Looking for a pair of decent cans to use with a Beresford TC-7510 DAC/amp

dotbenjamin

Standard Member
I've been using Sennheiser HD201s for around six months now. £15, brilliant value, and I use them every day for hours on end. I enjoy the comfort, and they're better than anything I'd used before. That said, I can't help but feel that the bass lacks clarity and kick, and that the midrange is somewhat weak. I've decided to take a leap and upgrade. I recently purchased a Beresford TC-7510 DAC from the forums. I bought it so that I have a source which accepts digital input, is noise-free and has an amplified headphone output. It's a great device, and I've happy to have it.

BUT.

My headphones don't sound much better through the Beresford's headphone amplifier. And y'know what? I think it's probably because I spent £15 on them.

Obviously the next step is to replace my headphones. I have a budget of around £100-£200, with a very strict price cap at £200. The less I spend the better, but I want to get cans that are a real upgrade from my current bottom-of-the-range phones.

So, my budget is £100-£200. I want clarity. I want a nice wide soundstage. I want a reasonable bass, and a more distinct midrange than my HD201s give. I have a Beresford TC-7510 to use as a headphone amp, and I won't be able to afford a better/different one for at least a year. Whatever phones I get, they need to able to sound good on my current setup.

I've looked at the HD600 and HD650s, and the HD600s sound perfect for me. But I'm scared - these phones cost over £150, and I need to know if they'll work well with my amp. I also need to know if realistically they'll perform significantly better than my HD201s! If not... well, should I got for HD555s or HD595s instead? Or even something non-Sennheiser?

I'm open to all suggestions, particularly if they'll sound good with my amp. I'm going into Coventry in a week or so to have a proper listening session and I hope to audition all the best suggestions from this thread. But I probably won't be able to bring my Beresford with me, and I don't know how quiet the listening environment will be, so all advice and ideas here are welcome.

Thank you in advance!
 

a l e x

Distinguished Member
Definately worth looking at some Grados in my opinion.

I was going to go for the Senn HD650s but read that they need a fair bit of power for them to perform well. Wasn't going to be a problem at home when using with a headphone amp but if I was out and about wanting to use them with my iPod they just wouldn't perform.

Maybe have a look at the Grado SR125 - Grado SR125 Open Back Headphones (Grado SR 125) HiFi Headphones

Or the SR80s - Grado SR80 Open Back Headphones (Grado SR 80) HiFi Headphones

Theres also the 225s within your budget but ive not heard them!
 

dotbenjamin

Standard Member
Thanks for the reply! I'll certain try and audition some Grados. But I've heard they're a little harsh, and can be fatiguing after a few hours... I use my phones so much that might be a problem for me! Have you had any experience with the Grados getting a bit tiring after a while?

Also, I'll continue to use my HD201s (or maybe some IEMs) whilst out and about (i.e. using my iPod) so I'm not too worried about the power requirements for HD650s and the like... my Beresford DAC/headphone amp will handle power requirements just fine. It's just a question of whether they'll sound good!
 

Laminatedparrot

Standard Member
I've got a Beresford DAC too and a pair of Sennheiser HD595's which i got a certain auction site for £90 (and which could probably be had for less on this forum.)

At first i was really unimpressed with the sound - even my cloth-eared brother said they were a bit crap! They have really livened up after a few weeks use however. They've lost some of their harshness. They are also the most comfortable headphoes i've used. I've worn them for hours at a time without discomfort. I've been listening to a few of my favourite albums recently and the detail is fantastic. I'd definitely recommend them.

The headphone on the DAC is not the best and has a relativly high fixed noise level. You could split your money and purchase seperate Headphone amp - perhaps a tube amp like the little dot mk2 or 3. You could get a great combo for under £200 still. And, id you do decide to upgrade further, you have the option of driving the HD650's or thereabouts to their full capacity.
 

dotbenjamin

Standard Member
The headphone on the DAC is not the best and has a relativly high fixed noise level. You could split your money and purchase seperate Headphone amp - perhaps a tube amp like the little dot mk2 or 3. You could get a great combo for under £200 still. And, id you do decide to upgrade further, you have the option of driving the HD650's or thereabouts to their full capacity.
You're right about the noise problem, but I think I've dealt with that now. Still, investing in a tube amp would be great! I'd much rather use that than my DAC. But as you say, I'd have to split the money, and I think I'd rather have higher-end headphones driven below capacity than a tube amp with nothing decent to drive.

