I need help selecting headphones!!!
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Y-Z

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Hello all = ). First I must say this is a truly great website (I know you all know this but still…), the people here are very kind and helpful. So I decided to ask you guys for help to decide which headphone I should get for an upgrade from my Sennheiser HD 497. They are amazing headphones but after reading some reviews that are posted up here I really want to own one of the audiophile headphones. And luckily I happened to have about $150 in my Paypal accout, which is great because I can spend it without asking my parents for money (I can’t even imaging how to explain them about buying a headphone that costs more than $100).

So here are the headphones that I’m interested in after reading some reviews:
Sennheiser HD-580, Grado SR-125, or Sennheiser HD-590.

They are all good headphones and I am having hard time deciding. Right now I’m leaning toward the Sennheisers just because I don’t like the looks of the Grados. If you guys have any other suggestions I would love to hear them.

I’m planning to use the headphones on my Nomad Juke Box 3 to play mp3s that are encoded at 192k. The types of music I listen to is pretty much everything except Rap and Heavy metal.

And one more thing I want to ask you guy is that what exactly do you guys mean by “these headphones are hard to drive”. Does it mean that you need to turn up the volume more than the ordinary headphones? If so how many percent of decrease in volume is expected between 32 ohms and 300 ohms? Or does it mean that the quality of the audio gets bad if you don’t have sufficient power? Cuz one of the members of this forum told me that although not as good as with an amp NJB 3 is able to drive HD-580 through its headphone amp. So I was thinking that since NJB 3 has a more powerful amp than most of the other portable player and if only the volume is an issue then I can just turn up the volume for couple notches.

thx,

Y-Z
 
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mr man

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Look at headphone amp reviews and see what improvements ppl cite in the sound. It's not just making the sound louder. I can turn my pdcp volume to 8 to listen to my akg's, but they don't sound very good. Consider trying an amp with ur 497s, it will make that sound better and is a worthy upgrade. You could purchase another headphone like the 580 (hard to drive). But then you'd be low on cash for a decent headphone amp. Check out a JMT amp or try making one yourself. These are the two most affordable ways of getting a headphone amp.

IMHO, if you are going to purchase a headphone over $100 to listen to mp3s, you are better off keeping the 497s.
 
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fredpb

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I have the NJB3 and HD600's. No portable will really do the 580 or 600 justice.

As far as sound quality goes, a well encoded MP3 or WMA on the NJB3 sounds as good as many name brand mass market CD players or decks. I know a lot of people that boohoo MP3. But how else are you going to do portable music? Sure, CD players, but they do sound so good most of the time, and then you must duplicate cd's as you don't want to destroy the master copies of your music.

My NJB3 has 230 albums on it now, and have a bit less than half the space left.

Try carrying around 230 cd's around with you.

No, dont get HD580's for your portable.

HD590's are ok.

A Total Airhead portable amp sounds good on the NJB3. This might be a good investment.

As far as "hard to drive" goes. In the case of high impedence headphone, this means the effective power decreases as impedence goes up. Plus the impedence is not constant. In the case of hd580/600's there is an impedence hump at 100hz. A shame. This makes a 20mw amp for a Grado about 1mw in the bass range for the hd580/600's, where you really need the full 20mw.

I personally love the hd600's, but not for portable use. Even with a good amp they lack the dynamic bass at low level that even $60 phones have. But they do have good detail, although laid back.
Don't get hyped about the 580s. If you are happy with your current phones, you might consider a good portable amp with the NJB3.

You say you listen to all music. Does that include classical? Most parents will encourge you to listen to this, really considered "the arts". They probably are not impressed with loud random noise crud that most modern music is, but would be impressed with a 70 minute symphony..... you could use that as an "arguement" to get some extra $$$ for a Total Airhead.

All a matter of taste.
 
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Magicthyse

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Pardon me for saying this, but if you use audiophile phones with 192K MP3's, surely the enjoyment experience will decrease - as you'll be able to tell how bad the sound really is?

I'd second sticking with the 497's and getting a TAH.
 
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LTUCCI1924

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The 497s are not a bad can and to upgrade you could consider a amp with the upgrade. The 497s with a portable amp will sound way better and could be considered an upgrade and then you will have a portable amp for any furture upgrades. The 580s need a good source and a good amp to sound at their max. The 590s with a portable amp should sound great so I would get a portable amp for the 497s and then save up for the 590s and use the portable amp with them.
 
