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  1. #1
    Forum Regular vinylphile's Avatar
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    Headphone recommendations

    Hi, I'm new to this forum.

    I'd be interested in getting some recommendations on headphones. Would not want to spend much more than $300/pr. for new ones, unless something really magical existed for a few more bucks. My listening tastes are varied: jazz, some rock, some classical. I prefer neutrality in sound equipment -- am definitely allergic to overly bright/shrill treble rendition.

    Thanks in advance for any replies.

  2. #2
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    Sennheiser HD280PRO

    U can try this headphone. It's offer good sound. However this headphone might not be suitable if u are into heavy rock. The bass is a bit neutral.

    I had been using this headphone for my mp3 player/cd player.

    U can get one new below 100 bucks.

  3. #3
    Forum Regular vr6ofpain's Avatar
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    Grado SR-80 (~$90)
    Koss portaPro ($40) ---> I have both of these and love them.

    Sennheiser PX100 ($50) ---> Good reviews and my brother has a pair that he can't be happier with.
    -------------------------------------
    Sennheiser HD-590 (<$300) A tad bright, but very good detail.
    Sennheiser HD-600 ($250-$350 depending where you buy) Mellow....kinda boring. Well regarded.

    Grado SR-325i (~$300) A new model, apparently very nice, sounds very similar to the RS-1 and 2.
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  4. #4
    Shostakovich fan Feanor's Avatar
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    For good advice ...

    Check out Headphone.com ...

  5. #5
    Forum Regular vinylphile's Avatar
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    Thumbs up

    Thanks for all the replies! Looks like I have some auditioning to do .

  6. #6
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    Also...

    ...a great website for comparing headphones and reading reviews is:

    www.goodcans.com

    I own a pair of Sennheiser HD590's that I caught a steal on at Tweeter because
    they were a return for $110, but got the full warranty. I think the list price is
    $249. They are slightly bright...not as bright as others I've heard. But the detail
    and imaging is stunning.

    I mosly listen to straight-ahead jazz, some fusion, and 70's rock and soul.

  7. #7
    Forum Regular vr6ofpain's Avatar
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    I would try listening to Grado's SR-60 and SR-80's. Both are under $100 and you might like them as much as other do. You would save yourself a lot of money, and have a great sounding headphone. Don't listen to the 'hype' either, they are very comfortable since they are incredibly light and if you bend open the headband a little they sit very lightly on the ears. Also people say they look ugly...first off I actually think they look cool, second, who cares...they are on you ears, not in front of your eyes!
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  8. #8
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    The Sennheiser HD595 seems to quality as 'docile' having similar sound characteristics with the higher end HD650. Never had the 595 so I can't really say. Headroom boss liked it on the 595's introduction though, as I remember.


    The HD650 comes in at around $350 with a discount so could be worth looking into. More capable than any Grado around at the moment, and nowhere near as "in your face" too.

  9. #9
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    Thanks again for your recommendations and comments. After reading them along with some headphone reviews I decided on a pair of demo Grado SR-125's that I found on sale for $99.95 ( I sure hope I like their headphones more than I did the phono cartridges they made twenty years ago). If not, the place I bought them from has a pretty easy return policy and I will order a pair of Sennheiser cans.

    I used to own a pair of HD 424 Sennheiser's back in the Jurassic Period: thought they were okay, but I could not understand the rave reviews for them (except perhaps as an alternative to the then-ubiquitous Koss headphones). I am almost certain today's products have achieved some sonic advances since that time, but since I was not able to audition anything worthwhile where I live, I kind of had to make a mental coin toss and pick my poison...

  10. #10
    The Collector
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    I would have to recommend the Sony MDR 7509's they are amazing

  11. #11
    Forum Regular vr6ofpain's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pelly3s
    I would have to recommend the Sony MDR 7509's they are amazing
    Have you listened to any Grado's or Senn's?
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  12. #12
    Do What? jrhymeammo's Avatar
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    Cool

    Quote Originally Posted by vinylphile
    Hi, I'm new to this forum.

    I'd be interested in getting some recommendations on headphones. Would not want to spend much more than $300/pr. for new ones, unless something really magical existed for a few more bucks. My listening tastes are varied: jazz, some rock, some classical. I prefer neutrality in sound equipment -- am definitely allergic to overly bright/shrill treble rendition.

    Thanks in advance for any replies.


