Best classical headphones for under $800
Jul 16, 2013 at 5:30 PM Post #32 of 48

Sound Devourer

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Do you really think the beyer dt 880 is an upgrade from the akg k702s?



I'm not sure if it would be an upgrade from K702s. But I think that the Beyer dt880 have a sound more natural than my AKGk271 and than the open back K240 as well. Especially in the high frequencies. If you ever felt that your AKG sounds kinda "unnatural" you should try something from Beyer ^-^
 
Jul 16, 2013 at 10:34 PM Post #34 of 48

vinnievidi

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Ehh now I have very sensitive ears and comfort is almost just as important as sound. What do you guys think about the sennheiser hd 600?

I liked it, not as much as the 650. I know a lot of people will challenge me on this, but it all comes down to preference. I think the 600 is really nice for Classical, not sure if it's a "step up" from the K702--that would depend on your ears and whatever emotional reaction you get from the 600's sound signature. All in all though, it's no slouch.
 
Jul 21, 2013 at 3:51 PM Post #35 of 48

teb1013

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Ehh now I have very sensitive ears and comfort is almost just as important as sound. What do you guys think about the sennheiser hd 600?


I find Sennheisers very comfortable. I never have to take them off due to ear fatigue. I currently use HD558s but I gather that the 600s are as comfortable. I listen with an Aune T1 dac/amp but would love to move up to 600s or 650s. I am looking for something that will handle both small ensemble, solo piano and large orchestral (big orchestras seem a bit anemic unless I crank up the volume beyond comfort level).

Vinnievidi can you comment on why you find the 650s better than the 600s for classical. I have heard others make the opposite claim.
 
Jul 21, 2013 at 5:28 PM Post #36 of 48

i019791

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ptionQuote:
I find Sennheisers very comfortable. I never have to take them off due to ear fatigue. I currently use HD558s but I gather that the 600s are as comfortable. I listen with an Aune T1 dac/amp but would love to move up to 600s or 650s. I am looking for something that will handle both small ensemble, solo piano and large orchestral (big orchestras seem a bit anemic unless I crank up the volume beyond comfort level).

Vinnievidi can you comment on why you find the 650s better than the 600s for classical. I have heard others make the opposite claim.

The 650s are inferior to 701s for classical to my ears, perhaps due to rolled off treble.
For large orchestras I am afraid you will need also very resolving dac and neutral amp, which will not come for cheap (a good option for me is Audio gd NFB-10ES2, if you are ok with reterminating the headphone cable to 4 pin xlr. Even the Audio gd NFB-11.32 is likely to be much better with large orchestras than your Aune)
 
Jul 21, 2013 at 6:48 PM Post #37 of 48
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Hi Elman
 
Sorry - a bit late to this thread.  Just for ref - I currently own Q701, K701, DT880 & SRH1840.  Up until last week I did own HD600 (already kicking myself for selling it - but I wanted to try the SRH1840 - so I had no choice but to sell it).
 
I'm pretty genre wide - and that includes classical (especially Tchaikovsky violin concertos & ballets) + opera (male Tenors & female Soprano/Mezzo-Soprano).
 
I haven't heard higher-end gear (HE500, T1, HD800 etc).  I did spend quite a bit of time with HD650/HD600 before I bought the HD600 (had the HD600 for well over 2 years).
 
My thoughts .......
 
