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Another recommendation for a newbie.

  1. godriah24
    Long time lurker, first time poster!  A topic that has been covered hundreds of time, but please bare with me!
    I've decided that I want to take the plunge into mid/hifi headphone listening.  I currently own a pair of Sennheiser IE6 and Sennheiser HD202, but recently I've been listening to most of my music on vinyl.  I'm looking for a decent pair to listen to exclusively at home.  I do use Spotify also, however 90% of the headphone use will be for vinyl. I live in a fairly remote village in Sweden so auditioning anything is out of the question. I'll be listening through a Onkyo TX NR 609 home theater amp to begin with, with the intention of buying a headphone amp if you guys think the sound would be improved considerably.  My Denon TT is run through a TCC-TC750 pre amp.  Musical tastes....Pink Floyd, Pearl Jam, Eagles, Dire Straits, Tortoise, Jeff Buckley, James Blake, Frank Zappa, DJ Shadow, some Hip Hop. No jazz (with the exception of the odd Zappa album!), and no Classical.
    The cans I've read most about are the Grado 80i/e, Grado 125i/e AKG K550, AKG K701/702. Beyerdynamics DT770/880/990.  So I guess you could say all the usual suspects in my price range.
    I've almost, on several occasions, pulled the trigger on the AKG K702 however I then read somewhere that they would be too harsh on any imperfections on my vinyl (none of which are in mint condition!) I don't mind the odd pop and crackle, but I don't want that to be amplified to the point that I'm listening more to that than the music.  I really like the idea of a big soundstage, which I'm lead to believe I would get from the AKG's but not so much from the Grado's.  However, I also like the idea of the excitement attached to the Grado's where as I've read the AKG's can be somewhat boring.  I don't really have anything to compare adjectives like *bright* or *warm* to when it comes to headphones so I can't comment on what sound I'm looking for.  It's so frustrating not being able to test for myself and having to take the plunge from reading reviews and forums as I understand the subjective is so subjective!
    Any replies will be hugely appreciated, and like I said, I know the subject has been covered countless times in forums and on threads, many of which I have read.  But I haven't come across many that talk about the above cans and almost exclusively vinyl listening (they are obviously out there, I just haven't found them.  Yet!)

  2. KG Jag
    Vinyl is--or at least can be--an excellent music source.  For decades it, and magnetic tape, fed my hi-fi/stereo (and some people's Quadraphonic) addictions.
    Here's the opening problem: most modern A/V receivers--and in particular the two Onkyos I've tried--have poor headphone out sections.  In the case of the Onkyos I have tried, they are not very powerful either.  Added to that is the fact that the AKG's you are considering are harder to drive than their specifications would suggest.  I doubt that your Onkyo could drive the 250 Ohm versions of the Beyer cans you list.  This is important because the 250 & 600 Ohm versions are best and the ones worth getting.  See:
    On the other side of the coin, the 32 Ohm Grados and AKG 550 are very easy to drive.  However, your receiver's headphone out section may or may not be a good match with low impedance cans.
    Bottom line--you may have to buy a headphone amp once you select your cans.
    OK--on to your specific headphone choice.  First we need to know:
    Are you OK with open cans (they leak sound and don't isolate well)?
    Describe the sound signature that you are seeking?
    In terms of sound signature, the open Grados place you on stage with the band.  They are forward with lots of slam.
    On the other hand the semi-open AKG K/Q 70X series provide a large sound stage, enabling you to hear every musical voice.  As a result, they have little to no slam.
    The new AKG K 7XX is in between and an excellent buy at $200.  Don't know if you can get it yet in Sweden--or what your price may be.
    Here's more on the DT 880 (former Beyer Flagship):
  3. godriah24
    Firstly thanks for the reply. That's exactly the kind of information I was hoping to get. I'd not read about the possibility of the onkyo not being powerful enough to drive the akg or the Beyers. I'm definitely open to buying a dedicated headphone amp.
    Open headphones aren't a problem.I'll be listening to them in a dedicated listening room. Sound signiture, that I'm not too sure about. I'm nowhere near an audiophile and have always struggled with terms like warm and bright. I guess it's due to my lack of experience with a wide range of equipment. I believe the new akg kxxx are available in Sweden, but I'll more than likely be ordering from the UK unless I get the 125i's which for some reason are cheaper here in Sweden!
  4. KG Jag
    This may help understanding the language:
    Be sure to look up terms/words like neutral, bright, warm, dark and analytical.
  5. godriah24
    Wow, that's some glossary of terms!  I guess I'd be looking for a neutral, airy sound.  I'd like really good instrument separation and like I've mentioned, a wide soundstage.  I'm still leaning towards the AKG K612/701/702 but am just a bit concerned that they will be too revealing on the vinyl imperfections.
    Thanks again.
  6. KG Jag
    The K 7XX beats the others you listed.  It is the best $200 headphone I have heard to date.  See:
    I don't believe it makes much difference whether you listen to vinyl or digital.  It's more about whether you like the sound signature of the can, regardless if you use it to hear music in digital or analog formats.
  7. cel4145

