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  1. #1
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    Headphone set up for under 500 bucks

    Hey guys, it's been awhile since I posted here on the forums. As many of you know from my previous posts I will be going to college next year and living in a dorm. For that reason, I have been convinced by man to go with a nice headphone rig for my dorm. Reason being I have spent a lot of time compiling a system that I would not want to be stolen or trashed down at college. Plus my room mate and neighbors may very well not like hearing my music.

    I ahve a 500 dollar budget for this headphone rig. I am looking for a set of closed headphones that present the most realistics soundstage. I understand soundstaging is usually one of the biggest let downs for headphones in comparison to speakers but I am looking for the best headphones can offer. I too understand I will probably need a dac and headphone amp to run these headphones off my ipod for superior sound.

    For an all inclusive budget of 500 dollars what do you think is the best I can do. I need a set of headphones, an amp, and a dac. I would be willing to raise my budget slightly if need be, but I would like for this to cost as little as possible. If I could do it for under 300 that would be great but I like good sound and understand it comes at a price. Thanks to all......

  2. #2
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    I was justed reading that open headphones are very good too. I thought closed were the best but aparently. So I am willing to buy open cans as well... thanks guys

  3. #3
    Forum Regular captjamo's Avatar
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    Have you been to headroom.com? They sell all the good lines of phones and make their own acclaimed line of amps and DAC's. That is a tall order for your budget, but you could get the phones and amp you want and DAC a little later. Or something of the sort. I am a huge fan of Grado headphones myself. They are light, open and their sound is as punchy as silky smooth. Good sustain without rolling off highs. They are old school looking which is pretty retro cool though. They use light materials that come together as a whole to be quite durable. Must be flexed and played with to maximize comfort. Or you could go with some good Sennheisers also.

  4. #4
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    I could never find myself in a situation where I'd be paying $500 for headphones, DACs, whatever, but that's just me.

  5. #5
    Big science. Hallelujah. noddin0ff's Avatar
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    It's a nice way to get a good set up in a dorm room or any place where either space/budget/noise is a problem. You can get an audiophile experience for much less than a home system would cost. I've got around $400 in a headphone+DAC/amp system and it fills a niche. I can rock out or listen critically and not bug co-workers. Plus there's a level of immersion headphones give that you can't get easily with a home system. It's just you, perhaps, but I wouldn't go dissing someones inquiry. nyah nyah nyah.


    Link for headroom is http://www.headphone.com/

  6. #6
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    Does anyone have any reccomendations for the best cans around 250-300 or even less. i saw the akg k 701 model, senn hd600, hd 580, grado 325 which of these should I get and are there others to look at??

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by noddin0ff
    ...It's just you, perhaps, but I wouldn't go dissing someones inquiry. nyah nyah nyah.
    You're right dude. My bad.

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    I forgive you Rich

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    Let me recommend a set of Sennheiser headphones you should NOT get: HD 212Pro "DJ 'phones". Waaaaay too much on the bass side!

  10. #10
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    If you think the leaking sound will not be a problem, they go for any pair of Grado headphones.

    I have the SR-125s (just realised I had it wrong in my sig...) but I've had some serious time with the GS-1000, RS-1 and SR-325i models.
    I can't remember for the life of me what amp and dac my friend (good to know people who work in hi-fi shops ) had them hooked up to, but all I can say is wow.

    Don't worry about the price, you can usually find a pair of 325i's or RS-1 or 2's on audiogon or ebay for a relatively low price.


    The senn HD 600 and 580's are very good as well, albeit slightly different sounding, but quality stuff nonetheless.

    Personally I would recommend you find an established headphone dealer and give some of these a spin, see what you like. Then troll ebay and audiogon for a nice deal.
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    Jeeze... people still use sigs?!

  11. #11
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    I don't think grados are for me. I personally listen to music to relax and take my mind of the day. From what I gather the grado's are very in-your-face cans and excel with rock music. I am loooking for something more laid back that can throw a realistic soundstage, well atleast realistic for headphones. I listed to a pair of grado s60's and didn't like them very much, I found them a bit tinny and fatiguing after only 10 minutes or so at my nearest dealer. Unfortunately he predominately sells speakers and has a few headphones; all of which are grado. I don't think grado is for me. From what I hear the senn 580 is supposed to be basically the same as the 600 in a different case. Also supposed to be a great set of cans that is more laid back which is what I am looking for. I think I will get either a pair of senns or the akg k 701 which also gets good press. Does anyone here have a preference or comparison between these two cans, and is anyone able to reccommend a nice dac/amp combo I could use. This set up will be run off my ipod.

  12. #12
    Big science. Hallelujah. noddin0ff's Avatar
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    I'm very happy with Senns. I posted in another recent thread some thoughts on the HD580 and HD570. For me the HD580 is where I draw the line on diminishing returns. But they go up from there. The 570s were more comfy, The sound pretty close. Haven't tried a akg.

    I have an old white stick iPod shuffle and a nano from just before they got square-ish. They can't really drive the Senns. They work fine in general but it's at their limits of oomph.

    I don't think you can use a DAC with an iPod... unless I've lost track of the times they don't have a digital output. I have a couple Chines DAC/Amps. I'm not a high-ender. However, compared to running off the iPod, the amp made a huge difference with regards to both amplification and using digital bitstreams. I use a Zhaolu D2.5 DAC/Amp with my HD580s.Total package should come in under $500.

  13. #13
    Suspended markw's Avatar
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    I was thinking this myself.

    Quote Originally Posted by noddin0ff
    I don't think you can use a DAC with an iPod... unless I've lost track of the times they don't have a digital output.
    I did a quick google and couldn't find any reference to a digital output. I think line-level is about the best you can get, and even that's not a given for all MP3 players.

