Headphones

Discussion in 'Fine Living, Home, Design & Auto' started by SGladwell, Apr 18, 2006.

  1. faustian bargain

    faustian bargain Senior member

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    I have Grado 60s, which are too uncomfortable and a bit dark-sounding, but a steal at the price. ...
    Grado mods for the brave (scroll down for instructions on making comfy circumaural earpads) : http://www.headwize.com/projects/sho...=grado_prj.htm
     
  2. SGladwell

    SGladwell Senior member

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    Well, I've been busy grading essays and writing final exams, but after checking out comments here and following links to head-fi.org I ended up getting a pair from Atlec Lansing of all companies, albeit designed by Etymotic Research and favorably compared to Ety's ER-6. I paid for them with amazon.com Visa kickbacks dating from my MacBook Pro.

    The last Altec product I owned were vintage 605B coaxials, which are very similar to the venerable 604, including the multicell horn, except that the 605 had a ferrite magnet instead of the 604's AlNiCo. While they were more colored in the midrange and less extended on the bottom than the best of the current active midfield studio monitors (Genelec, ATC), they were arguably more fun to listen to. I sold them along with my old home, as they were built into the wall and the incoming resident was an audiophile who decided to buy the house after hearing DSOTM on those 605's.

    I thought hard about the Sennheiser CP-300B's, and probably would have went that way if they had still been $40. Part of me just didn't want to pay $55 for something that I knew others had recently gotten for $40 with no value added for me. Infantile, but we all have flaws.

    I can't believe how many Grado fans there are around here. I'd rather listen to iPod earbuds than any Grados, personally. I'm just not into that incessant boom-tizz. Honestly I think the $20 Koss earclips are much better sounding than Grados. (Or Sony EX-71s, or Shure E2s, but those have isolation advantages over the Kosses.) I could write a 1500word rant on how much I hate the colored house Grado sound, but I'll spare everyone...
     
  3. tiger02

    tiger02 Militarist

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    I thought hard about the Sennheiser CP-300B's, and probably would have went that way if they had still been $40. Part of me just didn't want to pay $55 for something that I knew others had recently gotten for $40 with no value added for me. Infantile, but we all have flaws.
    Don't worry, it's going around the board these days.

    Anyone else have fit and finish issues with Sennheiser? Maybe it's just mine (HD 280Pro) or the travel I subject them to, but the plastic on the underside of the headband on either side of the pad is cracked. My head isn't particularly wide or anything, so I was expecting more than eight months of use out of $80 headphones [​IMG]

    Tom
     
  4. A Y

    A Y Senior member

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    I have several pairs of Senns, and fit and finish has always been pretty good for their plastic construction, except for the well known early connector issues with the 580, but mine only surfaced after a few years of daily use.

    --Andre
     
  5. SGladwell

    SGladwell Senior member

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    Don't worry, it's going around the board these days.

    Anyone else have fit and finish issues with Sennheiser? Maybe it's just mine (HD 280Pro) or the travel I subject them to, but the plastic on the underside of the headband on either side of the pad is cracked. My head isn't particularly wide or anything, so I was expecting more than eight months of use out of $80 headphones [​IMG]


    I've treated my HD-600's very badly, carrying them around the world before I wised up and bought the Etys for travel. Though I have had to replace the cord once or twice, they're still in great shape. They are carbon fiber and not plastic, though.

    If it's only been 8mos I assume Senn will replace them for free. My first cable broke after about that long and Senn did right by me. And this was in Germany, not the US! (At the time, to echo the Vass thread, HD-600's were about the DM equivalent of $250 over there, and $350-400 in the US. So guess where I bought them.)
     
  6. tiger02

    tiger02 Militarist

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    Wow, didn't even think of that. I'll look into it, thanks.
     
  7. javyn

    javyn Senior member

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    I'd like to get some kind of headphones where i could go to sleep comfortably while wearing them....difficult since I sleep on my side.
     
  8. Mr. Checks

    Mr. Checks Senior member

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    I'd like to get some kind of headphones where i could go to sleep comfortably while wearing them....difficult since I sleep on my side.

    Ooh, you shouldn't do that. I've gotta think that extended headphone wear is going to result in a lot of hearing loss when you get older if you do that.
     
  9. briancl

    briancl Senior member

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    I can't believe how many Grado fans there are around here. I'd rather listen to iPod earbuds than any Grados, personally. I'm just not into that incessant boom-tizz. Honestly I think the $20 Koss earclips are much better sounding than Grados. (Or Sony EX-71s, or Shure E2s, but those have isolation advantages over the Kosses.) I could write a 1500word rant on how much I hate the colored house Grado sound, but I'll spare everyone...

