Looking at new headphones, need some help......

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by Chazz, Aug 6, 2017.

  1. Chazz

    Chazz Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Columbia, SC
    Let me start by saying, yes, I searched the forum prior to posting my questions. I currently have two sets of headphones, a pr of Grado SR325's and a pr of Grado RS-1's. Lately both Grado's have been fatiguing if I listen to them for more than 30 minutes or so. I know they both have a forward sounding presentation so I thought maybe another brand would suit me better. I have narrowed my search down to either the Sennheiser HD650's or AKG K712's. There are no dealers near me to audition either, so I have read tons of reviews to get a better idea of the differences between the two. My real concern is that I will be driving these with the headphone jack on my McIntosh MAC6700. Will the Mac drive the Sennheiser's to their potential or do I need a dedicated headphone amp for them? The AKG's will be easier to drive but I really think the Senn's are the cans that will give me the sound I am looking for. I have tried to find the spec's on the headphone output of my MAC but haven't found anything.
    I listen to a variety of music including classic rock, progressive rock, jazz, acoustic, blues and some classical. So I really want a well rounded set of cans. Most of my listening is on vinyl or cd's ripped to my computer and hi-rez downloads fed to the MAC through Audirvana via usb.
    I just missed the drop on Massdrop for the Sennheiser HD6xx's but they have a drop for the AKG's as we speak and the price is great, although the Massdrop AKG is based on the K702's.
    Any help is greatly appreciated!

    Thanks,
    Chazz
     
  2. Davey

    Davey very clever with maracas

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  3. mneveux

    mneveux Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Simi Valley, CA
    I run HD600's out of the headphone jack of my McIntosh 1900 and it sounds phenomenal. I did try a Schiit Vali 2 headphone amp at one point and it did not sound anywhere close to the sound of the Mac headphone jack.
     
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  4. BD2665

    BD2665 Active Member

    Location:
    Milwaukee
    Ok I'll be the first to deviate from your question a bit by adding one other HP to check out a used pair of Audioqust Nighthawks. You mention the Grado's being fatiguing and the NH's are some of the least fatiguing and very engaging phones out there and very good all arounder. I did invest in the Massdrop 6XX but I don't get them for a while and can offer no comp. Good luck with your decision.
     
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  5. k4rstar

    k4rstar Member

    Location:
    Canada
    The Senns are much better headphones than the AKGs in all areas except for perhaps bass extension, and there the AKG wins marginally. I haven't looked at your receiver but its likely the headphone output is just a standard opamp stage. I would recommend a dedicated headphone amp. Look at the Schiit Valhalla 2, Vali 2, Asgard 2. 15-day return period on any of them.
     
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  6. rodentdog

    rodentdog Well-Known Member

    I am on Team Grado. I have HF-2 (among others). The "un grado like Grado". I'd look at the PS-500. Senn's are boring (to me anyway).
     
  7. You will get a HUGE amount of tech info regarding headphones here. Once you have two or three you are considering I strongly suggest you try them on your head.
    Some of these excellent headphones are not very comfortable after 30 minutes or more.
     
  8. timind

    timind Forum Resident

    Location:
    Brownsburg, IN USA
    Headphones are such a personal thing IMO, much more so than any other audio device. Along with quality sound, they gotta be comfortable for the user. What's comfortable for me may not work for you.

    Now that I got that out. I used the Senn HD650s for two years and was very satisfied. They were comfortable and NEVER fatiguing. I thought I'd live with them for a long time until a friend loaned me his Beyerdynamic T1s he was selling. My goodness, I was amazed at how much I was missing in my favorite music. It took a few days for this to get to the point I said, I surrender, too fatiguing.

    This showed me though, there was probably something I might prefer to the Senns, and a search began. After a couple trials, I found what I was looking for in the Beyerdynamic DT990 Premium (250 ohm). I compared the DT990s with the HD 650s for an evening, and then listened solely to the Beyers for a week before going back to the Senns. For me, the DT-990s won in every respect.

    If someone tells me the DT99os have a tipped up treble, I will ask if they listened to the Premium or the Pro version? I found a good deal on the Pro version and thought I'd get a spare. Wow, talk about shrill; the difference is night and glaring day.

    One more thing, if your interested in HifiMan headphones, there are some screamin deals on the HE400i and the HE560: Full-Size Over Ear Headphones: Best and High End Planar Magnetic Headphones for Audiophiles at HIFIMAN| Head-Direct

    Good luck with your search.
     
  9. ls35a

    ls35a Forum Resident

    Location:
    Eagle, Idaho
    I've owned a lot of headphones. Right now I have HD800S's.

    I recently bought a pair of HD700's on a whim (they were $495 on Amazon). They are SO COMFORTABLE!!! Yes, my 800S's have more depth and dynamic range but I just love listening to my 700's.

    If I didn't have anything I'd buy a pair of 700's and be done with it.
     
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  10. You need a pair of headphones that neither sound nor feel as if you're having headphones on. Everybody's ears and head are different, so what might feel and sound good to me may not feel or sound good to you. Just try on several different pairs of headphones at a store that sells them (that is, if they actually allow people to try on various different pairs via kiosks), and then just see which one of the bunch neither sounds nor feels as if you're wearing headphones. Hope that helped! :)
     
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2017
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  11. Another vote for the Beyerdynamic T1 v2 - comfortable and great sound with a Phonitor especially. Less of a treble peak that the T1.
     
