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Buying new headphones, possibly more; need advice.

post #1 of 52
Thread Starter 
My budget is ~750$ for everything I need; however, I would prefer spending <500$. ATH-AD700s and an ASUS Xonar DG sound card are all I have in regard to audio equipment (bought in October 2011) and, while I am content with their performance, I feel it is time to upgrade.

My musical tastes include metal, rock, jazz, and classical. I am questioning the relevance of my musical tastes, however, as I am not certain whether I would prefer a headphone that is "good" with any specific genre(s), or a more neutral headphone. Simply put, I lack the experience with headphones to make this call: the ATH-AD700s were my first venture into "audiophile" headphones and I have not had a chance to try others. I am basically a noob, if you will pardon the term.

One thing of which I am certain is that I am looking for more bass than the ATH-AD700s offer, but I am absolutely not a "bass head". I am thinking of getting closed headphones, as I do occasionally use my headphones in locations other than my room and would like to avoid the sound leaking everywhere (as with my ATH-AD700s), but it is not essential. I will not be using these headphones "on-the-go" or anything of that nature, though I would not oppose the option (I may get another, cheaper pair for "on-the-go").

With the myriad headphones available, varied reviews, and, obviously, the subjective quality of sound, it feels a daunting task to pick a specific headphone and be confident that you have made the appropriate choice. I am posting in hopes of being enlightened and informed by erudite audiophiles such as yourselves.

I live in Ohio, US, and will be ordering online: I care not whence. I live in a very inconvenient location and do not drive, thus complicating any attempts at "testing" headphones at stores. It is unfortunate, but that is the state of things.

I am considering the ATH-A900x (most notably, among others), with the Schiit Modi/Magni DAC/AMP combination. I have also been looking at the HiFiMAN HE-400, but these are quite a leap. Any advice? recommendations? questions?
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post #2 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by Stephenfitz3 View Post

My budget is ~750$ for everything I need; however, I would prefer spending <500$. ATH-AD700s and an ASUS Xonar DG sound card are all I have in regard to audio equipment (bought in October 2011) and, while I am content with their performance, I feel it is time to upgrade.

My musical tastes include metal, rock, jazz, and classical. I am questioning the relevance of my musical tastes, however, as I am not certain whether I would prefer a headphone that is "good" with any specific genre(s), or a more neutral headphone. Simply put, I lack the experience with headphones to make this call: the ATH-AD700s were my first venture into "audiophile" headphones and I have not had a chance to try others. I am basically a noob, if you will pardon the term.

One thing of which I am certain is that I am looking for more bass than the ATH-AD700s offer, but I am absolutely not a "bass head". I am thinking of getting closed headphones, as I do occasionally use my headphones in locations other than my room and would like to avoid the sound leaking everywhere (as with my ATH-AD700s), but it is not essential. I will not be using these headphones "on-the-go" or anything of that nature, though I would not oppose the option (I may get another, cheaper pair for "on-the-go").

With the myriad headphones available, varied reviews, and, obviously, the subjective quality of sound, it feels a daunting task to pick a specific headphone and be confident that you have made the appropriate choice. I am posting in hopes of being enlightened and informed by erudite audiophiles such as yourselves.

I live in Ohio, US, and will be ordering online: I care not whence. I live in a very inconvenient location and do not drive, thus complicating any attempts at "testing" headphones at stores. It is unfortunate, but that is the state of things.

I am considering the ATH-A900x (most notably, among others), with the Schiit Modi/Magni DAC/AMP combination. I have also been looking at the HiFiMAN HE-400, but these are quite a leap. Any advice? recommendations? questions?

are you anywhere near these locations? Xtend Technologies has a headphone demo station.

http://xtendav.com/locations/
    
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post #3 of 52
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by bumblebee1980 View Post

are you anywhere near these locations? Xtend Technologies has a headphone demo station.

http://xtendav.com/locations/

Unfortunately, I am over an hour away from the closer of the two. :\
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post #4 of 52
the headphones you really want are the Audeze LCD-2 but the Grado SR-225i are a good choice. there are so many DAC and Headphone Amplifier choices under $500 now. Grado headphones sound really good with tubes. there is a used HiFiMAN EF5 Hybrid Tube Amplifier sitting on Amazon for $299.
    
