Help!! - I know exactly what I want -- Just don't know which brand & model will match!
Jul 19, 2008 at 5:30 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 22

orthetic

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Hello Head-Fi!

After lurking here for about a year off and on i've come to the point where I know exactly what i'm looking for in headphones, but I lack the experience to know which brand and model I'm wanting. There is not a great local selection where i'm from, so I will have to order which means i'm going to be limited in return policies. Especially if i want to get a great price by using froogle or pricegrabber to find my vendor of choice. ( note, i'm vendor savvy so I'm not basing my purchase soley on price as you will see below )

Anyway here is my master list ( in order of importance ) that I will be looking for. Your help is greatly appreciated!

1) Cannot make my ears sweat! Preferably highly breathable, causing little to no ear "heat" to build up.

2) No On-ear or Partially-On-ear headphones! Must sit completely over or around my ears. Big cans only? No IEM's or Earbuds either! I can't stand things in or on my ears.

3) Weight - I really want headphones I could wear all day long and not be bothered by them. Comfort is just paramount here.

4) My top three genres are Rock/Metal (Megadeth / Linkin Park) -> Jazz (Miles Davis/Herbie Hancock) -> Trance (Sasha/Paul van Dyk) - This means I highly favor *detail* - *response* - *musical weight* - *spatial tracking* <-- meaning height, width, depth, sound staging.

5) Price! - I really don't want to spend real world (ie, not MSRP) $400-500 USD on headphones. I want to spend $200-300 real world USD on a set of phones.

6) Preferably not high impedence - I want to hook this to an Iphone 3G and a computer natively, but later on i'll add a headphone amp. Maybe one of the DIY models that are popular.

This would pretty much make me super happy if I could fill these requests. I've been looking at Denons, Beyers, Sennhesiers, Ultrasones, and Audio Technics, but i'm just lost at this point because the comfort thing is just massive with me. I cannot have my ears get hot and sweat, or the headphones won't last with me.

Your feedback will be very welcome, and I am looking forward to talking with all of you here at Head-Fi.

Thanks in advance!
smily_headphones1.gif


- Stephen
 
Jul 19, 2008 at 5:43 PM Post #2 of 22

progo

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Welcome to Head-fi! And... sorry about your wallet.
biggrin.gif

Reading all the requirements the HD595 stepped on mind. They have velour pads that don't warm much. They do some, but not much. I'm not sure if you can get any better with circumaurals. And darn they are light! They're not the highest end available, but they do handle rock well (in my opinions anyway). And their impedance is 50 Ohm, easile drivable, but they do benefit from an amp. Not necessary though.
 
Jul 19, 2008 at 6:13 PM Post #3 of 22

krmathis

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I checked out () for Stax all the way until point #6. Which excluded them...
frown.gif

Hope someone else have some suggesting fitting all your six points though.
 
Jul 19, 2008 at 7:23 PM Post #5 of 22

REB

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Factoring in cost, that sounds like an open Audio Technica to me (ATH AD900 Air) or perhaps an AKG K501 or AKG K601 (low impedance, but more difficult to drive).
1. The ATH AD900 must be the most 'non-sweaty' headphones I have tried.
2. AT and AKG both OK
3. AT and AKG both OK
4. AT maybe even a but more than AKG
5. Again, both are OK
6. Forget about AKG and get an Audio Technica.

Good luck with it!
 
Jul 19, 2008 at 10:28 PM Post #6 of 22

Kees

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Quote:

Originally Posted by krmathis /img/forum/go_quote.gif
I checked out () for Stax all the way until point #6. Which excluded them...
frown.gif

Hope someone else have some suggesting fitting all your six points though.



X2.
Get a basic Stax setup.
 
Jul 19, 2008 at 10:55 PM Post #9 of 22

shleepy

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I'd say Sennheiser HD595's, or maybe if you want to get an amp soon, then HD580/600/650 (get any of them used for less than $250), are a good choice.

Also, AKG's are great - K701's might be pretty hard to drive, but they're super, super breathable. When I think of light full-sized headphones, I think of K701's.
 
Jul 19, 2008 at 11:26 PM Post #10 of 22

Uncle Erik

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The one that came to mind for me is the Sony MDR-SA5000. It fits your requirements pretty well and has the extreme detail that you're looking for. It's very comfortable and light, as well.

They sell for $350-$400, so they're not quite in the budget you're looking for.

