newbie needs help
Mar 14, 2006 at 1:20 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 7

russedelic

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Hi All,
I love this forum, so I thought I'd turn to you all for advice. I listen to all kinds of music, and I'm one of those people who, once they hear great sound (or even just slightly better than I already have), I can't go back.

I use adcom separates.

I want to buy some GREAT headphones. I have been reading about Sennheiser HD650, various Grados, and the AKG701s. I'd be very grateful for anyone to comment on the relative merits of those units. Do they really need a dedicated amp is one question I'd like to have answered. I'm willing to spend between 300 and 400 altogether.

Help, and thanks in advance.

russedelic
 
Mar 14, 2006 at 1:25 AM Post #2 of 7

kwitel

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Welcome to Head-Fi and sorry about your wallet.

Answer these questions for me and then I can give you some solid recomendations:

1)favorite musical genres?
2)environment in which these cans will be primarily used (be specific)
3)what do you look for in sound? (clarity in highs, lush mids, bass extension, etc.)
4)most important aspect of a headphone to you? (comfort, price, build quality,aesthetics, etc.)

try and answer as much as you can-and ill do my best to address your specifications.
 
Mar 14, 2006 at 3:12 AM Post #3 of 7

russedelic

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Hi, and thanks for the input.

I listen to all genres, but I think the heaphones will be primarily useful in listening to folk music, classical, and jazz.

I will use these primarily in my living room and office; always in fairly quiet environments.

I have always liked open speakers with great midrange and highs. I have had ADS L810s and now have JMLab speakers.

I don't think that the comfort will be an issue with me; I would rather have great, detailed sound with solid bass.

My problem is that only one store around here carries headphones, and all they carry is Grado. I've read a lot of reviews that love Sennheisers, Beyerdynamic, and AKG. Top models in all those makes are available in my budget.

Again, thanks a lot.

russ
 
Mar 14, 2006 at 3:39 AM Post #4 of 7

juni0r

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The Sennheiser HD 650 you have been reading about indeed is an excellent headphone. I personally wish it had more bass impact but I must emphasize it is no slouch in that department and it is absolutely solid. I wish I could offer more insight but I'm sure the other more experienced members will give you plenty of options and information. But, for what its worth, the 650 is good stuff.
 
Mar 14, 2006 at 4:28 AM Post #5 of 7

kwitel

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Quote:

Originally Posted by russedelic
Hi, and thanks for the input.

I listen to all genres, but I think the heaphones will be primarily useful in listening to folk music, classical, and jazz.

I will use these primarily in my living room and office; always in fairly quiet environments.

I have always liked open speakers with great midrange and highs. I have had ADS L810s and now have JMLab speakers.

I don't think that the comfort will be an issue with me; I would rather have great, detailed sound with solid bass.

My problem is that only one store around here carries headphones, and all they carry is Grado. I've read a lot of reviews that love Sennheisers, Beyerdynamic, and AKG. Top models in all those makes are available in my budget.

Again, thanks a lot.

russ



Okay Russ,
Based on the above there three headphones for you to choose from:

1)Sennheiser hd650 ($350)
2)AKG 701(i believe $399)
3)Beyerdynamic dt880($220)

Considering your tastes in music you are looking fro the following qualities in a good can:
1)Soundstage-you want violins to be coming from the left and horns coming from the right...a sense of spaciality, as if you were in a concert hall hearing the Philharmonic coming at you from every direction.
2)Instrument Seperation-specifically for jazz, youd want to differentiate every note, in varying frequencies.
3)Crystal Clear Highs-accoustic guitar in folk, high freq. violins, etc.
4)Multi Dimensional Low -End with Extension-3 dimensional bass; differentiation in mid and low ends, essential in jazz and Classical.
5)Comfort-these genres normally require longer listening sessions; a sense of "airiness" is paramount.

Considering all of the above, the three cans I mentioned will ALL cover these areas top to bottom.
The question really is preference. My take in short:

Senn-a warm, laid back sound, with a monstrous low-end-an absolute joy to listen to. The only downside, may not do your folk and/or any form of guitar and rock justice due to its non-aggressiveness.

AKG-recently heard this headphone, was blown away. Soundstage from the G-d's and ideal for intense, critical listening. Lush mids, and crystal highs; not as juicy as the Senns down low. Also, more of a nuetral sound.

Beyers-classic, veteran, Classical/Jazz headphone with slightly brighter highs than the Senn and AKG, incredibly airy with unparalleled soundstage. Mids a tad recessed (IMO) and bass could be more prominent..however, this opinion could very well be the result of me not having heard them with a proper amp.

So...now that you are more confused than before...id say the Beyer is the one ONLY if cash is a serious concern. I believe Meier Audio has them for about $200. You will need a solid amp to run these properly; unlike the other two, they actually do not sound good solo.

Assuming you can go up to about $500, id go with the Senns. I really adore the Senns warm sound for classical. The AKG's are killer, no doubt but they sounded less colored and less exciting to me (which might be a bad thing for you...). They were colder, you know what im saying?
The Senns are "poor me a glass of merlot, throw in some Chopin, leave me alone for four hours on this rainy day" type cans. And, theyve been around for ages, there are plenty of replacement parts and they basically have legendary status.
If I may suggest i nice compromise:
I would buy the hd580's (a killer can, with a very similar sound signature) and a pair of Grado sr-80's for all your accoustic, rock, folk, etc.
I firmly believe everyone should have a Grado in their line-up, there really is nothing else like that sound. Also, better two have two flavors to choose from than one.
The two will set you back about $250 combined, then you pick up a nice amp at around $150-200 and youve knocked out every aspect and you can upgrade later. The 580 and sr-80 both have legendary status and can both run solo/ampless. I always advice on testing different waters first to find your signature, then sell off what you dont use and upgrade.
My apologies for going on a rant...id like to see you get the most from your money.
 
Mar 14, 2006 at 1:25 PM Post #6 of 7

russedelic

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Hi Kweitel and Junior,

Thanks to you two for your input. Kweitel, your thorough discussion was just what I was looking for. I REALLY appreciate your thoughtfulness and care in replying. this is some great community and forum. I'l very happy to be part of it. Maybe I can be of as much help to somebody down the road.

You folks are great.

russ
 
Mar 14, 2006 at 2:02 PM Post #7 of 7

Mercuttio

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I totally agree. A 580, SR80, and a nice little amp should totally be in your "welcome to headphone hi-fi" gift basket.
 

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