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Lightweight stereo headphones

Discussion in 'Headphones, Earphones & Portable Music' started by jillbray, Feb 11, 2005.

  1. jillbray

    jillbray
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    My daughter requires some light, comfortable headphones for listening to a stereo at home (not in ear or with neck band). Over the head type needed, with earcups with a gentle grip (she has problems in her head).
    Frequency Response Range 5 (yes!) to 30,000, but 20-20,000 or thereabouts might do.
    Weight ideally under 100g, but up to 130 OK.
    Very good quality required - price is not a problem.
    Any suggestions - I have done a lot of research, but someone with more knowledge could come up with something better!
    Thanks.
    Jill
     
  2. alexs2

    alexs2
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    Hi,and welcome....

    If you've already done some research,you may well have come across both Sennheiser and Stax....both have products that will suit in terms of quality,although the weight may be a problem.
    Another worth considering would be Grado,as in general,they are a little more lightweight,but still offer excellent quality.....they are also easier on the head than the Sennheisers in terms of grip!

    Frequency response is always a bit of a mixed bag,with claims being made that may or may not be matched in practice,but any of these in the upper price ranges should be able to meet your minimum spec easily.


    As always,the best way is to try a selection,and see which suits her best in terms of comfort,weight,and quality,but also consider that if overal quality is important,that any good set of 'phones will be at it's best when used with a good source,and a headphone amp of good quality.

    Just for further information,which had you already considered,and what sort of music/equipment would they be used with?
     
  3. Leporello

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    I hesitate to suggest anything as an alternative to Alex2's suggestions as he's obviously more knowledgeable than I, but your daughter may not find Grado 'phones very comfortable. I had a pair for a month and whilst my son and I liked the sound of the Grados, neither of us found them comfortable. In fact we both found them quite painful to wear for any length of time. You'll find quite a lot of threads around the web from some of the more devoted audiophiles discussing modifying or replacing the Grado pads.

    We find our Sennheiser HD580s very comfortable indeed. Personally, I believe that the Grados have a cult following that's only partly based on audio quality. There's something quite "butch" about Grado cans with their machine shop style construction. This may not appeal to your daughter.

    I think you'd be safer with some high end Sennheisers, Beyer Dynamics or whatever with softer and more accommodating pads.
     
  4. jillbray

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    Thank you for the help so far given.

    Recently, my daughter saw her cranial osteopath. Unfortunately, trying out a pair of Sennheiser PXC 250 for an hour has done damage to small bones in her head which could take some weeks of treatment to repair!

    So her cranial osteopath suggests that she consider small loudspeakers placed next to her ears or separating the earpads from the part over the head to prevent further damage (can this be done, perhaps ‘inventing' some kind of contraption to put these on which enables the pads to be close to the head without any actual weight on three head). Any ideas? She won't be able to have anything actually going round her head at this stage.

    I have looked at one or two loudspeakers but the lowest hertz range I have found is a Bang and Olufsen at 28 (she requires 20 or preferably lower) because of the CDs she wishes to listen to (Holosync, which, as far as I understand, put a different frequency in each ear, producing a third healing frequency in the middle of the brain). At first, 20Hz would be fine, but by the end (some years perhaps), the frequency goes gown to 5Hz (in stages).

    So she may have to decide on the chopped up headphones.

    What she requires must exist. Perhaps I need to contact disability experts who deal with head damage or audiologists?

    Jill
     
  5. x-pro

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    Hi Jill,

    it is a difficult situation and a very unusual requirement. From the weight point of view there are very few headphones of required quality and even those probably would not be suitable because of their grip. My suggestion would be to try Sennheisers HD-25SP with velour pads and some kind of an adjustable metal spring to unload the pressure on the ears. It is a very lightweght headphone - only 115 g, and I've just tried to see if you can get a reasonable seal with velour pads and reduce the grip to near-zero and it seams to be almost working. Headband on 25SP has a couple of small plastic bits sticking out and I think it should be reasonably easy to make an "anti-grip" device on these which will allow you to adjust the distance between the phones to suit your daughter's head. 25SP are quoted from 30 to 16000 Hz, however it is a very conservative data as the same capsules used in HD-25 quoted from 16 to 22000 Hz. Unfortunately HD25 are heavier at 140g. The lowest frequency would mainly depend on the quality of the seal between the cap and the ear and you may need to think about some kind of non-gripping seal - a gel-pad perhaps?

