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Nov 15, 2008 at 2:27 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 27

marsbound2024

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Hello guys, I am new here and certainly glad to be among the musically-inclined. I am probably by no means an audiophile, but I do have a sincere appreciation for music and its accurate reproduction. (Summary of questions at bottom, though the following "rant" might give you a good idea about what would fit me best perhaps). I listen to everything from Frank Sinatra and Aretha Franklin to Bach, Beethoven, Mozart and Chopin to Rammstein, Everygrey, and Papa Roach, to Infected Mushroom, Massive Attack, Astrix, Cosmic Gate and Orbital to Goldgrapp, Imogen Heap, Sia and Emilie Simon to Bebel Gilberto to Gustav Holst and et cetera. I essentially like most genres with the exception of most country music and most reggae.

I listen to ambient, electronica, trance, rock, metal, rap, classical, jazz, blues, etc, as you can tell. I am looking for a pair of headphones that I can use here at home as well as at work or on roadtrips. Actually, I am sort of looking for two sets--one for really good portability while retaining sound quality (such as the Sennheiser PX100s) and another for the best sound quality I can get for around $100. I am thinking of purchasing the HD555s. I've been doing some research over the past few days and am leaning to the HD555s previously from leaning to the HD280Pros and previously from that the HD202s for a replacement to my HD457s. As you can see, I am a big Sennheiser fan and would prefer to stay with them, but I am open to all suggestions.

I was worried because I would be using my HD555s for my mp3 players, including an iPod. I was comparing specs and the newest generation apparently has 32 Ohm in-ear phones and the HD555 is either 50 Ohm or 120 Ohm. Newegg advertises their set as 120 Ohms and that is certainly disconcerting for me. I am not sure what Amazon's are but I'd rather get as close to 32 Ohms as possible so that they can be driven ok. Of course I don't expect to get such a beautiful package for mp3 players with my HD555s and that is why I am looking at the PX100s to accompany them.

I am a twenty-year old, budget-conscious consumer and so I think of buying the HD555s as biting the bullet much less the HD595s which I'd like to have. I typically listen to music on my computer through my aged Logitech X-530 2.1 speakers driven by a Creative X-Fi XtremeMusic sound card. I rather enjoy the quality they seem to provide and herein I probably show my lack of audiophile status as I am sure most of you will disagree, but coming from basic speakers and integrated sound they sure do sound quite nice!

Anyways, now that my HD457s have developed a short in the cable connecting the left speaker (and I am out of warranty) I am looking for an upgrade. I'd rather have something a bit less dark and bass-oriented than the HD457s, but I must admit I rather enjoyed listening to heavy music on them. I would love to listen to my mp3s with the HD555s, I just want to make sure you guys think I would be able to get good results. Keep in mind, I was relatively satisfied with the HD457s and I read that most people really thought the HD457s were a poor set.

If I could customize the HD555s I'd request a 3-5 foot cord instead of the monster 10 footer and a minijack instead of the 1/4" jack. Of course I don't have this option unfortunately.

So, here I am. Someone who loves music and increasingly has an ear for what it should sound like. I am not there yet, but I do listen to music at least two hours a day, 365 days a year. Some days I listen to music for several hours. I listen to it on the way to and from work and while sitting at my computer or watching TV. It's hard to live without.

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Questions:
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SO, in your opinions, should I save my money and purchase only the PX100s and be satisfied since listening to music with mp3 players will be what I use headphones for most (I use my Logitech X-530s for my computer and rarely use headphones) and save my money? OR should I spend the extra $100 to satisfy my desires with the HD555 set as well since I really want to be able to close my eyes and "swim in the music." I really love musical environments and would like to see them accurately and deeply recreated.

My main concerns are: the 10 foot cable that I really don't need and wish there was a detachable extension cable instead (I think all this weight contributed to the wear of the cord on my HD457), the 1/4" to 1/8" adapter and not the other way around (seems ridiculous to pay around $20 for that Grado cable adapter that people rave about... it's just an adapter cable), the fact that these headphones are either 50 Ohm or 120 Ohm and most mp3 players can not drive them well.

Last question in this post: Is there a better mp3 player suited for HD555s than an iPod? Is the Zune a better choice to drive the headphones. I really love what I've read about them and I'd buy an mp3 player just to drive these headphones and not the other way around if I could.

Thanks for your time and patience!

