In need of help choosing new headphones
Jun 28, 2002 at 6:19 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 13

Freddy

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hello all,
As the title says, I'm in the market for a set of new headphones. My previous ones were the Koss KTX Pro, and I'd like something a bit higher quality. Being new to headphones (other than the bundled one), I'm not really sure what to be looking for. I'd like to spend less than $75 (possibly up to $100) on a set that will work for home and portable use. As far as sound quality, I just want something that has good, deep bass (not muddy or too boomy) and that doesnt have a lot of distortion, either. I've been looking at the Sennheiser 400 series (namely the 457, 477, and 497), but I'm afraid that these won't work as well without an amp. I would not be adverse to purchasing a high-quality amp, but (1) they seem to be very expensive and (2) i'm guessing an amp would rule out the portability of the headphones. Can anyone help give my search some direction???
 
Jun 28, 2002 at 6:53 AM Post #2 of 13

Guyferd

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are you looking for an open air or closed phone?
for open air I heard the 497 is quite good and portable(though some ppl question on the build quality though.. it sucks :p)
for closed, I would suggest sennheiser HD280pro which can be had for under $100
for slightly more($130) you can get beyerdynamic dt250-80 which I personally think is more comfortable and better sound quality than the sennheiser hd280pro. dt250-80 has great and tight bass that sounds neutral and not boomy,if that is important to you..
 
Jun 28, 2002 at 6:58 AM Post #3 of 13

RVD

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Hi, Freddy welcome to Head-Fi. If you want an open headphone that is good without an amp the Grado sr60/80 are both good choices. Also the Koss ksc-35 is another option. The Grado sr80 has a better bass response then the sr60, but are also about $25 more. If you want a closed phone the Sony v6 and Sennheiser hd280 are recommended a lot here. Hope this helps.
 
Jun 28, 2002 at 7:35 AM Post #4 of 13

Freddy

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First off, thanks for the replies and the welcome. As far as closed vs. open headphones go, I'd probably prefer open. I don't feel I'd be in a situation where I would need to shut out the sound around me, or where I would disturb others around me. Also, at headroom.com, it says that open headphones can produce better sound. With that said, I've looked at the Grado's but I'm not sure they are what I want. I read the SR60's have poor bass, and headroom.com says that the SR80's need to be used with an amp "not to sound murky". Not to rule them out, but I'm starting to lean towards the Sennheiser's. HeadRoom speaks highly of the HD497's (as well as the SR60's), but they say that 457 and 477's have more bass. Since I don't have audiophile ears by any means, I'm sure that any set in this price range would do the trick, but I'd like to be confident before I buy. Do you think any store like Best Buy would have any of these headphones that I could listen to before making a purchase?
 
Jun 28, 2002 at 10:44 AM Post #6 of 13

Freddy

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Hmm...too bad there is not one of those around here. As an update, I've been scouring the web all night looking for info...right now I'm pretty interested in the Grado SR80's. However, there seems to be a discrepancy over whether or not these need an amp to play music on a portable music player. I would like to use them with a SlimX mp3/cd player, but I'm afraid that the sound will be poor without the help of an amp. Anyone know if it would work? BTW, if this helps, the headphone output rating is 12mW, 16 ohms @ max volume.
 
Jun 28, 2002 at 11:45 AM Post #7 of 13

Magicthyse

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Quote:

Originally posted by Freddy
Hmm...too bad there is not one of those around here. As an update, I've been scouring the web all night looking for info...right now I'm pretty interested in the Grado SR80's. However, there seems to be a discrepancy over whether or not these need an amp to play music on a portable music player. I would like to use them with a SlimX mp3/cd player, but I'm afraid that the sound will be poor without the help of an amp. Anyone know if it would work? BTW, if this helps, the headphone output rating is 12mW, 16 ohms @ max volume.



Well - they WILL work, but not optimally. 10-12mw is kind of the borderline at which the SR60's start working properly on a typical basis, let alone the SR80.

The HD280's I am certain cannot be driven anywhere near effectively by this power level. It's only with a decent high-power headphone amp that they start to become as listenable as the Grados.

Although the 280 has good noise isolation, I cannot recommend these phones at all in a portable situation, even with a portable amp. They're boring. (And burn-in time is now approaching 36 hours *without* the listening tests I did, folks - I'd say on the whole well past the 40 hour 'magic' time) But if you like picking music apart at home, it's the thing for you.

I can't really comment on the other phones, as I've only tried the 497's for example in a shop and not in an extended test.
 
