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Aslan's picture
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High end iPod headphones
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Can anyone recommend good headphones for use with an iPod? I would like a pair with closed backs, good for travel, foldable if possible and something strong and difficult to break. They also need to look fairly sensible and not the sort of thing Ali G will be proud of.

 

Budget of up to 1,000 quid.

 

I have read some reviews of the Ultrasone Edition 8 and I am really tempted to buy a pair based on what I have read. There are a couple of websites I have come across which desribed them as being the best iPod headphones. However, they are quite expensive at around 900 quid. 

 

I travel a lot in my job and I find that I end up spending a lot more time listening to my iPod than I do my main hifi system. I will only listen to my headphones using an iPod (or something similar) and am unlikely to use a seperate headphone amp or DAC.

 

I currently use a pair of AKG450 with my 4th generation iPod Touch. I listen mainly to rock, pop and some opera. The music is compressed to 256kbps.

 

Are these headphones a bit over the top for use with an iPod?

 

Can anyone recommend  alternatives and less expensive models which I should also audition? 

 

Many thanks for your thoughts and suggestions.

 

dalethorn's picture
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RE: High end iPod headphones

Based on my last 50 headphones, the very best sound I've gotten with the iPod, insofar as a fairly neutral sound is concerned (a la the Ultrasone Dirol is the v-moda M80.  Very rugged, small and light, comes with carrycase, can be carried comfortably around the neck all day. For Ultrasone 8, Ken Rockwell has a good review.

AKG K812/K712, Beyer T1/T90 Jubilee/DT1350, v-moda M100/XS, Beyer A200p/v-moda Verza/Microstreamer DAC/amps, Portaphile Micro/PA2V2 amps.

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RE: High end iPod headphones

Ali G would go for the Grado GS1000i cans. Loud, proud and very obnoxious, especially to those sitting next to you.

Me, I'd go for the Sennheiser HD800 because I am totally biased in favour of Sennheiser.

 

dalethorn's picture
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RE: High end iPod headphones

Sennheiser 800 is too inefficient to play most music tracks on an ipod. And it's very cumbersome as a portable, and open back.

AKG K812/K712, Beyer T1/T90 Jubilee/DT1350, v-moda M100/XS, Beyer A200p/v-moda Verza/Microstreamer DAC/amps, Portaphile Micro/PA2V2 amps.

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RE: High end iPod headphones

The Beyerdynamic T5P is an excellent headphone. http://www.whathifi.com/review/beyerdynamic-t5p

They are more comfortable than the Ultrasone Edition 8 imo.

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RE: High end iPod headphones

Hi there,

A curve ball maybe but for the cost that you're considering I would take a serious look at a custom pair of monitors from ACS.

These are the professionals choice and I use them personally. I've owned several pairs of conventionla major brand headphones over the years for different types of listening but these are by far the best, especailly when travelling. As they are moulded to fit your ears the listening levels are much lower, protection to your ears is second to none and they couldn't be more comfortable.

They're not easy to track down as a consumer but some Sevenoaks sound and vision stores are carrying them according to the sales person I spoke too.

http://www.acscustom.com/uk/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=98&Itemid=78

Maybe contact ACS direct or Sevenoaks head office to find out what stores carry them?

Good luck

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RE: High end iPod headphones

I'd question the need to spend anywhere near £1,000 given your criteria. I too have music on my iPhone (iPod - same difference) at 256kbp, finding it a good balance between capacity and sound quality. I also use closed back phones that are portable and fairly tough. Namely the £50 Sennheiser PX200's; lovely sounding phone that I prefer when travelling to a pair of Etymotic HF5 IEMs that are about twice the price (they're more brightly balanced even with a good fit to the ear, which can be dificult to achieve at time).

The  iDevice can drive the 200's to high volumes (unlike my Senn 650's.) I do have a Ray Samuels external amp that i tend to lug around as well. Really small - you might want to reconsider not having one as it does make a big difference sound wise. Not saying it has to be an RSA one, there are others around. Mine was used off eBay for £150, I think you can get RSA's modelsfrom around £300 upwards new directly from the USA. If I was buying again I'd get one with a Dac as well to use with my laptop, but that may not be a requirement for you.

Finally I am fussy about sound (I used to have B&W Nautilus 802's), so it's not just that my standards are lower. Just that in practice I think I've reached the point of rapidly diminishing returns for music on the move

Aslan's picture
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RE: High end iPod headphones

Unfortunately, I read Rockwell's review of the Ultrasones, that is what set me off and now I want a pair. I wish I never read it! I will check out the v-moda but not sure about their availability out here in Hong Kong.

The HD800 looks great but I think they are more suitable for listening at home as they aren't very portable.

The Beyerdynamic T5p looks like the sort of thing I am looking for, I will definitely audition these alongside the Ultrasones.

I have never liked in-ear phones and even though the ACS are probably an excellent choice, I don't think I would ever feel comfortable with them.

I am not certain whether a 1,000 quid pair of iPod headphones is a good idea either, which is why I asked for recommendations of less expensive alternatives. When I travel for work, I carry as little as possible. I will not take a laptop or iPad unless I really have to. My iPod Touch is all I really need. An external amp/dac will probably also make a big difference, but I would not want to have to carry it and its chargers with me. I think I will just need to compare the Ultrasones and T5p to my 50 quid AKGs and see if it really is worth it.

Thanks for all your suggestions Smile .

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RE: High end iPod headphones

I would expect the t5p to be much less efficient than the Ultrasone - don't know for sure, but best to check if using only the ipod.

AKG K812/K712, Beyer T1/T90 Jubilee/DT1350, v-moda M100/XS, Beyer A200p/v-moda Verza/Microstreamer DAC/amps, Portaphile Micro/PA2V2 amps.

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RE: High end iPod headphones

Sennheiser Momentum might be worth a try.

Aslan's picture
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RE: High end iPod headphones

I just popped into a train spotter headphone shop near my office. As soon as I looked at the Ultrasones and then the T5p, the salesman knew exactly what I wanted to buy and told me that they were the only 2 choices. I got the impression that many people have been to his shop looking for exactly the same thing as me. Good to know I am not the only nutter out there.

I did not audition them as the Ultrasones are pretty expensive compared to what they are going for in the U.S.A. at US$999. I need to shop around a bit but I might have to order them over the internet which is something I really don't like doing.

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RE: High end iPod headphones

Did you get to audition the T5P?

Aslan's picture
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RE: High end iPod headphones

I have not auditioned the T5p yet. I want to audition them together, I will check out some other shops first before I audition them.

dalethorn's picture
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RE: High end iPod headphones

Aslan wrote:
I have not auditioned the T5p yet. I want to audition them together, I will check out some other shops first before I audition them.

Make sure to audition on the ipod, to check maximum volume with your tracks that have lower volume.

AKG K812/K712, Beyer T1/T90 Jubilee/DT1350, v-moda M100/XS, Beyer A200p/v-moda Verza/Microstreamer DAC/amps, Portaphile Micro/PA2V2 amps.

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RE: High end iPod headphones

iPod + 256k music + travel + £1000 headphones = waste of money

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RE: High end iPod headphones

iPod + 256k music + travel = noise cancelling headphones, perhaps?

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