Headphones to stand in for HiFi Speakers - divorce avoidance

cornishgiant

Active Member
Hi guys, I am hoping that you can advise me on my predicament. In my living room I have my Hifi which consists of:
- Tidal playing via a
- Blusound Node 2i into
- Arcam A75 into
- Fyne F501 speakers

I would, at some point soon, like to upgrade the Amp as I think there are improvements to be had here but I love this set up - it sounds great to my ears. But thats not the problem right now. (Not relevant to this discussion but I also have the matching Fyne center and other surround speakers fed by a Marantz 7009 - using the Arcam via HT Bypass for F&L).

My problem is basically my wife. And that she is an early to bed person and I am not - and she is not happy when I play my music at night as it stops her sleeping. Divorces are expensive and, well, I'm not much of a catch so I probably need to keep hold of her. So I figure my future was headphones, at least for post 9pm.

From the Classifieds I bought a set of Seinheisser HD580s. I've plugged them into the Arcam and had a listen. Well colour me underwhelmed. Not in the slightest bit whlemed. No whelm to be found anywhere. I really love the room filling aspect of stero speakers and the 'feeling' of the air moving. I know I am not going to get that from headphones but I wasn't expecting to be this far away. I've tried it direct into the Bluesound (muddier sounding than the Arcam) and via a DragonFlyblack attached to my PC (Best out of all of these, but still not something I can accept as an alternative to my HiFi set up).

Bascially it lacks bass, 'movement' in the music, 'space' in the music and even stereo imaging. If that isn't a load of subjective BS? I'm just not as engaged or transported into the music.

So whats wrong with this scenario? Have I bought Headphones not in the same 'league' as my speakers? Do headphones stand a chance of giving me something that will keep me from needing to hire a solicitor? If so, like what and how much am I going to need to spend? Are the sources the issue? Should I be looking at a headphone amp?

Ladies and gentlemen - help me keep my kids parents living under the same roof. How do I get something that I am likely able to live with out of headphones? Obvs, going to my local stereo dealer (Senso systems in Truro) isn't an option with covid. And my sanity needs saving through this lockdown.
 

DigitalDigger

Active Member
Hi, probably a good idea to state a budget in mind.
I've seen people talking about cans costing a few grand.
I have some b and w p5 that I fed with a dragonfly and I enjoy them.
I dont doubt there are much better but its all what you're happy with/able to spend.
At the end if the day theres masses of choice.
May have to kiss a few toads first
 

cornishgiant

Active Member
Hmm. Budget? Well, I’d spend £500 on cans of it got close to my speakers. But I guess the question is, to get what I want, how much am I likely to need?
 

DigitalDigger

Active Member
Agreed, are hifi shops locked down? Can you get some to try with your own kit? Think ideal av on here do loan stuff by post. Maybe try that?
Best way to be sure you get what you want??
 

DigitalDigger

Active Member
My mistake, its av onlne doing home trial

 

muljao

Well-known Member
I recommend the....
I recommend you get divorced and buy bigger speakers 😃😃😃😃
 

Steven

Senior Moderator
The starting point of not trying to replicate speaker sound in headphones is appropriate. Think in terms of head stage, rather than sound stage.

Assuming you are happy with the source you may benefit from a dedicated headphone amplifier. The 580 will scale, not to the extent of the HD600 / HD650 though. But with that range you are not getting very big head stage

If you are extremely lucky try to snag a 'cheap' second hand pair of the Sennheiser HD800 (replaced by current HD800S). Expansive soundstage, for headphones, but watch out for the 6k peak. Signature is not for everyone

You may get on with much cheaper open headphones from your AKG, Beyerdynamic etc but with shops closed you will not have a comparison yardstick. That is difficult

Open headphones will leak sound but that only affects anyone in the vicinity. Your wife is unlikely to hear that from another room!

I would not recommend the B&W P5. On ear design for portable usage. The head stage will be flat and narrow
 

Jules Tohpipi

Well-known Member
I don't have a specific product recommendation, but some aspects of what you are wishing for might best be served by a decent pair of in-ear headphones. I'm talking specifically about bass reproduction and also the perception of big speakers driving the air in a big room. I'm not talking fake or contrived bass here, rather the effect that an expensive set of quality floor standers can reproduce when fed with a killer power amp. Wilson/Krell territory as one of many possible such examples.

For me, the closest experiences I've had to those two particular effects in headphones have come from the in-ear variety. Both quite modest ones but with Comply foam tips fitted. My complete speculation is that the perfect air seal created by the foam tips, combined with the drivers being directly in your ears, goes some way towards recreating the pressure effects in room of a big speaker - but in your ear canal.

Anyhow, who knows the whys or wherefores, but I've heard good things said about the Shure in-ears which might combine sonic purity and the above characteristics.
 

muljao

Well-known Member
All jokes aside, you have to have a good headphone amp in your amp and a good set of headphones for it all to work well. If either are sub par the overall sound might be lacking.

