Become a Site Supporter and Never see Ads again!

Author Topic: Headphones disillusions  (Read 5330 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline noam

  • Trade Count: (0)
  • Taperssection Regular
  • **
  • Posts: 175
Headphones disillusions
« on: November 27, 2016, 12:22:52 PM »
I've been comparing a lot of high-end cans in the past 2 years and have been consistently underwhelmed. This morning I pulled out my old Sennheiser HD600 - what do these headphones lack? They are as good as it gets. They have an overall better tonal balance than the HD800, the HiFiManHE1000 or any of the $1,8000 and up Audeze. The sound-stage is as good as it gets, the bass perfect, they are not thin, veiled, distant, dark, bright, muddy or empty and are very revealing. Is it possible that an entire consumers' market has been bamboozled into believing that everything that followed was better? I believe only my ears. I use cheap cables and hook them up to a Benchmark DAC1 Pre. I listen only to classical/opera.

Noam
« Last Edit: November 27, 2016, 04:13:58 PM by noam »

Offline OOK

  • Trade Count: (17)
  • Needs to get out more...
  • *****
  • Posts: 2683
  • Gender: Male
  • formerly OtherOneK
Re: Headphones disillusions
« Reply #1 on: November 27, 2016, 01:28:44 PM »
I agree... I unfortunately see the headphone market repeating the sins of the past of the high end audio market.  It's sickening...greed enduced.  Thank God for companies like schiit audio. I also agree let your ears tell you what is good.. ;D
DPA/HEB 4060's > R09HR
MBHO648/KA100Lk/KA200/KA300/KA500 > SD702

Offline scb

  • Eli Manning should die of gonorrhea and rot in hell. Would you like a cookie, son?
  • Trade Count: (10)
  • Needs to get out more...
  • *****
  • Posts: 8515
  • Gender: Male
Re: Headphones disillusions
« Reply #2 on: November 28, 2016, 01:19:21 PM »
I want to hear the Focal Utopia

Offline goodcooker

  • Trade Count: (22)
  • Needs to get out more...
  • *****
  • Posts: 2094
  • Gender: Male
  • goes to 11
Re: Headphones disillusions
« Reply #3 on: November 28, 2016, 04:18:28 PM »

I've been using my Senn HD280s for years. I live alone and I'm not forced to use headphones so I don't use them all that often. But ~10 years of traveling and frequent use and they are still just fine for me straight out of my Focusrite USB interface.
AKG CK1x > tinybox > DR60d
JBmod Nak300 > battbox > MR1

http://www.archive.org/bookmarks/goodcooker

"Are you the Zman?" - fan at Panic 10-08-10 Kansas City

"I don't know who left this perfectly good inflatable wook doll here, but if I'm blowing her up, I'm keeping her." -  hoppedup

Offline raymonda

  • Trade Count: (7)
  • Taperssection All-Star
  • ****
  • Posts: 1335
Re: Headphones disillusions
« Reply #4 on: November 29, 2016, 06:25:56 PM »
My listening experience has told me that headphones have improved. However, I have not experienced any uber expensive headphones to determine their absolute value. I would enjoy the opportunity but at this time my wallet wouldn't.

Offline noam

  • Trade Count: (0)
  • Taperssection Regular
  • **
  • Posts: 175
Re: Headphones disillusions
« Reply #5 on: November 29, 2016, 09:40:41 PM »
I want to hear the Focal Utopia

The December issue of Stereophile has an unusually honest review of $4,000 headphones by Herbert Reichert on page 43. He dares to trash politely the 4,000 Audeze LCD-4, saying their too high impedance make them sound dark, remote, distant; the $4,000 Focal Utopia "empty-sounding", but he likes the $1,000 Focal Elear.

Offline Fatah Ruark (aka MIKE B)

  • Trade Count: (9)
  • Needs to get out more...
  • *****
  • Posts: 8665
  • Gender: Male
    • sloppy.art.ink
Re: Headphones disillusions
« Reply #6 on: November 29, 2016, 11:08:18 PM »
I just purchased the HiFi-Man HE-350's from Massdrop. Retail on them is $300 (got them for $99). Figured for $99 I don't have much to lose

There is NO WAY they are worth $300...and they don't even compare to my Sennheiser HD280 Pro's (also $99).

The Hi-Fi Man headphones sound like a tin can compared to the Sennheiser's. Very little low end. I still want to give them a chance to break in before I get rid of them. Also might pick up a better amp (running the Audioengine D1 now).

-24      -12              -6             0       OVER
||||||||||||||||||||||||||| []  
|||||||||||||||||||||||||||| []

||| MICS:  Beyer CK930 ~ Nevaton MCE400 ~ Countryman B3 |||
||| CABLES: Kind Kables |||
||| PREAMPS: Naiant Tinybox | Naiant Littlebox | Naiant IPA | Church BB |||
||| DECKS: Sound Devices MixPre-6 | Sony M10 |||
||| PLAYBACK: Outlaw Audio RR2150 > Epos ELS8 |||
||| PHOTO: Sony a6000 | Sony 16-50 | Sony 55-210 | Rokinon 14mm | Rokinon 8mm |||
|||Concerts History || LMA Recordings || Live YouTube Channel|||

Offline noam

  • Trade Count: (0)
  • Taperssection Regular
  • **
  • Posts: 175
Re: Headphones disillusions
« Reply #7 on: November 30, 2016, 08:21:55 AM »
I just purchased the HiFi-Man HE-350's from Massdrop. Retail on them is $300 (got them for $99). Figured for $99 I don't have much to lose

There is NO WAY they are worth $300...and they don't even compare to my Sennheiser HD280 Pro's (also $99).

The Hi-Fi Man headphones sound like a tin can compared to the Sennheiser's. Very little low end. I still want to give them a chance to break in before I get rid of them. Also might pick up a better amp (running the Audioengine D1 now).

I had the HiFiMan HE 1000 for 60 days and they sounded like shit, very thin - garbage.

Noam

Offline noahbickart

  • Site Supporter
  • Trade Count: (23)
  • Taperssection All-Star
  • *
  • Posts: 1367
  • Gender: Male
  • Nobody's finished, we ain't even begun
Re: Headphones disillusions
« Reply #8 on: November 30, 2016, 10:19:39 AM »
I just purchased the HiFi-Man HE-350's from Massdrop. Retail on them is $300 (got them for $99). Figured for $99 I don't have much to lose

There is NO WAY they are worth $300...and they don't even compare to my Sennheiser HD280 Pro's (also $99).

The Hi-Fi Man headphones sound like a tin can compared to the Sennheiser's. Very little low end. I still want to give them a chance to break in before I get rid of them. Also might pick up a better amp (running the Audioengine D1 now).

I had the HiFiMan HE 1000 for 60 days and they sounded like shit, very thin - garbage.

Noam

Hmmmm. I really enjoy my he-400 pair.

Then again, I also love my akg k701, which sound totally different.

Then great thing about headphones is ht for not that much $$$ you can have multiple high end transducers. And the WAF is perfect.
Recording:
Capsules: Schoeps mk41v, mk4v, mk22, mk3 & mk8
Cables: 2x nbob KCY, Darktrain 2 and 4 channel KCY extensions:
Preamps:    Naiant Littlebox, Naiant IPA, Naiant PFA
Recorders: Tascam Dr-70d, Sony PCM m10
Home Playback: Mytek Stereo96> Adcom SLC 505> Marantz Ma500 (x2)> Eminent Tech LFT-16; Musical Fidelity xCan v2> Hifiman HE-400
Office Playback: Grace m903> AKG k701

Offline raymonda

  • Trade Count: (7)
  • Taperssection All-Star
  • ****
  • Posts: 1335
Re: Headphones disillusions
« Reply #9 on: November 30, 2016, 11:35:21 AM »
I've found that given a good headphone amp the HE 400 are my preferred headphones and are head and shoulders better than AKG 701, 702 or Senn 600's, all of which I have owned. They are much more like listening to speakers than headphones, too.

Senn 280's are okay on-location headphones but they are not for me, as they are bandwidth limited and murky sounding. Even AT ATM50's are better sounding than 280's on almost every level.

I guess it goes to show that folks really do hear things differently.
 

Offline Gutbucket

  • record > listen > revise technique
  • Trade Count: (13)
  • Needs to get out more...
  • *****
  • Posts: 11123
  • Gender: Male
Re: Headphones disillusions
« Reply #10 on: December 01, 2016, 11:05:58 AM »
I dig my Senn HD600 and HD650 'phones most.  Yes, a good headphone amp extracts the nth degree of optimality with them, but I'm totally happy just plugging them directly into whatever the source happens to be.  Often that's one of the recorders I'm currently using- DR2d, DR680, R-44, and frequently I'm driving both at the same time through a simple 'Y' cable so a friend can also listen.

I picked up the 650s new for $250 on sale about 9 years ago, and the 600's secondhand for less than that (can't recall) from another member here more recently.  The HD600s are completely stock.  I modified the 650's a bit early on, replacing the foam over the drivers with thinner polyester stocking material, and extracting a small piece of damping foam from the center of the driver cup (a non-reversible mod) which in combination make a subtle but to me significant tweak in slightly greater clarity and presence which puts them right where I like them to be.  And those attributes also describe the difference I hear between the 600s and the 650s as well.  The 600s are very nicely balanced and something of a standard reference headphone for good reason.  I do enjoy the slight bottom and top end extension of the 650's though, which often makes for the best personal listening fit for my own recordings.  I should replace the headband cushion foam on the 650's which is now totally flat, but I'm totally happy listening to either. 

