I think I've caught a bug - help
Apr 27, 2006 at 12:22 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 15

Calsdad

New Head-Fier
Joined
Apr 26, 2006
Posts
14
Likes
0
Hello from a new headphone convert in the UK.

I have recently dusted off an old pair of Senn HD330s and have been gaining some enjoyment from them and my equally dusty Marantz CD-52 as source. (I also have a dusty pair of HD340s but the cabe is dodgey, and keeps needing a nudge to restore sound in the left channel)

However, I'm dissatisfied with the sound quality of the HD330s and have decided to treat myself to a sizeable upgrade since it's my birthday in May.
I've been listening to classical CDs, and I have found the the sound quality to be smooth, but too murky/muffled/lacking in detail/wooly/ too smoothed/ softened/ blurred/ muddy/ lacking treble - you get the idea I'm sure.

IIRC I bought the headphones and CD player over 10 years ago, and to be fair I think I preferred the 'smoother/bassier' style rather than the 'detailed/airier' style then. But my taste has changed, and I also have a larger budget now.

I don't know of anywhere near where I can audition headphones/amps so I've spent a little while lurking here, reading various threads on cans and amps and whetting my appetite, looking around some of the shops (mainly Meier and Headroom), and checked out headphonereviews.org, and one of two other sites I found in my googling.

My current line of thinking is to treat myself to a pair of DT880s and Corda Aria, but that would really max out my budget at about $750, so I'd like to pick a few brains before I commit.

NB one of the reasons for that combo is the fact that Meier are in the EU, so I won't be stung with import tax/dute etc. If it wasn't for that I'd probably favour K701s with either a Micro Amp or a Gilmore Lite. (The best EU price I've seen for K701s (on a website I can read) is about 50% more expensive than the 880s). NB I expect to do my listening via CD player, so the DAC on the Aria would not be a necessity.

However, in my surfing I have also seen people mention that Marantz have good headphone sockets, so one though that has crossed my mind is whether I could save money and not buy an amp. Then again, I'm unsure how good the headphone amp in an aged 'budget' CD palyer would be. I even wonder sometimes how good a source the old CD player would be. (I also have a not-quite-as-old Sony CDP-XB920E which I would expect to be a better source, but has no headphone socket (so i would need to either buy a headamp or run the headphones through my [yet again old] Harmon Kardon receiver or Marantz amp.

I expect the music I listen to on the new headphones will be 90% classical, 10% Jazz/easy listening (eg Sinatra, Cowboy Junkies, Stina Nordenstam), and I'm looking for a natural, detailed, airy sound, not 'veiled' or heavily coloured, and I've grown to like a bit of trebble, but want to avoid sibilance
eek.gif
.

The new cans won't be required to cope with my rock/pop stuff, but if they could it would be a bonus (though not one I'm prepared to pay heavily for). I'm toying with the idea of a pair of SR60s for that role some time in the future.

Any good ideas? Maybe:
- More expensive headphones, no amp/cheaper amp? (remember horrible import duties/ VAT/ shipping on something from the US could add maybe 30 to 50% to the price)
- More expensive amp, cheaper cans?

(I like the idea where I win the lottery and buy loads of top notch kit - but I think that's a dream rather than a sensible idea).
orphsmile.gif
 
Apr 27, 2006 at 1:30 AM Post #2 of 15

Alex M

100+ Head-Fier
Joined
Sep 29, 2005
Posts
141
Likes
10
Quote:

Originally Posted by Calsdad
Any good ideas? Maybe:
- More expensive headphones, no amp/cheaper amp? (remember horrible import duties/ VAT/ shipping on something from the US could add maybe 30 to 50% to the price)
- More expensive amp, cheaper cans?




I would suggest getting the headphones your like and not getting the amp at first. You can always add it later if you see the need and have the funds then. This should work provided that your source has a decent headphone-out and you do not buy a particularly power hungry set of headphones.
 
