Considering Grado SR225i hooked up to Denon 1909 or iPod

Discussion in 'Headphones, Earphones & Portable Music' started by crazyman50000, Aug 9, 2013.

  1. crazyman50000

    crazyman50000
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    I currently have a pair of very old Sennheiser eh250's which while sound ok, are a little muddy and now need new pads. They also make my ears VERY hot after just 30-40 minutes listening.

    So I'm considering buying a new pair of cans, but want something that will closely reproduce what I have already.

    Current kit:
    Quad L-ite x 4
    Quad L-ite centre
    Denon 1909 AVR
    BK Monolith 300W subwoofer
    PC / PS3 / 360 provides audio over HDMI (I figured the Denon DAC will do the processing, so this shouldn't actually matter that much)

    But I'd also like to get the best possible sound out of my iPod (everything is at 192Kbit MP3). Granted I'm not expecting the low end of that subwoofer from any sub £300 'phones.

    I use my iPod at the moment with a pair of Sennheiser CX400 II and think they sound good enough.

    Will the Grados be an overkill / waste of money?
     
  2. moppit

    moppit
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    Hi Crazyman,
    In short YES - I would spend money elsewhere.
    I speak from experience having Grado Rs2i's and a Denon 1908/Onkyo TXNR609 AVR's. The 225's will likely have the same sonic signature as the RS2's - light bass but very extended top and revealing mid. With my ipod and 192k it sounds OK but you know that the phones are way underutilised. With the AVR amps everything is too harsh - the Grados will reveal everything wrong with your source/amp.

    I also used to have some CX400's - try swapping these for beyerdynamic DTX101 or MMX101 - these will flatter your ipod and sound fab.

    After that I suggest ripping your music to lossless and upgrading your amp by adding a normal stereo amp (or get a headphone amp or amp +dac) before getting something like the Grado's. AVR's are not great with music since the money is spent elsewhere. Keep the Denon for movies though. Going this route would also mean your normal stereo listening would sound great too ie. start at the source and work your way through the chain. You will be amazed at how much better a decent DAC (vs. the AVR) makes your music sound. I play lossless FLAC from a NAS via a Pioneer N50 and it has transformed my listening! Next stop will be a dedicated headphone amp.

    Finally - be sure to check you like the sonic signature of the Grado's -they get good reviews but they are not to everyone's taste or music style (they major on Female vocal/acoustic/classical in my view - not good for dance/rock or anything where you might want lots of Bass). The sound is a bit of a Marmite thing...

    By all means buy the Grado's first if you like the sound but you will then have to go back through everything else to get the best sound out and run the risk of disappointment with the Grado's in the meantime.

    Good luck!

    Moppit
     
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2013
  3. Steven

    Steven
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    Grado are unashamedly coloured and they need a demo. I rate the high end but not the rest of the range. I would comment with average bit rate files there is a risk of treble coming across more harsh

    I would certainly want familiar test tracks at different bit rates for comparison. Do it now even before spending money
     
  4. crazyman50000

    crazyman50000
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    Thanks guys.

    I should mention I can't tell the difference between 192K and retail CD. Perhaps I'm just deaf like that :(
    (Tested using pure direct)

    I should point out I'm not alone in this odd space:
    http://www.codinghorror.com/blog/2012/06/the-great-mp3-bitrate-experiment.html

    And older tests:
    http://www.lincomatic.com/mp3/mp3quality.html

    And a test from 2009:
    http://www.trustedreviews.com/opinions/sounds-good-to-me_Page-4

    I think this ties in to what is often said a lot on AVF: it ultimately is up to the person listening if THEY think it's worth the extra money for the extra quality.

    For me, I think I may have reached a plateau with this kit. I did Audition a £2,500 Amp (I think it was an Arcam) with £800 speakers back in 2008 and was comparing the Arcam amp to a £250 Rotel amp. The difference just wasn't striking and hardly noticable in my opinion. Certainly not worth the 10x price hike.

    I tried a pair of beats a friend had and didn't like them (sounded muddy in the mids)

    I'll certainly look at other earphones when the CX400 II's give up, but they work and I'm happy with them for the time being.

    I'm not doubting higher quality kit produces better sound by the way, just that for me, it's not worth the extra money.
     
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2013
  5. moppit

    moppit
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    To be honest neither can I when playing music through my Denon AVR. It tends to mush things up a bit.

    With the Onkyo 609 it is much more noticeable (SQ significantly better). With my N50/Naim Nait XS/Kef reference 2's it is VERY noticeable.

    Posh headphones will bring you even closer to the differences except for the beyers which are very smooth and flatter poorer bitrates.

    The problem is once you have heard the difference the wallet starts taking a pounding...best keep it shut.
     

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