Headphones search: Grado RS2e vs Shure SRH1840 vs AKG K712 PRO vs +1

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by RockAddict, Jun 30, 2020.

  1. RockAddict

    RockAddict Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    UK
    Another headphone thread...:) Having looked around the forums for threads about the headphones listed below, I couldn't see a natural fit to bump an existing topic, hence the new thread.

    The following are on the radar with approximate current prices (Jun 2020):

    - Grado RS2E [GBP £415.00 +]
    - Shure SRH1840 [GBP £380.00 +]
    - AKG K712 PRO [GBP £215.00 +]
    - Beyerdynamic Amiron Home [GBP £480.00 +]

    The Coronavirus pandemic means store demos are not an option.

    Current main headphones: Grado SR80e which I broadly like (took months of break-in and a change to "doughnut" earpads) but want something with a little more overall depth and bottom end - but not bass head territory.

    The majority of listening is via a NAD C 658 pre-amp which should be able to handle all of the above headphone sets without any need to consider a dedicated headphone amp. Musically, the majority of listening is to classic/prog rock, pop-rock and an occasional sprinkling of other music ranging from heavy rock to classical (including female vocal). For me, "bright" or "shouty" presentation is not welcome but neither is "muddy", "wallowy", "veiled" or overly "dark" presentation. Wider soundstages are preferred to narrow. In terms of speakers, the house sound of "Q Acoustics" is preferred when compared to, say, "Monitor Audio".

    The SH forums have several posters who have heard of many sets of headphones and if they feel able to offer some insight and observations based on listening experiences with any of the above, especially comparative, it would be appreciated. For the avoidance of doubt, I'm much more interested in how they sound rather than lab tests and graphs. If the graphs indicate the audio produced by the phones is supposedly hideous but unexpectedly sounds gorgeous in the real world, it's the latter that matters to me.

    I ruled out several sets for a whole host of reasons (experience, sensible reviews etc) including but not limited to Sennheiser HD 600 Avantgarde (2019 model); HD 650; Audioquest Nighthawk Carbons; Nightowls; HifiMan Sundara; Grado SR-325e; RS1e; PS500e; Beyerdynamic (most); AKG (most). Some of the reasons for exclusion include sound signature(s), availability, build quality, ease of getting replacement parts such as cables or earpads.

    Based on the research so far, the RS2es and SRH1840s are looking the more likely of the four sets listed because reviews indicate the Amiron Homes have a (comparatively) narrow soundstage and the K712 PROs user reviews all too often refer to issues with build quality and a related lack of support from AKG. If build quality issues have been resolved with the AKGs, they would be incredibly good value at the time of posting. I'm not fazed by the prospect of trying different earpads or replacement cables (where the model allows).

    Amongst many thoughts, I did wonder if anyone knows how the audio compares between the Grado RS2es and the SR-225es .

    Many thanks for reading, irrespective of whether you're able to help.
     
  2. juice

    juice Forum Resident

    Location:
    United States
    Unfortunately I can't really contribute, but a timely post as I've been wondering about an upgrade from my SR-225e to the RS2e myself.
     
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  3. ssmith3046

    ssmith3046 Forum Resident

    I tried several models of Grado headphones and never got comfortable with them. The Grado GH1 and RS1e. I even tried the larger G cushions. I really wanted to like them but they just didn't work for me. I had a pair of AKG-701's and then a pair of AKG-Q701's. Very comfortable but I really didn't care for sound. I tried them with several different headphone amps. The next pair I bought were the Sennheiser HD650's and I love those. Probably be the last pair of headphones I'll ever by and if something happens to this pair I'd buy another set. I wish you were able to audition the HD650's before you rule them out. Good luck with your search.
     
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  4. RockAddict

    RockAddict Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    UK
    If it helps, the HD 650s were considered and initially included on a shortlist (with the HD 600s (2019)) but time and again I found user reviews indicating they were veiled, didn't have much in the way of bottom end and didn't present rock music particularly well. I've seen several views indicating that the "veil" and relative lack of bottom end are, more often than not, likely to be attributable to the amp not having enough "oomph". If it had just been one or two reviews, fair enough - all the sets I mentioned have at least a handful of dissenting observations. On the other hand, I still have an open mind so feel free to try and persuade me...:)

    Just to flesh out something I'd noted with the K712 PROs, several reviews indicated there was a treble spike BUT, upon closer reading, this seems to go back 4yrs or more with more recent reviews suggesting the K712 PROs now for sale are an updated version without the same issue. Can anyone shed any light on that?
     
  5. ssmith3046

    ssmith3046 Forum Resident

    I've heard the same thing about HD650's and I have no idea what they're talking about. To my ears that description fits the AKG701 and Q701 headphones I owned. Oh well, one man's meat is another man's poison. Good luck with your search!
     
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2020
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  6. punkmusick

    punkmusick Formerly 4011021

    Location:
    Brazil
    I also love my HD650 but it definitely demands good amplification.
     
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  7. Valkenburg

    Valkenburg Forum Resident

    Location:
    Hawaii
    If your budget can stretch to US$999, I would highly recommend the Grado GS1000e. it uses the "bagel pads" and moving the drivers further away from the ear really does add to the perceived spaciousness of sound (my other current Grado is the GH-3 which uses the "S" pads). Mids are clean, detailed and open; not too forward as was my old SR-125i. Highs are smoothly integrated into the midrange and the quality of the bass is fast, taut and controlled. If do you get the RS-2e, try experimenting with different pads. It's an inexpensive way to tweak the sound of the 'phones. I'm going to order a set of the "doughnuts" to experiment with my GH-3.
     
