Pioneer Monitor 10 (1978)... Underwhelmed!?
May 16, 2020 at 10:32 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 37

HRC20

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Hello,

I've just get a pair of Pioneer Monitor 10, the originals from late 70s.

I listen to many kind of music, but mainly 60s rock, jazz, 70s soul and funk and old school hiphop.

I use my laptop, Tidal Hifi, linked to a vintage amplifier (a&r a60). No external Dac.

I've read so many good things about those Pioneers, and I got to say they are very confortable. I really like them on my head, they're not as heavy as I expected and they are in near mint condition. The pads are in good conditions too.

I really try to love them, but I'm underwhelmed by the sound. I wasn't expecting a lot of bass, I don't like too much bass anyway, but they sound very canny.

I know they're from a different era, and music was different back then, but I'm not too sure they should sound like that. Analytical yes, but here it's a bit like if I have basic apple headphones. I have to push the bass to the max on my amp and use an EQ on my laptop to have something decent but they're still harsh.

I don't have anything else to compare them to, but I still think the should have sounded better from all the reviews I saw.

So do you think there is something wrong with them, something I can check? The cable?

Maybe any mod that I could do? Haven't found any mods for monitor 10

Thank you
 
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May 16, 2020 at 1:49 PM Post #2 of 37

Chris Kaoss

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Its not the best way to pair a 8 ohm headphone with a vintage amplifier without separate headphone stage. :wink:
Try the Monitor 10 with a modern dac/amp (< 1 ohm output impedance) to let them sing.
This will show you the truth behind these headphones, i guess. :wink:

Did you connect them to your pc directly to listen to them?
What's your thoughts?
 
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May 16, 2020 at 2:04 PM Post #3 of 37

HRC20

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Hey, thanks for your answer. I was thinking getting a Dac yes, to use it in between my macbook and the amplifier, as I also have a pair of Mission 751 speakers.

Ideally I would like not to have to buy another amplifier. Do you think it will make a difference then? I’m thinking an older Musical Fidelity Vdac or a newer ifi zen.

I didn’t try directly on my laptop no, I need to buy an adapter. However I don’t expect it to be better, as if use the same internal Dac right ?
 
May 16, 2020 at 2:34 PM Post #4 of 37

Chris Kaoss

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With this headphone, 8 ohm and 100db sensitivity, it's better to take a dac/amp with the lowest possible output impedance. :wink:
Your vintage amp will have an output impedance more then 5 times of the Monitor 10, in the best case i guess.
This will affect the frequency response of the headphone in a hugh way, mainly to a negative impact.

The Ifi Zen looks good to complete your setup with the vintage amp is driving your speakers. :wink:
Will be a good choice, i think.

On the other side, there is the Topping DX3 Pro, which could be a perfect match at low budget.

Maybe someone with better knowledge will chime in for help.
 
May 16, 2020 at 2:42 PM Post #5 of 37

gimmeheadroom

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I don't know this pair but 1970s headphones are meant to run off receivers and integrated amps made in the 1970s. I would absolutely not spend money on modern hitech audio gear to drive a pair of 1970s headphones.
 
May 16, 2020 at 2:45 PM Post #6 of 37

HRC20

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Well that’s what I thought too, although Kris point of view might be right too as my source is digital (?).

to be fair I don’t know much about technical stuffs, it’s all new to me. Do you mean that even with a Dac in between my macbook and the amp, it would still not be as good as it should because of the amplifier ?

as for the Dac I don’t want to pay too much, a bit more than 100s of gbp at the most, ideally less. That’s why a second hand Vdac or cambridge audio came on my list until I saw good reviews about the ifi zen.
Thanks
 
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May 16, 2020 at 2:56 PM Post #7 of 37

gimmeheadroom

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Yeah you need the right kind of amplifier, The source is not the problem.

1970s speaker and headphone gear runs great off tubes or receivers where there was no separate headphone amp. The 1/4 inch jack was made with resistors off the speaker outputs. There is no way a pair of vintage cans is going to be happy out of a laptop headphone jack.

I have no idea if those headphones are any good or not. If it's just how to spend money the most efficient way then modern gear wins every time. If it's about a vintage setup that gets the best out of your equipment then it's a lot different.
 
May 16, 2020 at 3:10 PM Post #9 of 37

gimmeheadroom

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I’ve just checked my amplifier manual, and it says about the headphones output « Suitable for headphones of 8ohm to 2k ohm impedance »

I totally missed what amp it was. I think that should be fine.

Maybe the laptop isn't driving your amp well enough. The sound you describe, hollow and canny, is textbook sound for headphones not getting enough power. I think it's likely the laptop doesn't have enough grunt to drive your amp. The correct volume setting on the laptop should be close to 100% and adjust the volume via the amp.
 
May 16, 2020 at 3:14 PM Post #10 of 37

Monsterzero

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I used to own a pair of those Pioneers. The issue you're experiencing has nothing to do with your amp nor from a lack of a DAC. The fact is,those Pioneers simply arent good sounding headphones. In fact,I'd say theyre one of the worse sounding headphones Ive ever owned. They do look cool though.

If youre after great sounding vintage headphones I'd suggest picking up a pair of AKG K240 sextetts. Or if you prefer more bass than mids,try a pair of Sennheiser HD250s.
Both are fantastic sounding vintage headphones. I use the Sextetts for any genre that is guitar/vocal centric,and the 250s for trance or any other bass centric genres.
 
May 16, 2020 at 3:14 PM Post #11 of 37

gimmeheadroom

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I used to own a pair of those Pioneers. The issue you're experiencing has nothing to do with your amp nor from a lack of a DAC. The fact is,those Pioneers simply arent good sounding headphones. In fact,I'd say theyre one of the worse sounding headphones Ive ever owned. They do look cool though.

If youre after great sounding vintage headphones I'd suggest picking up a pair of AKG K240 sextetts. Or if you prefer more bass than mids,try a pair of Sennheiser HD250s.
Both are fantastic sounding vintage headphones. I use the Sextetts for any genre that is guitar/vocal centric,and the 250s for trance or any other bass centric genres.

Mystery solved!
 
May 16, 2020 at 3:16 PM Post #12 of 37

Chris Kaoss

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I don't know this pair but 1970s headphones are meant to run off receivers and integrated amps made in the 1970s. I would absolutely not spend money on modern hitech audio gear to drive a pair of 1970s headphones.
That's one possibility.
Thanks for pointing to. :wink:
 
May 16, 2020 at 3:17 PM Post #13 of 37

gimmeheadroom

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May 16, 2020 at 3:23 PM Post #14 of 37

HRC20

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Yeah I actually don’t think the amplifier is in faukt. I did change some settings on tidal hifi, and it’s now better in my system overall. The headphones are loud enough, I can’t pass 12.

So you might be right they’re not good headphones, but then it doesn’t explain all the good reviews. I even saw a website a guy makes short reviews about all vintage headphones he got and the pioneer is in top 5. Could it be we both listened to a defective item ?
 

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