AKG K612 or Beyerdynamic dt880?($200ish open back decision)
May 7, 2015 at 8:46 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 36

DoppenShloppen

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In the near future I plan to get a pair of open headphones for my desktop setup. I have a budget of about $200-240(US). I mainly listen to modern rock, metal, and OST's from various movies, video games, and animes. They will be driven off of a Sony mhc-ec55 multimedia reciever until I can buy an amp. Which headphone would best suit my preferances or is there another headphone that may fit the bill better? 
 
May 9, 2015 at 5:18 PM Post #4 of 36

DoppenShloppen

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Forgot to mention that my current cans are the Soundmagic hp150 and Havi b3 pro. I very much enjoy the soundmagics. Not sure if this would change the recommendations. Also, what if a pair of sennheiser hd580/600 were thrown into the mix?
 
May 9, 2015 at 6:01 PM Post #5 of 36
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I've owned all 3 of the cans that you've mentioned (DT880, AKG K612, HD600).
 
My observations in terms of a range of different categories (please note that this is just my opinion after actually using all 3 over periods of weeks / months / years):
 
Build - DT880 > HD600 = K612
All three are built well, but the DT880 are more robust.  K612 can get a little 'creaky" over time - but then again they aren't the type of headphone you'd be moving around with a lot.  HD600 has excellent modular build - and if you look after them, they'll last for years.  But of the 3 I'd say the DT880 is more durable.  Point to note - both DT880 and K612 have fixed cables.  HD600 is replaceable.
 
Comfort - DT880 > HD600 = K612
DT880 is most comfortable out of the box (assuming the Premium model).  It and the K612 have the least clamp.  Pads on the DT880 also very soft.  K612 is also very comfortable, just sort of floats on your head.  Self adjusting head-band is brilliant.  HD600 has most clamp OOTB - but this can be relieved by fully extending the extenders, and bending them only (not the headband itself).  My HD600s are now as comfortable as my Beyers.
 
Soundstage (size) - K612 > HD600 = DT880
IMO the K612 is slightly more expansive and open than the HD600.  It does have a slightly L --C -- R "wide" range without being completely filled in around the center at times.  Still really good to listen to though - feels pretty expansive.  HD600 to me has always felt like a small jazz club type venue.  For me its "out of head" but intimate rather than expansive.  I also find this to be excellent because it is very believable. DT880 has similar to HD600 - not overly expansive, but very good imaging ability within the space it creates.
 
Sonics - I won't rank these, just describe them briefly.  Again this is my impression - people will debate what I've said, but they don't have my gear, or my ears, or my preferences 
wink.gif

  1. DT880 is most neutral of the 3 - flattest response with the best extension both ends. It doesn't have a mid-bass bump, and does have very extended treble - which gives the impression that it is quite bright.  Very detailed, very fast with transients.  Great all rounder IMO and even has a little Gradoish feel to it. One of my favourite mid-fi headphones of all times and thoroughly deserving of the praise it gets.
  2. HD600 - I still own this, that will tell you something.  The HD600 is one of the most natural (rather than neutral) headphones I've ever heard.  It does have a mid-bass bump, but this adds to its natural tonality rather than taking away from it. It does tone and timbre really well - instruments sound realistic.  My grandmother was a piano player for years, and I've heard plenty of live violin and cello - and the HD600 flat out nails the sound. It is a bit slower than both the K612 and DT880 in that there is a little more decay in the notes. Again - I find the HD600 to excel with all genres.  I find it the perfect match and compliment to my T1s.  If you were getting two headphones, the DT880 and HD600 are good to pair together.
  3. K612 - the underated dark horse from AKG. I found it quite similar tonally to the HD600, but with that larger sound stage.  Very addictive mid-range, and small mid-bass bump.  Doesn't have quite the overall resolution and refinement of either the HD600 or DT880 IMO - but vastly underrated, and an excellent headphone for a generally much cheaper price than the DT880 or HD600.
 
Hopefully this helps.
 
