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Looking for the next High end purchase

Discussion in 'Headphones (full-size)' started by floresjc, Dec 1, 2014.
  1. floresjc
    I have two headphones, some Magnum V4's from Martin Custom Audio (Amboyna burl cups) and a pair of Sennheiser HD598's. Love them both, although I think the high end is better on the Magnums, but I listen to the 598's more because they are super comfy and fun.
    The 598's are my first Sennheiser. I upgraded to Magnum's after owning Grado SR80's for a while. I was quite surprised at how much I like the Sennheiser "sound" since  folks seem to stay on either the Grado or Sennheiser side of the fence. I'd like to buy "one more" pair of really nice headphones and call it a day. The HD800's immediately came to mind, they basically are everything I like about the 598's (build, comfort, general sound) but upgraded. The only thing is, folks tend to describe the 800's as kind of clinical, and although I know the 598's are colored, I love the fun factor. Would anything higher in the Senn line appeal to me (say 650's or 800's?).
    Also given some thought at much lower price point to Q701's, but have no experience with AKG and what it might do better than my 598's, or even on the high end Fostex 600/900. There are so many choices, its hard to find true gems based on what I know I like.
    I'm looking for a set to use with my Audio by Van Alstine preamp (its a full size stereo preamp capable of driving the phones just fine) at a listening station, not for portable use.
  2. AuxNuke
    I too enjoy the warm Sennheiser "house sound" with many genres of music!
    Before we give recommendations on a upgrade from the HD598's, can you give a little bit more information on your setup?
    1. What type of music do you listen to?
    2. What is your source?  Are you using the Audio by Van Alstine Vision which includes a DAC or do you have a separate source?
    3. I don't see any output specifications for the Audio by Van Alstine gear on their website.  Do you have this information from your manual?
    4. Do you have an overall budget?
  3. floresjc
    I have one of his solid state DAC's to go along with the preamp. Since I'm not about to go electrostatic, I was giving him some of the impedance ranges of dynamic headphones I was considering and he said his headphone circuit will drive any of them easily. I do have some Schiit gear laying around as well.
    Mostly listen to rock, anything from Beatles to Zeppelin to present Top 40 type stuff. I have a huge classical collection that I listen to from time to time. I do listen to jazz, but usually as music study (I play drums), I tend to not sit and just kick it to loads of jazz.
    HD800 type of price range is top end of what I'd go. The thing about Fostex is they are closed, and I typically don't like closed phones (they get hot), and I'd consider Grado except I have the Magnums which sound nice, and Grados are typically a little bass shy when I'm looking at plunking down that kind of money.
  4. AuxNuke
    Ruling out stats:  If rock is your mainstay, you might be best off with a punchy full range ortho, such as the Hifiman HE-500 or HE-560, as a good upgrade to the HD598.  I've heard both and they have the low end punch, dynamics, and speed for rock.  While detailed, they are not clinical like the HD 800's and shouldn't ruin you're enjoyment of older and possibly poorly recorded rock.  They are also one of the few headphones I'd throw into the "genre master" category in that, they sound great to excellent with most types of music.  While not perfect for classical (sound-stage is decent but not cavernous and its missing a bit of "airiness" to my ears), they should suffice just fine for your time to time listening. 
    As for which model to get?  There a bunch of 500 to 560 comparisons here; just do a search for "HE-560 Review."  Although you mentioned comfort above: the HE-560 wins here due to less weight and a better headband. 
    Off topic: How do you like your Salk floor-standers? 
  5. floresjc
    I'll take another look at the 560's then. Would you put the HD800 more into the "classical" master category?
    I love me some Salk. I'd never even consider another speaker, given the quality of the product, and the price he asks for them. Jim's about the greatest guy to deal with too. I've had mine 5 years and change now, and he's really taken off adding to his lineup, as folks request custom things and other folks pile on the design.
    If I could justify the move, I'd sell my HT2's and try and move up into Soundscape territory, but all of his speakers sound so damn good, its hard to really say "I need to spend 4000 more and get the newest thing".
  6. AuxNuke
    To my ears, the HD 800 sure has the attributes for classical: huge sound-stage, precise imaging, and an overall neutral tone.  I personally prefer stats for classical due to the "airy" sound and fast decay however, many people consider the HD 800 one of the best for that genre. 
    Glad you're enjoying the Salk's.  Had a chance to hear a pair at a co-workers place in Michigan. 
  7. floresjc
    I picked up a set of 560's used (but like new, the owner likes his Audeze better), hopefully I'll like them when I get them this week. My first planar phone, very excited about it!
  8. amigomatt
    I own the HD598 and love them.  I also bought a pair of K702s and sold them after a month.  But, I recently got the HE560.  My god, you're in for a treat...
  9. AuxNuke

    Excellent, can't wait to hear your review!  Happy listening [​IMG]
  10. floresjc
    I'm listening to them now, and I really like them. I think overall the build quality is pretty good, and they are comfortable. The little detents to size the headphone aren't quite my favorite system but they work well to set it and forget it.
    Overall, the have nice bass punch and depth, and they have a sparkle that the 598's don't, probably because they have more treble and way more detail.
    A great upgrade so far, IMO. Good enough I don't really feel like spending more to get another 1% improvement.
  11. AuxNuke

    Great to hear!  I really like the more accurate bass the HE-500/560's have over the 598's along with the added detail and treble response.  All in all, a worthwhile upgrade!

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