What headphone/amp for around 1000,- €?
Mar 28, 2006 at 8:27 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 15

mozartkugel

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Hello,
after many hours of reading through tons of valueable information about headphones, amplification etc. on this forum I have decided to register as a new user and put forward my first question:
I would like to buy a headphone and an appropriate nonportable headphone amplifier to connect to my wife's Sony SCD-XB770 SACD player. As far as money is concerned I will be able to spend around 1000,- €.
I mostly listen to classical symphonies, operas, concertos for solo instrument and orchestra and music for small ensembles of string or wind instruments. Sometimes I also like to listen to Jazz and Pop.
I would be very happy, if you could tell me, which combination of headphone and amp in this price category in your opinion provides the most authentical and detailed musical experience.
I have read interesting posts about electrostatic and dynamic headphones as well as about solid state and tube amplifiers, and now I must admit, that I am a bit confused
confused.gif
about which choice would be right for my (more or less) audiophile needs.
Greetings from rainy Austria,
Martin
 
Mar 28, 2006 at 8:29 PM Post #2 of 15

juzmister

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what about a grado rs-1/ra-1 combo? would sound quite nice, or a modded hf-1/millet hybrid combo?
 
Mar 28, 2006 at 8:45 PM Post #3 of 15

mozartkugel

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Quote:

Originally Posted by juzmister
what about a grado rs-1/ra-1 combo? would sound quite nice, or a modded hf-1/millet hybrid combo?


Thank you for your reply. When looking at Grado headphones I think that wearing them for a longer time could hurt my rather big ears
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I know that this shouldn't be the main criterium for choosing a headphone, but I would prefer something more comfortable.
Greetz,
Martin
 
Mar 28, 2006 at 9:09 PM Post #4 of 15

sgrossklass

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I would look at:
cans: HD650 or K701
amp: maybe a Lehmann Black Cube Linear or a bigger Meier Audio amp; there still are a few ampternatives for us ol' Europeans in the ~€700 range that I've forgotten
Oh, and this kind of budget should also get you an entry-level 'stat setup, but I'm not a Staxpert...
 
Mar 28, 2006 at 9:12 PM Post #5 of 15

catscratch

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Welcome to head-fi, sorry about your wallet
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If you're a bit confused about SS/tube and dynamic vs. electrostat, do a search and I'm sure you'll find tons of relevant info. In a nutshell, dynamics provide better impact and more weight/heft to the sound, while electrostats provide more speed, detail, and a sense of air and space around each instrument. In other words, you can have weight and impact, or airiness and transparency. As far as tube vs. solid state, tubes tend to emphasize bass and lower midrange more and tend to be far more colorful, but tend to be softer in the treble and less extended in both the treble and bass. Solid state will be crisper, faster, more extended in either direction, but it will also be drier and harsher.

Yep, this is as gross a generalization that I could make. I don't think there is a single sentence in there that someone can't pick apart, so if you have nothing better to do, then get busy
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In terms of what I would recommend: it seems to me that you're looking for something with a good soundstage and good detail, which is capable of rendering instrument textures quite well in multi-layered recordings. It seems that electrostats would be more your cup of tea, but they are quite expensive. The Stax systems in your price range tend to be a bit bright and analytical unless you buy vintage. You could consider a vintage SR-Lambda Pro/SRM-1 Mk II combo, which will probably give you the qualities you need but is a bit hard to find in good condition nowadays. The other option would be a SR-4040 Signature System, but it's fairly expensive.

In terms of dynamics - I know less here than I do about 'stats, but it sounds like a Beyer DT880 is what you need, together with a good tube amp. The DT880 has excellent detail and soundstage. Start searching for people's experiences with it here, and keep in mind that they're just that - experiences. Everyone hears differently.

Cheers,
Cat (I should be working...)
 
Mar 28, 2006 at 10:07 PM Post #6 of 15

bahamaman

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As a former owner of an AKG 501, I can attest that that headphone is, in my estimation, a giant killer in reproducing strings and other mid-range frequencies so critical to the kind of music you listen to that. It's legendary weakness is bass, or more properly, the lack thereof. From what I have read, it seems that the new AKG 701 retains much of the 501's midrange sweetness while providing some additional "oomph" to the bottom.

As far as an amp, I might encourage you to hang around the F/S section to pick up something used. For example, there is present a PPA amp for sale at a fair price. Having owned a LaRocco product previously (though not the PPA), I can tell you that they make very fine amps indeed.
 
