Please recommend me a cd / 'phones system for my office

Discussion in 'Headphones, Earphones & Portable Music' started by AndyC_772, Mar 13, 2006.

  1. AndyC_772

    AndyC_772
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2005
    Messages:
    138
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    31
    Ratings:
    +42
    Hi all

    I'm in the fortunate position of having my own office at work, and whilst I'm working away at my PC I often listen to music - usually for around an hour or two a day and at low volume.

    Right now I have a pair of Sennheiser HD25's plugged into my PC, which isn't terribly musical. Sometimes I use my PDA instead, which manages much better sound, though I still can't help but think there's a long way to go. My musical preference is for hard rock and electronic music, so I'd like a clean, accurate sound with good bass extension at low levels.

    So, I'm toying with the idea of putting together a better system specifcally to listen to on headphones. Open-backed 'phones are fine as there's nobody within earshot to disturb. As a source component I'm thinking of either a good dedicated MP3 player, or a small form factor CD player (portable or mains powered) that I can shove under my desk. If that CD player is MP3 capable then so much the better - though it's not the end of the world if I have to bring discs to work provided the sound is worth it.

    Any suggestions for a system that'll work well together? Budget is around £400, but could be flexible if there's a 'killer', must-have product out there that would be ideal, and I don't mind s/h kit.

    TIA
    Andy
     
  2. Reano

    Reano

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2003
    Messages:
    873
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    28
    Location:
    Telford, UK
    Ratings:
    +47
    Well for the sound you want I would go for the Grado's (I'm biased I just love em). Maybe the Grado 125's. If not these then try and get some Sennheiser HD600 for around £100. When you say small form factor CD you may not get the best from those unless it's a cyrus or something but then your budget would be gone. If just music. Get a secondhand 4G Ipod photo 30G or more (loads going on eBay) for about £100 - 150. Ensure you get the dock with line-out (comes with it). The Grado 80 will knock you back £80 - 90 (not sure how much better 125 model is). That should leave you with £150/£160 to play with. So get either a portable amp or see if you can find a headphone amp by musical fidelity V3 (c£200) that goes over your budget by £40 quid but for rock/electronica. You will get a very good sound if you plug the lineout of dock to the portable amp (i'd probably go for this for budget sake) or something like the musical fidelity v3 or creek 21se, project headbox, etc. Then you will be happy :thumbsup: Plus with the Ipod you can store 100's of albums at high bitrates or lossless and so not have to worry about bringing the right CD in, etc.
     
  3. PaulBoy

    PaulBoy
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2000
    Messages:
    1,735
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    51
    Location:
    Surrey UK
    Ratings:
    +87
    Andy - here's an alternative to Reano's above ...
    I agree with the cans (having just bought some Grado's - see my thread about "supra-aural cans" if you want to pick up some "bargain" Grados)
    I have mine hooked up to a Meier Corda Aria headphone amp which is just under £300 - an interesting feature of the Aria is that it has its own DAC built in which means you can hook it up to a PC (I use a laptop) using USB and listen to MP3 WMA FLAC (or whatever format you want) files directly from your PC - for an office it would be a very tidy option :devil:
    The Aria is beautifully made - check it out here & Jan Meier is a great guy to deal with :smashin:
    HTH ... Paul ;)
     
  4. AndyC_772

    AndyC_772
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2005
    Messages:
    138
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    31
    Ratings:
    +42
    Now THAT's a good idea, I like that. Maybe I'll get one of those, try it out with my current Sennheisers, then see about upgrading my cans at a later date.
     
  5. Reano

    Reano

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2003
    Messages:
    873
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    28
    Location:
    Telford, UK
    Ratings:
    +47
    Why do you need to forget the cans. Paul's idea is really good If you can put the songs on your PC, etc and that misses out the ipod so you should have about £100 spare that can get you some Grado 80's maybe even the 125's if you stretch about £10/20 or so more (and you should). The sound is out there are you prepared to hear it ;) I am typically a Jazz, RnB, raggae fan but have been listening to some Led Zepplin and Pink Floyd lately on my Grado's awesome!!
     
