New to Headphones
Oct 22, 2008 at 11:14 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 18

The Uam

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Ok, so I came to this site for some recommendations. I'm a complete newbie when it comes to headphones/earphones because I still listen to my apple stock earbuds.I'm going to buy my first pair of serious headphones/earphones ever and would love some suggestions. I've been lurking about and found some brands. Grado, Audio Technica, AKG, Shure, Koss, and Seiniesser. I want to know a couple things about being a headphone hobbyist.
-What are amps? Why do you need them with your headphones? Is it necessary to buy one? If so, what would be a good buy? (don't care about price)
- Why do some people prefer the sound of, lets say an example: Grado SR80 to the sound of the Grado 325i? What would be the things to look for?

K, those are the things I needed to know. Now I need some suggestions. It needs to be under $500, a little more if needed. Good looks, comfy, and good bass. Any suggestions would be awesome!

Oh, and on a side note, a buddy of mine is looking for a new pair too and is looking for some headphones that are under $100, sound isolation (closed, i think) , good looks, and great bass.

Any suggestions for one of them would be awesome!
Many thanks!
 
Oct 23, 2008 at 1:05 AM Post #2 of 18

blessingx

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Although most headphones benefit from an amp, in some cases it is absolutely necessary. Keep an eye on a phones impedance and efficiency. An obvious starting point is Grados/Sonys/Audio-Technicas tend to be lower impedance so you may be able to hold off until later with getting an amp. Some Senns and some AKGs really need them right away. I'll skip your larger amp questions but there are many good threads on that.

For your search there are plenty of ways to split that budget between amp and phones. For your friend, there is a Beyerdynamic sale going on with Amazon right now. He/she may want to eye the DT770 at $119, but at 250ohm an amp is recommended.

And more importantly welcome to Head-Fi. Keep a hold of that wallet.
wink.gif
 
Oct 23, 2008 at 1:24 AM Post #4 of 18

tintin47

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Quote:

Originally Posted by The Uam /img/forum/go_quote.gif
Ok, so I came to this site for some recommendations. I'm a complete newbie when it comes to headphones/earphones because I still listen to my apple stock earbuds.I'm going to buy my first pair of serious headphones/earphones ever and would love some suggestions. I've been lurking about and found some brands. Grado, Audio Technica, AKG, Shure, Koss, and Seiniesser. I want to know a couple things about being a headphone hobbyist.
-What are amps? Why do you need them with your headphones? Is it necessary to buy one? If so, what would be a good buy? (don't care about price)
- Why do some people prefer the sound of, lets say an example: Grado SR80 to the sound of the Grado 325i? What would be the things to look for?

K, those are the things I needed to know. Now I need some suggestions. It needs to be under $500, a little more if needed. Good looks, comfy, and good bass. Any suggestions would be awesome!

Oh, and on a side note, a buddy of mine is looking for a new pair too and is looking for some headphones that are under $100, sound isolation (closed, i think) , good looks, and great bass.

Any suggestions for one of them would be awesome!
Many thanks!



Welcome. I just discovered head-fi recently, but I've been into headphones and the such for a couple of months. I don't have extensive knowledge by any means, but I came from a similar direction recently.

I have had Sennheiser HD 595 headphones for about a year. I love them, and they are a great intro into the world of headphones.

Headphone amps basically amplify and refine the sound that is put into them. For high end phones this is important because, as a general rule, they have higher impedances. That is, they sacrifice efficiency for aural fidelity. This loss of efficiency means that they need more power than is readily available in a normal source (computer, ipod...) to be driven to their capabilities. Also (I can't say this for sure, but it makes sense from a physics perspective, and I'm in a lot of physics classes right now) I believe that the extra current allows the cones to be accelerated more quickly, which in turn makes them define sound more accurately. Headphone amps have in my case improved every decent pair of phones, and are a must with very high end ones. My amp, which I bought a little over a month ago, is a Little Dot Mark III, a tube amp for $200. I love it and it drives my AKG K701s (High impedance) very nicely.