    I wish you to find what you are looking for and for your daughter to get better.

    Cheers

    Alex
     
  6. jillbray

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    Great - people are now thinking outside the box. Here are a few ideas we came up with...

    Her cranial osteopath advises her not to use traditional headphones at all, even light ones, as her head is too sensitive. The gripping of the headphones round her head is a second issue in addition to the weight. The osteopath advised her to try small loudspeakers placed either side of her head, but this may prove difficult and the FRRs are not wide enough.

    We are trying to think of other ways round this dilemma, such as cutting off the headband of a pair of headphones and finding some other way to support the earphones e.g. making some sort of contraption to bear the weight NEXT to the ear rather than on the head. She will be lying down, so the pillow can support the weight somehow - this is why headphones whose supporting band goes round the neck could prove uncomfortable.

    Or we are looking at her wearing them inside a hat or scarf but without the headband. But that may be a problem, as the head would still have to take some of the weight. And would flat open earcups be as effective as closed ones, bearing in mind it might be difficult to keep the contraption firmly in place when, for example, breathing or coughing?

    Any more ideas - you are the experts. I have 'only' researched and worked at this for 17 very long days!

    Jill
     
  7. extremelydodgy

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    This may go outside your weight limit, but the Sony Qualia 010 measures 250g approx on my scales, rests lightly on the head due to a load-dispersing elastic mesh, the pads go around the ears without applying a death grip, and provides the frequency response that you want. Since they're partially custom fitted, you can also talk to Sony US and maybe get some more customisation done on them.


    Youj can get it directly from Audiocubes: http://www.audiocubes.com/product/Sony_Qualia_Q010-MDR1_Stereo_Headphones.html


    Or contact Sony Qualia USA.
     
  8. Leporello

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    The cricket players amongst us may have some difficulty with the exact meaning of this comment! :blush:

    Good luck with your search.
     
  9. jillbray

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    Indeed! I think this may be an American expression and, as such, should have been used with more circumspection by a Life member of Worcestershire Cricket Club.

    Jill
     
  10. jillbray

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    The Qualia range looks fantastic, but the price may be a little beyond our budget!!

    Incidentally, I'm having problems printing pictures of headphones today - anyone any idea why? I ususally copy into a Word document (both image and text) and print off the information for my daughter. Today,only the text prints. I suppose it might work in Publisher?

    Jill
     
  11. alexs2

    alexs2
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    Jill,the problem you describe is obviously a very unusual one,and one that I hope we may have given you a few ideas for,in terms of what may be suitable.

    i can't help thinking however,that given the nature of the problem,you would be well advised to discuss the requirements with your daughter's medical advisors,and perhaps investigating whether or not they have any hospital contacts who may be able to help.

    One avenue that may be worth investigating is that of having a pair of custom moulded in-ear phones made,as there will be minimal weight to consider,plus an extended frequency response.
    Custom moulded phones are not cheap,but most hospitals will have access to an audiologist with the right skills,and the following link(whilst I do not have any personal experience of these),may give you some useful information.

    http://www.ultimateears.com/

    I know that your original request was for traditional style headphones,but if there is no damage to the ear canal itself,this may be way around your problems.....don't confuse this solution with off the shelf type in-ear phones such as Shure and Etymotics...the costs and fitting are vastly different.
     
  12. alexs2

    alexs2
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    Not sure about the first part of your post there,Leporello,as I wouldn't ever set myself up as being more knowledgeable than another contributor,but would only volunteer any information or experience I have,nothing more.

