best sounding unamped headphone?
Jun 28, 2007 at 9:13 PM Post #32 of 72
Would SR225s sound decent without an amp?
Jun 28, 2007 at 9:36 PM Post #33 of 72
I've said this before, but it's worth repeating. Asking Head-Fi what headphones sound good without an amp is like asking a heroin dealer how to get high without a needle.

I too once thought a separate amplifier was silly. Six months later and I'm admiring the Hornet strapped to the back of my iMod (sort of like a monkey on its back).

Of course, you can dabble and enjoy yourself with unamped headphones. But be careful. Once you get hooked, you might not be able to resist the lure of the high a good amplifier can provide.
Jun 28, 2007 at 9:44 PM Post #34 of 72
Another vote for Shure E500/SE530 here. However, you really should check out alternative triple-driver IEM solutions from other companies, like the Ultimate Ears 10Pro and Westone UM3. I can't say that there's a clear winner among them SQ-wise, so it is a matter of personal preference. It may easily turn out, though, that you will prefer one of the other two phones over the Shures, so it's best to audition all three before you buy one.
Jun 28, 2007 at 10:56 PM Post #35 of 72

I refuse to use anything else with my Sansa! All of my tracks are always encoded using 192 kbps WMA because my PX-100's deserve nothing less.

As for the HD-595's, try them out first if you can. I generally don't think it's a good idea to use headphones at that level with portable devices unless you don't mind carrying around an uber-powerful portable amp.
Jun 28, 2007 at 11:53 PM Post #39 of 72
I was about to ask the same question as well...

I was looking into getting the SR60s but the lack of bass shys me away. Ive been reading a lot about the Senn 555s and its got a lil bit of everything I want.

would you guys recommend that for my first pair of "cans"? I listen to RnB mostly but I can go from one genre to another in an hour span i.e. RnB, Rock, Ambient, Norah Jones-type...etc.

let me know.
Jun 29, 2007 at 12:02 AM Post #40 of 72
Koss PortaPro sounds great with most sources, unamped.

IMO as always of course.
Jun 29, 2007 at 12:13 AM Post #41 of 72
HD595's do sound pretty good unamped, but not all DAPs have the juice to drive them properly. They sound quite nice out of the X5, though a bit grainy compared to high end cans. The A900 sounds fairly good unamped too.

However, if you're against lugging around a "brick" as you put it, how is lugging around a giant pair of full-size cans any better? If you want something truly portable, we'll have to talk IEMs, earbuds, or clip-ons. Here, you can get very good sound, provided that you have very deep pockets.

The Westone ES2 is the best headphone I've ever heard unamped. It sounds as good as many full-size rigs straight out of an X5, and sounds reasonbly good playing lossy files, though it's honest enough to always tell you about compression artifacts when they're there. A UM2 also sounds pretty good unamped provided that you EQ up the highs. The UM2 has enough power handling that you can custom-tailor the frequency response to basically whatever you want, provided that your mp3 player has the EQ options and the headroom to pull it off (you can do the same with the ES2, but you WILL hear the SQ degradation as you turn on your EQ circuit, and besides, it's balanced enough already to not need EQ in the first place). As far as the E500 goes, I think that it doesn't just benefit from an amp, it positively requires one. It sounds wimpy and washed out straight out of the X5. Not lacking in detail, but massively lacking in punch and tone color. When you throw in a Hornet into the mix however, it comes to life and sounds very good, though the bass is massive and can kill you.

Basically, IEMs are the way to go here, but only the high-end ones. If you don't want to shell out so much but still want good SQ, you're better off with an easy to drive full-size set like the HD595.
Jun 29, 2007 at 3:30 AM Post #43 of 72
The impendance is a set value, specific to each model of headphone (though consistent within different units of that model).

Any spec sheet will give you that value, or I'm sure a number of Head-fiers could recite them by heart.
Jun 29, 2007 at 3:36 AM Post #44 of 72
UE Triple-Fi 10Pro are one of the best IEMs to use with portable player(unapmed).
Jun 29, 2007 at 3:37 AM Post #45 of 72
Higher impedances are, in general, always easier to drive loads.

For an amplifier, as long as the sensitivity is not outrageously low, it is actually easier to drive a 300 ohm load than a 32 ohm load.

HD650 is pretty good out of a portable really. One of the worst is AKG K701. It has a low impedance and yet requires more voltage due to its lower sensitivity, too.

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