classical/jazz music. I get the impression that it may be a little too "warm" sounding for me (the HD555 was). The Trackmasters get a crazy-wide range of reviews from great to awful, and I think there will be comfort issues.

I have the 280 Pro, and it does an acceptable job, but it's just not quite dynamic enough to be primary isolating headphone. My V6 is more fun, but it just doesn't create any sort of soundstage (which they were never designed for anyway).

I've forgotten what my point was. I guess I could just use some general input. I really was set on the Equinox, but what's the point of buying cable for a phone that I won't be able to use with a noisy AC anyway?

 
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lindrone

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A500 is not nearly as warm as other Sennheiser headphones, although I've never tried HD555 myself, so I can't tell you how that compares.

I have owned a HD590 before, and the amount of warmth (in sound, not temperature) is about the same between HD590 and Axxx series in general. Not sure A500 is an improvement over the HD590 though, I think HD590 is more in between the A500 and A900 in terms of overall sound quality.
 
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GanChan

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Quote:

Originally posted by lindrone
A500 is not nearly as warm as other Sennheiser headphones, although I've never tried HD555 myself, so I can't tell you how that compares.

I have owned a HD590 before, and the amount of warmth (in sound, not temperature) is about the same between HD590 and Axxx series in general. Not sure A500 is an improvement over the HD590 though, I think HD590 is more in between the A500 and A900 in terms of overall sound quality.


Well, that's fairly encouraging news. Even if the A500 isn't quite a match for the 590, it sounds like it doesn't really embarass itself in comparison either. If it's sorta-kinda in the same league, then it may be my closed-phone solution. But lindrone, I do have some concern about what you stated in your review about the oddities in the frontal soundstage, especially when you mentioned the dreaded word "fatigue"....
 
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GanChan

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Here's my latest battle plan: I'm going to buy the Equinox cable, burn it in for 50 hours, and do as much critical and comparative listening with it as I can within the 30-day trial period. If the improvement over the stock cable is major, I'll keep the Equinox, thus retaining my HD590 as my primary phone, and then order the A500 as my go-to closed phone. (I'm sure it'll be better than my 280 Pro for this purpose, except maybe for isolation.) If I DON'T hear sufficient improvement with the Equinox, then I'll return the cable and shoot the whole bankroll on the A900.

Either way I spend about the same amount of money, but at least this way I get to try some of it first, risk free, and if I'm lucky, pay in two chunks instead of one.

Whaddya think?
 
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wallijonn

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Guess you can always turn on the air conditioner to cool to 70 degrees and when it stops running turn it up to 80 degrees. That should give you a little while to listen to music.

Seeing as you will probably end up buying another closed phone, I'd probably go with something like the K240S/55 or an Ultrasone or the A900 or a CD780 or a DT770/80 or a DT250/80, or a DT440, etc., and sell the HD280 outright.
 
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GanChan

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Quote:

Originally posted by wallijonn
Guess you can always turn on the air conditioner to cool to 70 degrees and when it stops running turn it up to 80 degrees. That should give you a little while to listen to music.

Seeing as you will probably end up buying another closed phone, I'd probably go with something like the K240S/55 or an Ultrasone or the A900 or a CD780 or a DT770/80 or a DT250/80, or a DT440, etc., and sell the HD280 outright.


Unfortunately, the headband is cracked on my 280 Pro, so I wouldn't get much for them in a sale. I hear the Ultrasones are prone to the same problem....

Is the CD780 really closed?? I thought it was semi-open.

What it boils down to for me is: I have a budget about 200 bucks. With that approximate amount, I can buy either (a) the A900, or other comparable $200 closed phone, or (b) uprgade my HD590 with an Equinox cable and also buy a $100 closed can. Those are my options as I see them.

 
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Iron_Dreamer

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Quote:

Originally posted by GanChan
Unfortunately, the headband is cracked on my 280 Pro, so I wouldn't get much for them in a sale. I hear the Ultrasones are prone to the same problem....


The pair I bought has that problem, but it doesn't seem like they will fall apart any time soon, and they sound good, so I don't care
 
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TheBigDu

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yes, the CD780's are open, and supposedly on par with the A500s for sound, though lindrone says that they'll heat up a little bit more than the A500/A900's (even though these phones are closed).
 
