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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Well i've had a set of headphones for awhile now, and i think they just crapped out.

This isint the first time its happened but i got them replaced by the company, Maxell that is, and the same problem keeps happeneing to them, There the noise cancelation ones, you can find them at bestbuy for $60. And i've decided 3 times is enough to get them replaced, and its not by wrong doing either, they last at least 3-4months and the L ch goes out, completely. I use them primarily on my computer listening to music.

So whats a good replacement pair, i will go up to around $100, if something really nice is on sale for a bit over $100, i could justify that. I listen to rock, Chill, and ambient music, they must be very comfertable, for extended periods of time, and pretty small profile. I do like ear muff type headphones but i find them annoying when i use them laying on my bed (i listen to chill or ambient laying in bed before i go to sleep). Not sure if i'd like open diaphram either, may be too loud for other people around me, but i've heard they sound the best. But i'm looking for a really nice sound that wont break my pocket to replace them. Theres so many nice pairs out ther i dunno where to start really. I know Sennheiser (sp?) makes good ones, and Shure also, but wouldn't know where to start looking and what i'd be looking for (not used to the Headphones realm of audio lol). So whats a good buy for my price range, or what would be worth it and last a very long time, with unbleievable SQ.

Suggestions? Also is an amp worth the price, i know for proper performance headroom amps are preferred but not sure if i wanna go that deep into Head-fi. Any nice cheap amps out there either? I use them on my computer and i have the SB Audigy Platinum 2 ZS.

BTW found this article about Tube amps, mainly for headphones but still very intresting. http://www6.head-fi.org/forums/showthread.php?t=121357
 

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check out http://headphone.com/

I've been using a pair of sennhiser HD5XX series for several years now, (the numbers wore off, i forgot what model they are). The were about $160 ish, open air style, big confy muffs, and feather weight, but huge. I also have a closed off pair of sennhisers HD478? that i use at work, which are alot cheaper...

I have it plugged in into my m-audio revolution sound card on my desktop, and i use it on my audigy zs2 pcmia card on my notebook. They HD5xx+ series offer excellent sound quality, i listen to it a alot, and it has became the refrence comparision i use to judge speakers. You can't really go wrong with imaging with headphones, since they sit ontop of your ears, so it provides great sound at a decent price.

you should pick up a pair of $150 one's and give them a try, if you dont like them just return them.
 

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I actually bought a pair of $20 behringer's from Parts Express. While I doubt anybody with good ears will dare say they compare to a $100 pair of Sennheisers, I found that they aren't a hell of a lot worse sounding than the $50 sennheisers that I've listened to. I listen to music all day long at work with them and they're comfortable to wear all day, and the sound isn't fatiguing.

If you're looking for the best sound that your $100 can get you, look elsewhere, but for $20 I was willing to give them a try (I had a $50-60 budget), and I've been happy enough that I'm not going to be upgrading any time soon.
 

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Sennheiser PX100. 5 star rating by most mags. And a pair sitting on top of my head right now. :)

AKG has a couple of nice new PortaPro copies too..
 

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Well I have been a member of Head-Fi.org since it opened and over the years have learned a lot of info about the headphone scene. The difficult thing about auditioning quality headphones is that no chain store actually sells multiple brands. Some places started carrying high end Sens and some others Shure. If you search hard enough some high-end home theater stores have some Grados around. Having said that the great thing about finding the headphones that are right for you is there is no setup involved! The quality of the install (kickpanels, deadened doors, ect) has nothing to do with the way they sound. I have been fortunate enough to participate in a couple of headphone and amp GTGs. I have listened from the $35 Koss Portapros to the $11,000 Sennheiser Orpheus set-up. ( :eek: Wow was that sublime!)

Every manufacture has its own sound like the mobile audio scene. Tell me what type of sound you like (smooth and liquid? Precise and accurate?) and maybe I can help you further. You can even PM me if you want. There is also TONS AND TONS of info at that head-fi.org site if you search.

As far as headphone amps are concerned they are similar to car audio in that your initial lower budget purchase will provide the greatest sound difference with each greater level in quailty a diminishing return. I built my first headphone amp in a Altoids tin and still use it today with my computer. It definately sounds better than even a medium level sound card.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Got any info on those Altoids can amps....i'd be intrested in playing around with one if the parts are pretty inexpesnive compaired to the difference in SQ you can get.

As far as my area and actually having any type of high class HT or headphone place.....thats a joke here. The best we have around my area is bose....and i hate blose. But i have listened to there $300 noise cancelation headphones and they sounded nice, but not worth the money.

