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Geordie

Headphone review thread

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Over the last 3 or so years, I have had a long headphone journey and have owned many headphones and amps, looking for that elusive enjoyable combination. For a headphone/amp combo to succeed, it had to be fun and lively to listen to, but without being too fatiguing. It had to be comfortable too. Simple set of requirements, but not so simple to achieve.

So in rough order, these are the headphones I've owned, with a brief few words about them:-

Sennheiser HD497

These are one of the entry level Sennheiser headphones. They are silver, come with cheap pleather pads, and are 32 ohms and easy to drive for most equipment. They cost less than £50. They have a high clamping force and need significant stretching before they become comfortable. They more or less it on top of the ears (and not around) so some may find them uncomfortable full stop. The pleather pads make your ears sweat. Sonically they are clearly a Sennheiser headphone with the laid back mids and treble with a bass that seems to dominate the performance. Overall pretty muddy and not particular fun to listen to, or comfortable, but a marked step up on the cheap consumer headphones that most people who have bought 497's probably had before.

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Grado SR80

One of the entry level Grado's, despite which, costs over £100 RRP in this country. However, they are only $100 in the US, so if you can get them there do. As common with most Grado's, they sit on top of the ears, have a thin leather headband, abrasive earpads and are extrmely uncomfortable to wear. The sound is quite good, not very refined, and quite bright, with not that much bass really, but what bass there is hits hard and fast, and the sound is fun to listen to, impactful, dynamic and exciting. Just a shame about the comfort.... and build quality.... and looks.... and price.

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Beyerdynamic DT931

One of Beyer's higher range of headphones, and technically probably used to slot in below the DT990 and DT880. They are however now discontinued, but they cost generally less than £130 when they were out. They have a silly coiled cord, so dont expect to use these without an extension. They are quite comfortable with their velvet pads and soft double headband, but unless you use an extension, they are spoiled by the pressure of the stretching cord, should you wish to sit further away than about 4 feet to whatever its plugged into. Sonically these are peculiar phones, they are apparently designed to be run from a higher output impedance headphone socket - which in English, means that things like integrated amps with resistor based headphone sockets are ideal. Very few headphone amps actually have the right combination of qualities to drive these well, so you are best off just using them out of an integrated. Overall, the DT931 are very bright, but also very fast headphones. Far too bright for me, and although the bass is fast and tuneful, just not enough - the experience is fatiguing. Without the high output impedance, these characters become even more emphasised when used out of a quality headphone amp. Although you can buy adapters to increase the impedance of the socket, that means you'll probably end up with an adapter and an extension. Probably on its own enough to put most people off. Frankly, these are not great for the money.

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Beyerdynamic DT770

These are closed headphones and in many respects, the polar opposite to the DT931 above. These are happy to be driven with a normal headphone amp with a low impedance socket. Comfort wise, this will be subjective. There is a Pro version which is the one I had, which is likely the one most people will end up with. This costs £100 or less. The non pro one costs about £120 or more. The difference? Headband, and the non pro one has silver paint on it in places. The headband on the non pro is bigger, so more comfortable. The Pro was uncomfortably tight on my head, and the leather headband caused scalp burn which is very uncomfortable. To make matters even more complicated, the DT770 comes in 250 ohm and 80 ohm guises (it used to also come as a 600 ohm phone, but this was discontinued). The 80 ohm version is said by some to sound slightly better. This is a review of the 250 ohm version. Like I say, polar opposite to the DT931. This thing has bass, lots of it. Too much in fact. The mids are too laid back as a result, and turning it up to hear the mids lets you hear the bright upper mids / lower treble and thundering bass, both of which become tiring. Totally unbalanced and not very refined, but depending on your point of view, fun. Very good for games and movies though.

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Beyerdynamic DT880

These are Beyers top of the line headphones. Unlike the others, I believe Beyer now includes a straight cable on these - a welcome addition. But even when it didnt, they did include an extension cable, to their credit. And also a fancy aluminium box. These things generally cost less than £200. The headband is the same design as the DT770 and 990 (non pro versions). Its more comfortable than the 770 Pro, but scalp burn still occurs. These things are probably the most refined of all of the Beyerdynamics, with a spacious, smooth sound. Vocals sound very smooth, and the headphone is totally free from grain. The treble is airy, perhaps bordering on bright. The bass is unfortunately a little weak for my tastes. They are detailed, and have a sound reminiscent of electrostatics.

