looking for a push in the right direction

Discussion in 'Ask The Experts' started by strewth78, Mar 27, 2012.

  1. strewth78

    strewth78 Casual Listener

    Mar 26, 2012
    I currently own a pair of Sennheiser closed-back headphones (HD449), and have felt like upgrading for quite a while now. Im very keen to try a pair of open-phones, as I feel thats part of the disappointment I feel from my current ones.
    I listen to music on my laptop, with compressed music (currently between 192-256 kbps), though most of my music i still own on CD and have been considering re-importing them at a better conversion (lossless - 2:1) as I do tend to find certain tracks sound very poor at times. I listen to mostly guitar-based music, acoustic and alternative rock, so would like to match some phones to that style.
    Im happy to look into an amp, if a headphone would require such. Im currently looking at reviews of phones in the £200-350 price range.

    So, Im hoping to get some guidance to the following...

    1.Im looking for recommendations as to what brands might better suit my style of music - hoping that this might help me narrow my search.
    2.Im wondering if re-converting my mp3 music can improve the sound for certain headphones, and if so if there is a guidline for a certain impedance - so I can decide which range of impedance I should consider.
    3.Do people tend to spend more on their amp or their phones? Just so I can begin to figure out a budget for the 2 and then whether I will aim nearer £200 or £350 for the headphones.
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2012
  2. dalethorn

    dalethorn Obsessive Auditor

    Jul 3, 2011
    Charleston South Carolina
    Which headphone

    This is just a starting-point suggestion, so hopefully other people will fill in more or better tips for you.

    Open Back Headphones

    That list is where I always start, since it's what I would pick from. My personal suggestion would be to avoid the Grados unless you want to move way up to the Grado 500. I also would avoid the Sennheisers - too bland, especially for acoustic and similar music that needs more detail. My favorites would be the AKG K702, the ATH AD-900, the Beyer DT-880 (32 ohm), and the GMP-400.

    Note that the difference (on average) between a 192 to 256 kbps track and a lossless track is miniscule compared to the difference between each headphone, and even more miniscule than the difference between recordings. The better amps will improve sound slightly, and whether you hear that as a very subtle difference or a big difference usually depends on when you listen. Most places late at night, particularly after midnight, are perhaps 20 db quieter than in the daytime, even indoors with the doors and windows closed, unless you also have very insulated windows and no A/C running.

    It's not a good idea to split your budget between a premium headphone and premium headphone amp. I'd recommend putting as much as possible on the headphone, where you will get the most sound for your money, thenif you need an amp right away something like the small FiiO E17 may suffice for a time.

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