I like a type of sound that dosent get the least bit wearing on you, but very smooth in the midbass/low bass region, clean and precise in the midrange and sparkly in the upper treble. (how can you tell if music is liquid lol) I dunno how else i can explain my tastes, i mean i mainly listen to ambient or chill type music when i'm doing HW or just surfing the net. Where i don't like anything to stick out more than the next.

How much did on eof the Altoids amps cost you Finley? I've looked around alot on head-fi.org but i just really don't know what i'm looking for really, and how to tell truely if one pair would be better than the next.

As i found the A900 is a good chillout headphone, as well as the HD-580 or 650....but i found those by just doing a search but i didn't really come up with any pricepoints or ever decent reviews of them....

Would be cool to get a Tube amp for some phones though....sweet goodness.
 

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Overall, I'd say sennheiser 580's. For midrange, nothing Imo can beat the AKG 501's, although they don't have the comfort of the 580's, the bass, and they are a bit harsh in treble.
 

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Grado labs. I have Grado SR-60s, and they're just starting to wear out (buzzes under certain bass tones) after 6 years of listening. They were $80 I think. Clear but not too bright. The next step up is the SR-80 which I think is $100. Cambridge Soundworks carries them.

Dan
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I found the 580's at www.headphone.com, and they rate them at 5 of 5, but on the response.... it looks like a pretty drastic drop at the 4khz point, and above 10k as well....IS that really that significant as it looks on the response graphs... with 1 side being a little less than the other as well.

Price point is just a tad to high as well.....they have them for 200 and thats quite a bit above my max i want to spend.

Nice cans though.

http://www.headphone.com/guide/by-manufacturer/sennheiser/sennheiser-hd-580.php

What would be some other sets that would work well in my price range, with a DIY amp as well. Sorta like the sound of building one for myself, depending on how much the parts cost.
 

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The 580's can be found for just a bit over $100 on ebay new, and oftentimes under that used.

The frequency response measurements are not what you think they are. Read the measurement conditions, and you will see that the FR is just the deviation from the avg. response of ten "top cans" they had chosen.

My only advice is to listen to them all. Pretty much all headphones "suck" Imo, it's just a matter of choosing which ones suit you best. I find Grados to be obviously colored, a bit thin on the bottom midrange and too much at 800-1.5khz... senns are the opposite too strong in the lower midrange ~200hz and recessed at 2-5khz. AKg 501's had the best midrange, but treble was just spitty and harsh. Bass I thought was fine, but I could see how some might think it was anemic compared to other cans.
 

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The Senn 580, 600, 650 are all great choices. They are some of the smoothest sounding cans I have heard. I could listen to them for hours and not get tired one bit. They are all similar like the Seas lineup is with just minute differences. They are also the most comfortable headphones I have ever worn. However, you will not be able to sleep with them. They are fairly big and usually require an amp to sound their best. Plus they have an open diaphram. I do not know if they will work for you.

Grado's are fantastic with rock music, very dynamic. Plus they are very easy to drive off of plain headphone outs being a low impedance can. My personal favorite is the SR-225, but I think that is out of your price range. The SR-60 or 80 would be better suited pricewise. They are like the Senn's in that they will "leak" sound to the outside. Plus many people complain about the comfort factor after about 1-2 hours of listening. YMMV. The earpads do not fit around the ear as much as on them. They do have an optional "ear bowl" pad that some find more comfortable.

I have to agree with npdang about the Beyerdynamic AKG 501. They had a fantastic midrange that I haven't been able to match since. Plus they were comfy as well. But I thought their bass output was a little weak. Some think that the bass is fine and most people are used to a emphasized lower range.

While most of Sony's headphones are "less than desirable" there is an old school model that shines above the rest and is great for the money: MDR-V6. I listen to chill, downtempo, trance, and ambient music myself. I actually prefer my V6's with this type of music to my other expensive in-ear phones. Many DJ's and music engineers use this can to mix and master. THIS is a good price for them. Plus I would highly suggest the Beyerdynamic earpads for them on the same page. They are made of velour and are super comfy.

As far as DIY amps, my Altoids amp can be made for as little as $20.00. I think I spent $40 on mine for better components. HERE is the link you need to get started. This is a fantastic project for anyone interested in DIY electronic audio projects! It is cheap, easy, and you can see results rather quickly. If you have any other questions feel free to PM me.
 

