In-Ear Headphones for Classical Enthusiast

Discussion in 'Ask The Experts' started by Chas, Jul 14, 2010.

  1. Chas

    Chas New Member

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    Hello and greetings from a new joiner to the Forum.

    I would welcome thoughts on suitable in-ear earphones, to be used with an iPod. The output volume from the iPad is lower than ideal. My typical listening is classical music, including vocal and chamber, so I'm interested in the best quality sound, and don't need a pounding bass.

    I find standard Apple ear buds very uncomfortable, so comfort is high on the wishlist, together with affordability. I already own Sennheiser PXC450s, which are great for home use, but now want something to use on the move.

    Would Beyerdynamic DTX60s fit the bill? Any other suggestions?

    Thanks in advance,

    Chas
     
  2. ROB_GTR

    ROB_GTR New Member

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    Hiya Chas,

    im no expert but i have been doing my research and depending "entirely" on your budget depends what you can get!

    i have just bought the Phonak PFE 112's with additional green filters for added bass (still not massively bassy but they have a nice punch if the track is of high quality!)

    the overall sound quality is near perfect and in my opinion would suit your classical taste fantastically well.

    only got mine today so been giving them a hammering (including now) and i am impressed! they are extremely comfy and after 4 hours i still have no idea they are in my luggs!

    i got the FiiO E5 Amp to go with and the Ibasso 30 pin crossover cable for iphone / ipod

    if you look at my post in the experts advice section i explain a little more about them and what i thought initially!

    hope that helps a little but im sure the experts will be along soon to advice in much more detail and with a hell of alot of knowledge to boot

    Rob
     
  3. RobinHiFi

    RobinHiFi Super Moderator

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    Hi Chas and Hi to Rob as well,

    As Rob_GTR says the Phonak Audeo PFE 112 or 111, which come with a fantastic set of accessories like the really comfy Comply tips, give unbelievable clarity and detail for the price. There is also the Phonak 012 which comes with the Green filter only and fewer accessories but is exceptional value for money - even in its Bassiest form this headphone is crystal clear and excellent for Vocal, Orchestral, Soundtrack and Chamber music. If an Phonak 012 wants to try out the other filters then they are available separately.

    I would not recommend the DTX60 for your listening taste, they have a large warm sound more suited to bass heavy contemporary music. They are what is known as a Dynamic Driver earphone and are typical of this driver designs characteristics. The other type of driver is called a Balanced Armature which works more like a piston than a tiny speaker. Balanced Armatures produce a cooler more detailed sound that works incredibly well with complex and spacious recordings.

    Other great headphones which use Balanced armatures and are similar in character are Soundmagic PL50 and Westone UM2 (supplied with comfy Comply tips).
     
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2010
  4. Chas

    Chas New Member

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    Thanks to both Rob and Robin for such specific and well informed comments. Give me a day or two to digest your input and I'll be back.
     
  5. Chas

    Chas New Member

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    A follow-up question to Robin. Looking at the recommendations in your post, there is quite a divergence in price. So if I opted for the most affordable of your suggestions - the Soundmagic PL50 - am I compromising on quality to an extent that would affect enjoyment? Tough question, but I'd thought I'd put you to the test!

    Thanks again,
    Chas
     
  6. RobinHiFi

    RobinHiFi Super Moderator

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    Best headphones for classical music

    Hi Chas,

    Yes I did give you a bit of a price spread - Let me break it down as this is not such an easy question to answer.

    All of these headphones have the Balanced Armature style driver, these drivers give a very clear and detailed tone, suited to detailed and complex music. They are also 10 times as expensive to manufacture as a dynamic driver!

    Soundmagic PL50 £54.95 - These are as affordable as a Balanced Armature headphone gets, supplied with basic accessories these earphones are as clear and crisp as it gets on a budget.

    Phonak 012 £79.95 - So this is one of the nicest sounding Balanced Armature earphones, why are they so reasonably priced? Well Phonak felt that the PFE with the most contemporary sounding filter installed should be more affordable as it was bound to appeal to the young discerning listener. They have therefore removed most of the accessories and have simpler packaging, making these the obvious bargain.

    Westone UM1 £89.95 - Professional in ear Monitor for under £100 - not as detailed or refined as the Phonak but a bit chunkier. Plenty of accessories but for true precision you need their next model up.

    Phonak Audeo PFE 112 £119.95 - Phonak awesome sound with 10 filters, Filter case, changing tool, a carry case, Comply tips, 3 pairs of silicone tips, super soft silicone ear guides and a cleaning tool.

    Westone UM2 £199.95 - Dual drivers! So two Balanced Armatures, this is where they start to get serious, working together to provide power (but not too much) as well as clarity.

    However spending lots will not mean getting better and better results. I actually find the Phonak my favourite in ear for classical. I have a couple of pairs of triple driver headphones and I find both add too much power whilst not displaying any more detail. This is the essence of my original suggestion, that too much POWER can be a bad thing and that a single wideband driver has the right sort of character for Classical music.
     
  7. Chas

    Chas New Member

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    Decision made! I have just placed an order for Phonak 012's. Thank you for all advice gratefully received, and I will give feedback in due course. Best regards, Chas
     
  8. Chas

    Chas New Member

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    10 out of 10 for customer service. Order placed on Monday night, confirmation of dispatch on Tuesday, earphones delivered by postman on Wednesday morning.

    The sound quality of the Phonak 012s is as good as promised. The comfort seems good, though they will naturally take a little bit of getting used to.

    I think the optional earguides - not supplied with the 012s - would be helpful in holding the earphones in the correct position, as they have a tendency to swivel in the ear. Robin, it appears from your site that you don't have them in stock. Is that current information, and if so, can one order them?

    Many thanks,
    Chas
     
  9. RobinHiFi

    RobinHiFi Super Moderator

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    Headphones for classical music

    Hi Chas,

    I'm really glad you are enjoying your new earphones - the soft silicone earguides are one of our most popular accessories and are rarely out of stock. Unfortunately they are at the moment, currently we don't take orders for out of stock items unless they are actually on their way to us. This is mainly to avoid disappointment when delivery to us is put back and put back. We are working on a system for the website to email you when an item you are interested in comes back into stock. Unfortunately we are looking at a wait of 3 to 4 weeks.

    Thanks for the compliment about the service by the way - we really try our best : )
     
  10. Shaun-HiFi

    Shaun-HiFi Administrator Staff Member

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    Phonak Audeo PFE ear guides

    I actually find I don't need the ear guides if I wear the PFEs with the cables over the ear and down the back of my neck. I push the toggle on the cable up to the back of my neck and that holds the cable tight around the side of the head.
     
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