Senn 280 or Senn 590?
Apr 3, 2002 at 5:28 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 13

anyone

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Hi all,
while searchin for the best price for senn 280 i started askin myself which headphone is better for me the senn 280 or the senn 590. The best price for Senn 590 is 135 Euro and for the Senn 280 it is 105 Euro. Do u think that it would b better 2 buy the 590 and pay 30 euro more? I know those cans r difficult 2 compare cause the one is closed and the other not but what do u think whats better? I prefer listening 2 pop music and rap and rock and only a little classic. I dont want 2 use a headphone amp.
The most time i would use the headphones at home with my receiver.
So whats the difference with those 2 cans and to what would you prefer listening???
 
Apr 3, 2002 at 6:20 PM Post #2 of 13

beowulf

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I haven't heard the 280, but they appear to be very different from the HD 590.
If you plan to use them in noisy environments, the choice is easy, but I'd almost bet a vital organ that the HD 590 probably sounds considerably better.

I find them excellent, mostly for classical and acoustic, but the 590 are good overall performers.

As for being too revealing with poor recordings, that will never be a good reason to stay away from headphones for me. If you need to get less-revealing headphones because of the sound you listen to, perhaps you're needing an equalizer or something, and definitely better recordings...
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Apr 3, 2002 at 7:07 PM Post #3 of 13

Hamsterball_Z

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I've been debating these two as well. From the comments people have made to me comparing these two I think you'd be better served by the 280. The 280 is more easily powered, even by portable equipment, the 590 doesn't need an amp but is at it's best with one. A receiver's headphone jack should be good enough but portables just won't do it justice. The 280 is more forgiving of poor recordings than the 590. delanda est Sony said there were some CDs that were just about unlistenable on the 590 because they would reveal the recording flaws. Many rock/rap/pop recordings fall in this category, even the good ones. Soundstage is vastly superior on the 590, open phones tend to be better at this anyway but the 280 has a better than average soundstage for a closed phone. Isolation is better on the 280, again, closed phone vs open. Stronger bass on the 280 but probably not a huge difference.

Hope that helps you. Do some searches on the 590 and 280, there's been A LOT of discussion recently on these two.

The reason I'm still deciding between the 280 and 590 is soundstage vs forgiving/revealing. I want the wide open feeling but I know a lot of my CDs fall into the questionable recording category. I also listen to streaming MP3 internet radio and that's also not a good match for the 590. *Sigh* maybe I should be looking at Beyers....

(HBZ)
 
Apr 3, 2002 at 8:29 PM Post #4 of 13

delenda est Sony

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this is a tough one! On the one hand, open phones are usually superior to closed models, but the 280s sound better unamped. They are much more forgiving of sources, but to be fair not that many CDs are that poor sounding with the 590s. I buy a lot of stuff from Century Media and Century is run on a frayed shoestring of a budget, and they are the main contributor of questionable CDs in my collection. If you listen to Madonna & Linkin Park (God forbid!
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) than you should be fine. Though the amplification issue rears its head...

All right, here's a quiz:
1. Will you listen to MP3s?
2. Is sound more important than comfort?
3. Will you ever need to use the phones portably?
4. Do you prefer bass to treble?
5. Is balanced tone more important than a deep soundstage?

More yes than no, buy the 280. More no than yes, get the 590. Take that Active Buyers Guide!
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Apr 4, 2002 at 11:21 AM Post #6 of 13

Taphil

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I've been reading this board for a few weeks.... Ok delenda est Sony, I read your praises of the 280 and bought them also. They should be here in a week. But I was wondering if you or anyone else could help me out.

I use headphones exclusively on an iPod. (Never going back to CD's when I can carry 10gb of songs with me.) My mp3's are encoded at 192-320 and the quality if fine to me. Music type is mostly rock, alt rock, hard rock, and metal, and some punk. I have Senn 497 now and I really like them. For portable use I use the wonderful MX400. I bought the lousy Sony EX70 and should have read here before that they were total crap. (I'm still ticked off with myself for wasting money on them. I should have just burned up 50 $1 bills to keep my room warm.) Koss PortaPro's I haven't touched since I got the 497's. So I'm wondering (and yes I've searched the forum for answers already):

How should the 280's compare to the 497's that I'm using now. I know one is closed and open, but what should the difference sound like between the two?

People talk about the 280 being studio/monitoring headphones. What does that mean? How will it do with just normal use, just listening to music on a daily basis?

When people concerned with audio quality/reproduction talk about sound, what exactly are they looking for? What do they mean by "flat"?

What does "soundstage" mean? I still don't know what everyone is referring to when they use that word.

If the 280 is the best closed headphones for the iPod, what is the best open headphones for it (without a portable amp)?

For my application (iPod without amp), how do the Grado SR60, SR80, and SR125 do? I'm not looking for headphones with more bass or anything, and I suppose I don't like headphones that distort sound from what it really should be.