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Finleyville said:
While most of Sony's headphones are "less than desirable" there is an old school model that shines above the rest and is great for the money: MDR-V6. I listen to chill, downtempo, trance, and ambient music myself. I actually prefer my V6's with this type of music to my other expensive in-ear phones. Many DJ's and music engineers use this can to mix and master. THIS is a good price for them. Plus I would highly suggest the Beyerdynamic earpads for them on the same page. They are made of velour and are super comfy.
Are the MDR-V6 simular to the MDR-V600? They look a lot a like. I've been using the MDR-V600 for the last 11 years, I got them for $75 brand new back then. They sound pretty good to me at least with something that has some amplification behind it (not so good with portables). I can only compare them to older and lesser Sony models and some Radioshack head phones I used to have back in high school... hehe I've kept them because I don't use headphones much. I think they are starting to die though...

Ryan
 

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|Tch0rT| said:
Are the MDR-V6 simular to the MDR-V600? They look a lot a like. I've been using the MDR-V600 for the last 11 years, I got them for $75 brand new back then. They sound pretty good to me at least with something that has some amplification behind it (not so good with portables). I can only compare them to older and lesser Sony models and some Radioshack head phones I used to have back in high school... hehe I've kept them because I don't use headphones much. I think they are starting to die though...

Ryan
They are NOTHING like the V6's. IMO the V600's sound like utter crapola. Now the V6's are not the end-all-of-be-all headphones. I just think that they fit the best with demon's requirements. For the same money with different needs I have different suggestions.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Wow thats really cheap for the amp, hows the SQ and power on it though, i know it wont put out much, but enough for a set of headphones i'm sure.

Right now i think the 580's may be my choice with the altoid amp. Should be a fun project, but i usually use my computer for signal, and occasionally use them on my HT reciever for late nights and trying to not disturb anyone.

Would the 580's suit my needs nicely....i'd love to hear some before i ordered them, cause i am somewhat unsure if they would suit my listening habits or type of music i enjoy. But i'm sure there pretty nice as well as you all suggest them for the money. I'll look in the Senn Lines more than some of the others like Grado and just not much of a fan of Sony. I'll check ebay as well.

Just looks as though my requirements vary from place to place and all, not sure if any one pair would suit my needs the best. Hmm.
 

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I really would recommend listening to the Senns before you buy if you can. They would be my last recommendation for you since you listen to electronic music mostly. They may sound a little lifeless. However they shine for symphonic, jazz, acoustic, ect. I am not a fan of Sony either. Actually the V6's are the only piece of Sony equipment I own anywhere! IMO they work the best with that genre of music, are pretty comfortable, and match your budget. But then again, you may love the Senns after one listen. Only you can tell.
 

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Finleyville, there are actually LOTS of chains that have walls of headphones you can audition at will, from Sennheiser, Beyer, AKG, Sony, and others. Such box stores tend to go by names such as "Guitar Center" rather than "Best Buy". (And as an aside, for me the HD580 is a better-sounding set of cans than the mighty Orpheus, and yes I've A/B'ed them. The Orpheus just doesn't have the get up n go to do either a large-scale symphony or a live rock concert.

I've been using HD-580s for quite a while now. I bought them for $200 USED, though at the time (pre-eBay and I think pre-HeadFi, too, though Headwize was around) you just couldn't find 'em new for under $350.

As for an amp, here's when it's worth pursuing.

1) If your headphones are hard to drive, be it because they require lots of current (low impedance) or because they require lots of voltage (high impedance).

2) You want an HRTF (Head-Related Transfer Function) circuit to pull the soundstage in front of you. Not all amps do HRTF, and IMO those that don't are a waste of time. Headroom's all do. (You may also able to do it in software, through an iTunes plug-in or something. I haven't explored that avenue, because I own a Headroom amp.

As for the Senns' treble, it's contoured that way for a reason. Namely, when a sound source is in front of you your ears naturally attenuate the treble. Headphones that don't design for that fact sound incredibly fatiguing very quickly.
With the good Sennheisers (580/600/650...the 545/565 are too bright for my taste and the 570/590 seemed to be to be half-hearted attempt to grab the colored-sound market that Grado's staked out) you will need an amp, unfortunately. However, it needn't be an expensive one. I found zero benefit from "upgrading" to a expensive Headroom amp over my humble plastic-cased Total Airhead, which is why I sent the other one back and will probably have the TAH until its caps burst....

