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Best headphone & amp for ambient music

Discussion in 'Headphones (full-size)' started by cartograph, May 18, 2012.
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  1. cartograph
    I am in quest for best headphone and amp for about 500$. I listen to dark ambient (Lustmord, raison d’etre & …), drone ambient (Thomas Köner & …) & noise music (Merzbow, K2 & …) in FLAC. I will get a Focusrite saffire pro 14 that people says has a good DAC & is a great audio interface too, so I think I don’t need a DAC (?). After many hours of research I have come to four choices (I have no experince with none of the aforementioned headphones and all of pros and cons are found here on head-fi):
    1.AKG K 701
    Pros:Great soundstage, Detailed
    Cons:Bass anemic, ” These are very very hard to drive and you usually need to spend more than 5 times the cost of the headphone to even get adequate amplification out of the headphone
    2. Beyerdynamic Dt880 250Ohms
    Pros:Neutral, Detailed
    Cons:a little bit bass anemic,  treblish
    3.  Sennheiser HD598
    Pros:Good sound
    Cons:Overpriced, not detailed and neutral as others
    4.  Sennheiser HD600
    Pros:Great sound
    Cons:So much pricy, Not as neutral as others
    Now I need your help to choose between these four headphones and recommend me a great amp too.
    Thanks in advance.
  2. planx
    Try looking at the Q701s instead of the K701s because they have more bass and more refined treble (ACCORDING TO USERS AND MYSELF). I think you're over-estimating the amplication of the K(Q)701. Very affordable Amps like the Fiio E9 sound good and even my weaker HiFiMan EF2A seem to run it quite well and make it sound very good (I tried at a headphone shop). The Beyers aren't really neutral IMO, more of a V-shape. Senn HD598 are good, but get the HD558 instead. And the HD600(650)s are actually more neutral than the Beyers IMO. They have a rich mid and more bass than the K701s, which is a plus. I prefer the AKGs for Soundstage, treble, and neutrality. If you haven't tried any of those HPs, try not to describe what it sounds like. For example, I find the DT880s to be the least bass anemic because they have recessed mids which allows the bass to be more naturally audible.
  3. MalVeauX
    I find ambient stuff needs good ability in sub-bass as well as mids, not too bright, but detailed. I'd put you on a bass capable ortho.
    Hifiman HE-400 on a Fiio E10.
    Alternative: Denon D5000 on Fiio E10.
    Very best,
  4. cartograph
    Sorry for the late replay.
    @planx : Thank you for your answer.
    Now I should consider AKG Q701 too.and about my descriptions, I mentioned in my post that I found them here on head-fi and for example that quotation about K 701 had been found on here (http://www.head-fi.org/a/headphones-i-own-in-order-of-preference).
    @MalVeauX : Thank you dear MalVeauX.
    Hifiman HE-400 is so much pricey, but if you say it sounds great with Fiio E10, I can buy it & it is in my price range.But are you sure that I can get the best sound from a 400 $ headphone with a 75$ headphone amp?
    I am waiting for some other kind replies.
    Thanks in advance.
  5. planx
    My point still stands about amplification. Just because you get an expensive amp doesn't mean it's going to sound better than a less expensiver one. Headphone and Amp matching is very important and at times, price doesn't matter. I personally heard the Q701 out of a Fiio E9 and it sounded pretty good! It has enough power to correctly amp it and it's fairly neutral sound sig just enhanced the Neutral Q701s furthermore. Like I said before, I actually found the Q701s to pair nicely with the HiFiMan EF2. I even prefered it to the more expensive EF5 with the Q701.
  6. cartograph
    Thank you again, dear planx.
    At first, after reading an review on Schiit Asgard in Headfonia, I was thinking about an AKG K 701+ Asgard or Matrix M-Stage but now I see that you are right and headphone and amp matching is the decisive factor. So, at this moment, my list is:
    1.AKG Q 701 + Fiio E9 (Or HiFiMan EF2)(350 - 400 $)
    2.Hifiman HE-400 + Fiio E10 (470 $)
    I am still waiting for some other recommendations.
  7. Lorspeaker
    hmmm.....throwing in a contrary tot, i always prefer listening to ambient music on a closed can instead of open cans.
    cos i wanna really lock out the outside world and get succcked into the dark yonder...n zzzzz.
    so cans i would get lost in are FA003...KRK KNS8400...pro900...edition8...depending on my budget.
    just my tots.
    ok back to open cans...
    Q701...its got enough bass..its got a huge tall soundstage...not really diff to drive.
    from your list, i would pick the hd600. its my "center reference" of sorts...balanced...no accentuated highs or lows...somewhat neutral...
    and i calibrate the rest of my cans from there. :p
  8. cartograph
    Thank you Lorspeaker.
    I can fully understand when you are talking about getting succcked into the dark yonder...n zzzzz., but I listen to music only when I am at home and I like open cans for their neutrality & fidelity.
    and about your recommendations,
    1.which amp do you prefer most for ambient listening with AKG Q 701 and Sennheiser HD 600?
    2.HD 600 is 150 $ more expensive than Q 701. How much is the difference between these two headphones?
    Thanks in advance.
  9. Lorspeaker
    check amazon, the diff betw q701 n hd600 brand new is only 40bucks. ..240 and 280
    i like these cans with hybrid amps...i am listening to the hd600 on the xcan v3 now.. :)
    if i HAVE to pick between the two..on a visit to shangrila, then the q701.
    i like listening to classicals on the hd600.
  10. cartograph
    So you pick Q 701 + Musical Fidelity X-Can V3 for ambient music.Seems great, but there is a problem. X-Can V3 is so expensive for me.Can you recommend me another amp (at most 250 $)?
    and about HD 600 price on amazon, there is two prices (399 $ & 281 $), which one is the final price?
  11. Lorspeaker
     the reseller  PRICEPRO on amazon is selling new 281...and under the USED section, Dahmart selling at 290.
    u can check their "reputation" and see if u are comfy getting from them..
    otherwise wait for a resale in the forum here.
    amps....i got my xcan v3 on the Crazy resale mkt...dirt cheap..embarrassing.[​IMG]
    another amp..hifiman EF5...i loved it when it was with me. its rare on the resale market...probably 250ish..
    u can do more research into the amps :p
  12. cartograph
    Thank you Lorspeaker for your time & suggestions.
    I'm still waiting to see some other new recommendations.
  13. cartograph
    Any other idea?
  14. goldoon
    I think Q701 is a good choice for ambient & I recommend these amps to use with:
    Fiio E9 (116 $)
    Objective2 (145 $)
    Matrix M-Stage (260 $)
    HD 600 is so popular between ambient listeners too and about amps, have a look at:
    JDSLabs Cmoy (60 $)
    HeadRoom Total AirHead (99 $)
    Schiit Asgard (250 $)
    I don't have any info/experience with Hifimen cans and others should talk about this one.
    Very best
  15. chicolom
    Another recommendation for the Q701.  I haven't heard the HD600, but I would pick Q701 over all the others you listed. 
    They have an awesome soundstage, and ambient music lets you really get immersed in that soundstage. 
    I bet the D5000 would be good too though.
    The AKG K550 might be a nice choice as well.  FWIR it's similar to a closed Q701 (more bass but less open soundstage).
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