Advise for new headphone in the 300-500$ class
Dec 13, 2020 at 6:54 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 15

Vsaphir

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Hello there, im student interested in music and sound quality and when there is a field that i like I become an enthusiast. In my case i have progressivly upgrade my gear and find infos on the audiphile stuff. So Im at the midle of the adventure (com from a 60$ headset -> SonyMDR 1A with a low end Amp/DAC(Fiio Q1 Mii)-> to now. So im interested in some advise to dont stop the adventure and regret my purchase :beyersmile:. Thanks
 
Dec 13, 2020 at 8:20 AM Post #2 of 15

Shabda

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I also had a similar set up as you, the sony mdr-1am2 amd a fiio amp/dac but i returned them both because I felt like the symbols on the 1am2 lacked a lot of air and natural-ness and i wanted to get the sennheiser 6xx’s and so i needed a more powerful amp.

So you like the warm/dark soumd signature of the 1A’s? I’ve never tried them but the 1am2’s are supposed to be a bit brighter version
 
Dec 13, 2020 at 11:52 AM Post #3 of 15

Vsaphir

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I also had a similar set up as you, the sony mdr-1am2 amd a fiio amp/dac but i returned them both because I felt like the symbols on the 1am2 lacked a lot of air and natural-ness and i wanted to get the sennheiser 6xx’s and so i needed a more powerful amp.

So you like the warm/dark soumd signature of the 1A’s? I’ve never tried them but the 1am2’s are supposed to be a bit brighter version
Yes I like the Dark/warm sound even if i felt that the sound was not equal and lacked in treble, i mean it was clearly more decent than "Common" headset by far.
I found 3-4 headphone that fit on budget and choice :
hiffman sundara
shure srh1540
fostex tx500
sennheiser 660s
I've read all reviews of the forum and for me :
sennheiser 660s = equal but lack in bass (it could annoy me)
fostex tx500= best bass for his price decent harmony between mid and treble (but it requiere an heavy gear DAC/AMP so it become out of budget)
hiffman sundara = equal headphone dont requiere heavy gear for a decent perf lack in bass (can be "fixed" by a good AMP/DAC)
shure srh 1540= worm /dark because of V curve really nice sound one of the best closed headphone
So for me i hesitate between the sundara because i can buy a nice AMP/DAC i the future to improve the low frequency issues and the srh1540 for his profile and good audio quality. In any case I know that my Q1 mii is not the best but i want to know if it can be ok for a casual nomad use.
Thanks for answer by the way eng is not my main language so forgive me for my misstakes.
 
Dec 13, 2020 at 2:48 PM Post #4 of 15

cycloverid

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Yes I like the Dark/warm sound even if i felt that the sound was not equal and lacked in treble, i mean it was clearly more decent than "Common" headset by far.
I found 3-4 headphone that fit on budget and choice :
hiffman sundara
shure srh1540
fostex tx500
sennheiser 660s
I've read all reviews of the forum and for me :
sennheiser 660s = equal but lack in bass (it could annoy me)
fostex tx500= best bass for his price decent harmony between mid and treble (but it requiere an heavy gear DAC/AMP so it become out of budget)
hiffman sundara = equal headphone dont requiere heavy gear for a decent perf lack in bass (can be "fixed" by a good AMP/DAC)
shure srh 1540= worm /dark because of V curve really nice sound one of the best closed headphone
So for me i hesitate between the sundara because i can buy a nice AMP/DAC i the future to improve the low frequency issues and the srh1540 for his profile and good audio quality. In any case I know that my Q1 mii is not the best but i want to know if it can be ok for a casual nomad use.
Thanks for answer by the way eng is not my main language so forgive me for my misstakes.

Don't expect to fix the Sundara's bass roll off by upgrading your DAC/AMP - I don't recommend this at all. This would have to mean they are coloring the sound, because when properly driven they do have a roll off due to the acoustic design. You can use EQ (software Equalizer preferably) to balance the bass to your preferences, unless that doesn't work for you for whatever reason. It is the best method to alter this without potentially changing the sound signature in other unexpected ways.

The Sundara does need a decent amp like the JDS Atom or Magni, but these are very affordable in the grand scheme of things.
 