Also, don't judge headphones based on the impedance. That doesn't tell you how difficult something is to drive.

Headphone amps have an output impedance. Anything you're going to plug into has a headphone amp section - even an iPod. People think of amps as only portables and standalone units, but anything with a headphone jack has an amp circuit.

The closer the match between the headphones' impedance and the output impedance of the amp, the better the power transfer between the two. If there is an impedance mismatch, not as much power will get through.

Once you establish how much power gets through, you can then use that amount of power to see how loud the headphones will go given their sensitivity.

Impedance by itself tells you almost nothing.

If you don't want to buy an external amp, look for a pair of headphones with a high sensitivity and an impedance close to whatever you want to drive them with.
 
Jul 20, 2008 at 5:10 AM Post #11 of 22

Kernmac

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Quote:

Originally Posted by REB /img/forum/go_quote.gif
Factoring in cost, that sounds like an open Audio Technica to me (ATH AD900 Air) or perhaps an AKG K501 or AKG K601 (low impedance, but more difficult to drive).
1. The ATH AD900 must be the most 'non-sweaty' headphones I have tried.
2. AT and AKG both OK
3. AT and AKG both OK
4. AT maybe even a but more than AKG
5. Again, both are OK
6. Forget about AKG and get an Audio Technica.

Good luck with it!



REB has got it covered. AKG will need an amp, so ATH AD900 or AD700 are the go to meet your requirements.
 
Jul 20, 2008 at 5:21 AM Post #12 of 22

monolith

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AKG K500 is what came to mind, but you'll need some sort of amp. An iPhone won't be able to drive them. They fit the rest perfectly though.
 
Jul 20, 2008 at 1:37 PM Post #14 of 22

orthetic

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Thanks to everyone thus far for all the great responses. From my previous research a few models have stood out and the replies to this thread have moved me to the point of narrowing this down quite well.

First, I must admit that I am already leaning heavily towards the following cans - in order of their price tag:

1) Sony MDR-SA5000 - Incredibly detail driven, can suck the detail out of anything, and shines mostly as an analytical tool. Places high emphasis on detail and speed vs. musicallity and weight. <-- somewhat non objective statement, but seems to be the consensus. Most expensive, least readily available online

2) AKG K701/702 - Multiple award winner, crowd favorite, incredibly detailed, with a slight nod towards treble shimmer and musicality, bass that matches the source and known for being super comfortable, long break in req. Priced well and readily available online

3) Sennheiser 595's - The Sennheiser signature and easy to drive. Known for being fairly balanced across the soundscape, but definitely more laid back than analytical. Gives up end-of-the-day speed and detail for ease of use and listening. Incredibly well priced, available everywhere I looked. (Except locally, har!)

All three of these headphones seem to have no issues with comfort, and even more importantly the sound quality does not suffer for it. They are all precise, quick response headphones that offer a special attention to detail that I am looking for. I have only one burning question left to boil down the nitty gritty of it.

AMP'age. My budget is somewhat flexible, especially if I start to include an amp with the initial purchase of the headphones. I am not wanting to spend money, but I am worried that the Sennheiser 595 may not be detailed enough. At my listening station at home i've become quite attuned to the precise detail in treble, mid, and bass and am looking to mate that with a (mostly) portable solution.

It has been stated regularly that the AKG's are definiely wanting to be amped, the Senn's can go without, and the Sony's benefit from an amp, but don't require one. With this in mind, if I am looking to just get a basic, good quality (not outstanding or outlandish vacuum tube ) amp to complement the *portable* setup, then how directly should I be looking at the Sony and AKG to stand above its Sennheiser peer here? Feel free to include the HD600 and HD650 in that thought process as I do not mind purchasing used to be honest.

To everyone who has chimed in so far, thank you so much as I have seriously taken what you had to say and ran with it, researched it, etc. Now I am on what I feel is the final leg to discovering my first success into the headphone experience and I'm asking again to help me narrow down the list. Thanks in advance!

*** Again, to make sure i'm phrasing this question correctly, my goal is now to realize how much is to be gained with an amp'd K701 vs. amp'd Sony MDR-SA5000 vs. amp'd Sennheiser HD595/HD600/HD650. I realize this may be a large topic, but i'd like to directly address it considering how much time I spent searching for this answer and did not come across it, and how much time I will be behind this portable solution once I pull the trigger. ***

- Edited for gramatical purpose
 

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