Best headphones for listening to classic rock on vinyl?

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by mercuryvenus, Sep 12, 2019.

  1. mercuryvenus

    mercuryvenus Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Maryland, USA
    Talk to me about headphones for listening to classic rock (Beatles, Dylan, The Who, etc.) on vinyl.

    Equipment I'm working with:

    Technics SL-1200 mk2 turntable
    Crappy turntable amp that I'm willing to update
    I'll be plugging the headphones into a Sony receiver (don't know the model off-hand)

    My budget is less than $1,000 for the headphones and an amp. More than willing to go to the used market.

    Thanks in advance!
  2. The Sennheiser HD650 or Massdrop edition HD6xx headphones will certainly get some recommendations. The Massdrop HD6xx is around $220ish in current drops. Very good headphones and you can pair them with either solid state or tube or hybrid headphone amps. The different headphone amps will give the Senns a different presentation.

    But the Senns are also a more laid-back style of sound. Going for smooth rather than aggressive. Some people will want a somewhat more aggressive sound than the Senns do for classic rock. So I would suggest doing an audition of the Senns at a hi-fi dealer to find out if you like their presentation and if they will have the energy you may want for classic rock. Be sure to try them with good headphone amplification. Poor quality amplification will make them sound boring. Good amplification livens them up quite nicely. And if you can, also try them with both solid state and tube amplification.

    One thing to be careful of when doing a headphone system for vinyl listening is that you may not want a headphone that goes all the way down to 20 Hz. Headphones (like the Audeze planars) that are flat down to below 20 Hz tend to emphasize the rumble and noise present in vinyl playback. While headphones that roll off the low bass (like the Senn HD650) do a better job of hiding the rumble and noise.
    SonicZone, SirMarc and Mbe like this.
  3. Henry Love

    Henry Love Forum Resident

  4. hagtech

    hagtech Forum Resident

    I prefer Grado cans for rock! My Tuba amp drives them easily and they have a solid bottom end. Moreso than HD600. I'm pretty happy with Sundara too, as they seem to do everything well, especially ambiance.
    rodentdog and cjc like this.
  5. SpeedMorris

    SpeedMorris Forum Resident

    Grado SR225e ($200)
    Nice $200-300 phono stage from Musical Fidelity, MoFi, Parasound, Lounge, etc.
    Cambridge Audio AXA35 integrated amp for a (probably) decent phono stage and headphone sound likely better than the Sony's (which moves to backup duty),

    Better cartridge if needed/desired. Grado or Nagaoka carts are good matches with Grado cans, I'd think.

    The 225s are often mentioned as a great rock headphone.
    rodentdog likes this.
  6. A good headphone or speaker is good for all genres of music. A headphone that gets typecast as being good for only certain music is not a good headphone. By that measure the Grados are not a good headphone. Grados are an interesting headphone. A headphone to play with if you already have several headphones that can play every type and style of music and know that with the Grado you'll only want to use it for certain recordings. I would never recommend a Grado as a primary headphone. Because there is too much music and too many recordings that the Grados won't agree with.
  7. GaryR

    GaryR Well-Known Member

    Central Maine
    Far from the best, but if you want classic phones to go with a vintage system, Koss still makes the Pro4AA (since 1970) for $100. And closed back so you won't disturb your neighbors. The only phones I regularly use are my electrostatic Stax which I use mostly for jazz ballads, female vocals, etc. Not the best for rock, I would guess.
  8. Reggie Sears

    Reggie Sears Int’l Recording Artist, Mix Engineer and Producer

    The only headphones I’ll ever use are- Fostex TR50RP’s
  9. ti-triodes

    ti-triodes Forum Resident

    You want to rock out with bass, look at Denon/Fostex or Massdrop TH-X00.
    You want to smooth out, Sennheiser.
    Ham Sandwich likes this.
  10. The Neumann NDH20. Closed, great sounding, no sign at all of excess brightness, deep and well controlled bottom end. US$499
  11. tikibar

    tikibar Member

    I listen mostly to classic rock and have the Grado Reference Series RS2e. They are smooth and warm and I'm happy with them. Felt it was the sweet spot between the introductory level cans and the crazy money high end with diminishing returns. There are a lot of aftermarket parts and homegrown mods available to tweak the sound to suite personal preference.

    Grado can be an acquired taste, so whatever cans you're interested in, find a local shop where you can have a listen to different brands and types.
  12. rodentdog

    rodentdog Forum Resident

    If you can swing it, try Grado PS-500.

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