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Good general phones...

Discussion in 'Headphones, Earphones & Portable Music' started by Mroizouk, May 20, 2005.

  1. Mroizouk

    Mroizouk
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    Hey y'all


    I'm after the best quality headphone I can get which I can still use with portable cd players and suchlike too.


    Suggestions? :)
     
  2. rOAdeh

    rOAdeh
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    Budget?

    brace yourself for the onslaught of shure recommendations ;)
     
  3. Mroizouk

    Mroizouk
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    ok, prepared!

    Actually, I wan't especially looking for in-ear phones. I think I'd get better sound and comfort from normal ones. I'd prefer on-ear phones, unless buds would be sonically better.

    I didn't mention a budget, because I'll buy the best phones I can get away with with my modest sources (budget denon cd player, computer and sony cd walkman) although I'm all for buying good kit that'll last.

    I found Senny HD 650s on ebay for £189, this is the ABSOLUTE top I'd spend, but these will clearly outclass my current kit, and would I be able to drive such high-calibre phones effectively from a sony cd walkman? :rolleyes:

    I've looked at Beyer DT 250s 770s and 880s. I'll listen to music mostly; a huge range of styles from drum + bass to classical, and some films too.
     
  4. Stewtheking

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    What about something from the grado range?

    I just bought the SR60, and I LOVE it, and that is driven fine from my portable player. Maybe try a model up, the sr80 as these apparently have improved sound!

    Happy hunting! :thumbsup:

    Stew
     
  5. rOAdeh

    rOAdeh
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    If you go for something like the HD650s then you'll absolutely 100% need a headphone amp to get anything worthwhile out of them. They are fairly limited by most headphone sockets in full blown amps and really need a dedicated headphone amp to get the best out of them.

    Sound quality wise, the best for your budget without needing an amp.. (depends if you want the extra box to carry around along with the extra expense? well worth it though if you do get one) ..would be something like the etymotic er-6s (or equivalent shures) or maybe even the er-4p if you could find them cheap enough. They are IEM though and as such are very well isolated, which means in noisier environments they might allow you to hear more detail than with supra-aural cans.

    I haven't heard any Beyer Dynamic headphones so can't comment on them but they certainly have their fans. The Grado SR-60s work well without an amp and some claim that they sound better than the SR-80s when both aren't amped.

    Suggest you do your research on the type of sound you like as Sennheiser tend to have detailed phones that are neutral (possibly edging slightly to a warmish sound) but some find quite dull. They can have very good imaging though and so work well with orchestral pieces. Maybe consider some HD580s (prob second hand) with a mint/pimeta DIY amp?

    Grado on the other hand tend to be brighter, more aggressive (or "fun") and imo have better bass than most Sennheisers. Comfort is an issue for some people though with them and some also don't like the "old school" styling.

    Other companies to take a look at include AKG, Beyer Dynamic, Sony, Etymotic, Shure etc (i replied in a similar thread to this comparing headphones not long ago) which generally fit in somewhere in the middle of these two camps. Lots of opinions on different cans can be found on www.head-fi.org and i'm sure some other people will comment here..

    I'd write some more about other options but i'm tired and want to go to bed :)
     
  6. NicolasB

    NicolasB
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    The higher-end Sennheiser 'phones such as the HD650 can sound stunning - but a typical portable device doesn't produce enough power to drive them properly. You might be better off aiming for much something much cheaper and lighter. A good choice at the price would be the Beyerdynamic DT-231 Galactic (about £45) which is pleasantly comfortable and light-weight.

    If you want to go a little higher then Grado SR60 or SR80 would be possibilities.
     
  7. Mroizouk

    Mroizouk
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    thanks for the advice guys, I just wanted to strike a balance between stunning aound and having a phone that portable devices can actually drive- as you say NicholasB.

    I've heard the grados sound sweet but can be uncomfortable. I guess there's nothing to do but either bite the bullet or see if I can try some.
     
  8. NicolasB

    NicolasB
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    I believe Grados can be made more comfortable by swapping the pads for something softer. (Forget where I read that).
     
  9. Stewtheking

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    The mod you are probably thinking of is the sennheiser 414 spare pads, with a hole cut in the centre to improve the sound quality.