IMO, the major (I'd go so far as to say only) disadvantage of the Senns is that they offer basically no isolation. You'll hear everything around you, and if you listen loudly everyone around you will hear it. If you had noise isolation headphones previously, that might be a deal-breaker. If you need isolation, a headphone highly recommended by John Dunlavy (founder of Duntech and Dunlavy Audio Labs) is the Sony MDR-7506, a closed model that you should be able to audition at any hole-in-the-wall pro audio shop. I'm not familiar enough with them to confirm or refute Mr. Dunlavy's recommendation, but he is a heavy-hitter so it's worth checking out.

PS: I just bought a new pair of headphones last week, as I was growing increasingly concerned about the SPL I required to hear the music over background noise on my go-anywhere headphones (Koss KSC-35/50/75 earclips). After reading Siegfried Linkwitz's reference headphone page (off of www.linkwitzlab.com) I decided on the Sony MDR-EX81, which are ~$34 at amazon.com. (They're the same as his recommended EX71 except they have an earclip in addition to the bud.) I've only had them for a week so I'm not prepared to comment on them yet. But if anyone wants and our gracious host approves I'll post a review of them once I've got a good grasp of their sound quality.
 

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DS-21 said:
Finleyville, there are actually LOTS of chains that have walls of headphones you can audition at will, from Sennheiser, Beyer, AKG, Sony, and others. Such box stores tend to go by names such as "Guitar Center" rather than "Best Buy".
That is good to know. I may have to check that out!

ds-21 said:
2) You want an HRTF (Head-Related Transfer Function) circuit to pull the soundstage in front of you. Not all amps do HRTF, and IMO those that don't are a waste of time. Headroom's all do. (You may also able to do it in software, through an iTunes plug-in or something. I haven't explored that avenue, because I own a Headroom amp.
This circuit is great in a headphone amp. I included it in each of my subsequent (sp?) DIY amps.


DS-21 said:
IMO, the major (I'd go so far as to say only) disadvantage of the Senns is that they offer basically no isolation. You'll hear everything around you, and if you listen loudly everyone around you will hear it. If you had noise isolation headphones previously, that might be a deal-breaker. If you need isolation, a headphone highly recommended by John Dunlavy (founder of Duntech and Dunlavy Audio Labs) is the Sony MDR-7506, a closed model that you should be able to audition at any hole-in-the-wall pro audio shop. I'm not familiar enough with them to confirm or refute Mr. Dunlavy's recommendation, but he is a heavy-hitter so it's worth checking out.
I do not know if you are aware, but the MDR-V6 is exactly the same as the MDR-7506. Sony has many phones that look alike, but trust me on this one. All the internal part numbers are the same. I actually saw a brand new MDR-7506 with "MDR-V6" printed on the opposite earcup. The only difference is that the V6 had a gold plated plug IIRC.


DS-21 said:
PS: I just bought a new pair of headphones last week, as I was growing increasingly concerned about the SPL I required to hear the music over background noise on my go-anywhere headphones (Koss KSC-35/50/75 earclips). After reading Siegfried Linkwitz's reference headphone page (off of www.linkwitzlab.com) I decided on the Sony MDR-EX81, which are ~$34 at amazon.com. (They're the same as his recommended EX71 except they have an earclip in addition to the bud.) I've only had them for a week so I'm not prepared to comment on them yet. But if anyone wants and our gracious host approves I'll post a review of them once I've got a good grasp of their sound quality.
I look forward to your review. Maybe in the off topic section?
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
I've heard of this circuit, that actually gives you a sound stage.....how does it do this, or in simplified terms what does it do to make a soundstage precieved.

IS there any way possible to incorporate this soundstage technology into a DIY amp like the Cmoy?

I'm going to send an email to Maxell, see if i can get some money from them, as this is my 3rd pair from them thats done this. 1st one i took back to bestbuy, got the 2nd on warranty during first 3months, 2nd was just after 3months and sent it to them, they sent me this one and its been about 5 possibly more months on this pair. Whast the deal with this company....hopefully i can get some justification from them, and buy a nice pair and not worry about some BS durability problems and inner flaws on the products.
 

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demon2091tb said:
I've heard of this circuit, that actually gives you a sound stage.....how does it do this, or in simplified terms what does it do to make a soundstage precieved.

IS there any way possible to incorporate this soundstage technology into a DIY amp like the Cmoy?
Yes and no. Yes you can but then it would not fit into that tin. Plus if you did then there are other similar but superior designs I would choose over the "modded CMoy."

The circuit that I incorporated takes a little of each signal (left/right) and adds it to the opposite ear. That way it doesn't sound as closed in as headphones usually do.
 
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