Sincerely, Derek
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Nov 15, 2008 at 2:47 AM Post #3 of 27

marsbound2024

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I did read about leakage with the HD555 and to be honest that is somewhat of a concern. I live in the conservative, rural south and pretty much no one would want to hear what I listen to. I do like my "musical privacy" and also I want to respect others. So overall, yes it is somewhat of an issue, but not the ultimate deciding factor. At work I listen to my mp3 player almost at the lowest possible volume and can still hear quite well and enjoy it well. However in some other environments, such as home, I have it midway. My HD457s use an open design and I never had a problem with them leaking a lot of noise, but I am unsure how the HD555s are with their open back.

This is why I was considering the HD280 Pros with their closed design, but I read that open designs give better sound quality and depth. On Newegg, there is a combo deal going on where you can get the HD280 Pros for $99.99 and the PXC250s ($44.99) for free, so you only pay that $100. But I read the PXC250s weren't very good. The HD555s are listed as 120 Ohm (*sad face*) and they are $98.99 (with no combo).

All in all, I want a happy medium.

PS: Thanks for the expeditious reply and the welcome!
 
Nov 15, 2008 at 2:57 AM Post #4 of 27

The Monkey

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Welcome to Head-Fi and sorry about your wallet. Given your desires for portability, some isolation, durability, and sound quality, I recommend looking for a used Senn HD 25-1 II for around $150. It will not give you the air and space of the 555, but the 25-1 is a damn good headphone that does a lot of things well and is very well built. Also, even though it is rated at 70ohms, it does not need an amp.
 
Nov 15, 2008 at 3:01 AM Post #5 of 27

tintin47

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I would say buy the px-100s and save more money for buying a future setup that will truly allow you to immerse yourself in the music.
 
Nov 15, 2008 at 3:06 AM Post #6 of 27

marsbound2024

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The Monkey: First, thanks for the welcome! Second, it's not really that I can't afford good headphones. I could get the HD650s right now (and still be able to pay all my bills, heh), but I honestly don't think that is a responsible use of my money considering I'd like to save money for the future (so I am looking for best bang for the buck, without going overboard). It is just my preference to buy something in the $100 range. I haven't quite developed my ears to the level as many of you here and so I am not sure what a difference I could appreciate between a $100 set and a $500 set (especially since the headphones may be tied to a mp3 player most of the time). Nonetheless, I am going to look into the HD25-1 IIs right now! Thanks for that recommendation.

Tintin47: Thanks for the recommendation. It is certainly a possibility that I do that... once I get them if I determined it wasn't enough then perhaps I'd go ahead and splurge. Of course I'm not sure what is a good portable setup. I don't like to sit in one place while listening to music (I like to rock in a rocking chair or while riding in a vehicle... something minor or moderate movement; if while running or jogging then of course PX-100s).

Update: I found this HD-25 SPII on eBay from a respectable seller: http://itemlistings.ebay.com/sdcsrp?...ax.Value%3D275 The HD25-1 IIs seem to be around $200.
 
Nov 15, 2008 at 3:11 AM Post #7 of 27

Rednamalas1

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Don't bother with HD650s until you are going for good (often expensive) dedicated home amps and good sourse - they benefit massively from good amping imo.

HD25s are indeed great start.
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Nov 15, 2008 at 3:17 AM Post #8 of 27

marsbound2024

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I am definitely not going for the HD650s because I don't have a good setup, haha. Thanks for the second recommendation for the HD25s! Is there a major difference between HD25 SP IIs and HD25-1 IIs?
 
Nov 15, 2008 at 3:20 AM Post #9 of 27

1Time

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The best price I could find for a new HD25-1 II was about $180 shipped. The HD280 should be found for under $80 shipped, but I don't suggest you buy it. What is your price range for this purchase, $100 to $180? For closed headphones that are good at not letting sound in or out, the HD25-1 II would be good, especially since you prefer Sennheiser.

If you want open headphones, the sound will leak out for others to hear, and you will better hear what's going on around you, good or bad. If you buy the HD555, be sure to get the 50 Ohm version. You should be able to find it new for about $100 shipped or $75 shipped used. The PX100 is good for open headphones at ~$40.

I prefer my closed, modded, and amped JBL 410 (JBL410) to the PX100, HD280, and HD555. For closed, the HD25-1 II would be a good buy, and the PX100 for open. Say so if willing to buy other than Sennheiser and you'll be sure to get other suggestions.
 