As far as your genres go - all 3 are all-rounders, so any of them would suit. For metal you might want something faster in transients - which could make the DT880 and K612 the better choices.  If it was purely Rock / Metal - I'd probably lean toward the DT880 - although for gaming and OSTs I'd probably go more K612.
 
Really speaking though - you can't go wrong picking any of them.
 
Of the 3 - assuming DT880 is 250ohm - the HD600 would be the easiest to drive (in terms of current and voltage).  Next would be DT880. K612 needs a bit of current to release its potential..
 
May 10, 2015 at 6:42 PM Post #7 of 36

PurpleAngel

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  Wow! That's probably one of the most thorough responses I've ever seen. Thanks for writing that. I think I'll be going for a pair of DT 880's unless I get an insane deal on one of the others.

 
It appears the Sony mhc-ec55 is more like a glorified boombox, then what would normally be referred to as a "receiver".
I would assume the MHC-EC55 comes with a DAC chip that was picked because of it's low cost (but still decent), then outstanding audio quality.
All three headphones (DT880, K612, HD600) will work best with a decent headphone amplifier and It very likely the glorified boombox (MHC-EC55) was only really intended to be use with low cost and easy to drive 32-Ohm to 60-Ohm headphones (guessing).
The HP150 are only 32-Ohm and seem to get good feedback, you might not get much of an improvement, over the DT880/K612/HD600, as you might think, at least with out also investing into a nice DAC/amp.
 
What sources do you have connected to the MHC-EC55?
Do you play your CDs from the MHC-EC55 or use another source?
I'm thinking it might be better to buy a DAC/amp and plug the SoundMagic HP150 into the DAC/amp.
Or convert all your music audio to mp3s (256K/320K) and get a FiiO X1 or X3 Gen II (X3K) and plug the HP150 directly into the FiiO (hopefully X3 Gen II).
 
May 10, 2015 at 6:51 PM Post #8 of 36

DoppenShloppen

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It appears the Sony mhc-ec55 is more like a glorified boombox, then what would normally be referred to as a "receiver".
I would assume the MHC-EC55 comes with a DAC chip that was picked because of it's low cost (but still decent), then outstanding audio quality.
All three headphones (DT880, K612, HD600) will work best with a decent headphone amplifier and It very likely the glorified boombox (MHC-EC55) was only really intended to be use with low cost and easy to drive 32-Ohm to 60-Ohm headphones (guessing).
The HP150 are only 32-Ohm and seem to get good feedback, you might not get much of an improvement, over the DT880/K612/HD600, as you might think, at least with out also investing into a nice DAC/amp.
 
What sources do you have connected to the MHC-EC55?
Do you play your CDs from the MHC-EC55 or use another source?
I'm thinking it might be better to buy a DAC/amp and plug the SoundMagic HP150 into the DAC/amp.
Or convert all your music audio to mp3s (256K/320K) and get a FiiO X1 or X3 Gen II (X3K) and plug the HP150 directly into the FiiO (hopefully X3 Gen II).

I figured that's what the sony was, but it does seem to have a little more power than onboard for my pc(it's connected to my pc. The only reason I have it is because it was a hand-me-down from my sister. It has no dac built in, just an aux in). I don't really use my hp150's at my computer because the isolation is so good I'm not able to hear my name being called from upstairs( my computer is downstairs). My Hp 150's are mainly used on my ipod w/ fiio e6 or tablet for videos. I've been needing an openback for the purpose of desktop listening/gaming phone that allows me to hear my surroundings.
 
May 10, 2015 at 7:24 PM Post #9 of 36

PurpleAngel

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  I figured that's what the Sony was, but it does seem to have a little more power than on-board for my PC (it's connected to my PC. The only reason I have it is because it was a hand-me-down from my sister. It has no DAC built in, just an aux in). I don't really use my hp150's at my computer because the isolation is so good I'm not able to hear my name being called from upstairs (my computer is downstairs). My Hp 150's are mainly used on my iPod w/ FiiO E6 or tablet for videos. I've been needing an open back for the purpose of desktop listening/gaming phone that allows me to hear my surroundings.

