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Looking for upgrade to Sony MDR-7506 headphones for FiiO M11

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  1. jdtenny
    So I have this brand spanking new M11. My old AKG 501 headphones don't really do the job. My Sony MDR-7506 headphones (which probably retailed for $130 a few years ago, and which I think I got on sale for about $79), sound pretty good. But after listening to my CD-ripped flac files for a bit, now there's an itch I can't quite scratch. I'm wanting just a bit more clarity in the mids, a bit more bass depth. A bit more ... stage. I listen to to many kinds of music, though I take the most audio delight in certain classical pieces.

    While I'm sure the FiiO IEM's are great, I really want over-ear stuff and they don't make any. Is there a headphone you can recommend as a _substantial_ upgrade to my old MDR headphones, preferably under $300, that will work well with the M11? I'm looking for an over-ear experience that is matched to this particular device (so balanced connections may be a better option, if applicable, I have no idea).

    Thanks for any advice.
     
  2. PurpleAngel Contributor
    Assume your looking portable headphones.
    Audio Technica ATH-ESW9
    or for more bass ATH-WS99
    Check eBay.
     
  3. jdtenny
    Portable isn't my primary consideration. Mostly sound oriented. I'll be using these in my comfy chair at home, mostly, so I have latitude for open-backed vs closed, etc. Thanks for the tips, I will check them out.
     
  4. serman005
    Meze 99 Classics probably worth looking into as well.
     
  5. Mhog55
    Get yourself the Massdrop Sennheiser 58X
     
  6. jdtenny
    That's the same as the Jubilee, right? I was eyeing those. Question is, are they really a step up from the Sony MDR 7506? And will the M11 drive them with that 150 Ohm impedance?

    My AKG 501's (discontinued) have 120 Ohm impedance and, even with the high gain setting, don't seem to hit it off with my M11. I know that isn't the whole story in any situation, and supposedly people are driving the 300 Ohm Sennheisers on the M11 too, though I don't know if they consider it good.
     
  7. Mhog55
    Yes, 58X Jubilee. The M11 has plenty of power to drive them. They are light, comfortable, and sound so much better than the price tag suggests. The M11 should drive the 300 ohm series just fine from either balanced connection. You can also likely find the 660s for 300 bucks now. If you open back bass, present - slightly forward mids, either the 58X or 660s is the way to go imo. Both are 150 ohms with lower sensitivity. I use my 58X with both my V40 and Opus#1s, and both sound outstanding.
     
  8. PurpleAngel Contributor
    +1 Massdrop/Sennheiser HD58X headphones :)
     
  9. PurpleAngel Contributor
    The HD58X (Jubilee) is very much a step up from the MDR-7506
    The AKG 120-Ohm headphones are harder to drive then my 250-Ohm Beyerdynamic headphones.
     
  10. jdtenny
    Listening (to my music and headphones). Reading. Listening. Reading. Struggling to understand.

    I've seen multiple "thumbs' up" from M11 owners on the HD58X. But I'm struggling to understand how this high impedance headphone (150 Ohms) can realize its full potential on the M11 which generally seems to prefer lower impedance loads.

    Reading https://www.headphonesty.com/2019/04/headphone-impedance-demystified/ for a second time hasn't shed any light on it for me.

    I just don't want to repeat the poor matching of my AKG experience with the M11, maybe the people who gave it thumbs' up for the M11 aren't picky enough :)

    Any theory/clues about how the HD58X can realize its full potential on the M11 where other high impedance headphones do not?

    I'm just wondering if my money might be better spent on a $50 headphone amplifier instead of yet another pair of headphones.

    Meanwhile, my MDR-7506 isn't sad, but does occasionally feel dark and muddy. My AKG k501's, on the other hand have very little going on at the lower frequencies, and _almost_ feel like they're listenable at higher frequencies, though there's still the overall feeling of Pink Floyd's "Wish You Were Here" to anything with the AKG.

    My eclectic music tastes probably mean I'm doomed to switching headphones based on what I'm listening too, though I'm most picky about classical music, which isn't just about the mids and trebles for me, sometimes I like a good organ rumbling my head with those pipes, or the whoosh of air from the base drum.

    Anyway, thanks for tips and/or more clarification. These HD58X sound good, but on paper sound contrary to the preferred specs for headphones accompanying the M11.
     
  11. PurpleAngel Contributor
    AKG 120-Ohm and 62-Ohm headphones are power demanding.
    The AKG 600-Ohm headphones need about the same power as the 120-Ohm and 62-Ohm.

    My smartphone can decently drive my 150-Ohm HD58X, your M11 should have a more powerful headphone amplifier, then my phone.
    The Ohm (impedance) rating is not the only factor affecting how power demanding headphones are
     
  12. Mhog55
    Just trust me. The M11 paired with the 58X has the potential to make your ears bleed. We're not going to steer you wrong. The M11 has a ton of power, and the 58X isn't all that hard to drive. The sensitivity of the headphones plays an equally important role in how easy or difficult it is to drive. AKGs are an animal of their own. Dynamic drivers are easier to drive than planars. My Opus#1s has roughly 2/3 the amount of power as the M11. It can push the 58X plenty loud. My V40 has even less power, and it can push them relatively loud, though I wouldn't mind just a tad more push. Lastly, specs can be difficult to gauge, and don't always match up to what are brains assume.
     
  13. PopZeus
    I forkin love the Meze 99 Noir when paired with my M5s DAP. That is one efficient headphone; I can leave it on low gain. I would imagine it would be just as good with the M11.

    If you want to go the open-back route, the HD58X is probably a solid bet.
     
  14. gringod
    You could also consider the hd599's for closed back.
    The Mackie mc-250s are a nice cheap option for closed back
     
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2019
  15. jdtenny
    Thanks to all who replied. After much review-hounding I went with the Massdrop X Sennheiser 58X Jubilee.

    The good news: the M11 _seems_ to drive them adequately. In fact turning on the high gain option didn't really boost it so much as it more seemed to diminish the dynamic response.

    The bad news: it is far from clear that the 58X is any kind of step up from my Sony MDR 7506 headphones that were half the price.

    However at this time my comparison is minimal, mostly based on half a dozen track comparisons (once, twice, even three times each for each heaphone) from a Richard Strauss album played on Tidal.
    The 58X has a much different sound to be sure, and also gave a bit more life to the the lower frequencies.

    But the mids and uppers were a real disappointment on the 58X. When those sopranos are hitting their high notes it sounds like it was recorded through bath towels on the 58X.

    Maybe it's not bad, maybe it's only different. It's a whole different sound. Smooth but muddy on the mids and treble. After the 58X, the Sony was much more precise and clear on the upper frequencies, but was also exposed as sounding more like ... cans ... but only sometimes.

    Anyway, so far I'm dissatisfied with both. More listening is required, but the 58X is definitely not a step up from the Sony while listening to Strauss. It's a step sideways at best.
     
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2019
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