Best high end headphones for low volume listening?
Jan 14, 2004 at 7:00 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 20

Claude

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Hello,

This has probably already been discussed here. I made a search on "low volume" in this forum but it gave too many irrelevant results.

I currently have a Sennheiser HD580 and Musical Fidelity X-Can combination which I only use for classical music. I prefer to listen to jazz over my speakers, but the dynamics of orchestral recordings are often too high to listen to comfortably in my apartment late at night.

I'm also afraid of damaging my hearing when listening too loud with the headphones. The hearing capacities above 10kHz is a bit weaker on my right ear, and I get a deafness feeling in that ear (hard to describe, no ringing, but a sort of pressure) when I listen too long, even at moderate levels. I've had this for the past 15 years (I'm 35) , it's not a big problem but I want to preserve my hearing as much as I can.

So I want a headphone that I will use for max. 1 hour per day and that sounds very detailed at low to moderate volumes. Mainly for classical orchestral music. It should be very comfortable too. My budget is $800.

Which headphones would you recommend? Stax (used), K1000, HD650, Baby Orpheus ...?

Thanks
 
Jan 14, 2004 at 7:26 PM Post #2 of 20

iamdone

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Maybe the 650s with a Zu Cable upgrade.
 
Jan 14, 2004 at 7:40 PM Post #4 of 20

Tyson

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Ety 4S. They have the advantage of blocking external sound, so you don't have to overcome ambiant room noise when listening, which means you can listen at lower volumes with better detail.
 
Jan 14, 2004 at 7:59 PM Post #5 of 20

JohnnyLightOn

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Great question, Claude. Can I ask, why is your current setup not good for this type of listening? I thought the HD580 was already delicate and detailed. Or are you looking to upgrade your cans to something better while getting the same kind of detail?
 
Jan 14, 2004 at 8:03 PM Post #6 of 20

gsferrari

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AKG1000 headspeakers...you will love them

You might also want to try out a couple of electrostatics like the Stax 404 or Omega 2s with the KGSS amp but thats WAAAY out of your budget
frown.gif


Try a basic electrostatic - lots of detail at low volumes because it doesnt depend on moving large volumes of air to produce the sound...this also makes them a little easier on the ears...
 
Jan 14, 2004 at 8:31 PM Post #8 of 20

Claude

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Quote:

Originally posted by JohnnyLightOn
Can I ask, why is your current setup not good for this type of listening? I thought the HD580 was already delicate and detailed. Or are you looking to upgrade your cans to something better while getting the same kind of detail?


I've had the HD580 since they came out (10 years ago already!) and I like their laid back sound. But as I've rediscovered classical music and headphone listening, I want something better. Low volume detail is a criterium that is not often discussed in reviews

Thanks to all for your recommendations (and please continue
smily_headphones1.gif
). I'll be able to listen to the K1000s and the Sennheisers in my region, but unfortunately not the Stax and Etymotics.
 
Jan 14, 2004 at 11:29 PM Post #12 of 20

raif

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If you like the 580 sound, but want to upgrade I don't see any reason not to get the 650s with a cable upgrade. I listen to my headphones very quietly, and the 650s(stock cable) still present every little detail, as long as you have a strong enough amp powering them.

As soon as I get the money together I will buy the moon audio cables, they present the most analytical, and detailed sound of all the cables I have heard with the sennheisers, which unfortunatly does not include the zu mobius.
 
Jan 15, 2004 at 12:58 AM Post #13 of 20

Tyll Hertsens

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I think the cable upgrade might be a good idea, but otherwise you already have an excelent system for your described use.
 
Jan 15, 2004 at 1:01 AM Post #14 of 20

Geek

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I agree with Tyll. The HD580 is the best headphone I've heard for normal classical listening (in which the listener wants to be in the audience hearing every instrument layered correctly, as opposed to the more colored and forward sound of other headphones with a different sonic interpretation).

You might want to try a pair of grado RS-1 or RS-2 as they seem to sound completely different than the HD580s and have tons of intimacy minus the soundstage, and would compliment the HD580s nicely: this is a pretty classic two headphone combo for audiophiles.

The DT880 sounded great, too, its like the HD580 with a slightly different (less punchy but deeper) bass and a more forward high end. Very close in performance, actually.

Cheers,
Geek
 
Jan 15, 2004 at 1:52 AM Post #15 of 20

NetRunner

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If you get different headphones and/or cable you might still wish to update your amp too. I find that my X-Can v2 is dull and lifeless if I don't set it to at least a moderate+ volume level. (About half past eight..)

Edit: I'm using HD600 with that. Like others have said Senn might need some oomph to sound good..
 

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