  6. AndyC_772

    AndyC_772
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2005
    Messages:
    138
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    31
    Ratings:
    +42
    I don't 'need' to forget the cans, but there's no rush to order them at the same time. I might find that I'm happy for a while with the new DAC/amp on its own, and judging by the improvement I get just switching from my PC's built-in sound card to the headphone socket on my PDA, I know there's a benefit to be had improving the source first.

    When I bought the HD25's they were about £90. Although I did audition some more expensive cans at the time, I didn't actually enjoy the music that much more through them. In other words, I quite like the HD25 sound, and don't believe I'd necessarily benefit much from replacing them with another pair of similarly priced 'phones.

    Besides, maybe in a couple of months I could cough up for a set of SR325i's...
     
  7. Reano

    Reano

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2003
    Messages:
    873
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    28
    Location:
    Telford, UK
    Ratings:
    +47
    Aha and right you are :hiya: always go for the best you can afford hope it improves the sound. The open air phones will sound more natural too. (hey the 325i new is almost the same cost as the RS1 secondhand :devil: )
     
  8. AndyC_772

    AndyC_772
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2005
    Messages:
    138
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    31
    Ratings:
    +42
    Meier Aria ordered, just waiting for the confirmation email now :)
     
  9. PaulBoy

    PaulBoy
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2000
    Messages:
    1,735
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    51
    Location:
    Surrey UK
    Ratings:
    +87
    AndyC - FWIW when I emailed Jan Meier for advice about which supra-aural cans to get that would be a good match for the Aria he recommended the HD25's (although this may have been the more expensive model with split headband) but based on this I reckon your HD25's should sound pretty sweet until the "upgradeitis" kicks in again :devil:
    Paul
     
  10. extremelydodgy

    extremelydodgy
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2004
    Messages:
    2,267
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    51
    Ratings:
    +68
    I wouldn't really consider the HD25 (presuming it's the 25-1 with the single-sided cable) 'stationary phones'. For me they work really well as portables but their sound quality is IMO not fantastic if you take what else they offer (superior isolation, excellent efficiency, light weight, high durability and compact build) out of the equation. I like them for a balance of all the abovementioned attributes but the absolute sound quality that they offer is not that hot.


    Seeing as they'll be well-driven by the Aria, I'll throw in a recommendation for the Sennheiser HD650. I find them pretty agreeable phones on the whole, offering much more sonic capability than an equivalently-priced (even in USD) Grado. Their unaggressive yet capable nature doesn't grate on me as much as the Grat/dos do for long-term listening. Grados have instant "first-listen" appeal due to their upfront sound, but long-term living / comparing reveals many inadequacies. I understand their appeal and it's a simple one... it more or less boils down to: drivers closer to ear = more dynamic sound. (Former RS-1/RS-2/325/80/60 owner)


    The HD650 probably wouldn't be the first thing that the forum browser who considers hard rock would bring up, but the fact is that they do everything pretty well, and more importantly they allow long-term listening without unnecessary fatigue. Once they bed in, it's a headphone you can plonk on your head for hours... something I couldn't say for even the RS-1. The seemingly slight difference between the 'accountant-boring' HD600 and and bassier HD650 does make the latter far more of a musical omnivore, and does actually acquit itself pretty well in all genres.


    I do listen to a fair amount of rock but I'd say more electronica and jazz, and my home office PC headphone is the Sennheiser Orpheus which I find decent for the application... but I somehow doubt you'd want to go that far ;)
     
  11. AndyC_772

    AndyC_772
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2005
    Messages:
    138
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    31
    Ratings:
    +42
    I think I'll give the Orpheus a miss for now, I'd never be able to bring myself to play an MP3 through them :D

    I bought the HD25 (SP, with the nasty Y-cable) about 4 years ago when I shared an open plan office, so good insulation and minimal leakage were a priority. At the time they were a huge improvement over my old 'phones (HD35 I think, not much of a step-up from the kind that used to come with a Walkman). I also tried most of the Sennheiser range just for comparison and didn't find a single one that I didn't like, though open-backed cans would have been a bit anti-social.