The other primary phones I have are universal fit in-ears suitable for environments requiring isolation, or when a smaller more portable solution is required-

I've two sets of Etymotic ER4 I've had for 15 or more years which I like alot but are currently packed away.  I use them with my own modified expanding foam earplugs which maximize their environmental isolation and low frequency extension.  In overall sound quality in a quiet environment they are a step down from the open back Senns, but not by much.  They are my highly-isolating in-ear reference, but less convenient due to needing the foam plugs.  I think those were about $250 a pair at the time, which seems to be my sweet spot for "good" headphones. 

The in-ear set I currently use frequently is a set of Audio Technica ATH-ANC3 active noise cancellation in-ears with silicone flange tips.  Those I use frequently for travel, in the office for listening on the computer or whatever.  Not quite the same sound quality as the Senns (or the Etys as I recall), but very good overall and I've been quite pleased with them.  Their active cancellation is excellent in reducing environmental rumble significantly beyond the isolation capability of the silicone tips alone (HVAC, car/plane noise, etc).   Somewhat unusual to find active cancellation in an in-ear, but I chose them because of that feature and am quite happy with it.  I originally had high hopes in using them as "active ear-plugs" at loud concerts with their active noise cancellation reducing low bass and subwoofer leakage beyond the capability of even well-fitted foam earplugs alone, but unfortunately the cancellation circuit doesn't have sufficient headroom capability for those kinds of levels and clips when overstressed in a situation where that functionality would be useful.  I've thought of finding another pair and trying to modify the circuit, as I think it has potential as an  audiophile ear-plug solution for concert hearing protection.  But that's a back burner project that's long been on hold.  I think I originally picked them up from Sound Professionals for $60 or $70 along with an original R-09 back in '06 or '07 or so.

I've never tried any of the the multi-driver IEMs, either universal or custom fitted. 

I've also not tried any Adez, LCD, or HiFiMan open-back circumaural phones, although I'd like to, all of which  came to market surfaced after search for serious phones which lead me to the Senns.  At the time, I didn't care for the AKGs I tried which sounded over bright, or most Grados which sounded over-present and were uncomfortable.  I really loved the Stax phones I tried, but didn't want to deal with electrostatics and the price was out of my range.

volition > vibrations > voltages > numeric values | numeric values > voltages > vibrations > virtual teleportation time-machine experience

Offline noam

  • Trade Count: (0)
  • Taperssection Regular
  • **
  • Posts: 175
Re: Headphones disillusions
« Reply #11 on: December 01, 2016, 11:31:37 AM »
This post may be medical and boring, but it deals with an issue I've been obsessing over for ever.

I play my music through speakers 99.9999% of the time, and extremely loud - the walls sake. It rarely results in tinnitus.

When I use headphones for more than one hour, even at moderate levels, I get tinnitus. Medical stuff: the high-pitched noise you hear when you have tinnitus is the hair-cell in the cochlea firing randomly because it's under distress. Each hair-cell is responsible for a different pitch, the pitch that you hear in tinnitus is the pitch of the suffering hair-cell, and in my case it is extremely high pitched. There is no cure for permanent tinnitus (which, thankfully, I don't have).

I have been wondering why I don't hear about headphone users suffering from tinnitus after using cans for hours. AFAIK the warning that "listening to headphones for more than one hour a week can result in hearing loss" is still in place. So why do I experience tinnitus so easily with cans?

My theory is that I still have a lot of intact high frequency inner ear hair-cells (dead hair-cells do not produce tinnitus). I have always protected my hearing fanatically - I have been wearing earplugs for about 9 hours a day for the past 42 years, and a pitch testing CD shows I can still hear up to 13K. I run this test on anyone who lets me, and I have yet to meet anyone who can hear up to 13K, even 20 year olds.

Anyone has this problem?

Noam

Offline Gutbucket

  • record > listen > revise technique
  • Trade Count: (13)
  • Needs to get out more...
  • *****
  • Posts: 11123
  • Gender: Male
Re: Headphones disillusions
« Reply #12 on: December 01, 2016, 11:38:05 AM »
Yes.  I think it has to do with certain phone/ear resonances which are not excited to the same degree with speakers that are not close-coupled to the ear.  I think it meshes with what I've been typing as you posted..

I guess it goes to show that folks really do hear things differently.
^
This. I think it's more strongly the case with headphones than speakers due to the close-coupling with the ears. 

Given a good quality 'phone that has a appropriate base-line response capability, I think there is huge potential in applying personal corrective EQ.  The trick is achieving the correct personal calibration.  I've intended to contact David Griesinger to request his experimental EQ calibration software. 

Basically the idea is to calibrate the response through the headphone so that it is identical to that of a flat-response speaker placed directly in front of the listener.  This corrects for both the listener's personal HTRF response as well as correcting the response of the headphones themselves and reportedly achieves a realistic out of head soundstage for most listeners (fortunately I have little problem hearing an out-of-head soundstage with the Senns).  As a penultimate acoustician, Greisinger prefers calibrating using microphones at the eardrum (via small flexible tubes), but says good results can be achieved more simply by comparison of white-noise timbre reproduced both ways (front speaker and 'phones), and careful adjustment to make the phones match the speaker.  He states on his site-

"The headphone equalization software is still a work in progress, and progress is slow. But it might be useful in its current form. Email me if you might be interested in trying it. To work best you must provide a Windows computer with an at least two channel ASIO audio interface, and a loudspeaker that can be equalized to be frequency flat to pink noise on-axis, or who's frequency response in 1/3 octave bands can be measured. The app provides the pink noise. A subject sits with their head close to the speaker axis and adjusts for their individual equal loudness curve for 1/3 octave band noise by comparing the loudness of each band to a 500Hz reference. Once their equal loudness curve is known, any headphone can be equalized by repeating the procedure with the headphone instead of speaker. The app then lets you hear pink noise or music through your own individual equalization.

8/18/15

We are currently working on an app for headphone equalization that uses an equal-loudness method. The app is getting pretty useful. I have been able to use it with several headphones and get them close enough to my own hearing to have excellent results reproducing my binaural recordings. These include my favorite Sennheiser 250-2 noise cancelling headphones, the Sennheiser 600s, AKG 701s, and a pair of insert headphones that came free with a Sony ICD SX1000 micro recorder. After eq they sound similar, but not identical. Binaural recordings heard through the circumaural phones sounded pleasant, but lacked the sense of presence and reality that were achieved with the on-ear phones and the insert phones. Circumaural phones, as are currently preferred for binaural playback have too many resonances inside the cup and concha to be equalized with a 1/3 octave approach, and too much variability each time you put them on to be equalized mathematically.

Prompted by this work I decided to make a short video which describes how to make probe microphones from a readily available lavaliere microphone from Audio Technica. I uploaded the video to a private YouTube address: http://youtu.be/2yYFND4lbAs

I also put on this site a folder that contains the Matlab scripts I use for making impulse responses from sine sweeps. Using the files in the folder you can make impulse responses without Matlab by using Audition, although you will not be able to invert the responses. However an inverse response IR can be made by using the parametric equalizer in Audition to manually equalize the test impulse response to flat. Tedious, but it works. The folder is in www.davidgriesinger.com/probes/sweep_folder.zip."


volition > vibrations > voltages > numeric values | numeric values > voltages > vibrations > virtual teleportation time-machine experience

Offline Gutbucket

  • record > listen > revise technique
  • Trade Count: (13)
  • Needs to get out more...
  • *****
  • Posts: 11123
  • Gender: Male
Re: Headphones disillusions
« Reply #13 on: December 01, 2016, 12:03:59 PM »
However, I've not emailed D. Greisinger or pursued my own calibration, partly because I got onboard early with the Kickstarter campaign for this- http://www.smyth-research.com/ when it was about $800 (thus breaking my personal headphone price ceiling) which does all that and much more.

I've posted before about demoing an earlier less-extensive version of this device at a CanJam event back in 2009 (when I was seriously shopping open backed phones) and how it completely floored me.  After being personally calibrated (using mics placed in foam earplugs), music through the headphones sounded so identical to music through the speakers in the room in which the calibration was made that it was essentially impossible to tell a difference. This is where huge gains stand to be made in the near future, a quantum leap past the comparatively minor differences between different brands of high-quality headphones.  The main problem I see restraining widespread adoption of this technology is the need for personal calibration, which is required for it to work so well, and precisely why it does.

After that experience I considered sticking my PDA 4060s in my ears to make 4-way binaural impulse responses of myself sitting in front of my main listening system- one impulse response per speaker for each ear, four total, which would not do everything the Realiser does (no head tracking, only two channels, etc) and would require a computer and player with an convolution plugin for listening, but would be a poor-man's DIY version of what was back then a $3500 device.
volition > vibrations > voltages > numeric values | numeric values > voltages > vibrations > virtual teleportation time-machine experience

Offline scb

  • Eli Manning should die of gonorrhea and rot in hell. Would you like a cookie, son?
  • Trade Count: (10)
  • Needs to get out more...
  • *****
  • Posts: 8515
  • Gender: Male
Re: Headphones disillusions
« Reply #14 on: December 05, 2016, 08:26:15 AM »
I want to hear the Focal Utopia

The December issue of Stereophile has an unusually honest review of $4,000 headphones by Herbert Reichert on page 43. He dares to trash politely the 4,000 Audeze LCD-4, saying their too high impedance make them sound dark, remote, distant; the $4,000 Focal Utopia "empty-sounding", but he likes the $1,000 Focal Elear.

