Over Ear Closed back for Iphone use

Discussion in 'Ask The Experts' started by BigAund, Oct 26, 2011.

  1. BigAund

    BigAund New Member

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    Hi,

    I'm looking for a nice pair of closed back headphones to use with my Iphone - I am currently using Klipsch X10i's, they're nice but I want a change (and they're falling to bits). I'd say the budget is <=£150... Ideally I don't want to have to get an amp.

    I've been looked at the GERMAN MAESTRO GMP 8.35 D MONITOR CLOSED HEADPHONES. I actually like the design but I don't really understand when an amp is needed.

    Any help gratefully received!

    Thanks
    B
     
  2. Ian Hifi

    Ian Hifi Super Moderator

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    Hi BigAund,

    When you read the spec on a pair of headphones, it will tell you the impedance. This is noted in ohms. Example. The Beyer Dynamic DT770's have an impedance of 250 ohms.

    [​IMG]
    Beyerdynamic DT770 PRO Closed Back Headphones 250Ω (DT 770

    £129.96

    The Audio Technica ATH-ES' have an impedance of 32 ohms.

    [​IMG]
    Audio Technica ATH-ES7 Headphones in White

    £134.95

    Put simply,if you are listening to music on the majority of portable battery powered devices, the Beyers would need an amp and the Audio Technica's would not. The higher the impedance, the more signal needed to drive them. Anything over 80 ohms impedance is getting into grey territory. You may find some recordings lose some volume. Using high impedance headphones without an amp can be hit and miss. Its down to how much output signal you have. For instance, an iphone has more output than an ipod nano.

    In relation to the German Maestro GMP 8.35's they are 35 ohms, so a low impedance headphone and should drive perfectly well without an amp.

    However, even though you don't need amp power to drive low impedance headphones, an amp does bump up the power and depth of sound. Lots of headphone amps include a DAC (Digital to Analogue Converter), so as well as giving you more depth and power, they help to eradicate the background noise you often get if you are listening off your laptop.

    There are plenty of little amps that are not expensive, and are easy to couple up to your ipod or phone.
    [​IMG]
    FiiO E5 Headphone Amplifier in Black

    £16.99

    These are not much bigger than an After Dinner mint and provide plenty of weight to low powered devices like nano's.

    [​IMG]
    FiiO E7 Headphone Amplifier & USB Audio Decoder (DAC) in Black

    £64.99

    The E 7 is also a DAC, and these sandwich together with iphones.
     
  3. BigAund

    BigAund New Member

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    thanks for clearing that up for me...

    Now I understand I've made a bit of a list - I mainly listen to classic rock(pink Floyd, Stones, The Who), some older metal (metallica, Iron maiden) and some Prog. That said I have a bit of everything on my ipod

    I like the look of the German Maestro's as I said before,
    also
    BEYERDYNAMIC DT250 STUDIO HEADPHONES 80Ω,
    BEYERDYNAMIC DT770 PRO CLOSED BACK HEADPHONES 80Ω
    AUDIO-TECHNICA ATH-M50
    &
    Shure 440/840

    I need something I can use on public transport, portableish. I like the idea of being able to replace parts should they wear out (x10's have been back to Klipsch for replacement under warranty 3 times!).

    Thanks again
    B
     
  4. Ian Hifi

    Ian Hifi Super Moderator

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    The Beyer Dynamics DT770 Pro & 250's, are border line without an amp. At 80 ohms you will get some stuff that is very low volume.

    ATH-M50's might be close to your requirements, definitely. Comfy for long periods, accurate sound, and good bottom end. They also fold up.


    The Shure 840's/440s are also pretty good on the majority of your requirements. Well made, great sound stage, easy to drive without an amp, and portable.

    Another possibility has been mentioned. The Ultrasone 780's.

    Having looked at all of the specification you have mentioned, these probably come the closest to, not only covering all the bases, but covering them all well. Closed back, Good construction, low impedance so no need for an amp, really accurate sound, and a really big sound stage. Stuff like Floyd and Prog sounds awesome on open backed headphones as you get that massive sense of space. The Ultrasones are about as close as it gets to that cinematic surround sound you get from open backs. They are portable, fold up, and nice looking to boot.
     
  5. BigAund

    BigAund New Member

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    I browsed over the Ultrasones earlier and liked the look of them but noticed they were Out of Stock - when do you think you'll have them back in?
     
  6. BigAund

    BigAund New Member

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    And would pairing the Beyers with a small amp be a better option?
     
  7. Ian Hifi

    Ian Hifi Super Moderator

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    A DAC/Amp (Digital Analogue Converter) will give all headphones a little more power and depth of sound. Moreover, an external DAC aspect will help to cancel out any background noise emanating from fans/CD drives, etc. Laptops/computers often generate an amount of background noise and, regardless of the extra signal the amp generates to your headphones. The Fiio E7 has an integrated DAC built by a company called Wolfson. They really know what they are doing in this area and build some really innovative and high end products. They definitely help bring a better quality of sound.

    The Fiio E 7 is worth a look.

    [​IMG]
    FiiO E7 Headphone Amplifier & USB Audio Decoder (DAC) in Black

    £64.99
     
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2011
  8. BigAund

    BigAund New Member

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    This is so helpful, really grateful!

    I've become a bit fixated on the German Maestro's, and stumbled over the code on Facebook for 20% off!

    As a last couple of questions, how do you rate the portability of these headphones, bearing in mind I will be using them on the Tube a lot. And how would they do with my taste in music (Floyd, Maiden, Prog etc).

    Once again, a million thanks
     
  9. Ian Hifi

    Ian Hifi Super Moderator

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    The German Maestro's are not a foldable pair of headphones, which some people do like when it comes to using them on trains, planes, and automobiles. However, the GM's, are light and really durable. They will take a good deal of being stuffed in bags or being dropped and stepped on.

    As for your taste in music, I think you should forget about headphones and just get on the tube with a Marshall stack and liven all those stiffs up a bit. I suggest Number of the Beast on 10.:p

    In all seriousness, the GM's have really good isolation so you won't be getting too many elbows in the ribs from the person sitting next to you.
     
  10. BigAund

    BigAund New Member

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    SO... Nearly bought the German Maestros until someone suggested I take a look at the Sennheiser HD251 ii. HE told me these are pretty durable, portable and have good isolation and sound really good. How would these fare with my musical taste and using with an Ipod??

    Thanks
    B
     
  11. Ian Hifi

    Ian Hifi Super Moderator

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    The HD 25-1'ii is are a very nice headphone. However, be aware they are an on-ear model, as opposed to an over-ear model. On-ear are often not as comfortable as over-ear models when worn for a long time.
     
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2011
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