Closed headphone for Jazz and acoustic music
May 29, 2015 at 6:22 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 6

BenignButDeadly

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For a little over a month now I've been trawling through review after review of pretty much every headphone in my price range (around 300$ to 500$), and though I have eliminated many headphones from my list for various reasons, I still haven't quite managed to decide between the few that remain. There are no dedicated audio equipment stores where I live, so I am unable to try out any of the headphones and must rely totally on reviews to make my decision.
I listen mostly to jazz of different types, from 50s bebop to contemporary smooth jazz and everything in between, but the other genres I listen to occasionally are classical (mainly piano), IDM (Aphex Twin etc.) and a bit of hip hop.
I want whichever pair of headphones I buy to last me for a very long time, and I could probably stretch my budget a bit past 500$ if there is a really 
 
I was very close to buying the Fidelio X2s, having read many positive reviews of them, but the open-back design made them unsuitable for me since I do not want everyone in the house to be able to hear what I am listening to.
 
The SRH1540 seems like my best bet at the moment, and so far I haven't read a single negative review of it in spite of the fact that some users found the bass a little overpowering relative to the mids, and the sound signature too dark and laid back. The low impedance of 32 ohms also makes them attractive to me since I will not need to by a (powerful) amp to drive them.
 
I am also quite tempted by the Oppo pm-3, which cost roughly the same as the Shures where I live and have a more neutral frequency response curve. I have heard however that the build quality and comfort is not quite as good, and the soundstage is less open and airy relative to the SRH1540.
The Audio Technica W1000X, Beyerdynamic T70p, Sony MDR Z7, AKG K712 pro, and even the Sennheiser HD700 have all caught my eye at one point or another, and I am still open to persuasion if it turns out that one of them is perfect for the genres of music that I listen to
 
 
 
TL-DR: How well do the Shure SRH1540 headphones perform with jazz music (both vocal and instrumental) and classical music, and are there any better headphones, preferably closed-back, available for 500$ or under?
 
Any feedback will be greatly appreciated, thanks :)
 
May 29, 2015 at 5:57 PM Post #2 of 6

TwelveTrains

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For something like jazz and acoustic music I would actually steer you away from the SRH1540 and instead recommend something like the Beyerdynamic DT770. It is more neutral and analytical, which are traits you want when listening to jazz and live recorded things. That way you can hear more "air" around the instruments and the room.

I like the 80 ohm version for desktop usage because of the straight cable. When I'm chilling with my laptop, I opt for the 250 ohm version for the coiled cable. Either one will server you fine.
 
 
These headphones do sound their absolute best with an amp, but with the money you save not getting the SRH1540 you can get one. Do you do most of your listening sitting down at a desk, couch, bed? What is your source? Computer, phone, cd player, phonograph?
 
May 30, 2015 at 3:25 AM Post #4 of 6

BenignButDeadly

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Thanks for the recommendation. I had heard of the DT770 before, but they cost so much less than the other headphones I was considering that I didn't bother to look into them properly. I very rarely listen to music away from my desk, so maybe it's a bit silly of me to want an easy-to-drive headphone just for the sake of it, and given that a good amp will last me for a long time and can be used with all future headphones, it does seem like a good investment to make.
 
Which sub 200$ desktop amp would you recommend for use with a wide variety of headphones?
 
May 30, 2015 at 5:28 AM Post #5 of 6

BenignButDeadly

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I live in Europe, so the ZMF v1 and the Paradox are impossible to get at a decent price, because they are modded on a small scale in America and the cost of shipping adds roughly 100$ to the total.
I encountered the same problem with the Alpha Dogs, which  looked great but just went too far over my budget once I added shipping fees to the cost of the headphones themselves.
Are there any production headphones you'd recommend? So long as they have good sound isolation and can be had for under 500$, I'm really not too picky, and amping won't be a problem either since I have decided to buy a decent desktop amp.
 

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