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Shanka's picture
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new headphones for home use
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Hi,

This weekend I am looking for headphones around £100ish, I mainly listen to older rock, reggae, soul music and they need to be comfortable.

My selection based on reviews are AKG K550, Grado sr80 ( is the e version much better) or sr125is, possibly AKG Q701 as have seen some near the price.

I have a pair of AKG K450 which are great on trains , planes etc but I need to calm my neighbours down a little, not fans of neil young and funkadelic at 3 am.

Any suggestions much appreciated will be listening using Arcam amp, mobile and chord hugo soon.

I don't expect to use them that often so not wanting to go much over budget if at all.

 

Thanks for any input, always much appreciated

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Grado SR80i are a good choice

Grado SR80i are a good choice for that type of music, but bear in mind they have a bright & aggressive sound and will seem quite bass-light compared with the K450s. (The bass is actually very tight and musical, but the lack of 'boom' can take some getting used to.)

The Grado 125i is more of the same, literally. Not worth the extra money.

Also consider the AKG K612 Pro. Can be bought for around £115 and is a very good sounding (and comfortable) pair of headphones. I prefered it to the 701 / 702 series as it has a slightly warmer & more musical sound.

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I appreciate that you've been

I appreciate that you've been specific about your budget, but a £100 headphone in a system with the components you've described is a non-starter.  You could order the Soundmagic HP150 and have a *reasonable* expenditure and satisfactory sound, great comfort, and proper low leakage.

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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Shanka wrote:

Shanka wrote:

Hi,

This weekend I am looking for headphones around £100ish, I mainly listen to older rock, reggae, soul music and they need to be comfortable.

My selection based on reviews are AKG K550, Grado sr80 ( is the e version much better) or sr125is, possibly AKG Q701 as have seen some near the price.

I have a pair of AKG K450 which are great on trains , planes etc but I need to calm my neighbours down a little, not fans of neil young and funkadelic at 3 am.

Any suggestions much appreciated will be listening using Arcam amp, mobile and chord hugo soon.

I don't expect to use them that often so not wanting to go much over budget if at all.

 

Thanks for any input, always much appreciated

I never got on with the SR80i, although I think they are a good headphone for rock music. In think the way they sit on the ear was alway offputting. They have enough bass, I guess. Not an artificial warmth, but I think the bass could be a bit better. While I liked the AKG K550, you have to like a certain type of sound. Very bass light, but very open and detailed. Maybe not quite right for you. Can't comment of the Q701.

I have to agree that none of those phones will really do the Hugo justice, but I assume you are buying it also to use as a DAC, etc. for you amp.

Stuff.

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Hi,

Hi,

I am only going to use headphones late night ( last night would have been good ) so as I don't disturb neighbours and the Hugo as stated above is really being used as a standalone dac. I realise this is not doing the Hugo justice but I would only be using them if I can't use main system due to noise levels which would only come up once a month or so. 

I would rather go for more open , flowing , airy sound than detail and sharp highs are to be avoided.

I would also prefer over ear than on ear as thinking that will be more comfortable, sound leakage is not an issue though.

The akg 612 look an interesting option so will put them on the list, thanks again for the advice so far.

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I'm not so sure that playing

I'm not so sure that playing some of these headphones through the equipment you describe is a bad thing (very mis-matched). Although I do think that spending an extra £100 would be ideal and another £400 on top of that would be amazing, but I've had some really good experiences with playing reasonably priced headphones through very good equipment. 

At the moment I am listening to the B&O H6 through about £1500 worth of Ifi headphone equipment and it's really stunning! This might sound miss-matced, but it's perhaps my favourite (isolated) closed back sound I've ever heard. Although I should point out that I don't count the Fostex TH900 as 'properly' closed back. OK, so the TH900 driven by a Benchmark DAC2 was better, but they don't isolate for s***, whereas the B&O H6 does and they still sound amazing!

Anyway, getting back on topic - What I would say is that the more balanced sounding headphones that you can put through said equipment the better. The AKG K701 is a bit bass light, compared to other balanced sounds, but I think it would get a bigger benefit from the DAC/amp than say something like an Audio Technica ATH-M50, which can be a great headphone for the money on lesser equipment, but just feels out of it's league on better equipment (doesn't scale as well). 

I'd still encourage you to spend a bit more, but if you just can't then I would recommend the AKG (not the K550), or perhaps a Beyerdynamic DT880 (if you can find one for around that price).

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A little over budget, but I'm

A little over budget, but I'm a big fan of these

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Audio-Technica-ATH-A900X-Audiophile-Closed-Back-Headphones/dp/B005TCZIQA/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1408183996&sr=8-1&keywords=ATH+900x

Sparkling highs. Good separation and detail without getting harsh, but doesn't smooth things out too much. Some nice warmth and  nicely judged bass with some real impact. The bass may not be the most neutral but it does add a nice body to things. I find all of my music sounds good on them.