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AKG K271 Studio

These are closed headphones from AKG, and cost around £100 or so. The comfort is ok, but nothing special, the pleather earpads will sweat, but other than that, not too much to complain about. Isolation is very good. Sound is odd. The bass is pretty weak and indistinct. The midrange has odd colourations and the treble seems rolled off to me. The sound falls far short of what I expect for a £100 headphone.

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Beyerdynamic DT990

These used to be Beyers top of the line headphones until the 880's came about, and are basically an open version of the DT770, so as you can imagine it shares similarities. There is a Pro (about £110ish) and a non Pro (about £135ish). The comfort of the non pro I'd expect to be similar to the DT880. The sound is similar in nature to the 770, but the bass is slightly less dominating, the mids are more forward and the treble no longer seems quite as spitty. A good and worthwhile improvement over the DT770. Decent soundstage, quite good tonally and plenty of detail make this a fun phone and should be considered a serious alternative to the DT880 or Senn HD600/650.

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Sennheiser HD580

These used to be Sennheiser top dogs, until the HD600 with its minor improvements came along, and then later, the HD650. You can clearly see the resemblance between this and its more upmarkets cousins - ok theres more plastic here, but that doesnt really seem to matter too much. The clamping force on new ones can be unbearable for some. The earpads are made out of some cloth like material that can be slightly itchy feeling on the skin. Once you've adjusted to them, they are very comfortable. The sound is usual typical Sennheiser, strong bass, which is quite punchy. Midrange is present, but not aggressive, and trebles have the perception of being rolled off. I've always felt there was an odd "hole" in the sound with Sennheisers, and this one is no exception - and a frequency response chart reveals that there is a severe dip in the upper mid / lower treble region - maybe this was intentional to make it sound less harsh - it works - but it can sound boring and / or muffled depending on the person, equipment and music.

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Sony MDR-CD3000

Once top of Sony's consumer line of headphones, and available in the UK by import only, these things will set you back about £250 if you manage to import them. They are beasts, absolutely huge things. Despite that, they have a nice leather ear pad and headband that is extremely comfortable. The only let downs appear to be the microphonic cord and the weight of the things. However, I feel these far quite far short of what one would expect for this money. The bass impacts well for the most part, but it just sounds weak compared to the rest of the sound. The upper mids and treble are searingly bright, and the headphone gives the illusion of having an almost analytical level of detail. Bright, bright, bright. There is also an odd "plasticky" colouration in the midrange - well these are plastic closed headphones after all. Angled drivers give a huge stage, but thats about their only saving grace. I could only recommend this headphone for those with very warm setups.

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Sony MDR-CD1700

This is next one down from the CD3000, and was available (but maybe not now) for less than £100. Yet it was not that far from its CD3000 brother. Same angled drivers. Roughly the same design, but smaller. Pads didnt feel as nice, and headphone didnt look as classy as its big brother, but hardly bad by any stretch of the imagination and at least on par with Sennheisers offerings in the build quality stakes. Soundwise, they sound very similar to me to the CD3000. The midrange is a lot warmer and more forgiving however, the bass is even slightly less than the CD3000 but probably faster sounding. The overall sound still tends to be detailed / thin / analytical, but without that last bit of brightness in the CD3000. Probably no worse overall, and probably still best suited for warmer systems. Doing the pad mod is recommended. At least this headphone doesnt cost £250 though....

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AKG K240 Studio

Well I give the semi open version of the K271 Studio a chance here. As you can imagine, the price and comfort are the same, so I wont repeat myself. The sound isn't much better either - the midrange is very natural in tone, but the sound is still closed in, bass is undefined, treble is muffled, and is not quite close to what I expect from a headphone costing £100.

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Sennheiser HD650

The flagship Sennheiser dynamic headphones. Costing around £200 or less nowadays, I expected much from these given the hype. The comfort is more or less the same as the HD580, so read that review for more on that. However, soundwise I am disappointed - although more detailed than the 580, this thing has an even warmer sound and even stronger bass, to the point where it just sounds thick and muddy to these ears. A slow and ponderous sound which for me was a step back from the 580. I guess I am in the minority when I think this, but I've had this pair of headphones twice, and sold them twice, even after listening on substantially different systems. If you like music warm, and laid back, then these are for you. For me, they lack the life and vitality needed to bring music truly to life. Technically excellent, but somehow lacking soul.