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  8. Stereosound

    Stereosound Forum Resident

    Location:
    USA
    The Shure SRH1540 is worth comparing with the Shure SRH1840 both are decent choices however I liked the 1540 a little better though I can’t remember why. They did sound a little different than each other if I remember correctly. The only Grado I liked at the time was the GS 1000(whatever the original model that had the silver earcups and not the wooden ones which I also tried and didn’t like) all the other Grado’s I tried I found to be completely overrated. All Grado’s were uncomfortable and terrible fitting due to those lousy ear pads. Grado 1000 is a fun musical sounding headphone I liked listening to the radio with but not a true sound when listening to digital sources in my opinion. Overall I still liked them better than some other headphones but definitely not as good as some others. It does depend on the sound you prefer however so they are worth an audition. The AKG 701 was rather comfortable and I liked how it automatically adjusted to my head but the sound wasn’t the best compared to a lot of other headphones of various prices most more expensive but not all at the time. Can’t describe the sound they gave well though just something missing frequency wise and something metallic sounding added to it. I did hear odder sounding headphones at the time but they however gave a different presentation of the sound overall of most of the other headphones I tried at the time than the AKG’s did to the rest. sSo it’s not that the AKG’s were terrible just a little lacking in my opinion. The AKG 712 pro look familiar but can’t remember if I tried them or if was other AKG models that looked like them at the time. Those were ill fitting and because of that gave a bad sound. However I found they had potential if I pressed and held on the earcups to keep them closer to my ears they sounded much better. But doing so anytime I wanted to listen to headphones i was not going to do that!
     
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2020
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  9. TimM

    TimM Senior Member

    Location:
    Dayton Ohio
    I am one who thinks the HD650's are incredibly veiled. Maybe my most disappointing audio investment, but I would agree with you to each their own. They obviously have a great many fans.
     
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  10. Stereosound

    Stereosound Forum Resident

    Location:
    USA
    As for beyerdynamic I liked the Tesla T-1 which was different in some ways but alike in others to the sennheiser HD 800. I liked both but both had some bright frequencies on some songs. These are older models now don’t know how the newer ones have changed. Although I am aware the HD 800S were supposed to address that issue. Don’t remember what I thought about the other beyerdynamic models I tried at the time but didn’t think they were as good as the T-1. Maybe the T5p was ok. Can’t remember for certain though. Don’t remember at all about the other beyerdynamic models.
     
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  11. vegafleet

    vegafleet Forum Resident

    Agree with you. I use a Marantz Hd-Dac1 as a headphone amp and I get the same result as you. Got the Senn Hd6xx hoping for a different result. Same thing.
     
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  12. Helom

    Helom I'll take the monkey coffins

    Location:
    U.S.
    I've been happy with my upgrade from SR80es to the RS2es. Tonally, they're very similar. The RS2es require a similar break-in period during which the 80s will have the stronger bass causing the RS' to sound a bit thin.

    The nice aspect of Grado pads is they don't double as ear warmers and result in sweat.

    Can't comment on the others you listed.
     
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  13. John Buchanan

    John Buchanan I'm just a headphone kinda guy.

    Try the Neumann NDH20s - should be just about perfect price and sound-wise.
     
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  14. RockAddict

    RockAddict Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    UK
    Another post in the thread may be of interest (just in case you missed it):

    Also, whilst searching for info across the web, I found a site comparing the Grado range; a Grado vs Grado vs Grado if you like:
    The Best Grado Headphones [Definitive Guide]

    Whether the guide is THAT definitive is probably open to debate but I hope it helps.
     
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2020
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  15. RockAddict

    RockAddict Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    UK
    Many thanks for the responses so far. I haven't been resting on my laurels for others to do all the research for me and have continued to surf and unearth info about the headphones mentioned in the OP, as well as the Senns HD 650s (and HD 660s) + the Beyerdynamic set referred to by @Stereosound + the Neumann NHD20s.

    As at right now, the list has slimmed to two and more research is ongoing - the two remaining are Grado RS2e and Shure SRH1840. I looked into the Grado GS1000es and they are hugely tempting but the cheapest I could find (in stock) is currently listed at GBP £879.00 which is just out of reach for me. If I'm still dithering in a few weeks, maybe I wait it out until the November sales and hope for a super-bargain but that's still 4/5 months away and my fingers (and ears) might be a bit too itchy for that length of wait.

    Happy listening all.
     
  16. RockAddict

    RockAddict Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    UK
    Update: Trigger pulled on the Grado RS2e headphones :righton:.

    It was oh-so-close to being the Shures but a UK headphone seller was enormously helpful. Insofar as was relevant, the seller pointed to the Grados on the grounds they were better suited to the music I listened to most, with the Shures tending to sound lean (relatively). You might think "he would say that, wouldn't he?" but the seller doesn't stock the RS2e (but does stock the SRH1840), so he had nothing to gain by pointing elsewhere. He took the view it was better for people to be happy with their purchase and I will remember that honesty for future potential purposes.

    I didn't wait because there is a shortage of stock in the UK for some models of Grado headphones (Coronavirus disruption), including the RS2e, and a couple of discount deals available earlier this week have notably disappeared with many websites showing variations of "pre-order" or "out of stock". I still managed to get a deal at a little more than the price stated in the OP, so not bad at all.

    Now it's just a small matter of break-in time.... :shrug: :yikes: :)
     
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  17. Valkenburg

    Valkenburg Forum Resident

    Location:
    Hawaii
    :righton:
     
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  18. rodentdog

    rodentdog Forum Resident

    Welcome to Team Grado!!
     

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