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If the HD800 and the ATH-M50 had a lovechild, what would it be? Suggestions needed.

Discussion in 'Headphones (full-size)' started by meemorize, May 9, 2011.
  1. meemorize
    I have recently had the opportunity to listen to the Sennheiser HD800's and loved their clarity, soundstage and the incredible instrument separation when listening to live recordings (it was running off of a Burson HA160D at the time).
    What I found lacking a little however was the bass, as you probably all know the bass was there, it was precise and tight but even though I wouldn't call myself a basshead I would prefer just a little more power in those lower notes.
    I own an Audio Technica ATH-M50, currently my main headphone, and really do like the intensity of the sound, mostly contributed by the pronounced bass and forward upper tones but perhaps also helped by the closed design.
    Either way, let's assume the HD800 and the M50 had a lovechild, what phone would you get?
    I'm planning on upgrading my home (desktop) system so that I can leave my M50s at work and don't have to carry them back and forth every day, so if you have any suggestions on what type of phone I might want to buy/look at, please share.
    I'm open to either closed or open headphones though my preference would be a closed design since I don't exactly have the quietest surroundings and there isn't much I can do about the noise around me (fans running, birds chirping in the garden, that type of thing, not busy office loud). Seeing as I do like a wide soundstage though that might be a bit of a challenge.
    When you suggest a phone, it would be great to include a nice DAC/AMP combo that pairs well with the chosen phone if you know one.
    As for budget, I do have a bit to spend, however the total amount should probably not exceed something like US$1500 - 2000 (incl dac/amp) if possible (but don't let that stop you from suggesting it).
    My current system:
    My current home system is the following: MacPro => NuForce Icon (Dac/Amp) => M50/Alessandro MS-1.
    Note: I do like a forward treble/midrange however I preferred the slightly smoother sound of the MS-1 over the Grado SR-80 which was just a little bit too harsh.
    My musical preference:
    My music preference is quite varied, literally ranging from classical cellos and pianos all the way to punk rock and electro pop and the occasional track of Hip Hop.
    What I do not however listen to is anything amongst the type of Techno/Dance/Trance.
    Any help, suggestions, general feedback would be much appreciated.
    Thanks for reading.

  2. padam
    Sennheiser HD-250 Linear II (no longer in production), I use it with a DACPort and it works quite well, especially for the price and considering how easy it is to use. With a more complex desktop setup the bass and treble extension can be improved further but it is pretty good as it is. Bit laidback in the midrange so a nice tube amp should work the best.
    It is also one of those rare phones that can remain comfortable while still providing a handful amount of isolation.

    Otherwise I would probably go for Stax setup of some kind but they do not have any isolation.
  3. shane55
    Closed, but not isolating. Great depth and sonority, but with some of the open quality of the HD800... and the highs somewhere in between, but more natural than the M50.
    CaveManta likes this.
  4. meemorize
    @padam, thanks for your feedback, really appreciate it. Will definitely check out the HD250 L II though it's probably unlikely I can still buy it somewhere :)
    @shane55, Nice, that model also came up in my recent research, any idea where I can buy one at a decent price? All known sources in the USA don't ship internationally (I live in New Zealand) and the local price is NZ$2899= ~US$2290 !!) which is pretty ridiculously high considering the street price in the US. 
    Also, what amp/dac would you choose to drive these with?
    Thanks again for both your feedback.
  5. holden4th
    The HD800 would not even deign to mix with gutter trash like the ATH M50[​IMG]
  6. iancraig10
    Cor, what a snob!! [​IMG]
  7. meemorize
    @holden4th, this thread isn't about trashing either model but rather to see if there is a combined sweet spot that would be a nice solution for my personal preference. I live in a country that doesn't have many (if any) dedicated HiFi shops so there is virtually no way for me to trial a headphone or an DAC/Amp without actually buying it first, so things like this forum are my only source of getting an idea of what to buy to try.
    Rather than trashing the M50, how about you tell me what you'd be using instead?
    @iancraig10, can I have some of that popcorn :)
  8. holden4th

    Hello Ian
    You missed the emoticon at the end of my post, my way of making a tongue in cheek comment. I've heard neither HP and thought I'd have a 'lend' of what some of the purists might think. My apologies if I've offended, it was not my intention.
    But that brings up another point. Many posters are looking for a combination of this and that HP to acquire what they would perceive as their own personal nirvana in sound. Many of their posts say "I have this HP and it's great for this particular genre and I also have that HP which works really well for that genre so is there an HP that does both?" The answer in most cases (I suspect) is no! If you already have both HPs and you are perfectly happy to use them to listen to different types of music then why look for something that might combine both yet not fully satisfy either. I notice that a number of posters here do exactly that. They have multiple HPs and use them for specific genres.
  9. Ra97oR
    IMO a more bassy HD800 is the Beyer T1, might not be exactly what you are looking for, but totally worth a try.
  10. iancraig10


    No offence taken!! My reply was also tongue in cheek. Actually, your comment did make me laugh; especially when I took it into work and showed some of the guys I work with there. (In a studio) Some of them actually use the M50!!!
    It's just nice to see some humour in the proceedings so I got my popcorn out ready for the film. :wink:)
  11. thecrow

    I have the athm50x and was about to buy the he560s before buying the hd800.
  12. plonter
    My advice is getting the HD800 (or T1) ,they will blow you away! and they are bass monsters, just put some bass heavy tracks and the subs will start rumbling.    you just need to get used to a neutral sound that's all [​IMG]
  13. Brooko Contributor
    If your budget is really that high, look at the AKG K812, and also possibly the HD700. HD700 actually sounds closer to what you are after - but I mentioned the K812 because it has many qualities of the HD800, but isn't so source picky.

    If you PM user 62ohm - he's thinking of selling his K812 (they are in excellent condition), he's based in Auckland, and you could probably get a demo.

    Here's a comparison of T1 and K812 that might help http://www.head-fi.org/t/745213/comparison-review-a-tale-of-two-flagships-part-deux-beyerdynamic-t1-vs-akg-k812

    Pics are of Rizki's K812 - so you can see how good they look.
  14. mindbomb
    im thinking the sony mdr z7. Just cause of the really large drivers gives it better soundstage and imaging over similar bass-centric headphones, thus trying to meld the spirit of open headphones with bass quality like the m50x.
  15. ubs28
    Just use an EQ to adjust the sound of the HD800 if the only thing you didn't like was the bass.  A more closed in sound can be achieved with crossfeed.

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