    I'm a bit surprised by your comment about the HD600 being boring, as I spent Weds evening doing some research on-line and came up with glowing reviews for that model - and I caved in to temptation and ordered a pair.

    If I'm not impressed, there's always eBay!!
     
  12. PaulBoy

    PaulBoy
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2000
    Messages:
    1,735
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    51
    Location:
    Surrey UK
    Ratings:
    +87
    Andy - although I now have Grado SR225 cans I did have HD600's which I used for a while with the Aria and I had no problem with the sound of this combo albeit the Senn / Aria is quite a "laid back" sound compared to my latest Grado / Aria combo - if you dont get on with the Senns I sold mine here in our FS Forum where there is a very healthy market in all things AV & Hi-Fi ... Paul ;)
     
  13. AndyC_772

    AndyC_772
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2005
    Messages:
    138
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    31
    Ratings:
    +42
    I really shouldn't read these forums so often. I upgraded my order to the HD650 ten minutes ago...
     
  14. NicolasB

    NicolasB
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2002
    Messages:
    6,686
    Products Owned:
    1
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    137
    Location:
    Emily's Shop
    Ratings:
    +1,066
    The HD650s are just lovely. :) Good call.
     
  15. Reano

    Reano

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2003
    Messages:
    873
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    28
    Location:
    Telford, UK
    Ratings:
    +47
    Don't listen to these Sennheiser boys :D Grado's all the way secondhand off eBay and comfort I have em on for 3 - 4 hours some times :D Just let those natural oils of your skin work into the pads :D loler I laugh every time I say that ...... Seriously though you can't go wrong with the Senn HD650's :smashin:
     
  16. AndyC_772

    AndyC_772
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2005
    Messages:
    138
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    31
    Ratings:
    +42
    Eww... not sure I fancy the idea of s/h cans off eBay with someone else's 'natural oils' all over them anyway!
     
  17. Reano

    Reano

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2003
    Messages:
    873
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    28
    Location:
    Telford, UK
    Ratings:
    +47
    Loler You can change the pads loler :rotfl:
     
  18. extremelydodgy

    extremelydodgy
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2004
    Messages:
    2,267
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    51
    Ratings:
    +68

    It's surprising. They are resolving but they are also supremely forgiving due to their almost perfect pleasantness. These days I use Napster a lot (effectively the ultimate CD buying catalogue... highly recommended) so I spend a great deal of time squirting 192K WMA's through them. I'm sure the Orpheus is planning a rebellion by perhaps setting my head on fire eventually, but until that day I find even those low-bitrate files quite palatable and certainly good enough for casual listening. Although it has to be said, Napster does sometimes bite you in the ass by serving up 128K WMA's which is actually quite teeth-rattling on any headphone.
     
  19. AndyC_772

    AndyC_772
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2005
    Messages:
    138
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    31
    Ratings:
    +42
    Glad you enjoy the 'ultimate CD buying catalogue', though it'll be a cold day in hell before I'll voluntarily start buying DRM-crippled media from anywhere - it's a personal bugbear of mine. Thankfully I have slightly unusual taste in music (anyone else into Mexican Industrial music like Amduscia or Hocico?), and the label that publishes most of it thankfully still believes in selling red book compliant CDs at (usually) reasonable prices.
     
  20. extremelydodgy

    extremelydodgy
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2004
    Messages:
    2,267
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    51
    Ratings:
    +68
    Well... that's kind of the point. Looking back, I've bought so much crap in my time that a large part of my CD collection is composed of 'listen and forgets'.


    You don't actually own the music with Napster. You pay a monthly subscription and you can download practically everything they've got without restriction. When you discontinue your subscription, you lose access to the music. What I do is use it as a CD catalogue. I download, then head to Amazon for stuff I like the sound of. It has the potential to cut out a lot of crap-buying in the future.
     

Share This Page

Loading...