Cans for college?
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pyrrhus

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I head off next month for college, and I'm having second thoughts about taking my speakers with me. My computer has served as my stereo, and it's done a pretty good job. I worry about the speakers bothering everyone else, though. A dorm will probably be loud enough without me contributing to the noise. So, I've been playing with the idea of getting a set of good headphones and maybe an amp to drive them.

I listen to all types of music - from classical to hard rock - so I need a set that'll work well with a wide range of music. I play a few games, but any set of headphones will probably satisfy my gaming needs.

If my sound card is insufficient (a Hercules GameTheater XP), I'll also need suggestions for a good amp. I'm open to the idea of building one, but I have little experience with stuff like that. I can solder, though, so I might be able to follow simple intructions. I've read before that simple amps can be really easy to build, but I'm not sure if it would be easy enough for someone with no experience.

I'll be able to spend no more than $400, but I'd love to spend less than that. With college expenses and all, it's always good to spend as little as possible. I do have all that grad gift money sitting around, though...

Thanks for any suggestions and very sorry for the long post. They never end up as short as I intend.
 
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dohminator

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I recommend the audio technica phones. You have to order them, but they are excellent headphones. www.audiocubes.com is pretty much the place to get them, unless you are lucky and somebody is selling theirs

I own the A55 and my W100 is going to arrive in the next few days. There are plenty of reviews about how they sound if you search. I use mine for rock and classical as well and the work wonderfully. They block out a lot of sound, so you can listen to your music even if your roomate has a stereo going.

They can be driven through portables, and sound cards. If you are willing to build an amp though, the meta42 is supposedly a good amp, and it can be built fairly cheap.

Or you can have tangent build you one. He quoted me $220 for an all out meta without the upgraded caps.
http://tangentsoft.net/audio/amp-quote/index.htm

I hope that helps youl
 
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ian

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Nooo, I just heard the W100's at the Headroom tour today and they are icky. Fat bloated bass, unclear, and just not worth the money. And they look like they might get messed up easily at college. Hey, I just got back from my first year, thats what I think of!

I would look at the following:
Grado SR60,80,125,225
AKG K501
Sennheisher HD497

Make sure they are hearty. Yeah isolation is nice and all, but I'd rather get a good pair of hearty cans. I used Sony CD1700s at college and they worked very nice - they are a little bright though.
 
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dohminator

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of course he could go with the a2000ti. Nice titanium casing might last pretty good against any abuses. or the a9x would work good as well.

oh, and I got back from my first year as well. The w100's would take some care to keep them in good shape.
 
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Mrsulung

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That's funny, but HeadRoom doesn't even sell Audio Technica's headphones. You sure the W100 you heard really resembles the W100?
 
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eric343

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Quote:

Originally posted by dohminator
Or you can have tangent build you one. He quoted me $220 for an all out meta without the upgraded caps.
http://tangentsoft.net/audio/amp-quote/index.htm

I hope that helps youl


edit: it's tangentsoft.net/audio/amp-quote/, and since he's currently not taking orders, I'll refrain from commenting on how insanely good this deal is/was.
 
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hokiefritz

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"That's funny, but HeadRoom doesn't even sell Audio Technica's headphones. You sure the W100 you heard really resembles the W100?"

ian was listening to my phones that I brought. I have to say I couldn't disagree more with his comments about them, except about the wood getting messed up school. I don't think they would be very accomodating to dorm life.
Todd from HeadRoom had some nice things to say and seemed pleased with them, as did several other Head-Fi'ers. In fact after listening to everything that is available I think I've made a very good purchase with the W100s and my Sugden Headmaster. The only other phones that really tempt me and are financially attainable are the Senn HD600 with a Cardas (or Equinox) cable.

For closed phones you might want to consider the Beyer 250s. For open if you like the Grado sound the SR-225 are nice, but I would recommend the Senn 580 on a budget or 600 if you've got a little more dough and get an inexpensive amp. If you get the 600s, be sure to ask for the Cardas replacement cable for Christmas!

Good Luck!
 
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ian

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hokiefritz, thanks very much for bringing them, I really wanted to hear them! Sorry for being rude about them, but fat bass is one of my biggest peeves (I'm a Grado guy myself). Too bad I didn't get a chance to meet you, I was too busy listening and had to take off at about 7:30.
 
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MirandaX

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If you're living in a dorm, you should definitely consider Etymotics. They'll block out all external sound, reduce your stress level, and really help you concentrate. I can't recommend them enough.
 