Jun 28, 2002 at 12:01 PM Post #8 of 13

Eagle_Driver

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Quote:

Team V700DJ
[size=xx-small]"An Army Of One"[/size]


That's your sig, Magicthyse? Personally I wouldn't force the V700DJ even on my worst enemy; though they're extremely efficient so that it can be driven to very loud levels even from a gutless portable, that trait comes at a severe expense of sound quality. To me the bass is extremely boomy and doesn't go at all deep. I listened to The Eagles' "Hotel California" on the V700DJ... What a piece of @#$%!!!!!! The bass drum impact about 30 seconds into the song was very uneven on the V700DJ!

And I've read a review on another model in the V###DJ line, the MDR-V600... Somehow that one needed a super-expensive headphone amp in order for that V600 to sound at all decent!

Shame on Sony for foisting those V###DJ models on us! They are super-efficient - but they sound okay only on dirt-cheap equipment or on astronomically-expensive equipment, and NOTHING in between.
 
Jun 28, 2002 at 1:03 PM Post #9 of 13

Freddy

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Magicthyse: Thanks for the reply. However, I posed the same question at the site audioadvisor.com, and this is the reply I got:

"They will be fine without a headphone amp they are not that hard to drive at all."

I seem to get conflicting answers wherever I go....anyway, when you say they won't work "optimally," do you mean they just won't be as loud, or will I get some distortion and poor sound? And as far as a portable amp, what do you suggest? The AirHeads at headroom look nice, but I think they're just too expensive for my needs. Can a decent one be bought for ~$50?
 
Jun 28, 2002 at 1:50 PM Post #10 of 13

Magicthyse

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Jeeeesus, Eagle Driver, you're really hung up on these phones, ain't you? Come on, with reactions like that I just *had* to make that sig.

I don't like earphones. I only use these outside where absolute sound quality is not really an issue. Having said that I don't find the sound quality that bad - it's not superb by any means but it is definitely not bad and I can more importantly hear the music at a decent volume on the train and what have you.

And say what you like, the general consensus is that the V700's look good on the head. I like things I own, especially when it's visible - to look good. It does of course help if you yourself don't look like a dork. And if it looks good, I'm willing to make certain compromises in other ways.

And I listen to stuff on these phones that, apparently, most of you don't call music. Hmmm. And I *need* portable phones to be drivable by a gutless portable, because guess what, that's what I'm using. If I have a tiny MD with me, there is absolutely no point in me carrying around a PCDP-sized amp to go with it! The same actually goes if I'm carrying a PCDP with me.

At home I have a slightly less gutless and considerably more uncompromising setup - Naim NAIT 5 amp with a Headline (separate power supplies for each), and I would not dream of putting the V700's on this setup normally. And once at home, I'm not exactly stuck for decent listening headgear - I have an SR60, SR225 and a Float to play with, not counting the HD280.

There's no need to have a cow over these units - they definitely have a use, and I for one like them more or less as they are.

Oh, someone else enjoys them, warts and all:
http://www.hifichoice.co.uk/archive/...rintreview.htm
 
Jun 28, 2002 at 1:53 PM Post #11 of 13

millerdog

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I have a slimx and used my SR60s and SR80s(only a week) without trouble. In my opinion, the only thing an amp will do for your slimx is allow you to play your music at a lower volume setting. The EQ on the player is just too nice to set on flat.
I think the SR80s will be fine.
I have the SR325s and tried them with the hp out and line out with an amp(CHA47). The sound quality between the two is hard to hear with the EQ flat or my user settings.
Hope that helps,
md
 
Jun 28, 2002 at 1:55 PM Post #12 of 13

Magicthyse

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Quote:

Originally posted by Freddy
Magicthyse: Thanks for the reply. However, I posed the same question at the site audioadvisor.com, and this is the reply I got:

"They will be fine without a headphone amp they are not that hard to drive at all."


I'm afraid it's a very personal thing so you're likely to get different opinions. It's also to do with the range of stuff you've tried - that gives you different perspectives. I also haven't got an SR80 so I can't be absolutely authoritative with you but they are definitely slightly harder to drive than the SR60 - and I'm telling you my experience with the SR60's.

On a device with 10-15mw output, the 60's sound fine. The more powerful the better though. On a device with any less, it sounds 'hunched'. If the SR80's are slightly harder to drive, then I'd say that with the SlimX, it would be a borderline case.
 
Jun 28, 2002 at 3:33 PM Post #13 of 13

Freddy

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Thanks for the help, I think I'll look into getting the SR80's. I'll try to find a place where I can listen to them before buying, but if I have no luck with that, audioadvisor.com will sell them with a 30 day money back guarantee (can't really go wrong with that!).

oh, one more thing: millerdog, were you plugging the headphones directly into the player or to the remote?
 

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