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A pair of nice sounding, somewhat neutral headphones as my reference

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  • A pair of nice sounding, somewhat neutral headphones as my reference

    Hi guys, so in my dabbling with speaker building, I think its good for me to have a reference. I do have my little Usher S520 bookshelf speakers but I'm thinking maybe a pair of good headphones might work out better. I'm looking for something not too skewed towards bass heavy or too bright. Something right in the middle. Something that I can listen to a song and kind of know what it really should be sounding like so when I go back to my speakers I'm working on, I can more easily spot flaws. This may not be necessary but I figure it cant hurt. I have an old Audiocontrol SA3050 meter which I use for rough measurements but I'd also like to use my ears

    So I dont know much about headphones but I've got some choices I narrowed down to so let me know if any of them are ones I should totally be striking off my list.... or if there is one that the majority of you have listened to and which sound pretty 'correct' or accurate if we can say that.

    Sony MDR-7506
    AKG 172 HD
    AKG 171 MK II
    AKG 240 MK II
    Sure SRH840
    Sennheiser HD518
    Audio Technica AD700
    Beyerdynamic Custom One Pro
    Ultrasone HFI580
    Grado SR125i

    Any help is welcome. Want to go shopping soon LOL
    Last edited by contoursvt; 01-02-2013, 01:05 AM.

  • #2
    Re: A pair of nice sounding, somewhat neutral headphones as my reference

    The Sonys are far from neutral.

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    • #3
      Re: A pair of nice sounding, somewhat neutral headphones as my reference

      Really? I was reading a lot of rave reviews about how flat and neutral those were. I have not listened to them of course so I cant really say.

      From what I've read, I'm leaning towards the AKG 240 MKII, the Shure and the Ultrasone the most at the moment...

      Originally posted by clydethecat View Post
      The Sonys are far from neutral.

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      • #4
        Re: A pair of nice sounding, somewhat neutral headphones as my reference

        My recommendation would be the Audio-Technica ATH-M50.

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        • #5
          Re: A pair of nice sounding, somewhat neutral headphones as my reference

          Add AKG K701
          Music System- Pioneer PL-540 TT, Sansui AU11000A, Curt C's Invictus
          Other speakers built- Paul Carmody: Classix II, hitmakers, overnight sensations. Troels Gravessen: 3 way Classics, center-641

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          • #6
            Re: A pair of nice sounding, somewhat neutral headphones as my reference

            Of those, I've owned the Sony 7506, the Senn 518 and the Shure SRH840, and heard a few of the others over the years. For the purpose of "neutral reference" (acknowledging that all reproduction devices color sound in their own way), I'd recommend the Shure 840. The ATH-M50 is a nice pair of headphones but can be a bit bass-forward (which is fun to listen to). The open-backed AKGs sound great, too, but can be a bit bass-light, which isn't inherently bad, but doesn't strike me as netural. The Sony is a nice pair of studio phones, but sounds distinctly muted after listening to the 840 - I think it is popular because the sound is pretty darn good, it is lightweight and easy to carry, and it is very sturdy. If you don't need those other two things, some of the others will sound better.

            I find the Shure 840 to be about as "balanced" as I can imagine, when compared to my other phones and speakers, and doesn't seem to put any part of the reproduction out ahead of any other part. Sturdy and comfortable, too. They haven't been around as long as some of the other venerable choices above, which is one reason you don't see them popping out in forum posts and reviews as often (though that is starting to change).

            -Sam

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            • #7
              Re: A pair of nice sounding, somewhat neutral headphones as my reference

              Originally posted by phidauex View Post
              For the purpose of "neutral reference" (acknowledging that all reproduction devices color sound in their own way), I'd recommend the Shure 840.
              . . .
              I find the Shure 840 to be about as "balanced" as I can imagine, when compared to my other phones and speakers, and doesn't seem to put any part of the reproduction out ahead of any other part. Sturdy and comfortable, too.
              +1

              I have Grado and Beyerdynamic phones also, but for "what's going on there" or for monitoring live "in the field" I always grab the Shures . . .
              "It suggests that there is something that is happening in the real system that is not quite captured in the models."