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hokiefritz

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ian wrote ""...Sorry for being rude about them but fat bass is one of my biggest peeves (I'm a Grado guy myself). "

No offense taken ian and I didn't think you were rude, just that you didn't like 'em. Besides they're just headphones. If you didn't like my haircut or something that would be a different story.


Several people have said they don't care for them and stated all kinds of reasons; some say they have fat bass and some say no bass, too colored and so on. heh

As a Grado guy, what did you think about the RS-1? They didn't really sound 'natural' to me but I enjoyed their bass impact and at the same time sweet sound. Too much $$$ though. The 225s were pretty good too, but I prefered the RS-1. I would really like to hear one of the HP-1000 series 'phones now.

MirandaX has some good advice on the Etymotics. Those would be awesome for studying and for relief from noisy roommates, neighbors etc.

Cheers!
 
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PianoBlack

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As a college student with hands-on experience with three of the headphones mentioned above (the W100, ER-4P and HD-580), here's my take:

1. HD580: I had my first audio revelation with this, so these cans are sacrosanct.
PROS: Gorgeous clear music. Good transparency. Hardy....sortof
CONS:
-Open like all out. You can still hear your roomie doing the dirty at high volume. You can also annoy the heck out of said roomie, when she's studying.

-Earplug in left channel developed intermittency problems. When I brought it back to Singapore and got it repaired, I very unwillingly gave them up...but for the:

2. AT W100: first paycheck splurge. again it holds a special spot in my heart.
PROS: Extremely great soundstaging. Lush. Very comfortable. Closed.
[edit: They are seriously VERY hardy. I have been using this for about five months and in somewhat taxing college environments, and there is not a single blemish on this W100 that wasn't there when sold retail. BEYOND hardy. ... hmmm... I see an allusion to it being a woody here. Heheh]

CONS: Messes up your hair? Well it does, but really, it's not that closed. Sound leaks out at moderately high volumes.
-It has a love it/hate it sound.


3. ER-4P: my favorite right now.
PROS: Best highs I've heard. Great clear sound all around. Portable. Very isolated--a worth-it study aid.
CONS: Portable. It means I have to unplug out of my portable each time I switch to my PC rig. A little uncomfortable at times.
-Makes you paranoid when you think people are trying to get your attention (because usually they are...). The risk of getting whiplash while sitting at your desk has increased tenfold.

I can't wait for the HD600 + Cardas to come over.

Sometimes I think the ideal situation for me would be to own three sets of Etys. For bed, desk and portable rigs. That would be a $600 testament to the sloth and laziness upsurge in the new generation. ...it's a fantasy. ...
 
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ian

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Well, I love the RS-1's. I used to have a pair last year about this time, even with the cool wooden box. But they've been sold (I figured they wouldnt survive college - I was right). I think if you want some really good sounded cans for college for rock/techno/pop music, you need some Grado SR125's or 225's. I actually prefer the 125's and 225's a little in rock - a little more aggressive. The RS-1's are a little more sweet sounding.

I really dig the RS-1 and Holmes-Powell Combo. Real smooth and nice
Probably too smooth for rockin though.
 
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Budgie

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Idea- Don't spend big bucks on cans unless you are guarenteed you can return them for a full refund if you aren't happy. Ask, if you do return them if there is any restocking or return fee's involved. It would suck titanically to blow bucks on cans that suck, a real possability if you can't listen first. (not everyone likes the same sound). I too thought the W100's sound lose in the bass for my taste. Different strokes. They are flash looking, though. Maybe boring looking cans would be less likely to "disappear"? Consider the Senn 580's - a good sounding boring looking headphones.
 
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williamgoody

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Pyrrhus, I'm no expert, but I'm with Budgie and Pianoblack with this. While I'm not in college anymore, I remember the life; and I really wish I had the ety 4p's with me then, if anything just for the sheer isolation. But It apparently is an aquired taste. Not to shill for Headroom necessarily, but you could order a pair from them (if they carry what you're looking for) and if your not happy you could send them back within 30 days.

I wish I had this type of service when I was in school


Good Luck
 
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chewmanji

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well, i'll be off to university next year...granted, i'm still living at home...but i find my setup (sony d-25s to senn hd580) more than adequate (until i can save enuf money to make some seruious upgrades). but then again, i don't know how picky you are about sound, cuz i don't consider myself an audiophile. and of course there's the fact that they leak sound.

i would say the 580's (i find my grado's aren't as well suited to a large variety of music due to their brightness) are a good bet if you don't care that much about leakage (plus you'd have money left over to get an amp). but if isolation is important, i would go with the ety's.
 
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