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DeanA

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Y-Z: The NJB3 and TAH work very well together. Add the Airbag for the NJB and you have a very nice portable system.

Quote:

Originally posted by fredpb
I personally love the hd600's, but not for portable use. Even with a good amp they lack the dynamic bass at low level that even $60 phones have.


I think this really depends on the portable amp. I listen to my NJB3 with either the HD600 or AKG501 headphones and the Cosmic amp all the time in a portable environment with outstanding results.
 
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fiddler

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Well if you're going to use those Grados or Senns for portable use, keep in mind that they're all very open 'phones that will share your music with everybody around you, and you'll hear all the ambient noise, too.

EDIT!
Or perhaps isolation isn't an issue, seeing as you're currently using the hd497s...
 
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LTUCCI1924

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DeanA
HI: I have the supreme amp and in portable mod they dont run my 580s to my likeing. My total airhead is almost as good as the supreme in portable mod and not enought to run my 580s. The cosmic amp is a big upgrade over the supreme but dont it cost like 750.00 and thats a lot of money for portable stuff. For me being poor find it better to use a portable amp and koss portapros and get great sound. But I guess if you can afford the cosmic then I guess you can use the 580s or 600 in portable mod but still not very portable because of the size of the headphones and amp. I envey you that you got the cosmic amp and can use your 600s in portable mod as long as you are in a air condition place. I am not disagreeing with you and think it is great that you can use the 600 in portable mod.
 
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DeanA

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LTUCCI1924

I was only disputing the claim that the HD600 could not be used in a portable environment. And by portable I mean anytime I am not in the same room as my home unit. Most of my HD600/Cosmic use is in the office or in another part of the house. The Cosmic is the only amp I referred too because I have not used any of the Meir or DYI amps. But I also feel most new HD600 users would enjoy their headphones with either the TAH, PC or a good DYI amp because that won’t know any better. Not a recommended combination, but not a total disaster either.
 
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LTUCCI1924

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DeanA
HI: I agree with you on what you posted. I can use the supreme amp in portable mod or the total airhead on my 580s but they sound week and lifeless compaired to useing the 580s with my cd deck and stereo amp tape out to the supreme amp. Then the 580s are a wow. But you are right that one could use a portable amp and the 580s if so inclined. I now understand that you use your stuff in other parts of the house and with the cosmic the sound must be awsome. So I am agreeing with you. Please forgive any misunderstanding that I might have caused.
 
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fredpb

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Quote:

Originally posted by LTUCCI1924
DeanA
HI: I have the supreme amp and in portable mod they dont run my 580s to my likeing.


I would agree with that. I tried a Supreme with HD600's, and was not impressed for the price.

This was before I got the Clou Red. But using a Clou Red cable sort of makes the portability go away.
 
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BoardC3

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hows the cosmic with the grado's? im getting scared now because i just got a cosmic ( used for $150
) for my grado SR-225's and ive never had a head amp before so you guys are scaring me saying the comsic isnt that good (even though it does say with the senns) so can i get some opinions on how it is with the grado's?
-chris
 
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DeanA

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Quote:

Originally posted by BoardC3
hows the cosmic with the grado's? im getting scared now because i just got a cosmic ( used for $150
) for my grado SR-225's and ive never had a head amp before so you guys are scaring me saying the comsic isnt that good (even though it does say with the senns) so can i get some opinions on how it is with the grado's?
-chris


Chris,

I believe they where referring to the Supreme amp, not the Cosmic. I've use the Cosmic with the AKG501, HD600, SR325 and ET4S headphones without any complaints. So I seriously doubt you will be disappointed with the Cosmic/SR225 combination, especially for that price. The Cosmic may be "over the top" for portable listening, but I've certainly enjoyed portable listening a whole lot more with the Cosmic.
 
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RobertR

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check this site for headrooms world headphone tour schedule and you may catch them at a place near you. A golden opportunity to hear all kind of headphones.
 
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Gus B

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I noticed a few suggestions to keep the 497's & get a total airhead. Any reason Y-Z shouldn't save $100 & get an airhead instead of a TAH? Has anyone compared them & heard a difference with 497s? I was under the impression that with lower end phones, the TAH really doesn't yield a better result than the AH. Uh oh, looks like it could be amp upgrade time for me already! (I use an AH with senn 280s & Koss portapros).
 
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