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Geordie

Headphone review thread

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Can anyone recommend some Audio Technica oldies but goldies cans ? I have access to a number of NOS models at a warehouse and don´t know where to start ? I am not a cans person and am looking for something comfortable and reasonably good to use with my Beresford DAC when she´s watching telly.

Thanks,

Chris

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Has anyone ever used the Audio-Technica ATH-8 - their (then) top of the line electrets which used a transformer adaptor box from the speaker outputs - great, as my Sugden A21SE has no phones output. I have a chance of some NOS, immaculate, unused, still in the box but don´t know how this headphone technology has stood the test of time.

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Impulse purchase arrived today... AKG 701. First listen sounding very good, though advice on various forums suggest they need 200 hrs + burn in!

They are large headphones but quite lightweight so very comfortable. Very open sound, even tonal balance but I think better detail than the senns.

At present I'd say the Senn HD650s could be under threat...

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Nice buy. I love AKG headphones and am more then pleased with my AKG K401 and K26P(for iPod, best 40 euro's ever spend on something hifi related). The big akg cans are very very comfy compared to other brands. I'm listening thrue mf x-cans(first version) and love the sound, what are you using Musicbox?

I'm now awaiting a Grado SR325i that my dad bought today in the USA, shame he won't be comming back for another 15 days... Can't wait to here this Grado's and hear for myself if they realy are as good as they say.

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Finally my dad returned from the USA along with my Grado SR325i's. I couldn't wait to hear these cans and finally I've got a chance to listen my first cd threw them. I listened to the new Queens of the Stone Age cd and was very pleased with what I heard. Listening threw the MF X-Cans(version 1) the sound was very clean and rhythems where very tight with very good detailed bass lines. Voices where very good and the electric guitars realy ripped although sometimes bordered on being a tad too bright for my tastes but this is new out of the box without any burn/break in. Compared to the AKG K401 the sound is a lot tighter and faster but less warm and with a smaller soundstage but they realy shine in the rhythem departement. Comfort on my head is good with very little pressure but the foam on my ears does need a little getting used to but listening to one cd was no problem so maybe a little break in will solve this. Will be listening to more kinds of music the rest of the weekend as the weather is crap over here and will do an update on findings on different kinds of music and after some brake in but even now I'm pretty pleased with the way they present the music.

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My Beyer Dt531s are on their way (Thanks chezi) and as my Sugden a21Se has no phones socket I am playing with the idea of using a NOS Aurex M12 mini system power amp fed from my Sugden pre-out as a phones amp. Although I have no idea what the phones output sounds like, the amp was considered as a bit of a bargain in its day but is this technically advisable ? The Aurex does have speaker switches to immobilise the speaker outputs so presumably no damage will be done by not having speakers physically present. Am I missing something ?

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As the starter of this thread, I feel I should update it somewhat.

I am actually now using the Sennheiser HD650 which I described in my original post as "competent but lacking soul". I have to say I have now changed my mind on this. I've now been using these for probably about a year or so roughly, and find these to be superb headphones. Whats changed? Well... the key to the HD650 is twofold. Source, and synergy. The ANT Amber is the ideal headphone amp to drive these headphones, as it offers plenty of speed and power, with good detail and clarity to boot. However, this is not enough on its own to bring these to life. These headphones DEMAND a good quality source component to bring them to life. I now have that in the form of the Musical Fidelity Digilog... which itself offers speed and power.

The Sennheisers really need electronics that can deliver a fast, powerful sound, which synergises well with its warm, bassy sound. When you can give it that, these headphones reward with a superbly natural sound, not boring at all, plenty of bass, plenty of power, and plenty of detail. They sound as close to a pair of loudspeakers as I've ever heard in headphones, and I have to say, that no longer do I regard headphone listening as a compromise, I will sometimes listen to these in their own right in preference to my speakers, just for a change.

I stand by what I said about the Beyerdynamic DT531... they are a superb headphone for those on a budget, and ideally suited for casual headphone listeners after a fun sound. Comfortable and lively. Why pay £200 for a pair of Grado's when you can find DT531's which sound just as good and are far more comfortable for £50 second hand?

I have also revisited to Beyerdynamic DT880. I still find them to be somewhat bright and lacking bass. This is not an enjoyable sound for me. However, I did hear them on a cheap chinese Valve amplifier, and I have to say these are ideally suited for valve amplifiers. When paired with the ANT Amber, the result was a harsh sound.

I also tried the Goldring DR150. I found these to sound a bit "hard" and unpleasant to listen to. Again, I think this could be a synergy thing. However, even despite that, I cant see these being as good as the Beyerdynamic DT531 in any respect.

