Headphones £50 to £80.

Discussion in 'Ask The Experts' started by FamilyMan, Sep 19, 2010.

  1. FamilyMan

    FamilyMan New Member

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    My Sennheiser CX500 I use with my iPod Classic and iPhone 4 have started to deliver poor sound quality. I am looking for a new pair, possibly the new CX 880's or maybe the Shure's at a similar price. Neither has user feedback. Does anyone have any experience of these or can you recommend something better in the price range. I listen to Rock (Rolling Stones, Sprinsteen, Coldplay, The Doves and Rodrigo & Gabriela) etc and I prefer a quality clean sound.
     
  2. RobinHiFi

    RobinHiFi Super Moderator

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    Hi Familyman,

    The Sennheiser CX880 would be a good choice as it is a slightly cleaner version of what you are used to. The difficulty in recommending something is that you were quite happy with what you had before, any move away from this will be at least a little disconcerting.

    If I was to suggest another headphone in this price range to give a clean, clear and detailed sound which suits really well recorded rock and music with traditional acoustic instruments then I would say have a look at the Phonak Audeo PFE 012 or Westone UM1. Both these have a very different sound signature to the Sennheiser's you've mentioned... so I'd recommend doing your research.
     
  3. FamilyMan

    FamilyMan New Member

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    Hi Robin

    Thank you for the reply.

    How much of a difference to the CX 500's and the newer CX 880's are the Phonak Audéo PFE Perfect Bass 012 headphones. The Phonak's are listed in your top 10, they have good reviews here on the forum, whereas the CX880's don't get a mention.
     
  4. RobinHiFi

    RobinHiFi Super Moderator

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    Sennheiser earphones have a big warm slightly bass heavy sound and a top end which lacks true clarity - this sound is comfy and does not wear the listener down as quickly as a more detailed brighter sound might. The warmth pulls in the sound stage giving a less 3D image than brighter headphones and the stereo image feels closer with slightly less separation between instruments. As you go up the product range the bass comes further under control and there is more detail at the top end.

    Phonak earphones have a cooler, crisper sound which is lighter on the bass but superbly clear at the top end. These are all about detail and have a really impressive sense of space and excellent separation. There is less power with a tendency for chunky, simple recordings like Dance music to feel a little thin or weak. Complex recordings with a lot of instruments (Radiohead or Pink Floyd) or live Classical music work extremely well. They have great control and sound feels very "real". Currently there are six variations of the same Phonak Audeo PFE.

    These differences come from the two very different driver designs. Sennheiser use Dynamic drivers, which are like miniature speakers, known for there warm bass rich response. Phonak use Balanced Armature drivers, which are like a tiny piston, these move very fast creating fine detail.


    The Sennheiser sound is almost typical of what you expect from a headphone, perhaps why they are so popular. I guess they form an example of what manufacturers should be trying to achieve but they are not particularly innovative and the IE range (IE6, IE7, IE8) are their serious units.
    The reason we make a fuss of the Phonak is that until recently these drivers were only found in higher end products and the Phonaks are more detailed with better stereo image than some headphones twice their price. They have been Swiss designed to be as good and innovative as possible with great success. If it is clean ad clear you want they are a bargain!
     
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2010
  5. FamilyMan

    FamilyMan New Member

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    Many thanks for your informed opinion.

    I am know giving the Phonaks some serious thought. I have noted that most of the reviews available on the internet and the best user feedback is for the Audeo 121's (and presumably also the 111's?). Marginally more expensive than the basic 012 phones, they include the Phonak Audeo Audio Filters, it appears that the listening quality is greatly enhanced due also to the various options available to the user.

    As well as listening to an iPod I also have an iPhone 4. Just trying to decide if its worth spending the extra money to obtain the Audeo (121)/122 phones with mic or if its just a gimic?
     
  6. FamilyMan

    FamilyMan New Member

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    Comply Foam Ear Tips

    Hi Robin

    Replacement Comply Tips - what is the difference between Comply Foam Ear Tips T-100 and the Comply Foam Ear Tips T-200?
     
  7. RobinHiFi

    RobinHiFi Super Moderator

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    In the vast majority of cases the medium are the correct sizeThe correct size tips for the Phonak are Comply Foam Ear Tips T-130 Platinum Medium (3-pairs) In the vast majority of cases the medium are the correct size.

    The Mic on the 121/122 Phonak is really decent quality and the multi function button will pause and play with a single touch, answer/end calls and can be double pressed for track forward, triple pressed for track backwards. It is iPhone and Blackberry compatible.:)
     
  8. FamilyMan

    FamilyMan New Member

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    Switching to Phonak

    Hi Robin

    Thank you for your advice. I have now ordered the Phonak 122's and a replacement set of the Comply foam tips you recommended.
     
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