    I own a pair of Grado SR 60 with ear pads of higher models. I mainly use then with a portable CD player listening to Hard Bop. First 3 months with this set brought joys to my night-time listening and walks around downtown, but my right speaker started making rattles during bass sequences when the volume was slightly higher than normal. I had set to their lab for a repair, free of charge with warranty, then the connection of the plug when bad. Now I have to toy with the connection inorder for me to get the sound from right-channel. I called up the lab in NY 2 weeks ago (you can talk with the owner of Grado, I think is John, everytime) he told me the repair would cost $25. I think my problem started since I walk to school keeping my CD player in a bag with a set plugged in. This may have banged up more than a normal abuse. And the problems with my right-channel may have caused by poor amplification. The place I purchased had them hooked up to head-amp and sounded wounderful with tight bass, though thru my computer and portable still sounds great. I believe that problems I've wrote above are my fault, and SR 60 is great for 70 bucks. Though you have to get the pads with a hole in a middle so, I would just go ahead and purchase the SR-80, if you love the sound.

  13. #13
    Do What? jrhymeammo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jrhymeammo
    I own a pair of Grado SR 60 with ear pads of higher models. I mainly use then with a portable CD player listening to Hard Bop. First 3 months with this set brought joys to my night-time listening and walks around downtown, but my right speaker started making rattles during bass sequences when the volume was slightly higher than normal. I had set to their lab for a repair, free of charge with warranty, then the connection of the plug when bad. Now I have to toy with the connection inorder for me to get the sound from right-channel. I called up the lab in NY 2 weeks ago (you can talk with the owner of Grado, I think is John, everytime) he told me the repair would cost $25. I think my problem started since I walk to school keeping my CD player in a bag with a set plugged in. This may have banged up more than a normal abuse. And the problems with my right-channel may have caused by poor amplification. The place I purchased had them hooked up to head-amp and sounded wounderful with tight bass, though thru my computer and portable still sounds great. I believe that problems I've wrote above are my fault, and SR 60 is great for 70 bucks. Though you have to get the pads with a hole in a middle so, I would just go ahead and purchase the SR-80, if you love the sound.

    Oh, you decided on a pair already.....................maybe I should start reading the entire post before I.............. The SR-125s sound great!!!!

  14. #14
    Forum Regular vr6ofpain's Avatar
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    Ya I got my SR-80's for $80 from Cambridge Soundworks (the guy gave me a deal, since I had to wait like 15 minutes while he was helping everyone else ahead of me). Love 'em!
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  15. #15
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    When ever this question is posed you see 2 strong camps one for Grado and one for Sennheiser, they have very distinctly different sounds, one has to try each and see which camp you will join. Personally after listening to both you couldn't give me a pair of Grado. I hated the sound. I liked the Senn's they were very detailed, incredible imaging and sound stage, they also have a very wide frequency response, playing very low and no high end roll off. The bass is excellent but it is tight and accurate. My HD-600's I use with a Musical Fidelity headphone amp and usually connected to a Krell cdp. I also have a pair of HD-580's that sound great with an Onkyo receiver in the bedroom. I think those who enjoy a "warm" sound tend to lean toward the Grado where those who enjoy detail and accuracy or less coloration lean toward the Sennheiser. I have yet to hear a better headphone than the Sennheisers overall but especially when it comes to making the sound appear large and spread out.

  16. #16
    Forum Regular vr6ofpain's Avatar
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    I completely disagree. That was what I liked about the Grado sound, was how it was sort of similar to listening to speakers. They give you a sense that the sound is almost coming from in front of you, with more separation. The Senn's I owned sounded just like any other cans. Even listening to some HD-600's driven by both a tube headphone amp and an H/K receiver, all I got a sense of was very neutral, if not dry/boring, 'canned' sound. they were definately smoother on the highs, so if anything, i would almost assume that the Senn's were rolled off toward the top.

    Conversly the HD-590's I listened to through a receiver were some of the brightest 'high end' headphones I have ever listened to.

    I think part of the problem with Senn owners is they paid much more for their phones, so they want to justify that they are 'superior' by bashing Grado owners.
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  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by vr6ofpain
    Have you listened to any Grado's or Senn's?
    Im a dealer for both and I would take the Sonys over them. There is just something about the sound I cant get enough of.

  18. #18
    Forum Regular vr6ofpain's Avatar
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    Wink

    Quote Originally Posted by pelly3s
    Im a dealer for both and I would take the Sonys over them. There is just something about the sound I cant get enough of.
    Is it harshness? I bet it is harshness.
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  19. #19
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    its really hard to explain. i guess you might be right, they may be considered harsh. i would say they are too bright more than harsh. They need to tone down that 8k up range. The Sonys seem to have a little better low end in my opinion

  20. #20
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    Talking HD-600's

    Check out the Sennheiser HD 600's. Very comfortable to wear and listen to: Not to bright, and good low end.

