Frustrating but illuminating at same time
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imattersuk

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Hi guys, having found myself unable to use any proper hi-fi equipment at the moment I decided to pick up some decent headphones to use with my iphone, below is my experience of trying to compare the various models in my price range and my discovery of a great little amp.
 
Firstly I have no proper hi-fi dealers nearby so I have had to visit the usual suspects with extremely disappointing results.
 
First up my local AV supplier, extremely helpful but very limited range stocked and not very competitive. I went with the intention (subject to audition) of buying some over ear Sennheiser Momentums. Quite impressed with the first listen but not totally convinced, so the shop owner presents a pair of Yamaha Pro 500, excellent build quality, decent sound but quite coloured. So onto the next audition and he offers me a stunning looking pair of Meze Classic 73, again very coloured, way too rich but for some people I can see the appeal.
 
Now armed with my knowledge built up over many years of playing with real hi-fi and having read a few reviews on here about portable amps I decided to try a NuForce MMP so placed an order and duly hooked it up to my trusty old pair of HD202's...........all I can say is WOW what a revelation this cheap looking lightweight little piece of plastic is, totally transformed them but still determined to improve on what I could achieve I decided to seek out some more demo's.
 
Being a Sunday the local shop was shut so next it was a trip to John Lewis, renowned for customer service surely I could get a decent demo and see a wide choice there ? Sadly not......none of the demo pairs were working, no staff who actually knew anything about the products without picking up the box and spouting off some specs printed on the side, pathetic !!!!
 
Next stop the Apple Store......frustratingly again a lot of the demo pairs didn't work due to faulty cables or only one channel working but eventually I found a pair of momentums that I could try with my MMP. A quick 3 track listen confirmed these would meet my requirements so I bought them. On the suggestion of the sales person I also tried some Bose noise cancelling cans, awful audio quality but they really do cancel 95% of outside noise, couldn't live with the inferior sound quality of Bose though.
 
So I got there in the end but the whole experience highlighted to me just how awful the British high street is if you actually want or need advice and wish to get a proper demo of anything. I would have liked to have given my local independent my business, albeit a very small sale, but the lack of competitive pricing and range on offer plus limited opening hours made that difficult.
 
No doubt i'm now on another journey that will involve many upgrades and swapping of cables etc. and will never be satisfied but it's a good start.
 
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GREQ

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Quote:
 but the whole experience highlighted to me just how awful the British high street is
 

Depends where you're located.
In London there's a few places you can audition headphones, especially on Tottenham Court road.
But it still pales in comparison to Germany (and others I'm sure) where you can walk into a large electronics shop and audition almost everything they stock. 
 

 
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kraken2109

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Yeah, the UK is pretty bad for headphones. I did come across one shop in my searching though, but I never went due to distance. It was called HiFiHeadphones and looked to have a demo room and a decent amount of choice.
 
http://www.hifiheadphones.co.uk/
 
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SteveHiFi

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I thought my ears were burning!
 
We have demo facilities which are available by appointment; we're down next to Worthing.
 
Go to Brighton as well and make a day of it!

 
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kramer5150

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Cool thanks for the NuForce MMP impressions.  This amp uses a 
AK4201 Asahi Kasei in the headphone circuit.  Interesting chip, that blocks DC... so it does not require coupling caps.
 
http://www.akm.com/akm/en/product/datasheet1/?partno=AK4201EU
 
 

 
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imattersuk

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Shame the MMP isn't produced with a nice brushed aluminium case, I don't think the plastic case does it justice and i'm sure it would sell for more if it looked and felt more substantial, the SQ however is excellent bang for buck.
 
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imattersuk

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I thought my ears were burning!

We have demo facilities which are available by appointment; we're down next to Worthing.

Go to Brighton as well and make a day of it! :wink_face:
Being of the never satisfied type I may have to pay you a visit !!!!!
 
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imattersuk

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