Sony CD3k's best for under $500
Apr 22, 2004 at 3:39 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 30

Smurf

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I was thinking of getting a pair of CD3ks soon and I was wondering if anyone else had a good reccomendation for a good pair under $500.

I listen to alot of smooth jazz, electronic, and classical music. I was wondering if there was a better pair for such music types.
 
Apr 22, 2004 at 3:48 AM Post #2 of 30

Abula

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IMO yes, but there are a lot of choices with your budget, there is not a unique HP that wins them all, there are a lot of good options like Senn 650 are pretty popular here also as well as Audiotechnia A900, and there are others.

Also consider that although the CD3000 are very efficient and easy to drive, you will need a good amp and a good source to drive them and to sound properly.

Good luck,
 
Apr 22, 2004 at 4:03 AM Post #5 of 30

Guyferd

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IMO A900 is not even qualified to be mentioned for best cans under $500. The A1000 which costs more is an improvement and still under $500
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I've tried X-can V2 rolled with mullard , and it sounds fantastic with the cd3k. Contrary to popular belief, the sound out of this combo is surprisingly not bright at all, instead it's smooth, a little warm, pacey and rhytmic. Definitely my recommendation if you're on budget for amp(for cd3k).

A lot of people recommend perreaux too. I've not heard those, you might want to check them out.
 
Apr 22, 2004 at 4:12 AM Post #6 of 30

Smurf

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I was searching around and it seems alot of people like the headroom amps. I did some searching and it appears that the AirHead is rather small and looks pretty portable. Anyone had any experience with them? The airhead seems like it would fit my needs rather well, but I want your guys opinions.
 
Apr 22, 2004 at 4:27 AM Post #7 of 30

Norbert

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Never listened to the headroom amps. Never listened to the sony 3k, however I have the ath 1K and greatly enjoy it for its detail and accuracy with a corda HA-1. There are several headphones that are quite "upper crust" in this price catagory. I think they'll be more comments after the Chicago meet this Saturday.
 
Apr 22, 2004 at 4:52 AM Post #8 of 30

ayt999

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Norbert - they are talking about the ATH-A1000 in the thread, not the ATH-W1000 (going by your profile I assume you have this one). the sound should be different given the different housing and all.
 
Apr 22, 2004 at 5:14 AM Post #9 of 30

lindrone

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imo, CD3000 is probably one of the best all-around performing headphone for under $500 as well. There are other ATH headphones within that range, but they all have characteristics and strength that doesn't give them an "overall" superiority (i.e., might have better performance for certain instrument, certain genre, but not overall, always better than CD3000, where CD3000 is consistently better in most areas). ATH headphones do look much nicer though
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I actually do like the way that CD3000 looks, even though it's a bit bulky, and it's a dull grey... it's still a very aesthetically pleasing headphone design overall for me.

As far as source and amp, all high-end headphones like the CD3000, HD650 (list goes on and on) need adequate source & amp for them to show their true color and why we give them their praises. Without proper setup, it's hard to judge any high-end headphone's merits. Given that, CD3000 is easily driven out of any source, reaching proper volume levels, however it is also revealing and will show thin-ness and inadequacies in your source. Just because you can get them to be loud enough doesn't mean all the sound characteristics are what they're meant to be.

I personally don't like Headroom amps that much, in my experiences, Headroom amps pairs up with Sennheiser headphones pretty well on a consistent basis; other than that, I don't see any merits in them. It is also my personal experience that other DIY amps and small amp builders build amps that's equal and surpasses Headroom's quality for lesser cost.

Is the Total Airhead (or Airhead) enough to drive the CD3000? Not even close, in fact, I don't think you'll notice much of a difference just plugging the CD3000 straight into the source. I think one of the budget option is the aforementioned Gilmore Lite, but Gilmore line of amps are also very revealing of your source, so if you've got a bad source, Gilmore will not be the way to go. Gilmore also sounds a little harsh and sterile with the CD3000, I like a little bit of coloration to my sound, so meanwhile that combination is good, it's not something I liked much personally.

One of the oft-mentioned amp to go alongside the CD3000 is the Perreaux. I never tried one of those, so I can't tell you much about it. A lot of people really loves how smooth and warm it sounds though... seems to be the general concensus about the Perreaux. It's not the most detailed headphone amp, but it makes good music.

With the CD3000, I seriously think that your "budget amp" starts at around $300 and up. Anything lesser than a $300 amp is just not a worthy investment.

If you don't have the budget to buy some amps to back up the CD3000 right now, or at least consider doing that eventually, I would seriously consider just getting an Audio Technica A900 and be done with it. If you do get a CD3000, get it with the foresight of eventually getting a good source and amp to back it up.
 
Apr 22, 2004 at 5:22 AM Post #10 of 30
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Quote:

Originally Posted by lindrone
Gilmore also sounds a little harsh and sterile with the CD3000, I like a little bit of coloration to my sound, so meanwhile that combination is good, it's not something I liked much personally.



I agree with most everything you posted but this part. At least IME, the Gilmore/CD3K combo is neither sterile nor harsh, though I could see it being that way if the source being used is sterile and or harsh. I like the clean, tight sound of the Gilmore, and it is surpassed only by that of the GRace 901 IME.
 
Apr 22, 2004 at 5:38 AM Post #12 of 30

Sovkiller

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Smurf
What would be a good and rather inexpensive amp for them?


If you can find a good one for cheap, the Perreaux is the less expensive that will match in heaven with it, after that you will have just a few more.....
 
Apr 22, 2004 at 8:52 AM Post #15 of 30

tom hankins

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Norbert
Are you looking for "warm" or "detailed"? This makes a difference.


You can have both if your willing to spend the money on a good source and amp to go with your new phones. Music listening is not an either or (warm or detailed) choice. If your on a budget any of the systems below will do fine.
Judging by the music you listen to I would get either:
1. HD650 or CD3000/Antique sound labs OTL32
2. HD650/Perreaux
3. CD3000/Perreaux
If you can't swing that much cash for an amp, the Rega Ear amp for around 200.00 works really good with the sennheiser headphones. Anything you get will only be as good as your source. Start there.
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