What to try and where to try them (London)?

Discussion in 'Headphones, Earphones & Portable Music' started by Daneel, Jul 11, 2015.

  1. Daneel

    Daneel
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    I'm getting back into my headphones recently, and want to try some new ones. I currently have:

    - Meier Audio Corda Aria headphone amp - I love this thing!
    - AKG K701 - I like these a lot, but my thinning hair means they aren't very comfortable for long listening periods, and I'd like a bit more bass
    - Sennheiser HD 580 - These are the pair that sit out all the time and are very well worn. I like the sound a lot and they are very comfortable
    - Sennheiser HD 650 - I like these quite a bit, and the clearly have more bass than the 580, but I never felt they were a huge step up
    - Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pro 80 Ohms - Very good for the money but have their issues; treble isn't as smooth as my other headphones
    - Bose Quietcomfort Q20 - My on the go headphones. The absolute sound quality is a far cry from full size headphones, but their size and noise cancelling more than make up for it. I love these.

    The only other quality headphones I've tried are the Beyerdynamic DT 880s. I love the midrange, but found them sibilant which irritates me.

    In terms of headphones I think I'd like to try:
    - HiFiMAN: 400i, 500, 560
    - Audeze LCD-2
    - Sennheiser HD 700 and 800
    - Stax range generally

    For places to try new headphones, I've only found two shops anywhere near me, CustomCable in New Malden, and Adair Acoustic in Barbican - though it seems they are in the process of relocating their showroom.

    Any suggestions for other headphones I might want to listen to, or places to listen to them?

    Thanks! :)
     
  2. Steven

    Steven
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    As a TH900 owner then perhaps the TH600 if you have a bass fetish.

    If you are prepared to travel then there is hifiheadphones.co.uk and hifilounge.co.uk

    Also if you are willing to put up with show/meet conditions then there is London CanJam in August and the National Audio Show outside of Milton Keynes in September

    Do not neglect the source/amp also. Quality components feeding something like the HE560 would be end-game for a lot of people. Other headphones like the HD800 are more marmite and respond to quality.

    Good luck!
     
  3. Daneel

    Daneel
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    Interesting, I've never heard of Fostex before, will investigate :)

    Thanks for the links.

    When you say don't neglect source/amp, you don't think the Corda Aria is sufficient for the headphones I'm looking at? I really like the built in DAC which means I can plug in any PC, and get excellent sound out of it.
     
  4. Steven

    Steven
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    Some headphones scale. For example the Senn HD600/HD650 are almost an obligatory part of the headphone journey and are well known for their scaling abilities. You do not at all need to throw four-figures at a dac/amp but during the course of your investigations it would not hurt to try out your existing headphones on higher end sources
     
  5. Daneel

    Daneel
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    Ok, thanks :)

    I went to the place in New Malden this afternoon; the guy I dealt with was friendly and helpful. It's been a while since I set foot in a hi-fi shop, so this was a pleasant reintroduction.

    I tired:

    AudioQuest NightHawk
    LCD-3
    HE-560
    HD 700
    HD 800
    Oppo PM1/2 (only one, not sure which)
    Stax SR-009 (I think - he said it was the one that wasn't like the rest of the range, but it was the only Stax they had in the shop).

    All except the Stax were driven by the Chord Hugo.

    The headphones that impressed me were the HE-560, the HD 800 and the SR-009 (thought not nearly enough to justify the price difference). I'm not sure I would want to use the HD 800 as every day headphones, they are too unforgiving, but for critical listening I think they'd be excellent. On the flip side, I think I could be very happy with the HE-560.

    The plan is to go back next weekend with my Corda Aira, and see how they sound through that vs. other headamps.

    While I was there, I also had a quick listen to the Kef Blades; they were fantastic! I'm glad I don't have a room anything like suitable for them!
     
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2015
  6. Daneel

    Daneel
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    I've been reading too much, I just ordered the Schiit Magni 2 Uber and Modi 2 Uber stack. The bifrost was tempting, but it's a little large for where I want to put it, and I thought, one step at a time!
     
  7. ChisChas

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    You sorted out your headphone quest yet?
    I'm a AKG fan, if you need more bass then how about the K702/65th Anniversary or K712, both available on Amazon at very sensible prices.
    If you're auditioning HD800's budget wise then I've just upgraded to the fabulous AKG K812's.
    I only use my headphones with my Cowan Plenue 1 or Colorfly C4 Pro DAP's so the more efficient/easier to drive K812's are perfectly suited (the Plenue 1 is a better player than the C4 Pro).
    I'd recommend a visit also to Hi Fi Lounge in Bedfordshire (well worth the journey) as Paul & Wendy Clark now have a dedicated headphone building. Just leave your wallet at home as the temptations are many, unfortunately Paul is not a AKG dealer otherwise I'd have bought my K812's from him.
     
  8. Daneel

    Daneel
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    i have thanks, I bought the HE-560. I didn't get the chance to try the K812 unfortunately, but shall if the opportunity arises :)
     
  9. monkeyfist

    monkeyfist
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    What were the Nighthawks like?
     
  10. Daneel

    Daneel
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    I wasn't impressed, but the guy in the shop loved them, current favourites.
     
  11. monkeyfist

    monkeyfist
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    They are supposed to do things differently. What that means though is a bit criptic.

    You chose the Hifiman 560's, what did they do over the Audeze and Oppo's that made you choose them? I think they are all planar magnetic and wondered what was different.

    I've listened to some Audeze EL8's and oppo PM 1, 2, 3 and was expecting to be wowed compared to my relatively low end sennheiser 595's but was a bit underwelmed.
     
  12. Daneel

    Daneel
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    I think you are right, we are well into diminishing returns at this price range, so the improvements aren't vast over already good headphones. Having said that, there were clear differences in multiple areas, and sometimes (HD800s) it really was night and day, but not always in a completely good way. I was comparing potential new headphones to my HD650s in the shop.

    I don't remember why I rejected the others, some weren't worse than the HE-560s, but they weren't better, and were usually a lot more money. The HE-560s are fairly neutral, with tighter, faster bass than the HD650s, and the highs aren't as rolled off. The mid-range is very transparent, and comfort is excellent (not so with several of the others).

    Overall, they were very good, and felt like a worthwhile, if not value, upgrade from what I already had. The HE560s have become my default, and my daily beaters, an old pair of HD580s which still sound remarkably good, have been sitting on the shelf.
     
  13. Steven

    Steven
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    Do remember the HE560 is often contemplated for its high price > performance ratio. And yes, performance increase and price is not a linear curve
     
  14. Roohster

    Roohster
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    If you're anywhere near central London, The Cornflake Shop is great, but I'd ring first to see what they have in stock.

    Alternatively have a wander along Tottenham Court Road, loads of hifi/Av shops all competing with each other on price.
     
  15. Kinetic Frenzy

    Kinetic Frenzy
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    Not any more there aint. Only a handful remain...
     
  16. Roohster

    Roohster
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    Ah, It's been a while since I was there, such a shame :(
     
  17. Kinetic Frenzy

    Kinetic Frenzy
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    Yes it is a shame, it freaked me out as i hadn't been down TCR for a while - it's like a ghost town in places or at least it was back in March. Less than a shell of it's glory days :(
     

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