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Beyerdynamic DT531

Well, these headphones are the ones I ended up with. I've owned these twice now, and they hold the record for the headphones I've owned longer than any other now. Yet ironically, they are one of the cheapest headphones in this roundup. Comfort wise, they are spot on - they look plasticky, but there is no headband burn like the higher Beyers. No silly coiled cables, and extremely lightweight, yet they have the same pads as the high end models. Tonally, these things are slightly unique. They have an engaging sound which is quite forward, and quite airy. The bass is very punchy and quite powerful, but yet never really intrudes where its not wanted, and is fast and agile. The closest analogy I can come up with is a DT880 without the smoothness or refinement, but with more bass and passion, and more forgiving overall. They wont punish your ears too much with bad recordings, and yet show them a good one, and they'll still rival the big boys. These were £80 or less, but unfortunately are now discontinued. They are, IMO, despite some poor reviews elsewhere on the net, something of a classic.

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Shure E2C

These are canal phones that slot in ear and are designed for portable use. For me personally, I did not find these very comfortable and are slightly akward to use when you are used to them. Look at paying less than £50 for these. For the size of them though, when used out of something like an ipod, these give surprisingly good sound on the go. They have a nice full bass that counters the thinness of portable players, and sound quite airy and crisp. One of the best all round compromises in portable phones for a reasonable price. However, if you dont need the isolation these offer, then I'd recommend trying the slightly less fashionable looking, but allegedly better sounding and cheaper Koss KSC-75's (admittedly they are clip ons and not canal phones, however).

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Sony MDR-EX71

These are very much in the same vain as the E2C, but cost less than £30. They are significantly easier to put in and also significantly more comfortable for my ears. However, they clearly are not as good as the E2C sonically. The bass is prominent, but muddy, and the treble is harsh, and overall sound is not as refined or detailed as the E2C. I'd say the E2C were worth the extra, if you can stretch to them.

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Now on to headphone amps....

Meier Audio Corda HA-1

Now a discontinued amp, it lives on in the form of the HA-1 Mk2. That costs about £250 roughly. It offers a crossfeed setting, which mixes the channels together slightly to reduce fatigue. However, unlike the original, the Mk2 does not have a 120 ohm output for the likes of the DT931's. The Mk2 is said to sound significantly better, however, my review is for the Mk1. That offered a clean and detailed sound, that did little wrong, but the bass was a bit lean, and overall, it did little to excite. It basically got the job done, and added little to the sound. I couldnt help but feel slightly underwhelmed, personally.

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Musical Fidelity X-Can v2

Also discontinued, this is the famous valve / solid state hybrid amp in a cylindrical case that you are almost guaranteed to get on ebay these days. To be fair, these things hold their value incredibly well, and even though they were £150 new, you can expect to pay not all that much less nowadays second hand. I'd say the stylish casing was everything to do with that. Sonically though, it was not particularly great without mods. The bass lacks speed and punch, as well as depth. Not a bassheads amp. The treble is loud and harsh, and overall, the amp bears little real resemblance to a valve amp, at least without mods. There are many amps which are less technically flawed, less fussy and better sounding for less.

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Musical Fidelity X-Can v3

On the promise this is significantly better, I bought this £250 amp, again, sold state / valve combo, but with a newer case (and some would argue, uglier) and a beefier power supply. To be fair it is better too, it now has a nice smoothness to the mids. Sounds quite nice and refined for laid back music. Still a bit bright though, and bass still left wanting. And at £250, a touch overpriced, even considering its fancy casing.

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Perreaux SXH1

Another discontinued amp, this was a Class A solid state amp with a mini torroidal transformer built in, discrete circuitry, etc etc. It certainly looked very impressive on the photos, except for its bland case, and downright disgraceful quality volume pot. As it was the next big thing though, I bought one, imported from New Zealand for a not unsubstantial £275. This thing was a disappointment as soon as i plugged it in, with hindsight. Muddy and dull sounding, it did get better as time went on, but ultimately, very smooth, very dull, very lifeless sound. Weak bass, dull looks, dull sound, expensive price. Good soundstage though. Not recommended.

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Rega Ear

Having recently gone up in price, the Rega Ear is probably now priced in a bracket that begins to put it in with some heavyweights in the headphone amp arena. At the £120 it cost me originally it was a good bargain, with good punchy bass and good PRAT, but not the last word in ultimate clarity or detail. At £150 though, its competing almost with the likes of the Gilmore Lite, which looks better, sounds better and is better built. Even the sub £100 Headsave Classic shows the Ear a clean pair of heals, so these days, the slightly plasticky ear is not one of the leading candidates anymore. Nevertheless, an enjoyable sounding amp, and one which still represents better VFM than the X-Can and Perreuax's of this world.

