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Author Topic: Headphones & Headphone amps  (Read 4125 times)

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Offline scervin

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Headphones & Headphone amps
« on: May 08, 2003, 11:22:19 AM »
I'm looking for a decent system for work.  I sit and analyze door structure at GM and it is the best time to listen to the quality shows I have.  Keep in mind I can't play these at blistering levels as I'll need to hear the phone ring and sense when someone walks up behind me. I will purchase a decent portable deck with some type of line out most likely, but was wondering if I can just use the Sony I have now using it's headphone out?
   I have been looking at either the Grado Rs125 or 225 series, AKG 501's, or the Etymotic's (not sure which series to go with here so help needed).  Looking to stay under $250 here. I will also purchase a headphone amp as they really do make a difference.  I was checking out the headroom amps that have the "speaker effect" processor that from what I gather helps with imaging as it doesn't sep into just left and rigt channel, it will mix the two at -8db from 2kHZ on down.  When listening to our recordings I'm not sure this is needed as the mic signal should already compensate for this effect, correct me if I'm wrong.  
   Please comment if you have heard live recordings or other experience with any of the above. I'm trying to get the wife to get me a nice pair for my b-day in a month and I'll buy whatever else is needed.  

Offline goose

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Re:Headphones & Headphone amps
« Reply #1 on: May 08, 2003, 12:48:59 PM »
First suggestion - place a mirror or other reflective device on the desk or wall above the desk so you can see people approaching from behind - don't count on your spidey-senses.

Second suggestion - get a visual phone ring alert - red blinking light on your desk when the phone rings.

Third suggestion - CRANK THE TUNES!!

Sorry for the lack of actual answers you are looking for - I work from home so I don't have to worry about the volume, but I used to work in a cube-farm, so I learned a few tricks...

Grado makes a sweet headphone amp for their line of headphones.  Kinda pricey though.

Offline scervin

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Re:Headphones & Headphone amps
« Reply #2 on: May 08, 2003, 12:58:33 PM »
I've got a rear view on top of the monitor, but that doesn't work at times.    ;)

Offline ducati

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Re:Headphones & Headphone amps
« Reply #3 on: May 08, 2003, 03:41:03 PM »
Don't crank headphones, you'll damage your hearing  :(

I auditioned the Grado line a bit ago...  I was planning on buying a set of cans for work, too.  The RS-80 and RS-125 were very close in sound quality when played through the Denon A/V receiver that was amp'ing them.  I liked the grados alot!  

I do think they would become uncomfortable after awhile, though, especially with a full day of listening.  So I didn't buy, and am still looking...

Etys are supposed to be wonderful, but I just can't afford that much isolation.  I sometimes need to interact with other folks :)

I spoke with some committed headphones freaks, and they recommended the Sony F1's.  Apparently they are supremely comfortable, enough that you can listen to them for 4-5 hours at a time.  Not the *best* fidelity when compared to Ety 4S, Senn HD600, or the better Grados (RS1 and RS2), but fairly competitive with something in the RS-125 league.  I'm not a fan of Sony stuff, but I'm looking for a pair to listen to...

A friend of mine bought the Senn HD600's, and feeds them with a X-Can/X-PSU.  Not a bad setup, they actually have a very wide soundstage for headphones.  Something seemed missing to me, but perhaps it was the fact there were 15 people in the room wondering why I had headphones on during a party  ;)  I need to drag his rig over to the local hifi shop to run a comparo with the Grados, since the Grados didn't have good amplification...

goose, have you heard the grado headphone amp?  My dealer doesn't stock 'em, but I've thought about buying one...  Their phono pre is pretty, and they mentioned it comes in a similar box  ;D

Offline super-phat-al

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Re:Headphones & Headphone amps
« Reply #4 on: May 08, 2003, 03:41:47 PM »
I dont know much about headphone amps, but i do know the headphones you're gonna want.  AKG 240.  This things are amazing.  My pair is from the late 70s and they sound so good.  Listened with other stuff before, nothing touches these babies.  What i use for a headphone amp is an old marantz '67 pre-amp.  Its the best.  Its not just the headphone amp that is making those headphones sound so good, its the headphones.  The AKG 240 is a wise choice.

