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Satisfying headphone listening experiences?

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  • #16
    If you're wanting to keep it as cheap as possible (no mods) and still get good sound try the Grado sr60. PE carries them @$79. Someone said the Grados were bright, IMO, they are a bit dark on top and a little forward in the mids, but things may have changed, this pair is maybe 20 yrs old. They have excellent customer service. Recently a small plastic piece broke that holds the earcup onto the headband, sent Grado an email, they answered later that day, and in a few days a replacement part arrived totally free of cost. They did this for the cheapest set of ~20 yr. old cans they make.

    Bravo Grado.


    If you're into modding ... and this is a DIY forum ... you might like something like the Superlux hd681. They can be had for <$30. Here's a not so flattering innerfidelity review https://www.innerfidelity.com/conten...681-headphones

    And you can look here to start the modding process http://rockgrotto.proboards.com/thre...-modifications

    It's worth it to drive cans with good amplification. I use an Aune dac/headphone amp for the Grados and boy uses a Schiit Modi dac and Bravo amp (saving up for the Schitt Magni). The Bravo v1 came from PE. It must be two years old now, the other Bravo didn't last four months. They're not the greatest can amp, especially for the hd681, but they do provide a nice relaxed 'chubby' kind of sound. And either setup is worlds ahead of the 'headphone out' found on most devices.

    YMMV
    http://techtalk.parts-express.com/fo...khanspires-but
    http://techtalk.parts-express.com/fo...pico-neo-build
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    • #17
      Originally posted by philthien View Post
      ...If possible I'd like to keep it to under $100. ..
      Any place you can audition headphones? Though I've not heard them, there are positive reports on Sony mdr series.


      .
      "Not a Speaker Designer - Not even on the Internet"
      "If the freedom of speech is taken away, then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter."

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      • #18
        I'd like to thank everyone for the help.

        What really kicked this off was difficulty in getting ear buds to fit my ears. I have tiny ear canals, apparently. Probably a sign of a royal lineage or something.

        So I did a google search for "ear buds for small ear canals" and found sellers (on Amazon even) for replacement silicone gels for ear buds, and they have a small size that apparently fits standard ear buds (had no idea they were made to a standard, BTW) that work well for people with small canals. They're kind of like the tree-shape.

        So I'm going to try those in the meantime.

        I still question how one goes about trying different models of headphones, though. Do you guys order them and return them if they aren't to your liking? Do any outfits have loaner headphones you can try until you settle on a model?

        And wouldn't they have to break-in just like speakers before you can get an honest impression of performance?

        I'm thinking of just ordering the Grado SR60's and accepting that they're well-reviewed and should be good enough.

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        • #19
          Originally posted by Sydney View Post
          Any place you can audition headphones? Though I've not heard them, there are positive reports on Sony mdr series.


          .
          Yeah I just posted about the same time as you, I don't know of any places that have a selection of headphones. I know Best Buy used to have such a thing but I imagine if they still do, they're mostly Beats and Sony.

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          • #20
            I don't know of any places that have a selection of headphones.
            Didn't know, some cities still have better audio shops.

            Seems like with individual Headphone taste and personal fit variation - trying before buying helps.
            I've used Sennheisers for decades, currently HD580, and since commercial recording/production work had used these, I felt fairly confident about buying without hearing first.
            I'm quite satisfied with them ( except weak cord system ), and done a lot of work with them, But they are Open-Air and as such don't provide the noise isolation for higher SPL work ( ie live sound ), which require a closed design.

            My understanding is that to achieve the "optimum" result from an in-ear design, an audiologist should make a custom cast of the ear canal.
            "Not a Speaker Designer - Not even on the Internet"
            "If the freedom of speech is taken away, then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter."

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            • #21
              I have been using the Sony MDR-V6 headphones since 1991. I think I have been through two so far and I always keep a brand new spare. I find them to be exceptionally balanced and very natural. They also fit my narrower head and smaller ears. Best of all, they are about $80. Sony has been making this very model for almost 30 years and having used them for so long, I know why.

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              • #22
                Originally posted by philthien View Post
                Are there any headphones out there that are as satisfying as listening to stereo loudspeakers?
                For me personally, absolutely not. Not even close. I'll gladly light my HD650's on fire to save my loudspeakers.

                Being defeated is often a temporary condition. Giving up is what makes it permanent.

