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Headphones advice and Open/Closed question, Which headphone set is the best for my needs?
KyleG
post Nov 20 2012, 03:55
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tldr; Sennheiser 650, Ultrasone Pro 900, or other at similar cost for someone who likes rock/alt/pop/metal/ etc. but who doesn't need to be portable and who gets headaches pretty easily? Also amp pairing suggestions? total budget. ~$750

Hello, I'm new to this forum and and to high end headphones in general. However I have some experience with high end stereo systems and am a performing musician, so I hope I can provide enough information to ask my question adequately. I recently changed living circumstances and it has become much more difficult to listen to my home audio system, so I am looking into getting a nice set of headphones with an amplifier/dac in order to improve my daily listening experience. In general, in audio equipment I would say that I'm less concerned with purchasing a product which perfectly reproduces the source material and more concerned with something I can really enjoy listening to and in this case which is good about audio fatigue and headaches (I'm using software crossfeed at the moment which helps some but I frequently get headaches with my current headphones, a Koss ProDJ100 set that is fairly good overall but uncomfortable and with sound quality obviously reflective of its more budget price range). As I've done some searching, I seem to be split between my desire for something easy to listen to and something which sounds really great for aggressive music, and in my price range the Sennheiser 650 seems to be ideal for the former and the Ultrasone Pro 900 for the latter.

Obviously the 650 is open, which seems like it would be really nice (some audio bleed is no big deal), but many people seem to think it isn't well suited for the music I listen to most frequently, and I am a little concerned about the 300 ohm impedence, meaning I would have to drive them pretty hard for a really nice sound? I'd prefer not to do that on a regular basis (I listen to music while I work and also alone for relaxation/whatnot and I'm trying not to absolutely destroy my ears).

On the other hand, the Ultrasone Pro 900 seems to be great for a fun listening experience for edgier music, but its closed back and some people even specifically claim it is more fatiguing than most. It does have an interesting technology which claims to broaden the soundstage and to reduce effective decibel pressures, which seems nice, but I don't really know how it works firsthand.

Unfortunately its extremely impractical for me to hear any of these headphones before I purchase them sad.gif Any suggestions? Thanks so much and I hope I'm following forum guidelines correctly!
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markanini
post Nov 22 2012, 14:26
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You might like Fostex TH7 for dense mixes, they're open phones. But based on what you have said so far I'd recommend taking a good look at Senn HD280 or Beyer DT250-250. But if you really want to be sure you made the right choice you have two options: #1 Find a store with a large stock of headphones that will let you demo them. #2 Buy a bunch of headphones online and sell the ones you don't like on eBay/craigslist.

This post has been edited by markanini: Nov 22 2012, 14:30
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mzil
post Nov 23 2012, 09:36
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Not sure how long this deal lasts, (Black Friday only? or just part of the day "lightning deal"?) but I just ordered (another) Sony MDRV6 for $39.99 USD, shipped.
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00001WRS...d=ATVPDKIKX0DER

They have very good accuracy according to Consumer Reports, which top rated them (some years back) against many more expensive Sennheisers, Beyers, etc. [I believe they use a KEMAR dummy head to get a HRTF corrected "diffuse field" curve, so they know their stuff.]

Look at the curve at Headphones.com and you'll see what I mean. Compare them to HD-650 ($499.99 USD), etc, and I think you'll see they are similarly, admirably neutral, and at this price a great bargain.

Note sure if my graph posting skills work, but here goes:


http://www.headphone.com/headphones/sony-mdr-v6.php

http://www.headphone.com/headphones/sennheiser-hd-650.php

http://graphs.headphone.com/graphCompare.p...;graphID[]=1513

OK, I think that last one works to show both at once. [Based on the curves, I'd take the Sony! ]

There's a reason Sony keeps making them for decades now and they (along with their twin sister pro version called the MDR7506) are considered film and music studio standards. This to me means there is a strong possibility the recording engineers that made my media were using them, so I'm hearing exactly what they intended me to hear.

They are so inexpensive though, they fly under the radar of most snobby headphone people, so they don't have a lot of internet chatter, but they are great in almost all regards, and you can even mod them by buying alternate ear pads, as I do.

This post has been edited by mzil: Nov 23 2012, 10:32
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IgorC
post Nov 25 2012, 00:15
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QUOTE (mzil @ Nov 23 2012, 05:36) *
...
Look at the curve at Headphones.com and you'll see what I mean. Compare them to HD-650 ($499.99 USD), etc, and I think you'll see they are similarly, admirably neutral, and at this price a great bargain.

...

http://graphs.headphone.com/graphCompare.p...;graphID[]=1513

Actually the graph shows that Sony MDR-V6 and Sennheiser HD 650 have different signatures.

While HD650 is pretty neutral at highs the MDR-V6's will sound pretty ear-piercieng because it has quite strong peak at 9 kHz like Superlux HD668B. And bandwidth extension, not great.

But I'll agree it's a good pair for that price.
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mzil
post Nov 25 2012, 03:29
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QUOTE (IgorC @ Nov 24 2012, 19:15) *
While HD650 is pretty neutral at highs the MDR-V6's will sound pretty ear-piercieng because it has quite strong peak at 9 kHz like Superlux HD668B. And bandwidth extension, not great.

That narrow bump at 9 kHz seems very common with headphones he measures, across many various brands, so I ignore it as an artifact of either his coupler, his placement of his microphone within the coupler, or the correction curve he applies. Here are four non-Sony headphones, all from well known headphone companies, and they all exhibit a similar bump at 9 kHz (and a mild dip just before it):

http://www.headphone.com/buildAGraph.php?g...pare+Headphones

The Sony MDRV6 have a flatter, more neutral frequency response than the Sennheiser 650 where it actually counts, in the musically significant 30Hz to 12 kHz range, barring that measurement artifact. The deviation from 0 dB is smaller even though they cost less than a tenth the price! Their bass extension is rock sold to 30 Hz, down just a few dB, and even at 20 hz they are only 7 dB down. Not perfect, but considering the JND level at that frequency, I'd say pretty much transparent for most music, and absolutely in no sense "bass shy".



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