Exquisite classical cans
Apr 19, 2002 at 1:13 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 34

tktran

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Hi,

I'm looking to a buy a pair of headphones as a present for someone who listens almost exclusively to classical music. Now he's a piano teacher so I want to really WOW him.

What should be on my shortlist?

Must be lightweight, not too large and comfortable. Superb sounds with classical.

I'm not sure if he will buy an amp later on, so please tell me if the can needs an amp so I can keep that in mind.
 
Apr 19, 2002 at 1:19 PM Post #2 of 34

kwkarth

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Three for your short list...

Etymotic ER-4P/w 4S adapter cable - does not need an amp but will reveal all that you give it.

Sennheiser HD-600 - needs a great amp to sound it's best

AKG K-501 - needs a great amp to sound it's best

To my ear all three of these cans sound WONDERFUL with classical and superb with piano.

My personal favorite is the 501 currently, but I like all three and actually perfer each one over the other on different occasions.
 
Apr 19, 2002 at 2:23 PM Post #3 of 34

JMT

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Let me add my vote for the HD-600s/HD-580s. To me, they are a superb match with classical music and soundtracks. In my opinion that is when they shine, when there is a lot going on musically. But, as kwkarth said, for them to truly reach their capabilities you need to drive them with a good dedicated amp. The 580s may be tad more comfortable and a bit lighter.

The three that kw mentioned, driven properly, will definitely WOW him.
smily_headphones1.gif
 
Apr 19, 2002 at 2:57 PM Post #5 of 34

beowulf

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Quote:

Originally posted by tktran
Hi,

I'm looking to a buy a pair of headphones as a present for someone who listens almost exclusively to classical music. Now he's a piano teacher so I want to really WOW him.

What should be on my shortlist?

Must be lightweight, not too large and comfortable. Superb sounds with classical.

I'm not sure if he will buy an amp later on, so please tell me if the can needs an amp so I can keep that in mind.


I listen mostly to classical... so far my favourites are the Sennheiser HD 590 (excellent with classical) and the Sony MDR-CD3000 (which adds a better soundstage). Can't go wrong with those. And no, the 590 are not too bright for classical. No way. The word is "detailed".
 
Apr 19, 2002 at 3:28 PM Post #6 of 34

kwkarth

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beowulf,
Good suggestion! The CD-3000's are superb cans without an amp and worth serious consideration. They remained a wonderful can with the Creek OBH-11SE. When I got the SAC and Max amps, the CD-3000's became too bright to really enjoy any longer, but up to that point in my audio journey, they were very magical, and I'm pretty confident that they would be the same for you under similar circumstances.
 
Apr 19, 2002 at 3:46 PM Post #7 of 34

setmenu

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Stax phones are considered to be Ok with classical too.
I believe?
rolleyes.gif
wink.gif



Setmenu
 
Apr 19, 2002 at 5:38 PM Post #8 of 34

MacDEF

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Quote:

Originally posted by beowulf
I listen mostly to classical... so far my favourites are the Sennheiser HD 590 (excellent with classical) and the Sony MDR-CD3000 (which adds a better soundstage). Can't go wrong with those. And no, the 590 are not too bright for classical. No way. The word is "detailed".


beowulf, remember that "detailed" to you may mean "bright" to others. It's safe to say that most people feel the 590, and even the 3000, are bright headphones. If you like that, great, if not, great. But as kevin put it elsewhere
wink.gif
let's call a spade a spade -- both of these phones are significantly brighter than most other headphones (<-- note there is no criticism there; just a statement of fact). That being said, if the person in question like the extra detail, the 590 are excellent headphones for classical, I agree.


tktran: I think Kevin's list is a good one: The Etys, K501, and HD580/600 are all *excellent* classical headphones, and of the headphones I've heard, probably my top three. I personally prefer the HD600, but if you don't listen to classical with a lot of low bass (organ, etc.) the K501 offer a "clearer" presentation that some people prefer over the "fuller" presentation of the HD600. The Etys are somewhere in between, IMO, and at times offer the best of both. They are also the easiest to drive (ER4P) of the three.
 
