Best for Jazz, New Age, Vocals, Classical?
Mar 23, 2006 at 11:21 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 11

fvoelling

New Head-Fier
Joined
Feb 5, 2006
Posts
26
Likes
10
Help me out, fellows! Based on referenced listening styles, what are the headphones (no IEMs, pls) to buy for
a) extended background listening while working at the home PC, and
b) more serious night time listening with a good glass of wine (or two, beyond that it probably doesn't matter
wink.gif
?

I own a PreSonus Central Station with a built-in DAC and built-in headphone amp, but can also go line out to a dedicated SS or tube amp. I also have a 25yo AKG K240DF that I almost never used and just discovered again today. Some quick listening blew me away by how good they sound, but without comparison it's hard to know what I may be missing out on (or not).

Recently went to my first local meet and had a chance to listen to several good cans, and the one standout was the AKG K1000, both in terms of how different they are and their comfort level (though several posters here have complained about the latter for extended sessions, and I only had a couple of minutes with them, so who knows). Also, the commotion at the meet combined with the open nature of the K1000 made it impossible to really evaluate its sound qualities, and again I've seen posters here describe them more suitable to rock than perhaps jazz or classical.

I also have the AKG K-701 on order, based solely on the euphoria here surrounding these cans, and the descriptions of their characteristics by (most) owners, which appear to match my musical tastes. Again, a quick listen at the meet wasn't enough for a proper evaluation, and I'm a bit concerned by the seemingly small contact area of the pads (though they overall felt very comfortable).

Lastly, I am a huge fan of electrostatic loudspeakers (Magnepan and the like), though I've heard them mainly with New Age and Jazz, not so much with vocals. That brings Stax into the picture, but a late night session of research on them has me wondering about their suitability for vocals in particular. Call me sentimental, but certain songs in the right mood can make my eyes watery with good speakers, especially vocals (actually, the old K240DFs did that earlier), and I want headphones that can emotionally involve me.

I'm afraid that the answer is that there really is no single headphone that's best, even for the limited genres I'm targeting. If so, pls feel free to extend your recommendation to multiple cans (within reason, of course, and pls list each can's respective strenghts and weaknesses).

So which one should I buy? Be content with the K240DF, add one or both of the newer AKGs, a Stax, or something else?

Thx,
Frank
 
Mar 23, 2006 at 11:38 PM Post #2 of 11

seacard

1000+ Head-Fier
Joined
Dec 26, 2005
Posts
1,163
Likes
39
Jazz, New Age, Vocals, and Classical encompasses so much that basically your question boils down to "What is the best headphone?" I've been trying headphones like crazy over the last 6 months, and really, there isn't one that is "best" for everything (well, maybe the Orpheus), but any of the headphones you listed would be great. For me, any of the top tier headphones are great for that type of music (actually, I listen to all the things that you listed).

Pick one of these, and you should be extremely happy:

Sony R10
Sony Q010
Sony SA5000 (may be a bit too forward for some new age or vocals)
Senn HD600/650
Beyer DT880
AKG K701
AKG K1000 (this is my favorite of the group other than the R10 and Q010)
AT W5000
AT AD2000
Electrostat (Omega II or HE60 or HE90)

I am not a big fan of the Grado sound for classical or jazz (which is why the PS1 or HP1000 are not on the list). I think classical and vocals benefit from having open headphones (which is why the L3000 is not on the list).
 
Mar 24, 2006 at 12:02 AM Post #4 of 11

smeggy

Member of the Trade: ThunderpantsTP1
Joined
Feb 9, 2004
Posts
6,299
Likes
26
I will once again recommend the Stax 001/003/005 portable phones as they really are something special and very inexpensive (I now refuse to call them cheap). Vocals are sublime along with great bass and delicate treble.

Overall the best cash I have ever spent in Hi-Fi.
 
Mar 24, 2006 at 12:32 AM Post #5 of 11

needmoretoys

100+ Head-Fier
Joined
Dec 22, 2005
Posts
238
Likes
44
Jazz, New Age, Vocals, and Classical are exactly what I listen to and I very much like my DT880 for all of those. I have never listened to HD600, HD650 or K701, but from what I have heard and read about I think that I would be very happy with any of these: DT880, HD600, HD650 or K701. I still like my HD590 for relaxed, non-critical listening, but I normally would rather listen to my DT880.
 
Mar 24, 2006 at 5:19 PM Post #7 of 11

DevilDog

1000+ Head-Fier
Joined
Apr 26, 2004
Posts
1,031
Likes
13
The HD-650s were made for this. Without a doubt, they'd be my choice for all of those.
I haven't heard the 701s, I should in a week or so, but my 650s do jazz, new age, and classical unbelievably well.
 
Mar 24, 2006 at 5:44 PM Post #8 of 11

E.B.M.Head

100+ Head-Fier
Joined
Feb 23, 2005
Posts
381
Likes
11
I would say SR-5 Gold, but as they are out of production since over 12 years and you would have to buy a used one , I vote for the Stax SR-001 or 003 too. AKG 501 is also good in that area, and as the K 701 should be even more refined (I sadly haven't heard it yet) you probably have made already a very good choice.
 
Mar 24, 2006 at 6:34 PM Post #9 of 11

milkpowder

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Sep 22, 2005
Posts
8,496
Likes
18
Quote:

Originally Posted by seacard
Jazz, New Age, Vocals, and Classical encompasses so much that basically your question boils down to "What is the best headphone?"


That's very true!

Quote:

Originally Posted by seacard
Pick one of these, and you should be extremely happy:

Sony R10
Sony Q010
Sony SA5000 (may be a bit too forward for some new age or vocals)
Senn HD600/650
Beyer DT880
AKG K701
AKG K1000 (this is my favorite of the group other than the R10 and Q010)
AT W5000
AT AD2000
Electrostat (Omega II or HE60 or HE90)



...if only I could afford them all...

Quote:

Originally Posted by fvoelling
Lastly, I am a huge fan of electrostatic loudspeakers (Magnepan and the like)...


I thought Magnepans are ribbon speakers. MartinLogans, on the other hand, are electrostatic.
 
Mar 27, 2006 at 12:01 PM Post #10 of 11

Tachikoma

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Jul 19, 2005
Posts
2,002
Likes
60
Quote:

I would say SR-5 Gold, but as they are out of production since over 12 years and you would have to buy a used one , I vote for the Stax SR-001 or 003 too. AKG 501 is also good in that area, and as the K 701 should be even more refined (I sadly haven't heard it yet) you probably have made already a very good choice.


*Currently evaluating his stax SR-5 gold.
biggrin.gif
* They're pretty darn decent, even out of my sony CMT-EX1's speaker terminals
tongue.gif
It separates instruments like no other, and its very involving with classicals. Its a bit harsh with the treble though, but that may be a flaw in my source/amplification. Will post more impressions after more extensive listening >_>
 

Users who are viewing this thread

Top