  21. #21
    RGA
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    The Grados (60 and 80) draw back are that both lean bright and both are uncomfortable to me -- even with the upgraded pads. The 600s and 580s from senn are much better but much more expensive -- and they don't have the midbass presence of the Grados or my Sonys and while this makes the Senns a little less vibrant for rock types of mixes it is desirable on Jazz and classical.

    If you can find the AKG 1000 I think they may be the best headphones under a grand -- the best i've heard. They are quite a unique design that is basically like mini speakers hooked to your head -- they require the amplifier mains of whatever amp your using and can be used with a subwoofer. They are surprisingly comfortable as well. They run $800.00Canadian.

  22. #22
    Forum Regular vinylphile's Avatar
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    Thanks, everyone.

    I ordered a pair of Grado SR-125's and a pair of Sennheiser 590's (did not bother to try the 580's or 600's as I wanted headphones that would be capable of being driven by a portable or a computer sound card).

    I found the Grado pair to be initally seductive; however, after wearing them for ten or fifteen minutes, they would always wind up sounding somewhat harsh and grating to me. Their comfort level also left a lot to be desired (I realize that putting a bend in the headband is a fix of sorts, but if I had done that, they would not have been returnable).

    The Senn's, on the other hand, were physically comfortable. I never found them to be overly "bright" sounding, as some have. While not having as much presence, I found them to be much more listenable for extended periods of time. I wound up feeling like I would rather be seated ten rows back (Sennheiser) than to hold my head six inches from a speaker horn on stage (Grado).

    Of course, one person's "detail" is capable of being another person's "glare". To me, the Grado's had great "detail", but I was that "other person". Of course, ymmv.

  23. #23
    Forum Regular N. Abstentia's Avatar
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    I found the same thing. I never understood how someone could listen to those dang Grado's. Sennheisers are so smooooth and fit like a glove.

  24. #24
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    I think that headphone's are a subjective of a thing as speakers. What sounds great to me may not sound great to you. Also keep in mind that the headphones you are trying out currently do benefit from good amplification. You wont find true headphone bliss until you have matched your headphones with the perfect opamp.

    I started my highend headphone journey with a pair of Grado RS-2's and an Rs-1 headphone amp. A pair of SR-80's kicked me off to the world of higher end headphones than what you can buy at best buy. The downward spiral of my wallet and I's relationship began there and hasnt ended since.

    Currently I am using a Ray Samuel's "the raptor" and a pair of HD650's and I am in headphone bliss! Like many others I enjoyed the Grado sound but it was much too hard to listen to for long periods of time. Not only because the highs just blare in your ears but because unless you spend decent bucks having larry at headphile mod them for you they just werent comfy on my head.

    I know you have already picked out some headphones but you didnt seem too happy with your choices so I thought I might give you a few more to choose from.

    Sony SA-5000- seems to currently be the flavor of the month. It is ultra detailed and has very fast response. Many feel that its bass is not present and many feel it has great bass it is just one of those subjective things.

    AKG 271S- This is a highly regarded favorite that seems to pop up from time to time. People love it for the way it reproduces classical music as well as being a closed phone it an dampen alot of outside noise if your into that.

    Beyerdynamic DT880's - Considered one of the best overall/does everything phone around. It is midpriced(kinda when you consider the huge variety of headphones availible) If you have a Guitar center in your area i believe that they still demo Beyerdynamic and they are worth a listen. Probably the most comfortable phone I have had on my head(many people mod thier headphones with beyer velour pads as they are quite comfy)

    Keep in mind that many if not all of these headphone's benefit greatly from an amp. I would take your budget and divide it between headphones and an amp. If you plan on keeping the current phones that you have you might think about spending 100ish dollars on a pimeta. They are portable if you need them to be and would greatly increase the sound quality of the phones you currently have.

    If you want other suggestions in different price ranges I suggest checking out www.headfi.org as it has become a great place to go and get inspiration to spend money. Good luck and happy hunting...as we say at headfi..."welcome and sorry about your wallet."
    regards
    joe

  25. #25
    Forum Regular vr6ofpain's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by vinylphile
    I realize that putting a bend in the headband is a fix of sorts, but if I had done that, they would not have been returnable)..
    actually you dont put a 'bend in' them, you just bend them outward. you can bend them back toward each other to make them like you had them. you will not see a distortion or anything.

    i think you are thinking about kinking them or something, which would not be advised for comfort or anything.

    I compared my SR-80's to my brothers HD-600's over several types of music through both a HK receiver and a tube headphone amp. I was much more pleased with my SR-80's.

    I found the HD-600's dark, and contrary to everyone else, uncomfortable. they are much heavier than the Grado's (the SR-80's and RS-1's at least) and made me feel like somethign was clamping my head. i felt clausterphobic (spell?). though buy what sounds best to YOU, since YOU will be listening to them.
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