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Gonna spend some money - I don't need advice, just fellow audiophiles to discuss options with up to $500 budget

  1. dmort
    Howdy all - like I said in the title, I need to chat with people as opposed to just reading threads....
    I have a decent flac collection, foobar, etc. I use a Gilmore lite + psu and an emotiva xda1. My current phones are AKG k601, AT ESW9, JVC HA s500, and a pair of px100s. (I also have the hd238 and the px200ii, but they both have minor problems so I don't use them much). I have pretty eclectic taste so I need an all-rounder of a headphone. I listen to a bit of Fatboy Slim and Underworld, classic rock, 90's rock, Jazz and blues. Sometimes some classical/classically scored soundtracks.
    I really like the huge sound stage of the AKG and I really like the warmth of the px100. The ESW9 delivers some nice bass. The JVC HA s500 were more for fun and while I really like them in my portable rig (rockbox 5th gen ipod with corda 3move and an ALO au/ag cable) I don't use them much in my desktop rig.
    I want to step up, but not past the ability of my gilmore lite. A new amp/dac combo is a possibility down the road, but it wouldn't be happening now.
    I'm looking at the Senn HD700, fostex TH600, AKG 65th Aniversary or the k712, and Ultrasone Pro 2900. I'm relatively indifferent to open vs. closed although I'm more used to an open headphone in my desktop setup. I'm going to be buying used for sure in order to get any of these for what I can afford to spend.
    Please share thoughts and ask me questions - like I said, I need a disscussion to help me figure out which direction to go in. TY!
  2. amigomatt
    Have you considered the HifiMan HE560s?  I'm looking to upgrade at some point in the near future.  Headphones of the likes of the Beyer T1, K712 and HD700/800 were in my initial thoughts but after much research, I'm being drawn to the HE560.  They are looking to be amazing all round cans and possibly endgame material, yet cheaper than other flagships...
  3. dmort
    The HE400, HE500, and the newer versions of both have crossed my mind but I've never tried a planar magnetic headphone. I really don't know what to expect... In my research today I also discovered the new fostex th500rp...
    This $400-600 price point is getting really crowded. As of right now, the AKG options seem really strong given that they have already dropped down to the $350 range brand new from a higher original price point - and I do like my k601s.
    I guess I'm just not sure what I'm missing and whether I would prefer it!
  4. 62ohm
    Don't overlook the SRH1540 - IMO it is a great headphone for the price. Huge soundstage for a closed-back headphone, pretty comfortable and clean treble. The flaws of it to me are the bass sound a bit bloated & loose to me, and it bleeds to the mids a bit as well. And it doesn't pair well with my HDVA600 amp - which is why I don't get one.
  5. Beyakusenn
    I have owned the HD580 for a while now and I was looking for an upgrade. After listening to headphones like the T90, SRH1840 and HD700 the difference in sound quality wans't enough for me to justify the investment. Then I recently purchased a T1 based on just reviews... and I'm liking it very much! My reference headphone had been the HD580, but the T1 is certainly a jump in performance. I must admit that it's pricetag in the second hand market is at the upper limit of your budget and that's almost 6 times what I paid for my HD580, but other headphones just didn't stand out enough me.
    Right now I'm listening to Fatboy Slim with my T1 and it sounds great! The T1 is good with any genre imo.
  6. mikesale
    Concur that the HiFiMan's HE560 fits the bill. It certainly played well across my audition playlist at RMAF, I just can't afford a pair anytime soon with other expenses (darn kids want to go to college and take a holiday once a year!).  
    I would say the industry agrees if you looked at the number of HE-560s used at RMAF for booths not pitching headphones. Allowed those auditioning amps, cables, etc. to listen to their own music and get a good representation. 
  7. dmort
    That's really good feedback. I much appreciate it.
    That's what I'm really dealing with here. I want to make sure that whatever I step up to satisfies me for a while. I've had my k601s for about 2 years now and I'm only now starting to think about other choices.
    I really wish there was somewhere that I could listen to any of these. I live in NYC so I figure there has got to be some boutique hipster store that sells some of this junk?
  8. dmort
    Like any good head-fier, I think my kids will be fine with a state education! (joke - or maybe not... still too early to tell)
  9. mikesale

