Cheaper headphones that do what high-end headphones don't
Oct 20, 2014 at 4:09 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 7

LogicalDisconnect

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Hi everyone. I've had a variety of fairly high-end headphones, including the Beyerdynamic T1, AT W3000ANV, Alessandro MS-Pro, HifiMan HE500, AKG K701 and Unique Melody Miracle. All of them have good points. Some have great detail, others great energy and dynamic response, others in theory a very wide soundstage. But I'm not sure I've really 'enjoyed' listening to any of them that much. What I want is a headphone that I can just put on, sit back, relax and enjoy - a balanced sound (most of my headphones seem to have had an overemphasised treble relative to bass), smooth and lush with vocals, still energetic enough to get you involved in the music, and still detailed and transparent enough that you don't feel they sound 'muddy' or that you're missing details.
 
I'm willing to spend money on something high-end if that's the answer. But given my experience, I'm not sure it is. So what I'm interested in is whether there are maybe any cheaper headphones I haven't looked at because I've been so focused on the high-end that might give me closer to what I actually want.
 
In particular, I wonder if any of you have a pair of headphones that you just put on for enjoyment - for, say, a lush, smooth, fairly balanced (as in, not overemphasised treble and underemphasised mids and bass like many of the headphones I've had), but still detailed enough to be happy with. Or is there any cheaper headphone you have that you think even the very high-end headphones don't match in some aspects? For example, I've read some people say the Sennheiser HD600 or HD650 still can't be matched in terms of vocals, although others obviously disagree. And if so, what source do you use with it?
 
Oct 20, 2014 at 4:37 PM Post #2 of 7

Arcee

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I have had lots of cheaper headphones, but stopped looking further once I made the investment for a pair of HD600's and all they say about it is true. I am using my iPhone or iPad as a source, listening to FLAC sources only from my NAS using DS Audio, connected to a Nuforce iDo as a DAC then connected with decent interlinks to a Little Dot MKIII tube amp. And I love it so much that I haven't looked for anything else for over a year now. Never get listening fatigue and just have a hard time taking them off. With cheaper headphones I never had that. When traveling I use a pair of Bose QC15's which are nice when traveling but don't even come close...
 
Oct 21, 2014 at 5:34 PM Post #5 of 7

WHertz

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With a decent hardware EQ you're able to change sound signature to whatever you want
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Oct 21, 2014 at 10:19 PM Post #7 of 7

elvergun

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 For example, I've read some people say the Sennheiser HD600 or HD650 still can't be matched in terms of vocals, although others obviously disagree. And if so, what source do you use with it?

 
I thought my HD650s were just okay.    You might like them...so you gotta try them.  You just have to keep on trying different models until you find the right one.   Usually, the mega-threads (threads with hundreds of pages ...be careful with FOTM threads though) is a good place to read about the models you should try. 
 
Unfortunately, spending the money on something high-end is usually the answer if you want the absolute best.  This is not always the case though.   I absolutely love my MDR-F1.  If I could own only two headphones I would chose the F1 and the HD800.  If I could only own one, I would chose the F1. 
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     The HD800 is technically better, but the F1 has the widest soundstage I have heard -- it's almost like listening to speakers.  
 
The F1 is a headphone I can just put on, sit back, relax and enjoy...and this is a model that is regarded as just okay by most Headfiers who've heard it.
 

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