    I too am very happy with my Sennheisers,but found the headband on the 600's considerably tighter than the 565s I previously had,so there is some variation within the make itself,but I do agree with your comments about the somewhat "butch" appearance of the Grados in general.
     
  13. superkully

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    Why did the mods delete my first post in the thread?

    Anyway, I'll suggest again the Koss Porta Pros, they're very lightweight and come with a toggle switch that significantly reduces the amount of lateral pressure on the head.

    The Bass response is also rather excellent.
     
  14. jillbray

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    Thanks, I'll check these out.

    Jill
     
  15. alexs2

    alexs2
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    If by that,you mean your response to the same question posted earlier by jillbray on 07/02/05,you will find it hasn't been deleted at all,and is still there,in the original,earlier thread.

    See below....

    http://www.avforums.com/forums/showthread.php?t=186487
     
  16. extremelydodgy

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    In terms of the pressure they'd exert inside the ear canal, there's not that much difference. Custom moulds also need a seal to work.


    jillbray, you did say cost was not important... And if it's for music, I fail to understand why the freq specs you've laid down are required. One other alternative is the Stax SR-001 Mk II system. It's not very present in the highs, but the lows are unlikely to be a problem. It's a very small half-in-ear earphone, which clips to a very lightweight (metal, bendable) headband. The tips are silicone and you choose how much in-ear pressure they exert. The 001 earphones are a modular solution and you can get these with a desktop amp which is supposed to make the 001 phones sound a lot better, although I haven't tried it.


    Here's a review of the battery powered 001 system, not specific to your needs but the picture should be self-explanatory. http://phonephile.blogspot.com/2005/01/stax-sr-001-mk-ii-electrostatic-in-ear.html


    Anyway, if it's of any help I can lend you a Shure E3c if you haven't tried this already. With the soft tips and worn 'down', they might do the trick.
     
  17. alexs2

    alexs2
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    I'm well aware of custom molds needing a good seal,and made no comparison of the relative pressures of custom vs ready made in-ear types.....the major factor was in terms of comfort long term,and having used custom fitted plugs,they can be much easier to wear long term(these weren't phones as such,but a work related and very similar piece of equipment).


    Your point about wearing in a set of in-ear types though is very relevant...they definitely improve!
     
  18. extremelydodgy

    extremelydodgy
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    Er... No. By wearing 'down', I meant not wearing the cable over the ear, but dangling down like a normal earphone. I should have been clearer about that. Any experienced burn-in on a balanced armature phone is pretty much all psychological, in that you get used to the sound of the phone. The sound does not 'improve' as such.
     
  19. alexs2

    alexs2
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    LOL...both of us at crosspurposes I think.....I meant wearing in the earplug itself!....as in the material getting a bit softer and more pliable.....I do agree the sound of the phone doesnt really change.

    I should also have been clearer...all the best!
     
  20. jillbray

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    I'm starting again with some fresh requirements, in view of earlier information, visiting shops, etc.

    My daughter (36) has very precise requirements for headphones. I have done four weeks of research and can get all of what she needs but not all together in one set of cans.

    She requires them for very specific meditation tapes with subliminal messages on them (Holosync from Centerpointe). She has a damaged head (wearing one Sennheiser for one hour pushed bones in her ear out of alignment, requiring weeks of treatment), so the only way it would appear she can proceed is with headphones whose headband is removable. She has experimented with lying down on a pillow with weights representing earcups resting against her head. She requires them to be very light (max 5 oz, 140g or thereabouts).

    The FRR required by Holosync (eventually) is 5-30,000, but 20-20 would do to start, as the very low frequencies aren't required for some time. I read you tell us not to worry about specifications.

    The Bang and Olufsen Form 2 headphones (well under 100g) are the only ones she has tried which are comfortable, which is why her latest idea is to look for ones with a removable headband. We understand Sennheiser has some, as does BeyerDynamic.