Personally, I'd also be keen to check out the Soundmagic HP150 mentioned above.

Stuff.

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Some listening

Today I listened to a few headphones, Akg 551 to start with which were ok but I felt the sound was maybe a little thin but they were comfortable and I quite like the look of them.

I then went through what I was looking for and was told much the same as many have you said that I would benefit from listening to something 'better'.

I then tried Sennheiser hd650 and that was a much better sound,  smoother, fuller, not too aggresive but felt bulky to wear, not as spacious in soundstage as I was hoping.

Then Grado 325is which looked quite flimsy for the price, they had a slightly harder edge and more attack than the 650,s but I didn't really find them that comfortable, however I was expecting a more noticeable sound difference .

I actually found it quite hard to find somewhere with a good selection of headphones but I think it is worth upping my budget to this area of headphones.

Anyone know of a retailer with a good selection of headphones in north London ? Most shops tend to mainly stock only these two brands at this sort of price point,I would like to hear some good AKG's.

I have seen some beyerdynamic dt880 for a good price, would these be comparable to the Grado or sennheisers above ?

Any advice again appreciated, thanks.

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Shanka wrote:

Shanka wrote:

Today I listened to a few headphones, Akg 551 to start with which were ok but I felt the sound was maybe a little thin but they were comfortable and I quite like the look of them.

I then went through what I was looking for and was told much the same as many have you said that I would benefit from listening to something 'better'.

I then tried Sennheiser hd650 and that was a much better sound,  smoother, fuller, not too aggresive but felt bulky to wear, not as spacious in soundstage as I was hoping.

Then Grado 325is which looked quite flimsy for the price, they had a slightly harder edge and more attack than the 650,s but I didn't really find them that comfortable, however I was expecting a more noticeable sound difference .

I actually found it quite hard to find somewhere with a good selection of headphones but I think it is worth upping my budget to this area of headphones.

Anyone know of a retailer with a good selection of headphones in north London ? Most shops tend to mainly stock only these two brands at this sort of price point,I would like to hear some good AKG's.

I have seen some beyerdynamic dt880 for a good price, would these be comparable to the Grado or sennheisers above ?

Any advice again appreciated, thanks.

I own some DT880s (250 ohm Edition) as well as Sennheiser HD600s and Grado 225i, so can offer some advice here.

(Note: the HD600 is very similar to the HD650, with a slightly more neutral and airy sound. The Grado 225i sounds virtually the same as the 325i to me - in fact I've tried most of the SR & RS Grado models and they all sounded very similar. If you like the Grado sound, definitiely consider the SR225i as it's a lot lighter than the 325i and thus more comfortable. It's also much better value.)

First, I'd say that each of those headphones are on the same 'level' and just offer different flavours of sound. Second, your experience with the HD650 and the SR325i fits with mine. 

The DT880 sits in the middle of these two, broadly speaking - not as warm as the HD650, but less harsh than the SR325i. It's more neutral sounding than both. Bass goes deeper than the HD650, although it has less mid-bass, so can seem a little bass-light (or perhaps airier) in comparison.

The DT880 has the wider soundstage of the three, but it's more 'heaphone-like' whereas I find the HD600/650 to have a more natural 'speaker-like' sounstage. (Grados obviously have a quite narrow sounstage so don't really compare in this respect.)

The DT880 is also the most comfortable of the three: the pads are very soft & luxurious and the clamping force is light.  It is slightly more compact than the HD650, but probably won't feel any less 'bulky' to wear.

Hope this is of some help!

 

 

 

 

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Hi,

Hi,

Thats great info , thanks very much, with regard to dt 880 is there much difference between pro and premium apart from the premium being a bit more ?

The ones I saw weren't a good deal after all so would have to start looking again.

Out of interest have you heard the akg 701's as they would be the other contender around same price ?

The next thing is to try and find some to look/listen to unless I buy some blind with a return facility but that would be last resort.

Thanks again for all the advice

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Shanka wrote:

Shanka wrote:

Hi,

Thats great info , thanks very much, with regard to dt 880 is there much difference between pro and premium apart from the premium being a bit more ?

The ones I saw weren't a good deal after all so would have to start looking again.

Out of interest have you heard the akg 701's as they would be the other contender around same price ?

The next thing is to try and find some to look/listen to unless I buy some blind with a return facility but that would be last resort.

Thanks again for all the advice

No problem, happy to help!

Aside from the cosmetic differences, the DT880 Pro has slightly more clamping force, different headband padding and a coiled cabled (the Premium has a straight cable.)   The Premuim is available in 32, 250 & 600 Ohm versions, whereas the Pro is only easily available in 250 Ohm (although I'd say the 250 Ohm is the one to go for.)

