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About to spend 400$ on cans, please help me make a good decision! Lots of details provided.

Discussion in 'Headphones (full-size)' started by toinfinity, Feb 14, 2013.
  1. ToInfinity
    Before I go into detail about my inquiry, I'd first like to make it known that this is my first post, although I've been obsessed with head-fi for about a week. I'm a mere infant in the world of true sound, so even the most basic explanations and details will be much appreciated. Secondly, I'd like to express my gratefulness for the extremely knowledgable foundation I've found with everyone here. This will be my home away from home (as far as the internet goes[​IMG]). Many thanks to any and all who take the time to supply good advice. 
    Now on to my inquiry! I've found a lot of good threads, but none quite answer my specific questions.
    I've recently purchased the ATH-M50's (a few days ago), which is the most expensive set of headphones I own. I'm upgrading from Skullcandy's Titans. I know, I know. Anyway, it seems that the ATH-50's are a hit and miss with my musical tastes; various sub-genres of melodic metal with sophisticated riffs and complicated/layered musical scores (instrument separation and detail is VERY important to me which provides reason to upgrade), classical, and bands like Paramore and He is We ( prominent female lead vocalists and for the most part simple compositions with an acoustic kind of feel ). I also enjoy electronic and dubstep quite a bit. With that variety of music I find that the M50's are about half of what I want. 
    I'm looking some cans (as everyone in the hi-fi world calls them [​IMG]) that are very accurate and neutral, but at the same provide SOME color and fun. So to put it numerically out of 100 parts: 70 parts accurate and 30 parts fun/colorful. If anything, I'd prefer the cans to have excellent mids and uppers rather than on the low end. Both of both worlds if possible.  I'l admit, when it comes to a lot of the technical terms and understanding of those terms, I get lost. Hence, very basic and fundamental desires and descriptions. 
    1. My price range is 400< for the cans. I'm willing to go ever so slightly above that if it is warranted. 
    I have a FiiO E17 on the way and would like to know some examples of cans/specs they can supply ample power to and then some that are slightly above its capability, and that way I know pretty well where my range is. I'd also like to know what DAC (200< ) you recommend, and if you think that a 13" Macbook Pro (early 2011) needs a good DAC anyway. I've heard good things about the E17/E9 combination.
    Some cans I'm very seriously considering are the HE-400, HD 600/650, and the DT 880 (250 ohm). The HE-400 have my greatest interest at the moment. I realize that these style headphones aren't really portable, but I will be using them on the move. Yes, right after I invested in the ATH-M50's..I fell head-first in love with the world of sound and I'm in the "that escalated very quickly" mind-set. [​IMG] As I've heard many times around these threads...."sorry for your wallet". How very, so very true. From nothing -->  ATH-M50's  --> 300+ cans and equipment in less than a week! Unbelievable!! Oh well [​IMG]
    • Considering my tastes in music (second paragraph), would the cans I mentioned be a suitable match in your opinion?
    • Which of those would you recommend? 
    • Do you think the E17/E9 combo will be effective for those caliber cans? If not, then what do you think would be? Portability is very important. 
    I'm open to any and all recommendations and advice, none of which have to limited to the equipment I mentions. I really would some help, I've been so single-minded about this adventure, and would very very very much appreciate guidance from those well-tread in this territory. So much thanks!!
  2. fortitude
    The HE-400's would be an excellent choice, but not if it's going to be a portable system.  Same goes for the HD600/650's.  But personally, I'd end up with the HE-400's and then a set of IEMs for portable use [​IMG]
  3. ToInfinity
    Thank you for your reply. I realize that open headphones aren't the best (or even decent) portable options because of sound isolation, but I'll give it a try in my environment. It's not really noisy on my college campus. And! I still have my M50's when the open-back will not suffice. Do you have any recommendation as far as accessories? How do you think the HE-400 compares to the others I mentioned? As I said, those are what my attention is focused on at the moment. Thanks again. 
  4. Cakensaur
    with such a varied music taste, have you ever considered buying multiple headphones instead of one REALLY REALLY good pair?
    i Threw off the chance of Beyer T1's for some AKG Q701, HD650(beat the hell out of HE-400 imo, but that's just me) and DT770 and a decent set of bookshelf speakers, plus some other crap, and i'm set up for every environment and situation.
    or just use those ol' M50's on the move (Lets face it, they are not the caviar of headphones. but they are better than most cans)
    Then maybe get a set that works for metal - since detail is important, and you also listen to classical and acoustic, id wholeheartedly recommend the Q701.. i prefer Grados (but the AKG's still score very highly) for metal but I've heard nothing better than the Q701's for classical/acoustic, that's if a green cable doesn't bother you.. and then something else for your more EDM orientated side. 