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              • #8
                Re: A pair of nice sounding, somewhat neutral headphones as my reference

                I have the Sennheiser HD555s and they sound great and smooth, non forward fatiguing, etc. I feel like something is missing. The upper and lower roll offs sound a tad off or something. I think it would take the 650s to get a really nice set of cans.

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                • #9
                  Re: A pair of nice sounding, somewhat neutral headphones as my reference

                  Thanks everyone for the suggestions. I see two back to back recommendations for the Shure which was on my short list so Shure 840 its is then!

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                  • #10
                    Re: A pair of nice sounding, somewhat neutral headphones as my reference

                    I just wanted to say that I ended up buying the AKG 240 MKII and was dissapointed. Listened to the Beyerdynamic and thought it was not very accurate sounding. To me the midrange was sucked out, bass was a bit heavy and highs exaggerated. In the end I settled on the Grado SR80i and so far I can say they are very nice. Keepers.

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                    • #11
                      Re: A pair of nice sounding, somewhat neutral headphones as my reference

                      Sorry I'm a little late responding to this thread, but here are a couple websites that have some good headphone info and objective tests (FR, HD, etc. etc.). The one thing I noticed is that none of the headphones tested have a flat response like a good speaker will. Most have a tilted response as the frequency gets higher, and I assume most f the jaggedness is related to thier test fixtures mock ear canal. Anyway, I found these sites helpful when I was looking for sound isolating earbuds for when I travel. I find te Etymotic hf2's to be quite linear, at least for earbuds.
                      http://www.headphoneinfo.com/
                      http://www.headphone.com/index.php

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                      • #12
                        Re: A pair of nice sounding, somewhat neutral headphones as my reference

                        Originally posted by contoursvt View Post
                        I just wanted to say that I ended up buying the AKG 240 MKII and was dissapointed. Listened to the Beyerdynamic and thought it was not very accurate sounding. To me the midrange was sucked out, bass was a bit heavy and highs exaggerated. In the end I settled on the Grado SR80i and so far I can say they are very nice. Keepers.
                        I've always wanted to try Grado's, but was always scared off when I read that they were very light in the bass dep't. Do you think the bass is good on the SR80?

                        I have AKG K142HD and think they are very good headphones. Nice and light, but also a bit light in the bass. Not too bad, but I prefer the bass from my closed back Sennheiser's.
                        I'm not deaf, I'm just not listening!

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                        • #13
                          Re: A pair of nice sounding, somewhat neutral headphones as my reference

                          Hmmm well i guess they are light compared to some headphones ive tried but to me it sounds correct like a nice set of floor standing speakers in a dedicated listening room



                          Originally posted by dcibel View Post
                          I've always wanted to try Grado's, but was always scared off when I read that they were very light in the bass dep't. Do you think the bass is good on the SR80?

                          I have AKG K142HD and think they are very good headphones. Nice and light, but also a bit light in the bass. Not too bad, but I prefer the bass from my closed back Sennheiser's.

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                          • #14
                            Re: A pair of nice sounding, somewhat neutral headphones as my reference

                            Originally posted by Deward Hastings View Post
                            +1

                            I have Grado and Beyerdynamic phones also, but for "what's going on there" or for monitoring live "in the field" I always grab the Shures . . .
                            +2 on the Shure 840's. They are my reference, too. I find them to be very balanced and accurate when I can pry them away from my 12 year old, who (for better or worse) has now discovered that "Beats" and the like aren't the end-all in headphone sound quality.
                            Keep an open mind, but don't let your brain fall out.

                            Sehlin Sound Solutions

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                            • #15
                              Re: A pair of nice sounding, somewhat neutral headphones as my reference

                              i had a pair of Sennheiser HD448s and I LOVED them! My next headphone purchase is going to be some AKG K701s but I'll wait till I'm deploying or something like that where I can actually use them.

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