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Taurui

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Funny how ATH-phones are similar to ANY phone on the market. They're similar to CD3ks, similar to CD780s, now they're similar to Senns, I've even heard they're similar to Grado.
I wonder what they actually DO sound like.
Maybe like ATH-cans?


-Taurui

(Btw, CD780s are very very open)
 
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xand

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Why don't you see if you can stretch for HFI-650?

It's hard to imagine that it'll be worthwhile getting the A500 given that you already have the V6 and HD280.

Perhaps it might be a good idea to liquidate either one of those?

(and getting a A900 or HFI650)
 
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GanChan

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Quote:

Originally posted by xand
Why don't you see if you can stretch for HFI-650?

It's hard to imagine that it'll be worthwhile getting the A500 given that you already have the V6 and HD280.

Perhaps it might be a good idea to liquidate either one of those?

(and getting a A900 or HFI650)


Well, I'd figured that the A500 was a cut above the V6/280 Pro, even if they didn't really cost much more. Was I wrong?

I have been waffling a little between the A900 and the HFI650. It appears that the A900 may have a wider soundstage and better bass, but the 650 is a little cheaper, and Jan Meier might have a return policy....I wouldn't really want to liquidate my V6 for that purpose though, since the V6 is my portable phone and I would be afraid to go portable with either the A900 or the 650. Anybody wanna buy a hardly-used Koss UR-29?...
 
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Quote:

yes, the CD780's are open, and supposedly on par with the A500s for sound, though lindrone says that they'll heat up a little bit more than the A500/A900's


Yeah, CD780 sounds pretty good but it's cloth covers your entire ears, sort of a blanket over your ears (a bit warmer than A500/A900/A1000).

I don't know about if your V6 is portabe rig or not, but can some of your existing closed phones for a better one? I mean if you don't really need other closed phones, V6/HD280 (although damaged), I would sell 'em and jump to A900. Sound stage of A900 was better than most of other phones in its price range (I haven't heard HFI-650 yet). Of course, your milage may vary.
 
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wallijonn

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So, how much is a new headband? (Probably about $50, I'd guess. Why throw good money after bad?)

I wouldn't throw them away. Sooner or later someone will blow a HD280 driver, and you'll have two for sale.

Will a "cheap" XOS headband work on the HD280?
 
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GanChan

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I might sell some things. Like a kidney....

Looks like Meier Audio has a 30-day return policy, minus restock fee and shipping, so that makes them a safer purchase than the A900...except of course that the A900 would sell in about 5 seconds if I wished to do so.

If the A500 approaches the ballpark of the HD590 in quality, I would still go with it and save some money. But if it truly can't compete, then that would narrows the field to the Ultrasone and the A900. Anyone have both these phones?

Let me clarify my usage: 50% classical/jazz, 50% DVD movies. Seeking a closed alternative to my HD590. Doesn't have to be quite as good as the 590, but must be significantly better than the 280 Pro or V6. Soundstage, clarity, and wide frequency range have priority. $150 or less would be ideal, but I know reality isn't always my friend.
 
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GanChan

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Okay, I've reached some solid conclusions based on further thought and everyone's help:

1. I don't want to fully retire my HD590, because I want both a good open phone and a good closed phone. That means I will almost certainly be buying an Equinox cable to optimize it.

2. This means that the $200 level is now definitely out of my reach. And I haven't really found anything lying around my house that I want to sell (I'm a pack rat), so I may have to leave the A900 aside. That still leaves the A500. The Ultrasone HFI650 is a little out of range for me too now, but I might be able to get either a used model or an HFI500 DJ1, which gets relatively few reviews here, though Jan characterizes them as being between the Trackmaster and the DVD in tonal balance. I believe they have the same "3-D" technology, or whatever it is that Ultrasone uses for soundstaging, as the other models.

So there it is. A500 vs. HFI500 (unless I luck out on an HFI650). It's hard to find direct comparisons between these three phones. I'd settle for a comparison of any two of them, regarding soundstage, detail, and bass response. Thanks!
 
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