I had read nothing but rave reviews of the Utopia until you said this

Offline noam

  • Trade Count: (0)
  • Taperssection Regular
  • **
  • Posts: 175
Re: Headphones disillusions
« Reply #15 on: December 05, 2016, 08:31:05 AM »
I want to hear the Focal Utopia

The December issue of Stereophile has an unusually honest review of $4,000 headphones by Herbert Reichert on page 43. He dares to trash politely the 4,000 Audeze LCD-4, saying their too high impedance make them sound dark, remote, distant; the $4,000 Focal Utopia "empty-sounding", but he likes the $1,000 Focal Elear.

I had read nothing but rave reviews of the Utopia until you said this

I saw 2 more reviews that preferred the Elear over the Utopia, one was a video and I can't remember where I read the other, but it stated that the Elear have a more "exciting" sound.

Noam

Offline dabbler

  • Trade Count: (0)
  • Taperssection Regular
  • **
  • Posts: 199
Re: Headphones disillusions
« Reply #16 on: December 08, 2016, 03:52:43 AM »
The HD600 and HD650 are my all-time favorite headphones for the majority of my listening, too.  The main weakness they have is distortion in the bass region, which can make them sound slow and muddy on my head-baffled omni recordings.  I suppose bass distortion makes studio recordings sound more realistic, and I've read the latest HD800S uses the same trick to improve perceived bass response over the original HD800.

But I often prefer the original HD800 because their bass is better defined due to low distortion.  The bass is not louder, but clearer than any other headphone I've tried.  That works out great for head-baffled omni recordings I make.  I don't find the highs or resonance annoying like many do: I suppose my sideburns tame the ringing; and I EQ the hell out of the highs on DPA 406x recordings regardless.

The HD800 is a lab microscope.  An incredibly detailed tool for analyzing and spotting faults in my own recording and editing; but not something I would use to enjoy less-than-impeccable sources with.

The other great thing about he former/present flagship Sennheiser models is the availability of replacement parts.  Not just foam pieces and cables, but drivers, carbon fiber frames, and grilles, too.  Just call them directly.


But IMHO, the best bang-for-the-buck is still the $15 Koss KSC75.  I use them when I'm away from full-sized cans and speakers.  Bass is even more distorted than the Sennheisers HD6X0, but all the mids are right where they need to be.  Wearing them under a beanie or headband improves the clamp and bass response.  Lifetime warranty, too :)

Offline page

  • Site Supporter
  • Trade Count: (25)
  • Needs to get out more...
  • *
  • Posts: 8389
  • Gender: Male
  • #TeamRetired
Re: Headphones disillusions
« Reply #17 on: December 16, 2016, 12:35:06 AM »
The HD600 and HD650 are my all-time favorite headphones for the majority of my listening, too.  The main weakness they have is distortion in the bass region, which can make them sound slow and muddy on my head-baffled omni recordings.  I suppose bass distortion makes studio recordings sound more realistic, and I've read the latest HD800S uses the same trick to improve perceived bass response over the original HD800.

But I often prefer the original HD800 because their bass is better defined due to low distortion.  The bass is not louder, but clearer than any other headphone I've tried.  That works out great for head-baffled omni recordings I make.  I don't find the highs or resonance annoying like many do: I suppose my sideburns tame the ringing; and I EQ the hell out of the highs on DPA 406x recordings regardless.

The HD800 is a lab microscope.  An incredibly detailed tool for analyzing and spotting faults in my own recording and editing; but not something I would use to enjoy less-than-impeccable sources with.

I agree with this assessment in many ways regarding the flagship Senns. The 600s are my favorite; lightly low on bass and mildly cloudy (the 800s weren't but had their own nuances I wasn't fond of), but yeah, a great all arounder and priced wonderfully.

Since almost 2005 I haven't had speakers cause I've lived in apartments so I've cycled through a number of amplifiers, and cans. Currently, my wife uses my old Denon D7000s which were modified to give a slightly more balanced response. She uses them for piano and i agree, they were magnificent in that application as they also are for many forms of rock music or funk. I went to the Audeze LCD-2 a while ago and haven't looked back (orthos for lyfe). They are the most sterile and clear headphones I've heard in terms of hearing small details in sharp relief and I've been to a couple of head-fi meetups. I drive them with an SPL Phonitor Mini which creates such a transient and bass response that it's almost nauseatingly intoxicating to listen to for any period of time. Now, I'm totally cool with that because I'm a member of team DPA (without using a psp2/sax/etc to dirty the sound or soundstage) so ymmv. Were they worth it? To me, given my current living constraints, yes (totally). Would I do it if I also had a hifi-sound system? Probably not. I have zero interest in the LCD-3/4; too rich for what my aging ears can differentiate and I could use that cash for something else, but I don't regret the $900 or so I dropped on the LCD-2.
"This is a common practice we have on the bus; debating facts that we could easily find through printed material. It's like, how far is it today? I think it's four hours, and someone else comes in at 11 hours, and well, then we'll... just... talk about it..." - Jeb Puryear

"Nostalgia ain't what it used to be." - Jim Williams

Offline Gutbucket

  • record > listen > revise technique
  • Trade Count: (13)
  • Needs to get out more...
  • *****
  • Posts: 11123
  • Gender: Male
Re: Headphones disillusions
« Reply #18 on: December 16, 2016, 09:09:45 AM »
[I agree with this assessment in many ways regarding the flagship Senns. The 600s are my favorite; lightly low on bass and mildly cloudy[snip]

Good description. A slight subjective improvement in those two specific areas are why I gravitate to the 650s over of the 600s.  And the modifications I did to my 650s tweaked their mildly cloudy aspect a bit further. 

I'll keep my ears open for a chance to listen through the LCD2.
volition > vibrations > voltages > numeric values | numeric values > voltages > vibrations > virtual teleportation time-machine experience

Offline weroflu

  • Trade Count: (3)
  • Taperssection Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 311
Re: Headphones disillusions
« Reply #19 on: December 16, 2016, 02:00:09 PM »
Hmmm...

Page: Have you ever listened to beyer dt48? I had a pair for a few years and they were sort of exactly what people had described. At first you hate them because there is almost no bass. Then you acclimate to the lack of bass and the lack of distortion/clarity in the mids and highs is (insert superlative).  I got rid of them because the  earpads kept coming off. Replaced with beyer t51p, not even close but I'm glad to have something very portable. The muddiness of the newer beyers (also had some dt770's) was never apparent to me until spending time with the 48's. Long story short, I'd be interested in comparisons between the dt48's and any reasonably good planars.

I'm almost sure I'm going to like planars a lot, but never really thought of them as clinical (in the good way) until I read what you said about the lcd-2. I guess I'm looking for an excuse to get some good planars.

Offline page

  • Site Supporter
  • Trade Count: (25)
  • Needs to get out more...
  • *
  • Posts: 8389
  • Gender: Male
  • #TeamRetired
Re: Headphones disillusions
« Reply #20 on: December 16, 2016, 07:36:49 PM »
Hmmm...

Page: Have you ever listened to beyer dt48? I had a pair for a few years and they were sort of exactly what people had described. At first you hate them because there is almost no bass. Then you acclimate to the lack of bass and the lack of distortion/clarity in the mids and highs is (insert superlative).  I got rid of them because the  earpads kept coming off. Replaced with beyer t51p, not even close but I'm glad to have something very portable. The muddiness of the newer beyers (also had some dt770's) was never apparent to me until spending time with the 48's. Long story short, I'd be interested in comparisons between the dt48's and any reasonably good planars.

I'm almost sure I'm going to like planars a lot, but never really thought of them as clinical (in the good way) until I read what you said about the lcd-2. I guess I'm looking for an excuse to get some good planars.

I actually haven't. I had a chance once at a meetup and passed on it to hear the HD800. Not all planars are created/sound equal. The HifiMan set are the Grados of planars, you either like that sound signature or you don't. As Gutbucket has noted; go to a head-fi meetup. Some folks are sort of out there in terms of judging gear, but it's a great chance to take a few studio and audience recordings you *really* know well and run tracks through their paces. I picked 4 tracks when I did mine and listened to about a minute of each on various setups. It was worth the 2 hour drive each way to the DC area to do it.

Outside of the bass slam and transient response that I get pairing them with a solid amp, there isn't anything magical about the cans; they just show you whats there really well. Some stuff is sort of ugly (the Dave's Picks recordings from the 70s being textbook examples; fun to listen to, but you hear all the warts), but on great material, it's sublime.
"This is a common practice we have on the bus; debating facts that we could easily find through printed material. It's like, how far is it today? I think it's four hours, and someone else comes in at 11 hours, and well, then we'll... just... talk about it..." - Jeb Puryear

"Nostalgia ain't what it used to be." - Jim Williams

Offline noam

  • Trade Count: (0)
  • Taperssection Regular
  • **
  • Posts: 175
Re: Headphones disillusions
« Reply #21 on: December 21, 2016, 04:59:43 PM »
I made an impulsive purchase on Massdrop of the Sennheiser HD6XX (=650) and I just received them. I compared them A-B with the 600 on both jacks of the Benchmark (playing Verdi's Otello and Strauss' Salome). Straight out of the box the 600 sound more high pitched and colored than the 6XX. Why not say that the 6XX are more low pitched in timbre and colored? Because for some reason the color of the 6XX sounds more natural. Also, the 6XX have deeper, better bass, significantly more detail, especially in the bass, better, clearer soundstage. Everything sounds significantly better within 60 seconds of comparing.

