Grado SR225i or Sennheiser HD598 Headphones-help me decide

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by johnny q, Mar 14, 2013.

  1. johnny q

    johnny q Forum Resident

    Location:
    Bergen County, NJ
    Hi Everyone:

    I did a forum search and I managed to find a few threads that referenced these two sets of headphones but nothing that compares them directly.

    My trusty AKG K240 Studio cans died over the weekend so I am in need of a new set. In my price range I have narrowed it down to these two models and would love to hear some comentary from people that have owned either or preferably both so a comparison can be made.

    Some info I gathered from the web, mainly chatter from other forums or reviews:

    Grado - Great sound but uncomfortable. Short cable and an adapter for Ipods etc not included. Sound can be heard by people around you. 50 bucks cheaper than the Senn's. Grado customer service almost universally praised. Easy to drive.

    Senn's: Many people described the sound as "boring" while others raved. Seems less people complain about comfort with this model. Longer cable and adapter to connect to Ipod's etc included. 50 bucks more that the Grado's

    I will be driving these with my trusty Old School Denon Receiver 50 WPC. I will also plug these into my Nuforce DAC. Style of music is almost 100% Classic Rock and Metal. Vinyl and CD's in that order.

    Would appreciate your help in making a decision, I would like to place an order this weekend.

    JQ
     
  2. Linto

    Linto Forum Resident

    Location:
    Kent, England
    save a bit more, or get used, HD600 - its still up there with the best, and loves Rock

    I don't find the Grado uncomfortable.

    Or look at the HifiMan range
     
  3. jim tavegia

    jim tavegia Forum Resident

    Location:
    Atlanta, GA
    I am older and I would go with the Grados due to my hearing loss. The Grado's are crystal clear, but you will need the large ear cushions for comfort. If you wear glasses then the Grados might be more uncomfortable. I would find a way to hear and try both.

    I happen to find the AKG 701s for $219 and they are super comfortable, but I would not trade my Grados. My son has the 60s, but he can't have my 80's. I will buy a pair of 225's some time this year, or smeone in my family could drop a pair on me at Christmas time.
     
  4. rodentdog

    rodentdog Well-Known Member

    Go with the Grado's. I used Senn HD580 for years, switched to Grado's and never looked back (HF-2 are my favs). I do have a good amp, buy they'll sound great out of the receiver. If the bowl pads are not comfy, wash in warm water and d/w detergent, squeeze gently and air dry. I have a big head and wear glasses, no prob.
     
  5. johnny q

    johnny q Forum Resident

    Location:
    Bergen County, NJ
    Thanks Buddy...this is the way I am leaning....:righton:
     
  6. Grados are fun headphones for classic rock and other music genres. But they are colored and do hype some things in the midrange and upper midrange and that can sometimes come around to bite you. For example, some of the vocals in Creedence Clearwater Revival can hit the part of the midrange that the Grados hype and ZOW! nail you right in the ear. There will be some songs that don't work well with the Grados because of that. The Grados also aren't the best choice for really dense music like shoegaze cause they tend to sound congested in the midrange with music like that. But for music that works well with the Grados the listening experience can be magical. I don't consider the Grados to be an "all rounder" headphone suitable to be your only headphone. The SR225i is a good choice if you are going to go the Grado route. The lower model Grados are also very good if you are looking to save a little money. Nothing wrong with getting the SR60i or SR80i instead.

    Because the Grados will sometimes bite you in the ear with some music the usual suggestion is to eventually plan on complementing them with another headphone that is more relaxed, like the Senns, but there are other headphones that will fit that complementary role as well. Use and appreciate the Grados for what they're good at. Use and enjoy the other headphones for what they are good at.

    I haven't heard the HD598 or HD558 so can't really comment about their sound.
     
    johnnypaddock likes this.
  7. peteham

    peteham Forum Resident

    Location:
    Simcoe County
    I have both, and for me, it's no contest - the HD 598 are a far more balanced, versatile, but still exciting and not too mention, comfortable headphone.
     
  8. HiFiGuy528

    HiFiGuy528 Formerly Dj_AmTraX

    Location:
    Bay Area
    I found the midrange on the HD598 to be too lush for my taste. HD600 or HD650 is a much more refined headphone.
     
  9. chadbang

    chadbang Forum Resident

    Location:
    Beryllium
    They say the 580 and 600s share the same drivers (or used to) but there's more going in than that. I had the 580s, and even with the hd600 grills and cable... They don't sound like the same phone. Free 580 has a slightly metallic treble, a course ness I couldn't get rid off. The 600 and even more so, the 650 is a classy smooth presentation, but filled with detail. Grado are fun to listen to for about 15 minutes, the I burn out on the brightness. Senns are an all day affair.
     
  10. My HD580 and HD600 sound the same to me. I bought both of them new before 2000 and within a few years of each other. So they're of generally the same vintage.

    The tricky part in comparing the HD580 to the HD600 is that the condition of the ear pads affects the sound. So the only way to conduct a meaningful comparison is to have new ear pads on both, or be very careful that the ear pads on both are in very similar condition and wear. Worn pads will put the drivers closer to the ears which affects the sound.
     
  11. Philimon

    Philimon Member

    Location:
    Reno
    598, okay all rounder, but you'll never keep it once you upgrade to something else. 225i, at least it can be fun, and can serve as a complimentary piece in the future unless you get something great.
     