Apr 19, 2002 at 8:12 PM Post #9 of 34

kwkarth

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Quote:

Originally posted by MacDEF
I personally prefer the HD600, but if you don't listen to classical with a lot of low bass (organ, etc.) the K501 offer a "clearer" presentation that some people prefer over the "fuller" presentation of the HD600. The Etys are somewhere in between, IMO, and at times offer the best of both. They are also the easiest to drive (ER4P) of the three.


Well put Mac!!
 
Apr 19, 2002 at 8:42 PM Post #10 of 34

DarkAngel

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If I listened to classical only Sony CD3000 would get the nod over Senn 600/cardas. Because of the superior recording quality of classical CDs the 3000's don't sound bright as they often do listening to rock music. I use my 3000's when listening to classical CDs and Senn 600/cardas for everything else.

The Sony 3000's are more detailed than either Senn 600/cardas or AKG 501, plus can be used with no headphone amp.
 
Apr 19, 2002 at 8:42 PM Post #11 of 34

Hirsch

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Quote:

Originally posted by MacDEF
beowulf, remember that "detailed" to you may mean "bright" to others. It's safe to say that most people feel the 590, and even the 3000, are bright headphones. If you like that, great, if not, great. But as kevin put it elsewhere
wink.gif
let's call a spade a spade -- both of these phones are significantly brighter than most other headphones (<-- note there is no criticism there; just a statement of fact). That being said, if the person in question like the extra detail, the 590 are excellent headphones for classical, I agree.


This just indicates how difficult it is to convey subjective impression even while speaking a common language. To me, detail is exactly that...nuances in the music that would not be heard with a lesser headphone. IMO the HD-600 is extremely detailed, although you wouldn't find all that many people calling it "bright". Bright indicates to me a non-linearity in the frequency response, so that the upper ranges are enhanced. At first blush this could be mistaken for increased detail (audio salesmen have taken advantage of that for years), but with repeated listening, you realize that it's more of a distracting glare...you're not hearing anything new, but more of an unpleasant emphasis on certain frequencies. IMO anyway.

I have heard the CD3K sound bright, particularly with the Melos. I don't consider that a good combination. However, the CD3K can simply sound transparent with the ZOTL and the X-Can...Loads of detail (much more with the ZOTL), but the high end stays where it's supposed to. Brightness in the CD3K may also be reflective of issues elsewhere in the system. I don't hear distracting brightness using the Silver Lace interconnect. I do sometimes hear it using MIT MI-330 II. As DarkAngel noted, brightness could also be reflective of the current trends in less than high quality recordings. The CD3K may simply be more revealing of what's actually there.

I've also noticed that the more I use the CD3K, the more I like it. Part of this could be psychoacoustic, but I also suspect that this can takes a seriously long time to burn in fully.
 
Apr 20, 2002 at 7:13 PM Post #12 of 34

tktran

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Far out all these cans are VERY expensive.

Aren't there any cheaper cans (say < US$100) that will still know his socks off (and don't require an amp)

Perhaps I'm asking too much.

If I can find him a pair I may give him a pair of KSC35. Are they any good for classical?
 
Apr 20, 2002 at 9:05 PM Post #13 of 34

TimSchirmer

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For classical music, with no amp, and under 100$ I would recommend:

Koss Porta Pro (less cheap looking than KSC-35)
Etymotic ER-6
SBC HP 910 (on sale@meier-audio)
Grado SR-60
 
Apr 20, 2002 at 10:53 PM Post #14 of 34

beowulf

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For $15 more (at least here in Lisbon) you can get the Sennheiser HD 590, which, IMHO, probably beat any of the cans mentioned in the previous post.
smily_headphones1.gif
 
Apr 20, 2002 at 11:21 PM Post #15 of 34

MacDEF

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Quote:

Originally posted by TimSchirmer
For classical music, with no amp, and under 100$ I would recommend:

Koss Porta Pro (less cheap looking than KSC-35)


Perhaps, buth the KSC-35 sound better
wink.gif


Quote:

Etymotic ER-6


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Quote:

SBC HP 910 (on sale@meier-audio)


SBC? Are these the Philips cans? If so, I wouldn't recommend the 910 to anyone for anything
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Quote:

Grado SR-60


I'm not a big fan of the SR60 for classical. Definitely a rock headphone IMO.

The Senn HD497 would be a much better headphone for classical under $100.
 

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