As far as the "sound" of headphones, it is just personal preference. Also, as a general rule, when you hear people on these forums talking about massive differences between sound in high end phones and amps, remember that they have probably been doing this for a long time and have more perceptive ears for fine detail than you or I, so you probably wouldn't hear the same differences off the bat. There are phones which emphasize bass, mids, or treb, and phones which are more analytical (detail reproduction oriented) but it comes down to what you are looking for. What kind of music do you listen to?

Lastly, in order to have great sound reproduction, you need to have great (CD quality) sound. On my amp with my AKG phones, anything encoded in less than 500 kb/s just sounds weak and thin. For a computer, a way to get this is to rip CDs using windows media or apple lossless, and buying a Digital to analog converter (DAC) to go to your amp or your phones.

Overall, I love my hd 595s and they were a great place to start, but if you can audition some phones, make that a priority before you buy. There's nothing like listening to them to see which you like more. I hope that helps in some way. sorry about the huge wall. Have fun!
 
Oct 23, 2008 at 3:13 AM Post #5 of 18

The Uam

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Quote:

Originally Posted by tintin47 /img/forum/go_quote.gif
Welcome. I just discovered head-fi recently, but I've been into headphones and the such for a couple of months. I don't have extensive knowledge by any means, but I came from a similar direction recently.

I have had Sennheiser HD 595 headphones for about a year. I love them, and they are a great intro into the world of headphones.

Headphone amps basically amplify and refine the sound that is put into them. For high end phones this is important because, as a general rule, they have higher impedances. That is, they sacrifice efficiency for aural fidelity. This loss of efficiency means that they need more power than is readily available in a normal source (computer, ipod...) to be driven to their capabilities. Also (I can't say this for sure, but it makes sense from a physics perspective, and I'm in a lot of physics classes right now) I believe that the extra current allows the cones to be accelerated more quickly, which in turn makes them define sound more accurately. Headphone amps have in my case improved every decent pair of phones, and are a must with very high end ones. My amp, which I bought a little over a month ago, is a Little Dot Mark III, a tube amp for $200. I love it and it drives my AKG K701s (High impedance) very nicely.

As far as the "sound" of headphones, it is just personal preference. Also, as a general rule, when you hear people on these forums talking about massive differences between sound in high end phones and amps, remember that they have probably been doing this for a long time and have more perceptive ears for fine detail than you or I, so you probably wouldn't hear the same differences off the bat. There are phones which emphasize bass, mids, or treb, and phones which are more analytical (detail reproduction oriented) but it comes down to what you are looking for. What kind of music do you listen to?

Lastly, in order to have great sound reproduction, you need to have great (CD quality) sound. On my amp with my AKG phones, anything encoded in less than 500 kb/s just sounds weak and thin. For a computer, a way to get this is to rip CDs using windows media or apple lossless, and buying a Digital to analog converter (DAC) to go to your amp or your phones.

Overall, I love my hd 595s and they were a great place to start, but if you can audition some phones, make that a priority before you buy. There's nothing like listening to them to see which you like more. I hope that helps in some way. sorry about the huge wall. Have fun!



Thanks alot!! The help everyone has given me is awsome! But i'm starting to get a sense that this is going to get very, very expensive...
The music I listen to is usually consissted of metal, classic rock, alt rock, and techno so heavy bass is requiered. Any other suggestions are greatly appreciated!
 
Oct 23, 2008 at 5:24 AM Post #6 of 18

tintin47

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Quote:

Originally Posted by The Uam /img/forum/go_quote.gif
Thanks alot!! The help everyone has given me is awsome! But i'm starting to get a sense that this is going to get very, very expensive...
The music I listen to is usually consissted of metal, classic rock, alt rock, and techno so heavy bass is requiered. Any other suggestions are greatly appreciated!



It certainly can be expensive if you want it to, but my setup (Macbook-->Fubar II DAC-->Little Dot Mk III-->AKG K701 was about $600, so not much over your $500 budget, and the cans were most of that, around 300. You can go with something less expensive. For heavy bass definitely not the 701. It has good, well defined bass but not super loud. I've heard that the Beyerdynamic DT 770 or 990 is good for rock, as well as a bunch of the Denon lineup, though I haven't heard any of those. I do know that the DT 770 is on sale at Amazon for under $150, though.
 
