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Author Topic: Headphones disillusions  (Read 3880 times)

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Offline zhianosatch

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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

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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

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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.

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Offline fivedollarbill

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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.

 

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