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I haven't had or listened to headphones since I was a kid with some old cans from the 60's that were my fathers.
I have a high end system and my wife has been pretty good about me playing music loud, but she and my neighbors deserve a break.
My Preamp is the Audio Research SP20 and has its own headphone amp. Rated at 6V max 30 to 300 ohms. 1/4" female jack
My listening is 70% Classic Rock, 10% Blues, 10% Jazz and 10% Classical.
My budget is around $500 to $700 used or new. I don't need closed headphones.
Imaging and soundstage placement is the most important thing, then full accurate frequency response second.
A few I've been reading about
Senheiser HD700 or 600
Beyerdynamic T1 used
Hifiman - HE400i or 560's
Grado - RS-1
What's your thoughts and please add any recommendations you can think of.
...I'd probably recommend the T-1. They'll soundstage as well or better than anything else on your list and they'll do all genres of music almost equally well. For your needs, I'd look for the original version of the T-1 as the second and latest version is slightly less of a rocker's headphone and more of a classical-lover's headphone, tonally speaking.
Grado RS-1s really rock, but they are not the most expansive of soundstagers. Also, they are the only pair of supra-aural (on top of the ear) headphones on your list - so unless you definitely prefer that style, you'd best stay away.
The Sennheisers and the AKGs are both very decent soundstagers but both of them seem like classical/jazz specialty headphones, at least to to my ears. Not the best cans for rockers, IMO.
The Hifimans would probably be my second choice for your needs, after the T-1s. Good overall performers. On the downside, planar headphones are significantly heavier and possibly less comfortable than some of the other cans on your list.
"Grado RS-1s really rock, but they are not the most expansive of soundstagers. Also, they are the only pair of supra-aural (over-the ear) headphones on your list - so unless you definitely prefer that style, you'd best stay away."
This statement is confusing to me.
I believe the RS-1 fits on the ear, not over the ear. The two Grado models that fit over the ear are the GS-1000e and the PS-1000e.
"If people don't want to come, nothing will stop them" - Sol Hurok
Typo, fixed it!
When I said "over the ear" I was thinking of "on ear" or "on top of the ear"...
So, thanks for spotting my mistake.
A lot of people swear by the Sennheiser HD600, including myself. For a
very reasonable price you get a hellaciously good set of cans. I've not
heard the others you mention. And I'm sure there's better ones than the
HD600. Only your ears know for sure.
FWIW, I recently got the HiFi Man 400i, and have been pretty pleased with it. (My other phones are Beyer 770 and Senn 600). - My first go with planar phones. It's voiced very differently from these others, very articulate with good musical detail. The bass response takes some getting used to, as it has different texture than the 600s, though not bass-shy (and may still be breaking in). Overall a good addition to the lineup.
I've owned a set of Beyerdynamic DT-990 Pros since 1999.
NOT the most accurate headphones in the world, but excellent bass response and VERY dynamic.
Other than replacing a set of crumbling ear pads, I have had NO problems with them whatsoever.
Thanks for all your responses and Texanater for your service.
After all my research and procrastinating I found a new pr for 33% off $690 brand new with a 30 return policy, no tax, no shipping charge.
I should have them by End of Day tomorrow.
I'll give my impressions after a week or two.
-Sennheiser HD600 - very good but just didn't grab me, can't explain - perhaps too sterile
-Beyerdynamic DT880 (32 ohm version) - Loved it, great for orchestra and big sound stage music - not so great for intimate or base heavy music
-AKG 550 - Love it! Lots of detail and has the openness and airiness of on open headphone with the isolation of a closed.
-Grado SR-60 - not in the same league as the others but also much cheaper so not a hit against it. Good base
-Focal Spirit Classic - My current favorite. It has slightly less detail and soundstage as the AKG 550 but the tonal richness is unparalleled. I've never heard tonal colors like this from a headphone perhaps even from a speaker! It also comes with two length cables which really comes in handy. A really long one for listening in your living room or something like that and a really short one for desktop and bedtime. Its closed back which is nice since you won't annoy your wife listening in bed. Downside is the ear cups are rather small. I'm 5'9 with slightly larger than perfectly proportional ears and I have to kinda stuff me ears into the cups. It doesn't bother me, but if you are a big guy or have big ears it may be uncomfortable.
Another thing to consider is IEMs. I've had an absolute blast playing with them and am really amazed at how well they hold up to full sized cans. They are more convenient, are less sensitive to amplification and really sound great. There has been an absolute explosion in IEM technology and competition in the last 8 years.
My current IEM favorite is JVC-FX850. Its an open back IEM so you still hear some of your surrounding, but I have small kids so that is a good thing. Plus I don't really like a totally tight seal.
You can also get custom ear molds for a lot of models which allows you to comfortably completely attenuate outside noise. Great for mowing the lawn or Long distance flights. I went to Afghanistan in 2012 which took about 50 hours. I had the custom molds in my head pretty much the entire way there just to keep the sound out - C-17s are REALLY loud. My custom molds are for Etymotics HF2s. Great headphones but probably not up to the quality you are seeking.
You can't cheat an honest man, never give a sucker an even break or smarten up a chump -- W.C. Fields
There are extensive discussions regarding all the cans you listed on the headfi site. Probably more than you can reasonably consume. But, what the heck, it's fun researching a new buy. I have the Beyerdynamic T1 and AKG 701 - love 'em both. Run them on a WOO WA6. Had Audeze but found them uncomfortable. Had the Senn 600 and liked it but prefer the more detailed sound I enjoy in the T1 and 701.
I bought a Senn 650 about 5 years ago, liked it quite well with digital and analogue equipment. Sold them and bought a new pair a year ago, and though I still like them, could not resist upgrade itis and bought the Sen 700's. Like them a little better so the 650's going up for sale.
Is the HE-400S. Its different from the HE-400i (from what I've read). I own the HE-400S but I've never auditioned the HE-400i.
According to reports that I've read the HE-400S is more sensitive and eliminates some of the response irregularities that the HE-400i has.
I have been using the HE-400S driven by a Schiit Lyr 2 headphone amp. The HE-400S are excellent for the money and are better than many much more expensive headphones.
We don't shush around here!
Life is analog...digital is just samples thereof
Add Master & Dynamic to that list.
"To Learn Who Rules Over You, Simply Find Out Who You Are Not Allowed to Criticize."
I am a Grado owner and I have owned some of the cans you list. I prefer the brightness of the Grados but be warned that the RS-1 sits on the ears not around them. I don't like that feeling so I bought the G cushions that go around the ear, very comfy on my woodied 325i.
"If people don't want to come, nothing will stop them" - Sol Hurok
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