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Headsave Classic Mk1

This was an amp I paid £70 for. It came in a professional but ultimately slightly DIY looking amp case. Very small, and very cute though. And the sound belies its modest price tag, here we have an amp which is actually even better than anything I'd used before. How on earth did Norm @ Headsave do it for £70? Very clean and detailed sounding, with good speed. Sounds more expensive than it is, and it really brought you quite close to the music. Somehow though, it still wasnt quite enough for me, and so came my next, and final amp, the one I have settled with.....

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ANT Amber

Now this again is probably one of the more expensive amps I've bought. And to look at, you wouldnt know it - a DIY looking amp that looks pretty cheap really, and wouldnt really look out of place with ancient Naim kit. This is a £220 amplifier the last time I checked. The designer, Antonik from Creek Audio origins, states that if you wish for a good looking amplifier, look elsewhere. Fair enough. The components are not the absolute best either, but what this amp is, is very well designed, and the components are matched to the tightest tolerances, hence the price. This class A amp sounds wonderful. It has the most powerful bass I've heard so far in a headphone amp, slamming just doesnt do it justice. The midrange is powerful and aggressive when it needs to be, with all the leading edge you expect, and yet, almost valve like smoothness when its not needed. The treble is good, and does not stand out from the rest of the mix, but blends in perfectly. The sound is extremely coherent, with excellent PRAT, excitement, detail, euphony and dynamics all in one package. It may not look great, but this is a superb amp, and one that I've been happy with for some time now.

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Anyone else has any reviews of headphone kit, it might be an idea to add them here :)

Edited 28/7/05 to add pictures

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i gave you some kudos for that read Paul, well done mate :)

now for some of mine

start off with the headphones i was introduced to: my dad's

Koss "Red Devil" /KRD-711 £ n/a

What can I say? Astoundingly deep bass response- probably the cleanest, deepest bass i've heard from a pair of headphones. The clean, clear sound extends to the treble. Midrange took a bit of a back seat though, and these headphones seemed to have a bit of a 'loudness contour' to the sound. The headphones are also extremely heavy and the gel supra-aural ear pads got really hot and sticky.

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Koss Pro4/AA £100

These cans have a bit of a reputation- a slightly older Beyer DT100 i.e. these were the staple diet of studios in the 70s and 80s. I can't see what people saw in them really. A very flat, lacklustre sound that is not a patch on the Red Devils

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Sennheiser HD475 £80

My first proper headphone buy! I was so overjoyed at them. Cost me £80. Look fantastic, feel fantastic and so light. Open, clear sound though not 100% accurate at times. I miss them. One huge drawback- bass was very, very lightweight- on one of my bassier Wyclef Jean cds, some of the lower notes on the 5 string bass were almost entirely ommitted, which means sub30hz is missing. I think thats unforgiveable for the type of music I listen to. However, thoroughly recommended for acoustic stuff :)

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Sennheiser HD565 Ovation £150

Not sure what to say about these. Seem to do a fair few things right, but no panache. Not as laid back as the 580s and more bass than the 475s. I guess they are comfortable. A safe pair of cans really. Won quite a few awards. Again, like the 580s maybe they would improve with a Cardas cable. Who knows...i won't bother.

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Sennheiser HD580 Precision £200

Superb, laid back sound. Gorgeous velvety ear pads. Oh so comfortable. Very very relaxing. Bass went so much deeper than the '475s but nothing else was lost. There was a slight nagging feeling that they put a veil over the sound somewhat- something was missing, but wasn't totaly sure. I can understand why Paul didn't like them- he actually borrowed my very pair and I thought he liked them- clearly opinions have changed a bit mate ;) Apparently they get on better with Cardas cables... who knows.

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Grado Sr80 £110

They look crap, they are very very uncomfortable and make your ears itch. They sound fantastic. Brighter than the Senny 475s but the bass was tight, deep and the overall sound was fantastically well balanced. But if they aren't comfy, whats the point? The cable was also inconviently thick and cumbersome. Nowhere near as flexible as Sennheiser's kevlar stock cables. Sound great with MD personals by the way

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Sony MDRCD780 £100

Huge pair of cans. Look menacing. The velvet ear pads are around an inch thick. People have looked perplexed at them, then put them on and listened to some music. And 2 people have bought them just by doing that. Think that speaks volumes :) Great, full sound. Slight ssssibiliance to the treble though- not perfect sounding by any means but imo better balanced than the MDRCD1700s. I like them :)

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Stax Lambda Nova Basics £400

I can feel Paul shuddering now... These are very, very, very special cans guys. For those of you not in the know, they are electrostatic and come with their own energizer so no headphone amps needed :)

How to describe. That is so hard...complete lack of colour to the sound- beautifully honest, open, neutral. A sense of a stereo image- nothing that i'd encountered before with cans. Taut, deep, clean bass, a full midrange that reproduced vocals superbly well with plenty of life and enough detail in the treble to do justice to even very fine cymbal hits or guitar plucking. Only quibble would be £100 to extend the 2m connecting lead...but heck...move your bed/chair closer. Its worth it.

