What are the best rock headphones?
Jul 19, 2010 at 5:01 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 18

herokurdt84

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Okay I know there's like a million different threads about this particular topic but none addressed my particular concerns. So I'm a huge fan of Nirvana, Neil Young, and the Black Keys and was wondering what would be the best headphones for listening to these artists?
 
Jul 19, 2010 at 5:14 PM Post #2 of 18

Skarecrow

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Incredibly generic question. You're going to have to specify exactly what it is about rock you want emphasized. Are you looking for screaming guitar solos? Grinding riffs? Big double bass hits? intricate vocals? Are you looking for details on each instrument, or a "musical whole". Do you mind coloration and phones that may disguise flaws in the source (a lot of rock isn't recorded so well)?
 
If you don't specify, you're going to get a different recommendation from everybody you talk to.
 
If on the other hand, you don't care about any of the above, the the short and simple, classic "go-to" reply is "get a pair of grado SR-60s or Alessandro MS-1s, if you like the sound save up for a pair of RS-1s or MSpros".
 
 
Jul 19, 2010 at 5:21 PM Post #4 of 18

TheWuss

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coloration
An audible "signature" with which a reproducing system imbues all signals passing through it.  (from Stereophile)
 
Jul 19, 2010 at 5:29 PM Post #5 of 18

Skarecrow

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What TheWuss said. Think of it as almost like a permanent "EQ setting" built into the headphones. (simplistic description, but best way to get your head around it)
 
Almost all families of headphone have some sort of coloration, although those that aspire to "neutrality" minimize it. Also, the further you go up a specific line (i.e. more money) it often lessens the coloration, although not always.
 
The Grados I mentioned earlier are famous in the community for having one of the strongest colorations, highly emphasizing mids and mid-highs. Some of the models also have fairly strong highs (some say grating), and most of the models can put out fairly decent bass when amped well to. Coloration isn't necessarily a bad thing if musicality is what you're looking for (as opposed to clinical details), especially if the "strengths" of the of headphone coincide with the types of music you listen to.
 
My Sennheiser HD-650s (especially before my Moon Audio Silver dragon cable died) are pure and simple -better- headphones than my Alessandro MS-1s. The senns have a wider soundstage (the music doesn't sound like a ball in the center of your brain), far better detailing (you can hear intricate details like pics on strings, sticks on cymbals, etc), and more accurate reproduction (stuff sounds more like it does in "real life")... but in a lot of instances the MS-1s are just plain more fun. They're the cans that get me tapping my feet, etc.
 
Jul 19, 2010 at 6:02 PM Post #6 of 18

herokurdt84

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Cool so money wise should i head in the direction of the grados? I've also heard that grado's are uncomfortable after a while is this a big issue or just a small one?
 
What's open air mean exactly? (sorry for all the noob questions...hard not to ask b/c i am one!)
 
Jul 19, 2010 at 6:21 PM Post #8 of 18

Skarecrow

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Quote:
Cool so money wise should i head in the direction of the grados? I've also heard that grado's are uncomfortable after a while is this a big issue or just a small one?
 
What's open air mean exactly? (sorry for all the noob questions...hard not to ask b/c i am one!)


Grados are less comfortable than some. Depends a lot on which pads the model you get uses. I personally think the best entry point for the Grado/Alessandro (which are modified Grados) line is the Alessandro MS-1s, which come with "comfie" pads, which are about as comfortable as you're going to get with grado. An argument can also be made for the Grado SR-60s, which are a steal in "high end" headphones at $60us. I believe the SR-60s also come with the "comfie" pads. I don't know, I've never owned a pair.
 
If you've got more money to spend (and you will eventually. Welcome to head-fi, sorry about your wallet), each step up the grado ladder gets you a bit more. I believe a lot of people skip from the SR-60/SR-80/MS1 range over the Grado SR-125 to the Grado SR-225. I've heard a lot of good things about the SR-225. From there, the SR-325 are an option, but again I believe a lot of people skip over those (as well as the Alessandro MS2) to go to the RS-1 or MS-Pro (or other Grado high end $$$ products). Me personally I'm thinking about the RS-1s at some point, but my wallet isn't even joking about it being not an option yet.
 
As I said earlier, basically, pick up a pair of SR-60s or MS-1s, and if you like the sound (a lot of people do) and they're not too uncomfortable, then go to the SR-225s, or even the RS-1/MSpro. I just wouldn't start there until you're sure that you're a fan of "team grado" and that you can wear them for awhile comfortably. 
 
As a personal reference (your mileage will of course vary), I can wear/listen to my MS-1s for 2 or 3 hours before I need a break. I can listen to my senn 650s literally all day (we're talking 12-14 hours sometimes). Of course, my old koss KSC-35s, I couldn't stand for more than 30-45min, so it all varies. 
 
Edit: I forgot to answer your second question.
 
Open air means that there's no solid seal on the back side of the driver. if you look at the "outside" of the headphone, you'll see the back side of the driver (speaker cone), usually through some sort of metal/plastic grate. It's easier to get good sound of of open headphones, so normally you'll get more sound quality for less money out of open headphones (although this is not a hard and fast rule. some of the best headphones are closed). The downside is since it's open... sound also comes out. How much sound depends on how much you like to blast your ears. people in the room will know you're listening to something, they may even be able to identify it and sing along if you pump it loud. People in the next room or through a wall probably won't know. I use open headphones in a room next to a sleeping 2 year old with no problems ever. Also, that mean sounds come in. Open headphones suck in noisy environments. Basically, you may not be able to understand what your wife is saying to you, but you'll know she's talking to you. :wink:
 
Jul 20, 2010 at 4:07 AM Post #9 of 18

krmathis

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Of those I have heard I would say the Stax SR-007.
Although "best" is very subjective.
 
Jul 21, 2010 at 8:11 PM Post #11 of 18

Goku

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Second that
 
Jul 22, 2010 at 1:26 AM Post #15 of 18

sanakaku

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Go with the Sony MDR R10 good luck and welcome to Headfi  
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