    And, the difference between the Senn 580 and 600 is minimal, to say the least. I didn't hear any.

  14. #14
    Ajani
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bigmoney
    I too understand I will probably need a dac and headphone amp to run these headphones off my ipod for superior sound.
    Ipods don't have digital outputs... The only way you can get a digital signal out of your ipod is to mod it... Wadia has a 'digital' ipod dock (way out of your price range)... and what Wadia does is that they mod your ipod when you buy the Wadia dock...

    If you have a computer in your dorm then you can always use a USB headphone amp...

    Perhaps the Firestone Fubar 3 for $220:

    http://www.audiophileproducts.com/fubar3

    & a pair of Senns or AKG...

  15. #15
    Class of the clown GMichael's Avatar
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    $500 for headphones? And someone said that budget is a little tight?! Holey smokes! I have a cheap set of Senns that set me back a whopping $20. To me they sound pretty darn good. I can't imagine how good a $500+ set must sound like. But I guess if they are going to be your main system for several semesters, I can't blame you for wanting them to be special.
    WARNING! - The Surgeon General has determined that, time spent listening to music is not deducted from one's lifespan.

  16. #16
    Ajani
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    Quote Originally Posted by GMichael
    $500 for headphones? And someone said that budget is a little tight?! Holey smokes! I have a cheap set of Senns that set me back a whopping $20. To me they sound pretty darn good. I can't imagine how good a $500+ set must sound like.
    Keep in mind that a number of Headphone Amps cost $500 or more, as do Headphones...

    Quote Originally Posted by GMichael
    But I guess if they are going to be your main system for several semesters, I can't blame you for wanting them to be special.
    Yep... agreed

  17. #17
    Big science. Hallelujah. noddin0ff's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rich-n-Texas
    You're right dude. My bad.
    I'm waiting for the next SVI too. No harm, no foul.

  18. #18
    Forum Regular captjamo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by noddin0ff
    It's a nice way to get a good set up in a dorm room or any place where either space/budget/noise is a problem. You can get an audiophile experience for much less than a home system would cost. I've got around $400 in a headphone+DAC/amp system and it fills a niche. I can rock out or listen critically and not bug co-workers. Plus there's a level of immersion headphones give that you can't get easily with a home system. It's just you, perhaps, but I wouldn't go dissing someones inquiry. nyah nyah nyah.


    Link for headroom is http://www.headphone.com/
    Thanks, Iban Noddinoff. You weren't that time. Caught me being lazy and not posting the link for headroom http:/www.headphone.com/

  19. #19
    Forum Regular captjamo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by noddin0ff
    It's a nice way to get a good set up in a dorm room or any place where either space/budget/noise is a problem. You can get an audiophile experience for much less than a home system would cost. I've got around $400 in a headphone+DAC/amp system and it fills a niche. I can rock out or listen critically and not bug co-workers. Plus there's a level of immersion headphones give that you can't get easily with a home system. It's just you, perhaps, but I wouldn't go dissing someones inquiry. nyah nyah nyah.


    Link for headroom is http://www.headphone.com/
    Thanks, Iban Noddinoff. You weren't that time. Caught me being lazy and not posting the link for headroom http:/www.headphone.com/

  20. #20
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    Good praise on the senns..... Any comment of the AKG'S on how they compare to the senns? Another question. Would I be better off buying a cheap portable cd player and running my headphone amp off that or even getting say the marantz 5001 cd player and using the headphone jack to run my cans instead of doing it all off the pod. Anyone have experience in comparing ipods versus cd players for headphones......

  21. #21
    Big science. Hallelujah. noddin0ff's Avatar
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    What format is your music going to be in? If your using an iPod, it's on your computer anyway. And, if you're going to college it's probably safe to assume you have a computer. If you're not needing portability, get a USB DAC/Amp. I'd start here as a baseline for comparison
    http://www.pacificvalve.us/DIYEDENSV04.html
    Or try your computers soundcard first and see if it's sufficient.

    If you're planning on walking around campus with big cans on your head, stick with the iPod. Walking around with a CD player will just make you look like a dork (and 'course walking around with big ol' Senns on your head will only reinforce that impression). You can get a pocket sized, battery powered headphone amp but I'm going to go out on a limb and assume you'd also like to have a social life.

  22. #22
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    My music will probably have to be in apple lossless. Still, I am waiting to hear if anyone likes the akg 701.......
    For walking around on campus I'll probably get cheap skull candy earphones and just hook them into my ipod. Your right.....I like having friends . Whatever I get for critical listening does not have to be portable as I will only use it in my dorm. Come on how am I going to meet any ladies with giant Senn's on my head??

  23. #23
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    Let me add, I already own the audio technica ATH-M40 fs headphones. While these only go for about 80 bucks many people say they sound better than their price suggestes ( doesnt everyone say that about everything??). Do you think I might be better off just getting a nice amp for these babies or should I drop them totally.

  24. #24
    Do What? jrhymeammo's Avatar
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    It's all a matter of taste.....


    A pair of AKG 701 is very good. To me, they do very well at creating more of pin point imaging, but do not offer very big/wide sound. But SQ is very good.

    You really must add Audio Technica to your list, if you love Senns more than Grado. Get a pair of ATH-AD500 or ATH-AD700. 700 is a great pair, but may not prefer the color. It's more on pink side than purple.
    Their CloseBacked design models, such as A700 offers great sound, but I dont like how alot of closed designs produce bass. They seem to suck midrange and up. They do seem to sound a little deeper.

    Will you be using this with a CDP or PC?

    JRA

  25. #25
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    PC and Ipod

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