    I agree with KC Jag. Learn about the K7XX: http://www.head-fi.org/t/743280/new-release-the-k7xx-massdrop-first-edition-an-exclusive-from-massdrop-and-akg

    Sure. You may hear more vinyl imperfections. But then again, you should get very good detail resolution. It's a tradeoff.
  8. Rearwing

    The AKG 702 is fantastic, light, airy and yet with a sense of purpose. However, it might take you some time to get used to it; initially it can sound too airy, but you need to persevere and push yourself to listen to the music and not to the headphones. Try Zappa's "One Size Fit's All" and just let yourself become immersed in the instruments and the space between them.
  9. godriah24
    Again, thanks for the replies and advice.  I've had a look at the K7XX.  Whilst they do indeed look and from what I've read, sound fantastic, they aren't as I initially thought available to me right now.  And shipping is only to US from Massdrop.
    Like I said, I've almost bought the K702 on several occasions, but then found the Grado appreciation thread on here and read up to page 40 and was sold on the SR80i.  Then I saw the SR125i's for not very much more money, so was sold on them.  But I just keep coming back to the 702's as I'm really impressed by the reviews I've read and I think they might be more the sound I'm looking for.  Grado get equally as much love from what I've read, but it's expected from an appreciation thread!
    Prices as follows:
    Grado SR80i - 126usd
    Grado SR125i - 157usd
    Grado SR80e - 136 usd
    Grado SR125e - 198 usd
    AKG K701 - 227usd
    AKG K702 - 227usd
    Beyer DT770 (250ohm)- 145usd
    Beyer DT990 (250ohm)- 158usd
    Beyer DT880 (250ohm)- 231usd
    I've also seen the AKG K612 Pro for 158 usd.  That has also caught my eye after reading various reviews and sites.
    It's a dilemma, but a nice one I must admit.  Even if I can't get the test any!
    Thanks again.
    p.s. Rearwing, as you're in the UK, you know the prices of each of the sets of cans from Amazon and the usual suspects online.  Reference Audio, Richers etc.  Love the Richard Richard avatar by the way!
  10. Shaffer
    OP, I listen to a lot of LPs. I also own K702 and kinda own K612; they're on permanent loan to a friend. If your LPs are exhibit a good deal of surface noise, the K702 will indeed accentuate those events. Annoying? Yes. OTOH, the K612 tend to minimize the same aspect of reproduction. Good luck.
  11. godriah24
    My next response was actually going to be " Ok, so after another full day of pretty much only reading threads on here, I've narrowed it down to either the Grado SR60e/SR80i or the AKG K612/K702.  The latest reply from Shaffer (thanks for that) has tipped the balance in favour of the AKG K612 ( which if I'm honest, I've always been a little more drawn too - AKG that is, not that specific model).  Just wondering though Shaffer, have you listened to any vinyl with Grado cans?
    Just to throw another spanner into the mix though, there's another poster on here who is willing to take delivery of the new AKG K7XX in the States and ship them here to Sweden, which is very tempting.  I'm waiting on shipping and import costs though before going ahead with that.  There is a considerable price increase involved though, especially from the Grado SR60e's.  Over double the price actually. And 140usd more than the AKG K612.  Not sure if I can jump to that price range actually! Especially on a pair of phones that I've never heard!
    Decisions, decisions.....
  12. Shaffer

    I had SR80 along with a Little Headroom ~20 years ago, and for the life of me cannot recall what it sounded like.
  13. godriah24
    Looks like I'm going to be able to try some DT990 Pros tomorrow. I'm afraid I'm going to be so impressed having never heard any decent cans before that I'll buy them there and then. And then ultimately mässing out on the Grados and/or AKG's.
  14. cel4145
    Be sure to try some other headphones as well, and keep track of your impressions. Could be that what you think of the DT990s AND any other headphones you listen to would reveal whether or not the DT990s are best for you :)
  15. godriah24
    Sound advice. I think the only other sets they have are Sennheisers and Shure's. Neither of which I'm interested in!

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