N.b. these are now called the SRS2020s and i've seen them, NEW for sub £250 on ebay. To think that Sennheiser HD650s and a X cans V3 is over £500 that is a complete NO BRAINER guys.

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Belting Review GTI and Rory. I think this thread will become a sticky for a while.

Cheers

James

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Some nice reviews there guys, and likewise ive also been on quite a headphone adventure! Due to having a little one in the house and a seriously ill partner i found my listening becoming more and more headphone based. Because of this i went looking for a no compromise headphone setup.

My journey started with looking for the headphones that suited me and then using a combination of cables and various amps i tweaked the sound. I did the rounds and listened to nearly all the headphones listed and aqquired my three favourites... These were as follows

Stax 4040 Signature - This comes as a package and costs around £900 these days. For that you get a valve energiser (headphone amp) and the SRM404 earspeakers! In fact to me thats exactly what they soundlike, like you have two speakers eaither side of your head! They are extremely open and fast. They are electrostatic and i can echo others when they say they are uncoloured and very honest sounding. There is something very special about these that no other headphone ive tried comes close to. They do vocals and acoustics like no other, the only downside for me is that they ultimately lack a little dynamic punch and lean towards being a little laid back.

Also build quality is a bit iffy and they can occasionally creak a bit! That aside these are cans you can lose yourself with and id be suprised if they would cause many people fatigue.

HD650's - These for me are one of the most comfortable cans, and believe me i really wanted to get these to work! They were confusing at first in that they to my ears sounded a little shut in. Everything was there, but i just found that i needed to constantly turn the volume up to get really close to the music. I bought them with a view to trying to find an amp/cable combo that would really make these rock.

Grado RS1 - I must be lucky because i actually find these to be comfortable enough to wear for a couple of hours no problem, so that was one objection out of the way! Soundwise i loved them immediately, much more open sounding to me than the senns but with it they did sound a little colder and more analytical.

First things first i decided the Stax were gere to stay so i made the concious decision that i wanted the second headphone set up to be different, more punchy, dynamic and exciting! With this in mind i listened and bought the following amps

Rega Ear - This i picked up used with the HD650's and i found it ok. Detail was lacking a little but it was quite a bouncy sounding amp if that makes sense!? but with it the senns still lacked a little life.

Grado RA1 - This one came with the RS1 and was the battery powered version. It was quite a step up from the Ear and suprisingly the Senns worked as well with it as the Grados. Being battery powered the noise floor was quite low which was a bonus but ulltimately it was too smooth for my liking. Great if you want to soften the analytical edge of the grados but again for me too laid back! With the senns it provided more detail than the Ear, but it still didnt make them rock!

Naim Headline - This was a big jump in performance and really did deliver a knockout blow. Extremely punchy and dynamic after the previous two. I powered it with a NAPSC which at the time was the cheapest PS and thought i had found the perfect amp. It was happy with both the Senns and the Grados and seemed to let alot of detail through. It was at this point that i also upgraded the Senns cable with a Cardas. I was quite suprised at how much this helped, it seemed to remove a layer of grain and bought the senns much closer to the RS1's in terms of excitement.

My only gripe with the headline was that i couldnt connect it directly to the source but had to use a tape out on the pre. I couldnt help feel that this was a compromise in the quest for ultimate sound quality. Because of this i tried one more amp...

Graham Slee Solo - This IMO is one serious headphone amp, it is extremely open and dynamic and simply blew my headline away! In fact i believe it is sennheisers amp of choice for shows and it does indeed get the HD650's to sing. The only problem for the senns is that it also rocked the arse of the RS1s too!

So for me the final decision went in favour of the RS1/GS Solo combo. As much as i wanted to get the senns to work they never quite got close enough to the music for me. They always seemed to take the edge of things. Sometimes music doesnt sound soft and 'nice' and when someone lets rip with a guitar and knocks the living daylights out of the drum kit thats how i want to hear it. I go to alot of live gigs and thats what i want to relive at home!