If you are using tidal you must be using a phone or tablet for control, might it be worth considering a dac headphone amp for the phone (thinking dragonfly red or similar) and just use that portable set up for your headphone use. Just a thought
 

cornishgiant

Active Member
All jokes aside, you have to have a good headphone amp in your amp and a good set of headphones for it all to work well. If either are sub par the overall sound might be lacking.

If you are using tidal you must be using a phone or tablet for control, might it be worth considering a dac headphone amp for the phone (thinking dragonfly red or similar) and just use that portable set up for your headphone use. Just a thought
As per my original post, I have a dragonfly black and it was the best out of what I’ve tried but still some way away from what does it for me
 

muljao

Well-known Member
As per my original post, I have a dragonfly black and it was the best out of what I’ve tried but still some way away from what does it for me
Sorry, I missed the dragonfly black bit completely, but from what you say that was better than the others. Your equipment is pretty good. You probably need to spend a bit more on a headphone setup to match what you have stereo wise.

The dragonfly red has a higher output than the black, what that means regarding sound quality for driving your headphones, I don't know. I'd guess that you can get a combo that suits without spending crazy money, I'd guess that open back headphones might be the way to go for space
 

wizball1974

Active Member
The HD580s are (I believe) 300ohm so most likely would benefit from some juice to really make them slam.

Arcam A75 manual says it only outputs 40mW to 600ohms, so that sounds the culprit for initial lack of whelming.

Something like the ifi Zen Can outputs lots more power. I cannot guarantee that it will give you the hit you seek, but it (or something similarly beefy like Fiio K5 Pro) are more likely to deliver than anything you have plugged the 580s into so far.
 

gibbsy

Moderator
Best thing I ever did was buy headphones. So says my wife. Same reason as you mine goes to bed early because of her dicky ticker and she's not a lover of Jethro Tull being played at any time of the day.

There are plenty of good headphones available around your budget but don't get them to replicate the audio you get from your speakers. Not going to happen really as it's a different listening experience. Source music is also important there's nothing that will show up crap recordings like a pair of headphones.

Comfort is important as well. I find myself having my headphones for a couple of hours at a time and there's nothing worse than having your ear lobes burning because the headphones are so uncomfortable.

The other thing to consider is would you listen to music at other times, like when your missus wants to watch the soaps or the dancing thing. If so you may be better off with closed back. If not then open backs will be better for soundstage.
 

cornishgiant

Active Member
The HD580s are (I believe) 300ohm so most likely would benefit from some juice to really make them slam.

Arcam A75 manual says it only outputs 40mW to 600ohms, so that sounds the culprit for initial lack of whelming.

Something like the ifi Zen Can outputs lots more power. I cannot guarantee that it will give you the hit you seek, but it (or something similarly beefy like Fiio K5 Pro) are more likely to deliver than anything you have plugged the 580s into so far.

My destination amp is the Arcam sa30. I’ve looked at the instructions on line and can’t see anything about output though it does say writhing that range. Can I kill 2 birds with one stone and just upgrade my amp and use that?
 

wizball1974

Active Member
My destination amp is the Arcam sa30. I’ve looked at the instructions on line and can’t see anything about output though it does say writhing that range. Can I kill 2 birds with one stone and just upgrade my amp and use that?
I see Arcam have changed the way the specs detail the output, so I am not 100% sure. The lack of transparency in how they quote the figures now doesn't fill me with confidence that the SA30 will solve the problem.
 

Matt 0987654321

Standard Member
Biased opinion - I hate in ear cans. To be honest getting a pair that will be suitable for listening with others in the vicinity will need to be closed back, but I’ve always found a preference for open backed. With your budget I would by two pairs. I love my Senn HD 600’s but they are not the last thing in detail but don’t cause fatigue. Got them for a bargain years ago.
 

cornishgiant

Active Member
So an update from me. I have resold the HD580s.

I’ve ordered a Schiitt Vali 2+. I’ve picked up a second hand set of Beyerdynamic 990s - my grind has a set and likes them and I have listened briefly to them and like them.

Have also taken a punt on a preorder set of HD6xx.

Probably have the bloody lot for sale at the end of the month! 😂
 

cornishgiant

Active Member
Oh - I never mentioned my Bose QC35s. I used these in the office and started using them via the dragonfly. These have gone Dickie, but Bose are replacing with the QC35ii. So that will be an option too.
 

wizball1974

Active Member
So an update from me. I have resold the HD580s.

I’ve ordered a Schiitt Vali 2+. I’ve picked up a second hand set of Beyerdynamic 990s - my grind has a set and likes them and I have listened briefly to them and like them.

Have also taken a punt on a preorder set of HD6xx.

Probably have the bloody lot for sale at the end of the month! 😂

I spotted the Vali 2+ (briefly) was in stock and picked up one for myself - I will be trying it out this evening - hope yours helps give you what you are after.

I haven't heard the 990s, but have listened to the DT 770s in the past. I found they boost the bass more than my own phones (Shure SRH840 and HD6xx), so along with the amplification offered by the Vali, should give everything a bit more slam than the HD580s (which are not renowned for bass impact).
 

cornishgiant

Active Member
There is very little (if anything) in stock on their uk website. I would have probably bought the dac too for convenience and possibly even the equaliser
 

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