Author Topic: Latest headphone exploration  (Read 39607 times)

Offline Carlman

  • Audio Neurotic
  • *****
  • Posts: 3037
Latest headphone exploration
« on: December 23, 2014, 11:05:36 AM »
Since we've got this forum, might as well write about my latest experiences in trying to find a good system for semi-portability.

Here's the sitch: My wife and I can spend up to 1 hour to ourselves at night.  We otherwise work or take care of a 3 yr old.  I don't like TV.  She likes playing candy crush and watching TV.  I would love nothing more than to zone out listening to music while she does her thing so we can be in the same room together... so, it's being together but also doing something for ourselves.  

If I go to the big sound room, I'm 2 floors away and likely to get comletely caught up in listening longer than I really have time... Plus it takes a while to warm up and sound 'just right'.

So, how about some headphones?  I bought some Sennheiser Momentums because I'd tried them in a store in Cambridge, MA a year ago.. I liked them enough to remember them.  When I first got them, I was using a Samsung S4 playing .flac's on the native music player software.  It was very good.

Later, I got the iphone6 and installed Onkyo HF and there was a substantial improvement in overall sound.  I was like, "oh wow, real music!"  So, from that, I started exploring the whole depth of it.. and coincidentally Shane was deciding to start a headphone company for people like us with young children, and a need for 'quiet listening'... Great idea!  Shane's tastes are a bit higher than mine in a setup.  I like minimal setup... I'll be lying on a couch, thumbing through tunes on my phone... Almost casual listening, which isn't actually possible for me because I tend to get 'into' the music. ;)

So, that's my situation...

The Momentum's are awesome, just full and fun to listen to. They're a little bass heavy but I like it... it's clean and detailed.  The mids and highs sound natural.

The only issue is that the overall comfort isn't what I'd like.  If they were just a little less warm and tight on my head, I think I'd be better.  But there's a slight stuffiness that grows as you keep them on... Kind of feels like I have a cold but only in my ears... it's a little fatiguing from an overall comfort standpoint.  SO, that 1 element has driven me to listen through a lot of Shane's stock and look elsewhere for more.

I was looking at some Beyerdynamics and AKG 545's.. and so on .. but it's not worth spending a lot of money and time to me... but it's worth obsessing a little.. haha..

I look forward to what Shane finds next and what's coming at CES this year... I hear there's going to be some things that might be just what I'm looking for.

I think a small tube amp and a pair of big portables are in my future.... we shall see! :)
I really enjoy listening to music.

Offline sleepyguy24

  • Obsessively Audiophilic
  • ****
  • Posts: 904
Re: Latest headphone exploration
« Reply #1 on: December 24, 2014, 08:11:14 AM »
Morning

If comfort is an issue I say look into the BeyerDynamic line of over the ear headphones. I have the BeyerDynamic DT-770 600 ohm headphones and I have worn them for hours at work with no discomfort whatsoever. My co-workers often wonder why I go to such an extreme but if I'm at work for over 8 hours a day I might as well make the best of it.

Regarding tube headphone amps. You can have lots of fun there. IME the Bellar HA 540 tube headphone amp is a great match with headphones but I used it exclusively with the 600 ohm DT-770s. This headphone amp has lots of inputs and can even accommodate a 3.5mm male jack so you could hook up your phone to it. It uses a single 12AX7 tube so you can have lots of fun/craziness there with tube rolling. I liked the Sovtek 12AX7LPS with it.

Another fun headphone amp to try is the Bottlehead Crack OTL amp. I liked that headphone amp too. Very sweet midrange with the BeyerDynamics I used with it. I heard it is a wonderful match with Sennheiser headphones.

I had the 12AU7 based Bravo headphone amp before the Bellari and I would say stay away unless you can get it for really cheap. It was noisy and cheaply built. My tech had to repair it.

For me my next headphone exploration will be Shane's modified Fostex T50RP headphones. As soon as I get the money together I'll be trying those.

As for amplification one of these years I'll try something from Woo Audio or top of the line tube headphone amp for Schiit Audio.

djdube525

  • Guest
Re: Latest headphone exploration
« Reply #2 on: December 24, 2014, 08:14:12 AM »
Sounds like an opportunity to offer a free break-in service for Shane.  :rofl:

Offline richidoo

  • Out Of My Speaker Cabinet
  • ******
  • Posts: 11144
Re: Latest headphone exploration
« Reply #3 on: December 24, 2014, 08:22:09 AM »
The Woo Audio "Fireflies" DAC/AMP sounds awesome, but it snot portable. Stupid name, but it looks gorgeous.

It would be cheaper for you to just take up Candy Crush.  :rofl:

Offline richidoo

  • Out Of My Speaker Cabinet
  • ******
  • Posts: 11144
Re: Latest headphone exploration
« Reply #4 on: December 24, 2014, 08:25:01 AM »
My headphone conundrum involves my son using my AKGs all the time for his video games. At least I know they are fully broken in now!  :thumb:

Offline machinehead

  • Obsessively Audiophilic
  • ****
  • Posts: 507
    • Affordable Web Design & Development
Re: Latest headphone exploration
« Reply #5 on: December 24, 2014, 08:26:33 AM »
Id go with some Senn HD650s (very comfy) and this iFi iDSD Micro, A DAC/Headphone amp..
Its cool ndude.

Offline tmazz

  • Out Of My Speaker Cabinet
  • ******
  • Posts: 12088
  • Just basking in the glow of my tubes.....
Re: Latest headphone exploration
« Reply #6 on: December 24, 2014, 08:27:48 AM »
My headphone conundrum involves my son using my AKGs all the time for his video games. At least I know they are fully broken in now!  :thumb:

Ouch!  :roll:

One can only hope that through using those 'phones he will develop at least an appreciation for good sound that may someday transfer over to an appreciation for high quality music. Hey, you have to start somewhere.
Remember, it's all about the music........

