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JoshCohenMorgan's picture
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Good open-back hi-fi headphone options

hey guys, I'm looking for a nice pair of open backed headphones in the range of £200-£350. My system will be wav files playing from a computer, to a DAC (probably an arcam rDAC), feeding to a graham slee novo. I like a lot of hip hop from late 90s to early 2000s such as eminem, D12, Cypress hill, Dr Dre and also like other genres such as reggae and alternative rock/indie including the likes of Ini Kamoze, Damian Marley, Cold Play and Kasabian. I don't necessarily like colouration to the bass, but I want a strong bass response, but without sacrificing clarity. At the moment I feel likely contenders are the grado 325is, the senneheiser 650 or the grado RS2i (can get for around £340 from the States). I hope for plenty of options, and will try take all comments into consideration. Sound leakage isn't a problem as I have a pair of nice closed back headphones for when people are around!

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RE: Good open-back hi-fi headphone options

Out of the options you have listed I would recommend the Sennheiser HD650's, they are well extended in the bass region but not coloured, although I found the treble could have done with more sparkle to liven them up a bit. But overall a good solid choice which are also comfortable to wear. The Grado's you have mentioned would not be a good match to the music you listen to. The RS2i's are some of the worst ear shattering, tinny, bass less pieces of poo I have had the displeasure in owning, they are horrid things which sound awful with any kind of music requiring good extended bass. They are also some of the most uncomfortable headphones one can purchase, my feelings for the 325is are similar. Another pair of headphones to consider would be Beyerdynamic DT880's, they are well extended and crisp, IMO a bargain at their current price.

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RE: Good open-back hi-fi headphone options

hmmm, what system are you using to run (I assume you have them) the sennheiser 650?

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RE: Good open-back hi-fi headphone options

JoshCohenMorgan wrote:

hmmm, what system are you using to run (I assume you have them) the sennheiser 650?

Not any more, I sold them when I had a headphone clearout  :cry:

When I had them I was primarily using a modified X-Can V3 but also tried them with a Meier Audio Cantate.2 just before I sold them.

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RE: Good open-back hi-fi headphone options

ok, sounds good, any idea if they would pair well with the graham slee novo and arcam rDAC? Also has anyone else tried any grado models or other alternatives?

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RE: Good open-back hi-fi headphone options

JoshCohenMorgan wrote:

ok, sounds good, any idea if they would pair well with the graham slee novo and arcam rDAC? Also has anyone else tried any grado models or other alternatives?

Actually I had my rdac back then too so yes to that bit, dunno about your graham slee though, never heard one.
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RE: Good open-back hi-fi headphone options

that's good, my uncle has a graham slee novo and that sounds fantastic, but i've only heard it through his audio technica ath-m50...

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RE: Good open-back hi-fi headphone options

What kit do you currently have ?

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RE: Good open-back hi-fi headphone options

AKG Q701 are £350 in the UK  have mine on order after lookign at reviews and what owners thaught of them. They don't enhance the bass so compared to  alot of headphones they lack bass but this is more accurate of what it sounded like in the studio. For some types of music they might disapoint but for me they are for making music so I can just edit the tracks to get the bass how I want.

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RE: Good open-back hi-fi headphone options

Despite the lack of bass I find the Q701s very enjoyable, which is a feeling I did not share with the K550. Yes they suit some music much better than others but it gets a vote from me, perhaps not so much for comfort because of the horrid headband but it's also not the worst by a long shot. Price wise £350 is the most you should pay for these. Amazon has the 3 colours between £242 and £254, it even came down to £164 for the white ones once (which I jumped on) but that's pretty unusual.

 

I also find the Grados uncomfortable as hell but enjoy the lively presentation (I get why some don't though).

If you want a more full bass as well as open then perhaps something like the Philips Fidelio L1 or Beyer DT990, the DT880 for more neutral presentation. The Sennheiser HD650 is a classic which statistically you are more likely to prefer but I know a few people who don't like it for various reasons. To be fair that shows just how personal this sound signature stuff is. My main recommendation would be to find a shop that will let you try them, it's well worth the extra money that it will cost if you're not sure IMO.

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RE: Good open-back hi-fi headphone options

Interesting, I've heard a lot of good things about the Q701 'phones, and I am really considering giving them an audition. Does anyone know how they'd pair with a graham slee novo being feed WAV files through a decent DAC (arcam rDAC maybe or cambridge audio DACmagic)? And has anyone compared the sennheiser hd650 to the Q701?

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RE: Good open-back hi-fi headphone options

PS from the look of the whathifi review those beyerdynamics dt990 don't look the most tempting, anyone used those either?

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RE: Good open-back hi-fi headphone options

A couple of things, first, don't listen to the WHFSV reviews too much. They are not that reliable in my experience, just try for yourself. If you don't have a local shop to try them at take advantage of Amazons distance selling policy Wink Secondly, don't pay extra for the Q701/2 over the standard K701/2 as they are exactly the same, you are just paying extra for Quincy branding and colour scheme. Thirdly comparing the HD650's and the K701's is like comparing chalk and cheese, the HD650's are warm and lush sounding, the K701's fast and detailed. It all depends on what presentation you like, IMO neither the K701's nor the DT990's are ideal for the genres of music you listen to.

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RE: Good open-back hi-fi headphone options

eggontoast wrote:
don't pay extra for the Q701/2 over the standard K701/2 as they are exactly the same, you are just paying extra for Quincy branding and colour scheme.
I haven't tried the K701 but even according to AKG themselves all the 701/702 models are the same on the inside. Also it's worth noting that the K702 adds a removable cable to the mix and the Q701 being newer carries that on.

Right now the Amazon K702 price (£249) is no cheaper than the Q701 so you essencially get the Quincy branding and funky colours for free.

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RE: Good open-back hi-fi headphone options

hmmm, think when I have the money I might order a pair of the beyerdynamic dt990, the sennheiser hd650 and the akg q701, and just return the 2 that I don't think are as good. I really like the look of the AKG, but i think they're going to be too bass light and I think the sennheisers may come out on top. As I said, I will be running a graham slee novo being feed WAV files through a DAC, so if anyone has any experience with that kind of set up, that would be great!

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RE: Good open-back hi-fi headphone options

btw quadpatch do you run your AKG Q701 through your arcam rpac, what's the DAC like on that, I might use it with my graham slee novo if it's decent.

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