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post #5 of 52
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by bumblebee1980 View Post

the headphones you really want are the Audeze LCD-2 but the Grado SR-225i are a good choice. there are so many DAC and Headphone Amplifier choices under $500 now. Grado headphones sound really good with tubes. there is a used HiFiMAN EF5 Hybrid Tube Amplifier sitting on Amazon for $299.

The LCD-2 look very, very nice, but they do not fall into my budget. May I ask why you recommend the Grado SR-225i? I have heard that Grados are a bit "coloured" (as in, not neutral -- am I using the term correctly?); is this true for the SR-225i? Have you heard them? I'll read some reviews in the meantime and see if I believe these will suit me.

They certainly fall within my budget, but would it not be better to spend more on the headphones than the rest? Does it not matter? A quick explanation (or a link to one) would be appreciated.
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post #6 of 52
The SR225i's are the least colored Grado probably..

The Audeze LCD-2 doesn't make any sense because even if you got the headphone used in that budget, you won't have any money for a DAC/AMP and that would make the headphone a dumb purchase alone.

How much bass are you really looking for?

If you're not too into bass, but want a little bit more than AD700s, the DT880 is a good headphone. It's very neutral. Good mids and highs. Good sound stage. Cheap in price. Way under your budget and you can buy a DAC and amp for it.

The HD650s are darker headphones, but do well for all of your genre's except metal. They're too slow for metal.

HE-400s are good...they do metal well, they do bass well, they do soundstage well...they do mids all right, but the highs suck. You can try to tame the beast with good EQ though. Instrument separation on these is good. You'll get better sibilance on the DT880s though. DT880s do metal all right as well.

All in all, I wouldn't use your full budget until you KNOW exactly what you want and have invested more time and finances into the hobby.

I would get DT880s and a DAC/AMP right now.
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post #7 of 52
the Audeze LCD-2 is a world class headphone. the only headphone better for rock and metal is the Audeze LCD-3. both headphones are good with jazz even classical to a degree. you can buy a used pair for $750-850 but you won't have enough for a DA converter and Amplifier unless you increase your budget to about $1200.

no headphone is truly neutral. I own the Grado SR-325i (look in my Computer specs). the Grado SR-225i are considered the best value in the line. the more expensive models get outclassed by the orthodynamic headphones.

I own quite a bit of headphones.. if I could do it all over again I would of just bought the Audeze LCD-2 to begin with.
    
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post #8 of 52
I don't think any of the Beyerdynamics are good with rock or metal. depending on which model you get the midrange is going to be recessed, sibilance or boomy bass. Grado SR-225i, Sennheiser HD600, HiFiMAN HE-500, Audeze LCD-2, Audeze LCD-3 is this order.
    
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post #9 of 52
HD600 doesn't have enough bass IMO, but is a great choice if you're not wanting a ton of bass. He-500 is definitely fast for metal. Good mid range but is perhaps too good of a headphone for metal.

LCD-2 is too expensive for him and the LCD-3 is 3x his budget.

The DT880s, HD600s, HD650s (if you want more bass and a warmer, less neutral sound) are the headphones to go with. While the Grados are good, I don't think they're the upgrade he's looking for.
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post #10 of 52
These are all mostly neutral, but some tend towards being bright or dark. No idea about grados or ATH-A900x

Going from brighter to darker -->
AKG K702, Sennheiser HD600, Beyer DT880, Sennheiser HD650, Shure SRH840/940/1440 (monitor series so very neutral), HE-400, Denon D2000

AD-700 are some of the most bass light headphones out there, but if you want a bit more bass look at the Shure and down.
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My System
(19 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
AMD 1800X Asus X370 Crosshair VI MSI 1080 Ti Gaming X 32GB GSkill 3200 CL14 
Hard DriveHard DriveHard DriveCooling
Samsung 840 Pro Intel 730 WD RE3 Noctua DH-15 
OSMonitorMonitorKeyboard
Windows 10 Pro Qnix 1440p IPS 96Hz NEC PA272 27" 1440p Leopold FC660C Topre 
PowerCaseMouseAudio
EVGA 850W Supernova G2 Fractal Design Define R4 Logitech G502 ODAC + O2 
Audio
Empire Ears Spartan 
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Overclock.net › Forums › Components › Sound Cards and Computer Audio › Buying new headphones, possibly more; need advice.