All these are improvements over a product that I previously judged perfect (the 600). When I checked the HD800 I thought they were garbage out of the box. And then, all this doesn't matter, because if I start really using headphones for more than 20 minutes a day I will get tinnitus. But these 6XX cans really beckon...

Offline fivedollarbill

  • Trade Count: (0)
  • Taperssection Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 45
Re: Headphones disillusions
« Reply #22 on: December 22, 2016, 02:54:01 AM »
^ Your HD6xx might warm up after you burn them in. I used to think burn in was silly talk but a pair of HD600 I once owned warmed up nicely after 60 hours or so.  I've also had cans that didn't change much at all with burn in.

Offline ts

  • Trade Count: (49)
  • Needs to get out more...
  • *****
  • Posts: 2679
  • Gender: Male
Re: Headphones disillusions
« Reply #23 on: December 22, 2016, 10:37:35 AM »
I made an impulsive purchase on Massdrop of the Sennheiser HD6XX (=650) and I just received them. I compared them A-B with the 600 on both jacks of the Benchmark (playing Verdi's Otello and Strauss' Salome). Straight out of the box the 600 sound more high pitched and colored than the 6XX. Why not say that the 6XX are more low pitched in timbre and colored? Because for some reason the color of the 6XX sounds more natural. Also, the 6XX have deeper, better bass, significantly more detail, especially in the bass, better, clearer soundstage. Everything sounds significantly better within 60 seconds of comparing.

All these are improvements over a product that I previously judged perfect (the 600). When I checked the HD800 I thought they were garbage out of the box. And then, all this doesn't matter, because if I start really using headphones for more than 20 minutes a day I will get tinnitus. But these 6XX cans really beckon...

I missed this drop. Hope they add more. $200 is insane.

Offline Gutbucket

  • record > listen > revise technique
  • Trade Count: (13)
  • Needs to get out more...
  • *****
  • Posts: 11123
  • Gender: Male
Re: Headphones disillusions
« Reply #24 on: December 22, 2016, 01:23:45 PM »
I missed this drop. Hope they add more. $200 is insane.

If so please post here, thanks.  I'd like to pick up a second pair but don't monitor Massdrop regularly.
volition > vibrations > voltages > numeric values | numeric values > voltages > vibrations > virtual teleportation time-machine experience

Offline ts

  • Trade Count: (49)
  • Needs to get out more...
  • *****
  • Posts: 2679
  • Gender: Male
Re: Headphones disillusions
« Reply #25 on: December 22, 2016, 05:14:21 PM »
I missed this drop. Hope they add more. $200 is insane.

If so please post here, thanks.  I'd like to pick up a second pair but don't monitor Massdrop regularly.

They sold 5000 in the first drop and have requests for 35000 more. If they do have another at that price they will sell out in seconds. It also seems the price in this drop has lowered the 650 from $499 to $315. I even saw new for $299.

Offline Craig T

  • Trade Count: (8)
  • Needs to get out more...
  • *****
  • Posts: 4222
    • LMA
Re: Headphones disillusions
« Reply #26 on: December 23, 2016, 12:47:13 PM »
The price fluctuates on the 650.  I bought mine new for $299 earlier this year.  Great cans!
Schoeps cmc6/4v / Line Audio CM3, OM1 / ADK A51 / Church Audio CA-14
Naiant Tinybox v2.2 / NBox(P) / Apogee Mini-MP / Church Audio ST9200 / CA-UGLY
Sony PCM-M10 / Tascam DR-70D

Offline capnhook

  • All your llamas are belong to us....
  • Site Supporter
  • Trade Count: (17)
  • Needs to get out more...
  • *
  • Posts: 3261
  • All your llamas are belong to us....
Re: Headphones disillusions
« Reply #27 on: December 23, 2016, 01:18:47 PM »
Great thread.  Got a near-minty HD600 200ohm version on fleaBay, really impressed by them.

Thanks y'all for putting me in the right direction on these.
Proud member of the reality-based community

BSCS-L->JB-mod NAK CM-300 (CP-1,-3)->LSD2->CA CAFS-Omni->Sony ECM-907**Apogee MiniMe Rev. C->CA Ugly II->Oade line-mod SBM1**Edirol OCM R-44->Tascam DR-22WL->Sony TCD-D8


"Don't ever take an all or nothing attitude when it comes to making a difference
and being beautiful and making the world a beautiful place through your actions.
Every little bit is registered.  Every little bit.  So be as beautiful as you can as often as you can"

"It'll never be over, 'till we learn."
 
"My dream is to get a bus and get the band and just go coast to coast. Just about everything else except music, is anti-musical.  That's it.  Music's the thing." - Jeb Puryear

Offline noam

  • Trade Count: (0)
  • Taperssection Regular
  • **
  • Posts: 175
Re: Headphones disillusions
« Reply #28 on: December 23, 2016, 06:58:24 PM »
I compared the HD6XX to my speakers. I will never get used to headphones. Headphones are more analytical and provide a ton of tiny detail - I can identify different tracks and spliced in takes. Most of the details are annoying and "too much information". But with the speakers I get a better overall sense of the hall ambiance and it's better integrated. And then there is one quality that only the speakers give me, and that is the most important factor. I thought hard how to describe it. Speakers give me the feeling a real singer is standing on a real stage in a real hall and the voice has the impact of a real voice, a real violin, a real orchestra. It's like speakers have more body, but not in the timbral sense - they have more body like a real living creature has more body than the projection of an image of same on a wall. With headphones I have the feeling it's very sophisticated electronic wizardry but I never forget the presence of the headphones. Speakers disappear. And then there is the elemental deceit which is that IMO headphones compress the dynamics, which is why they can be so analytical.

Offline scrtaper

  • Trade Count: (2)
  • Taperssection Regular
  • **
  • Posts: 75
  • Gender: Male
Re: Headphones disillusions
« Reply #29 on: December 23, 2016, 11:55:58 PM »
I have always enjoyed Grados, just a suggestion
When I'm dead, I want to be remembered as a musician of some worth and substance
Freddie Mercury

Offline F.O.Bean

  • Is a 4 channel slut and
  • Trade Count: (117)
  • Needs to get out more...
  • *****
  • Posts: 40442
  • Gender: Male
  • Taperus Maximus
Re: Headphones disillusions
« Reply #30 on: December 27, 2016, 06:48:48 AM »
Ive wanted to get a HQ pair of cans for awhile now! I just got a Massdrop email for the HiFiMan 350's for $99! Seems like a great deal to me. But I've heard from other VERY reputable tapers that I want the Grado SR225E's for around $180-$200! Personally, Ive ALWAYS been a Sennheiser guy, because I loved the HD280 Pro's I owned in the past. And after hearing Tonedeaf's HD600/650/800[I forget], I was BLOWN AWAY and wanted a pair of the HD595/600/650/800 ever since then lol ;D

So now I'm not sure which way to go honestly? Senn HDxxx's, Grado SR225E's, or HiFiMan 350's? I REALLY wish that I could DEMO the different models, but that's unfortunately NOT how things work :P And I do NOT have or will spend more than $200 at the moment, since I'm ONLY using these to listen/master my recordings at home! My Monster iSport $150 earbuds are for monitoring live because they're SOOOOO much more compact than a pair of cans, and I only use them to make sure I have clean/good signals/levels :) So whatever cans I do get, should stay in pristine shape for MANY years, since they will RARELY be leaving my house, if ever ;) And I'll be buying a hardcase on eBay to fit whatever I get as well, so that should also help keep them in great shape!

I much prefer flat/neutral headphones/earbuds like the old Senn HD280 Pro's that I owned, along with the current Monster iSport's that I have now FWIW, if that'll help narrow down what yinz suggest? :) I remember the lowend/bass and mids/highs being damn near orgasmic and clean/neutral when I heard Tonedeaf's pair of HD 600/650/800's awhile back! And I'd also rather NOT have to upgrade the earpads immediately either! So a pair of cans with earpads that I'll love STOCK would also be great for me ;) My buddy Dan said that his Grado 100 earpads need replaced after 25 years of service, so that's what I'm talking about right there. Earpads that I don't need to replace for 25 years like the Grado's foam would be really nice! That's why as of right now, the Grado SR225E's have my eye, and for $180/Shipped online, not too bad at all IMO! Especially if they last for 25+ years with the stock earpads!

So overall, I want a nice/HQ pair of cans with nice STOCK earpads, that sound neutral/flat :) Thanks in advance fellas! I'd LOVE to hear your thoughts & opinions on what you think and enjoy personally!
Bean
« Last Edit: December 27, 2016, 06:50:59 AM by F.O.Bean »
Schoeps MK4's & MK41's ->
Schoeps | NBob 250/05 KCY's ->
Schoeps VMS02IB | Naiant +60v PFA's ->
DarkTrain Right Angle Stubby XLR's ->
Tascam DR-70D's ->
128gb & 64gb SanDisk Extreme Pro SD Cards

FiiO E10K DAC/HP Amp & E11K HP Amp ->
Sony MDR-7506 Cans & SA-VA15 Speakers | Monster iSport Victory Earbuds

http://www.archive.org/bookmarks/diskobean | http://www.archive.org/bookmarks/Bean420 | http://bt.etree.org/mytorrents.php

Offline Gutbucket

  • record > listen > revise technique
  • Trade Count: (13)
  • Needs to get out more...
  • *****
  • Posts: 11123
  • Gender: Male
Re: Headphones disillusions
« Reply #31 on: December 27, 2016, 09:03:51 AM »
I think you have 3 options:
1) Go with what you already know works for you.
2) Figure out some way to listen to whatever you are considering buying before committing. 
3) Buy something you are not familiar with but is within your cost constraint with every intention of reselling them.  If you luck out and they work well for you hang on to them, but go into it expecting to resell them to avoid disappointment. 

