Baroque fans: what headphones do you use?
Mar 13, 2006 at 2:08 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 8

jagorev

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
May 16, 2005
Posts
3,316
Likes
15
Here's how I would describe the sound of baroque (examples: Bach, Handel, Vivaldi, Purcell, Monteverdi, etc.)
  • Lots of focus on treble...violins, sopranos, etc...presentation of treble can't be harsh or grating, nor recessed and veiled.
  • Polyphony. Necessary to resolve multiple different lines at the same time. Good soundstage would probably help with resolving the polyphonous textures.
  • Basso continuo. You need to clearly hear the underlying bass line, without having it dominate or muddy up the music.
  • Ensembles are usually fairly small and intimate.

Straightforward question...what do you like to use to listen to this music?
 
Mar 13, 2006 at 2:35 AM Post #2 of 8

granodemostasa

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Nov 19, 2005
Posts
3,760
Likes
12
Love baroque... bach sounds excellent on Sennheiser HD650s, probably better than any can i've ever heard.
 
Mar 13, 2006 at 2:37 AM Post #3 of 8

saturnine

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
May 24, 2004
Posts
2,734
Likes
12
Location
Savannah, GA
I've been a Bach fan for a while, and have a little experience with Handel. I find the AKG K-501 to be the absolute best classical headphone out there, and fits all of your categories quite well.
 
Mar 13, 2006 at 2:41 AM Post #4 of 8

jagorev

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
May 16, 2005
Posts
3,316
Likes
15
I personally owned the HD600 until not too long ago. It was great with symphonic stuff....but I thought it didn't quite have the attack or clarity for baroque.

I'm now waiting for a K501, which from all descriptions sounds like it should be ideal. Glad to hear the endorsement, saturnine!
tongue.gif


I'll be picking up the HD580 for any large-scale oratorios and operas that the 501 can't handle.
 
Mar 13, 2006 at 2:45 AM Post #5 of 8

dhp

(formerly known as DieInAFire)
Joined
Sep 14, 2005
Posts
1,881
Likes
10
K501 is the best i've heard for baroque classical, it's got the smooth mids and instrument separation coupled with the widest soundstage i've ever heard. It's not rough, but forward enough... and the bass isn't (obviously, it's the K501) overpowering in any way.
 
Mar 13, 2006 at 2:51 AM Post #6 of 8

spinali

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Sep 26, 2003
Posts
1,602
Likes
12
The answer to this one might depend on what kind of baroque music you listen to.

Let's eliminate IEMs right off; their sound is too immediate to handle any kind of baroque music appropriately, and handling bass will be a problem.

Very early baroque (verging on late Renaissance) has really interesting sonorities that suit a richer sounding headphone; the HD 650 would work well.

French baroque is a delicate matter, but I'd put my money on the K701. You'll get command of the wispy trebles while maintaining an overall balanced sound. You'll also get excellent definition, which will really help when you get into polyphony.

From the early to mid-18th century, the baroque sound has more uniformity. You'd do very well with the K701 or the DT880 (amped or unamped). These headphones (and particularly the DT880) have a slightly distanced feel that makes you want to listen more intently; amping will help fill out the sound, but you may not find that's necessary. The DT880 bass handles continuo like a champ, while the K701 gives you added definition for complex passages.
 
Mar 13, 2006 at 3:11 AM Post #7 of 8

bookdoctor

New Head-Fier
Joined
Feb 5, 2006
Posts
31
Likes
0
Most of my earphones are IEMs (in my environment, I need the isolation and portability above all else, so full size headphones are out for me), so I can only speak for those.

I listen mostly to Bach (mainly choral works like the Cantatas and the B Minor Mass, but also various arrangements of The Art of Fugue and piano works), and really enjoy using my Etymotic ER4P/S for this. I find the bass clear and present, but not overpowering, and really like being able to feel each instrument separately, especially in canon and fugue compositions involving a variety of instruments. I suppose larger works like the B Minor Mass would benefit from a full-size setup, but I also like my Etys for choral works.

If I want a bigger, fuller sound, I sometimes use my Super.fi 5 Pros or UM2s - the Brandenburgs and Orchestral Suites sound very lively on these. But in general, I like the elegance of the ER4s for Baroque music.

-bd
 
Mar 13, 2006 at 3:30 AM Post #8 of 8

GoRedwings19

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Sep 11, 2004
Posts
5,014
Likes
11
jagorev>For baroque classical and even you didn't list it as it might not be your taste, opera I use the he90.

I use to use the Rs-1 but I found that with larger than small ensembles it could get a bit congested when it got complex. The 650 I don't mind but I prefer the Rs-1 instrument timbre to 650's. Just a case of preferences,
 

Users who are viewing this thread

Top