Finally, I revisited the Beyerdynamic DT990. These have a fairly bassy sound, however, I think at the expense of the midrange which sounds a bit distant, and the treble is rather bright on these. Overall I didn't feel it to be a natural sound, and I have to say, I felt the DT531 were once again the better compromise, a little more comfortable, and just more fun and more balanced overall.

What prompted me to move away from the DT531 that I owned and loved for so long? Well the problem was I bought a new source component, and unfortunately it did render the DT531's a little on the strident side, making them a little tiring to listen to. I tried all of the previous headphones in this post before giving the HD650 a third chance!

For a long time I regarded the HD650 as a good but dull headphone, but I was so wrong. In the right system, they are simply great headphones, and anyone who thinks they are boring has not heard them in the right system. I should know, because that was me in the past....

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I am using Sennheiser HD600s as everyday cans now through my pc....not bothering with any external amps, just driven from the headphone amp of my Terratec DMX6fire sound card.

They really are good headphones and I would thoroughly recommend them. The plugs on the headphone leads are a PITA though and are forever losing connection.

I still use my Sony MDR-CD780s with my bedroom system for night time dvd and tv watching....as a result, they're hardly pushing the boundaries of sound quality but they have a single entry cord (so very handy) and the velvet ear cushions are very squidgy and comfy!

The cord is made of a good material too.

And as an aside, i have got a set of Sennheiser PX10s for gym headphones...my old Sony MDR-G52s had perishing foam ear cushions and also made my ears sweat. The PX10s are vertical in-ear headphones so don't need pushing into the ears to get decent bass and have got a genuinely, pleasant, full sound. I paid £11 delivered from amazon and are recommended if you want gym/active earphones :)

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Rory wrote:

The plugs on the headphone leads are a PITA though and are forever losing connection.

Strange, I never have that problem with the HD650, but then they are a different cable apparently. Maybe you could try the HD650 cable on yours, its reasonably priced and apparently offers a small improvement too.

I agree though, the HD580 / 600 / 650 are excellent headphones and when driven by the appropriate system they sound fantastic. The 580 and 600 in particular are real bargains when you think what they go for nowadays.

People go on about the Grado SR60 for £90, yet what people seem to forget is the SR60 in the USA where it is made is actually $70, and is aimed at the likes of the Sennheiser HD435 (which is also $70), not the likes of the HD580 which in this country could probably be bought for the same price as a new pair SR60... in actual fact the HD600 is the rival to the RS-2 which are the same price in the US, but here the RS-2 will cost TREBLE what the HD600's do.

When you think about it like that, the Senn's really are a bargain, with superior build quality and comfort to boot.

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Just picked up a new headphone system for late-night listening duties:

Stax 4040 II Signature

hero.jpg

Having heard Hawk's 4040 system on a couple of occasions I was greatly impressed with its transparency, detail and wide soundstaging.Vocals have an almost ghostly effect - like the singer is inside your head. Sounds daft I know, but once you've heard them you'll understand what i'm trying to describe. Hawk is also the lucky owner of a Graham Slee Solo/Grado RS1 rig. It's quite superb, with adifferent presentation - more upfront and edgy. The Stax for me thoughhas special qualities that draw you in unlike any other headphone system i've heard.

So just last week I decided that since my headphones were getting increased use i'd try to track down a Stax 4040 setup of my own. Luckily I found one over at hififorsale.com, only a few months old, less than 50 hours use and half original price!!

These are the latest MK II 4040 Signature model. They sound simply amazing. They have all of theattributes I remember of Neil's 4040 MK I but seem to have more drive and are a little less laid-back. I've only tried running them single-ended so far, will try the balanced circuit soon, which i'm told is even better. :shock:

The Stax4040 MK II sounds so goodI reckon they'd put a few speaker/amp combos to shame!! AS you can tell i'mvery pleased with them, the best headphone system i've heard and a bargain to boot!!

:):):):):)

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great choice on cans papa lazarou. due to grim acoustics in my room at the moment, all of my listening is through my stax 3030 classic headphones system, and currently got a loan of the srm006t energiser.

still getting those 'i dont remember hearing that before' moments on tracks i've listened to 100's of times!

i keep bugging my mate to get a loan of the omega system from symmetry for me to, err, evaluate..although seeing as im totally skint, its probably not a great idea:)

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stormyuklondon1 wrote:

great choice on cans papa lazarou. due to grim acoustics in my room at the moment, all of my listening is through my stax 3030 classic headphones system, and currently got a loan of the srm006t energiser.

still getting those 'i dont remember hearing that before' moments on tracks i've listened to 100's of times!

i keep bugging my mate to get a loan of the omega system from symmetry for me to, err, evaluate..although seeing as im totally skint, its probably not a great idea:)

Did you find the 006t a big improvement. Starting to look down this route myself.

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