  1. K701/K702/Q701 all so similar as to be essentially same headphone.  Q701 may be very slightly bassier - but marginally.  I enjoyed them for classical - especially wider sound-stage.  They do have an issue with center imaging IMO - more left/right oriented than center.
  2. DT880 has better imaging, smaller sound-stage, better bass - quite flat freq response.  Quite bright top-end.  Very enjoyable all-rounder, but for my pref is a step sideways from the K/Q70x.  I wouldn't call it superior - more a different presentation.  More a neutral than natural presentation.
  3. My preference was for HD600 over HD650.  Personally found that HD650 was warmer, darker, bassier - and felt slower.  Good with classical - but (again IMO) not as realistic as HD600.
  4. HD600 (compared to the K/Q70x) has smaller sound-stage, but far better timbre, and imaging.  It is slower in presentation than the AKGs - but handles classical etc brilliantly.  As far as tonality goes - it was the most realistic headphone I'd ever owned or auditioned.  A violin really sounds like a violin - nothing is over-emphasised (except for a small mid-bass hump).  Without fail - every time I used them, they wowed me.  If you audition these - you need to spend time with them, and it is no good rapidly switching between the Senn and the AKG.  If you do this, especially coming from the AKG, the Senns may initially sound slow / dull / slightly veiled.  Once you spend a little time with them though, and switch back to the AKG, you'll find the AKG sound slightly unnatural, with a sound-stage that is really too large, and overly bright and airy.  To me - the HD600 are a step-up if you are looking for accuracy, naturalness and timbre.  Not so much if an expansive sound-stage is more important.
  5. Finally - the SRH1840,  Disclaimer - I've only had these 2 weeks - so still in the honeymoon period.  I bought these mainly because a couple of reviews had mentioned these as a logical step-up from the HD600.  When I first got them (and especially after the HD600 left) my immediate thought was - oh no .... what have I done.  They didn't wow me.  They seemed pretty bass light, quite bright, and I was pretty worried I'd bought a lemon.  So I stopped comparing and listened exclusively to them over the last 10 days.  My opinion has changed - quite a lot really.  Firstly - they are the lightest and most comfortable cans I've ever worn,  Their presentation is very flat/neutral.  Because of this (no mid-bass hump, and brighter upper-mids/highs) I would not call them natural sounding (but for that, neither are the AKG or DT880 to my ears).  Their sound-stage is surprisingly not as large or wide as I expected - definitely not as large as the K/Q70x.  I'd probably put it somewhere close to the HD600.  Where they shine is in imaging and instrument separation.  You get to hear every nuance, every detail - and so far I am really enjoying them.  I know (from other discussions) that they don't measure overly well, and that people like Tyll didn't like their tonality (again probably because they are flat/bass-light with no mid-bass hump) - but personally I'm enjoying them more every day I use them.  I don't consider them an upgrade over the HD600 - because to me the HD600 is in it's own class.  But I do consider it an upgrade over the K/Q70x (I'll be selling my Q's shortly) - the biggest change was after listening to the 1840s and then switching to the Q701 - the Q's actually sound slightly lifeless, and definitely less detailed with poorer separation.
 
The HE500 do sound like a good choice - I'm looking forward to hearing them one of these days myself.  Interestingly enough, the DT880, HD600 and HE500 are the 3 headphones David Solomon gave an A+ rating on SQ vs value.  I would definitely suggest you have a read of his thoughts (http://www.head-fi.org/t/634201/battle-of-the-flagships-58-headphones-compared-update-audeze-lcd-2-revision-2-6-4-13)
 
Interestingly enough - this is what he said about the SRH1840 ...... mirrors my thoughts so far :
 
STRENGTHS NEUTRAL: Simply put, the SRH1840 is one of the most neutral-sounding headphones in this whole evaluation. If you are reading this evaluation from beginning to end, then let me say that the SRH1840 is the most neutral headphone reviewed thus far.
 
MIDS: "Almost flat as a board" is how I would describe the midrange presentation of the SRH1840. This makes it a wonderful headphone for editing and mastering.
 
CLASSICAL & JAZZ MASTER: The SRH1840 excels with classical music. It actually sounds fantastic with most well-recorded music, especially modern-day jazz recordings.

 
 
Hope above helps.  If you're lower on budget - then the HD600 is a no-brainer for an all-rounder and especially for classical or jazz IMO.  If you're looking a little higher up and can get it for the right price - the SRH1840 is a contender (I paid USD 500 delivered to NZ for mine - so $460ish if in US).  Can't advise on the HE500 - but everything I've read about them so far looks promising.
 
Jul 21, 2013 at 7:15 PM Post #38 of 48
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To get good results with the HD-600s, you need to an amp with a good voltage swing, otherwise they can sound a bit un-inspiring with a small soundstage. The new HD598s are much the same but work better with more gear. I don't think either is a bad choice. 
 
Jul 22, 2013 at 3:49 PM Post #40 of 48

davidsh

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Consider a Stax rig as well. IMO most of them are better than most headphones I have heard below flagship level
 
Jul 22, 2013 at 3:56 PM Post #41 of 48

jcx

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Jul 22, 2013 at 4:06 PM Post #42 of 48

davidsh

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Haven't heard the ESP 950, so didn't recommend. But probably very good as well 
size]

 
A shame the special amp requirenments scare so many people away from stats...
 
Jul 22, 2013 at 4:21 PM Post #43 of 48

jcx

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price includes the Koss E/90 amp - won't push any audiophile buttons on build, appearance - but its listenable while you save up
 
Jul 22, 2013 at 4:30 PM Post #44 of 48

davidsh

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^Nice way to put it. 
 
NEVER thought I would be Stax owner in the forseable future. My HE-500 hasn't got much headtime (guess it's one month now...) since the purchase, and I don't even listen that much to classical (which the Stax' excel in).
 
Jul 22, 2013 at 6:50 PM Post #45 of 48

blueangel2323

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Very helpful comparison Brooko /img/forum/go_quote.gif - sounds like HD600 is still the headphone to beat after all these years. I do wish it had a bigger soundstage and better extension on both ends though. Then it would be perfect!
 

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