Apr 27, 2006 at 2:04 AM Post #3 of 15

Hendrix

100+ Head-Fier
Joined
Mar 31, 2006
Posts
103
Likes
0
My old Marantz does a fine job driving my phones...... I am enjoying my very cheap but nice koss 75's. 15.00 US dollars at radio shack. Listen to mostly old jazz and a computer source drives the 60ohm easily. Waiting on the headfi 5 amp to be shipped in July.
evil_smiley.gif
 
Apr 27, 2006 at 2:08 AM Post #4 of 15

GlendaleViper

Yep, words.
Joined
Feb 10, 2006
Posts
5,287
Likes
12
I would normally unabashedly recommend the K701 right out of the gates, as they do classical very well, certainly the best for classical I've ever owned. Plus, they do rock well. And I have them.
icon10.gif


But I tend To listen to Electronic music, Progressive Rock, Classic Rock, Jazz and Classical on them, with Classical taking up about 10% of my listening.
Also, the veil you want to avoid is there, to me. My pair aren't burned in all the way yet, but something is definitely there.

Fantastic cans...

...but I would have to recommend you audition the Beyerdynamic DT880 before any decisions are made. I got to listen to a pair very briefly, twice now. I tried classical after reading about how good they are with it, and I was immediately blown away - amped only by a tiny PA2v2! It's like going from VHS to DVD, where VHS is... the K701!
eek.gif


I guess that's a pretty bold statement, but I should counter it that overall I didn't like them personally, as they didn't handle the other music I'm into as magnificently. Not enough grit. Some music shouldn't be pretty. Again though, this was across two extremely short listening sessions. Highly recommended for a listen at least. They'll put a smile on your face, I would bet on it.

Cheers!
 
Apr 27, 2006 at 2:10 AM Post #5 of 15

Calsdad

New Head-Fier
Joined
Apr 26, 2006
Posts
14
Likes
0
Thanks for the suggestion Alex.

The Beyers I'm considering are the 250 Ohm ones, therefore quite power hungry. I know that there is a 32 Ohm version for the same price, but I'm wary of what the sound quality sacrifice may be.

The AKGs are 62 Ohm. Is this low enough to run well without a headamp?

I'm also not convinced that the K701s are worth paying 50% more than the DT880s.

If my wife gets her way I'll be lowering my price bracket too
frown.gif
...but I think I'll be able to fend her off
biggrin.gif
 
Apr 27, 2006 at 2:16 AM Post #6 of 15

GlendaleViper

Yep, words.
Joined
Feb 10, 2006
Posts
5,287
Likes
12
The 701's are hungry for an amp just as any other. They drive to good volumes unamped, but really don't sound their best without some juice. I just bought a $180 (CAD, shipped et al) tube amp for them. Want to wake them up a little.
 
Apr 27, 2006 at 2:22 AM Post #7 of 15

Calsdad

New Head-Fier
Joined
Apr 26, 2006
Posts
14
Likes
0
Thanks Hendrix,

You seem to have answered my fears about driving the 62 Ohm AKGs

GlendaleViper,

Thank you, you've given me some interesting food for thought there.

I had discounted the Senn HD650s due to their veil, but I hadn't heard the same accusation of the AKGs before.

It also seems that you rate the AKGs better for Jazz (etc). That's interesting too - I expected better rock performance, but not Jazz.
 
Apr 27, 2006 at 2:26 AM Post #8 of 15

Calsdad

New Head-Fier
Joined
Apr 26, 2006
Posts
14
Likes
0
A tube amp for $180
eek.gif


You are full of suprises. I didn't think they were available for less than about $300.

I hear what you're saying about an amp adding quality, even if volume is ok without it.
 
Apr 27, 2006 at 2:30 AM Post #9 of 15

GlendaleViper

Yep, words.
Joined
Feb 10, 2006
Posts
5,287
Likes
12
They are absolutely WONDERFUL for Jazz. I was listening to a very strong signalled FM Jazz show out of a late-70s Pioneer receiver the other night, unamped, and couldn't wipe the damn smile off of my face. Was a live version of "Spain" by Chick Corea (an obscure, recent recording from Montreal) that set it off. Warm, detailed and lively. Delicious!