The AKG 701 (and 702) definitely competes with these headphones. In fact the HD650, DT880 & K701 were the 'big three' headphones a few years ago and there are loads of comparisons to read out there if you do a quick google. Take what you read with a pinch of salt though, as there are lot of fanboys out there and people tend to over-state the differences between headphones, as you already discovered!

Personally I preferred the AKG K601 (now called the K612 Pro) to the K701 as it's more musical. It's actually very similar to the HD600, although not quite as good (so I sold mine and got a HD600!) ... However, if I was on a budget, I'd be pretty satisfied with the K612 Pro for £115. It does need amping to sound its best though. It'll run OK out of an iPhone, but does really benefit from an amp.

The HD650/600 and the DT880 (250 Ohm) actually sound pretty great straight out of an iPhone. Amping gets the best out of them but it's by no means essential, in my experience (you'll read a lot of stuff on headfi about how a tube amp is vital for the HD650, which is just not true.)

You could just buy them straight from amazon as they have a great returns policy - 30 days, no questions asked.

 

 

 

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Senn HD598

I'm more of a speaker man myself but I do have the following headphones, (in the order that I purchased them):

Grado SR80i - very forward and very revealing, but damned uncomfortable.

Sennheiser HD598 - the most forward of the Senns but a great heaphone and very comfy.

Sennheiser HD650 - Sublime in every way.

Grado SR225i - recent purchase but probably going on ebay soon, nicer headphone than the SR80i, but still too uncomfortable.

For the price I think that the Senn HD598 takes a lot of beating, it's almost a cross between Grado/Sennheiser.

Just my 2p's worth.

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Shanka wrote:

Shanka wrote:

Anyone know of a retailer with a good selection of headphones in north London ? Most shops tend to mainly stock only these two brands at this sort of price point,I would like to hear some good AKG's.

I had a good experience with Custom Cable, which is more West London really. I made an article about it here: http://noblehifi.blogspot.co.uk/2013/11/headphone-demo-room-custom-cable.html

I have owned the DT880, HD600/650 and Q701 btw. I don't think much has come along to challenge them yet still. Although there has been a lot of new models, most manufacturers are consentrating on smaller, closed back, fashion headphones atm so that could explain why these larger open back headphones remain relatively unchallenged. Anyway, they're all lovely headphones and any one of them could suit you the best, depending on what you want. For me it was the HD600 that just about won it because it struck the best balance of versatility and excitement for the price. It's not my favourite headphone ever, but the next best thing that I've heard is considerably more expensive.

It's also worth noting that any of these headphone's SQ is greatly dependant on source / amplification.

Hope that helps.

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Thanks again

Hi,

Thanks for all the help and info, it has helped clarify my approach to this.

I will not be using this with a mobile, it will be using arcam amp or chord headphone amp/dac so I am thinking driving them should not be an issue.

I also don't like the look of the senn. 598,s sorry but the look of these comes into it  a little. I have found some AKG K702's that seem to fit the bill with a returns policy as I think this is the only practical way to get these, I don't have a car so west London is a bit of a pain. I have to say with the growth of the headphone market I am staggered there are so few retail options, as stated maybe because the focus is on smaller models.

I have gone for the K702's as they don't have a ridged headband and seen a few comments saying this can be uncomfortable and they are cheaper than q701's but do not have a long cable, I have seen if I need one they are about £20 so still better value overall.

I also notice like speakers they take a good many hours to work their way into best performance so will bear this in mind ( please let me know if this is foo ! )

If I don't like these then the DT 880's would be the swap, I am hoping being fully open the 702's will be a bit more open in soundstage and airiness but the DT 880's look very comfy , as they are part closed would they also be a little warmer , physical not tone ?

I don't like taking a punt but I believe this is the way to go, if any or all of my assumptions are wrong please feel free to add comment, you have all been a great help ( and reading head fi, bit intense tho'), I will probably order tomorrow so hope to have for the weekend.

Thanks again, all advice much appreciated.

 

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Can I throw a couple of pairs

Double post

Director

www.musictoyourears.co.uk

System: Unison Research Unico CDE, Leema Tucana 2, Kudos C2, AIAIAI TMA-1 Studio Young Guru.

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Can I throw a couple of pairs

Can I throw a couple of pairs into the mix please.

The Audio-Technica ATH-ES700 is an excellent headphone which will work very well with your music tastes. A quality brand and a relatively new model too. I was speaking to a customer I sold one to a few months ago, he likes older rock (Stones etc) as well as female vocalists and classical. He loves the ES700 and is really pleased.

As I've said on here before the AIAIAI TMA-1 Studio are also very good across the audio spectrum, I have a pair of Young Guru version myself and love them. They are also extremely comfortable, and being a studio headphone quite neutral in tone.

Director

www.musictoyourears.co.uk

System: Unison Research Unico CDE, Leema Tucana 2, Kudos C2, AIAIAI TMA-1 Studio Young Guru.

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