Really Need Help On Direction To Go

Discussion in 'Headphones, Earphones & Portable Music' started by Justinsane82, Jun 11, 2009.

  1. Justinsane82

    Justinsane82
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    I'm going to start off by saying that I'm not familiar with what top end headphones sound like or should sound like. As of right now, I'm using a pair of HD212Pro's as I really like my bass. That being said, I'm not happy with the output of these, or any headphones I've tried. A buddy of mine had a boostaroo amp laying around which he let me try out, and that did increase the volume, but from what I've heard, these 212's are supposed to have amazing bass.

    Being that I'm really wanting to put on a pair of headphones and be blown away, I'm not sure what to do. Will I notice a difference if I invest in a good amp and will a good amp provide better results then this boostaroo thing? Should I just go with a higher end set of cans? I've been looking at the Grado line and have read great things, but at the same time, I'm sure I'll need a good amp to drive those.
     
  2. Drubbing

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    Depends what you mean by top end - everyone seems to have a different price point for where it is.

    If bass is your thing, then most top quality phones will not blow you away. They move away from one-note bass, towards a balanced sound. The emphasis is on quality bass (mids and trebles too), not quantity; how deep can it go, how clear, how well defined etc

    THe HD212 is typical of the bass emphasis you find with lower end phones, and being closed backed, they'll sound far bassier than most higher end open backed phones, which sound more natural - and probably a lot of closed one too.

    Amping alone won't make an average phone sound great. If you're not running them on a good source, amping just makes things louder, and can often sound worse; often distorting because you're taking the source and/or phones beyond their limit.

    But you've got to ask if all that is worth it to squeeze a bit more doof from a cheapish phone.

    I labour the point - but SQ is only as good as your worst component; terrific phones won't sound terrific on an iPod or plugged straight into a PC.

    If you do look at more expensive phones, then it can often be best to stick with low impedance phones that are easy to run without an amp. Otherwise they won't return their cost in SQ. Most Grado's don't need amping, but they will like it (given a decent source). THe top end ones really should be amped though.

    Think about where and when you use phones and what with (PC/iPod etc), your budget, and work from there.
     
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2009
  3. Justinsane82

    Justinsane82
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    Thanks for the excellent reply. As far as where and what I'm going to be using the headphones with, they will be completely portable. PC, iPod, iPhone, Creative Zen mp3 players etc...That being said, you don't feel that an amp is where I should go? Can you suggest a pair of headphones that would do well under the conditions I'm going to use them under.
     
  4. r@mside

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    Look for headphones up to around 50ohms impedance, which will be easily driven by the portable devices you've mentioned.

    If you intend to wear them in public or noisy environments, you might want to consider closed back design to give some isolation from external noise and minimise disturbance to people near you.

    Closed, portable, low impedance headphones with strong bass are Denon 1001 and Ultrasone HFI 780. There will be others that I'm not familiar with.

    The Denons will fit on the ear and the Ultrasone will enclose the ear.

    For ultimate portability there are IEMs, a different experience altogether.
     
  5. Drubbing

    Drubbing
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    An amp is superfluous for portable devices when there are hundreds of phones that can run off them easily enough.

    ramside's advice is good. As to what to buy, IEMs (canalphones) are the most portable option and despite their size, the quality ones sound excellent.

    Aside from that, check closed portables in your budget. I always suggest going with brands that only make headphones, as the quality and VFM is usually far better than brands that will sell everything from TVs to fridges.

    Audio Technica, Grado, Beyerdynamic, Koss and Senn to name a few (although Senn make so many products a number of them are quite average).
     
  6. Justinsane82

    Justinsane82
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    What I don't get though is my hd212's are 32ohms as are both the other sets you mentioned, but I know that I need extra juice to fully power the hd's...what am I missing here?
     
  7. Drubbing

    Drubbing
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    I don't know - they should be easy to drive, they're designed with portables in mind. You're not wanting humungous volume to go with the bass are you?

    My previous advice still applies regarding amping portable sources and losing SQ.
     
  8. Justinsane82

    Justinsane82
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    I agree with you on the amp issue, but I just don't want to invest a bunch of money on a set to find out that I'm where I am now ya know what I mean? Everything is telling me to go Grado but there are some that say if you get anything over the 80's, you need more juice. So then I wonder if going with the 80's, would I notice a big difference over my hd212's
     
  9. Drubbing

    Drubbing
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    My Grado experience?

    I have the MS1 (SR125, sold by Alessandro) and they never needed amping; they will respond well to it, but only their top end models need it. I auditioned them with a 2Gb iPod Nano and they were still very good, went plenty loud with no SQ loss. I plugged them straight in my iMac - not as good as iPod (went louder, sounded not as clean). But. They sounded even better when I improved my source and added an amp.

    Which is good if you ever did the same down tha track.
     
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2009
  10. r@mside

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    If bass volume is the only improvement you really need from your current headphones (I can certainly understand your hesitancy at investing a lot of money on other people's opinion) you could try the FiiO 3.

    It's a small headphone amp, but really just a bass booster, for the princely sum of £7 ish. Not a big gamble to pay, if it doesn't work out.

    I've never used one, but google around for reviews and suppliers, there's plenty praise about.
     
  11. Drubbing

    Drubbing
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    If justinsane does only want more bass, then that is the way to go. Quality headphones will disappoint. As I said before, they do quality over quantity.

    Although those Senn's are marketed as bass in your face, so I can't imagine you'd need anymore than what they already have. And that sound they give has nothing to do with giving them power, so any amping won't give more bass, joust louder.
     
  12. Justinsane82

    Justinsane82
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    Ya that's pretty much it really. These headphones are supposed to be full of bass and yet driven by my ipod or computer, I'm not getting much. This boostaroo thing that was lent to me does up the bass a bit, but it's not clean sounding at all.
     

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