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Covenanter's picture
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Open question

I didn't realise there was a separate "Headphones" forum so posted this on the main hifi forum:

This is a very open question so I’d appreciate as many comments as possible.
I’ve got my new hifi – Marantz CD6004, PM6004, KEP Q500s – and I love it and am listening to much more music now. Trouble is I’m a bit of a night owl and I live in an apartment block and volume levels have to be restrained in the small hours. So I’m thinking of headphones but am not sure where to start. I’ve read the reviews but there is nothing like the opinions of people who use the things!
Some factors:
• I listen to mainly classical music of all types but medieval polyphony is a favourite
• I want to get as close to the clean, analytical sound of the KEFs as possible
• I can’t do “in-ear” so it has to be “on-ear”
• Can’t be too heavy
• I’m attracted to “wireless” for practical reasons but how good are they?
• Headphone socket or pre-amp?
• Whilst I’m not rich beyond the dreams of avarice I will pay to get the sound I want
Many thanks in anticipation of your advice and help.
Chris

Marantz PM8005 / SA8005 / KEF R700s / AKG K702

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RE: Open question

The Shure 1840 is a good bet because it's very light and doesn't bother your ears, and it's very accurate and detailed which is best for all types of music. Headphone outputs on receivers, amplifiers, CD players etc. do vary in quality, and more often than not a good headphone amp will improve the sound. There are many of those, so have a look first, and if there are other suggestions on the headphones I'll see how those compare to the 1840. I do think your willingness to spend the necessary money should allow you to avoid headphones with colorations and comfort problems.

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: Open question

Thank you for that.  They read very well but there doesn't appear to be a stockist in the Midlands where I can hear them!

On the other forum I was recommended the Stax Electrostatics as well.  Anybody have any comments?

Chris

Marantz PM8005 / SA8005 / KEF R700s / AKG K702

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RE: Open question

The Stax SR009 has everything the Shure 1840 has but much better. But in addition to 10 times the price, the places you can run it are very restricted. The other Stax's would not give you that improved sound, but would give you the restrictions.

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: Open question

This is tough when I can't audition the contenders!

Chris

Marantz PM8005 / SA8005 / KEF R700s / AKG K702

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RE: Open question

This is one place I know of. http://www.hifiheadphones.co.uk/headphone-demo.php

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: Open question

I would recommend the AKG K701 or 2 which can be had for about £200 shopping around. The difference is colour and the K702s cable can be detached.

 

They are big comfy and around ear. They do clarity and detail in spades. For headphones they have a good sound stage. They are not bad to drive, so I would use your amps headphone output.

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RE: Open question

I think you really need to post your budget to give people a chance to help you.  Then you shouldn't get recommended prices of the multiples of Shure -v- Stax.

Apple lossless - Netgear Nighthawk - ATV3 - AVI ADM 40.  

AVI ADM 9T used in my wife's system

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RE: Open question

Ok, well I'm very pragmatic about price.  I had in my mind that I would have to pay £200+ but I know I would find it hard to justify to myself spending more than £700.  I need to be able to hear a big difference to justify a big price!

Chris

Marantz PM8005 / SA8005 / KEF R700s / AKG K702

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RE: Open question

What you just said is key. The bad news is, while you can hear the big difference at home when it's very quiet (like at 2AM), you just won't hear that in the showroom/demo room. Even if the demo room seems very quiet, the ambient noise level will likely be 10 to 20 db above a very quiet home, and will mask the details that are revealed with the £700 headphone.

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: Open question

TY again.  My apartment isn't quiet as I live right in the city centre and even at 2am there will the occasional car going by and even buses.  Sounds like top range headphones might be wasted.

Chris

Marantz PM8005 / SA8005 / KEF R700s / AKG K702

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RE: Open question

Dale's got a very good point, I totally see where he's coming from, but I wouldn't say they're a waste of money. Diminished possibly yes, but not all the time and not completely. 

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RE: Open question

quadpatch wrote:
Dale's got a very good point, I totally see where he's coming from, but I wouldn't say they're a waste of money. Diminished possibly yes, but not all the time and not completely. 

I certainly agree. If you're indoors with windows closed, the occasional bus or other vehicle won't be a big factor. If the windows are open and there is quite a lot of ambient noise that could affect listening. But the occasional noises, the very different types of noise bursts - they don't mask the fine details quite so much as the steady drone of daytime noise from the much larger activity of everything that's going on. The things I can see being  a problem at nighttime are air conditioner noise or other appliance noise inside the building. That type of noise has a constant level of the sort of thing that masks details.

But back to the demo room - if you do get a chance at a demo in a quiet room, prepare in advance for a good seat where you can really relax and take 30 minutes at least to listen. And maybe ask in advance about the ancillary gear being used in the demo room, and whether you might want to take your own amp etc., if that's necessary and they allow it.

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: Open question

Yeah definiftley go with the Stax, they are better in my opinion

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RE: Open question

The big problem seems to be finding an opportunity to audition the various bits of kit.  I'm working up a short-list but I can't find anybody who stocks all of them.  I can borrow the Stax and may well do that but as for the rest I can't see any easy way to listen to them in parallel!

Chris

Marantz PM8005 / SA8005 / KEF R700s / AKG K702

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RE: Open question

Covenanter wrote:
The big problem seems to be finding an opportunity to audition the various bits of kit.  I'm working up a short-list but I can't find anybody who stocks all of them.  I can borrow the Stax and may well do that but as for the rest I can't see any easy way to listen to them in parallel!  Chris

I don't mean to discourage you, but I've found when comaring headphones that the last thing I was accustomed to became my mental benchmark so to speak, and putting  a better headphone on my head, it might not actually sound better at that moment. So here is my first suggestion: Sit down with a Stax SR009 and listen to one type of music with a consistent sound and mix, for perhaps 20 minutes, then put any other headphone on playing the same mix and prepare to throw up. Really. Or just start with a Sennheiser HD800 for the same 20 minutes and then switch to anything in the same or lesser price range, and ask yourself "What happened to the sound?" That phenomenon occurs when you get accustomed to a headphone which projects a lot of detail, then switch to one whose detail is more subtle or softer, yet is perfectly good. You might convince yourself you can listen around all of that and not be misled, but it doesn't work for me after years of trying. Just thought I'd mention it ....

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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