  12. johnny q

    johnny q Forum Resident

    Location:
    Bergen County, NJ
    Well.....I went with the Grado's. First thing I noticed was that unlike most internet posters, I personally find them very comfortable. That's the good news.

    When I first heard them, I was in love. BUT.....I soon learned that the sensation was no different then putting a super sugary sweet candy in your mouth that instantly assaults your taste buds with euphoria, only to make you sick a few minutes later! The sound is WAY too colored and bright...it's unbearable. In some instances when listening to albums I am intimately familar with, I almost feel like like it's a totally different recording (e.g. MFSL Silk Degrees should not hurt my ears.)

    So luckily Crutchfield has a 60 day satisfaction guaranteed policy - I am going to take advantage of that and get the Senn's.

    JQ
     
  13. laughalot

    laughalot Forum Resident

    I know thet are more expensive but if you could stretch to the 600's or 650's you would not be dissapointed.
     
  14. johnny q

    johnny q Forum Resident

    Location:
    Bergen County, NJ
    Another question for ya'all:

    All I really want is my AKG K240 Studio's back! Does anyone know if the build and most importantly, the sound quality is the same as they were back in the day? My AKG K240's were purchased in 1987 and served me well until a few weeks ago and I had no complaints in regards to the sound quality.

    I have been playing lots of music through the Grado's hoping the burn in will calm them down but it's pretty apparent this is simply the way they sound. I played the Led Zeppelin Celebration Day Vinyl through them the other day - this is a bass heavy recording and you would not know that via the Grado's - sounded like there was an EQ somewhere in the chain sucking the bass out.

    JQ
     
  15. jim tavegia

    jim tavegia Forum Resident

    Location:
    Atlanta, GA
    You need either go listen of find an on-line source where they have liberal return policy. Don't make a personal mistake on a set of cans. Try and find a Grado dealer.
     
  16. johnny q

    johnny q Forum Resident

    Location:
    Bergen County, NJ
    I already bought the Grado's and hate them...Crutchfield has a return policy that I plan to utilize. I was asking in my post this morning if anyone knew if the current AKG K240 Studio's are the same as what I purchased in 1987 or if current production models have changed i.e. don't sound the same, have a lesser build quality. I might as well just pick up a set of those because that's what I had for 25 years and I liked them.
     
  17. razerx

    razerx Well-Known Member

    Location:
    The East
    I will add to the HD600 or HD650 recommendation. I like Grados too but it can get a bit bright.
     
  18. johnny q

    johnny q Forum Resident

    Location:
    Bergen County, NJ
    Was just looking at the spec sheet - Impedence 300 ohms? Can these be driven easily with say .........a 50 wpc receiver? That's one thing I like about the Grado's, at 32 ohms they are super easy to drive.

    JQ
     
  19. razerx

    razerx Well-Known Member

    Location:
    The East
    That's right. The HD600 and HD650 need to be driven by headphone amps. The FILO amps are good and cheap.
     
  20. LeeS

    LeeS Tubes Rule

    Location:
    Atlanta
    The Grados are no more "colored" than Sennheisers. The lower priced Grados have a mild midrange emphasis and the lower priced Senns have a slight midrange suckout. I hate for anything to be missing so I don't like the Senns myself.

    Fortunately as you move up the line on both headphones, the midrange issues go away on both.
     
  21. The impedance of a headphone isn't necessarily an indication of efficiency. A high impedance headphone can be efficient enough to be run from an iPod. The HD600 is reasonably efficient. I can plug it in my iPod Classic and it will play with plenty of volume. In that sense it isn't "hard" to drive.

    What is "hard" for the amp is being able to get the sound of the HD600 to be dynamic and open. In that sense you need more amp for them. But even an efficient low impedance headphone will sound less dynamic than they should and less open than they should when driven by the iPod Classic. So...

    What is your 50 wpc receiver? Some receivers drive the headphone jack by a resistor network off the power amp. That will give the HD600 plenty of power. And if it's a good sounding 50 wpc amp it should make the HD600 sound pretty good as well.
     
  22. The Graso SR series does have an upper mid and treble emphasis that does color the sound and can make them sound bright. I consider that a coloration. The amount and effect of coloration does depend on the amp used. Perhaps the amp that the OP is using is unfavorable. Or perhaps the OP wouldn't like the Grados no matter what amp was used. With some setups the Grados can be quite bright. I cringe if I listen to a Grado straight from my iPod Classic (way too bright). I smile if I get to use the HeadRoom AirHead amp and iPod with them. I smile even more if I get to use my Lyr amp.
     
  23. johnny q

    johnny q Forum Resident

    Location:
    Bergen County, NJ
    Old School Denon DRA 425R....decent sounding 2 channel 50 watter.
     
  24. Henry Love

    Henry Love Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Chicagoland
    I run the 600's with an Audioquest Dragonfly and they sound fine.Also the 600 and 650 is a headphone you won't need to upgrade later on.
     
  25. Do you have any specs for the headphone section of that amp? Something that would give the power and the impedance of the headphone jack. Or a service manual or schematic?

    I did a quick google search and din't find a service manual or any info on the specs of the headphone section.

    If the headphone jack is connected to the power amp with a resistor network then some high impedance headphones like the Senn HD600 could be an option. If the headphone jack is just connected to some little op-amp then the HD600 wouldn't be a good idea (and that could also explain why you found the Grados to sound so weak in the bass).
     

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