Are you pleased with the HD595s overall, or do you wish you'd bought the one of the HD600/650 models? The 595s are known for being very neutral, so perhaps that's why they seemed a little harsh. I'm glad to hear that they're comfortable, though! That's really important in a pair of headphones. :)

Oh, and thanks for the response!
 
Please dont take this the wrong way but the HD201 are very poor (full stop in my opinion) in comparison to the HD600 and HD650 (but should be at the price). You cannot go wrong with those headphones. I have even got good sound out of a laptop headphone out on mp3!!!!! Like a previous poster says maybe you may want to look at the amp/dac combo.

I am a big fan of the Musical Fidelity v3 headamp as it's relatively cheap compared to the others or even a creek amp or even the project headbox works fine with the Senn's if you have good souce music. Of course you can get better but then the costs starts to rise very high.....
 

Laminatedparrot

Standard Member
My choice was never really between the HD595's and the 600/650's. I had to give myself a bit of a push to go up from the HD555's to be honest. I never planned to do any serious listening through them, and i'm only really using them late at night so the extra cost of the higher end phones put them way out of my budget. For me personally, I could spend the money better elsewhere, upgrading some older stuff. I am very happy with them however, and after doing extended listening with them as one of my speakers x-overs broke recently, i can appreciate their sound and comfort. You're probably right about getting better headphones over amp/cheaper phones combo as I imagine the 600/650s will be great whatever. I too read about the 595's harshness, and thought a tube amp would be a good way to mellow them out a bit, but that'll have to wait for funds! Hope you make a choice that you're happy with.
 

southak

Active Member
You're right about the noise problem, but I think I've dealt with that now
How did you deal with this issue? Have you upgraded your 'phones yet? I'd be interested to hear from you if you purchased the Grados. I have the SR125's and was thinking about buying the Bereford DAC/headphone amp you have.

Kevin.
 

dotbenjamin

Standard Member
How did you deal with this issue? Have you upgraded your 'phones yet? I'd be interested to hear from you if you purchased the Grados. I have the SR125's and was thinking about buying the Bereford DAC/headphone amp you have.

Kevin.
The newer Beresfords don't have a hiss, but if yours is noisy, use an in-line volume control set to a reasonably low volume and turn up the output on the DAC to compensate. Because the hiss doesn't increase with volume, you can solve the problem by cranking up the DAC and turning down the in-line controls. It still goes plenty loud enough.

I haven't upgraded my phones yet, but am planning on the Sennheiser HD600 headphones when I do. Comfort is paramount for me, as I'll be using them for long periods, and Grados are notoriously uncomfy. The Senns are known for being amazing to listen to and so and so comfy you forget you're wearing them.
 

Steven

Senior Moderator
I haven't upgraded my phones yet, but am planning on the Sennheiser HD600 headphones when I do. Comfort is paramount for me, as I'll be using them for long periods, and Grados are notoriously uncomfy. The Senns are known for being amazing to listen to and so and so comfy you forget you're wearing them.
As always if you can, then it pays to demo

I went to the Bristol Show to try the Senn HD800 (see my post in the thread) and took my HD600 along. Also went to the Grado stand and had no issues with fit (or the lush sound of the GS1000)
 

southak

Active Member
I have the SR 125s and have no issue at all with comfort or lack thereof. However I used to own a pair of senheiser headphones and they were excellent so whatever you get I'm sure you'll be pleased.
 

anthonylei

Novice Member
I have the Beresford TC-7510 DAC + Little Dot MKIII and HD595

and i have to say, it sounds a lot better with the little dot amp, much warmer sound

I did use the Beresford with the HD 595 for a while and it sounded very neutral. I guess it is a good thing for music
 

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