Offline goose

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Re:Headphones & Headphone amps
« Reply #5 on: May 08, 2003, 03:55:52 PM »
Ducati - good point on the hearing damage!  Crank the tunes, just not directly into the ears, I suppose.  

I have not heard the grado headphone amp, but it was highly recommended by my local hi-fi shop when I was looking at headphones.  I've looked at possibly buying, but I don't use headphones often enough to justify the purchase.  If nothing else, it is cool as hell, built into a block of mahogany wood.  Cost around $350.

One of many reviews can be found at: http://www.goodcans.com/HeadphoneReviews/gradoamp.htm

Offline ducati

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Re:Headphones & Headphone amps
« Reply #6 on: May 08, 2003, 04:04:20 PM »
I saw that review...  It sure is pretty, I admit.  And portable, DC power!  Good tunes on the road...

Of course, I don't do much "on the road" anymore but...  I still would like a good headphone setup for work.  Right now I listen to a Delphi Skyfi boombox.   ;D

Had I not made my most recent front end (DAC and transport) splurge, I would have bought a pair of Grados and the mahogany amp by now...

Offline Wiggler

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Re:Headphones & Headphone amps
« Reply #7 on: May 08, 2003, 11:26:18 PM »
Good headphone site.
http://www.goodcans.com/

Offline scervin

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Re:Headphones & Headphone amps
« Reply #8 on: May 09, 2003, 08:17:18 AM »
Rob,
     Do you know if any of the local shops carry both the Grado 225 and Sen HD580's??  These are two that I'm looking into with the Headroom airhead amp or total airhead amp.
SC

Todd R

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Re:Headphones & Headphone amps
« Reply #9 on: May 13, 2003, 01:45:20 PM »
I'm using an airhead amp with Grado 225s for work and I like it quite a bit.  The Grados do get uncomfortable after awhile, but I either get breaks from wearing them when the phone rings, or whatever, or if I'm really not being interrupted I take them off for a little bit after listening to one show before I put in the next.  I haven't had a problem with comfort as long as I don't try to wear them 8-9 hours straight.  Of course, I've never worn any phones for 8-9 hours, so perhaps this Grado comfort thing is being overblown a bit.

Anyway, forgetting comfort, the 225s sound very nice.  I used ebay to pick mine up new for about $140 delivered.  If you need to interact and don't go with the Grados, at least go with open phones, not closed designs, and definately stay away from etymotics.

I didn't do any auditioning for the amp, but I would recommend the airhead.  I've also put together a system using a sony CD walkman with the MD link, digital optical out going into an Audio Alchemy DDEv1.0 dac, then into the airhead>225s.  I tried using the analog out directly into the airhead, and going digital into the Audio Alchemy makes a world of difference.  If you can afford it in terms of portability, size on your desk, and price, I would highly recommend this approach.  Audio Alchemy dac's can be found cheap used, and their d>a conversion will be far better than pretty much any portable.

-Todd

Offline scervin

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Re:Headphones & Headphone amps
« Reply #10 on: May 13, 2003, 02:39:24 PM »
Todd thanks for the reply.  I usually only have time to listen to at the most 2 discs in a row.  I get in at 7am and can't get myself to turn the tunes on until at least after 8. I might try I'm fairly limited on desk space as this 16:9 monitor, spaceball, mouse, unused 21" kinda limit my space.  I've been talking with Mark Schifter who was Audio Alchemy and he said he might be able to locate a DAC-in-box which is small. If he can't I'll need to go portable>amp>phones.  I'm going w/ the Sr 225's for the office btw.  Thanks for your help.
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Offline ducati

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Re:Headphones & Headphone amps
« Reply #11 on: May 13, 2003, 02:47:29 PM »
You could buy Scott Nixon's non-oversampling DAC or TubeDAC.  I have heard good things about them, I'm considering one for this very purpose.

Check Audio Asylum for info, people really seem to like it.

Same idea (and chips, IIRC) as 47 labs Shirigaki.

 

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