Headphones: can of worms time? looking at under $500

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by McGuy, Mar 19, 2017.

  1. McGuy

    McGuy Active Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Chicago
    Was looking at Grado PS or Sennheiser? I unfortunately don't have a place terribly close by to test anything, other than Best Buy, which...well, is Best Buy. System is McIntosh 2105 and C28 if that matters.
     
  2. BMWCCA

    BMWCCA Member

    Location:
    Central Virginia
    Two pair of Sennheiser 598 and spend the remaining $300 on your system somewhere else!
     
    vegafleet likes this.
  3. McGuy

    McGuy Active Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Chicago
    funny, was just looking at the 598, pretty reasonable at $150. have to see how long the cord is...
     
    vegafleet likes this.
  4. McGuy

    McGuy Active Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Chicago
    wonder if the 599 is the same as the 598 in all reality. slight cosmetic difference...
     
  5. Deuce66

    Deuce66 Forum Resident

  6. Mrtn77

    Mrtn77 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Paris, France
    I second the HD600. Though be aware they are by no means outdoors-bound.
     
    Jackstraw78 likes this.
  7. McGuy

    McGuy Active Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Chicago
    thanks!
     
  8. AKG K550 are very nice for the price. Great for a closed back option.
     
    Vaughan, gslasor and Northwind like this.
  9. mneveux

    mneveux Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Simi Valley, CA
    Sennheiser HD600, I am running them directly from my McIntosh Mac 1900 and it sounds incredible.
     
  10. McGuy

    McGuy Active Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Chicago
    You know what I'm scared of? I'm not even sure my headphone jack works! I've never used it, don't have the adapter to even try it with my Bose QCs...that would suck!
     
  11. mneveux

    mneveux Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Simi Valley, CA
    You should be able to get a 1/4" to 1/8" adapter at Radio Shack cheaply. I had a C28 at one time running into an MC250, kinda miss it now but the Mac 1900 gets the job done for me.
     
  12. Upinsmoke

    Upinsmoke Forum Resident

    Location:
    SE PA
    Depends what you want them for. Home ? Office ? Travel? I've just spent a few weeks listening to a bunch of pairs, lots of selection in that price range .
     
  13. I'm not familiar with McIntosh gear. Looks like both the 2105 amp and the C28 preamp have headphone jacks. Which headphone output would be the better headphone output to use?

    I would expect the headphone jack in the amp to be based off a resistor network running off the speaker outputs. That will have a high output impedance and would be most suitable for high impedance headphones like the Senn HD600 or HD650. The headphone jack in the C28 will be whaterver level of headphone amp McIntosh puts in their pre-amps. Some companies put good headphone amps in preamps, some put only average or only so-so headphone amps in their preamps. I don't know what McIntosh does. Typically for headphones to plug into a stereo preamp you'd want easy to drive headphones that won't stress the headphone amp because the headphone amp may not be powerful enough to drive more difficult headphones.
     
    McGuy likes this.
  14. mneveux

    mneveux Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Simi Valley, CA
    Here is a link to the C28 specs.
     
  15. timind

    timind Forum Resident

    Location:
    Brownsburg, IN USA
    You're in Chicago? Check out AXPONA at the end of April. All the headphones you could ask for in one location. See ya there:wave:
     
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  16. Northwind

    Northwind Active Member

    Location:
    Pittsburgh, PA
    I just picked up a pair last week (and am listening to them now).

    Natural, unsweetened sound... and quite comfortable fit.
     
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  17. McGuy

    McGuy Active Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Chicago
    Never heard of this but I'm thinking ... I'm in!
     
    Paul Saldana likes this.
  18. DonnyMe

    DonnyMe Forum Resident

    Location:
    NW Indiana
    If you can hold out that long check out the Ear Gear Expo at Axpona! You will never see or hear as many headphones, amps, and gear in one place at one time. AXPONA - Audio Expo North America
     
  19. I took a quick look at the manuals and specs for the 2105 and C28.

    The manual for the MC2105 states that the headphone output is designed for low impedance headphones. I'm not sure why that is. Maybe it's due to the autoformer design of the amp? I don't know. But it's likely not a good match for the Sennheiser HD600 or HD650 which are 300 ohm headphones. Best to look for low impedance headphones. The Sennheiser HD599 is 50 ohms, which may be low enough.