    We have seen the ultimateears headphones. These are light enough, but she doesn't want in-ears (or wireless) ones. She thinks the best will be open rather than closed.

    This may be a tall order, but with her disabilities I have to keep looking until I find the right ones.

    She has yet to buy the equipment on which to play the CDs, though she does have equipment she can use at present.

    Thank you for any more help you may be able to give.

    Jill
     
  21. tom_painter85

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    the Sennheiser HD650s ( link to www.superfi.co.uk here) come close to your specs, 10-39.5kHz, but again, we're back to the comfort/pressure/weight issue here...
    Sorry to be of little use :(

    Kind regards and best wishes

    Tom Painter
     
  22. extremelydodgy

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    Perhaps you could answer one other question for us.


    What is the limiting factor preventing speaker use?
     
  23. jillbray

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    I think this is the frequency response range, which is not wide enough?

    We have just come across ear speakers - perhaps these would be better?

    Also, after good reports, my daughter is considering the Koss Porta Pro or Sporta Pro, at least as a tempoarary measure. Which is better?

    Also, we are investigating headphones with removable headbands, so that she can lie down and have them just leaning against her ears lightly.

    ultimateears and Stax do very light good-quality in-ear phones, so quality does equate to lightness in these two. Why is it so difficult to find a lightweight headphone which does not go in the ears? There must be one somewhere?

    I think we are getting closer...?

    Jill
     
  24. extremelydodgy

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    Both the Koss phones will put more pressure around the head than the Sennheiser PXC250.
     
  25. extremelydodgy

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    Speakers + sub can provide just as wide a response and doesn't have the issues that you'll come across with the phones, but you will have to spend a bit. More than you're willing to spend I suppose given the price of the Qualia is a deterrent to you.


    Another option is to pair the AKG K1000 with an active sub. Mind you, that wouldn't be budget either.
     
  26. jillbray

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    But if she removes the headband from the Koss, what then? Which is better the Porta or the Sporta?
    Or are the headbands irremovable?
    Jill
     
  27. jillbray

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    I've looked up the AKG - perhaps affordable - but the Frequency range 30 to 25,000 Hz, is not low enough at the bottom end.

    What is an 'active sub'?

    Jill
     
  28. alexs2

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    An active sub is a subwoofer(speaker system intended for low bass) with it's amplifier and crossover built in,allowing you to feed the signal from your preamp/source,into the sub,and out to the headphones,with the bass being dealt with by the sub.
     
  29. extremelydodgy

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    I know that headphone band 'de-benders' were mentioned earlier in this thread. The thing is that regardless of the frequency response of the drivers, the distance of the driver to the ear and how the acoustic chamber formed between the ear and the driver is configured is what controls how you hear things. How you alter it determines what, of the quoted frequency response, you will hear. If you hold the drivers away from the ear without forming an acoustic enclosure, the full response may not be delivered and much of the sound may just 'escape'.


    The K1000 is different since the panels 'float' beside your head and don't touch the ear. I wasn't more specific about the K1000...alex has described the sub, which would be used for low-end response in your situation, but the phone itself is more of an earspeaker than a headphone, and needs hefty amping to deliver the full frequency response. The 'usual' way is to use something like the Audiovalve RKV II or the Norh SE9 as the amplifier, but there's been some talk on a couple of forums about using it with the 'giant killer' $39 Sonic Impact T-Amp to power it.
     
  30. jillbray

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    Further to all the above (I so wish I could get this right and stop this thread!), my daughter has the following comments and questions to some of you kind and helpful contributors. Apologies for not being able to go back and sort out all the names.

    "You'll find quite a lot of threads around the web from some of the more devoted audiophiles discussing modifying or replacing the Grado pads." Where? I'm too tired to do all this research every day and care for my daughter!

    Incidentally, she tried on a pair of Grados and loved the 60, but wondered whether there was a way to 'stretch' the headband. I would think this is made of steel?

    Jill
     

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