My HD600 vs HD590 vs SR225 vs SR80 audition (long)
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richpjr

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The shopping experience of a newbie:

After months of browsing around here reading the endless debates about various headphones, I am finally getting close to picking something up (actually I had picked up some PortaPros to tide me over – these things are great for the money!). It was time to audition some better phones.

From my endless searches and reviews of threads I had narrowed my choices down to the Grado 225/325 or the Sennheiser 590/600s, with the SR325 being the early favorite. Unfortunately I could not find a store in San Diego that carries both to do a quick A/B on them, so I had to go to 2 different stores, bringing 3 cds that I am very familiar with (jazz, rock, and acoustic).

The first stop had the Grados 225s (alas – they were out of 325s). I compared them to SR80s just for kicks. The first thing I noticed was that they were much lighter than I was expecting. I also thought the foam rubber seemed awful cheesy looking and they kind of itched my big ears. The 225s sounded bright, aggressive, punchy and very detailed – just like everyone has described them! The SR80s had similar characteristics, but seemed a little muddier and less detailed. I was impressed with the Grado sound.

I hopped in the car and went the next store that had the Sennheiser 590 and 600s along with some SR60s and SR80s. They explained that the reason that they don’t carry anything over the SR80s was because whenever anyone started going up in price they almost always went with the Senns - their words! They did say that could order any Grado for me.

I first tried the 590s and was extremely impressed by how comfortable they were! (I had actually bought a pair of these for about a week early in my search, but brought them back because I got busy at work and couldn’t spend much time playing with them). The sound didn’t seem quite as bright as the Grados – a little mellower and more refined. I love the having a cord only on one side. I then popped on the 600s and they seemed almost as comfortable as the 590s, but the sound… very smooth. Warmer than the Grados. More refined than the 590s. Whoa! I then switched back and forth between the 590s and the 600s and quickly realized that though the difference between the two wasn’t nearly as much as I was expecting from reading some posts here, that the HD600 was a pretty clear step above the 590s. Not that I didn’t think the 590s sounded good – they did. The 600s just sounded significantly better to me.

They also had a pair of 570s there. I have heard some pretty uncomplimentary opinions of them and after about 10 seconds I could see why. They sounded like the 590s, but with cotton balls stuck in my ears - blecch!

I then switched between the SR80s and the 600s to compare the Grado vs Senn sound. I realize that these headphones are not comparable, but it was all they had. The first thing that struck me was – boy, these Grados are uncomfortable compared to the Senns. I didn’t notice it as being bad in the first store – as I said, just kind of itchy. But after putting on the Senns, I just cannot imagine living with the Grados, no matter what I thought of the sound!

So, my final decision was actually pretty easy – the 600s all the way! Comfortable, best sound - I was impressed. I could have looked harder at trying to compare the 325s with the 600s, but now I really don’t see the point. Too bad the store was selling the 600s for $449 – yikes! I've seen them online for half that!

Now, time to order online and onto headphone amp research…

Thanks for all the informative posts!

And thanks in advance for all the questions I will be asking about amps and replacement cables!

Rich

P.S. Yes, my wallet will soon be very sorry!
 
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purk

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Hi,
If you have an amp, it is Sennheiser all the way for me. Grado is impressive headphone maker, but the ergonomic just didn't do it for me. Comfort factor is important, b/c for us, audio geeks, we love listen to our hadphones for long hours. You might want to consider a Clou red as a cable upgrade for the Senn HD-600. The 600 performs brilliantly with a higher quality cable.

Purk
 
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puppyslugg

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richpjr:

As you will see, there is no end to the number of ways we can spend your money!
Poor wallet.
 
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senn600help

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i read this thread with great interest, because its exactly my situation 3 months ago. newbie, wanting good sound. went to harveys on rt. 17 (or is it rt.4? NJ roads are and always will be a mess) , they had grados, and the senn 570, 580, and 590. i didnt know anything about headphones (and did no research beforehand, impulsive decision to buy them) , only that harveys had a very good reputation for audio. i wanted to spend $200 max. i had 2 CDs with me, john lennon's greatest hits (#9 dream seemed to me to be a good song to use, besides being an amazing song) and a classical CD.

the 570s were much cheaper, and it was immediately obvious why. was not impressed.

580s and 590s sounded great .... but the 600s , though much more expensive ($450) were an obvious step up. i was hooked. but the price ... so i went up the road, found a COMP USA, did a search to see if they cose less elsewhere. i found various quotes for $250-$300, and J&R had them for $350. i went back to harveys with the quotes to see if theyd match the price. they said they would match the J&R price, but not the cheaper ones, as they werent from authorized dealers. so i paid $350. since then, ive obviously discovered this board, asked several questions (and seen that i could have saved maybe $100, but whatever) , and am - ONE SATISFIED CUSTOMER!! and very happy to see that it was the right choice, audiophiles really use these, there isnt some SENN700 which costs $550 and is twice as good.

Amen.
 
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wallijonn

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rich - be quick!

there's someone selling a set for about $160 in the for sale / trade section.
good luck.
 
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richpjr

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puppyslug,

That is the exact combo (HA-1 and 600s) I was initially thinking of.

Does anyone know if I order that combo if I would qualify for the $50 rebate?

Thanks,

Rich
 
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puppyslugg

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Quote:

That is the exact combo (HA-1 and 600s) I was initially thinking of.

Does anyone know if I order that combo if I would qualify for the $50 rebate?


You can email Jan for that info. Are getting the kit or built version of the Corda? Plans to 'Blue' the Corda?

And wallijonn suggestion of checking out 'sale / trade section' is a good idea. There are good deals there, just gotta be patient and persistent.
 
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DarkWolf

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I've been talking to Jan a little, asking for different price combos. It seems a good chunck of the price of his stuff is shipping. If you get combanations of things you end up saving good money, so even if you don't get th rebate you'll save close to $50 I think. That said, I don't see why you wouldn't get it, he seems to be an authorized dealer and provides Sennheiser's world wide warranty. They should honor the rebate.
 
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richpjr

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puppyslug,

I haven't decided on whether to get a kit or the preassembled amp. I have some basic soldering skills and could do it - just not sure if I have the time to do so. Since I am the VP of Engineering where I work, if I decide to go the kit route, I might just "volunteer" one of the technicians to assemble it for me. I could use the difference in price to upgrade some of the components, but I don't know enough (yet) to decide what is or isn't a good match.

Decisions, decisions...

Rich
 
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richpjr

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I have contacted Meier-Audio and they are not an authorized Sennheiser dealer in the US, so they do not think that buying the 600s from them would qualify for the $50 rebate.

Rich
 
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DarkWolf

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What Jan told me about assempling the amp was that He thought it was a little over the top for a n00b, but that with normal solder someone with a little practice could pull it off, at least without messing up the parts. Though he did mention that a rare few had been able to ruin their PCB! On the other hand, Jan uses silver solder, wich is harder to work with and requires a higher temperature iron, but has better performance for audio equipment. I decided that if I buy one I will have him do it. He will do a better job than me and that's what matters most. I'm an aprentace electrician and I'm of the opinion that delicate work should be left to the profesinals. I've seem some really scetchy wiring done by inexperienced DIYers and I wouldn't want my amp to be like that in the slightest. I'll do my job and I'll let Jan do his.
But if you feel comfortable doing it, or you have someone who can do it for you with silver solder and you are comfortable that they will do a good job, than by all means save the money! If Jan is anything like my boss and I than he probably doesn't need that kind of work. He can't charge much for his time building an amp or it would be way too much to have it assembled and it takes time and effort reguardles of skill.
 
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