Both the sound and the fit of Grado is very different than Sennheiser.  Until you actually try them yourself you won't know if you'll love them or if they will constantly annoy you.
volition > vibrations > voltages > numeric values | numeric values > voltages > vibrations > virtual teleportation time-machine experience

Offline fivedollarbill

  • Trade Count: (0)
  • Taperssection Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 45
Re: Headphones disillusions
« Reply #32 on: December 27, 2016, 09:13:03 PM »
Both the sound and the fit of Grado is very different than Sennheiser.  Until you actually try them yourself you won't know if you'll love them or if they will constantly annoy you.

So true.  On fit alone, Grado's are very annoying to me...something I can't ever get past in the four or five times I've sampled a pair.

Offline jlykos

  • Trade Count: (6)
  • Needs to get out more...
  • *****
  • Posts: 4413
  • Gender: Male
  • Don't sweat the technique
Re: Headphones disillusions
« Reply #33 on: December 28, 2016, 08:38:16 AM »
Bean,

If you have a hard $200 limit and want the headphones for primarily mastering purposes, I would look at the Audio-Technica ATH-M50x. They are well within your price range and do not need an amplifier. They're probably the best option for under $200 for mastering purposes.

If you want something for personal listening and around your price range, look at the NAD Viso HP50. They list for around $250, but you can find refurbished sets for around $200. They do not need an amplifier either and sound fantastic. More for listening rather than mastering, but can probably be pressed into service for either purpose.

I'm not sure if I would master recordings with a set of Grados. Actually, I am sure, I would not do this. There are better options out there for the money. Also, I don't know what is your reference, but those Monster iSports are far from neutral. I had a pair briefly (despite their name, they are ill-suited for sport), and found them to have very overemphasized bass. You may want to look at some of the models by Etymotics for location mastering, although I have found headphones or earphones totally useless for rock concert monitoring because the SPLs pumped out by the PA systems usually completely overwhelm the earphones and you need to jack up the earphone volumes to dangerous levels to monitor. I would keep a pair on me to see if sound was coming out from the recorder and that was about it. Set levels visually at that point.
dpa 4061 > Church Audio 9200 > Sony PCM-D50 (Moon Audio Silver Dragon v3 interconnect)

"I have no views," Mickey Melchiondo, known as Dean Ween, said in a philosophical moment. "I am way too stupid. I have no strong feelings about anything. I'm really into television and the computer. I believe everything I see on TV and read on the Internet."

Offline nolamule

  • Trade Count: (19)
  • Taperssection Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 435
  • where's my mule?
Re: Headphones disillusions
« Reply #34 on: December 28, 2016, 12:06:39 PM »
Anyone have any experience with Ultrasone? I have been looking at pair of Pro 900i. I will be in NYC this weekend and will try to test drive a pair at B&H or Adorama.

Also has anyone seen this: http://www.head-fi.org/t/634201/battle-of-the-flagships-58-headphones-compared
« Last Edit: December 28, 2016, 12:12:03 PM by nolamule »

Offline noam

  • Trade Count: (0)
  • Taperssection Regular
  • **
  • Posts: 175
Re: Headphones disillusions
« Reply #35 on: December 28, 2016, 12:12:48 PM »
Anyone have any experience with Ultrasone? I have been looking at pair of Pro 900i. I will be in NYC this weekend and will try to test drive a pair at B&H or Adorama.

I got the Ultrasone Edition 8 RUTHENIUM Closed-Back Headphones for $950 in 2012. They were metallic, complete garbage, worse than $50 cans I had and I returned them despite a 15% restocking fee.

Noam

Offline fivedollarbill

  • Trade Count: (0)
  • Taperssection Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 45
Re: Headphones disillusions
« Reply #36 on: December 31, 2016, 07:13:09 PM »
I've been comparing a lot of high-end cans in the past 2 years and have been consistently underwhelmed. This morning I pulled out my old Sennheiser HD600 - what do these headphones lack? They are as good as it gets. They have an overall better tonal balance than the HD800, the HiFiManHE1000 or any of the $1,8000 and up Audeze. The sound-stage is as good as it gets, the bass perfect, they are not thin, veiled, distant, dark, bright, muddy or empty and are very revealing. Is it possible that an entire consumers' market has been bamboozled into believing that everything that followed was better? I believe only my ears. I use cheap cables and hook them up to a Benchmark DAC1 Pre. I listen only to classical/opera.

Noam

One thing you didn't mention is whether your listening is to your own live recorded music or studio recorded and/or commercial music. 

I find that my higher end cans don't sound a whole lot better/different on the recordings I've captured with my live recording/Schoeps rig, but on my best sounding studio recordings they do differentiate themselves...at least when I do side-by-side A vs B testing.  For example, when listening to Dark Side Of the Moon on my HD700 before selling the HD600, the sound difference was definitely there...especially in the low end.  Whether that difference is worth the price difference is a completely different subject.  That said, when I'm not comping cans side-by-side, I'm not sure I can get any more or less enjoyment out of...say the HD600 vs HD700s.  They're both fantastic sounding products.


Offline noam

  • Trade Count: (0)
  • Taperssection Regular
  • **
  • Posts: 175
Re: Headphones disillusions
« Reply #37 on: December 31, 2016, 07:46:03 PM »
One thing you didn't mention is whether your listening is to your own live recorded music or studio recorded and/or commercial music. 

Both.

Offline zhianosatch

  • Trade Count: (1)
  • Needs to get out more...
  • *****
  • Posts: 8987
  • Gender: Male
  • god-damned hippies!
Re: Headphones disillusions
« Reply #38 on: January 09, 2017, 12:48:43 PM »
If you want something for personal listening and around your price range, look at the NAD Viso HP50. They list for around $250, but you can find refurbished sets for around $200. They do not need an amplifier either and sound fantastic. More for listening rather than mastering, but can probably be pressed into service for either purpose.

Jamie, could you try describing (or comparing to other manufacturers) the sonic characteristics and fit of the NAD Viso HP50? Someone at the office finally broke the hot glue job on my old Sony MDR-7509HDs which had finally outgrown their plastic creaking stage of life, so it's time to move on.

Offline Moke

  • Trade Count: (2)
  • Needs to get out more...
  • *****
  • Posts: 2921
  • m0k3 - √!n¥¬ 633|<
Re: Headphones disillusions
« Reply #39 on: January 09, 2017, 01:38:50 PM »
I listened to a pair of these at a chamber music event, during intermission, listening thru a Mac laptop playback chain. 
Let me say,.... that you could easily go way worse with more expensive cans. They were suggested to have been purchased for $15'ish
I've not given them anymore than a five minute listen. But i was quite impressed.
The guy that had them had purchased numerous pairs of them for session work, in "studio" work (live, remote, same room recordings w/o audience).
https://www.amazon.com/TASCAM-TH02-B-Closed-Back-Stylish-Headphone/dp/B00B1N06PO/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1483986843&sr=8-2&keywords=tascam+headphones

Hi Armen!
Sent From My Craftsman Garage Door Opener

Offline zhianosatch

  • Trade Count: (1)
  • Needs to get out more...
  • *****
  • Posts: 8987
  • Gender: Male
  • god-damned hippies!
Re: Headphones disillusions
« Reply #40 on: January 09, 2017, 02:21:03 PM »
I listened to a pair of these at a chamber music event, during intermission, listening thru a Mac laptop playback chain. 
Let me say,.... that you could easily go way worse with more expensive cans. They were suggested to have been purchased for $15'ish
I've not given them anymore than a five minute listen. But i was quite impressed.
The guy that had them had purchased numerous pairs of them for session work, in "studio" work (live, remote, same room recordings w/o audience).
https://www.amazon.com/TASCAM-TH02-B-Closed-Back-Stylish-Headphone/dp/B00B1N06PO/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1483986843&sr=8-2&keywords=tascam+headphones

Hi Armen!

Heya Moke! I just dropped in for fun and look what I found. You all doing all right I hope?

Offline scrtaper

  • Trade Count: (2)
  • Taperssection Regular
  • **
  • Posts: 75
  • Gender: Male
Re: Headphones disillusions
« Reply #41 on: January 09, 2017, 09:06:51 PM »
I had a very reputable hifi audio store, JSG Audio in binghamton Ny suggest with the grados if you buy any model above the sr80 to buy replacement foams for the SR60 and put them on, I have them on the 225s because the stock foams are so uncomfortable and hard
When I'm dead, I want to be remembered as a musician of some worth and substance
Freddie Mercury

Offline voltronic

  • Trade Count: (26)
  • Needs to get out more...
  • *****
  • Posts: 2200
  • Gender: Male
Re: Headphones disillusions
« Reply #42 on: January 09, 2017, 09:37:34 PM »
I had a very reputable hifi audio store, JSG Audio in binghamton Ny suggest with the grados if you buy any model above the sr80 to buy replacement foams for the SR60 and put them on, I have them on the 225s because the stock foams are so uncomfortable and hard

My experience with Grado ear pads was quite the opposite.  I had a pair of original SR60's (before the "i" version) and I was never a fan of the stock soft foam ear pads.  When they started wearing out, I read somewhere about using the larger firm foam ring/cup style made for the SR80.  They fit, the pads made them more or less circumaural which for me made the headphones much more comfortable, and the removal of the foam layer in front of the drivers improved treble detail.