Mar 28, 2006 at 10:14 PM Post #8 of 15

Firestarter

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Quote:

Originally Posted by jagorev
HD 600 or 650 with a Micro Stack from www.headphone.com


everytime i read something about the micro stack, i can imagine the owners sitting there writing the post with the hugest silliest grin on their faces. definately something i'd consider if i had the money
 
Mar 28, 2006 at 10:25 PM Post #9 of 15

catscratch

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The Microstack is an idea. I don't have the Microamp but the MicroDAC is very nice with the Hornet and is a good source for the money.

Come to think of it, I'm not sure that the Sony player the OP has is up to the task of driving something like a Stax 4040, so we might need to include a possible source upgrade. But, I never heard the particular player in question.
 
Mar 28, 2006 at 10:39 PM Post #10 of 15

lini

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The RS-1/RA-1 combo would be more than 1000 Euro over here anyway, I fear. Nevertheless, 1000 Euro leave you more than enough options: For an Austrian, AKG might be the most natural choice - so what about the K701 and... hmmm... the Meier-Audio Corda Aria or the Lehmann Audio Black Cube Linear, for example? Or maybe a Stax combo - like the SRS3010 or SRS3020?

Greetings from Hannover!

Manfred / lini

P.S.: Just on a sidenote, spending 1000 Euro an a headphone system seems a little hefty for that Sony player to me...

P.P.S.: Du, sag mal - meine Urgroßtante aus Traunstein war damals ein große Freundin von Salzburger Rumpastillen. Ich erinner mich noch düster dran: relativ kleine, rundliche Pralinen, ich glaub sogar mit Stroh-Rum drin - müssten welche mit Zuckerkruste gewesen sein. Gab's irgendwo in der Innenstadt... Weißt Du zufällig, ob's die noch gibt und wo?
 
Apr 2, 2006 at 1:11 AM Post #11 of 15

BluePhone

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mozartkugel, I have only 3 pieces of advice for you... Stax! Stax! Stax!
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Apr 2, 2006 at 3:53 AM Post #13 of 15

jim580

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Quote:

Originally Posted by mozartkugel
Hello,
after many hours of reading through tons of valueable information about headphones, amplification etc. on this forum I have decided to register as a new user and put forward my first question:
I would like to buy a headphone and an appropriate nonportable headphone amplifier to connect to my wife's Sony SCD-XB770 SACD player. As far as money is concerned I will be able to spend around 1000,- €.
I mostly listen to classical symphonies, operas, concertos for solo instrument and orchestra and music for small ensembles of string or wind instruments. Sometimes I also like to listen to Jazz and Pop.
I would be very happy, if you could tell me, which combination of headphone and amp in this price category in your opinion provides the most authentical and detailed musical experience.
I have read interesting posts about electrostatic and dynamic headphones as well as about solid state and tube amplifiers, and now I must admit, that I am a bit confused
confused.gif
about which choice would be right for my (more or less) audiophile needs.
Greetings from rainy Austria,
Martin



Another vote for the Micro Stax from Headroom.
If you go that route, make sure you get the desktop module installed.
You get the sound of their $600 amp for $300. It just doesn't have a few of the bells and whistles on it. But boy, does it sound sweet.
You might want to try it first without the micro dac, you can add that later if you would prefer.
For the type music you listed, I think the Senn 580 or 600's would fit the bill exquisitely.
The 580's are one of the best deals out there right now(about 150usd). I really can't tell the difference between them and my 600's. JMO.
With the Micro(desktop upgrade) and the 580's, that's $450usd. Another $300 if you add the Micro DAC.
In my opinion, this combo will give you great versitility in the future. If you decide to change/upgrade phones in the future, the Micro's are very flexable.
Hope this has helped.
Let us know your decision.
Jim

~
 
Apr 2, 2006 at 7:34 PM Post #14 of 15

Don Quichotte

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Mozartkugel, I guess the most balanced option for you would be the AKG K701. I've never heard it, but I know the sound of my K501 very well and if the K701 is a bassier and more refined K501, as they say, it would meet your musical preferences very well. Don't know about the amp. Another option which is fantastic for orchestral music is Stax 3030 - see my extended review here: http://www4.head-fi.org/forums/showthread.php?t=171209 . However, the 3030 is much fuzzier about upstream components than AKG (K501, and by extension I assume K701 too) and may not match well with your source.
 
Apr 2, 2006 at 7:47 PM Post #15 of 15

milkpowder

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I would recommend the HD650. Get a good aftermarket cable like Equinox or Zu to top it off. They are perfect for classical music for large ensembles. I would not recommend Grados not because of their brightness, but because of their lack of soundstage.
 

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