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  12. Jack Flannery

    Jack Flannery Forum Resident

    Location:
    Houston, TX
    I had a pair of Massdrop Fostex phones. Sold them and wish I didn't. They have a colored but very fun sound. Had a pair of HD600's which I didn't care for. They didn't fit my head at all. One thing about Grado's is they are not for high volume listening. They get a shouty sound.
     
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  13. ZenMango

    ZenMango Active Member

    Location:
    South Florida
    They're both excellent and will sound very good out of the headphone jack....I mean, an iphone can drive them! However they will sound better with a dedicated amp, but that can come later. Don't get into analysis by paralysis. Forgot to mention I own both of these phones.
     
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2017
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  14. gryphongryph

    gryphongryph Member

    Location:
    Faroe Islands
    I have own for many years AKGs 701 and love them to bits, very comfortably for a hole evening ( for me )
    The only thing I would improve on is the bass, it is there, but a bit more powerful would be nice.
     
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  15. Opeth

    Opeth Forum Resident

    Location:
    NH
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  16. Doug Walton

    Doug Walton Member

    Location:
    Michigan
    Give a few hours to some critical listening with the Shure SRH1840. Or just jump to a set of Senn 800S and be done.
     
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  17. Chazz

    Chazz Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Columbia, SC
    Thanks for all the replies. The sale on the Hifiman HE400i's is tempting but I know nothing about them really. I'm looking for a warmer sound with good, not over powering, bass extension. I might just start ordering different cans on Amazon Prime to compare, I can always return for free the one's I don't like. Where to start...........
     
  18. mneveux

    mneveux Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Simi Valley, CA
    The HE400i's are also $249 on Amazon currently and are well worth trying out.
     
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  19. timind

    timind Forum Resident

    Location:
    Brownsburg, IN USA
    This is where the "personal" comes in. I tried the HE400i and found them very uncomfortable. Sound was good but made my head hurt.
    Same with the HE560. Beautiful in every way except for comfort. That's where the Beyerdynamics excel; after a few minutes I can't feel them on my head at all, they seem to float on my head. If you try a pair, avoid the "Pro" versions as they're made to clamp harder.
     
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  20. Pancat

    Pancat Forum Resident

    Location:
    England
    The 400i is a very good headphone. It has a very balanced sound and is very comfortable. I got a new pair for £215 and couldn't be more pleased.
     
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  21. Jack Flannery

    Jack Flannery Forum Resident

    Location:
    Houston, TX
    Comfort is probably the most important thing. Heat is another. If phones make your head hurt, it doesn't matter what they sound like.
     
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  22. White_Noise

    White_Noise Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Tucson
    My top 3 within your price range would be
    HE-400i/HE560
    Grado RS1
    BeyerDynamic DT990 600 ohm

    The RS1 and the HE-560 are the most expensive and cost around the same if I recall correctly. I have a 400i but may end up selling it for the slightly better all around 560. The RS1 is better for rock and has great string detail. Not quite as detailed with electric guitar as the Grado-325 but far better balanced and less fatiguing. Both have tight accurate bass but not heavy on it at all. The Grado RS1 looks a little nicer and probably better built, but the 560 is much more comfortable. Both are music oriented and not great for movies in my opinion.

    The Beyer DT990 is great for home theater and gaming and music. It's the cheapest headphone. It's also much more comfortable than the RS1 but also not quite as nice looking. Out of all three it has the best low end and the best soundstage, but is also the most colored and less detailed. I use mine for home theater while I use my 400i (or sometimes Grado 325) for vinyl. Get the 600ohm model over the lower resistance 990s as the bass is noticeably more accurate less sloppy.
     
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  23. HiFi Guy

    HiFi Guy Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Orlando, FL
    Probably out of budget, but I love my B&W P7 cans. Non fatiguing and extremely comfortable.
     
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  24. beercanchicken

    beercanchicken Active Member

    Location:
    Chicago
    I wasn't that impressed with HD650s and feel they're somewhat overrated; the midbass gives them a muddy sound or why people call them "veiled". But that warm, mid-bass sound is pleasing to many...But if you're interested in details, I think HD600s are closer to K712s; and both are better "well rounded" headphones. Another open headphone I was extremely impressed with (and currently own).... Beyerdynamic DT880 250ohm, for the $$ ($140 new on eBay) I'd take them over any of the above mentioned. They also share a sound style similar to HD600 and K712s.....'nuetral', emphasis on details and punchy bass. People will say they have pircing highs but I havent found that to be the case at all.
    Also: I had more trouble powering the HD650s than any of the others; I'm sure the Mac will power them and IMO, they need serious power.

    *The best way is to try out as many as possible.
     
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  25. moomaloo

    moomaloo Forum Resident

    B&W P7's are great. They are built like a dream, can be driven well by anything and sound superb.

    I also have Senn 650s, AKG K701s and some closed over-ear AKGs which I can't remember the model number of. - All of them are great...
     
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