Some people out there suggest a compromise of using the soft foam SR60 pads, but cutting a hole in the middle.
DPA 4061 | Line Audio CM3 | Naiant X-Q
Naiant PFAs | Shure FP24
Tascam DR-70D JWMod | Sony PCM-M10

Tascam DR-70D FAQ
Team Line Audio
Quote
I am hitting my head against the walls, but the walls are giving way.    ///    If a composer could say what he had to say in words he would not bother trying to say it in music.
- Gustav Mahler

Offline jlykos

  • Trade Count: (6)
  • Needs to get out more...
  • *****
  • Posts: 4413
  • Gender: Male
  • Don't sweat the technique
Re: Headphones disillusions
« Reply #43 on: January 10, 2017, 03:59:38 AM »
If you want something for personal listening and around your price range, look at the NAD Viso HP50. They list for around $250, but you can find refurbished sets for around $200. They do not need an amplifier either and sound fantastic. More for listening rather than mastering, but can probably be pressed into service for either purpose.

Jamie, could you try describing (or comparing to other manufacturers) the sonic characteristics and fit of the NAD Viso HP50? Someone at the office finally broke the hot glue job on my old Sony MDR-7509HDs which had finally outgrown their plastic creaking stage of life, so it's time to move on.

Armen, great to hear from you. I used to own the Sony MDR-7506, so I can make some comparisons. The HP50 is tuned to sound like home stereo speakers and it does a good job of that. It has a very pleasant curve that is quite neutral and realistic. I found the 7506 to have a forward midrange that could sound harsh with some material. The HP50 has a very smooth midrange with great detail, but is not as punishing on your ears as the Sony cans. The NAD also has a slight midbass hump that adds a touch of warmth, but does not color the sound too much. The 7506 are true mastering headphones where that forward midrange is necessary to pick up as much detail as possible and their extended low end is needed to pick up low end rumble from the equipment. The HP50 are more relaxed and allow you to listen to more of the music than the recording, if that makes any sense.

The HP50 fit very nicely, but look really weird on your head. It's strange, because they are made to be taken out and about (low impedence, have an iPhone cord, etc.), but the sides stick out so much that I would not feel comfortable walking down the street with them. They are very comfortable, however. Some people complain about small earpads on them, but they cover my ears nicely so it's not a problem. I use mine in the home and in hotel rooms when I travel; I have the Westone W4 for airplanes and walking around.

I found the Audio-Technica ATH-M50x to have an exaggerated midbass hump that swallowed certain types of music, especially in relation to a slightly recessed midrange. As said above, the HP50 also has a midbass hump, but a very slight one that accentuates, rather than swallows the music. High-frequency extension is better in the HP50. It does not have the bottomless bass of the M50x, but that's OK with me. The HP50 is like sitting in my living room; the M50x is like being in the bottom of a well. Fit on the M50x is better than the HP50, but the headband started coming apart after a year and would shed black plastic material on my head and in my hair, which eventually drove me nuts and caused me to get different headphones.

Hope that this helps!
dpa 4061 > Church Audio 9200 > Sony PCM-D50 (Moon Audio Silver Dragon v3 interconnect)

"I have no views," Mickey Melchiondo, known as Dean Ween, said in a philosophical moment. "I am way too stupid. I have no strong feelings about anything. I'm really into television and the computer. I believe everything I see on TV and read on the Internet."

Offline fivedollarbill

  • Trade Count: (0)
  • Taperssection Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 45
Re: Headphones disillusions
« Reply #44 on: January 10, 2017, 04:38:19 PM »
The HP50 are more relaxed and allow you to listen to more of the music than the recording, if that makes any sense.

I wouldn't have understood this until I started sampling headphones.  Although as a group, I find Head-fi to be overly anal about this stuff, but they do have a good ability to describe concepts that are difficult to describe.  Anyway, on Head-fi they use terms analytical and fun as terms that seem like they might be the analogy to your 'listen to the recording' versus 'listen to the music' concepts.  I once had Sennheiser HD800 for a month or two and thought they were the most fantastic monitoring and mastering headphones ever, but at the same time it was almost like they're analytical to a fault.  For enjoying music, I think I prefer my HD700 or, if I still owned them, HD600 or HD650.

Offline zhianosatch

  • Trade Count: (1)
  • Needs to get out more...
  • *****
  • Posts: 8987
  • Gender: Male
  • god-damned hippies!
Re: Headphones disillusions
« Reply #45 on: January 11, 2017, 07:40:53 AM »
If you want something for personal listening and around your price range, look at the NAD Viso HP50. They list for around $250, but you can find refurbished sets for around $200. They do not need an amplifier either and sound fantastic. More for listening rather than mastering, but can probably be pressed into service for either purpose.

Jamie, could you try describing (or comparing to other manufacturers) the sonic characteristics and fit of the NAD Viso HP50? Someone at the office finally broke the hot glue job on my old Sony MDR-7509HDs which had finally outgrown their plastic creaking stage of life, so it's time to move on.

Armen, great to hear from you. I used to own the Sony MDR-7506, so I can make some comparisons. The HP50 is tuned to sound like home stereo speakers and it does a good job of that. It has a very pleasant curve that is quite neutral and realistic. I found the 7506 to have a forward midrange that could sound harsh with some material. The HP50 has a very smooth midrange with great detail, but is not as punishing on your ears as the Sony cans. The NAD also has a slight midbass hump that adds a touch of warmth, but does not color the sound too much. The 7506 are true mastering headphones where that forward midrange is necessary to pick up as much detail as possible and their extended low end is needed to pick up low end rumble from the equipment. The HP50 are more relaxed and allow you to listen to more of the music than the recording, if that makes any sense.

The HP50 fit very nicely, but look really weird on your head. It's strange, because they are made to be taken out and about (low impedence, have an iPhone cord, etc.), but the sides stick out so much that I would not feel comfortable walking down the street with them. They are very comfortable, however. Some people complain about small earpads on them, but they cover my ears nicely so it's not a problem. I use mine in the home and in hotel rooms when I travel; I have the Westone W4 for airplanes and walking around.

I found the Audio-Technica ATH-M50x to have an exaggerated midbass hump that swallowed certain types of music, especially in relation to a slightly recessed midrange. As said above, the HP50 also has a midbass hump, but a very slight one that accentuates, rather than swallows the music. High-frequency extension is better in the HP50. It does not have the bottomless bass of the M50x, but that's OK with me. The HP50 is like sitting in my living room; the M50x is like being in the bottom of a well. Fit on the M50x is better than the HP50, but the headband started coming apart after a year and would shed black plastic material on my head and in my hair, which eventually drove me nuts and caused me to get different headphones.

Hope that this helps!


Yes, it helps a great deal. You've convinced me to try on a pair in town someplace if I can. Thank you.
-A again!

Offline raymonda

  • Trade Count: (7)
  • Taperssection All-Star
  • ****
  • Posts: 1335
Re: Headphones disillusions
« Reply #46 on: January 12, 2017, 10:01:43 AM »
Headphone choice is very much dependent on what purpose they will fill, e.g. pleasure listening or mastering. Grado's fit the bill for pleasure listening but are not very helpful for mastering as the extremes are difficult to discern leaving you with  momma or poppa bear, which we all want baby bear! Senn HD 280 are better for mixing, due to them being closed ear and assisting you with low end monitoring but they are muddy, not the best resolving headset available and do not cut it for pleasure. They are great for on location, though. ATM 50's are a budget scream and cut the middle well. A bit of pleasure and monitoring here but ultimately too many compromises to be real enjoyable pleasure cans but better than the HD280's. AKG 701 series hit it down the middle, but again, the low end is tough to monitor and are more for pleasure than mastering. They also don't have the dramatic impact I desire in cans. And, yes, I've driven them with all kinds of amps.

Good in ears can give you the best of the two, good mastering and pleasure, as long as they fit properly. If they don't they are terrible and will be extremely colored. Generally, they require a very good seal. Believe it of not, Thinksound MS1's are inexpensive and beat pretty much all of the above. IMO and I've been through all of the above. That being said, I'm sure other in ears have great potential and should be explored.

HD 600 and 650's are an excellent choice and cut the two well, however, I found that Hifiman 400's are the best of both worlds, pleasure and mastering. I would not buy the Hifiman 300 series due to some bad reviews and they are not planars.

Now for some other considerations, but ones I have not listen to, Audeze, Oppo, Mr. Speakers, Focal BE and AudioQuest. Stax might also be a option. All of theses are much more pricey but, I have extreme interest in them, too.

You might notice that many of these are planar type cans. My experience with cans have led me in this direction as they seem to do way more right across the board than other types.

Finally, a word about Grado. I have owned the 60's (2 pair), 225 and and RS 2's. The fit can be problematic for some and the RS2's were the best sound and fit for me. However, until they have a complete redesign I would probably never buy another pair of Grado's as their signature lays in the middle and do not cover a broad enough spectrum for either pleasure or mastering. If you are all about midrange, at the expense of bass and treble, well these are for you. However, I prefer a more balance set of cans. If used for mixing you will never really know what is happening at the extremes and can over or under do it in the mastering process.