• Nola Boxers
• Sunfire True SW Super Jr (2)
• McIntosh MC 275
• ARC SP-9
• VPI HW-19 Mk IV/SDS/SME IV/Soundsmith Carmen Mk II ES
• Pro-Ject Pre Box S2 DAC/Rasp Pi Roon Endpoint
• DigiBuss/TWL PC&USB/MIT Cables

Offline jimbones

  • Audio Neurotic
  • *****
  • Posts: 1290
  • Two plus Two Speakers
Re: Latest headphone exploration
« Reply #7 on: December 24, 2014, 09:47:24 AM »
Id go with some Senn HD650s (very comfy) and this iFi iDSD Micro, A DAC/Headphone amp..

I second that recommendation. Best phones i've ever had. Love open back phones and speakers.
Rogue RP7 Pre, Art Audio Vinyl Reference Phono,CJ Premier 12 Pwr, VPI Classic II/Dynavector 20X2L, Roon Rock, Auralic Vega DAC, Emotiva ERC-3, MIT, TWL, WireWorld, Wywires, Shunyata

Offline BobM

  • Audio Neurotic
  • *****
  • Posts: 3320
Re: Latest headphone exploration
« Reply #8 on: December 25, 2014, 06:55:14 AM »
I have the HD600's - they go on sale fairly regularly and are likely the last phones you might ever need.

I also won KEF hd50's at the last audio show. A nice, lower price point headphone that sounds similar to the Sennheisers but with a different design approach. A bit more full bass in them but just as transparent and very nice indeed.

 
Laugh and the world laughs with you. Cry and you'll have to blow your nose.

Offline sleepyguy24

  • Obsessively Audiophilic
  • ****
  • Posts: 904
Re: Latest headphone exploration
« Reply #9 on: December 25, 2014, 09:52:02 PM »
Hi Bob

I can't find the KEF HD50s you mention. I only saw the KEF M500 headphones.

Are these the ones you are talking about?

http://www.amazon.com/KEF-M500-Hi-Fi-On-Ear-Headphones/dp/B00CYBOUO0

Are the KEFs you mention a prototype?

Offline BobM

  • Audio Neurotic
  • *****
  • Posts: 3320
Re: Latest headphone exploration
« Reply #10 on: December 26, 2014, 07:27:53 AM »
Sorry - yes, that is them. My bad. Those KEF's are a new offering from them. There's a few reviews out there on them already.



Laugh and the world laughs with you. Cry and you'll have to blow your nose.

Offline Carlman

  • Audio Neurotic
  • *****
  • Posts: 3037
Re: Latest headphone exploration
« Reply #11 on: December 30, 2014, 06:53:48 AM »
The Senn HD650's were nice... I tried them... but the open back thing doesn't work for my setting(s).  Might as well play the speaker on the iPhone as far as my neighbors are concerned.

I also tried the Mr. Speakers version of the modified Fostex T50's and that is a very nice sounding headphone.  Kind of big and heavy, though.

BTW, WyWires made a huge improvement on the HD700's I tried.  Even if I loved the HD700's, it wouldn't have worked due to the open ear and open-listening situation they created.

The iFi stuff is good but I don't care for its sound signature in general.  There is a Nano that sounded different, and I liked that one, with the Mr. Speakers headphones... excellent combo.

I hope to hear some BeyerDynamics at some point... I like bass so I'm not sure they'll be 'the one'.. but maybe.  I hope to get to Best Buy or somewhere that sells the AKG 545 so I can give those a listen...

Shane has a lot of cool stuff to try but most of it doesn't work for my situation, especially the open-ear, semi-portable thing.  I want a sub-1,k setup that's light and semi-isolated that's very comfortable.  Apparently there are some new things on the horizon, though.. so, I plan to wait... My birthday is 2 months... ;)

-C
I really enjoy listening to music.

Offline richidoo

  • Out Of My Speaker Cabinet
  • ******
  • Posts: 11144
Re: Latest headphone exploration
« Reply #12 on: December 30, 2014, 07:24:54 AM »
My birthday is 2 months... ;)

Yeah, but have you been a good boy?

Offline sleepyguy24

  • Obsessively Audiophilic
  • ****
  • Posts: 904
Re: Latest headphone exploration
« Reply #13 on: December 30, 2014, 08:43:45 AM »
I forgot to mention this before with my latest headphone exploration. I decided to go in the other direction price wise and get a sub $50 headphones for kicks.

I got this one and am happy with it. I only used it for movies, video games, music listening on a laptop.

JVC HARX700 Precision Sound Full Size Headphones - Black

http://www.amazon.com/JVC-HARX700-Precision-Sound-Headphones/dp/B0013OWPV4/ref=sr_1_10?ie=UTF8&qid=1419953418&sr=8-10&keywords=jvc+headphones

Very comfy too. Sonically they slightly outperformed my BeyerDynamic DT48 headphones with some concert DVDs I was listening too.

Offline Bill O'Connell

  • Obsessively Audiophilic
  • ****
  • Posts: 360
    • http://www.morningstaraudio.com
Re: Latest headphone exploration
« Reply #14 on: December 30, 2014, 09:44:52 AM »
I would love to listen to this when it becomes available :thumb:

http://theaudioguild.com/the-collection/#/emac/


 Just beautiful to look at, his wires are also very nice
Bill O'Connell,
Retired /Morningstar Audio/Eastern Electric distributor for North America
847-255-1150
"If your playing more than 3 chords your just showing off"  John Lee Hooker