Thanks
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Apr 4, 2002 at 5:07 PM Post #7 of 13

delenda est Sony

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Hi Taph---

the 280 and 497s are similar inasmuch as they are both pretty neutral sounding. The 280 has deeper bass, better articulation, and a flatter frequency response (i.e. is more neutral). The 280 is also much sturdier, better made, and can be folded up nicely. The 497 has a broader soundstage, but not by much. The 280s also have a more up close sound distance. All in all, I prefer the 280s, but I think you'll likely continue to find a use for both phones.

What I (personally) mean by some of these terms: (other poster definitions may well vary!)

soundstage--placement of instruments/sounds in a two dimensional (x and z axes) imaginary space between your ears. Crappy phones give you right and left (stereo) division. Better phones divide instruments more precisely and give you some illusion of depth as well as width.

articulation---how well instruments/voices are distinguished from each other. Difference from soundstage: soundstage will divide drums and guitars from each other in a positional way, articulation will divide one guitar from another, or even let you hear individual guitar strings being plucked at the higher end.

listening distance---how close you are to the music. Senns traditionally have you a little bit "farther" from the main sound source than Grados. Again, like soundstage a mostly subjective distinction, but as you listen to more phones, the differences become more apparent.

Studio phones---neutral sound and closed design meant for use by sound engineers, intelligent DJs, and the general public. Low impedance (less than 100 Ohms) and sturdy for easy power in the studio and to withstand abuse from users. Dimwit DJs use heavily flavored crap like the Sony V700DJ, which are "warm" i.e. have lots of bass. (The opposite is "bright" which is treble biased. Only in headphone land are warm and bright antonyms!
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) Phones can also have a mid range bias as well, but this has no special name, to my knowledge. "Flat" means the frequency response curve resembles a straight line, i.e. has no bias (either emphasis or deficiency) in any of the frequency ranges.

For open phones and an iPod, I think you are already well served by the 497s. Decent bass, good overall balance, and easily driven. You may like Grados; some (like me) think the closer listening distance and aggressive mid range boost make rock very fun to listen to with these phones. Others find the listening distance too aggressive and the sound overly bright and therefore fatiguing. (Yes, phones can have boost in both the mids and high freqs.) Grados are also very easily driven, having a similar impedance to the 497s.

The 60s are probably the most neutral Grados except for the 325s, but the bass is pretty minimal and the trebles not as clear as on other models. The 80s are a bit too bassy (i.e. warm) and this makes mids a bit less emphasized as well. The 125s are (IMO) the best price/value deal in Grado brand, and have great bass, balanced though engaging mids, and a clear detailed treble. Problem is that the treble is maybe a bit too much here, making these the brightest of Grados and fatiguing to some (not me.) The 225s are just sort of there---more $$$ than the 125s, somewhat less bright, but not really worth the extra bucks (IMO) The 325s get the treble balanced again and give you a tad more bass---just about perfect, but also $300.

As you can see, Grados are very quirky in their sound. Many also feel they are uncomfortable (too tight), poorly made, and/or ugly. I disagree to varying degrees on these issues, but will concede that Grados are not for all. If you can listen to em, try them as they may suit you much better than the 497s with your music choices. If you can't audition em though, buying "deaf" is not recommended as you seem to prefer neutrality...

Any other questions, ask away! But I think you will be more than pleased with your 497/280 combo.
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Apr 6, 2002 at 4:12 AM Post #9 of 13

Taphil

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I got the 280 today, and I'm quite happy with them. They sounded rough out of the box, but after 6 hours of burn-in they've improved a lot. The build quality beats the 497 by a lot, and the sound is better also.

But is there a way to change the cord? The coiled cord is thick and heavy, making it cumbersome for use on a portable. And the plug is large, and I'm afraid of hitting it against something and breaking the ipod headphone jack. I just want a 2M or so straight thin cord.
 
Apr 6, 2002 at 6:09 AM Post #10 of 13

delenda est Sony

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Taphil---

is is possible in theory but you would have to ask Senn what cord options they have. As these phones are new, 3rdd party cords may not be available.

Also, in defense of coiled cords, you can bunch em up an tuck em away more easily than equivalent length straights. And if a coiled cord gets snagged, it will not damage the phones or player the same way that a straight cord might.

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Apr 6, 2002 at 8:14 AM Post #11 of 13

zbuddah

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not sure if this deserves a new thread i'm gonna ask anyways.

delenda est Sony, you mentioned that the grado gives you that closer listening range. i was wondering what gives the grado's that closer listening range. is it the brightness that makes the grados more engaging then the senns?
 
Apr 6, 2002 at 12:09 PM Post #12 of 13

anyone

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Thanks for the replies!
I think i ll get the senn 280. One reason is that i listen 2 some records which may not have the best quality.(mp3) So i think the senn 280 will b a good start into the "headphone business" and maybe i ll later get some opened phones too.
Thanks again for all the informations which really helped me much!
 
Apr 7, 2002 at 5:17 AM Post #13 of 13

delenda est Sony

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ZB---

I am not exactly clear as to what makes the Grado sound. There is always a mid range boost, but the treble push varies from phone to phone; roughly (most to least) 125, 225, 325, 80, 60. You may want to post a more general question, as I am not an expert on the design characteristics of headphones. Grados do sound closer to the listener than other cans, but I will defer to our more technical members as to why this is so....

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