In the end, for mastering, I have found that having several sets of cans is best, as well as a good two channel stereo set up. This way you can compare, compare and compare so that you get it right. But if you are limited and want cans for pleasure and mastering I would recommend Hifiman 400 or 500 series. But, please, do get out and try the others I mentioned but have no experience with and report back.

Offline powermonkey

  • Trade Count: (0)
  • Taperssection All-Star
  • ****
  • Posts: 1015
  • Gender: Male
Re: Headphones disillusions
« Reply #47 on: January 13, 2017, 05:11:39 AM »
I've been looking into new headphones for a while now, with a view to really getting the hang of mastering my recordings. I've settled on a pair of Stax SL300's with a Stax SRM 252 energiser. Haven't even listened to one of my own recordings through them, yet, as I keep getting distracted by the small pile of SACDs I've collected over the years.

I tried a few different combinations of Sennheiser cans and AKG cans, but with the Stax I just forget I'm wearing headphones at all, they're so transparent. Expensive, but at £795 the bang for the buck is phenomenal.

 :headphones: :headphones: :headphones:
Church Audio CA-11s, CA-14 Cards, CA-14 Omnis, Peluso CEMC-6

CA 9200 preamp
FEL BMA-1 Preamp



Edirol R09
Edirol R09HR
Sony M10
Edirol R44

My live recordings.... HERE:

https://www.facebook.com/Liverecordings1

and/or

https://soundcloud.com/liverecordings-1

Offline fivedollarbill

  • Trade Count: (0)
  • Taperssection Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 45
Re: Headphones disillusions
« Reply #48 on: January 13, 2017, 09:51:09 AM »
The two best things I've done in my headphone shopping and decision making...

1) Find a store that supplies and sells a good variety of high end headphones and budget two or three hours to do some comparative listening.  If IEMs are your thing, the InMotion Entertainment stores in airport terminals have a decent stock and they let you sample everything they sell.

2) Attend a head-fi meet and greet.

Offline zhianosatch

  • Trade Count: (1)
  • Needs to get out more...
  • *****
  • Posts: 8987
  • Gender: Male
  • god-damned hippies!
Re: Headphones disillusions
« Reply #49 on: January 13, 2017, 12:39:11 PM »
... and I'm going to be out of town the weekend of NYC Canjam.

Edit: Check that, I'll be back in time. Anyone else going Sunday, Feb 5?
« Last Edit: January 13, 2017, 12:58:33 PM by zhianosatch »

Offline fivedollarbill

  • Trade Count: (0)
  • Taperssection Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 45
Re: Headphones disillusions
« Reply #50 on: January 13, 2017, 01:16:04 PM »
 :guitarist:
... and I'm going to be out of town the weekend of NYC Canjam.

Edit: Check that, I'll be back in time. Anyone else going Sunday, Feb 5?

I'm not in the NYC area but would love to hear if you go and what you learn.

Edit to add that if you do go to the canjam, consider taking your own playback device so you don't have to wait in line for both headphones and a open listening station...and also to normalize your rig so that changes you hear are only due to change in headphones.  You might want to pick a few standard songs to listen to for doing a vs b testing.  Finally might want to take adequate cables/adapters for possibility of hookups to your playback just in case the gear you want to sample doesnt fit.
« Last Edit: January 13, 2017, 01:26:08 PM by fivedollarbill »

Offline zhianosatch

  • Trade Count: (1)
  • Needs to get out more...
  • *****
  • Posts: 8987
  • Gender: Male
  • god-damned hippies!
Re: Headphones disillusions
« Reply #51 on: January 13, 2017, 01:33:41 PM »
:guitarist:
... and I'm going to be out of town the weekend of NYC Canjam.

Edit: Check that, I'll be back in time. Anyone else going Sunday, Feb 5?

I'm not in the NYC area but would love to hear if you go and what you learn.

Edit to add that if you do go to the canjam, consider taking your own playback device so you don't have to wait in line for both headphones and a open listening station...and also to normalize your rig so that changes you hear are only due to change in headphones.  You might want to pick a few standard songs to listen to for doing a vs b testing.  Finally might want to take adequate cables/adapters for possibility of hookups to your playback just in case the gear you want to sample doesnt fit.

Excellent points, thank you.

My "rig" is modest at best with Etymotic ER-4PTs and an M10, but more often an iphone or dogshit computer to be honest. The Etys with the foam eartips are a lifesaver on the subway and airplanes. And if I replace the mini jack, I could bring my old MDR-7506s in addition for a baseline.

I was looking at trying the the FiiO E10K for fun, and getting one in hand before the convention might be worth the small $75 if it helps determine my headphone choices. What do you guys think?

Edit: Ticket for the NYC Canjam Sunday, February 5 purchased, as well as the Fiio E10K. Took a chance on some starter gear, what the hell.
« Last Edit: January 13, 2017, 02:26:37 PM by zhianosatch »

Offline fivedollarbill

  • Trade Count: (0)
  • Taperssection Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 45
Re: Headphones disillusions
« Reply #52 on: January 13, 2017, 02:32:34 PM »
:guitarist:
... and I'm going to be out of town the weekend of NYC Canjam.

Edit: Check that, I'll be back in time. Anyone else going Sunday, Feb 5?

I'm not in the NYC area but would love to hear if you go and what you learn.

Edit to add that if you do go to the canjam, consider taking your own playback device so you don't have to wait in line for both headphones and a open listening station...and also to normalize your rig so that changes you hear are only due to change in headphones.  You might want to pick a few standard songs to listen to for doing a vs b testing.  Finally might want to take adequate cables/adapters for possibility of hookups to your playback just in case the gear you want to sample doesnt fit.

Excellent points, thank you.

My "rig" is modest at best with Etymotic ER-4PTs and an M10, but more often an iphone or dogshit computer to be honest. The Etys with the foam eartips are a lifesaver on the subway and airplanes. And if I replace the mini jack, I could bring my old MDR-7506s in addition for a baseline.

I was looking at trying the the FiiO E10K for fun, and getting one in hand before the convention might be worth the small $75 if it helps determine my headphone choices. What do you guys think?

Imho for the money you'll spend, that would be a good move regardless of the canjam, but yeah if youre gonna buy one then go ahead  and do it before the meet. I think you'll enjoy what the amp adds to your sound, especially if you use the digital output of your iPhone and use the fiio as a dac.  You say your laptop sux...bet you'll be pleasantly surprised by the sound improvement using the dac out of your laptop...even with an inexpensive $75 Dac/amp. 

As far as taking it to the meet, yeah it'll probably be necessary to have the amp to drive some of the headphones you'll want to hear up to a decent volume.  When i sample audio gear, I like to listen at good volume.  Before buying I also like to know whether or not the gear I sampled has been burned in...it's kinda hard to make a final decision on something you pay lots of money for if you know it may change a little bit what you sampled hasn't been burned in.

Offline zhianosatch

  • Trade Count: (1)
  • Needs to get out more...
  • *****
  • Posts: 8987
  • Gender: Male
  • god-damned hippies!
Re: Headphones disillusions
« Reply #53 on: January 17, 2017, 05:59:31 PM »
:guitarist:
... and I'm going to be out of town the weekend of NYC Canjam.

Edit: Check that, I'll be back in time. Anyone else going Sunday, Feb 5?

I'm not in the NYC area but would love to hear if you go and what you learn.

Edit to add that if you do go to the canjam, consider taking your own playback device so you don't have to wait in line for both headphones and a open listening station...and also to normalize your rig so that changes you hear are only due to change in headphones.  You might want to pick a few standard songs to listen to for doing a vs b testing.  Finally might want to take adequate cables/adapters for possibility of hookups to your playback just in case the gear you want to sample doesnt fit.

Excellent points, thank you.

My "rig" is modest at best with Etymotic ER-4PTs and an M10, but more often an iphone or dogshit computer to be honest. The Etys with the foam eartips are a lifesaver on the subway and airplanes. And if I replace the mini jack, I could bring my old MDR-7506s in addition for a baseline.

I was looking at trying the the FiiO E10K for fun, and getting one in hand before the convention might be worth the small $75 if it helps determine my headphone choices. What do you guys think?

Imho for the money you'll spend, that would be a good move regardless of the canjam, but yeah if youre gonna buy one then go ahead  and do it before the meet. I think you'll enjoy what the amp adds to your sound, especially if you use the digital output of your iPhone and use the fiio as a dac.  You say your laptop sux...bet you'll be pleasantly surprised by the sound improvement using the dac out of your laptop...even with an inexpensive $75 Dac/amp. 

As far as taking it to the meet, yeah it'll probably be necessary to have the amp to drive some of the headphones you'll want to hear up to a decent volume.  When i sample audio gear, I like to listen at good volume.  Before buying I also like to know whether or not the gear I sampled has been burned in...it's kinda hard to make a final decision on something you pay lots of money for if you know it may change a little bit what you sampled hasn't been burned in.

Thank you for the input. (Input? Get it? Get it?) I just received the Fiio. Looking forward to trying it out.

