Please help with headphone advice!!! Frustrated!!!
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botchki

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Having a difficult time finding the perfect headphone for me...yes I know there's no such thing, or rather no perfect headphone from what I've read here. But need some opinions from any who care to share their knowledge and thoughts. Headphones I've auditioned extensively on high quality sources are Senn HD-600, and Grado 325's, RS-2's, and RS-1's. They all have their good and bad points, but if I ranked them in order of preference they would be RS-1, RS-2, Senn 600, then the 325's. From my perspective the 325's do instuments very well at the expense of vocals and are a little too bright for me and lack space, the RS-2's do a phenomenal job with vocals (really natural, clear, and uncolored, but are a little harsh on instuments and effects, and that draws away from the sound), and the RS-1's do both well plus add a bigger soundstage and smooth everything out, but color it too much so it's a little unrealistic to me. So...I guess what I'm looking for is the detail of the 325, the natural/neutralness of the RS-2, and the smoothness and space of the RS-1 all rolled into one. Is there such a phone??? I've read all kinds of reviews on this site and everyone has different opinions, and I guess I'm just looking for help on phones I haven't heard. How do the ATH-w100's fit in here? Would that fit with what I'm looking for? Or the Beyer DT-931? Or anything else? This is all kind of frustrating because you know what you want and can't find it, plus you have to consider budget (can afford to spend up to around $400 which leaves the RS-1 out, but less isn't a bad thing!) Any opinions/advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

P.s. If it helps I'm new to headphones but my home system consists of a Simm Moon I-5 integrated amp, a MF A3 Cd player, and Gershman Acoustic speakers. I like, value, and am used to a fast, neutral, detailed sound that isn't cold but isn't warm either...somewhere in the middle...neutral.
 
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joelongwood

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Quote:

So...I guess what I'm looking for is the detail of the 325, the natural/neutralness of the RS-2, and the smoothness and space of the RS-1 all rolled into one.


You may want to give a listen to the Allessandro/Grado Music Series Pro............detailed, smooth, and less-colored (to my ears) than the RS-1.
 
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jopi

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You can try the AKG 501 or the AKG K1000 if you have an amp that can handle them.

The 501s have pretty good detail and a fantastic soundstage. Some people say they lack bass, but I call it a well balanced headphone that doesn't emphasize any part of the frequency spectrum.

If you rank the Grados before the Sennheisers, there's a pretty good chance that you'd like the 501s' presentation.

The K1000 have incredible detail to a point that it can be annoying if your source, amp or even the recording quality of your medium isn't up to snuff. Soundstage is the best I've ever heard on headphones.
 
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Matthew-Spaltro

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The W100s IMO have an incredibly deep soundstage that is very wide and open if you will. But if you listen to mostly rock music you may want to try a different phone because the W100s have a weird sort of fake sound when it comes to rock music which is very hard to explain to you without you hearing it for yourself and making your own judgments.
 
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radrd

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Etymotic ER4S.
 
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wallijonn

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did you try the 325's or hd600 with an amp? or electrostatics? even if you buy a tube amp, you may have to roll the tubes (try different types, different manufacturers).

i think what you need is a good headphone amp. and as always, test with broken-in cans, not off the shelf.
 
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gloco

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I second the akg k501's
 
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Joe Bloggs

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I'd second the Etymotics ER4S / 4P, except for the bit about soundstage space...
 
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jpelg

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Don't leave out the possibility of the Sennheiser's with an upgrade cable like the Equinox, Cardas, or Clou. It has a very different, and improved sound with any of these.
 
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wallijonn

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botchki, you said: Quote:

and am used to a fast, neutral, detailed sound that isn't cold but isn't warm either...somewhere in the middle...neutral.


Reminds me of the 'east coast" sound versus the "west coast sound" debate, or the "tube sound" versus "solid sate sound" debate, or the vynal (i never could spell that word) versus "cd" sound.

what i consider tight bass you may feel is non-existant, what i call bassy you may call lacking.

me, i've bought the Grado SR80's and plan to team them up with the best headamp i can build or buy.

we would all have to listen to the same song/music to be able to discuss things like "neutral", "cold", warm", "hot", etc. logically you're asking for a tube/transistor or tube/opamp hybrid amplifier. of course different tubes, like different opamps, have "different" sounds, and we'd then be back to trying to differentiate between different degrees of nuances.

so what cd song did you use to audition the cans? then at least people who are familiar with that song, and who love it, can have a discussion on a more level field.

"....Gershman Acoustic speakers...." http://www.jcaudio.com/product/Gershman/gershman.html

man that Gap 520-X looks cool.... (i'm used to mids and highs getting to my ears before the bass as i like horn speakers).
 
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botchki

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Thank you all for the responses. MSP, AKG 501's, and Ath-w100, none of which are readily available to me to audition, but from a lot of reading it sounds like the ATH-W100 might be a headphone that would give me the kind of sound I'm looking for based on the type of music I listen to (a lot of jazz, female vocalists, light rock).
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we would all have to listen to the same song/music to be able to discuss things like "neutral", "cold", warm", "hot", etc. logically you're asking for a tube/transistor or tube/opamp hybrid amplifier. of course different tubes, like different opamps, have "different" sounds, and we'd then be back to trying to differentiate between different degrees of nuances.
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To reference this response by Wallijohn...why do you say I'm asking for a tube/transistor or tube/opamp hybrid amplifier for the sound I'm looking for? I just bought a Gilmore Dynamic amp from antness and am awaiting it's arrival...should be here today or tomorrow, and whatever headphone I get will be used with this, so makes me thing a low impedance headphone would work better as it was built for them. I have a local hi-fi store that will let me do a home audition of the Grado's and Senn once I get it so will try them out again.

As for song or songs I used to audition the headphones, I used a couple by Holly Cole (Romantically Helpless and Ghost), Jacqui Naylor (More and then Some), and Shelby Starner (you). All very focused on vocals, Holly Cole with quite a bit of instrument intricacies.

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"....Gershman Acoustic speakers...." http://www.jcaudio.com/product/Gershman/gershman.html

man that Gap 520-X looks cool.
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The Gap 520-x do look cool, but out of my league! I have the Avant Gardes and they are an awesome speaker, work really well with the Simm Moon amp.
 
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wallijonn

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botchki,

I was going to suggest the Sony CDR-V3000's (?) after seeing so many people praising them.

Please tell me what you think of the Gillmore, as I am also contemplating purchasing or building one.

My tastes also run to vocal clarity. Which is why I was contemplating the AKG K501's. As I read more reviews on this forum, THANK GOD! (keep up the good work, guys!), I am inching away from the Sennheiser HD580's and inching towards the K501's, even though they do have a lack of "bass" and are 120 ohms, necessitating an amp (which I would have gotten anyway).
From the little I have to been able to surmise, the Senn's are geared more towards a male voice, while the AKg's are geared more towards a female's.

To me, the fact that you have acoustic suspension speakers gives me an idea of what type of bass you like - sharp transient, smooth rolloff, no "hump" bass. I'm still searching for a bullet midrange for my speakers, though, to complement my bullet tweeter. I assume that your speakers have dome tweeters, which again gives me an idea of what type of high end you like - smooth and velvety if not slightly recessed.

I wonder which cans are best for boroque.

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presently listening to Bolling: Concerto for Classical Guitar and Jazz Piano
 
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