                Merlot
                Scanspeak Revelator R2904/7000's,
                Scanspeak Revelator 15M/4531K00's, Dayton RSS265HF-4's,
                MiniDSP 2x8, class D amplification

                Sennheiser HD650's

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                • #23
                  Originally posted by Nirvana View Post
                  I have been using the Sony MDR-V6 headphones since 1991. I think I have been through two so far and I always keep a brand new spare. I find them to be exceptionally balanced and very natural. They also fit my narrower head and smaller ears. Best of all, they are about $80. Sony has been making this very model for almost 30 years and having used them for so long, I know why.

                  You need to find a pair of MDR-7506. They make the V6 sound "hyped". The 7506 are what you see in studios with the blue label. I have V700, and I like the 7506 more.
                  Wolf
                  "Wolf, you shall now be known as "King of the Zip ties." -Pete00t
                  "Wolf and speakers equivalent to Picasso and 'Blue'" -dantheman
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                  • #24
                    Beyerdynamic is a favorite of mine for headphones. There's an open back 990 model and a closed 770. I love assessing/listening to mixes in these headphones.

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                    • #25
                      I have these... I travel 100K plus miles a year with them and they are 2 years old and look like new. They are definitely comfortable... (9hr plus flights) and they are full range and pleasant to listen to.

                      https://www.amazon.com/Symphonized-W...nic+headphones
                      Dave

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                      If you are reading it in English thank a Veteran
                      .

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                      • #26
                        Hmmmmm. It's threads like this that finally convince me that I have 100% tin ears. I find a number of speakers that receive definitive thumbs downs from the web forums that I find quite satisfying. And I'm the same way with headphones. I currently have a set of cheap Sony MDR-V150s that completely satisfy any headphone use that I have occasionally. And because they were on sale for $35, I have a set of AKG K52s that I use periodically. The Sonys have better bass and nicer treble.

                        My satisfaction with cheap is why I was looking forward to hearing my grandson's new barely-sub-$1000 Sennheiser phones/dac/tube headphone amp. I could not hear any difference.

                        So, in the case of tin-ears like me, it seems quite easy to have complete satisfaction in under-$1000 headphones.

                        In your case, I just don't know. ;)

                        GeeDeeEmm

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                        • #27
                          GeeDeeEmm - I actually wish my ears were more forgiving. It would save me sooo much money! My wife hears all the differences I talk about in audio. Her hearing is definitely much better than mine, but she isn't bothered just listening to the crappy TV speakers when the volume is down on the receiver in the living room. It would drive me nuts!

                          Phil - I have a small box of different budget earbuds. It was a father/son project last year and we bought dozens of pairs under $20. I finally settled on a pair that seem to work for me - the KZ ED9s. Are they the best thing since sliced bread...no. But much better than the ultra-budget Panasonics I use for video field production work. I gave a bunch of the others away, but still have a few different brands somewhere. PM me and I'll gladly send you some. Then you can see if your impressions match the various reviews online.
                          Co-conspirator in the development of the "CR Gnarly Fidelity Reduction Unit" - Registered Trademark, Patent Pending.

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                          • #28
                            Originally posted by Wolf View Post


                            You need to find a pair of MDR-7506. They make the V6 sound "hyped". The 7506 are what you see in studios with the blue label. I have V700, and I like the 7506 more.
                            Wolf
                            Yep. The 7506 is very nice for the price.
                            Francis

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                            • #29
                              Under $100 is tough. Now, these are not the best in the world, but they're very, very good for the pricing. At $59 (their current price), they're fabulous.
                              https://www.amazon.com/Kicker-41HVM3.../dp/B00T54OFQC

                              One note about them - they have a very tight band. They're not terribly comfortable, especially if you have a larger head. I wear a 7 3/8" fitted hat, FYI. If you have a smaller head, these might be great for you.

                              On a different path - save up your money for a used set of HD600's or HD650's. Yeah, they're worth it from the comfort and sonic improvement.
                              DARPA Jr - 2015 InDIYana Winner - RS180-8 + RS100P-8 + ND25FA
                              The Aria's - RS150-4 (or RS150-8) + XT25SC90
                              The Mariposa's - TEBM65C20F-8 + ND16FA
                              The Canzonetta's - RS100P-8 and ND16FA
                              AudioSource AMP-100 Mods OR Pyle PAMP1000 Mods

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                              • #30
                                For the record, I have a giant head. Big head, tiny ear canals.

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