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

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

  1. marcb

    marcb Forum Resident

    DC area
    I'm going to throw the new Monoprice M1060's Planars into this mix. $299 - and most importantly you can buy and try for 30 days. More than a few compare them quite favorably (or prefer them) to many of the phones mentioned so far in this thread.

    There were some issues with the connectors and some of the wood trim in the initial batch, but those problems have been addressed with subsequent batches.
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  2. head_unit

    head_unit Forum Resident

    Los Angeles CA USA
    Sennheiser HD850s with a Vostok headphone amp fed from a high res streamer. Probably the best sound I have ever heard, SO natural and easy.
    OTOH, if you don't want to spend $1000 just for the cans, then it is tougher.
    First of all, I'd hope your Mac has a decent headphone circuit; certainly I'm sure it's not a POS. Hey, call them up and ask! In your situation I would not spend on a headphone amp actually, I'd spend more on the headphones themselves, and find something synergistic with the Mac you already have.
    I love love love my (out of production) AKG K240DFs, but I think you should start with Sennheisers since my feeling is you are leaning that way anyway.
    Chazz likes this.
  3. Kyhl

    Kyhl formerly known

    I moved from the Grado SR225's to Sen HD600's about five years ago for similar reasons. I wanted something more even handed, less in your face. Haven't felt any desire to change since. The change was just what I was looking for, balanced sound with enough detail. I can listen to them for hours.
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  4. TimB

    TimB Tube be or not Tube be?

    Galion, Ohio USA
    Depending on your budget, maybe look for some electrostatic headphones. I have the Koss ESP-950, and they are excellent. They also have a lifetime warranty. Electrostics are noted for a fatigue free listening experience, and ultra fast response on attack, they also are very detailed. Most electrostatics have bass, just not the impact that many Planar and dynamic headphones have. I would also second the recommendation of Monoprice's M1060. Also at least read the reviews of it and it's little brother the M560's (which have caps so you can have both sealed and open headphones in one set with its removable back plates)
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  5. beercanchicken

    beercanchicken Legendary Stickman

    HiFiMan HE-400i's have also come down considerably in price, $250 last I looked on Amazon.
    Chazz likes this.
  6. White_Noise

    White_Noise Well-Known Member

    Yes, I initially bought the HE-400s for $300 a week before the 400i came down in price from $500 new to $250 new. The He400s was already considered one of the best value phones, and the 400i is slightly better. The 400s sound better initally, but the 400i quickly show much more detail and texture after burn in time. They also look a little nicer and come with nice packaging. I ended up giving the 400s to my brother and keeping the 400i after a lot of A/Bing over a monrh
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  7. Fishoutofwater

    Fishoutofwater Forum Resident

    Cant fault my Senns 650s. I can listen for hours and i got them for a good price after shopping around; love them
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  8. Boomy

    Boomy Forum Resident

    I'm not sure if anyone else here is like me, but comfort is a big deal.

    The 650's and Beyer's are so comfy..good for a big head.

    I would love to get the 800s, but it's out of my range at the moment.
    Chazz likes this.
  9. Tim Müller

    Tim Müller Forum Resident


    I have had Sennheisers for years.
    Then I needed closed headphones, and went for Beyerdynamik DT770 pro and AKG K271 MKII, and my only concern was sound isolation.
    But, I loved the sound and comfort of these headphones, so now I use them as may main headphones. The Sennheisers have been retired (and the foam rubber has desintegrated).

    The wearing comfort is a subjective thing, as well as the sound. So, you will have to try it out yourself...

    Best regards
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  10. dadbar

    dadbar Forum Resident

    Another AKG vote. I have a pair of AKG 701 and Grado SR80. My son swiped the Grados and I don't really miss them. The AKGs are very comfortable.
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  11. Tim Müller

    Tim Müller Forum Resident

    P.S.: The hinge or connection , that mounts the cans to the "outer headband" are made of thin plastic and tend to break away. You can repair it, but that's a weak point of the AKG.
    The Beyerdynamic is more robust. But, once I had to repair the cabel. It is firmly connected (soldered) to the headphone, unlike the AKG which has mini XLR jacks and plugs. So, a broken cabel can easyly be replaced.

    Best regards
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  12. Mirror Image

    Mirror Image I’m one of those weird people that like Marillion.

    I’ve owned many different kinds of headphones through the years everything from Beyerdynamic, Sennheiser, and Audio-Technica. The best pair of headphones I’ve ever bought that not only sound fantastic with a great soundstage and presence, but that are the most comfortable headphones I’ve ever owned are the Philips SHP9500S open headphones. Once you’ve burned them in, you will be thanking me repeatedly as there’s just nothing like them and the price cannot be beat.

    Amazon.com: Philips SHP9500 HiFi Precision Stereo Over-ear Headphones (Black): Electronics
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  13. kdejonge

    kdejonge Well-Known Member

    the netherlands
    love my he-400i!
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  14. Splungeworthy

    Splungeworthy Forum Rezidentura

    Jersey Shore
    Best Buy currently (as of Aug 10, 2017) has a very good deal right now for the apparently discontinued Sennheiser HD558. These are extremely comfortable headphones with a fairly balanced tone, that, with a little modding, can be converted into the highly coveted HD598.
    Chazz likes this.
  15. Standingstones

    Standingstones Forum Resident

    South Central PA
    The best sounding headphones aren't worth a damn unless they are comfortable on your head. There are many great headphones. Just find your price range and something you can tolerate wearing for a period of time.
  16. Solitaire1

    Solitaire1 Carpenters Fan

    I strongly agree with this. One of the things that has caused me to hesitate purchasing expensive headphones is the comfort factor. I don't care how good the headphones are supposed to be if I can't wear them for a long period of time.