Nov 15, 2008 at 3:27 AM Post #10 of 27

marsbound2024

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I am willing to buy other than Sennheiser. It's just that I've had good experience with their customer service and rather enjoyed the HD457s. But although I was an AMD fan for a long time, I am willing to buy Intel now, hah.

To be honest, I don't think I'd want to spend $200 on a pair of headphones at the moment. I don't think mp3 players would do them justice, though my computer certainly might. Since my headphones are 75% of the time used with mp3 players, I think that I might be going overboard a bit. Unless of course it is true that these HD25-1 IIs would sound excellent on mp3 players like iPod or Zune.

Out of curiosity, why do you not recommend HD280 Pro? I read some reviews saying it was great for when you need accurate reproduction of sound, but not necessarily for music since it is so flat. That's just what I read though. The headphones I want are pretty much wholly for music and perhaps some for movies and gaming.

PS: I guess I would need a very good reason to "splurge" for headphones. I don't want to step on toes, but I would have a hard time justifying spending a couple hundred bucks on headphones. This point of view probably comes from the fact that I've never heard such wonderful headphones before. I've listened through crappy iPod standard ear canal phones, cheapo sets that are like $10 and my HD457s. It's hard to listen to anything below HD457s for me, but I also don't want headphones as dark as them. So if the HD25-1 IIs will blow me away and be the perfect match, maybe I will splurge on them. Though I'd prefer to stay closer to $100 if possible... any brand.
 
Nov 15, 2008 at 3:35 AM Post #11 of 27

glac1er

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Hi there, welcome to Head-fi and sorry about your wallet. I agree that buying two sets (one for portable, one for home use) is probably the best option.

It seems that you like HD555 a lot. Have you personally heard the HD555 before, or is it just the good reviews that swayed you over?

The HD555 is quite good, but for the same money, I'd rather get the Audio Technica AD700 for $104 shipped from amazon . Much like the AD700, it sounds good with all kinds of music but I like its bigger soundstage and sweeter musical presentation. Most people will say it's a very good bang for the buck type of headphone and runs well without amp.

Ipods are actually good enough for a lot of people, so get the headphones first and see if you like it.

As for your portable solutions, you can go to the portable section for recommendations. I'm sure you can get better recommendations there. Think about whether you want IEMs, earbuds, or headphones for your portable.
 
Nov 15, 2008 at 3:41 AM Post #13 of 27

marsbound2024

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Hey glac1er! You are a smart cookie. I do like the HD555 a lot, but I am not going to let that get in the way of making a good decision. I think they are sexy (albeit bulky and probably not the best for public display) and the reviews were exceedingly positive. I have never heard headphones besides cheap ones my friends have and the HD457 I have (which to be honest, might as well be high-class around here... though I know it is certainly not).

I do hear a lot of people talk about AD700s a lot. So I have considered them. It's just that I am one of those people that needs a lot of research before I buy a product. This is why I am making such a "big deal" about it all.

As far as portable solutions, phones that are put into the ear canal start to hurt my ears after thirty or forty-five minutes of use. I worry about hearing loss with them. Nonetheless, I tolerate them. Most likely I'm going to be picking the PX100s for portable use.

1Time: Thanks for that recommendation. What do you think of ATH-M50 vs the AD700 that was recommended by glac1er?
 
Nov 15, 2008 at 3:56 AM Post #14 of 27

Sherwood

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1) If all the customization you want to do is shortening the cord, you absolutely can do it yourself. It's easy. There are methods that involve soldering, and one clever method that involves braiding the cord. I remember hating that long-ass cord on my 595s...

2) I understand your budget hesitation. Lots of us started off small here, and upgraded over time. Please consider buying used headphones off of the FS forums here on head-fi. Better prices are rarely had, and there is a wealth of information.

3) It would be remiss of me not to mention the all time champs of sub-$100 headphones, the Grado SR-60. Pure headphone magic, especially out of a portable source. Some people prefer the SR-80, and it is a little better, but it's up to you.
 
Nov 15, 2008 at 4:03 AM Post #15 of 27

marsbound2024

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Sherwood: 1) I thought about doing that as well and was thinking it was that easy, but I was not sure if that'd void a warranty.

2) I will look into buying used headphones here. I know pretty much all of us probably treat our valued headphones quite well.

3) I heard a lot of good about the SR-60s as well. Don't know much about them however.

There are so many headphones to consider, sometimes it seems I should just do it. Just purchase it and be done with it.
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After all, it is hard to make a perfect decision.
 

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