Headphone buying advice

Discussion in 'Headphones' started by 7whales7, Mar 1, 2018.

  1. the skipper

    the skipper Amateur Curmudgeon Subscriber

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    I'm pretty sure that virtually all phones nowadays come with adapters to fit either 1/4" or 3.5 mm jacks.
     
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2018
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  2. olderroust

    olderroust AK Member

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    Not these beauties!
    [​IMG]
     
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  3. the skipper

    the skipper Amateur Curmudgeon Subscriber

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    They're more of a fashion accessory than an audio product buy you got me fair and square. I'll edit/correct my post.
     
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  4. 7whales7

    7whales7 Super Member

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    Hello Kitty is tempting........LOL!
     
  5. olderroust

    olderroust AK Member

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    I just picked a pair of the 400i's up this week and they arrived yesterday (so still within the breakin window.)

    Very interesting to compare to the Senn 598s, which I have been enjoying.

    Electronically, they have a linear impedance response throughout the audio band, maybe a little rise up where the dogs hear, where the Senns' impedance is very nonlinear throughout the audio band.

    When I first put the 400s on, I thought the bass was overemphasized and there was high frequency information I was used to hearing that I was missing. I ran several hours of breakin on them and then listened again. They were still not offering what I was used to in the upper registers but I was hearing more articulation in the low end, and I started thinking about how I evaluated the Senns.

    I listen to them mostly in my office, and the office speakers are a set of minimonitors (Gallo CL-1s) and a Velodyne sub. The Gallos sound very nice and throw an exceptionally well defined soundstage. But with the Gallos on the desk, the system sounds good but has been lean from first setup. The sub helps, but I'm too close to the monitors for everything to truly integrate.

    So I went to the living room, where I've got Thiel 2.2s and a honking solid state amp, with my laptop, a headphone amp, the 598s and the 400is. And I realized that the Senns sound good but lean in comparison to the floorstanders. The 400is sound less lean, but don't have the top-end detail that the Thiels do, as of now. Still, on the whole, they do a more solid job in comparison to the Thiels than the Senns do.

    Just now I was thinking about that impedance curve, and how bad the Senns sound with the receiver in the office. A lot of that problem relates to impedance variation. The 400s should be immune to that, at least, so I figured I'd give it a try. I am pretty impressed with how they sounded just plugged into the receiver. I need to listen more, but if I keep liking the 400s in the office, I could probably simplify the set up in here dramatically. There are also issues with mechanical versus electronic drive - but those issues seem to be primarily a consideration with dynamic speakers rather than planars, if what I'm reading is correct.

    So far, very impressive.
     
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  6. onepixel

    onepixel .

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    I can tell you what I like, but you need to find what you like.

    Listen to some headphones you can use for benchmarking, then use this tool to compare and narrow down the selections. Worked for me.
    http://graphs.headphone.com

    A lot of headphone sections sound mediocre in vintage gear. May need a headphone amp.
     
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  7. 7whales7

    7whales7 Super Member

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    Do I need a head phone amp? Never thought of it? I was also thinking I can't remember what good or bad head phones sound like? They all may sound good to me? LOL.
     
  8. the skipper

    the skipper Amateur Curmudgeon Subscriber

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    Try it first with what you have. You may find it sounds quite good. I'm perfectly happy using an old Marantz receiver and a NAD Tuner/preamp with my Sennheisers and Grados.
     
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  9. KG_Jag

    KG_Jag Member

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    You will need to provide answers to these questions to determine the best headphones for you:

    What is your budget?

    Are you OK with open cans (they leak sound and don't isolate well)?

    What equipment will be feeding and powering these cans? Will you be using an amp?

    What is the format of your music and other sounds will you be putting into these cans?

    Describe the sound signature that you are seeking.

    If you don't know your preferred sound signature (and even if you do), what genres of music do you plan to run through these cans?

    Do you plan to use them outside your home? If so, in what way & with what equipment?

    If you don't buy in the U.S--where do you plan to buy?
     
  10. 7whales7

    7whales7 Super Member

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    I haven't got anything yet, had some unexpected bills recently so cash is low. I will let everyone know what I get.Thank you for all of your advice.
     
