Need advice on open HPs for vocals/small scale jazz under $500, thanks
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ze-ant

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Want to get an open headphone for home listening. Mostly listen to jazz vocals and small scale jazz on vinyl and cd. Will be using a Opera Audio Cyber 10 headphone amplifier so higher impedances should not be a problem.

Have narrowed down my choices to the Grado RS-2 and the AKG-1000 but would be grateful if anyone could suggest other options. Bass is not that important but the midrange must be outstanding, since I'm used to the midrange from my 2 Stax headphones.

Thanks a lot!
 
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kelly

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The RS-2 seems disporportianately not as good as the RS-1 from what I'm told, but I don't actually have much experience with those headphones. If you can come by a used one, you may consider a Grado HP-2 since it has a flat response and very fast driver that has been called "Stax-like" by many. Still, I hate to recommend a headphone no longer in production.

It seems that the Audio Technica ATH-A100Ti is one worth considering, according to what Dusty and Hirsch have to say about it. If it carries over any of the good qualities of the expensive W2002 without the weird coloration, it could be a good option--but hardly anyone beisdes them have heard it yet.

Most people here will tell you that other than the Grado HP line, the Etymotics are the closest thing to Stax due to their neutrality and flat frequency response. These are in-the-ear type headphones and may not be what you're looking for but you should consider them if you really want Stax-like accuracy. The real advantage to them is that they're closed design and block 25db of outside noise so they're perfect for very noisy environments.

Undoubtedly if I don't say this, someone else will--even though they have a slightly recessed upper midrange, many jazz fans and jazz vocal fans love the way Sennheiser HD600s sound. I don't feel they have anywhere near a fast or articulate midrange as the Stax so I don't know if they meet your requirement, but they're such a high end standard around here that I'd at least try to audition them. If you end up buying a pair, order the Cardas HD600 upgrade cable for them--it makes more of a difference than you'd suspect. If possible to audition, also try the Beyerdynamic DT931 and see what you think of that one but it also won't be as fast or accurate as you may be accustomed to.
 
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JaZZ

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I second Kelly: The Etymotic ER-4S and the Sennheiser HD 600 would be worth to be taken into consideration. I listen a lot of jazz, with both headphones, and meanwhile I prefer them above my electrostatics (not only for jazz...). The HD 600's mids, btw, are very close to electrostatic level – if the stock cable is replaced (Stefan Equinox or Cardas) and few other simple modifications are made.

JaZZ
 
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ze-ant

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Hi Kelly and Jazz,

Thanks for taking the time to share your views.

Having considered your posts, I think I'll put down the HD600 + upgraded cable on my 'to-get' list.
 
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LTUCCI1924

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ze-ant
HI: The 580s are almost as good as the 600 by about 10 percent less if that, and cost way less.
 
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fiddler

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I also think jazz and the HD600 go together very well. They sound wonderful with just the stock cable, but you can always upgrade to one of the three aftermarket cables available, the Equinox and the Cardas being the most popular. It's a transparent headphone in the sense that it's capable of really showing the qualities of the upstream equipment (amp, cables, source). It'll sound very good with an entry-level source and amp, but it will sound better and better with each upgrade you make to your system; there is no such thing as an "overkill" amp and source for these headphones.
 
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ze-ant

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Hi LTUCCI1924 & fiddler,

Thanks so much for taking the time to share your views.

So it seems as if the general consensus is to get a pair of HD600s plus an upgraded cable...now the hard part is to start saving and keep my eyes open for a a reasonably priced used combo of the above!
 
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Audio-Me

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HD600 w/ equinox replacement cable is just wonderful for jazz. With a decent source and decent amp, you'll be hearing cool bass lines, sweet & spicy brass, and tangy woodwinds/strings w/ zesty percussion. Tone, texture, decay among other things are done excellently, but the highlight of this setup IMO is the wide open spacious sound that it helps recreate for a more lifelike experience.
 
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LTUCCI1924

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HI: I have the 580s and equniox replacement cable and I think that they are a WOW setup. AUDIO & ME is right on for the 580s and 600s are a close match with the 600 being better.
 
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Audio-Me

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Also, with better sources and better amps, the sound just keeps getting better and better, scaling capability like you wouldn't believe. You don't find this trait in other headphones, not all are made equal.
 
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If you can find a used pair of Grado HP2 headphones then jump on it. They work great with Jazz especially female Jazz vocalists.
 
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