    Grado's sound great with certain types of music and really, having owned 3 pair (SR-40, SR-80, and SR-225) as well as auditioning SR-325's, RS-1's, and some of their original HP models, I'd say that they are without a doubt on a different level than $20 dollar Koss earclips. The soundstage and depth are remarkable, especially when paired with a halfway decent amp. Another thing to love about Grados are their simplicity. The higher the model, the more simple the construction (albeit with higher quality and cost materials) to obtain a truer, less muddied sound.. I really enjoy this sound, even if it is a tad bright.

    I also love my Senns, but they are a studio headphone and their sound doesn't lend itself well to casual listening.

    And, with all of that said, I use my Ety ER-4s's more than anything..
     
  10. A Y

    A Y Senior member

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    The best Grados I've heard are the HP-1000s, which are very similar to the original HP-1 and HP-2. The 60 is really nice for the price, too, especially if you don't have a headphone amp. Grados' comfort however is an entirely different story ...

    --Andre
     
  11. SGladwell

    SGladwell Senior member

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    I also love my Senns, but they are a studio headphone and their sound doesn't lend itself well to casual listening.

    Everything else you've written is a matter of taste, though I'd urge you to listen to the Koss KSC-75's, which are now only $15 at amazon.com, before dismissing them out of hand. A quick survey of head-fi.org suggests I'm far from alone in this assessment. But beyond that, this sentence makes no sense to me. I'm not a studio guy, I've always thought that isolation/lack of leakage would be important in headphone studio monitoring, and closed cans such as Sony MDR-7506's would be far preferable to something that's basically wide open like the Senns.

    Indeed, the super silky liquid smooth and lush sound of the HD-600's would, I think, be a very bad thing for people mixing music. You might get a feel for how it'll sound to people with Quads at the end of their stereos, but it will tell you nothing as to how music will sound on boomboxes or car stereos. Or boom-tizz machines like iPod earbuds or Grados...

    Then again, maybe my tastes are off because except for the Gradient Preludes on my desk at work speaker I've ever really loved has been a midfield studio monitor or dressed up version thereof.

    And, with all of that said, I use my Ety ER-4s's more than anything..

    Right now, I'd say that I actually use the cheap Kosses the most. My division of labor is Sony MDR-EX71's for commuting (hopefully to be replaced by the Altec IEM's I just ordered), Koss KSC-35 for exercise. Etys for air travel, and Senns for home listening. Rarely does a set of headphones see use outside the above parameters.
     
  12. briancl

    briancl Senior member

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    I've always thought that isolation/lack of leakage would be important in headphone studio monitoring, and closed cans such as Sony MDR-7506's would be far preferable to something that's basically wide open like the Senns.

    I have HD-25's, which are closed.
     
  13. shoreman1782

    shoreman1782 Senior member

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    What kinds of music? I'm considering a headphone purchase, mostly for use while reading at home, and have about $100 to spend. I listen to rock mostly, some hip hop, and only occasionally jazz and classical. I listen either from a computer output or iPod. Grados a good idea? Thanks...
     
  14. A Y

    A Y Senior member

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    One thing to be careful about Grados is their low input impedance --- about 32 Ohms. The iPod may not have enough juice to drive it directly very well. If there's a way you could try it out first, that'd be best, especially to determine what sound you like best: there is no perfect headphone, and every one, even the crazy expensive ones, is an exercise in compromise. You have to decide which compromises you can live with. The HeadRoom website is a good place to get a handle on the various headphones' personalities:

    http://www.headphone.com

    --Andre
     
  15. SGladwell

    SGladwell Senior member

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    I listen to rock mostly, some hip hop, and only occasionally jazz and classical. I listen either from a computer output or iPod. Grados a good idea? Thanks...
    I would say no, absolutely not from my experience, but that's just my experience. The real answer is that you need to listen to them for yourself. Unless you need headphones that will isolate you from external sounds and avoid leaking sound, neither of which Grados do. In that case, you'll want something with a sealed cup, or a canalphone/IEM. Unfortunately, hi-fi places don't typically stock a lot of headphones. Usually you'll see Grado OR Senn OR Beyer OR AKG, but rarely two of the big four niche headphone makers. And the places that do have walls of headphones you can listen to on music of your choice (Guitar Center and other music/pro-audio stores) never carry Grado because Grados are way too colored (keeping in mind that one man's "too colored" is another's "euphonic") for that market. Even then, you can't really audition any of the canalphones.) The best solution, maybe, would be to listen at a music box store with a good return policy, buy the ones that appeal to you most, and then take those to a hifi shop to compare with the Grados if you're still interested. I'm not familiar with any of the offerings in that price-range except for the Sony MDR-7506, which is pretty decent (good overall frequency balance with maybe a bit of midbass bloom, but a very closed in sound even with a headphone amp employing crossfeed) but also getting on in years. All of the four major pro-market headphone makers listed above (Sony, AKG from Austria, Senn and Beyer from Germany) have die-hard fans, so I'd recommend listening to all of their options.
     

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