  11. barefootbrew

    barefootbrew AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    I got a pair of Hifiman HE400i today that only came with 3.5 mm. Now I'm about to order an adapter.

    But cool headphones so far, not that I have a lot to compare them to.
     

     

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  12. the skipper

    the skipper Amateur Curmudgeon Subscriber

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    Please note I said virtually" which leaves a bit of wiggle room. Frankly, I'm surprised to hear this. Hifiman is not a cheap earphone and an adapter would cost pennies. I'm both surprised and disappointed they would cheap out on this.
     
  13. archie2

    archie2 Addicted Member

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    Everybody has their favorite headphones at various price points. Here's mine for the biggest bang for the buck. Samson SR850 at $33.00 and Philips SHP9500 at $77.00. Philips SHP9500 is hard to find. Apparently they have been replaced with the Philips SHP9500S. There is no sonic difference between the two, just accessory difference. I have over a dozen pairs of headphones and these two stand out as not the best but the best for the buck. Both are excellent IMO.
     
  14. xero-D-hero

    xero-D-hero Super Member

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    My usual recommendation in threads like this are the Sony MDR-7506.
    Love mine,and as stated any faults are easy enough to deal with via a slight EQ tweak.
    Comfortable for long listening sessions too (at least for me: full disclosure I have a big head).
    The comfort is one of the main reasons I often use 'em for gaming & such.

    I've had mine for coming up on 15 years now,and if they were my only phones,I'd be fine with that.
    All I've had to do in that time was replace the ear pads a couple times,which is NBD @ all.
    (Just be sure to buy ANY Sony headphones from a reputable vendor to avoid phony 'phones)

    But lately I also throw in the AKG K52 as well.
    Mostly because I bought a pair of those a while back and have been 100% happy with those.

    Great thing about either of these 'phones is they're pretty easy to drive,so they work with most any source.
    My 7506's sound great with either of my Mp3 players (Creative Zen mosiac & Sony walkman),as do the K52.

    Both are also closed back / over-the-ear also.

    FWIW

    Bret P.
     
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  15. HTHMAN

    HTHMAN Super Member

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    If your budget is tight now, look at the Grado SR60e or SR80e. Hard, if not impossible, to beat under $100.
     
  16. JoeESP9

    JoeESP9 ESL's & tubes since 83

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    +1:thumbsup: on this.
    FWIW: I have a pair of SR-60's. I found the original cushions to be extremely uncomfortable and replaced them with some from Ear Zonk.
     

     

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  17. KG_Jag

    KG_Jag Member

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    They are good--with 3 major caveats:

    Those who are sensitive to sibilance should stay away.

    They leak sound live a sieve and isolate not at all. Therefore they are a poor choice for use in public places or when you need isolation from outside noise/sound.

    While your mileage may vary, they are very often panned for being uncomfortable--especially with their standard flat ear pads.
     
  18. HTHMAN

    HTHMAN Super Member

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    Way back when I bought my SR-60's, they used different pads than the SR-80's and I found the SR-60 to be more comfortable and very little difference in sound. The difference they had was likely due to the hole in the SR-80 pads. People were cutting quarter size holes in them to modify them. They have since changed the pads and are the same now. I can not speak of comfort on the current model but the forums are full of suggestions for replacement pads and modifications to pads. Buy the sound and fix the comfort if necessary.
     
  19. GSS61

    GSS61 Super Member

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    The venerable Sony MDR-7506 usually appears on any list of "best bang for your buck" headphones... they are very commonly used in professional audio/video work due to their sonic accuracy, power efficiency, comfort, durability and relatively low cost.

    They are also very revealing headphones, especially in the midrange and high frequencies... overall pretty hard to beat for the money. My "go to" headphones when I want to know if a recording sounds good or not.
     
  20. KG_Jag

    KG_Jag Member

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    Location:
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    The 7506 is a solid warhorse.

    However for under $60 street price, I prefer the CAL! (unless your going to bang them around unprotected in a backpack). They aren't as neutral as the clinical 7506, but most will probably prefer their sound signature. See:

    https://www.innerfidelity.com/content/creative-aurvana-live-classic-reincarnate
     

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