  5. Cakensaur
    Also depending on where i am, busy road etc, i actually prefer small open backs for travel. means get hit by car less often (god it hate it when that happens) :wink:
  6. ToInfinity
    You bring up a very valid and interesting point. Thank you for the reply. I have given thought to this option, but for some reason...the thought of buying multiple headphones, each with they're own genre strengths, doesn't seem so attractive. Honestly, I really search hard for a very good pair of closed-back because I will be on the move a lot. I couldn't find any worth the upgrade from the M50's. So, my conclusion is thus: if I am going to buy open back headphones, they darn well better be great. I want to be able to experience the full range of my taste (or pretty close to it) with one set. My ipod is always on shuffle, so I would prefer to NOT keep in mind  "only certain genres will sound great with these headphones, I have to switch to get the best of out those other ones". What say you? 
  7. Cakensaur
    fair enough. i see where you are coming from :p
    I think if id have to pick one of my collection where i didn't have to worry about it not being its, or very close to best, it would be my Senns, although they require fairly serious amplification.
    ever thought about buying some stuff used on head-fi? you can get a lot more for your buck that way.
  8. fortitude
    This is why I think the HE400 is the best choice, he has an E17 coming in which is a very good match for them.  The HD650s really need a serious amp.
  9. Cakensaur
    I agree with you there, no doubt.
    They are both excellent headphones... but you have the benefit of not needing further amplification with the HE-400, so yeah go for that if anything.
    Although with the HE-400 make sure you grab the velour pads.
  10. ToInfinity
    Based on the fact that almost every single person who has bought 400's mentioned that they switched to the velour pads...I will follow suit. 
    @fortitude - you mentions the E17 is a good match. That's good to hear. What do you think about the E9 being used as the amplifier and the E17 as the DAC?
    Edit: Also, when stationary and NOT using my mac, which between the E9 and the E17 is a better stand alone amp?
  11. fortitude
    I owned a pair of HE-400s actually, they were fantastic.  Ultimately, I ended up selling them because they were quite similar to my LCD-2s and it felt redundent to have both pairs (this is a major compliment to the HE-400s btw).  If I had $400 to spend on one pair of cans, these would be it.
    Not knocking the HD650s, they would still be in my top 3-4 in that price bracket also.  But once you have a taste of the ortho sound, you're hooked.
  12. vaed
    You also might want to consider the Mad Dog modded t50-rps. Closed, isolating, and sound excellent. Though about as heavy as the He-400's, the comfort strap that comes with it distributes the weight well to the point that I'm using them as portables just fine, and the new pads they come with make them really really comfortable. They're exactly as you like your sound prescribed; neutral, balanced but absolutely musical, and go well with a broad array of genres. They're orthodynamics and so they have the quick transient response for those complex passages, excellent and transparent mids and smooth but detailed treble; very versatile cans. Several have compared them to higher end cans just as the he-400s have been, to the point that some have said the only real difference is that one is open and one is closed. I can't attest to how well the e17s would drive them, but if you'd like, feel free to come visit and peruse the review thread (they've gone through a recent pad upgrade, and you can find information on measurements and all that on mr speakers website.) sorry about the short reply, I'd elaborate but I'm on my phone (wearing the mad dogs on the bus, no less!)
    also should mention they have a 15-day no questions asked return policy; Dan from MrSpeakers is an absolute pleasure to deal with.
    EDIT: Here's your website in case you're still interested: http://www.mrspeakers.com/
  13. mochill
    For portable noting really beats the jvc s500, but only after a good 200hrs on burn-in using heavy bass music to kick out them carbon nanotube driver into place. The are also easily driveable through a portable source ( no amp needed), but using one such as a fiio e11 open the can up to a whole new level. :D
  14. Cakensaur
    Different strokes and all that :wink:
    on another note
    I do not know which is the better standalone amp of E17 or E7, but i'm fairly sure its E17.
    ToInfinity likes this.
  15. mochill
    I think the e17 is better from what I have read but the fiio e12 will be released on march in think.

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