For completeness the sources i used with all of the above were a CDS3 and an LP12. A word of caution would be that the RS1/GSS combo isnt very forgiving. If the source or recording is below par you'll hear it!

Cheers

Hawk

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These arrived the other day from BottleNeck Chris on Zero Gain and are the ex stock of one Mr P Birkett, a Geordie lad with a GTI.

Anyway they are in good nick and I duly plugged them into my Rega Ear...

Comfort

They are adjustable enough for any heed and the soft velour circumaural surrounds are comfort itself. Although not on a humid night when they become a tadge George Michael (Wam, eh GTI).

Sound

I gave the Grado GR60's a listne and the sennheisser HD570 symphony's and I much preferred both. But S/H for £40.00 these beyers sound just fine. The truth of the matter however is that the RRP of £100.00 explains why they are on there 3rd owner. The bass is all there, the mid range is all there and the treble is fine (not compared to the Grado's of course.) but all of it is behind far too much foam. You can hear the music under the foam, it sounds great. But you just find yourself wanting to pull all of the foam out of the Can.

Three stars.. sparko on the floor after the pub.. bliss. But for discerning listening hhhmm.. [hammond]Salty[/hammond]

Build

Crap! If I had paid £100 + for such flimsy and short cables I would have been sorely narked. They are shouting for an upgrade. The rest of the build is fine and would be perfectly acceptable if it weren't for the short, flimsy lead.

Conclusion

For £40.00 you cannot buy a better set of cans, I am quite sure of it. However, back-to-back against the Grados or the 570 symph's (both less expensive brand new) you wouldn't take them home.

Thank you, I have been James Palmer

BTW

GTI - did you buy them new? If so did you loose any I/C's when you sold them to Bottleneck Chris? PM me.

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Hifiwigwam, I also used those cans with the rega ear and although the ear is a decent amp, I didnt feel it got the best out of them. I currently use an ANT Amber which admittedly is a far more expensive amp, but I have no complaints at all with the DT531's when used with it. Thats not to say they are perfect, but I feel they do sound noticably better than with the Rega Ear.

I have to say though, I'd like to try something like the DT990 again, or maybe even the 880, but alas, money is tight :(

ATB

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GTI-Geordie wrote:

Hifiwigwam, I also used those cans with the rega ear and although the ear is a decent amp, I didnt feel it got the best out of them. I currently use an ANT Amber which admittedly is a far more expensive amp, but I have no complaints at all with the DT531's when used with it. Thats not to say they are perfect, but I feel they do sound noticably better than with the Rega Ear.

I have to say though, I'd like to try something like the DT990 again, or maybe even the 880, but alas, money is tight :(

ATB

They are really growing on me now, and the more music I hear the more I understand what capable all rounders they are.

Perhpas when I get some dosh together (and have upgraded my main amp) I will seek out a new can amp.

Cheers,

JAmes.

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Well thats hifi for you, I would only bother spending big bucks on an amp unless you are sure they are what you want. I mean for me, they outperformed the Grado SR80, and I even preferred them to the HD650's, but they are somewhat unique in their delivery - with the right amp they are fairly fast, sparkly, bouncy sounding headphones - I like them more for their "tunefulness" rather than outright hifi capabilities, and the fact they make mostly any recording sound pretty listenable. :)

I wont pretend they are going to suit everyone though, but for me, they've done the job well, so much so, I actually forked out £80 to get them back again after I'd originally flogged them on.

A couple of headphones offer slightly different sound, but also similar in lots of respects, and you might prefer them. The DT880 is similar tonally, but has more detail and refinement, but also less punch. The DT990 is somewhat like the DT880, but slightly less detail, but a nice big bass, easy listening and fun.

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My current favourite headphones are the Grado PS-1 (a limited number have been made and only available from Germany!).They are expensive at around £800 but IMHO they beat the RS-1's which to my mind ahve too much of a forward sound.The PS-1's have a natural smooth sound with good controlled bass (some say tto much bass),They are heavy compaered to the RS-1's.I have a pair of these terminated with two3 pin XLR plugs

The older (early 1990's) Joseph Grado HP1000 are also very good- less bass than the PS-1's and a little more laidback.

The only Stax I like is the Omega II,the lesser models sound too bright.

An interesting one is the Sony R-10 (now discontinued),hugely expensive,very over the top velvet lined leathercase,exotic wood earcups,very large soundstage but severly lacking in bass.

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