    The specs for the C28 look like it wouldn't have what I would consider enough power for the Sennheiser HD600 or HD650. It also looks like it would be better suited for lower impedance headphones.

    So look for lowish impedance headphones for use with your McIntosh gear. Maybe the Senn HD598 or HD599. I also like the special edition Foxtex TH-X00 headphones that are offered through Massdrop. They're 25 ohms and around $400. I like them. But they're inconvenient to buy because you have to wait for a "drop" through Massdrop, or find them for sale used. There are many other good low impedance headphones. I'd suggest going to AXPONA and listen to a bunch of headphones and find out what ones sound good to you with the types of music you like and that will pair well with your McIntosh gear.
     
    robertzombie likes this.
  20. Dr Faustus

    Dr Faustus Forum Resident

    I've got the AKG 550s at work - great, because they're close backed and don't bother my colleagues. And they do sound very good. However, at home I use the Sennheiser 650s and, soundwise, they blow the 550s out of the water for me. Everything is better - the sound is clearer, the bass stronger the clarity is great. Of course, my home system is far better than what I use at work, so I'm sure that's part of it. I've used the 550s at home as well though, and still prefer the Sennheisers by a wise margin.
     
    Northwind likes this.
  21. Still

    Still Member

    Location:
    Colorado Springs
    I have the 598c and like it more than I expected. Comfortable and closed design is helpful with reducing noise pollution for others in the same room. Comes with both 6.3 and 3.5mm cords with solid, locking attachment. Sounds very good for the price. Does break up earlier (at lower volume) than Sennheiser 650 which are fantastic, but at $135 I think they are excellent cans and would buy them again. I cannot listen at the volume leading to distortion anyway as it is quite loud and uncomfortable. I did have the 800 S for a short period of time and liked them better (of course). They are supremely comfortable and sound much better but are not >10x better than the 598s as the price would suggest. I returned them because the left channel had an intermittent hum from a slightly loose cord connection - I think the cord attachment design of the 800 S is inferior to the 598s attachment. Plus, I let my kids listen to the 598s where as I set up a defensive perimeter around the 800 S ;) which became tiresome.
     
  22. LARGERTHAN

    LARGERTHAN Member

    Location:
    Eire
    While not necessarily accurate or adherent to intended design, running HD600's or 650's off a resistor type jack is not necessarily a bad thing. I've a Yamaha AS701 with assumedly this type of headphone jack and running my 600's off of it - is to my ears, anyway - sublime! There is a perceptible slight bass boost which is not at all unwelcome for me. Admittedly, with 650's it's perhaps too much. Horses for courses I suppose. I've also a dedicated low impedance headphone amp but i'd take the Yamaha any day now.

    Super best Audio Friends has an amazing resource on the 6XX's series, and there they talk about a potential 4db bass boost from high impedance outputs. I'm not too hot on the technicalities behind all this, nor do I care too much on a personal level, but it's definitely worth a read for those interested.

    All that being said, 600's or 650's are a sure bet in your price range OP.
     
  23. McGuy

    McGuy Active Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Chicago
    Found a pair of 598s off Craigslist for $75 now. Thinking I'll give them a shot. Won't kill me if they suck.
     
    Bill likes this.
  24. Rusty Shackleford

    Rusty Shackleford Active Member

    Location:
    Rust Belt, USA
    I must confess I'm not a fan of the 598s. Too boxy sounding for my tastes.

    I'd recommend NAD HP50 for closed and HiFiMan HE400s for open.
     
    DonnyMe likes this.
  25. DonnyMe

    DonnyMe Forum Resident

    Location:
    NW Indiana
    The Best Buy in Bucktown is also a Magnolia store and they have a headphone listing station with some very good headphones to listen to. I don't know how far of a trip that would be for you, but it might be worth a listen.

    Best Buy Bucktown in Chicago, Illinois
     
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