Ah hell, try the 701s out too. I'm smitten
k701smile.gif


icon10.gif
 
Apr 27, 2006 at 2:37 AM Post #10 of 15

003

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Oct 4, 2005
Posts
4,688
Likes
14
Quote:

Originally Posted by Calsdad
I had discounted the Senn HD650s due to their veil


I really see no veil now. It was apparent with those thick foam covers over the drivers, but when I took those off and replaced them with very thin panty hoe cut outs, all the veil really disappeared. It also brightened them up a good deal. They are slightly laid back (like you are in the 3rd row instead of the 1st), but there is really no veil now and they are amazing cans for, well just about anything. Beware, I have read the k701s have very little bass impact, so if thats something you enjoy, I would not recommend the k701. And all this positive feedback for the 650 is with the stock cable and a pa2v2 amp. I have preordered a corda headfive and once I get that I will look into a cable upgrade.

BTW,
From what I have read, the 32-ohm DTxx0 is actually very slightly better than the other ones. Low impedance does not mean poor quality. It means it's efficient. Look at some of the cans from AT.
 
Apr 27, 2006 at 2:50 AM Post #11 of 15

Calsdad

New Head-Fier
Joined
Apr 26, 2006
Posts
14
Likes
0
GlendaleViper,

Do you think the DT880 seemed superior for classical because they were amped and your K701s weren't?

BTW what does CAD stand for?

I'm going to take up your suggestion and try and find somewhere to audition the cans too.
 
Apr 27, 2006 at 2:58 AM Post #12 of 15

Calsdad

New Head-Fier
Joined
Apr 26, 2006
Posts
14
Likes
0
Thanks 003,

Yet more food for thought.

Where have you read about the 32 Ohm Beyer's was it a full review, or occasional comments in threads?

How easy is it to butcher the HD650s in the way you describe, and how 'messy' does the finished product look? I'm not sure I'd have the nerve to start modifying brand new, quality headphones.

Have the treble and the detail both improved?
 
Apr 27, 2006 at 3:09 AM Post #13 of 15

GlendaleViper

Yep, words.
Joined
Feb 10, 2006
Posts
5,287
Likes
12
Quote:

Originally Posted by Calsdad
A tube amp for $180
eek.gif



Yep. $180 Canadian. I had read some very mixed reviews, but overall I figured it would be worth a try as an introduction to tubes at that price. You can read impressions all over the amps forum, and the english version of their website is basically just a message board:

www.little-tube.com

Quote:

Originally Posted by Calsdad
Do you think the DT880 seemed superior for classical because they were amped and your K701s weren't?


They were/are both amped from a PA2v2.

By the way, regarding the foam removal trick, the same can be done with the K701. The veil does lift in that case too, but the mesh (factory installed pantyhose) doesn't sit as tight, which just bugs me. Also bear in mind mine are not fully burned in by most accounts, claiming 500+ hours to peak.

Personally, I find them lovely.
tongue.gif
 
Apr 27, 2006 at 3:17 AM Post #14 of 15

Hendrix

100+ Head-Fier
Joined
Mar 31, 2006
Posts
103
Likes
0
Quote:

Originally Posted by GlendaleViper
They are absolutely WONDERFUL for Jazz. I was listening to a very strong signalled FM Jazz show out of a late-70s Pioneer receiver the other night, unamped, and couldn't wipe the damn smile off of my face. Was a live version of "Spain" by Chick Corea (an obscure, recent recording from Montreal) that set it off. Warm, detailed and lively. Delicious!

Ah hell, try the 701s out too. I'm smitten
k701smile.gif


icon10.gif



Smitten here too. Hear my friends new 701 this past weekend. Very little burn in time but man did they crank out the sound! His unit was amped from a phone jack on a very old, but sweet Harmon Kardon tube amp. We are both LP fans and this can shines.

I have noticed several for sale on ebay. I may grab myself one too!
icon10.gif
 

Users who are viewing this thread

Top