Nov 14, 2008 at 4:13 AM Post #7 of 18

The Uam

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Hello, its been a while, I'm just updating to tell that I'm focusing on headphones right now (amp will be later). So I think ill be deciding on the Grados SR225's. They seem really good and have gotten alot of praise here. They also can run without an amp. Anyways, I just want a little more suggestions to make sure i'm heading down the right path. Somthing that has a low impedency and has a great sound qualty (crisp bass,smooth mids, and warm trebles) dont care if its open or closed. Oh and they have to be a little portable and durable which I think the Grados are. (oh and under $400, trying to save my wallet.)
 
Nov 14, 2008 at 4:29 AM Post #8 of 18

scytheavatar

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If you are new to the head-fi world I highly recommend you to start with a cheaper entry level phone. And spend more when you have a better idea of your perference. The Grados are not what you want if you are looking for something portable. And I would argue that they are not that durable too, although there's worse. The Grados get a lot of hype here but they are not for everyone, many people find them too aggressive, too uncomfortable, too colored and not flexible enough.

For you and your friend I highly recommend the ES7: great bass, great mids, good highs, very portable, it is a good entry-level phone.
 
Nov 14, 2008 at 5:46 AM Post #10 of 18

The Uam

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Sony_R10 /img/forum/go_quote.gif
i will recommend HD600 with upgrading cable or D5000 Mark mod
you should check the for sale section



The D5000 looks great, but the mark mod looks insain. I don't think ill have the time and patience to do that.....
 
Nov 14, 2008 at 6:26 AM Post #11 of 18

glac1er

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SR225 is good but they may not have the heavy bass that you're looking for. In general, they sound in-your-face with forward mids, highs and a swift tight bass.

For something heavier on the bass, I recommend the D2000 + USB/DAC combo. They are not portable, so if you need portability, you can buy portable headphones or IEMs later.
 
Nov 14, 2008 at 7:15 AM Post #12 of 18

kaleookalani

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i was also wondering what headphones i should get. i havent had any high end headphones before but i really wanted a good pair to listen with. i usually listen to alt rock but a lot of techno and trance lately. i was hoping it wouldnt be to expensive, like 200 tops (i dont got much money ya no) XD.
 
Nov 14, 2008 at 7:28 AM Post #13 of 18

radlux

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Quote:

Originally Posted by kaleookalani /img/forum/go_quote.gif
i was also wondering what headphones i should get. i havent had any high end headphones before but i really wanted a good pair to listen with. i usually listen to alt rock but a lot of techno and trance lately. i was hoping it wouldnt be to expensive, like 200 tops (i dont got much money ya no) XD.


Do you plan to listen in an environment with other people around you ? If so the open phones might have too much sound leakage and annoy people. I tried out a few open designs like the AKG K701s and the leakage was too much to make it practical since I use them in office with people working close by.

Just another point to consider
smily_headphones1.gif
 
Nov 14, 2008 at 12:11 PM Post #14 of 18

red.13

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I really, really recommend to try out some cheaper headphones (~100-200$) before spending too much cash on something really expensive. This is my personal opinion, but I am convinced that to really hear more, you can't take the shortcuts. At first, you get some cheaper headphones. You feel it's not your taste - you buy some Grado. At some point you want to alienate and plunge into some closed headphone's sounds. After all that you feel itchy to buy some amp... and you wallet is empty, unless you are really rich
smily_headphones1.gif
.

That said I would recommend SR-60, or even better: SR-80. See if it's what you want.
 
Jan 16, 2009 at 4:38 AM Post #15 of 18

The Uam

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Ok, so ive been lurking on headfi for like two months now, I now have narrowed it down to a closed set of cans. It needs to have good bass. I'm thinking of getting the Beryl dt 770 (250 ohms) or the D2000. I'm also getting a Fiio E5 amp. Will this be enough to power both of these? The cans i'm buying need to be a little portable...
 

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