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Dec 14, 2020 at 9:15 AM Post #6 of 15

Shabda

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I agree about the sundara’s bass problem. It presents like a lack of body, but it eq’s extremely well. I didnt love it for guitars, though it sounds really really good for complex music as a whole, such clarity in the low end business of progressive rock/metal. I also had the srh 1540s and I’d say the 1540 is certainly more to the sound signature you mentioned but it’s maybe a bit overpriced (but it does have a good value in accessories) and vocals are pushed back a little bit so if you like forward vocals you cant fix that with eq. It will run okay without an amp on the other hand, but obviously an amp would improve it. Portable amp would work well for it.

sundara with atom amp is around 450 total and would sound awesome but you wouldnt be that portable.

Also consider the 6xx if you like the 660s and a darker sound sig, but your q1 mkii wont be powerful enough. Decent desktop amp required
 
Dec 15, 2020 at 8:29 AM Post #10 of 15

Vsaphir

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I agree about the sundara’s bass problem. It presents like a lack of body, but it eq’s extremely well. I didnt love it for guitars, though it sounds really really good for complex music as a whole, such clarity in the low end business of progressive rock/metal. I also had the srh 1540s and I’d say the 1540 is certainly more to the sound signature you mentioned but it’s maybe a bit overpriced (but it does have a good value in accessories) and vocals are pushed back a little bit so if you like forward vocals you cant fix that with eq. It will run okay without an amp on the other hand, but obviously an amp would improve it. Portable amp would work well for it.

sundara with atom amp is around 450 total and would sound awesome but you wouldnt be that portable.

Also consider the 6xx if you like the 660s and a darker sound sig, but your q1 mkii wont be powerful enough. Decent desktop amp required
BTW if you had a the MDR1A in term of basse if you compare between the sundara 6xx and srh1540 wichone is the most bass axed ? Im not a basshead but i was happy with mdr1a bass even if they are boosted compare to others frequencys.
 
Dec 15, 2020 at 8:31 PM Post #11 of 15

Shabda

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https://diyaudioheaven.wordpress.com/headphones/measurements/shure/srh-1540/

if you scroll down to the frequency response charts you’ll see a comparison between 1540 and a bunch of other headphones, including mdr-1a. I had the 1-am2 so i feel like i cant compare but the 1540’s bass sounds very very good.

DIY also has good charts on the sundara and 6xx and since I think he’s using the same rig on all of these you should be able to compare the results.

in short, the 6xx has the worst bass extension but sundara has the least body. 1540 has both and really nice bass texture but Sundara probably has best extension with eq and certainly is capable of putting out amazing bass with music app eq.

In terms of mid bass, the 6xx has a little mid bass hump, then the 1540 has a bit bigger hump amd more sub emphasis, and the mdr-1a is the bassiest and warmest.

I think if portability is something you really value here, go with the 1540, otherwise if you want to have a great open back and use a desktop amp, go with 6xx or sundara.

also, 1540 is probably the comfiest. Sundara is comfy but i kind of felt too aware of it sometimes. It’s big, but definitely comfy. The 6xx is comfy too but squeezes the tightest.
 
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Dec 15, 2020 at 8:53 PM Post #12 of 15

Mhog55

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The majority of the headphones you've listed aren't exactly what I'd consider dark and warm. Why not upgrade to the next Sony in line, or try to find an Audioquest Nightowl?
 
Dec 16, 2020 at 7:17 AM Post #14 of 15

Vsaphir

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I believe the next upgrade from sony is the z7.

Here’s a youtube comparison of the z7 and the 1540
The Mdr1Z seem to be intersting with my profile but it cost 1500$
I think i will take the shure because its profile is close to my expectation and the fact that its closed and portable with a nomad AMP/DAC because it can replace my destroyed MDR1A. I think i will THEN take an good Amp and DAC stack for adeskstop usage THEN invest in a costy open (maybe planar) headphone for an audiphile experience in my sofa. But it cost A LOT :scream:. So i will go step by step.
Thanks for the anwsers and lets continue the journey ^^ always intersting to learn info on a tech field.
 

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