Also, I'll have about 3-4 hours max at the Canjam so who knows how much I'll get to sample, but I'm compiling some sample tracks for reference. Any recommendations? So far, I'm planning to reflect the reality of what I usually listen to, focus on dynamics in the beginning of each track:

Cobalt - Witherer (2006)
Crescent - Fallen Kingdom of Men (2014)
Inquisition - (something from the latest album, 2016)
Anaal Nathrakh - (something from When Fire Rains Down from the Sky?)
(late 80s thrash album mastered well - ?)
(late 80s thrash album mastered poorly - Morbid Saint? Demolition Hammer?)
Mid 90s commercial-sounding radio-friendly (Alice In Chains - Rotten Apple)

Offline jlykos

  • Trade Count: (6)
  • Needs to get out more...
  • *****
  • Posts: 4413
  • Gender: Male
  • Don't sweat the technique
Re: Headphones disillusions
« Reply #54 on: January 18, 2017, 05:16:33 PM »
Some well-mastered metal / hard rock albums that I like are:

Metallica - Master of Puppets (try to find the gold CD version; it's fantastic) or Black Album (if you can stand to listen to it)
Ihsahn - Alter
Soundgarden - Superunknown
Rage Against the Machine - S/T
Horrendous - Ecclysis or Anareta
Steven Wilson - Hand. Cannot. Erase. (not really metal, but it's a good album)
Morbid Angel - Covenant (original version, not the remaster)
Faith No More - Angel Dust
Colour Haze - To the Highest Gods We Know

I'm sure that I'm forgetting a bunch, but these were the first ones that came to my mind.

dpa 4061 > Church Audio 9200 > Sony PCM-D50 (Moon Audio Silver Dragon v3 interconnect)

"I have no views," Mickey Melchiondo, known as Dean Ween, said in a philosophical moment. "I am way too stupid. I have no strong feelings about anything. I'm really into television and the computer. I believe everything I see on TV and read on the Internet."

Offline zhianosatch

  • Trade Count: (1)
  • Needs to get out more...
  • *****
  • Posts: 8987
  • Gender: Male
  • god-damned hippies!
Re: Headphones disillusions
« Reply #55 on: January 18, 2017, 06:17:46 PM »
Some well-mastered metal / hard rock albums that I like are:

Metallica - Master of Puppets (try to find the gold CD version; it's fantastic) or Black Album (if you can stand to listen to it)
Ihsahn - Alter
Soundgarden - Superunknown
Rage Against the Machine - S/T
Horrendous - Ecclysis or Anareta
Steven Wilson - Hand. Cannot. Erase. (not really metal, but it's a good album)
Morbid Angel - Covenant (original version, not the remaster)
Faith No More - Angel Dust
Colour Haze - To the Highest Gods We Know

I'm sure that I'm forgetting a bunch, but these were the first ones that came to my mind.



Horrendous, awesome, how could I have forgotten? The second half of Ecdysis especially, it gets me every time. And I always love tips for new blood, so thank you.

Man, which Master of Puppets do I have? How many years has it been? Sheesh

Offline fivedollarbill

  • Trade Count: (0)
  • Taperssection Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 45
Re: Headphones disillusions
« Reply #56 on: January 18, 2017, 06:42:00 PM »
Three or four hours at a headphone meet and greet is plenty enough time for me to drop any amount of money id care to spend on great gear.  No problem at all.

Offline Fried Chicken Boy

  • Trade Count: (8)
  • Needs to get out more...
  • *****
  • Posts: 2837
Re: Headphones disillusions
« Reply #57 on: January 23, 2017, 02:36:23 PM »
Headphone choice is very much dependent on what purpose they will fill, e.g. pleasure listening or mastering.
/snip/

A lot of good information in your post, raymonda, and I find I pretty much agree with it.  Singling out Grados, I've yet to hear a pair that I really liked but changing out the different available earpads can make a significant difference in comfort and sound.  That said, and echoing what's already been posted here, I wouldn't use anything in the Grado line to do any mixing or mastering. 

FWIW, anyone interested in discounted headphones should take a look at what's available on Massdrop.  Right now they are offering the Thinksound ON2, which appears to get good reviews, at a cost considerably lower than street price. 


Some well-mastered metal / hard rock albums that I like are:

Metallica - Master of Puppets (try to find the gold CD version; it's fantastic) or Black Album (if you can stand to listen to it)
Ihsahn - Alter
Soundgarden - Superunknown
Rage Against the Machine - S/T
Horrendous - Ecclysis or Anareta
Steven Wilson - Hand. Cannot. Erase. (not really metal, but it's a good album)
Morbid Angel - Covenant (original version, not the remaster)
Faith No More - Angel Dust
Colour Haze - To the Highest Gods We Know

I'm sure that I'm forgetting a bunch, but these were the first ones that came to my mind.

I like that list, jlykos.  I would also add Dinosaur Jr.'s 'Farm', as well as The Giraffes' self-titled and their recent 'Usury' albums to it.  All well mixed and mastered, IMHO.

Offline zhianosatch

  • Trade Count: (1)
  • Needs to get out more...
  • *****
  • Posts: 8987
  • Gender: Male
  • god-damned hippies!
Re: Headphones disillusions
« Reply #58 on: February 08, 2017, 02:26:14 PM »
In no particular order and lacking links, model # info, and Jamie's eloquence, here are my impressions from Canjam 2017 NYC this past Sunday before I start forgetting:

-Five major areas of interest in were represented: headphones, earphones, portable players, DAC/amp/playback rigs, cables, then gimmicks. I was interested in headphone research primarily. I've been told B&H is not a bad place to go A/B some cans, but I haven't gone yet. Canjam was my first foray into such an environment.

-I did not have the time to make a playlist and I couldn't bring my M10, so I boldly busted out my iphone to test headphones and earphones after I'd used the rigs and sample songs provided by each vendor. Two primary reference tracks worked out perfectly for me: Crescent - Fallen Kingdom of Men and Cobalt - Witherer. Alice In Chains' SAP EP would have been good too, but I got exactly what I was looking for with metal in addition to the defaults provided.

-Everyone seems to make IEM foam eartips now, and Comply's are standing out. Better comfort and bass response with my Etymotic ER-4PTs than the Etymotic gray foam, slightly less isolation but a small price to pay for long-term usage comfort. The memory foam is holding up well so far. $20 for 3 pair? Might just be worth it.

-All the giant Grados used by the cable and player manufacturers as reference headphones would be a lovely experience if you had no noise in your life, as expected.

-The Sony reps seemed to be engineers and were pretty cool, acknowledging the poor build quality of the MDR-7509s when I described the creaky plastic bracket that holds the earpiece in place and breaks easily. They recommended trying the 7510 or 7520 instead. I have not.

-Audioquest headphones, all the Nighthawks were trying too hard. The fit was outstanding, light and natural. Sound was clear but I perceived them as distant and unbalanced, and distance was not due to the semi-open design - it was something else I can't put words to. Surprised they're in the $600 range - I assumed they'd be half that and I still wouldn't buy them.

-Cleer's new flagship prototype cans look atrocious and were too big for my head. The rep said he wants his guys to refine it for this reason before they release them. Closed but leaky. High end & cymbals were thick and crusty and were immediately and consistently distracting. That high end clarity was apparently the strong point of the design.

-Audeeze - maybe I have something against open diaphragms, or maybe I'm just oversensitive to cymbal attacks that hang around too long, but I just wasn't convinced by the LCD line. (Sidenote, for some reason, no one at the show seemed to mind me committing the sin of plugging their $4000 cans directly into my iphone streaming spotify albums at 320 kbps or bandcamp after I'd given their sample rigs a try. That attitude kind of undermines the whole pitch - I'd have told me to go f*** myself and get some new white apple earbuds.)

-Studio Pravda/Misha Kurchenko earphones. I can't find any official info or a company name through google, but listening to his earphones was a hilarious, convincing experience. Unbelievable soundstage and low end response I assumed wasn't possible with IEMs, even funny-shaped ones like his. The detail I expected but it didn't come at the cost of a sense of balance and refinement. Just an outstanding experience but of course you Isolation was not extreme with what appeared to be silicone tips. The rep said the whole rig w/ custom amp and something else runs $8000 rrr'tail. I didn't meet Misha but he appeared to be an intimidating nerd genius from afar - my kind of guy.

-Meze 99 classic in walnut and the as-yet unreleased black ABS both blew me away. For the $300 price point they felt perfect and sounded utterly flat with just the right punch in the guitar mids. Clearly outperformed the rest of the pack at half the price of Mr. Speakers' intro level. I couldn't walk out with a pair because the guy had run out, so I immediately placed an order for the slightly warmer and currently available walnut. Caveat: if you're into aesthetics you'll either love or hate the headband. I happen to dislike the appearance but screw it, listening was the perfect experience of enhancing my music without revealing the flaws in my playback system or environment. Tremendous for $300. Should be here tomorrow.

-Mr. Speakers, both their flagship and the junior intro model were another level of enjoyment entirely. The intro model at $699 sounds tantalizingly close to its bigger brother at $1800. They appear to be the first level of clearly exposing flaws in your playback, super revealing, natural, flat, big soundstage etc whatever. A pleasure altogether and impressive. I'd love to own a pair.
 
-A

Offline zhianosatch

  • Trade Count: (1)
  • Needs to get out more...
  • *****
  • Posts: 8987
  • Gender: Male
  • god-damned hippies!
Re: Headphones disillusions
« Reply #59 on: February 09, 2017, 11:50:07 AM »
Meze 99s delivered. I can already tell the Fiio E10K is not good enough. Damn it, am I getting sucked down the rabbit hole already?

 

RSS | Mobile
Page created in 0.657 seconds with 82 queries.
© 2002-2017 Taperssection.com
Powered by SMF
Website Design by Foxtrot Media, Inc., a Baltimore Website Company