    That's one of the reasons I only consider lower-cost headphones (less than $100) if I can't try them on first. I'm willing to give a set of headphones a try if they cost only $20 or $30 since I'm willing to take the loss if they are not comfortable, but not with set of headphones that cost $150.

    That is one of the reasons I use a set of Koss Portapros. They cost about $50 and I can wear them for hours without them becoming uncomfortable, and they sound fairly good (while they are a bit bassy, it is easily compensated via an equalizer adjustment). Likewise, the JVC HA-140 headphones sound pretty good for a <$20 set of headphones which are very comfortable (they are also sound fairly flat so no equalizer adjustment is needed).
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  17. Chazz

    Chazz Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Columbia, SC
    I ordered the Hifiman HE400i's from Amazon Prime and received them yesterday. I listened to them a little last night and was impressed even with no burn in time. Bass response is very adequate and the high's sound much smoother than my Grado's. I am letting them burn in through the weekend to see if they change at all. I don't listen through headphones that much (90% to 10% compared to speakers) so I didn't want to spend too much. I still may get a pr of Senn's HD650's down the road for the heck of it.
    White_Noise likes this.
  18. J. R.

    J. R. Forum Resident

    Kansas City, MO
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  19. Tim Müller

    Tim Müller Forum Resident

    You are absolutely right!
    Even the best sound reproduction does not make fun, if the headphones become uncomfortable after only halve an album's listening time...
    Headphones are no fun if it's a pain on the ears or head.

    Most headphones are adjustable vertically (move the cans up or down along your head, along the headband), but are not adjustable laterally.
    That is, if you have a wide head, a wide distance between your ears, the headphone may apply more pressure onto your ears or head, than onto ears or heads of people with as smaller head, less distance between the ears.
    More pressure may feel good for some people (cans sit safely and don't slip), but for others it may just be too much force and pressure to feel comfortable.

    And, similary, like some people like ear cushions that surround the ear and sit on the temples and back of the head right behind the ears, other people develop uncomfortable sweat under such wearing conditions. And, consequently, prefer ear cushions that sit on the ears and allow for some air flow to temples and back of the head and ear cups.

    Therefore, the only way is to try the headphones by yourself.
  20. Spsesq

    Spsesq Forum Resident

    New Jersey
    I upgraded my Beyerdynamics Custom studios for the Grado RS1e. This was the best move I made headphone wise. The buyers were too clinical, the grades warm and comfortable.

    I can and have listened with the Grado for hours with no ear or listening fatigue...whatever your decision...Audition headphones first!
  21. Ivand

    Ivand Forum Resident

    Houston, TX
    Not to derail the thread but for the HiFiMan 400i owners on this thread, what headphone amp are you using or recommend to aim for?

  22. White_Noise

    White_Noise Well-Known Member

    I tend to be on the skeptical side of the concept of "burn in" time especially on things like solid state amps, but I can confirm that these continue to sound better and better for the first 300 hours of listening. Like some dynamic woofers, maybe the planar magnetic drivers need to loosen up a bit. But yeah, if you like them now, you'll really love them in two weeks.

    I find that they pair better with warmer amps. I usually have them run through either my Marantz 2230, my Asus Essence STX soundcard with EQ off, and although I don't use it often these days it does sound very good with my BeyerDynamic A20 amp. If you need a more compact headphone amp you might want to look at that one.
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  23. Ephi82

    Ephi82 Still have two ears working

    S FL
    You can spend a lot of money on phones, but after doing some research, I purchased AUdio Technica ATH M50x. I believe they cost $170.

    They are very balanced and have a strong but accurate low end. They are also very comfortable to wear and are well built. They have three detachable cables, one pretty short for use with something like an IPod or Pono, one a bit longer for plugging into a computer on a table, and a pretty longer one with a coiled cable for plugging into the audio system across the room. Great value and nice touches.

    I will comment on using a computer to drive any headphones. Most computer headphone outs do not have very good amps and quality headphones will not reach their potential when used this way. I do have quite a bit of digital music on my laptop, but I have my server push the files to my audio system and plug the phones into my Onkyo. There is a substantial improvement over using the headphones with my Dell laptop.
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  24. Chazz

    Chazz Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Columbia, SC
    The only negative, so far, with the HE400i's is the short cable. I am going to look into getting a longer cable so I can relax in my listening chair.
  25. White_Noise

    White_Noise Well-Known Member

    That is true; it's important to at least use a decent external DAC if you must listen from someone else's computer. If you are really into audio, you should probably at least use a Dragonfly USB DAC if not install a better one like the $300 Asus Xonar Essence STX II. I build my own computers and have used the Essence ST and the STX II in my builds, as I think they are by far the best soundcard DAC/amp solution available and sounds much better than any $300 amplifier. They are powerful enough to drive my Beyer DT990 600 ohm headphones past deafening volume. The software is poor but you can use the much better 3rd party drivers.

    The Dragonfly Red USB DAC is very good for its cost but most high end headphones may require another amplifier in the chain. The ST and STX use a good Burr-Brown DAC and the STXII comes with several alternative DACs to install in the headphone circuit although I haven't tested them yet.

    The Grado cable extension is really good quality and gives you 10 or 20 feet I think. I believe you can still buy them on Amazon. They are not coiled, end in and accept a 1/4" plug.
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