    This thread from head-fi forums gives you pretty much all you need to know, and my senn pads are on order as we speak.

    http://www6.head-fi.org/forums/showthread.php?t=120429

    (The first link in this thread is also very useful)

    I own the beyerdynamic dt231, and just bought the grado sr60, listening both fro my amplifier at home, and out of my portable mp3 player. The grado's look down on the beyers from a considerable height, IMO.

    Hope this helps

    Stew
     
  10. NicolasB

    NicolasB
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    They should do - they're a lot more expensive. :) DT-231 are pleasantly light and comfortable, though.
     
  11. Mroizouk

    Mroizouk
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    Are the grado's good with a wide range of material? I might be listening to films, and some really beaty, bass-heavy music as well as more mellow classical, rock, reggae and goodness knows what else.

    Hows the leakage and isolation too, seeing as they're open-phones, and how would the sound compare to say a closed-back beyer headphone?
     
  12. rOAdeh

    rOAdeh
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    FWIW, you can also import a variety of pads for grados called vwaps and flats (available in alpha or beta types) from one of the guys off head-fi.. lots of people report that the SR325i with flats makes for an excellent sound as it takes the edge off the slightly overbright 325i and increases bass. If you want really good bass a pair of flats might be worth it anyway.

    My Alessandros (basically rebadged SR325s with slightly tamed highs) sound excellent with most music i've tried but that's mostly rock/indie (though that varies from artists like Mike Oldfield, Led Zep, Radiohead etc through to Maiden, Sabbath, 'Tallica etc). My headphone amp definitely helped bring out the best of them though - in fact i think my source is holding me back at the moment so i'm looking at getting a DAC shortly..

    Leakage is quite bad with Grados - probably the worst out of all the designs here, but in that way it's audible and would be irritating to someone working but if you had the tv on in the next room i doubt you'd be able to hear it.

    Closed headphones generally tend to sound more bassy with a smaller soundstage though offer the benefits of isolation obviously. I personally would always go with open designs if i could (there's a reason why most of the expensive headphone designs are!)
     
  13. extremelydodgy

    extremelydodgy
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    Try the Sennheiser HD25-1 and order a HD25-13 cable for it.
     
  14. Mroizouk

    Mroizouk
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    That's supposed to be a good DJ phone, isn't it? 600ohms though.... does that not make it really difficult to drive?

    In this respect I like the 32ohm load of the grado's, but having listened to some I think they'll be too leaky to be practical unfortunately. Nice sound, but as is widely reported I found them uncomfortable, but maybe this would've improved with time.
     
  15. Mroizouk

    Mroizouk
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    I tried Grado SR 80s and Beyer DT880s. The beyers sounded very bright and didn't have the bass weight of the Grados (!) but were very comfortable, but did make my ears a bit hot. It was hard to get a decent volume level out of them- I've no headphone amp so my kit's just not up for driving them I think, they're just too much 'phone.
    The grado's were a bit sore on the ears, but sounded GREAT! These (@32ohms) were more easily powered by my kit. I initially discounted them because of the discomfort and extreme leakage of sound from the back of the phone, but I have re-ordered them, as I was only shocked by the leakage because I was unfamiliar with open-backed designs (or indeed ANY decent headphones) and the comfort issue is something I will work through/around. The sound is top dollar.

    Who knows, maybe this post will be useful to someone!
     
  16. extremelydodgy

    extremelydodgy
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    No, I said get the CABLE. The cable is regular OFC, while the cable that comes with the HD25-1 is steel for durability. The sound is great on the HD25-1 as is, but the change to OFC has a noticeable effect. The 25-1 is pretty efficient and is isolates a lot.
     
  17. Mroizouk

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    Right, you said get the HD25-1, which is reputed to be a good DJ phone, but is 70ohms not 600, and get the cable from the HD25-13 which is the 600ohm model. My misunderstanding.
     
  18. superkully

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    For general-purpose unamped use I always use my Koss Porta Pros since I bought them last year. Nothing comes close.

    With an amp I use my Phillips HP890s, the Porta's tend to get a bit bass tiresome.

    Have a look on www.head-fi.com for many more opinions of the Koss (and their sister the Sporta Pro).
     

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