    State schools are still ~$20k/year [​IMG] 
  10. dmort
    yeah yeah. I know. And then what happens if you accidentally raise your kid to be a head-fier? I suppose that's their problem.
    I wonder where I could try the Fostex th600 or the AKG models? I think I might actually be able to demo those here in NYC.
  11. dmort
  12. Gagarin
    Sennheiser HD700 - one of my favourite headphones, and is a different flavour to the HD800, my favourite headphone.
    seriously, the sound is expansive, realistic, analytical and bass goes deeeeep
  13. amigomatt
    As you already have the K612, the K712 may just be a bit too close in terms of house sound.  If I were you, I'd try stretching my legs out and going for a totally different and complimentary set of headphones.  This has been the JOY for me on this headphone journey.  I now own a number of VERY different sounding cans, some which I could never part with because they do something either unique or wonderful that my others don't!  Mind you, I do have a ridiculously broad taste in music, mainly orchestral, classical, thrash/death metal, funk/motown, prog rock, small group jazz/big band, solo piano, rock/prog rock, experimental/electronica/industrial, grunge, gothic!  So, having a choice of flavours is pretty essential for me.  I'm yet to find a headphone that does everything convincingly.  The NAD HP50 are probably the closest in my collection, followed my the HPH200.
    Another thing to bear in mind is that I have had to 'grow' to love a number of my headphones which I have come close to selling on impulse very soon after acquiring them through some sort of buyers remorse.  2 pairs that spring to mind are my HD598s and my HE400s.  Coming from Grados (SR80 and SR125), I really couldn't get over how coloured and boxy/nasal/wrong the HD598s sounded to me on a lot of orchestral stuff.  The problem was, I was used to a forward and bright midrange, with the fast drivers of the Grados.  But, in time, I grew to realise that neither are neutral and are coloured in their own way.  I had thought the Grados sounded neutral because that was all I listened to.  Fast forward about 5 years and my poor Grados get hardly an ear time now.  They sound thin and closed in with none of the body and liquid smoothness offered by my 598s.  DO NOT TRUST YOURSELF until you spend a little more time with any new headphone purchase.  I'm SO glad that, rather than selling, I gave myself the absolutely necessary time to acclimatise and appreciate a different sound signature.  I have learnt a LOT from persevering like that and it has changed (or, I should say broadened) my taste and really helped me refine my ear to make much more informed decisions about what I want and yearn for in terms of sound presentation.
    Go for something completely different, I say.  There is something so textured and tactile about the sound of planars. You must try them at least.  I cannot explain it, you would need to hear it.  I can almost feel, taste, see the sounds.  I know that sounds a bit over the top, but it's a vivid experience.  I haven't heard any dynamic driver 'tickle' my ears in the same way.  Do the planar owners here know what I mean?
    Rather ironically, after all the money I've spent on low-mid tier headphones, my recently acquired Sony MA900 open air headphones are getting the most head time.  They have BLOWN MY MIND with how much they have drawn me into my well recorded orchestral stuff.  The soundstage is quite unbelievable.  Every time I listen to them I am gobsmacked!  But, they are so open, I couldn't wear them anywhere but in a room alone!  Trade offs always!
    Good luck!
  14. amigomatt
    Sorry, just realised it's the 601 you have, not the 612!  Well, in that case, I'm sure the K712 will be a very noticeable improvement to you.  Still, I stick by my word about trying something leftfield!
  15. dmort
    That's my instinct as well. I'm really excited to try the HD700, as based on what I like about my current headphones, I think it will bring together a lot of qualities.
    I do enjoy a variety of phones - I just need to break out of the price point I've looked at because in the 100 - 200 range a lot sounds similar. I really like my k601s... but we'll see. Like I said, I'm lucky to have some places to demo. I won't really be able to provide great feedback on phones here, I just don't have the vocabulary to do it - but I will know what I like the best!!
    And by the way - thanks for the conversation, its exactly what I was looking for. Not too many people to geek out with between my wife and two kids (3 years and 2 years). I'm working on the kids though!

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