 
If you want open headphones that could be used with both the PC and the iPod, maybe look into the Soundmagic HP200 ($190-$200) Or Audio Technica ATH-AD900X ($170).
 
One option for your computer is to get the Creative Labs Sound Blaster Z sound card (used off eBay).
Then see how much you have leftover for headphones.
The SB-Z comes with a half-way decent headphone amplifier.
And the SB-Z'S DAC chip (line-output) can be used with the MHC-ES55
Right now there is a used AKG K612 Pro headphone, asking price is $120, or best offer ($9.95 shipping).
http://www.ebay.com/itm/151676488766?_trksid=p2060353.m1438.l2649&ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT
 
Are you seriously into FPS gaming or just casual gaming?
 
May 10, 2015 at 7:34 PM Post #10 of 36

DoppenShloppen

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I'm not a super serious gamer. I don't really want to get the hp 200 because they're just to similar to the hp 150.  I also don't like audio technica's wing system. I will be getting a amp and dac after I buy a pair of open phones. Just probably not at the same time. I'll probably get something like a vali/modi stack or a used matrix m stage.
 
May 10, 2015 at 7:54 PM Post #11 of 36

PurpleAngel

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  I'm not a super serious gamer. I don't really want to get the hp 200 because they're just to similar to the hp 150.  I also don't like Audio Technica's wing system. I will be getting a amp and dac after I buy a pair of open phones. Just probably not at the same time. I'll probably get something like a vali/modi stack or a used matrix m stage.

 
Is the reason for not getting the HP200 because your not liking the HP150 type of sound very much or just wanted something that sounds different then the HP150s.
My train of thought is if you no longer have a need for closed headphones, is to sell off the HP150 and buy the HP200.
Just depends on the detailed reason(s) you do not want the HP200 (beside it sounding similar to the HP150).
 
If you sold off the iPod/E6 and got the FiiO X3 Gen II, you could use the X3 as an external USB/DAC/amp with the PC and then also be able to use the X3 on the move (One DAP to rule them all).
Then no need for buying the stack of Schiit.
 
If you when for the DT880s, I'm sure the X3 could easily drive them.
 
May 10, 2015 at 8:20 PM Post #12 of 36

DoppenShloppen

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Is the reason for not getting the HP200 because your not liking the HP150 type of sound very much or just wanted something that sounds different then the HP150s.
My train of thought is if you no longer have a need for closed headphones, is to sell off the HP150 and buy the HP200.
Just depends on the detailed reason(s) you do not want the HP200 (beside it sounding similar to the HP150).
 
If you sold off the iPod/E6 and got the FiiO X3 Gen II, you could use the X3 as an external USB/DAC/amp with the PC and then also be able to use the X3 on the move (One DAP to rule them all).
Then no need for buying the stack of Schiit.
 
If you when for the DT880s, I'm sure the X3 could easily drive them.

Don't get me wrong, I absolutely love my 150's and use them everyday, I just want something a bit different for my open pair. I kind of need/plan to keep my ipod nano 5th gen because of it's integration with my pioneer receiver in my car. 
 
May 10, 2015 at 8:36 PM Post #13 of 36

PurpleAngel

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  Don't get me wrong, I absolutely love my 150's and use them everyday, I just want something a bit different for my open pair. I kind of need/plan to keep my iPod nano 5th gen because of it's integration with my pioneer receiver in my car. 

 
Details on what you mean by "bit different"?
Trying to figure out what your looking of in an open headphone.
 
May 10, 2015 at 9:45 PM Post #15 of 36

PurpleAngel

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  hmmm. I feel like I want a bit more depth in the sound stage than on my sound magics (HP150) , and maybe a tad more mids. Maybe slightly more treble extension too.

 
Seems like your describing the HP200?
(lol).
 
Anyway, the FiiO E6 would be maxed out trying to drive the DT880 and the K612 is thought to be even more power hungry and the HD600 likes a lot of juice to sound their best.
The 30-Ohm Philips Fidelio series should easy be driven by an iPod or E6 or tablet, but their might be impedance issues plugged into the Sony.
 

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